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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Four surviving members of the Jackson 5 were honored with keys to the city of Detroit on June 15 during a high-ticket private party that launched the second Detroit Music Weekend festival. Detroit police chief James Craig, who presented the honors to Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon Jackson, declared the iconic Motown group "truly Detroiters." Jermaine told the crowd that "coming back to Detroit is like coming home," and Marlon said in an interview later that though it was Motown that made the Jackson 5 famous, the brothers already had a special relationship with the city before they signed to the label. A city key was also awarded posthumously to the late Michael Jackson, who Jermaine said "we miss dearly." Prior to the presentation the group and the city were mired in controversy over the naming of a street in downtown Detroit. In May it was announced that a Michael Jackson Ave. would be dedicated during the festival, much to the surprise and displeasure of the other brothers. A Detroit city ordinance requires streets to be named only after individuals, and no compromise was reached during the four weeks following the announcement, scuttling the plan entirely. But the Jacksons' management said on June 15 that the street naming would be revisited next year as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Jackson 5's first recordings for Motown, which will also include a world tour and other projects. "It's all going to be rectified and done and we're going to celebrate it and come back and unveil the street and do a 50th year celebration here," Marlon said. The four Jacksons -- who will headline Detroit Music Weekend on June 16 -- also attended a 90-minute tribute concert featuring the hits of the Jackson 5. The Detroit Music Weekend is also scheduled to feature a performance from Grand Funk Railroad co-founder Mark Farner. - Billboard, 6/16/18...... Steve MillerSteve Miller, currently in the midst of his second co-headlining summer tour with Peter Frampton, has announced he and Frampton will release a live album of jams that they perform together during the tour. Miller says that every show is being recorded and that the two are "putting a record together now" that will showcase their performances of songs from such blues icons asd Freddie King, Elmore James, K.C. Douglas, Otis Rush, and more. "Jamming together has turned out to be a real interesting thing," Miller says. "We're just having fun. It's an added bonus to the tour, just a really, really great musical combination... [The record] is pretty much everything we've jammed from last year up through this year. ... As we go on we'll add more tunes." Meanwhile, Miller says he's been going through his vaults for unreleased material to mark the 50th anniversary of his first two albums. "We're trying to gather all the outtakes and interesting bits that weren't released and songs that were recorded that were never released, and we found some really good stuff," he says. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Neil Diamond was honored with the Johnny Mercer Award during the 49th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner at New York City's Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14. Diamond, who was officially inducted into the Hall in 1984, closed the with a rousing, extended rendition of "Sweet Caroline," even though the 77-year-old has announced he has retired from touring due to being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Diamond barely spoke at the event, where Kool and the Gang, John Mellencamp, Alan Jackson and Jermaine Dupri were inducted into the SHOF class of 2018. - AP, 6/15/18...... Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman has released a new LP of what he describes as "cosmic-influenced" ringtones. Cosmic Ringtones & Sonic Realms - Your Universe Is Calling is a 29-track album conceived and produced by Holzman and recorded by his son Adam Holzman, a known keyboardist and synthesizer artist. While the LP is available for download on all streaming services, the CD release contains liner notes that detail the origin story for each of the tracks. The cosmos-inspired titles include everything from the straightforward "The Big Bang" and "String Theory" to the whimsical "Primordial Cosmic Soup" and "Pluto Sheds a Tear." In the 1960s, as Holzman was discovering and signing such bands as the Doors and Bread to his fledgling record label, he released the groundbreaking album series Authentic Sound Effects in the 1960s. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Paul McCartney will reportedly be joining late night talk show host James Corden in a new episode of Corden's popular "Carpool Karaoke" series. Sir Paul's episode will see the pair go on a Beatles tour in Liverpool. The series has previously featured a wide range of artists including Christina Aguilera, Foo Fighters, Linkin Park and Pink. While in Liverpool, McCartney also performed a secret gig for fans at Liverpool's Philharmonic pub. - New Musical Express, 6/13/18...... Willie NelsonWillie Nelson issued a statement on June 14 denouncing Pres. Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in the separation of hundreds of migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border. "What's going on at our southern border is outrageous," the Texas native wrote. "Christians everywhere should be up in arms. What happened to 'Bring us your tired and weak and we will make them strong?' This is still the promise land." The reference to "promise land" in the statement is a reference to the David Lynn Jones written song "Living in the Promiseland," which appeared on Nelson's 1986 The Promiseland album. Nelson is among a growing chorus of artists, activists, religious figures and politicians who are decrying the zero tolerance policy. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Barry Manilow was forced to put the debut of his "Manilow Live -- The Hits Come Home" Las Vegus run on the third weekend in June on hold on June 14 after the 74-year old star was admitted to a local hospital and prescribed antibiotics. Manilow is scheduled to be released from the hospital in the next few days and is planning to resume his Vegas series on June 21. "Our new show is ready, we're all ready, and we were all looking forward to tonight," he tweeted shortly after his diagnosis. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Speaking of Las Vegas, lawmen there are searching for two suspected burglars at Vegas icon Wayne Newton's home several miles southeast of the Las Vegas Strip after Newton and his wife Kathleen scared away the men as the arrived home after a June 14 Newton performance at Bally's hotel-casino. The Newtons told police the intruders fled when as they arrived at their their 20-acre home and believe that home surveillance video will help police identify the suspects. The also said they've bolstered security at the estate. The Newtons moved to their current house in 2013 following the bankruptcy sale of their nearby 40-acre estate, Casa de Shenandoah. The gilded property, which features gardens, pools, stables for Newton's Arabian horses, is now a tourist attraction and museum. - AP, 6/14/18...... The Def Leppard and Journey co-headlining summer tour hit New York's Madison Square Garden on June 13. After openers Journey performed their '80s anthems "Any Way You Want It," "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" and "Faithfully" with current frontman Arnel Pineda on vocals, Def Leppard came out swinging with "Rocket," following up with hits including "Let's Get Rocked" and "Armageddon It" during their 90-minute set. The band also covered the David Essex hit "Rock On," and ended the night with "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph." - Billboard, 6/14/18...... Paul Simon has scored his first entry on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Album Sales chart with a remixed version of his acclaimed 1986 LP Graceland. Graceland: The Remixes reinterprets all 11 of the original album's tracks, including "Al," by Groove Armada, as well as cuts by Paul Oakenfold, Sharam, Thievery Corporation and Joris Voorn. The original Graceland reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 in Apr. 1987, won the Grammy Award for album of the year and spun off three Hot 100 hits: "You Can Call Me Al" (No. 23), the title cut (No. 81) and "The Boy in the Bubble" (No. 86). - Billboard, 6/14/18....... Fred SchneiderThe B-52s are in the midst of an extensive North American tour which was launched in May to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The "tacky little dance band from Athens, Ga.," as the band calls themselves, are playing arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums, joined by another LGBTQ pioneer, Boy George. The band formed in 1976, with singer Cindy Wilson's older brother, guitarist/principal songwriter Ricky Wilson (who died in 1985), and his best friend, drummer-guitarist Keith Strickland (who retired from touring with the band in 2012). Rounding out the lineup are Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson. Four of the band's five original members did, in fact, identify as LGBTQ: Ricky, Schneider and Strickland as gay men, and Pierson, who was involved with a man until the early 2000s, is now married to a woman. But Schneider says they didn't set out to explicitly write queer anthems, as later acts like Erasure would. "We just did our own thing," he says now. "I guess subconsciously we were trying to say something. But it was sort of stream of consciousness, it was so out there." - Billboard, 6/14/18...... Fleetwood Mac has been added to the lineup of the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival, set for Sept. 21 and 22 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. "It is an honor to be performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival for our very first time," Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks said in a statement. "The beauty of an event like this is that it is a true representation of the power of radio. It's an opportunity for artists across all genres to share one stage and what we all love most -- music!" The band will be marking its first time playing together as a new band since Lindsey Buckingham's exit in April, and will be joining previously announced headliners including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco and Kelly Clarkson at the two-day event. - Billboard, 6/12/18...... David Byrne announced on June 12 that he'll launch a lengthy 2018 UK and Ireland arena tour this fall with cities to include Leeds, Glasgow, Dublin, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Brighton and Manchester. "We'll be doing some new songs, and many others that will, I assume, be familiar," the former Talking Heads frontman said on his current production. "I'm excited. This is the most ambitious show I've done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense, so