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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Beatles' iconic 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine is heading back to cinemas across the UK later in 2018 to celebrate 50 years since its initial release. Restored in glorious 4K animation, Yellow Submarine will be shown in Picturehouse Cinemas for one night only, on 8 July, to mark its 50th anniversary. "Bringing the film back for its 50th anniversary is great, both for those who loved it the first time around and for those new singing and dancing audiences who will be introduced to this classic music and animation," says Clare Binns of Picturehouse. "I look forward to the huge smiles on faces all across the UK and Ireland on 8 July -- as the Fab Four said, All You Need is Love!" In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney made an unannounced appearance at a Jan. 16 show by the occasional supergroup "Dr. Pepper's Jaded Hearts Club Band," which features Muse singer Matt Bellamy and drummer Dominick Howard and The Last Shadow Puppets singer Miles Kane, for a performance of the Fab Four's "Helter Skelter." "Just did Macca with Macca #walkinglegend," Bellamy posted on Instagram after the concert. - New Musical Express, 1/15/18...... Stephen StillsStephen Stills has recruited his former Crosby, Stills Nash & Young bandmate Neil Young for a 2018 edition of his Light Up The Blues concert to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Stills played the first Light Up The Blues concert in 2013, and aside from 2017, the concert has been held annually. In addition to Stills and Young the show, set for Los Angeles' Dolby Theater on Apr. 21, will also feature performances from the likes of Sheryl Crow, Burt Bacharach, Jack Black and Stills' former girlfriend Judy Collins, among others. Stills' dedication to the cause has its origins in his 21-year-old son Harry, who was diagnosed with autism shortly before his third birthday. Neil Young reportedly visited Stills at his home recently and convinced him to hold the event once more this year. All proceeds will go to Autism Speaks, the largest Autism non-profit in the world. - Billboard, 1/17/18...... Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson recently returned to Hawthorne High School in California -- where he graduated along with the rest of the original Beach Boys lineup -- to tour the school and receive an updated grade on an old piece of homework. Posting on his official Twitter account, Wilson said he submitted a composition for a music class in 1959 that received an F grade, and that composition wound up being "Surfin'," the Beach Boys' first hit. But that failing grade has now been changed to an A by the current school principal, Dr. Landesfeind. "[It] got an F, but it made a million dollars," according to Wilson's tweet. -, 1/17/18...... Two years after his April 2016 death, a Prince tribute concert dubbed Prince: Live on the Big Screen has been announced for Apr. 21 at the Target Center in the late artist's hometown of Minneapolis, Minn. Featuring Prince's all-star band along with special guests, the event is described as featuring "newly remastered and never-before-released audio and video of Prince accompanied live on the Target Center stage by a super-group of musicians who performed alongside Prince throughout his legendary career." It will be part of a four-day Prince event known as Celebration 2018, which will honor the life and legacy of Prince from Apr. 19-22. - Billboard, 1/17/18...... George ClintonThe legendary funk outfit Parliament, fronted by George Clinton, has just released "I'm Gon Make U Sick O'Me," its first new single in 28 years. In the song, which features rapper Scarface, Clinton plays a character named Dr. Feel Good, a medic offering a magical antidote: "more funk for your ass." Promoting the release, on, Clinton discussed a forthcoming Parliament album which he says will be called Medicaid Fraud Dog. "It's Parliament's turn," he said. - Billboard, 1/17/18...... To mark the 50th anniversary of his iconic concert performance at California's Folsom State Prison, a new Johnny Cash documentary has been announced by Imperative Entertainment in association with Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall. The documentary, directed by Thom Zimmy who has previously helmed projects on such rock stars as Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen, will have the full support of the Cash estate and will explore Cash's music and biography through the prison concert. "While the linear narrative of the Folsom Prison performances will anchor our film, each song in the set list will open a door into a nonlinear presentation of Cash's emotional, musical and personal development," said Zimny in a statement. Cash, who died in 2003, was also the subject of a 2005 biopic called Walk The Line that featured an Oscar-nominated performance by Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/15/18...... Former Police frontman Sting, famous for his reggae-flavored stylings, and Jamaican musician Shaggy have been collaborating on several "Caribbean-flavoured" tracks, and the pair debuted one of them, "Don't Make Me Wait," live at a charity concert in Jamaica on Jan. 6. The musicians performed as part of the Shaggy & Friends show that was held to benefit the Bustamante Hospital For Children in Kingston. According to a press release, the studio sessions happened late last year and resulted in music that reflects both Sting and Shaggy's "mutual love of Jamaica, its music, people and culture". The tracks are also described as being "island-influenced" and "Caribbean-flavoured." It is not clear whether the duo will release their work together as an album or EP, or a handful of standalone tracks. - New Musical Express, 1/11/18....... Carole King'70s artists Carole King and Doors drummer John Densmore are among a group of legacy artists who have submitted an amicus document in a case about pre-1972 sound recordings as the U.S. Congress prepares to debate legislation on the issue. The case against the streaming service Pandora was originally brought by Flo & Eddie, Inc., which owns the Turtles recordings, and is currently before the California Supreme Court. At stake is whether, and how, non-interactive streaming services like Pandora need to compensate performers and labels for their use of older recordings that are still covered by state law. The music industry has also been lobbying for a legislative answer to the question, and the recently introduced CLASSICS Act (Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, & Important Contributions to Society Act) would require digital services to pay for the use of recordings made before 1972. On Jan. 26, the Friday before the Grammy Awards, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a "field hearing" in New York on this and other copyright issues, according to multiple sources. Also participating in the amicus brief are the estates of Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams and Judy Garland, the Beatles' Apple Corps., and Grateful Dead Productions. - Billboard, 1/14/18...... A lawsuit brought by the estate of Michael Jackson over a documentary called Michael: The Last Photo Shoots will be moving to trial after U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty denied the executors' motion for summary judgment. Noval Williams Films in 2014 sued John Branca and John McClain, the executors of Jackson's estate, seeking a declaration that the documentary doesn't infringe the copyright in photos and video of the late King of Pop. Judge Crotty ruled on Jan. 12 that there are numerous factual disputes in the case -- including one over who actually owns video footage of Jackson taken during Vogue and Ebony photo shoots. Jackson's estate maintains that it is the owner of the footage because its original owner, Hasaun Muhammad, agreed that he wouldn't exploit it without Jackson's consent. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/12/18...... The estate of late The Partridge Family star David Cassidy is being sued over $120,000 in alleged unpaid legal bills. Law firm Rodier & Rodier claims Cassidy owes them $102,834 for legal services, and attorney Damaso W. Saavedra claims he is owed $19,006. The personal representative of Cassidy's estate is objecting to both claims and refusing to pay the creditors, giving Rodier & Rodier and Saavedra each 30 days to file an action on the claim against the estate. Cassidy left $150,000 worth of assets to his only son, Beau, 26, with his three half-siblings granted music memorabilia. His estranged daughter Katie was left out of the will. "It is my specific intent not to provide any benefits hereunder to Katherine Evelyn Cassidy," he wrote, but it's important to note that the will was drafted in 2004, and Katie, 31, had an up-and-down relationship with her father. Cassidy died of organ failure Nov. 21 at the age of 67. -, 1/15/18...... Glenn FreyCindy Frey, the widow of late Eagles singer/songwriter/guitarist Glenn Frey, has filed a lawsuit against Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan over its treatment of the musician before his death in 2016 at the age of 67. Cindy is accusing the hospital and gastroenterologist Steven Itzkowitz of negligence that rendered her late husband "sick, sore, lame and disabled," causing him pain and mental anguish leading up to his death. In the suit, she claims the hospital and Itzkowitz failed to properly treat her husband's ulcerative colitis, diagnose and treat infection and advise of the risks and side effects from treatment. According to the complaint, Glenn Frey was under Itzkowitz's care from Oct. 19. 2015, to Nov. 2015. Frey died on Jan. 18, 2016, due to complications from acute ulcerative colitis, pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis, and Eagles manager Irving Azoff later said that Frey's illnesses were partly caused by the medication he was taking for his rheumatoid arthritis. "The colitis and pneumonia were side effects from all the meds," Azoff said in an interview with The Wrap. "He died from complications of ulcer and colitis after being treated with drugs for his rheumatoid arthritis which he had for over 15 years." Cindy Frey's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. She had three children with her late husband and oversees his estate. - Billboard, 1/16/18...... TV creator and writer Hugh Wilson, who created the acclaimed sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati and directed and co-wrote the first Police Academy movie, has died at age 74. Wilson also created three other series: Frank's Place, starring WKRP's "Venus Flytrap" Tim Reid as an Ivy League professor who inherits a New Orleans restaurant; The Famous Teddy Z, with Jon Cryer as a Hollywood agent; and Easy Street, starring WKRP's Jennifer Marlowe, Loni Anderson, as a wealthy young widow. All lasted just one season. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/16/18...... Dan Gurney, an American racing legend who was the first driver to achieve wins in Formula One, NASCAR and IndyCar and one of the most revered and accomplished figures in motorsports history, died on Jan. 14 at age 86. Across the span of his lengthy racing career, the Hall of Fame driver won races in Formula One, Indy, NASCAR, Can-Am, Trans-Am, and more. Mr. Gurney was also responsible for aerodynamic advancements (the Gurney flap), pioneered closed faced helmets for racers, and penned the famous 1978 "white paper" arguing for an overhaul of American open-wheel racing. Following his retirement, Mr. Gurney gave his full attention to team ownership, and piloted AAR until 2011. His team won 78 total victories across the world of open-wheel and sports cars. Mr. Gurney also served in the Korean War as an Army artillery mechanic. He is survived by his wife Evi, and sons Justin, Alex, Jimmy, and Dan Jr. -, 1/14/18..... Edwin HawkinsAmerican gospel musician/pianist/composer Edwin Hawkins, one of the originators of the urban contemporary gospel sound and probably best known for his arrangement of the 1968 hit "Oh Happy Day" by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, died on Jan. 15 at his home in Pleasanton, Calif., following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74. Hawkins learned piano at an early age, and was the co-founder of the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ, which included almost fifty members. This ensemble recorded its first album Let Us Go into the House of the Lord on the Century 70 custom label, hoping to sell 500 copies. "Oh Happy Day" was just one of the eight songs on the album, and the call-and-response hymn became very popular after radio stations in the bay area started playing it, becoming an international hit in 1969. Featuring the lead vocal of Dorothy Combs Morrison, the subsequently released single (on the newly created Pavilion label distributed by Buddah) rocketed to sales of over a million copies within two months. It crossed over to the pop charts making U.S. No. 4, UK No. 2, No. 2 on the Irish Singles Chart, and No. 1 on the German Singles Charts in 1969. Hawkins was awarded his first Grammy for his arrangement, and it was eventually covered by The Four Seasons on their 1970 album Half & Half. The following year the Hawkins singers backed Melanie on her top 10 hit "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)", and "Oh Happy Day" won a Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance. Hawkins also appeared in the 1992 movie Leap of Faith as a choir master for gospel songs. - AP, 1/15/18...... Actress Jean Porter, a starlet of the 1940s best known for her roles in Bathing Beauty and The Youngest Profession, died of natural causes in Canoga Park, Calif., on Jan. 14. She was 95. Ms. Porter also starred alongside legends including Mickey Rooney, Humphrey Bogart and Abbott and Costello in movies such as The Left Hand of God and Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble. She also replaced Shirley Temple in the 1946 Till the End of Time, where she met future husband Edward Dmytryk, one of the "Hollywood Ten" who were investigated by Congress for alleged anti-American activities. After leaving MGM, Ms. Porter appeared in several TV shows, including Sea Hunt and 77 Sunset Strip. She is survived by two daughters and her stepson. - New York Daily News, 1/14/18.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Pop legend Dionne Warwick was on hand during the Jan. 11 episode of Fox's new singing competition show The Four to cheer on her 23-year-old grandaughter Cheyenne Elliott. After the 23-year-old Elliott took the stage and noted she came from "a very musical family" (her cousin was Whitney Houston), the show then cut to a segment recorded in the backstage greenroom, where Warwick told her beloved granddaughter "I know you're ready." "My grandmother has said she's passing the baton down to me. She wants this for me as much as I want it," said Elliott, whose performance was good enough to earn her a chance to challenge one of The Four. - Billboard, 1/12/18...... John FogertyJohn Fogerty is lashing out at a new action film starring Taraji P. Henson (Empire) named Proud Mary after the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman's 1969 hit. Fogerty, who penned the song, has issued a statement with a scorching rebuke of the movie and its attempt to capitalize on the popularity of his rock classic. Henson plays a hit woman in the movie, and Fogerty says in addition to he film's appropriation of his song title, he also objects from seeing the "Proud Mary" lyrics "working for the man every night and day" changed to "killing for the man every night and day" on the movie poster. "My songs are special to me. Precious," Fogerty wrote. "So it irks me when people seek to capitalize on the popularity of my music and the good will it has earned with the public for their own financial gain. Over the years, I have often found myself directly opposed to these uses," he continued. "This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it." While Fogerty can't take legal action against the filmmakers for using the song title, he says he's upset that no one from the film asked about using his song this way and makes it clear that if he has been asked, he would have declined. "This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song," Fogerty says. "They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.... No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of 'Proud Mary'" and that his song "was obviously a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life." - Billboard, 1/11/18...... Attendees at the annual CES tech gadget show in Las Vegas on Jan. 11 were treated to an impromptu performance by Motown legend Stevie Wonder. When piano teacher Gabie Perry of a California startup was demonstrating the company's internet-connected "smart" device designed to teach people how to play piano, someone told her that "Stevie Wonder would like to try it." Perry thought it was a joke, but Wonder then spent about 15 minutes playing tunes as a crowd gathered at The One Music Group's booth. Wonder, one of several celebrity musicians that included rapper Iggy Azalea and Aerosmith gutiarist Joe Perry, later said he likes to visit the conference to "see new things" and meet people. - AP, 1/11/18...... Lindsey BuckinghamA new 2-CD deluxe edition of Fleetwood Mac's 5x platinum 1975 eponymous album will hit stores on Jan. 19 in a variety of formats, with expanded editions that include more unreleased early takes and live tracks. One of those tracks is an alternate take of "Monday Morning," the opening track on the album. Buckingham and his then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac at the recommendation of co-producer Keith Olsen, after releasing their own Buckingham Nicks album, and Buckingham says that becoming part of a group required him to adjust his approach to music. "If you go all the way back to before Stevie and I joined Fleetwood Mac, the application of guitar was a lot more prevalent in the whole scheme of the space that was taken and the work that was done by a particular instrument," Buckingham says. "I wasn't even sure what my role was gonna be at that point; Obviously it was kind of a lesson in adaptation for me, and maybe giving up on certain things and concentrating on other things which were maybe strengths for the good of the band," he adds. Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac is expected to tour in 2018, though Buckingham also has a solo album that's due out this year. "I think the earliest anyone expected to be back on the road with Fleetwood Mac might've been spring of 2018," Buckingham said in a 2017 interview. "Stevie, my understanding is that she's all ready. I've got this solo album; I'm the one who's holding it up. But, you know, that's typical for us. There's a lot of moving parts so, you know, you gotta wait for everyone to be ready." - Billboard, 1/11/18...... To mark the second anniversary of his Jan. 8, 2016, death of David Bowie from liver cancer, Bowie's daughter Alexandra Jones and widow Inman have gotten new tattoos. Inman added two photos to her Instagram account showing the pair's tattoos, with the first appearing to be placed on Jones' forearm and the second on Iman's ankle. Jones opted to get a tattoo of a crescent moon wrapped around the words, "Daddy xxx," followed by 1947-2016, while Iman opted for a tattooed knife with "David" written on the handle. "You will always be part of us," Inman captioned the series of photos to honor the music legend. Earlier in the day she also posted a series of four black and white shots of the pair captioned, "My favorite love story is ours! #BowieForever #ForeverAndEver." In other Bowie-related news, U.K. fans snapped up more than five million of his recordings since his untimely death, according to a new report. The Official Charts Company has crunched the numbers on how the masses consumed his music, and released the data on Jan. 10. Bowie's 25th and final studio album Blackstar, released just two days prior to his death, went on dominate charts around the globe, including the U.S. and U.K., where it finished the year as one of the top 10 best-sellers. Blackstar is Bowie's most popular album in the U.K. since his death, moving 446,000 copies across all formats, with his 2008 hits set Best Of Bowie coming in second place (335,000 units) and 2016's Legacy in third (247,000). An additional three Bowie albums have each shifted more than 100,000 units -- the gold award level -- since his death: Nothing Has Changed - The Very Best Of, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory. - Billboard, 1/11/18...... Brian MayIn an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Queen guitarist Brian May had some harsh criticism for U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May, describing the Tory leader as being "driven by vanity and thirst for power" and the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union as "the dumbest thing Britain has ever done in my lifetime." "She is, like [David] Cameron before her, driven by vanity and thirst for power," he said of Theresa May. "It was wrong from the beginning to ask the British to vote on Brexit, which has consequences that most were unaware of." Brian May continued: "I'm upset that a few politicians have managed to throw us under a bus. I sincerely hope that we can manage to get out of it again. It's a disaster, because the losses that are caused by it will be huge for us," he added. "Brexit is the dumbest thing Britain has ever done in my lifetime. For me and for many other Britons, this is an absolute tragedy, because the story is going in the wrong direction. It was always important to me to identify similarities and to work together. Brexit destroys the work of a whole generation that has brought Europe together." - New Musical Express, 1/10/18...... In other Queen-related news, the band will be among the Lifetime Achievement Awards recipients at the 2018 Grammy Awards, it was announced on Jan. 9. The honor, determined by the Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees, is presented to performers who have made impactful artistic contributions to the field of recording. A special award presentation ceremony and celebratory concert will be held in summer 2018. This year's recipents also include Tina Turner and Neil Diamond. The 2018 Grammy Awards will take place on Jan. 28 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. In other Grammy news, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler will be teaming up with Live Nation to hold the inaugural Janie's Fund gala and Grammy Awards viewing party. The event will include dinner, a live auction, the awards show telecast and a performance by Tyler and his Nashville-based band, Loving Mary. All proceeds from the event will benefit Janie's Fund, Tyler's charitable initiative in partnership with national family services nonprofit Youth Villages, which aims to help girls heal after suffering abuse and neglect. The initiative is named after Aerosmith's hit song "Janie's Got a Gun." Tyler's gala and viewing party will take place on Jan. 28 at the historic RED Studios in Hollywood. - Billboard, 1/9/18...... Thirty years after his death, the hologram company Base Hologram is taking a virtual Roy Orbison on an international tour with local symphony orchestras. Titled "In Dreams" after Orbison's hit single, the Orbison hologram will make its first-ever public appearance at the APAP Conference on Jan. 14. The U.K. leg of "In Dreams," which begins in April, has already sold over 70 percent of its tickets. After touring the U.K., the hologram will play a total of ten additional shows in Europe and Australia, before embarking on a three-month North American run in fall 2018. "It's important to make sure your core base is happy, but this [tour] is even more for the fans who missed Roy's shows while he was still alive," says Orbison's son Alex Orbison, president and co-founder of Orbison's estate, known as Roy's Boys. Base Entertainment, the parent company of Base Hologram, is the second-largest producer of live shows in Las Vegas behind Cirque du Soleil. In the future, it says it aims to work more with living artists, especially those who cannot otherwise meet the physically taxing demands of a 100-day world tour. - Billboard 1/11/18...... Eric ClaptonIn a Jan. 9 interview with BBC Radio 2, Eric Clapton revealed that he is losing his hearing and has been diagnosed with the hearing loss condition tinnitus. "I am still going to work. I'm doing a few gigs," the 72-year old guitarist said in an interview promoting his new documentary, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars. "I'm concerned with now is being in my 70s and being able to be proficient. I mean, I'm going deaf, I've got tinnitus, my hands just about work. I mean, I am hoping that people will come along and see me for more than that [because] I am a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it's amazing to myself that I am still here." Clapton also suffers with peripheral neuropathy, which causes weakness and pain in hands and feet, making it difficult to play guitar. However, he still has some concerts lined up in New York and Los Angeles in March 2018. Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars premieres on the Showtime cable channel on Feb. 10. - Billboard, 1/10/18...... Paul McCartney has given his backing to the U.K. Music initiative, a Parlimentary campaign which aims to curb the rising number of music venue closures across the U.K. "Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different," Sir Paul said ahead of the campaign's Jan. 10 launch. "If we don't support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger," he added. The U.K. Music initiative is sponsored by Labour MP John Spellar, who has introduced a new bill in the House of Commons in an effort to implement the "Agent of Change" principle into UK law. Also supporting the bill are Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Billy Bragg. - NME, 1/10/18...... Eagles guitarist/singer/songwriter Joe Walsh has signed a new global publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Walsh's songwriting catalog includes his solo hits "Life's Been Good," "Rocky Mountain Way," "All Night Long" and "Lucky That Way," as well as "Life In The Fast Lane" and "In The City," which he wrote and recorded with the Eagles. "Joe's vast career catalog, both solo and with Barnstorm and the Eagles, have found the perfect home with Marty and Sony/ATV," Walsh's longtime manager Irving Azoff said in a statement. - Billboard, 1/10/18...... After abruptly ending a concert in San Diego earlier in January due to breathing difficulties, Willie Nelson has cancelled three upcoming shows in Palm Springs, Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev. The 84-year-old had barely begun his opening number, "Whiskey River," in San Diego before concluding the performance early; he was coughing and experiencing difficulty breathing as he exited the stage. Nelson's publicist told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the musician was suffering from either "a bad cold or the flu" and was returning to Texas to recuperate. Nelson has yet to announce any cancellation of his February shows, which begin in Georgia on Feb. 7. In August, he ended a show near Salt Lake City early due to altitude sickness. -, 1/9/18...... James TaylorJames Taylor announced on Jan. 9 that he'll kick off a 2018 summer tour on May 8 in Jacksonville, Fla. In a sequel to his 2017 tour with opener Bonnie Raitt, Taylor will once again be accompanied by his longtime friend and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Raitt. The 17-date tour will also visit such cities as Orlando (5/9), Tampa (5/12), St. Louis (5/21), Kansas City (5/22), Denver (5/27), Phoenix (5/29), and Los Angeles (6/1, 3), wrapping on July 1 in Bufallo, N.Y. Meanwhile, Taylor performed his classic "Sweet Baby James" among other favorites at Sean Penn's Haiti Rising Gala at Milk Studios in Hollywood on Jan. 6. Taylor finished the night's performance with his hits "Carolina In My Mind" and "How Sweet It Is." The event was co-hosted by Penn and benefited the Haitian Relief Organization. - Billboard, 1/9/18...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has announced he'll tour North America in the spring behind his upcoming solo effort, American Utopia. Byrne's tour will launch on Mar. 3 in Red Bank, N.J., also visiting Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (3/4), Buffalo, N.Y. (3/6), Hershey, Pa. (3/7), Waterbury, Conn. (3/9) and Kingston, N.Y. (3/9) before a South American leg that begins on Mar. 16 in Santiago, Chile. - Billboard, 1/8/17...... Rod Stewart announced on Jan. 8 that he'll once again embark on a North American tour with special guest Cyndi Lauper this summer. The 22-date Stewart/Lauper tour gets underway on June 25 in Hollywood, Cal., also visiting such major markets as Orlando, Fla. (7/26), Charlotte, N.C. (7/28), Louisville, Ky. (7/29), Nashville, Tenn. (8/1), St. Paul, Minn. (8/15), Indianapolis, In. (8/18), St. Louis (8/19), Denver (8/22), San Diego (8/26) and San Francisco (8/29) before wrapping on Sept. 1 in Seattle. The 2017 Stewart/Lauper was a hit among critics and fans alike, with Entertainment Weely describing it as a "nostalgia blast." - Billboard, 1/8/18...... Guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani will release his new studio album What Happens Next on Jan. 12. The new, instrumentally electrifying album features a power trio of legendary status; Satriani on guitar and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Country Communion) and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Satriani will revive his G3 Tour entity in 2018 beginning Mar. 16 in Moscow and winding up on Apr. 30 in Birmingham playing shows in many European countries, including the U.K. France, Italy, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland and more. - Noble PR, 1/9/18...... Denise LaSalleR&B singer/songwriter Denise LaSalle, whose hit "Trapped by a Thing Called Love" topped the R&B charts in 1971, died in a Jackson, Tenn., hospital on Jan. 8. She was 78. Media outlets report LaSalle suffered from health issues in recent months that resulted in the amputation of her right leg after she suffered a fall. Along with "Trapped by a Thing Called Love," the Mississippi native is also well known for the song "Now Run and Tell That." She had a string of successful singles in the 1970s and the early 1980s. "She had a very unique voice," said musician/producer Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, whose father, Willie Mitchell, recorded LaSalle at Hi Records. LaSalle was a 2011 inductee in the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. Her citation for that year notes her "bold and bawdy stage act." She later sang blues as a recording artist for Mississippi-based Malaco records. - AP, 1/9/18...... Motorhead guitarist "Fast" Eddie Clarke passed away on Jan. 10 after a battle with pneumonia. He was 67. Fellow band member Mikkey Dee responded to the heartbreaking news. "I saw Eddie not too long ago and he was in great shape. So this is a complete shock," he said before adding his condolences to Eddie's "family and close ones." - Billboard, 1/11/18...... French pop icon France Gall, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965, where she was representing Luxembourg, with the song "Poupe De Cire, Poupe De Son," has died at age 70. Gall, whose real name was Isabelle Genevive Marie Anne Gall, released her debut single "Ne Sois Pas Si Bte" in 1963, when she was 16 years old. She went on to release 28 albums in total, concluding with 2004's Videment compilation. Gall retired from music following the death of her eldest child, Pauline, in 1997. She had been working on humanitarian projects since then. Gall had been suffering from cancer for two years, and was taken to hospital near Paris in December for treatment on a severe infection. - New Musical Express, 1/7/18.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The latest installment of the annual New Year's Eve TV special New Year's Rockin' Eve founded by the late Dick Clark and now hosted by Ryan Seacrest saw its biggest overall audience in at least 27 years, welcoming 25.6 million viewers with an 8.2 rating among adults 18-49 (10.6 million) during its late-night part 1 programming slot from 11:30 p.m. to 1:09 a.m., according to data by The Nielsen Company provided by ABC. The ratings were high enough to best last year's Grammy Awards telecast, which aired on CBS last February, making it the top music special of 2017. Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve debuted in 1972 on NBC and has aired on ABC since 1974. - Billboard, 1/2/18...... Ray ThomasRay Thomas, the flautist and vocalist for The Moody Blues, died suddenly at his home in Surrey, near London, on Jan. 4, according to his record label Esoteric Recordings/Cherry Red Records. He was 76. No cause of death was given, but Thomas disclosed in 2014 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. "It is with profound sorrow and sadness that Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings regret to announce that Ray Thomas, founder member, flautist and vocalist of the Moody Blues, passed away suddenly at his home in Surrey on Thursday 4th January 2018," the company said in a statement. "We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humour and kindness. It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife Lee at this sad time," the statement added. Born on Dec. 29, 1941, in Stourport-on-Severn, England, Thomas founded The Moody Blues in 1964 with fellow musicians including Mike Pinder and Denny Laine, and the group was among the first to make extensive use of the Mellotron and the flute. The band soon swapped its blues roots for a more orchestral sound that came to be called progressive rock. Thomas's flute solo was a key ingredient on one of the band's biggest hits, "Nights in White Satin," and he was also the principal composer of such Moodys tracks as "Twilight Time" and "For My Lady." Thomas also released the solo LPs From the Mighty Oaks (1975) and Hopes Wishes and Dreams (1976). John Lodge also honored Thomas on Twitter, noting that "Ray and I have been on this magical journey through life together since we were 14...two young kids from Birmingham who reached for the stars...and we made it together. El Riot you will always be by my side." The Moody Blues are due to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in April. - AP, 1/7/18...... A 1981 Volvo 262C Bertone Coupe that was once owned by David Bowie was sold for approximately $218,000 in an auction in Switzerland on Jan. 3. Bowie's Volvo was one of the last of the line produced in 1981, and it was delivered to his Swiss home in June of that year. It was registered under Bowie's legal name, David Robert Jones, before being transferred over to the record company Belway Bros. It sold with over 33,000 miles on the odometer. -, 1/5/18...... In related news, a Honda Monkey-Trail Bike XUC 91H used by John Lennon between 1969 and 1971 to get around his Tittenhurst Park estate in the Surrey countryside has been obtained by the classic motorcycle company H&H Classics and will be put up for auction on Mar. 4 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, UK. Henry Graham acquired the bike from Lennon in 1971, before selling it on to its current vendor, John Harington, in the same year. Harington has kept the bike ever since, and has displayed it at various events and shows throughout the past 47 years. Experts estimate the motorbike could command as much as £30,000. - NME, 1/3/18...... A group of music and film artists including Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Tom Morello, John Cusak, Viggo Mortensen and John Cusak have signed a letter in support of New Zealand singer Lorde following her cancelling a scheduled gig in Israel. Lorde had been scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv in June, but announced on Christmas Eve the show was cancelled after facing a backlash from fans. They argued the concert would act as an endorsement of Israel's occupation of Palestine. Shmuley Boteach, an outspoken rabbi, had branded Lorde an anti-semetic "bigot" in a full-page advertiesment in the Washington Post for her decision, and now the artists have signed a letter supporting her "right to take a stand." "We write in support of Lorde, who made public her decision not to perform in Israel and has now been branded a 'bigot'," reads their full page advertisement in the Washington Post. "We deplore the bullying tactics being used to defend injustice against Palestinians and to suppress an artist's freedom of conscience. We support Lorde's right to take a stand," it continued. - New Musical Express, 1/7/18...... John DensmoreThe Doors drummer John Densmore gathered with dozens of friends, family and fans in Los Angeles on Jan. 4 to unveil a pair of street signs informing motorists they have just arrived at the corner of Morrison Street and Densmore Avenue. Until now, the street names had been on signs placed on poles on separate corners. City officials, who had declared Jan. 4, 2017, the Day of the Doors in honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of the band's first album, recently took care of that problem when they put signs naming both streets on the same pole in front of a stately, two-story home on the second anniversary of the celebration. "I come up a few blocks. You're kidding? Densmore Street crosses Morrison Street," Densmore recalled as the crowd laughed. Densmore also quietly recited some of the words to late Doors frontman Jim Morrison's poem "An American Prayer" before pulling the string to unveil the signs. "Oh great creator of being, grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives," he concluded. The Doors formed in 1965 in LA's beachfront community of Venice, where last year's Day of the Doors celebration was held. Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger are the band's only surviving members. Morrison died in 1971 and keyboardist Ray Manzarek passed in 2013. - AP, 1/5/18...... Country singer and restaurant/bar operator Mickey Gilley and his son were injured in a car accident near Corrigan, Texas, on Jan. 3 when their car rolled over, leaving the 81-year-old Gilley with a fractured ankle and a fractured right shoulder. The two are recovering, and Gilley announced he will reschedule his next concert scheduled for Greeneville, Texas, on Jan. 6. Gilley's namesake Texas honky tonk club inspired the 1980 film Urban Cowboy and the resulting nationwide fad for Western-themed nightspots in the 1980s. He is known for such country hits as "Room Full of Roses," "Stand By Me," "Window Up Above," and the honky-tonk anthem "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time." - AP, 1/5/18...... Cable TV's HBO will premiere a new Elvis Presley documentary called Elvis Presley: The Searcher this spring that will give fans an unprecedentedly deep look at his life and music, from his first forays into Memphis blues clubs to his early stardom, up through his late '60s comeback and exhausting '70s touring. The nearly three-and-a-half-hour-long, two-part documentary (which will also get a soundtrack released through Sony/Legacy) features new interviews with scholars, stars like Bruce Springsteen and the late Tom Petty, and -- most notably -- Priscilla Presley, who famously met the superstar when she was 14 and was married to him from 1967 to 1973. Priscilla, 72, says she was excited to share the details of the King as an artist, and even though the couple eventually divorced, "we remained very close." "We had long conversations at night," she says. "He wanted to perform, to get out. He had nervous energy. In fact, he wanted to go all over the world. He wanted to explore." - Billboard, 1/5/18...... Elton John posted a touching tribute to his late mum Sheila Farebrother, who died on Dec. 4 at age 92, on Jan. 3 on Instagram. In a post featuring a picture of a memorial plaque, Sir Elton wrote, "Dear Mum, Today's funeral was perfect. Having the service in the family chapel and attended by your brother and sister brought us all comfort. Having the service where Nan lived out her final days brought you and your Mother back together again." Just days after Ms. Farebrother's death, John paid homage to her during a concert at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, where he dedicated "Your Song" to her. Though the two were estranged for years, they had reconciled in recent years. Following her death, John said he had gotten together with her a week before she passed and was "in shock" at her passing. "I'm glad to say she passed away peacefully, with no pain," he said at the show. "But maybe sooner than she should have done, so I was quite shocked. And I was thinking how I could pay tribute to her tonight, and what song I should choose." - Billboard, 1/4/18...... Elvis CostelloElvis Costello has composed a new song for the film Film Stars Dn't Die in Liverpool, a movie about the life of actress Gloria Grahame. "You Shouldn't Look at Me That Way," is a haunting, piano-based tune that conveys the complex, true relationship between the aging, struggling Grahame, played by Annette Bening, and much younger actor Peter Turner, played by Jamie Bell, in the Sony Pictures Classic film, currently in theaters. Costello is scheduled to begin a six-show residency in Las Vegas in February, and is working on a musical based on the 1957 classic film A Face in the Crowd, which he says seems more relevant than ever in the age of Donald Trump. "It's about the ability of television to make monsters," Costello told Billboard. "I wouldn't demean the story by comparing it to the present resident of the White House because that would be somebody too mediocre to trouble with because this will pass." - Billboard, 1/3/18...... The ABC television network has scrapped a planned three-hour special about Rolling Stone magazine that was slated to air on Feb. 7 after the magazine's founder, Jann Wenner, was accused by a journalist in November of offering a writing deal in exchange for sex. Wenner has denied allegation, and a new sexual harassment claim surfaced in late December against the publisher. The 50th Anniversary Rolling Stone special was scheduled to showcase live performances, short films, iconic onstage moments, never-before-seen musical pairings and stars who have helped to shape pop culture, music and politics over 50 years of the magazine. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/3/18...... Alabama record producer Rick Hall, who recorded some of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s and '70s and helped develop the fabled "Muscle Shoals sound," died at his home on Jan. 2 following a battle with cancer. He was 85. Mr. Hall founded FAME Recording Studios in northwestern Alabama in 1959 and went on to record major acts including R&B stars Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Mr. Hall also recorded country artists including George Jones and Brenda Lee and produced pop acts including Paul Anka and The Osmonds. A new generation of listeners became familiar with Mr. Hall through the 2013 documentary Muscle Shoals, which tells the story of the producer, the region's musicians, and its distinctive, soulful sound featuring heavy bass, electric piano or organ and drums. Rock musician Micheal Des Barres remembered Mr. Hall in a tweet, calling him "The King of Muscle Shoals" who "wrote and produced for some of the greatest musicians of all time." - AP, 1/2/18...... Tony Calder, who once promoted the Beatles in the early stages of their career and co-founded the Immediate Records label, has died at the age of 74 of complications from pneumonia at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. Calder worked for Decca Records in the early 1960s, and in 1962 was tasked by Brian Epstein with promoting the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do," after it failed to receive any radio play in the first week of its release. Calder personally sent 100 copies of the single to clubs all over the UK, attaching a note which claimed it was "a guaranteed floor-filler." "We mailed it on the Monday. By Wednesday, they were all playing it," Calder recalled. The song reached number 17 in the UK singles chart as a result. He would later go on to co-found the PR company Image with the manager of the Rolling Stones, Andrew Loog Oldham. Together, the pair went about creating a reputation for the Stones in the mid-1960s as the bad boys of British music. Calder and Oldham also founded the short-lived independent label Immediate Records in 1965, signing a host of acts including the Small Faces, Rod Stewart, Nico and Fleetwood Mac, before it was forced to fold in 1970 after going bankrupt. Later in his career, Calder also signed Black Sabbath and The Bay City Rollers, while he also enjoyed a stint managing Eddie Grant. "Tony had ears and balls. I loved him and he will be missed," Andrew Olham said in tribute to his friend and business partner. - New Musical Express, 1/4/18...... Jerry Van DykeActor/comedian Jerry Van Dyke died on the afternoon of Jan. 5 at his ranch in Arkansas. He was 86. Mr. Van Dyke's widow, Shirley, said her husband's health had deteriorated since the two were involved in a car accident over two years ago. A beloved comedian just like his old brother Dick Van Dyke, Jerry pursued stand-up as a young man and performed at military bases around the world. He made his acting debut on The Dick Van Dyke show and followed that up with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show before becoming a regular on The Judy Garland Show. However he was best known for his role on the sitcom Coach, where he earned 4 Emmy nominations playing Asst. Coach Luther Van Dam alongside Craig T. Nelson. He also had major roles on Yes, Dear and most recently, The Middle. He is survived by his wife and two children. -, 1/6/18...... It has been recently announced that actor Harry Landers, who co-starred in the popular 1960's series Ben Casey passed away in October at 96 years old. Following the successful five-year run (1961-1966) of the Ben Casy series, Mr. Landers continued to work in film and television. His extensive resume includes episodes of such classic television series as Quincy M.E., Star Trek, Mannix, The Virginian, The Rat Patrol, Combat! Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dennis the Menace, The Untouchables, Have Gun-Will Travel and The Roy Rogers Show, among many others. His wife, Jeanne Vaughn Thompson, an actress and runner-up Miss America, preceded him in death, and he is survived by his sons, Scott and Logan. -, 1/4/18.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