fingers crossed." - New Musical Express, 6/12/18...... Barbra Streisand announced on June 11 that she's inked a new content deal with the streaming giant Netflix, bringing 6 of her classic TV shows and a special edition of her 1976 film A Star is Born to the site soon. The diva's vintage specials set to stream on Netflix will include My Name Is Barbra (1965), Color Me Barbra (1966), Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park (1968), Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments (1973), Barbra Streisand: The Concert (1994) and Barbra Streisand: Timeless (2001). Her A Star is Born movie will reportedly feature never-before-scene footage in an extended cut. Streisand recently participated in an interview with actor Jamie Foxx on the closing night of the 2018 FYsee event. - Billboard, 6/11/18...... Warren HaynesThe Allman Brothers Band released a four-disc set of rarities on June 15 entitled Peach Picks: Cream of the Crop 2003. It features 36 performances from the Allmans' July 25-Aug. 10, 2003 run, including shows in Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., Hartford, Conn., and Darien Center. N.Y., all during a tour supporting that year's Hittin' The Note, the Allmans' first new album in 10 years. "It was a really good time period for the band," says guitarist Warren Haynes, who served as supervising producer for the set. "We had all the new material and we were reinventing a lot of old material and the band was on a high note at that point, so it just seemed like a good thing to go back and make [the recordings] available to folks." Haynes says he was already working on Peach Picks when Gregg Allman's health took a turn for the worse in 2017, and listening to the material provided a bit of relief for him. "It's really interesting to hear how energized the band was at that point in time," says Haynes, who co-wrote "Desdemona" with Allman for the Hittin' The Note album. "Everybody was so psyched to make a new record and so proud of the record we had just made it just seemed like the band was really hitting it stride. Not having heard any of the stuff in a long time, when I went back to start listening to it. It was just really refreshing to get a snapshot of where the band was at that moment." The release also includes a selection of covers, including Derek and the Dominos' "Layla," as well as guest appearances by Susan Tedeschi, Karl Denson and Branford Marsalis, the latter of who plays saxophone on epic renditions of "Dreams" and "Whipping Post." - Billboard, 6/12/18...... Sylvester Stallone is currently under investigation for sex crimes by authorities in Los Angeles, a spokesperson for the LA District Attorney's office announced on June 13. It's unclear what allegations 71-year-old Rocky star faces, but according to CNN, the complaint was originally filed to the Santa Monica Police Department in Nov. 2017, and concerns an alleged sexual assault take took place in the 1990s. In December, the Santa Monica Police Department was investigating a claim that Stallone raped a teenager in the 1990s, an allegation that the actor denied at the time, although he admitted to spending three days with the woman in Israel on a shoot in 1987. Another instance of sexual assault allegations against Stallone has circulated in recent years -- this one involving a 1986 police report in which a 16-year-old alleges she was forced into a threesome with Stallone and his bodyguard, Michael De Luca, in Las Vegas. Stallone denied the allegations through his attorney Martin Singer, who called the announcement "outrageous" because "it makes the public think that there's something there." - Jezebel.com, 6/14/18...... Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta portrays infamous mob boss John Gotti in a new film called Gotti, which made its premiere on June 14. Speaking at the premiere, Travolta said Gotti's widow Victoria Gotti "made us a gorgeous spread one afternoon. It was awesome." Travolta's actress wife Kelly Preston appears as Victoria in the film which was sanctioned by the family, and some critics say it's too sympathetic and favourable toward a mafia boss. Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, was head of the Gambino crime family and was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992. The film has been in the works for years, with even Lindsay Lohan in the running to play the mobster's daughter in an early iteration. - AP, 6/15/18...... D.J. FontanaD.J. Fontana, who acheived rock 'n' roll immortality as Elvis Presley's first and longtime drummer, died in his sleep in Nashville, Tenn., after suffering complications from breaking his hip in 2016. He was 87. Mr. Fontana, a member of the Rock Hall of Fame, was the last surviving member of Elvis' original core of musicians. He met Presley and the others on the Louisiana Hayride, a popular and influential radio and TV country music program based in Shreveport. Staff drummer Fontana asked to join his group for a session broadcast in October 1954. A regional act at the time, the 19-year-old Presley had been recording and touring since the summer with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, the musicians Sun Records founder Sam Phillips brought in after Elvis turned up at the Memphis, Tennessee-based label's studio. Fontana was there for Presley's first wave of success, from such hit singles as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock" to his increasingly frenzied live shows and hip-shaking appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV programs. He played on many soundtracks -- and was occasionally seen on camera -- for Presley's '50s and '60s movies. He was on the "comeback" Christmas TV special of 1968 that featured Presley and fellow musicians jamming on a tiny stage before a studio audience, with Fontana keeping time on a guitar case. Widely cited for reviving Presley's career, that show was his first live performance in years and the last time Moore and Fontana worked with Elvis, who died in 1977. In 2000, Mr. Fontana played on Paul McCartney's cover of an early Presley hit, "That's All Right." - AP, 6/14/18...... Nick Knox, the former drummer of the band The Cramps, has died at the age of 60. Knox, born Nicholas Stephanoff, had played in the Electric Eels with Cramps frontman John D. Morton before becoming a member of the influential punk outfit. - New Musical Express, 6/16/18.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Elton John has called for a boycott of major social media companies who allow homophobic hate speech to exist on their platforms. "I don't know why they allow it. It's supposed to be free speech, but the things that are on social media are so disgusting that there has to be action taken by the people who own these companies," Sir Elton said in an interview with BBC News on June 8. "People say, 'well, what about my freedom of speech?' Well, sod your freedom of speech," he added. John says a boycott, and the resulting lack of revenue it would cause, would force the social media giants to "sit up" and take a stance against homophobic hate speech on their platforms. "Companies like Facebook and Instagram cannot pretend they are purely private enterprises. I believe they have a public role and responsibility," he said. "But if we found ways to automatically respond to hatred with fact, good could be all the way around the world before falsehood even got its boots on." Shortly before the interview, Elton delivered the "Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture" on HIV in London, when called on the British government and private sector to take necessary actions in order to rid the country of the disease. - Billboard, 6/11/18...... Paul SimonPaul Simon treated fans to a performance of his 1970 Simon & Garfunkel smash "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as his "Homeward Bound: Farewell Tour No Longer" trek stopped in Detroit at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on June 10. Simon explained to the crowd that he hadn't played the Grammy-winning song that he wrote yet on the tour, which began on May 16 in Vancouver, because "it has a strange deterrent for me... that's not much of an introduction is it?" SImon added he was "setting expectations low" for this rendition, but after the performance received a rapturous response, he quipped that "maybe I'll sing it again sometime." Simon is scheduled to wrap up the first American leg of the tour on June 20, then head to Europe 10 days later, then return to the U.S. for one final leg in September, closing with two shows at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 20-21 and a third, on Sept. 22 at a location to be announced. - Billboard, 6/11/18...... Bruce Springsteen performed a stripped-down spoken word rendition of his 1984 Born In the USA track "My Hometown" during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10 in New York City. After being presented with a special Tony honor by his pal Billy Joel and receiving a warm introduction from his actor friend Robert DeNiro, who quipped how hard it was to get tickets to the Boss's "Springsteen on Broadway" show, Springsteen strode over to the piano and began reciting childhood memories of his home on Randolph Street in Freehold, N.J. He played softly as he reminisced, speaking of growing up "surrounded by God and all my relatives" near St. Rose's Cemetery, where people did the best they could to "hold off the demons, outside and inside, that sought to destroy them." His spoken word gave way to lyrics from "My Hometown," a song that ruminates on the places most familiar to us. The musician was nominated for a special Tony for his Broadway show, which kicked off at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Oct. 3, 2017. The show is currently scheduled to wrap in Dec. 2018. - Billboard, 6/10/18...... In related news, Paul McCartney and CBS Late Late Show host James Corden made a surprise visit to Paul and the other Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, England on June 9 when they toured such sites as Sir Paul's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road and the roundabout immortalized in the Fab Four's classic "Penny Lane." The pair also made a stop at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms, where Paul played a set with members of his band. Meanwhile, the sudden disappearance of McCartney's profile pics on his Twitter and Instagram pages have prompted rumours that the superstar could be getting ready to make a big announcement very soon, possibly a release date for a new album he's been working on for some time or a special 50th anniversary release of "The White Album." - Billboard, 6/9/18...... Led ZeppelinSpeaking of 50th anniversaries, Led Zeppelin have posted on their offical Twitter account that they have reunited to work on a new book about the band to mark the 50th anniversary of their formation. John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are pictured with the official announcement, with Plant holding a draft copy of a new book they've been working on together. "Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin is the first and only official illustrated book to be produced in collaboration with the members of the band," according to the description. "It is being produced to celebrate 50 years of the iconic rock group and will feature photographs of Jones, Page, Plant, and Bonham "on and offstage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. This definitive 400-page volume includes previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world," the description adds. Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin is currently available for pre-order and will hit stores in October via Reel Art Press. - New Musical Express, 6/8/19...... The estate of Prince has announced that a previously unheard home studio cassette recording of Prince performing at his piano in 1983 will be released as Piano & a Microphone on Sept. 21. The nine-track, 35-minute project from the Prince Estate in coordination with Warner Bros. Records is planned for what would have been the rock icon's 60th birthday, and is currently available for pre-order on CD, LP, deluxe CD+ LP, digital release and pre-save for streaming. Tracks include Prince working through "Purple Rain" and "17 Days," both of which would be released the following year, a cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," and a rare recording of the pre-Civil War spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep." - Billboard, 6/7/18...... Authorities in Los Angeles have charged Redmond O'Neal,, the son of actor Ryan O'Neal and the late actress Farrah Fawcett, with a long list of offenses including attempted murder after he went on what they describe as a "violent crime spree" between May 2 and May 8. O'Neal, 33, is currently in jail after being arrested in May for an alleged armed robbery, and after his June 8 court appearance the LA District Attorney filed multiple charges against the former voice actor, including one count of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of criminal threats, one count of brandishing a knife and one count of battery. O'Neal, who has struggled with drug addiction for years, allegedly "randomly attacked five men in unprovoked confrontations," in early May, the LAPD said in a statement, with two of the five men being seriously injured. O'Neal has yet to enter a plea in relation to the new charges. - MSN.com, 6/9/18...... Al JardineAs the new Beach Boys-authorized release The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra hit stores on June 8, BB co-founder Al Jardine says "the symphony doesn't get in the way of the vocals." "The vocals are the star of the show," Jardine says. "When the mixes are a little weird or someone tries to do something with a well-known song, it never seems to work out. But this one actually takes you to another level. It's like a punctuation mark on an entire career." The band didn't have a hands-on role in the recording, but simply let one of the world's most prestigious symphony orchestras do their thing over original recordings of "California Girls," "Help Me, Rhonda," "The Warmth of the Sun" and other highlights from the band's body of work. "It doesn't sound like Mahler or anybody, where it takes hours to listen to," adds BB member Bruce Johnston. "It's beautiful seasoning. It didn't ruin Brian (Wilson)'s production magic." Brian Wilson added that "it's a great honor and privilege that we could be associated with that great of an orchestra... I'm very proud of it." - Billboard, 6/8/18...... Peter Stringfellow, a British nightclub owner who was an early backer of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix, has died after a secret battle with cancer. He was 77. Stringfellow once booked a little-known Fab Four to play the Azena Ballroom in his hometown of Sheffield, but in the interim between the booking and the performance Beatlemania exploded, and Stringfellow recalled in a 2014 interview that Beatles manager Brian Epstein "gave me his word and stuck to it... It was just pandemonium when the Beatles came on stage. It was the most exciting night of my life." Other groups performing at Stringfellow's various Sheffield venues included Wilson Pickett, The Small Faces, Stevie Wonder, The Searchers, Elton John, The Who, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Pink Floyd. After running venues in Manchester and Leeds, Stringfellow relocated to London and opened the first of his eponymous chain of topless strip clubs in London's West End in 1980, which were frequented by the likes of Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and professor Stephen Hawking. - Billboard, 6/7/18...... Danny KirwanFormer Fleetwood Mac guitarist/vocalist Danny Kirwan died in London on June 8 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 68. Kirwan joined Fleetwood Mac in 1968 and contributed to several albums, including Then Play On, Blues Jam at Chess, Kiln House, Future Games and Bare Trees. The first song he recorded with the group was 1968's instrumental single "Albatross." Kirwan was asked to leave the band while on tour in 1972, reportedly due to his alcoholism. He went on to release a handful of solo albums, and in 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with other members of Fleetwood Mac. Posting on the band's official Facebook page, Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood noted Kirwan was "a huge force in our early years" and "his