As expected, Ringo Starr was among those awarded knighthoods by the British royal family when the Queen's New Year honors list was announced on Dec. 29. Starr's knighthood comes more than half a century after he received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) at the height of the Beatles' fame. In a statement, Ringo said it was "an honor and a pleasure to be considered and acknowledged for my music and my charity work, both of which I love. Peace and love. Ringo." John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono also tweeted out her kind thoughts to Ringo on Jan. 2. "Dear Sir Ringo," Ono wrote. "I am very happy that you have received this honour from the Queen. It's about time! Huge congratulations! I am delighted for you and your family. It is an honour for everyone in the Beatles family and I love you very much." Barry GibbAlso set to be knighted during the formal New Year's Honors ceremony in 2018 are Bee Gees founding member Barry Gibb, Soft Cell vocalist Marc Almond, rapper/producer Wiley, and British actor/writer/musician Hugh Laurie, are all set to be knighted during the formal New Year's Honors ceremony in 2018. Gibb, who is being honored not only for his services to music but to charity as well, told the AP that being awarded a knighthood was "a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten" and that he is "deeply honored, humbled and very proud." Gibb went on to pay tribute to his brothers and Bee Gees co-founders, Maurice and Robin Gibb, who died in 2003 and 2012, respectively. "I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honour," said the 71-year-old Gibb. "It is as much theirs as it is mine. The magic, the glow and the rush will last me the rest of my life." The Gibb brothers were named Commanders of the British Empire (CBE) in 2002. - Billboard, 12/29/17...... In an interview with a podcast called "Life In The Stocks," Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott said he was uncomfortable with the way AC/DC so quickly replaced frontman Brian Johnson with Axl Rose of Guns 'N Roses in 2017 and said his band wouldn't have dealt with AC/DC singer Brian Johnson, who was forced to go on hiatus from the band due to hearing problems, that way. "I wouldn't have done it like that," Elliott said. "I can't speak for [AC/DC guitarist] Angus [Young] and his team as to what their reasons were for doing what they did. But considering that we had a drummer lose and arm and we waited for him, the way that they dealt with it was not the way I would have done it, put it that way." Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen joined the band in 1979 when he was just 15, but lost his arm in car accident on New Year's Eve five years later. Def Leppard didn't replace him, but instead waited till he had re-learned how to play on an adapted kit, and he has continued to tour and record with the band to this day. While Elliott said that he thought Axl Rose "did a pretty good job, actually" filling in for Johnson, he added that the last touring lineup of AC/DC wasn't "really AC/DC anymore," calling it "basically just Angus and the other four now." Guitarist and founding AC/DC member Malcolm Young left the band in 2014 and passed away earlier this year, prompting an outpouring of tributes from across the world of music. - New Musical Express, 12/31/17...... David BowieDavid Bowie's son Duncan Jones has just launched an informal "David Bowie Book Club," after the late rock icon released a list of his 100 favorite books back in 2013. Jones took to Twitter to launch the book club, describing his late dad as "a beast of the reader." Jones selected Hawksmoor, an award-winning 1985 novel by Peter Aykroyd about a 1980s detective who investigates murders committed in London churches in the 18th century, as the first book. Fans wishing to join the book club (and presumably discuss each book with Jones on Twitter) have until Feb. 1 to complete Aykroyd's novel. "Hawksmoor is in DAVID BOWIE'S TOP 100 BOOKS list, indeed it's one of the books we illustrated in our montage back in 2013," Jones tweeted. "It's also a work we've loved for a long time here at DBHQ, since David first recommended it many years ago. Go here ( for the synopsis of this gripping and terrible tale of two Londons separated by two and a half centuries. #BowieBookClub #ReadingIsBrainFood" In other Bowie-related news, a new BBC radio drama called The Final Take: Bowie In the Studio is to dramatise the making of Bowie's final studio album, Blackstar. It will feature dialogue constructed from Bowie's own words -- which have been taken from the hundreds of interviews he gave during his life -- and will air on the BBC World Service at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 9. - NME, 12/29/17...... Actress Rose Marie, best known as wisecracking co-star Sally Rogers on the 1960s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, passed away on Dec. 28 at her home in Van Nuys, Calif. She was 94. The comedienne-vocalist, identifiable by the black bow in her hair and her raspy voice, also co-headlined on the opening night of Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 1946 and was a regular on the game show The Hollywood Squares. Along with Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Morey Amsterdam and, occasionally, Carl Reiner (the series' creator), she appeared in all five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show and received Emmy nominations in 1963, 1964 and 1966. Rose MarieMs. Marie had known Amsterdam in real life since she was 11, and her verbal jousts with him were among the show's highlights. She was hired or the sitcom -- the second person cast after Van Dyke himself -- for $1,000 an episode by executive producer Sheldon Leonard, who had played her brother on the radio on The Phil Harris Show. Ms. Marie had cultivated her persona as a husband-hunter in a number of comic guest appearances on the shows of such luminaries as Jimmy Durante, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Garry Moore, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, Merv Griffin and, frequently with Johnny Carson, on The Tonight Show. She also played secretary Myrna Gibbons, who worked with Doris Day's character in a magazine office, on the CBS sitcom The Doris Day Show, and her other TV credits include S.W.A.T., Murphy Brown and Hardball. She also was a 14-year participant on The Hollywood Squares, where her comic cackle delighted audiences, and she appeared in such films as Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966), Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966) and Lunch Wagon (1981). Born Marie Mazetta in New York on Aug. 15, 1923, Ms. Marie's name was inspired by the popular Broadway musical "Rose-Marie." She entered show business as a 3-year-old toddler when she appeared at New York's Mecca Theater and belted out a torch ballad. Beginning in the '40s, she performed in nightclubs and theaters, and during the 1950s and '60s, she garnered guest-star roles on TV in such shows as The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Gunsmoke, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Monkees and My Three Sons. Ms. Marie was married to Bobby Guy, at one time the lead trumpeter for the NBC Orchestra, which performed nightly on The Tonight Show. He died in 1964 of a blood infection. The couple had one daughter, Georgiana, who survives her. She was also active in many charitable causes throughout her life, most notable animal welfare. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/28/17.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Beatles' new holiday collection The Christmas Records has debuted on Billboard's Hot 200 albums chart at No. 199. With 7,000 units (all from traditional album sales) sold, the archival box has reproductions of the seven flexi-disc vinyl singles the band sent to its fan club members each Christmas between 1963 and 1969. It has a total combined running time of about 44 minutes and features a smattering of music from the band (including the original tune "Christmas Time [Is Here Again]"), comedic skits, and messages from the group. The Christmas Records also debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's Vinyl Albums chart and, due to the nature of the box's contents, at No. 38 on the Holiday Albums roundup. - Billboard, 12/27/17...... Ringo StarrElsewhere on the Fab Four front, a source close to Ringo Starr has told Britain's The Sun paper that the former Beatles legend will be made a knight when Queen Elizabeth II announces her New Year's Honours list on New Year's Eve. Starr is expected to be honoured for his contributions to music and charity, and if the reports are true, it will be his first time back to London's Buckingham Palace 52 years ago when he became a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965 during the Beatles' heyday. Ringo's sole surviving Beatles bandmate Sir Paul McCartney, who was knighted in 1997, reportedly once told the Queen: "Look, love it's about time." Ringo, 77, had reportedly given up all hope of being knighted before a letter arrived from the Palace a few weeks ago. "He'll feel 10 feet tall when he goes back," the source told The Sun. "Sadly, two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, are no longer here to be honoured in a similar way. But giving Ringo a knighthood will go some way towards recognising the enormous contribution the Beatles made to popular music. He is a beacon of Beatlemania," the source added. "It came as a bolt from the blue," the family friend told the publication. "Ringo was totally knocked sideways but is chuffed to bits (very proud)." Although Starr is being bestowed with one of Britain's highest honours, he sold his 200-acre estate in Cranleigh, Surrey, for a reputed £20 million in 2014, and now divides his time between his homes in Switzerland and California. -, 12/26/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney's One on One Tour has hit the top slot in Billboard's Hot Tours roundup for the week ending Dec. 26. With $67 million in sold ticket revenue from 15 performances added to the concerts that were already reported earlier in the year, the tour's overall gross in 2017 rises to $132 million. Macca's One on One trek included a total of 37 concerts from April through December with the number of sold tickets totaling 907,610 during the eight-month span. The tour covered four continents in 2017 beginning with a string of four concerts at two venues in Japan from Apr. 25 through 30. This past summer the tour was booked at arenas in twelve North American markets including eight shows in the metropolitan New York City area that drew over 113,000 fans to four venues. In October, the tour played stadium dates in five Latin American cities, four of them in Brazil. The final leg of the tour was a sweep through Australia and New Zealand, in which all were stadium dates except Sydney's two arena shows. Queen + Adam Lambert made the second spot in the final 2017 Hot Tours roundup, with $3,572,980 in sold ticket revenue from two concerts at London's O2 Arena on Dec. 12 and 13. - Billboard, 12/27/17...... Lionel RichieStevie Wonder was among the music icons paying tribute to former Commodores member and '80s solo superstar Lionel Richie during the 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 26. Wonder covered Richie's Commodores-era classic "Easy," while country singer Luke Bryan sang "Penny Lover" and "Sail On," and pop sensation Leona Lewis performed a medley of Richie's solo chart toppers "Say You Say Me" and "All Night Long (All Night)." The recently retired Kenny Rogers, who scored a No. 1 pop hit in 1980 with the Richie-penned "Lady," also honored the singer/songwriter with an emotional speech about his career. The event was broadcast live on the CBS Television Network. - Billboard, 12/27/17...... The latest Star Wars soundtrack, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has risen to No. 5 on the same chart in its initial week of release. With 44,000 units (41,000 in traditional album sales) sold, the soundtrack has become the latest in the string of companion albums in the Star Wars saga to at least reach the top 20 in the tally. None of main eight Star Wars soundtracks have reached the top spot, with the closest being the original Star Wars LP which spent three consecutive weeks at No. 2 in 1977; it was stuck behind Fleetwood Mac's Rumours juggernaut which ruled the list for 31 nonconsecutive weeks. - Billboard, 12/27/17...... English musician Denny Laine, one of the co-founders of the Moody Blues in 1964 before becoming a member of Paul McCartney's Wings in the 1970s, says he's "very pleased" his former band will be added to the roster for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Laine, who wasn't initially added to the roster of Moody Blues members who will be honored during the Apr. 14 ceremony in Cleveland, Oh., was later added to the list thanks to lobbying by Rock Hall voting committee members, including E Street Band member Little Steven Van Zandt, producer Peter Asher and Cousin Brucie Morrow. Van Zandt tweeted Dec. 16 that Laine's "inadvertent ommission is being corrected on the Rock Hall website as we speak." Laine says Asher told him that "he wouldn't even vote for the Moody Blues unless I was in it." Denny Laine"That was kind of the most rewarding part of the thing, I think: I had friends from the top who pushed for me to get back in," Laine notes. Moodys member Mike Pinder, according to Laine, recruited him away from his own band in Birmingham, though the other Moodys were not as interested in Laine's push to move to London to be closer to the British music industry of the mid-'60s. "But if it hadn't been for Mike and Ray (Thomas) talking me into getting into their band, I could've been stuck in Birmingham and not done anything, so I'm grateful for that," Laine says. As for McCartney's Wings eventually being inducted into the Rock Hall, Laine says he doesn't anticipate that. "It was not a band, really. It was Paul McCartney and a backing band -- that's the truth of the matter," Laine says. "We weren't a band like the Beatles, the (Rolling) Stones, the Moody Blues. So I wouldn't see Wings as a band that would go into the Hall of Fame, to be honest." These days, Laine resides in New Jersey and tours as a solo act, playing songs from his entire past live as well as recording. He recently released the single "Meant to Be"/"Over the Horizon," and says he has a new album in the can as well. "I'm not just living in the past," he says. "Tribute bands have kind of taken over the market, and I don't want to come across as being that. - Billboard, 12/23/17...... Canadian actress Heather Menzies-Urich, who played one of the singing von Trapp children in the hit 1965 film The Sound of Music, died on Dec. 24 in Frankford, Ont., after a battle with brain cancer. She was 68. Menzies-Urich played Louisa von Trapp, the third-oldest of the seven von Trapp children, in the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that starred Julie Andrews and Canadian actor Christopher Plummer. The movie musical went on to capture five Academy Awards, including best picture. Menzies-Urich was the wife of late actor Robert Urich, and their son, actor Ryan Urich, said his mother "was an actress, a ballerina and loved living her life to the fullest." A Toronto native, Menzies-Urich's other film credits include Hawaii and Piranha. On television, she appeared as a fugitive in Logan's Run and had guest spots on Dragnet, Bonanza and Marcus Welby, M.D., among other series. After Robert Urich died in 2002, Menzies-Urich established the Robert Urich Foundation to raise funds for cancer research. -, 12/25/17...... Film and TV composer Dominic Frontiere, known for such classic TV themes as The Outer Limits, The Flying Nun, The Rat Patrol, That Girl, 12 O'Clock High, Branded and Vega$, died on Dec. 21 in Tesuque, N.M. He was 86. Mr. Frontiere was a fixture on the film- and TV-music scene throughout the 1960s, '70s and '80s, composing hundreds of hours of music, mostly for TV but also for films including Hang 'Em High, Cancel My Reservation, Hammersmith Is Out, Freebie and the Bean, The Aviator, and three John Wayne films, Chisum, The Train Robbers and Brannigan. He won a Golden Globe award for his score for The Stunt Man in 1980, and an Emmy as musical director of "Swing Out, Sweet Land," a patriotic TV special hosted by Wayne in 1970. Frontiere's career was temporarily derailed in 1986 when he was sentenced to a year in federal prison for filing a false income tax return and lying to IRS investigators to conceal his role in scalping tickets to the 1980 Super Bowl. At the time, his wife Georgia Frontiere was owner of the Los Angeles Rams. He moved to New Mexico in the 1990s and continued to work in the electronic-music medium. Survivors include his current wife Robin, and five children. - Variety, 12/23/17.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Paul McCartney has joined the ranks of video bloggers, also known as "vlogging," as the former Beatles kept his social media-savvy fans up to date on all his adventures during his recent tour of Australia and New Zealand. Two recent uploads include the rock legend standing by a post showing off the "beautiful" New Zealand countryside ("Looking forward to the gig on Saturday night in Auckland. Hope to see you there! Come on, let's ROCK") and "saving" a baby kiwi bird ("This is Bubbleicious," he explains whilst holding the kiwi. "And he is delicious. Lovely little kiwi. And strong.") In a vlog to his Australian concert fans before the New Zealand treck, he urged the fans Down Under: "Let's get rocking!" - New Musical Express, 12/19/17...... Jimmy PageAs the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin arrives in 2018, Jimmy Page has hinted that some "surprises" could be coming for Zeppelin fans who want to celebrate the momentous occasion. "There'll be Led Zeppelin product coming out, for sure, that people haven't heard," Page said in a Dec. 20 interview with the Academy of Achievement. "Next year will be the 50th year, so there's all manner of surprises coming out," he added. Led Zeppelin has released sporadic new material since their 1980 break up, including a complete remastering of the band's nine studio albums, and have also reunited for a handful of performances, including at Live Aid in 1985 and the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in 2007. It is unknown exactly what Page and the other two surviving members, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, have in store to celebrate their half century anniversary. - Billboard, 12/20/17...... Pop songwriting legend Burt Bacharach and '70s New Wave icon Elvis Costello are teaming up for a musical benefit for victims of the San Luis Rey Downs horse training track fire earlier in December that killed nearly 50 horses and injured their caretakers. "Horses and horse racing have given me nothing but pleasure for the last half-century," longtime horse owner Bacharach said in a statement. "The horrible circumstances around the San Luis Rey Downs fire cry out for aid in so many ways. This is my way of giving back to the horse community," he added. The event is set for Jan. 17 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, a mile from Del Mar racetrack, and will be hosted by actress Bo Derek, a former member of the California Horse Racing Board. She and Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston will preside over an auction before the show. All money raised will be equally split between the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation and the California Retirement Management Account. - AP, 12/21/17...... A group of more than 40 artists including Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt and Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein have signed a letter to Congress urging them to pass the CLASSICS Act, which would require digital radio services such as SiriusXM to pay royalties on pre-1972 sound recordings. "Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of music made before 1972," the artists wrote. "Yet, because of an ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work. The 'CLASSICS Act' would correct this inequity and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who made those timeless songs finally get their due. We urge Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act and other pro-artist reforms quickly." As it stands, SiriusXM cites state laws in allowing them to pay less (and in some cases no) royalties to play songs recorded before 1972, and the CLASSICS Act would close that loophole and require a uniform digital royalty rate for all music. - Billboard, 12/20/17...... Phil CollinsPhil Collins has taken to Twitter to join the New Year's "start off your new right" campaign by uging people to play his 1981 hit "In the Air Tonight" exactly when 2018 arrives. Over the last few weeks, Twitter users have been sharing songs to played at certain times ahead of midnight, so that a certain climax of the track coincides with midnight on New Year's Eve. "If you play 'In The Air Tonight' by Phil Collins on December 31st at 11:56:40 the drum break will play right as the clock strikes midnight... Start off your new year right," Collins posted on Twitter. Earlier in 2017, Collins returned to live performing with his "The First Farewell Tour" with his son Nicholas in tow to help out on drum duties. - Nw Musical Express, 12/22/17...... In his first interview since the death of his Steely Dan bandmate Walter Becker since Becker passed away in September, Donald Fagen revealed that he had hoped to record another Steely Dan album, but Becker wasn't interested. Speaking with Rolling Stone on the magazine's Music Now podcast on Dec. 20, Fagen said that "Walter had some health problems, and especially after 2011-12, I think just being ill for so long, he had a little bit of a personality change and he was much more isolated, and he kinda wasn't that interested in working on Steely Dan records anymore." Since Becker's passing, Fagen has continued to tour with the rest of the live band under the name Steely Dan, but he noted he doesn't necessarily want to keep doing that. "I would actually prefer to call it Donald Fagen and the Steely Dan Band or something like that," Fagen said before explaining that promoters have insisted that he call it Steely Dan for commercial reasons. "That's an ongoing debate. To me, Steely Dan was just me and Walter, really -- it was like a concept we had together." -, 12/20/17...... On Dec. 19 a judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by an Australian choreographer who alleged Michael Jackson molested him as a child, resolving one of the last major claims against the late singer's holdings. Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff's summary judgment ruling against the now-35-year-old Wade Robson found that the two Jackson-owned corporations, which were the remaining defendants in the case, were not liable for Robson's exposure to Jackson. He did not rule on the credibility of Robson's allegations themselves. Robson's attorney, Vince Finaldi, said he strongly disagrees, that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent, and he plans to appeal. Robson, who has also worked with Britney Spears and 'NSYNC, says he met Jackson when he was 5 years-old. Robson testified in Jackson's defense at the singer's 2005 criminal trial, saying he had spent the night at Jackson's Neverland Ranch more than 20 times and usually slept in Jackson's room, but Jackson never molested him. Jackson was acquitted in that trial. However in 2013 -- four years after the death of Jackson -- he sued the Jackson estate for what his attorneys described as molestation that spanned a seven-year period. A court ruled in 2015 that Robson had filed his lawsuit too late to get any of Jackson's estate. That left two remaining defendants, both corporate entities owned by Jackson in his lifetime: MJJ Productions, Inc., and MJJ Ventures, Inc. The judge ruled that those two corporate defendants could not be held responsible for Robson's exposure to Jackson, the way a school or the Boy Scouts can be found liable for bringing together an abusive adult and a child victim. - AP, 12/20/17...... Bob MarleyThe Bob Marley and The Wailers greatest hits collection Legend: The Best of has reached a landmark on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums Chart -- with 500 consecutive weeks on the chart it is now second only to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, which has racked up 934 weeks, for longevity on the chart. Originally released in 1984, the Marley LP originally reached No. 54 on the Hot 200 and has sold 12.3 million copies in the US since 1991, when Nielsen Music started tracking sales. It is certified as selling 15 million, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, a total that accounts for sales before 1991. Meanwhile, Barbra Streisand's latest live album The Music & The Mem'ries & The Magic! has debuted on the Hot 200 at No. 69. Streisand has charted a total of eight live sets on the Hot 200, stretching back to A Happening in Central Park in 1968, which peaked at No. 30. - Billboard, 12/21/17...... Officials for late Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner have announced that his estate will be selling off his stake in the publishing empire. A court petition from an estate trustee seeking to determine how much Hefner's 33.8% share is worth ahead of a planned sale has been granted, and the assets will be split between the late publisher's heirs. "Hef was an American original," attorney Adam Streisand says. "He left Playboy in great hands, but with Hef gone, it's time for us to close that chapter and focus the future on Hef's charitable vision." -, 12/22/17...... A fifth woman has accused former That '70s Show cast member Danny Masterson of rape after the Los Angeles Police Department launched an investigation when four women accused him of rape -- allegations which he denied -- Dec. 20. "I stayed quiet long enough. Danny Masterson repeatedly raped me," she wrote. "All I seek is justice and to prevent this from ever happening to anyone else as it has for some time. My truth will be heard. I applaud her strength as well." Masterson was written out of his role on his current TV series, The Ranch, after the accusations surfaced, although he will appear in the episodes released on Netflix last week. When his dismissal was announced earlier in December, he said, "From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused." -, 12/21/17...... Donna SummerA Donna Summer bio-musical tracing the life and career of the disco singing legend will hit Broadway in the spring, it was announced by producer Tommy Mottola on Dec. 19. "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical" will begin previews on at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Mar. 28, ahead of the Apr. 23 opening. Directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, who teamed on one of Broadway's biggest recent jukebox hits, the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons bio-musical "Jersey Boys," "Summer" drew mixed critical response in its world-premiere developmental production at La Jolla. Reviewing the show in The Hollywood Reporter, critic Deborah Wilker wrote: "While this version isn't quite Broadway-ready, it has all the potential. I feel love," citing the title of one of Summer's biggest hits. "I Feel Love," along with other massive Summer hits such as "Bad Girls," "MacArthur Park," "No More Tears," "Dim All the Lights," "Hot Stuff" and "I Love You," are featured in the show. "Summer" is part of a wave of recent bio-musicals which in addition to "Jersey Boys" include "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical"; others set to premiere in the months ahead include musicals devoted to Cher, Tina Turner, The Bee Gees and The Temptations. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/19/17...... Acclaimed saxophone player and veteran session musician Ralph Carney, who worked with such artists as Tom Waits, The B-52's, Elvis Costello and the Black Keys, died on Dec. 17 as a result of head injuries sustained after falling a flight of stairs at his home in Portland, Ore. He was 61. A collector of unusual instruments and virtuoso saxophone and clarinet player, Carney recorded a wide variety of solo and band projects over his 40+ year career, garnering acclaim for his work. Most recently, he contributed the title track to the Netflix animated show BoJack Horseman recorded with nephew Patrick, who is the drummer with the Black Keys. Ralph, a native of Akron, Oh., was reportedly surrounded by friends and family at the time of his death. "I hope everybody is lucky enough to have someone as special as Ralph in their lives at some point. He taught me so much," Patrick Carney tweeted in remembrance of his uncle. - Billboard, 12/18/17...... Actress and voice-over artist Heather North, best known as the voice of Daphne in the Scooby Doo, Where Are You! hit Saturday morning series, died on Nov. 30 at her home in Studio City, Calif., after a long illness. She was 71. A native of Pasadena, North also starred as Kurt Russell's love interest in Disney's The Barefoot Executive (1971), about a chimpanzee who can predict which TV shows will be a success on the air. She was first heard as Daphne in Sept. 1970 on the second-season opener of Scooby Doo. She then returned for The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972-73 and in many other incarnations of the cartoon through 2003. North also appeared on such TV shows as Mr. Novak, Gidget, The Fugitive, The Monkees, My Three Sons and Adam-12; on the big screen in Git! (1965) and I Love My Wife (1970); and on Broadway in the short-lived 1967 comedy "The Girl in the Freudian Slip." - Billboard, 12/20/17.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons was sued in Los Angeles Superior Court on Dec. 15 by a woman identified as "Jane Doe" who claims the musician groped her and made "unwanted, unwarranted sexual advances" during a Nov. 1 interview. The radio/TV broadcaster, according to the lawsuit, was interviewing Simmons and his Kiss bandmate Paul Stanley at their Rock & Brews restaurant at San Manuel Casino in Highland, Calif., when the 68-year-old Simmons repeatedly grabbed her hand and "forcefully placed it on his knee and held it on his knee." It also alleges that Simmons "forcibly flicked/struck" her throat, later providing an "incoherent explanation" for his behavior. "Defendant Simmons turned standard interview questions into sexual innuendos, which made plaintiff Doe extremely uncomfortable," the suit reads. The suit also claims the defendant "reached toward Plaintiff Doe's buttocks and touched it" as the pair were posing for a promotional photograph together after the interview. Her lawyer, Willie W. Williams, told a local paper that his client is "embarrassed and humiliated by the incident" and that "she filed suit because she wanted to make a strong statement that this behavior is unacceptable and she wants to see an end to this type of behavior." On Dec. 18, Simmons tweeted that he "vigorously" denies the woman's allegations. "For the record, I did not assault the person making these accusations in the manner alleged in the complaint or harm her in any way," he posted. - Billboard, 12/18/17...... Elton JohnThe Recording Academy, the organization that sponsors the Grammy Awards, announced on Dec. 15 that an all-star tribute to five-time Grammy winner Elton John will be taped at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, two days after the 60th annual Grammy Awards. "Sir Elton John is an international music legend who has captivated audiences across generations for more than five decades," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, in a statement. "His creativity, dynamic presence, and melodic virtuosity have positioned him as a cultural icon, and the Recording Academy is pleased to honor his immeasurable contributions to the music community." Elton John: I'm Still Standing - A Grammy Salute will be broadcast later in 2018 on CBS, with scheduled performers to include such top contemporary acts as Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Little Big Town, Chris Martin, Maren Morris, Sam Smith and Keith Urban. Elton will also be performing during his tribute, however it is not confirmed if he will be playing at the Grammys two night earlier. Previous Grammy tributes have been bestowed on such music icons as Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Bee Gees. - Billboard, 12/15/17...... Rob HalfordAfter Judas Priest had been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 but did not make the final cut, frontman Rob Halford told a Phoenix, Ariz., radio station on Dec. 15 that he would have "loved" to have been picked and thought his band "deserve it." "We've put our 10,000 hours in and more," Halford said. "Beyond that, we just feel that heavy metal music deserves more space on shelves at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." "We were thrilled and honored to be even nominated," Halford added, "so it's kind of bittersweet. We got the nomination, which is something of a recognition for the work that you've done, but we didn't quite get in this time, but I'm hopeful that eventually we'll get some more metal." The DJ team who conducted the interview with Halford, Mark & NeanderPaul, also shared the Rock Hall's rejection letter to Halford on Twitter. "Thank you for embracing your nomination for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," the letter reads. "While you didn't garner enough votes for induction this year, you were part of a very select group of Hall of Fame nominees. Artists are frequently on the ballot multiple times before they are inducted. For example, Black Sabbath were nominated eight times before their induction, Patti Smith seven times, Solomon Burke nine times, and both the Beastie Boys and The Yardbirds were on the ballot three times before their respective inductions." The letter also invited Halford and his bandmates to "visit our museum in Cleveland, Ohio... if you are touring or simply traveling nearby." - NME, 12/15/17...... A Beatles box set signed and gifted by Paul McCartney was auctioned off on Dec. 13, with proceeds going to benefit the victims of the devastating terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK, in May. McCartney donated a special Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band six-disc Super Deluxe (50th Anniversary Edition) box set, which sold at Bonham's in London for £2,700. Bonhams also waived their commission fee in order to donate the buyer's premium. bringing the total to £3,375. The parents of Eilidh MacLeod, who was killed in the attack, said they are "extremely grateful for Sir Paul's kind gesture. People's generosity has helped us greatly in the aftermath of our loss and we can't thank them enough." - New Musical Express, 12/14/17...... In other Beatles-related news, original Fab Four drummer Pete Best will make his acting debut in "Lennon's Banjo," a play taken from the novel Julia's Banjo by Rob Fennah and Helen A. Jones, which has its roots in Beatles history because a banjo was the first instrument Lennon learned to play. The book is set in present-day Liverpool and tells the fictional tale of a rediscovered lost letter written by John Lennon that is thought to give a clue to that instrument's whereabouts, which these days, of course, would make it a much desired piece of Beatles memorabilia. In the book, the search for the instrument takes the reader to many of the Beatles' old haunts. It's during that search that Best appears in the book. The play will run from April 24 to May 5. Best will play himself in three performances, two on April 25 and the other on May 5, the show's closing night. Best says he was able to do only the three dates because of prior commitments. - Billboard, 12/14/17...... Michael JacksonSony Music announced on Dec. 14 that it is extending its partnership with the Michael Jackson estate to "find new innovative ways to make Michael's music available to future generations of fans." Even in a time of declining sales, the songs of Jackson, who died June 25, 2009, still generates over a million track downloads a year for the last three years running, while his album catalog still moves over 500,000 units annually. In 2017, Jackson's music has been played 1.05 billion times, of which 443 million were audio streams and 608 million were video streams. The signing not only continues a nearly 40-year relationship since Jackson released his Epic debut, Off the Wall in 1979, but also extends the landmark deal signed with the estate after the singer's death in 2010 that provided for the estate to reach up to $250 million in advances and other payments for about 10 recordings. Since then, four albums have been released -- Michael, Immortal, Escape and Scream -- which combined have scanned 1.29 million units; this is on top of the 1.8 million units that 2009's final Jackson concert documentary This Is It has generated since its release. As part of the deal, Sony will partner on additional projects that the estate may produce during the term of the agreement. - Billboard, 12/14/17...... Concert promoter Jack Boyle, one of the founders of the modern concert industry business model, passed away on Dec. 16 after a long illness. He was 83. Mr. Boyle, who promoted massive tours by the likes of Madonna, U2, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, The Who, Pearl Jam and hundreds of others, turned his popular Washington, D.C., nightclub business into one of the most powerful concert promotion companies in the US. After becoming one of the most important names in live music throughout the 1970s and '80s, his Cellar Door Concerts became a prized acquisition in the 1990s of then-growing SFX, which was buying and consolidating the biggest regional promoters at the time, paving the way for the eventual creation of national concert powerhouse Live Nation. In the age before corporate financing, Mr. Boyle was known for spotting rising bands and artists early -- and betting his own money on their success. Mr. Boyle ran Cellar Door from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was based for more than three decades. He also owned several prominent South Florida restaurants and clubs. - Billboard, 12/16/17...... Celebrated Hollywood animator Bob Givens, known for drawing the first official design for Bugs Bunny, has died at age 99. After working on the 1937 animated filmed Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at Walt Disney Studios, Mr. Givens joined Warner Bros to work alongside cartoon pioneers Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. In 1940, Avery asked Mr. Givens to look over the designs of a new rabbit character, which had so far proved "too cute." It was then that Mr. Givens created the original, official design for the character that was named Bugs Bunny, the lead character of the Looney Tunes franchise. Mr. Givens also worked as a layout artist on the TV series Popeye the Sailor in 1960 and the layout unit supervisor for Alvin and the Chipmunks during the 1980s. -, 12/16/17.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its class of 2018 inductees on Dec. 13, with The Moody Blues, The Cars, Dire Straits, Bon Jovi and soul singer/activist Nina Simone making the cut. Late gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe will also be inducted into the HOF's early influences wing. Nominated acts that were passed over by the Rock Hall this year include Rage Against the Machine, Eurythmics, Radiohead, Judas Priest, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, J. Geils Band, LL Cool J, MC5, The Meters, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Link Wray and The Zombies. "On Friday, I couldn't really have cared less, but on Saturday the whole world looked different," Moody Blues singer/guitarist Justin Hayward, who had for years dismissed the Rock Hall and the Moodys notable exclusion from it, said. "My reaction was, 'Wow!' It's outstanding, really... I'm incredibly grateful to them for including us and it's an absolute privilege to be celebrated in the same building, on the same street, in the same town, even, as Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers." To be eligible for nomination, a band or artist had to have released their first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to their year of induction, which means 2018 nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992. Ballots for this year's nominations were sent to an international voting body of more than 900 artists, historians and music industry members who weighed factors including musical influence on other artists, and length and depth of career and body of work, including "innovation and superiority in style and technique." The 33rd annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated to take place on Apr. 14 at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio, with inductors to be announced at a later date; the ceremony will be broadcast on HBO as well as SiriusXM. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/13/17...... David ByrneFormer Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has announced a a small number of East Coast tour dates for early 2018 that he says will be his "most ambitious" since the Talking Heads shows filmed by director Jonathan Demme for the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense. Byrne's 6-city US tour will kick off on Mar. 3 in Red Bank, NJ, also visiting Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (3/4), Buffalo, NY (3/6), Hershey, Pa. (3/7), Waterbury, Conn. (3/9) and Kingston, NY (3/10). Later in March, he'll travel to South America for shows in Santiago, Chile (3/16) and Buenos Aires (3/18), then hit Europe for shows in Zagreb, Croatia (6/25) and Roskilde, Denmark (7/6). -, 12/13/17...... The producers of the new The Temptations musical "Ain't Too Proud -- The Life and Times of The Temptations" announced on Dec. 13 that the show will play a five-week "pre-Broadway engagement" run in the summer of 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Set against the backdrop of the civil unrest dividing America, the musical charts the rise of the Motown male-vocal group from the streets of Detroit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, achieving crossover success in the 1960s and '70s with such hits as "My Girl," "Just My Imagination" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." The musical, which recently had its world premiere run at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, will play in Washington, D.C., from June 19 to July 22 in the Eisenhower Theater, with casting to be announced. It is directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, who previously collaborated on the long-running Broadway smash "Jersey Boys." - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/13/17...... A new documentary of David Bowie's final years called David Bowie: The Last Five Years will make its television premiere on cable channel HBO on Jan. 8, what would have been the rock legend's 71st birthday. In a promotional trailer released ahead of the premiere, Bowie delves into his creative thought process. "Always go a little further into the water than you feel you're capable of being in and when you don't feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you're just about in the right place to do something exciting," he says. David Bowie: The Last Five Years premiered at DOC NYC in November and includes interviews with his longtime producer and friend, Tony Visconti, as well as band mates Earl Slick, Gail Ann Dorsey, Carlos Alomar and more. The project is directed by Francis Whately, who also helmed the 2013 Bowie doc David Bowie: Five Years which covered Bowie's career from 1970 to 1975. - Billboard, 12/12/17...... Tina TurnerA new Tina Turner autobiography entitled My Love Story that covers such subjects in the rock/soul icon's life from "finding love" to surviving a "life-threatening illness" is expected to be released in the fall of 2018 by Atria Books. It will be the sequel to Turner's 1986 best-selling memoir I, Tina, which morphed into the classic 1993 biopic What's Love Got to Do With It. My Love Story, co-written by Turner and her collaborators Deborah Davis and Dominik Wichmann, will coincide with Turner's 60th anniversary as a working musician. - Billboard, 12/12/17...... The Grateful Dead alumns Phil Lesh and Bob Weir announced on Dec. 11 they'll embark on a three-city, six show tour on Mar. 2 and 3 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The pair's first-ever tour as a duo, the run will also visit Boston's Wang Theater on Mar. 7 and 8, and then Chicago Theatre on Mar. 10 and 11. "We're going to play everything we can think of," Lesh says. "We're going to do his stuff, we're going to do my stuff, we're going to play Jerry [Garcia]'s stuff, we'll do Grateful Dead stuff and we'll do covers. We're going to try and play everything we've ever played together and maybe some new stuff too." "I think Bobby and Phil performing together for the first time as a duo will elevate people's spirits," says tour producer and GD magazine Relix publisher Peter Shapiro. "And we can probably use some of that right now." - Billboard, 12/11/17...... Collectible model trains owned by singer/songwriter and model train enthusiast Neil Young recently sold for almost $300,000 at an auction conducted by Julien's in Los Angeles. Young himself was present at the auction to help sell off some of the rarest pieces in his collection, like a "custom-painted Commodore Vanderbilt 4-6-4 locomotive," which sold for $10,000. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Bridge School in California, which was co-founded by Young and his ex-wife Pegi Young as a school for children with disabilities. Young started collecting model trains in the '90s as a way of bonding with his son Ben, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 1978. -, 12/11/17...... Paul McCartney played his first dates in Australia in 24 years beginning on Dec. 11 with a show in Sydney before 40,000 enthusiastic fans. The following evening, he played Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium -- his first solo date in the city -- and was in a chatty mood as he shared stories behind so many of his indelible solo and Beatles hits and his Beatles bandmates who are no longer with us. Opening with "A Hard Day's Night," the hits kept coming ("All My Loving," "Lady Madonna," "Eleanor Rigby," "A Day In The Life," "Band On The Run" (and much more), and tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison flowed. As the set proper came to its conclusion, McCartney held aloft the flag of Australia alongside crew members waving the Australian Aboriginal Flag, the Union Flag, and a rainbow flag, coming less than a week after Australia's Federal Parliament passed an historic law to legalize same-sex marriage. The 75-year-old rock legend encored with a mini-set of "Yesterday," "Get Back," "Mull of Kintyre," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Helter Skelter," "Golden Slumbers" and "The End." - Billboard, 12/11/17...... Steven TylerAerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has teamed up with Youth Villages' Inner Harbour campus in Douglasville, Ga., for a new women's shelter named "Janie's House," after the hit 1989 Aerosmith single "Janie's Got a Gun." The song's theme centers around child abuse and incest, and it reportedly took Tyler nine months to finish writing the lyrics. Tyler was on hand at the facility on Dec. 6 for a "scarf-cutting" for the new shelter. "While I was in (rehab), I found out most of women in there were battered and beaten and abused verbally and sexually in huge numbers," Tyler told CNN. "It was like seven out of 10, eight out of 10." "I'm hoping that [the abused girls] get some tools, some advice, some ways to work stuff out, some words of wisdom that they can then live by," he added. - New Musical Express, 12/10/17...... British singer and ex-model Samantha Fox has accused late The Partridge Family singer David Cassidy of being a "first class creep" who groped her and tried to put his hand up her skirt when she was 19. In an interview with the British tabloid The Daily Star, Fox claims Cassidy, who died on Nov. 21 from liver failure, followed her into a public bathroom in May 1985 where he groped her. "When he grabbed me and pushed his tongue down my throat, I just kneed him in the b"s," the model-turned singer said. Fox, 51, claims she'd originally agreed previously to appear topless in a music video at Cassidy's bequest for his single "Romance," but became disgusted when she realized he had an erection. "David seemed to be deliberately drawing out the photoshoot, which took an eternity, and he had an erection the entire time -- something he did absolutely nothing to hide," said Fox. Uncomfortable, she still agreed to accompany him to dinner later that evening, but had her father come along. "Growing up, I had a big poster of David Cassidy on my wall, and I used to kiss him every night before going to bed," Fox lamented. - The New York Post, 12/11/17...... A video for a new single by Gregg Allman, "Song for Adam," was released on Dec. 8, what would have been the late Southern rocker's 70th birthday. The ballad, written and originally released in 1972 by Allman's friend Jackson Browne, is about a man discovering that his friend committed suicide, and the beautifully-shot video has an warm-toned nostalgic feel. It was inspired by Browne's friend Adam Saylor, who died the following year after jumping from a hotel in Mumbai. Allman's version of "Song for Adam" is included in his posthumous 2017 album, Southern Blood. - Billboard, 12/8/17...... Saturday Night FeverThe storied house in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, that served as the home of fictional working-class heartthrob Tony Manero, played by John Travolta, in the 1977 classic movie Saturday Night Fever has been put up for sale. The house at 221 79th St. in Bay Ridge has a whopping asking price of almost $2.5 million. While mostly the exterior of the home, built in the 1920s, was granted screen-time in the film, its interior -- renovated in 2005 to include cherry wood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances -- also made a few cameos in the film, and is often credited with putting the Brooklyn areas of Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst on the map. The film, filmed largely in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. In it, Travolta's character works as a paint store clerk in Brooklyn, while also living for the weekends when he and his friends can go to the local disco and dance the night away. -, 12/6/17...... Pat DiNizio, frontman of the 1980s power pop band The Smithereens, died on Dec. 12 at age 62 of as yet undisclosed causes, although he had been affected by health problems in recent years. In 2015, DiNizio lost the use of his right hand and arm following a pair of falls which caused serious nerve damage. DiNizio fronted the New Jersey-based The Smithereens from their inception in 1980, acting as the lead singer and principal songwriter. The four-piece band earned a cult following from their 1986 debut album Especially For You, which included the breakthrough radio track "Blood and Roses," and later scored with such hits as "A Girl Like You." The Smithereens took time away after the release of their 1999 album God Save The Smithereens before regrouping to record once again in 2007. The Smithereens were still an active touring band, and had been due to play live shows in January. DiNizio also released four solo albums, the last being 2009's Buddy Holly, and unsuccessfully ran for a New Jersey Senate seat back in 2000. - New Musical Express, 12/13/17..... Country music guitarist Leon Rhodes, known for his work with Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours, died on Dec. 9 at his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 85. At 16, Mr. Rhodes snagged a job as a musician on The Big D Jamboree, a country music program on Dallas radio station KRLD-AM. A few years later, Ernest Tubb hired him to be the lead guitarist in the Troubadours, who he played with for seven years. He later worked as a session musician and spent more than 20 years as part of the band on the variety television program Hee Haw. "Your picking will be remembered and respected by those of us who admired you," Southern rock great Charlie Daniels tweeted in remembrance on Dec. 11. - Billboard, 12/11/17.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Eagles' recently released remastered and expanded edition of their classic late 1976 LP Hotel California has entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at No. 44 after its release on Nov. 24. The 40th anniversary Hotel California 2-CD/1 Blu-ray Audio set was driven mostly by traditional album sales, selling 12,000 units. The original album spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 200 chart in 1977, and a total of seven months in the top 40 and scored three top 40 singles, the No. 1's "New Kid in Town" and "Hotel California," along with the No. 11 "Life in the Fast Lane." - Billboard, 12/8/17...... Alice CooperNBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt announced on Dec. 8 that Alice Cooper will be portraying the flamboyant King Herod in the network's upcoming staged rock musical of "Jesus Christ Superstar Live!" "Alice Cooper, whose theatricality is the stuff of legend, is the perfect rock star to play Herod in our live production," Greenblatt said in a statement. "Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote a showstopping musical number for Herod, and we all look forward to the 'King of Shock Rock' taking on the King of Judea," he added. "As the casting for Superstar ramps up, we can feel the excitement building for this brand new concert experience of what has long been considered the original rock musical." Cooper has previously been involved with the famous musical, having recorded "King Herod's Song" at the request of Webber and Rice for the 2000 release of a cast album from the 1996 production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" in the U.K. Directed by five-time Tony Award nominee British director David Leveaux, Jesus Christ Superstar Live!" is being produced by Universal Television and is set to air on NBC on Easter Sunday, Apr. 1. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/8/17...... The Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead & Company has signed with the talent agency WME for exclusive representation in all areas, including music, film, television, books and endorsements. Dead & Company began touring in the fall of 2015 with two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York and have embarked on three record-breaking U.S. tours, with its 2017 summer tour drawing nearly 500,000 fans for 20 concerts. The band features Grateful Dead alums Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir, along with artist and musician John Mayer, Allman Brothers' bassist Oteil Burbridge and Fare Thee Well and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. - Billboard, 12/7/17...... Sir Elton John is mourning the loss of his beloved mother, Sheila Farebrother, who passed away on Dec. 4 at age 92. "So sad to say that my mother passed away this morning," the 70-year-old pop icon wrote on both Instagram and Twitter, captioning a photo in which he and his mother are beaming. "I only saw her last Monday and I am in shock. Travel safe Mum. Thank you for everything. I will miss you so much. Love, Elton." John paid tribute to his late mom during a concert at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, the following evening, dedicating "Your Song" to her at the gig while describing the tune's origin. "Yesterday was a sad and hard day for me because my mother passed away... I'm glad to say she passed away peacefully, with no pain," Elton told the audience. "But maybe sooner than she should have done, so I was quite shocked. And I was thinking how I could pay tribute to her tonight, and what song I should choose." John then explained that he wrote "Your Song" at his mother's house and added, "I can remember every single minute of writing this song with Bernie [Taupin]. So this is the song I want to dedicate to her. And it's taken me from nowhere to somewhere. So thank you, mum." - Billboard, 12/7/17...... Jimi HendrixA 13-track Jimi Hendrix album featuring 10 unreleased songs by the rock guitar legend will be released on Mar. 9, Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings announced on Dec. 6. Both Sides of the Sky Many of the album's tracks were recorded by the Hendrix power trio Band of Gypsys, which featured drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox. Stephen Stills also appears on two songs: "$20 Fine" and "Woodstock." "It sounds like Crosby, Stills & Nash except it's on acid, you know," says engineer Eddie Kramer. "Jimi is just rocking it," he added. "It's an amazing thing." Kramer also produced the album, alongside John McDermott and Janie Hendrix, the legend's sister and president of Experience Hendrix. Kramer says Both Sides of the Sky is the final installment of a Hendrix trilogy from his archive that began in 2010 with the release of Valleys of Neptune, followed by the 2013 release of People, Hell and Angels. - Associated Press, 12/7/17...... Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers posted on his blog that his prognosis is "100% recovery" after doctors discovered and removed a mysterious growth on his right kidney that was discovered while he was tourng with Earth, Wind & Fire in August. Rodgers was hospitalized after falling sick in Toronto with what turned out to be food poisoning, forcing him to miss a concert for the first time in his career. However his stint on the sidelines turned out to be a blessing in disguise. "Well...i t was cancer! In fact, it was two different cancers within one mass," Rodgers posted. Soon after, surgeons at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY removed the carcinogenic mass and Rodgers' prognosis is "100% recovery." Now the legendary producer, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and, after years of treatment, has finally gotten the all-clear. His recent projects include producing Daft Punk, publishing a memoir, and touring with Chic. - Billboard, 12/6/17...... A copy of the Beatles' 1962 debut single for their British label Parlophone, "Love Me Do," sold for $14,757 via the Discogs marketplace on Oct. 9, marking it the most expensive single ever sold on the vinyl-focused marketplace. It fell just $243 short of the all-time record set by a rare double 12" DJ version of Prince's Black Album, which sold for $15,000 in 2016. This "Love Me Do" is one of only 250 issued with Paul McCartney's name misspelled in the writing credit as "McArtney." - Billboard, 12/6/17...... Paul McCartneyIn other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney's incredibly rare and long-lost Christmas album, titled Unforgettable, has resurfaced over 60 years since it was first made. Macca made the album as a Christmas present in 1965 for his three Beatles bandmates, and while it features no new or original material from McCartney or the Beatles, it does feature Sir Paul introducing a playlist of tracks by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Elvis and Nat King Cole. In Mark Unterberger's book The Unreleased Beatles, McCartney is quoted as saying he "once put together something crazy, something left-field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening" on the same Brenell tape recorders that he made "experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in 'Tomorrow Never Knows.'" "It was just something for the mates, basically," he added. The three copies, plus McCartney's original, were reportedly the only ones to be made. Now, Unforgettable, which takes its title from the famous Nat King Cole song, has resurfaced on YouTube. - NME, 12/6/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, every Beatlemaniac's child as well as his parent will enjoy John Lennon - Imagine, a new children's book based on John Lennon's beloved 1971 classic anthem. Illustrated by Jean Jullien, the book includes a forward by Yoko Ono Lennon. - Entertainment Weekly, 12/8/17...... New from the Rolling Stones and Interscope Records is On Air, a collection of BBC recordings from 1963 to 1965 that captures the band's formative years, when they churned out rock & roll ditties with energetic ease. The 2-CD set's 28 tracks include 8 songs the band have never recorded or released commercially, were originally broadcast on bygone UK shows such as Saturday Club and Rhythm and Blues. - Entertainment Weekly, 12/8/17...... Film studio 21st Century Fox announced on Dec. 6 that director Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle) will be replacing Bryan Singer on the beleaguered Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody after Singer unexpectedly disappeared from the film's London set for a number of days and was ultimately fired from the project. The movie, starring Rami Malek as the Queen frontman, had been shooting in London but put on hold after Singer failed to show up on the set on Dec. 1. Singer issued a statement denying he had acted unprofessionally, and claimed Fox refused to allow him to tend to "a gravely ill parent" as well as to his own health. "I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honor the legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen," he said in a statement, "but Fox would not permit me to do so because I needed to temporarily put my health, and the health of my loved ones, first." - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/6/17...... Bob SegerBob Seger says his situation is "maddening" as he recovers from a surgery he had during October, which brought a premature end to his Runaway Train Tour after just 13 of its 33 announced dates. "It's my seventh week and I'm in a three-month recovery, which ends Jan. 22, so I'm about halfway through," Seger says. "The pain is down; I'd say it's one out of 10, but it's constant. It's nagging, and unfortunately I can't sing or play or lift anything more than five pounds, not over my head, until it's gone. So it's difficult to work out or anything. I can walk. That's about it. It's maddening." Seger added that his doctors told him it was "going to really hurt for about three months afterwards, but the payoff is (the surgery) didn't go anywhere near my larynx. They went in the back, so my voice is probably fine. So I think it's going to be OK, I really do. But, God, it's taking a long time..." Fortunately, Seger's health problems did not affect the release of his 18th studio album, I Knew You When, which came out Nov. 17 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Current Rock Albums chart, No. 2 on Top Rock Albums and No. 25 on the Billboard 200. Seger says he's "kinda looking at mid-March" to return to the stage. "(I'm) hoping I'll be up and OK by then, but I just don't know. But we've got to do these 20 (shows) that are outstanding. We have 200,000 tickets out there, so we have to honor that. Those people have been great; They've held on to their tickets all this time, so that's the first thing we've got to do, but I don't know when, exactly." - Billboard, 12/6/17...... Earth, Wind & Fire announced on Dec. 5 that they'll be playing a 6-show residency at the Venetian Theatre at the Venetian Las Vegas on May 2, 4, 5, 9, 11 and 12, 2018. The group also announed that for every ticket sold, EW&F will donate $1 to the Las Vegas Victims Fund. The charity, which has raised millions of dollars in the aftermath of the October Vegas sniper tragedy, works to provide support to the victims and their families. Tickets went on sale to the general public on Dec. 8. - Billboard, 12/5/17...... Neil Young returned to his tiny hometown of Omemee, Canada (pop. 1,300) on Dec. 1 for a live-streamed solo acoustic concert at Coronation Hall for about 180 invited guests. An estimated 2,000 more locals and visitors flooded into the "town in north Ontario," the one he sings about in 1970's "Helpless," 80 miles northeast of his real birthplace, Toronto. Young's childhood home is just a short walk from Coronation Hall. The "sleepy little place," as Young referred to it in his memoir Shakey, is located on the Trans-Canada Highway -- one of the longest routes in the world that cuts through all 10 Canadian provinces. About 50 people were let into the show last-minute, which was produced by Bell Media, in partnership with Young's Shakey Pictures, and directed by his girlfriend Daryl Hannah. The 90-minute performance was streamed on and, and was on Facebook outside of Canada. - Billboard, 12/4/17...... Patti SmithPatti Smith had some strong words for Pres. Donald Trump during her appearance at the annual "Chairman's Evening" literature discussion at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan on Dec. 4. The punk poetess told the audience that she "doesn't know how people are even able to contain themselves and contain their rage" toward the current administration in Washington. "I always felt, even if I didn't agree with whomever was our president, I felt that I could still walk tall wherever I want. I still was myself. But there's something about this current administration where I feel tainted as a human being," said Smith, who won a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. Also participating in the even was author Salmon Rushdie. - AP, 12/5/17...... French rock star Johnny Hallyday, known as the "French Elvis," died on Dec. 6 after a battle with cancer for several months. He was 74. Hallyday began his singing career at the end of the 1950s specializing in French-language cover versions of famous songs by artists like Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochrane and Elvis Presley -- whose example inspired him to become a singer. Hallyday sold over 110 million records during a music career that spanned over half a century. Hallyday also gave the Jimi Hendrix Experience their very first gig as his opening act at the Paris Olympia in Oct. 1966. A highlight of his career was the 2001 concert he gave at the Eiffel Tower that attracted an audience of more than 600,000. During his career he recorded over 1,000 songs, about a hundred of which he wrote himself. He also topped the French charts more than 30 times. He also became an accomplished film actor, appearing in such French films as Les Diaboliques, Where Are You From Johnny?, Detective and Family Business. He also appeared in The Pink Panther 2, with Steve Martin, in 2009. -, 12/6/17...... Bassist Robert "Pops" Popwell, who played with The Young Rascals and The Crusaders, has passed away at age 70. Born in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1946, Popwell started his career in the '60s and quickly got work in the jazz and R&B worlds. His other recording credits include Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, Al Jarreau and George Benson. He also toured with artists like Bette Midler and Olivia Newton-John, and appeared in the film Hard to Hold with Rick Springfield. - 11/30/17.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

After years of development, Neil Young introduced his new Neil Young Archives project on Dec. 1. The sprawling website allows visitors to stream for free (provided you give an email address) everything Young has recorded as a soloist and bandleader, as well as with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and includes listings regarding Young-related films and books, as well as unreleased albums and recordings such as Chrome Dreams, Homegrown, and Freedom Live. With a kitschy interface designed to look like a combination of an old stereo and a filing cabinet, the site (under ideal conditions) will allow you to stream in high quality audio provided by Young's proprietary Xstream streaming plugin. A good way to start: go to the "Timeline" section and scroll through the 50-year-plus run of Young's career, and click around the albums linked there. Young has also promised updates will be featured in the "NYA News" section of the site. Meanwhile, Young has also released his latest album, The Visitor, backed by the band Promise of the Real. - Billboard, 12/1/17...... Justin HaywardThe Moody Blues are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their seminal symphonic-rock LP Days of Future Passed with a live TV special they've taped for PBS, and are planning a Days of Future Passed North American tour to begin in Jan. 2018. "A couple of years ago, I was thinking how best to celebrate the 50th anniversary, when I was fortunate enough to meet an arranger and conductor named Elliott Davis from Toronto's World Festival Orchestra," Moody Blues founder Justin Hayward says, noting that original arranger Peter Knight had passed away in 1985. Hayward said he was seeking a classical conductor to help recreate the sound of the 1967 album, which blended orchestral arrangements with psychedelic rock sounds to create one of the first concept rock albums of the 1960s. "I could suddenly see a way where we could make it possible," Hayward explains. "I found someone capable of recreating those parts on stage because in the past, it was very frustrating trying to recreate the album live. We had one group with a sound in the studio and another group that created the live sound on stage. We could never get the two to gel and sound the same. And it's only in the last few years that that's been possible." The Decca Records-produced album, originally released in 1968 and peaking at No. 3, enjoyed a resurgence in 1972 after its track "Nights in White Satin" was released as a single and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. The album introduced a new generation of music fans to the power of stereophonic mixing and mastering. The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live is now airing on PBS as part of WNET Thirteen and New York Public Media's Great Performances series, and the concert can be streamed on the PBS website. The performance was taped July 7 at Toronto's Sony Centre with the band performing the entire LP live with narration from English actor Jeremy Irons. The Moodies will kick off their 2018 tour on Jan. 10 at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla., also hitting Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma before four shows at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on Jan. 26, 27, 30 and 31. The classic rockers have also been nominated for induction into the class of 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a first for the band. - Billboard, 11/30/17...... David CassidyThe late David Cassidy has bowed on Billboard's Social 50 Chart after the former The Partridge Family teen idol died of liver failure on Nov. 21 at age 67. Cassidy entered the chart after his Wikipedia page tallied 814,000 clicks in the week ending Nov. 23, a boost of 14,191%. The Social 50 is powered by data tracked by music analytics company Next Big Sound and ranks the most popular artists on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wikipedia and Tumblr. Meanwhile, Cassidy's Partridge Family co-star Danny Bonaduce has reacted to the death of Cassidy, saying the singer was "robbed" in his career: "He wanted to go on tour and be a real rock 'n' roll star. But the road he chose to go down after the show, it didn't go as far." Bonaduce added that he and Cassidy didn't become close friends until the 1990s, when Bonaduce was on the cover of the tabloids for alcohol and substance abuse. Bonaduce said after Cassidy invited him to go on tour with him and participated in interviews with local radio stations, "They offered me more money than I'd ever seen in my life: $75,000 a year... David told me the tour would give me a career, and it did." - Billboard, 11/30/17...... In related news, AC/DC has surged on the Billboard Rock Charts after the death of band co-founder Malcolm Young on Nov. 18 at age 64. AC/DC landed six entries on the Hot Rock Songs survey, with their song "Thunderstruck" bowing at No. 6 on the Hot Rock Songs chart. AC/DC's five other titles on Hot Rock Songs for the week ending Nov. 23 include "Back in Black," "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Highway to Hell," "T.N.T." and"Hells Bells." - Billboard, 11/29/17...... After '80s metal band Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider slammed the trend of "non-metal fans wearing vintage metal T's" on Twitter in October, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has a different point of view: "I'm honored that they do," Iommi says. "The more the merrier." Snider caused a stir on Twitter when he vented, "It's not just the wearing of our metal T's, it's their cherry picking of our style #skulls #metalhorns. These are OUR symbols; OUR image." Slayer guitarist Gary Holt went so far as to accuse pop sensation Beyoncé of "appropriation" for using his band's logo for "Slayonc" merchandise without permission on her Formation World Tour. Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Kanye West are just a few of the additional contemporary acts who in recent years have mined metal symbols and logos for merchandise. But Rob Halford of Judas Priest is in Iommi's corner: "That is the epitome of popularity, when you get a Kardashian wearing a metal shirt ... suddenly metal is on the front page of every newspaper and social platform." - Billboard, 12/1/17...... Bette MidlerTV journalist Geraldo Rivera has apologized to Bette Midler over an incident that took place in the 1970s where Midler says he groped her at her own house. After Rivera defended the beleaguered Today show host Matt Lauer on social media and then took back the remarks, on Nov. 30 Midler shared a video from a 1991 interview with Barbara Walters where she recalled her disturbing encounter with Rivera. "Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this," Midler posted with the clip. In the video, she detailed an incident where Rivera and his producer pushed her into her bathroom, broke two of the recreational drug poppers and pushed them under her nose and, she said, "proceeded to grope me." In two tweets Rivera also said that he regrets the "distasteful" and "disrespectful" tone of his 1991 memoir, Exposing Myself, wherein he describes the encounter: "We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point, I put my hands on her breasts." Rivera tweeted that "I'm embarrassed & profoundly sorry to those mentioned -- I have & again apologize to anyone offended." - Billboard, 12/1/17...... The long-awaited biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has been put on hold after its director, Brian Singer, failed to return to the set after the Thanksgiving holiday. Although a rep for Singer said the director's absence was due to "a personal health matter concerning Bryan and his family," it has been reported that Singer has previously clased with the cast and crew and has failed to turn up to the set once before. Singer, who is best known for directing the X Men franchise, chose actor Rami Malek to portray Mercury after Sacha Baron Cohen pulled out of the project in the summer of 2013, reportedly because he and Queen, who have script and director approval, were unable to agree on the type of movie they wanted to make. - New Musical Express, 12/2/17...... Two new documentaries of interest to '70s music fans will premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah: a Joan Jett biopic called Bad Reputation from director Kevin Kerslake, and Studio 54, a doc on the famed New York nightlife mecca. The Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 18 through Jan. 28. - Billboard, 11/30/17...... Bruce Springsteen has been spotted at the Freds Madison Avenue restaurant atop Barneys New York sipping wine now that he's spending a lot of time on Broadway for his new hit "Springsteen on Broadway" production. "He's friendly to fans," a source told the New York Post's Page Six. "He's nice to everyone." Springsteen has been seen sitting alone at the bar and enjoying a glass of wine with his lunch around 3 p.m. most days. Although he doesn't visit the restaurant every day, he reportedly "goes often." -, 11/29/17...... A fundraising campaign to build a music school honoring record producer Quincy Jones and to be located in a country of Jones' choosing has been started by the In a Perfect World (IAPW) organization. "We can reach children alone, but we can do so much more together. Just $30 sends a kid to school in Los Angeles with a backpack full of school supplies. And $22 sends a kid to school in a developing country for one year. How easy is that?," says IAPW founder Manuela Testolini. Jones was honored by IAPW at a gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles on Nov. 12. To donate, visit or or text "Give" to (310) 620-1515. - Billboard, 11/28/17...... Al JardineBeach Boys member Al Jardine will launch a "Postcard From California - From the Very First Song" tour on Jan. 23-24 at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, Minn. The name comes from Jardine's debut solo album, 2010's A Postcard From California. Featuring his son Matt Jardine, the tour will feature Al telling stories about the Beach Boys' music and singing, as well as Matt singing and playing alongside his dad. The tour will also hit the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, Minn., on Jan. 23 and 24, and then visit he Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 29 and 30. "Al's voice is still so incredibly strong, so this show will highlight that," says the show's producer, Keith Putney. "With Matt Jardine on board, the harmonies will shine as well." - Billboard, 11/28/17...... Britain's Channel 4 has commissioned a film documenting the most important moments of the final year of rock icon Prince, from his secret performance at the White House during the Barack Obama era, to his final tour, Piano & a Microphone. The new project will feature interviews with Prince's friends, including political commentator Van Jones, singer Eryn Allen Kane, and his former girlfriend Andy. Also, it will include such musicians as Cee Lo Green and George Clinton. It will be directed by Adrian Sibley, who worked on The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill. In related news, Prince's estate has just release dfirst official merchandise since his death. The "Hit N Run" merchandise line -- named after his surprise album releases -- includes t-shirts themed after iconic Prince albums such as Purple Rain, 1999, Parade and Controversy, as well as a hoodie and purple hat. - New Musical Express, 12/1/17...... For the 29th annual World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Elton John is continuing his commitment to raising awareness and funds for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic with the help of mobile messaging app Kwippit and 25 famous friends. Each day during December, a custom-made digital heart -- similar to an emoji -- will be released to subscribers of Kwippit's Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) channel to share on social media and text messages. One hundred percent of the proceeds from downloads ($.99 annual membership) directly benefits the non-profit's grant-making programs that focus on raising awareness, sharing preventative information, and offering medical care and treatment to all people living with HIV. "I am so grateful to all of the EJAF friends participating in this Kwippit project for sharing their creativity with us, supporting our work, remaining steadfast to the cause, and believing in our ideals," Sir Elton said in a statement. - Billboard, 12/1/17...... Jim NaborsBeloved comedic actor Jim Nabors, best known for starring on The Andy Griffith Show and later in his own spin-off series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., died at his home in Hawaii on Nov. 30. He was 87. A native of Alabama, Mr. Nabors also recorded more than two dozen albums with a rich, operatic baritone voice that surprised those who were used to hearing him exclaim "Gawwwleee!" with a Southern twang on television. For many years, Mr. Nabors also sang "Back Home Again in Indiana" during the opening ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500. Born James Thurston Nabors on June 12, 1930, in Sylacauga, Ala., Mr. Nabors sang in high school and acted in fraternity productions at the University of Alabama. After graduating with a degree in business administration, he moved to New York and worked as a typist and answered phones at the United Nations. In the early 1960s, Mr. Nabors was a regular performer at The Horn, a cabaret theater on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica that showcased new talent, when he was spotted by Andy Griffith, who thought Nabors would be perfect to play a new character on his CBS sitcom. That would be Gomer, a dim-witted, affable mechanic at Wally's filling station in Mayberry and a cousin of Goober (George Lindsey). Mr. Nabors was signed for just one episode, which aired midway through The Andy Griffith Show's third season in December 1962, but Gomer proved popular, and Mr. Nabors went on to appear in 23 installments of the series. Mr. Nabors' run on The Andy Griffith Show culminated with the fourth-season finale in which Gomer joins the U.S. Marines. With Pvt. Pyle being hounded by tough but caring drill sergeant Vince Carter (Frank Sutton), Gomer Pyle, USMC aired for five years (1964-69) on CBS and was a great success in the ratings -- always in the top 10 and No. 2 in its final season -- before the actor decided to pursue other activities, which included hosting his own variety show, The Jim Nabors Hour. It lasted two seasons and featured some of his Gomer Pyle co-stars. Mr. Nabors also had roles in such movies as The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Stroker Ace (1983) and Cannonball Run II (1984). Mr. Nabors, who underwent a liver transplant in 1994, starred regularly at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Dome in The Jim Nabors Polynesian Extravaganza, which in the 1980s was one of the state's top showbiz attractions. He lived in Hawaii for more than 30 years and had homes in Honolulu and Maui, where he had a macadamia nut farm. In Jan. 2013, Mr. Nabors exchanged wedding vows with Stan Cadwallader, his partner of almost four decades, before a judge in a Seattle hotel room. Mr. Nabors met Cadwallader, a former firefighter in Honolulu, in 1975. "In Mayberry, there was no illness. There was no war. There was no violence. There was no graffiti. We all had a good time, and we laughed a lot," he said in a 2000 interview. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/30/17.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