legacy... will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years." - Billboard, 6/9/18...... Eunice Grayson, who was the first "Bond girl" in OO7's on-screen debut in 1962's Dr. No, has died at the age of 90. Ms. Grayson starred as Bond's love interest, Sylvia Trench, in Dr. No, as well as the follow-up, 1963's From Russia With Love. As Sylvia Trench, Ms. Grayson elicited one of Bond's most famous catchphrases at the beginning of Dr. No. Over a game of cards at the Le Cercle Club casino, Bond asks her for her name. "I admire your courage, Miss, er" She replies: "Trench, Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr..." "Bond, James Bond," Connery replies. Ms. Trench said in a 2012 interview that Connery was very nervous in the scene, and she was asked by director Terrence Young to "take him away for a drink" to calm him down, which she did. Ms. Trench, whose lines were rerecorded over by voiceover artist Nikki van der Zyl (like many other Bond girls in the 60s and 70s), had originally been cast as Miss Moneypenny, but the part went to Lois Maxwell instead. The Surrey-born actress had been due to be a recurring character in the Bond franchise, but the idea was dropped by the director of Goldfinger, Guy Hamilton. "An amazing lady who left a lasting impression on everyone she met. She will be very much missed. Our sincere thoughts are with her family," Bond franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli tweeted on June 8. - The Guardian.com, 6/9/18...... Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, has died at a San Diego nursing care facility. He was 98. Mr. Maren memorably welcomed Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) to Munchkinland as part of the Lollipop Guild, the middle Munchin in a trio donning green and presenting Garland with a giant candy. The actor later appeared in TV bits on popular shows over the years including The Twilight Zone, Seinfeld and Bewitched. His most recent role was in 2010, when he appeared in the movie Dahmer vs. Gacy. Mr. Maren was close to his nieces and nephews after his wife Elizabeth, who was also a little person, died in 2011 at age 69. "I've done so many things in show business, but people say, 'You were in The Wizard of Oz? It takes people's breath away," Maren recalled during an interview in 2011. "But then I realized, 'Geez, it must have been a hell of a picture, because everyone remembers it everywhere I go.'" - MSN.com, 6/6/18.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

In a new interview with the Swedish newspaper Expressen, Gene Simmons of KISS revealed that his band is preparing to announce a three-year world tour that he promises will be "the most spectacular KISS tour ever." He added that it would also take in "all continents," and will be kicking off in January 2019. - New Musical Express, 6/6/18...... Bruce Springsteen will be taking the stage at the Asbury Lanes in his hometown of Asbury, N.J., on June 18 as a "special guest" performer celebrating the transformation of the city's beloved bowling alley into a music venue. A donation will be made by iStar to the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County. In 2010, developer iStar invested $100 million to renovate the areas on and around the boardwalk, and the new Asbury Lanes venue opened to the public over Memorial Day Weekend. - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Jose FelicianoPuerto-Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano will be performing the U.S. national anthem for 20 new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington on June 14, Flag Day. The event will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Feliciano's performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" during game five of the 1968 World Series at Detroit's Tiger Stadium, which ignited a controversy that reflected the tense atmosphere in the United States in the era of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement, after Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated earlier that year. Boos could be heard in the audience, and many television viewers called in to NBC to complain about Feliciano's "hippie" version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." During the naturalization ceremony on June 14, Feliciano will speak to immigrants from 17 countries gathered to officially become Americans, and then sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Feliciano, who immigrated to the U.S. with his family from Puerto Rico at age 5, will also donate the Concerto Candelas guitar he played during the recording of his Top 5 breakout hit "Light My Fire" to the Smithsonian, along with other items from his personal archives. "I could be a sarcastic bastard and say it's too little too late," he says, referring to the initial reaction to his "Star-Spangled Banner." "But I'm grateful to the Smithsonian. This is a beautiful thing." Feliciano will also be among the headliners at a free concert in New York City's Central Park on Aug. 12. - Billboard, 6/6/18...... Olivia Newton-John and country singer Hunter Hayes are set to surprise two couples in the Disney series Fairy Tale Weddings, which returns on cable TV's Freeform channel on June 11 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The new episodes follow 11 new couples with hidden-camera engagements, fairytale weddings and everything in between filmed at different Disney locations around the world. One couple, Christina and Jarrod, tie the knot at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, with Newton-John -- a cancer research crusader after being diagnosed with breast cancer herself -- performing at their ceremony. - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Attorneys for concert promoter AEG have filed a motion to dismiss Ozzy Osbourne's anti-trust lawsuit challenging the concert promoter's block-booking policy, which requires artists playing the O2 arena in London to also play Staples Center in Los Angeles. According to a recent filing from AEG, Osbourne doesn't have standing to sue the company over a proposed Staples Center commitment letter from earlier in 2018 because the rocker was not a party to the agreement, and the deal was between AEG and Live Nation. Osbourne's attorney Dan Wall counters that argument is "flat wrong." "The Staples Center Commitment letter binds the artist," Wall says. "They're trying to have it both ways and say the letter is signed on an artist's behalf, but (also say) the artist will be bound by it and can't do anything if they think it's unlawful." - Billboard, 6/4/18...... David CassidyCable TV's A&E channel will air a new David Cassidy documentary, David Cassidy: The Last Session, on June 11, and in the doc Cassidy is reportedly quoted as saying he was still drinking in the last years of his life and he did not have dementia, which was reported at the time. Cassidy, according to People magazine, called producers of the documentary after he fell ill last year and told them that he had liver disease. In the recorded conversation, the former teen idol said there was no sign of dementia and it was "complete alcohol poisoning," adding that he had lied by telling friends and family he had stopped drinking. "He wanted to be honest once and for all," says documentary producer John Marks. Cassidy died of organ failure in Nov. 2017 at age 67, and his late father, actor Jack Cassidy also had a well publicized battle with alcoholism. - AP, 6/6/2018...... Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, two co-founders of the seminal '60s country/rock band The Byrds, have announced they will embark on a 50th anniversary tour commemorating the release of their influential 1968 LP Sweetheart of the Rodeo on July 24 at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. The tour will also visit Saratoga, Calif. (7/29), Albany, NY (9/18) and Hopewell, Va. (9/20) before wrapping at the Akron Civic Center in Akron, Oh. on Oct. 3. "On March 9, 1968, Roger McGuinn and I along with many fantastic musicians began recording the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album at Columbia Studios in Nashville," Chris Hillman said in a statement. "It was truly a pivotal moment in our lives taking a turn toward the music we always felt a strong kinship with. We are honored that it has left a strong, long lasting impression on country and rock music." With new member Gram Parsons, the Byrds' 1968 album melded country and rock to bring about a new Nashville sound. As pioneers of the blended genre, Hillman and McGuinn will share stories of how the album came together while onstage. Roger McGuinn adds that he and Hillman "are looking forward to taking the fans through the back pages of the recording," and that the concert "will include songs that led up to that groundbreaking trip to Nashville and all the songs from that album." The duo will be joined on tour by country artist Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. To warm up for the tour, McGuinn and Hillman played a short set at Stuart's Late Night Jam on June 6 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Neil DiamondNeil Diamond will be the recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award during the 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on June 14. The award is named for the "Moon River" tunesmith who co-founded the SHOF in 1969 with with music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. Ahead of the ceremony, Diamond reflected on one of his biggest hits, 1969's "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)." "That song was like a lucky gift. I needed it desperately in my career," Diamond says. "I was about to go hungry. I had a new baby. There were all kinds of things that were counting on this record, and I just had an hour to do it. It was the day before the session, and that beautiful girl came to me and I was a happy guy. You never know with a song; I never knew with 'Sweet Caroline' it would become such a beloved song." Also among the honorees at the gala will be Robert "Kool" Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James "JT" Taylor, John Mellencamp and Bill Anderson. - Billboard, 6/5/18...... With June being Gay Pride Month, Carole King is one of the artists requested by Billboard to write a "love letter" to the LGBTQ community. The legendary singer/songwriter says that she is "old enough to remember friends growing up in the last century who thought being L or G or B or T or Q made them 'the other' not only to others but to themselves. Sadly, in this century, too many people (who may themselves be suffering) are turning to fear, hatred, and blame rather than to love." King continued: "After years of fighting for AIDS research and against arbitrary barriers defining "normal," you, and consequently all of us, have come a long way.... My hope for the future is that every being will live in harmony, peace, joy, love and light." - Billboard, 6/5/18...... Music producer/composer/arranger Giles Martin, the son of the late Beatles producer George Martin, has been tapped by the Aussie alternative