AC/DC co-founding guitarist Malcolm Young was laid to rest in Sydney, Australia on Nov. 28 in a private ceremony attended by family, including his younger brother and sole original remaining AC/DC member Angus Young, and former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd. Malcolm, 64, who died on Nov. 18 after a three-year battle with dementia, was also mourned by Australian concert promoter Michael Chugg and Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes during the service at St. Mary's Cathedral. Hundreds of fans lined the streets outside the cathedral, where eulogies were read by a family member and David Albert, a rep from AC/DC's longtime catalog management company. Following the service, the funeral procession left the church as the traditional Australian ballad "Waltzing Matilda" was played by a pipe band. - Billboard, 11/28/17...... Bruce SpringsteenThe Bruce Springsteen Broadway show "Springsteen on Broadway" has had its run extended through June 30. The show, which opened at The Walter Kerr Theater on Oct. 12, was extended from the originally announced end date of November to Feb. 28 before it had even begun. The New York Post reported shortly after the shows started that viewers were reduced to tears watching Springsteen perform. In other Springsteen-related news, The Boss' childhood home at 39 Institute St. in Freehold, N.J., has been put up for auction, with a starting bid of $269,900. The duplex, where the rock icon lived between the ages of 6 and 19, is featured on the front cover of his 2016 autobiography Born to Run and is the location where he saw the first television appearance by Elvis Presley when he was just 7, famously inspiring him to become a musician. The modest 736-square-foot house was built in 1905 and is listed on the real estate website - Musical Express, 11/27/17...... The family of late Steely Dan member Walter Becker has responded to a lawsuit recently filed by Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, whose lawyers claim that Becker's widow had demanded 50% ownership of Steely Dan, which violated an agreement that both Becker and Fagen had signed in 1972. In that agreement, they said that, if a member of the group quit or died, the remaining members would buy back all the shares of that member's stock of the band. Becker and Fagen were the last two remaining owners, which would then in turn make Fagen the last stockholder. Becker's estate lawyers are contending that agen's suit is "riddled with half-truths and omissions," and make a shocking claim that Fagen sent a demand letter to Becker's estate on the same day that Becker died (Sept. 3). "Since Walter's passing, we have endeavored to achieve a compromise with Mr. Fagen," the statement reads. "Mr. Fagen's third and current lawyer did not even attempt to contact us prior to filing a lawsuit. While we regret Mr. Fagen's latest actions, we will vigorously defend against his unwarranted and frivolous case," it continues. -, 11/27/17...... Eric ClaptonEric Clapton announced on Nov. 27 that he'll be returning to the UK's Hyde Park for a huge British Summer Time Festival gig in the summer of 2018. Slowhand will take the Great Oak stage on July 8, his first concert at the venue since 2008. "I have happy memories of performing in Hyde Park in the past," Clapton said in a statement. "I'm really looking forward to playing there again -- the whole atmosphere is very special." Opening for the 72-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will be his former Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood along with Carlos Santana and Gary Clark, Jr.. Clapton becomes the fourth confirmed headliner at British Summertime, which launched in 2013, joining an already announced line up of Roger Waters, Michael Buble and Bruno Mars. - New Musical Express, 11/27/17...... Three recently discovered microbe species that live in guts of termites have been named after the Canadian power trio Rush after scientists at the University Of British Columbia discovered the three new species. The microbes will be forever known as "P. leei," "P. lifesoni," and "P. pearti" after Rush's Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart ."A Spanish postdoc, Javier del Campo, asked me to recommend some good Canadian music, and I suggested he listen to Rush," University Of British Columbia microbiologist Patrick Keeling explained in a statement. Earlier in 2017, Rush also had a set of capybara triplets (a S. American mammal that resembles a giant guinea pig) named after them. -, 11/28/17...... Some fans who attended a recent Robert Plant concert at Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, UK are complaining of overcrowding that caused a "small number" of them to faint due to the heat inside the venue. "In the first 20 minutes I saw six or seven people being carried out of the hall after collapsing," audience member Scott Campbell said. "I go to a lot of concerts but I had never seen anything like it." Plant, who was born in nearby West Bromwich, played at the venue, which has a capacity of 3000, on Nov. 20. Campbell said that he tried and failed to get inside the venue's main hall, and ended up leaving the gig to go home. A spokesman for the City of Wolverhampton Council issued a statement saying, "While the Civic Hall meets the required health and safety standards, it is an 80-year-old building and improvements to the ventilation and heating system are part of the planned refurbishment scheme." - NME, 11/23/17...... Arlo GuthrieArlo Guthrie played his annual Thanksgiving concert at the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York on Nov. 25. Guthrie has played a total of 54 performances at Carnegie -- often with fellow good friend Pete Seeger -- and says he was "literally shaking" the first few times he played the historic venue. "I knew the history of that stage and it scared me. It took a few years to be able to breathe and sing at the same time. Now it feels like going home. We've done it so often and so many times that it's very enjoyable and something I look forward to doing every year," he said. Guthrie is currently in the midst of his Re:Generation Tour, which includes his son Abe Guthrie and daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie. "I've seen my kids mature as performers, which I love," Guthrie says. "Abe and Sara Lee in particular have become really good up there, which I love. And when we all get together it's family. It's fun. We don't have any divas in this family, so it makes it easy," he added. Guthrie says he's working on "nothing in particular" in regards to new music. "We've got so much in the catalog at this point, there's not enough time to do them," he notes. And while the current turbulent times may seem to call for new Guthrie songs, he says he feels the old ones will actually suffice. "We've already got some good songs about this stuff. This is obviously not the sunny day that we had imagined might be here at this point. It looks awful cold and cloudy... Despite everything I think the world is evolving, and the destiny I see is a lot brighter than what other people see sometimes. I don't know if I'll still be around when we finally get there, but I'm confident we will get there." - Billboard, 11/24/17...... John LennonDiaries written by John Lennon are among 100 items belonging to the late Beatle that were stolen from his widow Yoko Ono in 2006 and recently recovered by police in Berlin, Germany. Lennon's diaries are currently on display at Berlin police headquarters -- along with two pairs of his iconic round specs, a tape recording of a Beatles concert, sheet music and a cigarette case. The collection of items were stolen from Ono in 2006, and German media have reported that Ono has identified the goods from photos she was shown at the German consulate in New York. German police have arrested a 58-year-old man, while a second suspect -- who used to work for Ono -- is currently "unattainable," according to Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor's office. - New Musical Express, 11/22/17...... Former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert is claiming director Oliver Stone once sexually harassed her during an audition for Stone's 1991 The Doors biopic of the same name. On Nov. 20, Gilbert told Andy Cohen harassed her as "revenge" for embarrassing him in a social situation. "He wrote this special scene that he wanted me to do for him physically in the casting room, and it was humiliating and horrid," Gilbert said. "He got me back and it hurt." Stone responded to the accusation the following day, saying all actors who auditioned were told the experience would be extreme. "It was made clear from the outset that our film was going to be a raunchy, no-holds-barred rock 'n' roll movie," Stone said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "Anyone auditioning was told the scenes would be rehearsed and performed from a script, with my casting director, Risa Bramon Garcia, present throughout the process to ensure a safe environment for all actors who auditioned," he added. - Billboard, 11/21/17...... Even superfans of Pink Floyd will learn something new with author Jean-Michel Guesdon's new book Pink Floyd All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. The book details the origins of nearly 200 songs, features almost 500 photos, and reveals behind-the-scenes stories. - Entertainment Weekly, 11/25/17...... Rick_NielsenIt's tough for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers like Cheap Trick to do wrong, and they deck their first ever Christmas LP, Christmas, Christmas, with plenty of personality. Part of the appeal is their unique slate of songs: They've got three originals ("Merry Christmas Darlings" is the best) along with covers of holiday deep cuts by Harry Nilsson and glam rockers Wizzard. The energy's so high, you'll want to save this one for after the eggnog and rum. - Entertainment Weekly, 11/25/17...... A documentary about the life and work of Mister Rogers host Fred Rogers has been given a June 8, 2018, release date after Focus Features has acquired the worldwide rights to the movie, called Won't You Be My Neighbor? Directed by Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), the film is described as an "intimate portrait of Rogers, a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination." Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, one of the longest running series on PBS wrapped production in 2000 after 31 seasons, but PBS continuously ran reruns of the series through Aug. 2008. Fred Rogers died in 2003 at age 74 from stomach cancer. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/27/17...... American soul singer Wayne Cochran, known for his outlandish outfits and white pompadour hairstyle and sometimes referred to as "The White Knight of Soul," died in Miramar, Florida, on Nov. 21 at age 78. The blue-eyed crooner was best known for his signature song "Last Kiss," which he performed with the C.C. Riders. Launching his career in the 1950s, Cochran blended rockabilly and country sounds and by 21 penned the song that would become his lasting legacy: "Last Kiss." He released the tragic story song about a doomed love affair, a car crash and a final wish from a dying lover in 1961, but it was a pair of covers, by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in 1964 and Pearl Jam in 1998, that made the track famous years later. Cochran recorded his final album, Cochran, for Epic Records in 1972, then toured and made television appearances. He retired from music to become an evangelist minister in Miami, Fla. - Billboard, 11/27/17.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The widow of a lawyer who represented the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sonny and Cher, and other classic rock musicians is auctioning off several rare items of memorabilia through a Reno, Nev., art gallery and auction house from Nov. 22 through Dec. 9. Hal and Jesse Kant's memorabilia collection includes signed artwork by Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia, and backstage passes from concerts spanning 30 years. Some of the more than 100 items, which also include a colorful set of banners used as the backdrops for 88 GD concerts around the world and a poster from a Lake Tahoe show in 1968, could go for as much as $100,000 in the online auction conducted by Stremmel Auctions. - AP, 11/19/17...... The Eagles announced on Nov. 21 that they'll kick off a 12-city 2018 tour on Mar. 14 in Chicago, with a rotating group of high-profile opening acts including Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor and Chris Stapleton joining the tour for stadium dates later. In addition to the "Evening with the Eagles" arena concerts in Chicago, Nashville (3/23), Vancouver (5/10), Toronto (7/15) and Boston (7/20) with no opener on the bill, the Eagles will be supported by Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band in Orlando, Fla. (4/14), Miami (4/21), Denver (6/28) and Minneapolis (6/30). James Taylor and his All-Star Band will open for the band in Washington, D.C., on July 26, and in Philadelphia on July 28. Chris Stapleton will be the opener at the Eagles' show in Arlington, Tex. on June 23. The Eagles' 2014 "History of the Eagles Tour," which was deemed their final-ever outing, sold out Madison Square Garden five times and broke several U.S. box office records. - Billboard, 11/21/17...... Donald FagenSurviving Steely Dan member Donald Fagen has filed a lawsuit against the estate of his recently deceased bandmate Walter Becker in an effort to keep the band's name and music alive. At the center of the lawsuit is a 1972 Buy/Sell Agreement signed by the original bandmembers when Steely Dan was incorporated. According to the complaint, which was filed on Nov. 21 in L.A. County Superior Court, the contract provides that whenever a member of the group quits or dies Steely Dan purchases all of that members shares in the group. "By the 2010s, Fagen and Becker were the only remaining shareholders and signatories to the Buy/Sell Agreement," the lawsuit states. Four days after Becker's death, on Sept. 7, 2017, the Becker Defendants sent Fagen a letter stating that 'We wanted to put you on notice that the Buy/Sell Agreement dated as of Oct. 31, 1972 is of no force or effect.'" The letter also sought to appoint Becker's widow as an officer of Steely Dan and demanded 50% ownership, according to the complaint. Fagen also says the Becker defendants currently operate the band's website and refuse to relinquish or share control of it. Fagen is also suing the group's business management firm, Nigro, Karlin, Segal, Feldstein & Bolno in an effort to obtain an accounting, claiming the firm has been withholding records. Fagen is seeking upwards of $1 million in damages and is asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the "Buy/Sell" provision is valid and enforceable, and that he is the sole owner of the Steely Dan name and all rights associated with it. Fagen's lawyer, Skip Miller, says the lawsuit is "about a contract, the enforcement of that contract and the continuity of Steely Dan... We think the contract is very clear on its face and we hope this lawsuit is resolved expeditiously." - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/21/17...... Stevie Wonder has announced the lineup for his 2017 House Full of Toys Benefit Concert at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 10. Joining Wonder in this year's 21st edition of the charity benefit is "Rise Up" singer Andra Day along with Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews, Savion Glover and Tony Bennett. Even though House Full of Toys will be celebrating 21 years, the joy of giving in the spirit of song will make this night such pleasured fun for the old and young," Wonder says in a statement. The event encourages concertgoers to bring unwrapped toys and gifts of joy for families in need, children and individuals with disabilities. - Billboard, 11/20/17...... Diana RossIn other Motown-related news, Diana Ross accepted a Lifetime Achievemet Award at the 2017 American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 19. After a montage of Ross' accomplishments, including her performance at Super Bowl XXX and performing "Endless Love" with Lionel Richie at the 1982 Academy Awards, Ross strutted onstage in a puffy purple dress and performed "I'm Coming Out," "Take Me Higher," "Ease on Down the Road," "Best Years of My Life" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Once her set concluded, a "humbled" Diana watched her family walk onto the stage to present her with the lifetime achievement award that capped the show. "With integrity, grace and generosity you've blazed a way," said Rhonda Ross-Kendrick, the singer's daughter, before allowing her mother to thank her all avid supporters. - Billboard, 11/19/17...... Sons of late iconic rock 'n' roll singer/songwriter Roy Orbison have filed a complaint in New York state court against Hologram USA, claiming the company failed to keep up its end of a deal for a Roy Orbison hologram show and is now interfering with their efforts to create one with a new partner. According to the complaint, Hologram USA approached Orbison's sons in 2014 about creating a 90-minute performance by an Orbison hologram. Under their deal, a prototype was to be delivered for review within 9 months. By Oct. 2016, Roy's Boys still hadn't seen one and sent Hologram USA a notice of termination. Then this spring, Orbison's sons formed a new partnership with another company called BASE Holograms, and in the fall it announced tours in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Hologram USA wasn't thrilled, and disputed the termination. Orbison's sons are asking the court for a declaration that its agreement with Hologram USA was properly terminated and for an injunction barring the company from using any Roy Orbison trademarks or intellectual property. - Billboard, 11/21/17...... Neil Young has announced a one-off intimate homecoming show called "Somewhere in Canada," in a yet-to-be-determined venue with a capacity of about 200. Young, 72, was born in Toronto, but spent some teen years in Winnipeg where he started his first band. He returned to Toronto in the mid-60s for a spell before relocating to the U.S. in the late 60s. The show, which will take place on Dec. 1, is being directed by Young's actress girlfriend, Daryl Hannah, in partnership with his Shakey Pictures. It will be live streamed in Canada on and iHeartRadio's Secret Sessions, and worldwide on Facebook. - Billboard, 11/21/17...... Former AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson issued a statement on Nov. 20 that paid emotional tribute to late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young, who died on Nov. 18 after a three-year battle with dementia. "I am saddened by the passing of my friend Malcolm Young, I can't believe he's gone. We had such great times on the road. He has left a legacy that I don't think many can match," Johnson posted on his official website. "He never liked the celebrity side of fame, he was too humble for that. He was the man who created AC/DC because he said 'there was no Rock'n'Roll out there.' I am proud to have known him and call him a friend, and I'm going to miss him so much," Johnson added. Johnson joined AC/DC in 1980 following the death of Bon Scott and retired from performing live in 2016. - New Musical Express, 11/20/17....... Joni MitchellIn author David Yaffe's new Joni Mitchell biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, the singer cooperates with a biographer for the first time. Yaffe, a Syracuse Univ. professor and author of books on jazz and Bob Dylan, had unprecedented access to Mitchell, and he sympathetically traces the outline of her life while offering detailed takes on her albums, and even on her chord changes. But it's Mitchell's candor, in which she recalls such incidents as a late-life miscarriage, her cocaine addiction, and turbulent romantic relationships, that propels the book. - Rolling Stone, 11/16/17...... Rock photographer Neal Preston's new book Exhilarated and Exhausted contains images of his time with such '70s superstars as Led Zeppelin and Elton John, along with stories about the realities of his job, such as nervously approaching Bruce Springsteen to pose for his camera during a concert performance (he did), and Bob Dylan calling him a "leech" at a 1970s industry party. - Rolling Stone, 11/16/17...... Art Garfunkel's new biography What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man is a book unlike any ever released by a rock star. Short segments about Simon and Garfunkel float alongside lists of favorite books and quotes from Shakespeare and Marvin Gaye. Among the poems is one about gettiing a colonic. - Rolling Stone, 11/16/17...... Rolling Stone contributor Anthony DeCurtis's new Lou Reed biography, Lou Reed: A Life, is an exhaustively reported book about a brilliant artist who helped define hipness and the outer limits of rock for generations, fulfilling his goal of fusing the "high literary world with gritty rock & roll." - Rolling Stone, 11/16/17...... Actress Ann Wedgworth, the sexy actress with the whispery voice known for her underrated work in films including Scarecrow and Sweet Dreams as well as a short stint on the ABC sitcom Three's Company, died on Nov. 16 after a long illness in a nursing home not far from her home in New York City. She was 83. In 1978, the Texas native won the Tony Award for best featured actress in a play for her portrayal of the witty best friend of a soap opera actress who hesitates to date again in Neil Simon's "Chapter Two," directed by Herbert Ross. Ms. Wedgeworth became best known for her role as divorcee Lana Shields in ThreeÕs Company, after performing in numerous soap operas like The Edge of Night and Another World. Her character was written out of ThreeÕs Company after only nine episodes with little explanation. She went on to star in CBSÕs Evening Shade starting in 1989, which was her longest role. She played Merleen Eldridge, the wife of small town doctor Harlan Eldrige. Ms. Wedgeworth was married to actor and voice artist Rip Torn from 1955 to 1961, with whom she has one daughter. In 1970, she married acting coach Ernest Martin, with whom she had another daughter and stepson. She is survived by Martin, her two daughters, and her stepson. - Variety, 11/18/17...... Mel TillisCountry music star Mel Tillis, who wrote more than 1,000 songs throughout his career, including "Detroit City" for Bobby Bare, as well as his own hits "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer" and "Coca Cola Cowboy," died at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla., on Nov. 19. He was 85. Mr. Tillis had been battling intestinal issues since 2016, according to his spokesman, and the suspected cause of death was respiratory failure. Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis in Tampa, Fla., Mr. Tillis suffered a spell of malaria as a boy that left him with a chronic stutter. His stutter became a trademark that Tillis mined for laughs, although it disappeared when he sang. In an interview with People magazine in 1976, Mr. Tillis said performing helped him overcome his stutter. "The more I go onstage," he said, "and feel my independence and that power over audiences, the less I stutter." His commercial peak came in the 1970s when he had a string of top 10 C&W hits. In 1998, he became spokesman and honorary chairman of the Stuttering Foundation of America, according to his website. Mr. Tillis also had something of an acting career, with small roles in a number of films such as The Cannonball Run and Smokey and the Bandit II. He also made a TV appearance in an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard in the late '70s. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and in Feb. 2012 Pres. Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts -- the highest honor given to artists by the US government. - CNN, 11/19/17...... Della Reese, the jazz, gospel and pop singing legend who later moved into TV and film, died on Nov. 20 at age 86. Ms. Reese turned to television and film starting in the late 1960s, hosting her own talk show Della, and later starring opposite Redd Foxx in Harlem Nights (1989), Martin Lawrence in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) and Elliott Gould in Expecting Mary (2010). She also starred as Tess on Touched By an Angel, and her most recent television appearance was earlier this year on Bates Motel. -, 11/20/17...... Warren "Pete" Moore, an original member of the legendary Motown singing group The Miracles, died on Nov. 19 of as yet undisclosed causes, He was 78. Moore served as co-writer on many of the Miracles' singles, including their classic "The Tracks of My Tears," "Ooo Baby Baby," "My Girl Has Gone" and "Love Machine," as well as hits by Motown artists like Marvin Gaye ("Ain't That Peculiar," "I'll Be Doggone") and the Temptations' ("Since I Lost My Baby") Moore also produced the Miracles' "Here I Go Again" and "Baby Baby Don't Cry." After frontman Smokey Robinson left the Miracles in 1971, Moore remained with the group until their dissolution in 1978. In 2012, Moore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside The Miracles. - 11/20/17...... George Avakian, a record producer and talent scout who played a key role in the early careers of Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett and Bob Newhart, among many others, died on Nov. 22 at his home in on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was 98. Mr. Avakian brought The Everly Brothers to Warner Bros.' newly formed record label in 1959, and signed a young humorist named Bob Newhart, who had been working as an accountant in Chicago and moonlighting as a radio performer but had never performed for a live audience. Newhart's first album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, became one of the best-selling comedy records of all time. - 11/22/17...... Charles MansonInfamous cult leader Charles Manson, who shocked the world in 1969 after his "Manson Family" committed the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and eight other victims on his orders, died of natural causes on Nov. 19 in a Bakersfield, Calif., hospital, according to the California Department of Corrections. He was 83. On Aug. 9, 1969, actress Tate was found stabbed to death in her Hollywood home, while other victims included celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring and coffee empire heiress Abigail Folger. When police investigated the deaths, they discovered that Manson had sent his followers to commit the murders as part of a sickening belief that it would start a race war which had been prophesied in the 1968 song "Helter Skelter" by the Beatles. After being sentenced to death in 1971, Manson's conviction was eventually commuted into a life sentence, with him remaining imprisoned in California until his death. Before the murders, the Ohio-born Manson also spent time as a singer-songwriter on the L.A. music scene, and several recordings of his music have been released over the years to capitalize on his notoriety -- most recently, it was revealed that some of Manson's prison recordings were set for another release. An album of Manson's music originally released in 1970 called Lie: The Love and Terror Cult failed miserably in a commercial sense, but remains a popular cult collectible among those who are interested in the Manson murders. The album cover virtually recreates the Dec. 19, 1969 cover of Life magazine, which featured Manson; only the "F" in "LIFE" and the line "The dark edge of hippie life" were removed. Manson also lived with Beach Boys member Dennis Wilson at one point, and co-wrote a Beach Boys song. However Manson didn't appreciate Wilson's producers tampering with his music and eventually pulled a knife during the sessions, souring the relationship. - NME/Billboard, 11/20/17.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

David CassidyDavid Cassidy, the former teen idol whose role as Keith Partridge in the '70s sitcom The Partridge Family rocketed him to international stardom, died on Nov. 21 in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hospital after suffering from multiple organ failure. He was 67. Cassidy, who announced earlier in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with dementia, died surrounded by his family, according to a statement released by the family. "David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long," the statement said. "Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years." Born in New York City in 1950, David was the son of actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward and half-brother of entertainer Shaun Cassidy. His parents split up when he was 5 and he would long express regret about his father, who soon married his future The Partridge Family co-star Shirley Jones, being mostly absent from his life. Cassidy stayed with his mother and by the early 1960s had moved to Los Angeles. After being expelled from high school for truancy, Cassidy dreamed of becoming an actor and had made appearances on such popular 1960s series as Bonanza and Ironside before producers at ABC television asked him to audition for The Partridge Family, unaware that he could sing and intending at first to have him mime songs to someone else's voice. David, who only learned during tryouts that his real life mother in law Jones would play his mother, later said he worried that Keith Partridge would be a "real comedown" from his previous roles. "I mean, how much could an actor do with a line like, 'Hi, Mom, I'm home from school,' or 'Please pass the milk?"' he wrote in his memoir. "I didn't see how it could do much for me. After all, I wasn't the star of it. Shirley had top billing; I was just one of the kids." Airing on ABC from 1970-1974, The Partridge Family was a fictional variation of the '60s family pop group The Cowsills, intended at first as a vehicle for Shirley Jones, the Oscar winning actress and Cassidy's stepmother. Jones played matriarch Shirley Partridge, a widow with five children with whom she forms a popular act that travels on a psychedelic bus. David CassidyThe cast also featured Cassidy as eldest son and family heartthrob Keith Partridge; Susan Dey, later of L.A. Law fame, as sibling Laurie Partridge, and Danny Bonaduce as sibling Danny Partridge. The Partridges' best known song, "I Think I Love You," spent three weeks on top of the Billboard chart, and the group also reached the top 10 with "I'll Meet You Halfway" and "Doesn't Somebody Want to be Wanted"; Cassidy had a solo hit with "Cherish." The singer went on to release 10 Partridge Family albums and five solo efforts while touring to sold-out crowds through the mid-1970s. His records sold an estimated 30 million worldwide, and at one point his fan club had more members than those of Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Feeling besieged by the attention of his female admirers, Cassidy quit The Partridge Family -- which ended its run in 1974 after 96 episodes -- and focused on recording a string of well-received albums for RCA Records, including 1975's The Higher They Climb and 1976's Home is Where the Heart Is, landing a hit in 1975 with "I Write the Songs," a track that would go on to become Barry Manilow's signature track. In December 1972, Cassidy consented to a cover story interview with Rolling Stone magazine in which he admitted to experimenting with marijuana and alcohol, and his appeal faded after the series went off the air, however he continued to tour, record and act over the next 40 years. Success overseas included "The Last Kiss," featuring backing vocals from Cassidy admirer George Michael. He made occasional stage and television appearances, including an Emmy-nominated performance on Police Story, in the 1980s, and toured with a variety of musical productions. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he joined the Las Vegas shows "EFX" and "At the Copa." Cassidy, by now thrice-married, continued touring until announcing his retirement in Feb. 2017, at which time he revealed he was suffering from non-Alzheimer's dementia. Meanwhile, The Partridge Family remained popular in re-runs and Cassidy, who kept his dark bangs and boyish appearance well into middle age, frequently turned up for reunions and spoke often about his early success. "So many people come up to me and talk to me about the impact it (the show) had," he told Arsenio Hall in 1990. David CassidyThrough ups and downs, including well-documented struggles with alcohol and a series of DUI arrests in the 2000s, Cassidy maintained the kind of sunny demeanor that had endeared him to a generation of fans. "I'm an optimist. I mean, you have to be with my career," he said in his official bio. "I've never gone out and changed my style to suit the times. I have always stayed true to myself by using the work ethic my father instilled in me, to strive for the best musically, theatrically, as well as in producing and writing. He taught me to be fearless about revealing the frailties and strengths of the human experience. Bringing that human element to my work is the most important thing I can do as an entertainer." Earlier in 2017, Cassidy shared that at age 66, his health was starting to fail, and told People magazine in February that he had been diagnosed with dementia. "I was in denial, but part of me always knew this was coming," the performer told the magazine. His grandfather and his mother both had dementia, he told the magazine. Signs of the illness had already begun to show in Cassidy's performances. During a concert in Agoura Hills, Calif., earlier this year, the former teen idol was witnessed forgetting lyrics to songs he had been performing for years. Because of his diagnosis, Cassidy stopped touring earlier in 2017, saying he wanted to focus on his health. The flood of tributes to Cassidy on Twitter include posts from the likes of Brian Wilson, Marie Osmond, Gloria Gaynor, Rick Springfield, Richard Marx, Tom Arnold and Larry King. - Associated Press/Billboard, 11/22/17.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

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

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Tom Petty: In His Own Words

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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

Saturday, September 9, 2017

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

Monday, September 4, 2017

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

Monday, September 4, 2017

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

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

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