rock outfit INXS to be their executive music producer. In that role, Martin will have creative reins on all audio aspects of INXS's plans, which include musicals and movies and the reissue of their studio albums, which will be repackaged, remixed and expanded for release through Universal Music Group (UMG) in partnership with Petrol Records. Martin first collaboarated with INXS in 1994, and has worked with the band across several of their releases, including a greatest hits compilation and a Dolby Atmos mix of their classic Kick album for its 30th anniversary reissue in 2017. Formed in Perth in 1977, INXS has racked up six U.K. Top 10 albums and five U.S. Top 20 albums, a BRIT Award (in 1991 for best international group) and, in 2001, they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 6/5/18...... Freddie MercuryQueen is curently occupying three of the top 20 spots on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart for the week ending June 2, thanks to streaming and sales gains for the band's catalog after the May 18 arrival of the first trailer for its upcoming biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The film's namesake song has risen to No. 8 from No. 10 on the chart, drawing 4.7 million U.S. streams and sold 4,000 downloads in the tracking week. "Rhapsody" is followed by "Another One Bites the Dust" (No. 13; 3.3 million streams, 2,000 sold) and "We Will Rock You" (No. 17; 2.7 million streams, 3,000 sold), with all three songs appearing in the trailer. Additionally, the band's Greatest Hits LP, originally released in October 1981, has jumped to No. 2 from No. 4 on the Hard Rock Albums chart. Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, is set to premiere Nov. 2 in the U.S. - Billboard, 6/1/18...... After two TV-movies based on Dolly Parton songs aired on NBC, streaming giant Netflix has picked up an eight-episode scripted Parton anthology with the same premise. The as yet untitled anthology will see each episode based on a song by the country music icon. Parton will serve as singer-songwriter, exec producer and will also appear in the series. "As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support." - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/4/18...... Prince fans will celebrate what would have been the music legend's 60th birthday with a three-day music festival beginning on June 7 in Henderson, Minn., where the iconic movie Purple Rain was filmed. The festival will include a bus tour of Purple Rain filming locations, a screening of the 1984 movie and live music. In honor of Prince's 60th birthday, 60 butterflies will be released at the event, and members of Prince's family will be present. Meanwhile, another copy of Prince's super rare "The Black Album" has surfaced. The album was supposed to be released in 1987 as The Funk Bible, Prince's 16th album. However, the singer had a "spiritual epiphany" and demanded all 500,000 copies be destroyed, as he said the content was "evil." Prince later gave permission for it to be released on CD and cassette -- but never vinyl. Five vinyl copies surfaced in the States in 2017, and now another has appeared in Canada, after a Canadian former employee of Columbia Records' pressing plant held onto one of the records. The owner has listed the record online on Discogs.com for $27,500, and a pristine edition of the album once sold for $42,298. In more Prince news, sources close to the investigation of his 2016 death from an accidental drug overdose have revealed that the pop star often "videotaped himself having sex with lots of his lovers and was quite kinky in his porn tastes." "The evidence is in his vaults and on the computers seized by police," says the source, who stressed that none of the material was illegal. The music legend's porn preferences were described as "wild" by another source, based on the search history and downloads on laptops taken from Prince's home. "Cops had enough respect for Prince that they didn't want to mar his legacy by revealing he was a secret sex-tape and porn addict!" the insider claimed.- AP/RadarOnline.com, 6/3/18...... James TaylorJames Taylor and Sheryl Crow's co-headlining summer tour hit a jam-packed Hollywood Bowl on May 31, with Taylor stepping onstage to a standing ovation -- one of several throughout the evening. Centering on well-known entries in his repertoire, including "Fire & Rain," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," "Handyman," "Sweet Baby James," Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and "You've Got a Friend, Taylor also took the audience all the way back to 1968 with "Something in the Way She Moves" -- the song he auditioned for Paul McCartney and George Harrison before he signed with Apple Records. Earlier in the evening, Taylor joined Crow onstage for a rousing rendition of Crow's hit "Everyday Is a Winding Road," with Crow joining Taylor during his encore for duets of "Mockingbird" and "Close Your Eyes." Taylor and his band will next head to Sacramento (6/10), Portland, Ore. (6/12) and Seattle (6/13) before Bonnie Raitt rejoins the tour for seven shows beginning in St. Paul, Minnesota (6/22). - Billboard, 6/1/18...... Actor Bill Phipps, a prolific character actor who starred in several sci-fi movies of the 1950s and provided the voice of Prince Charming in the Disney classic Cinderella, died on May 31 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica after a battle with lung cancer. He was 96. His other roles include a servant to Marlon Brando's Antony in Julius Caesar (1954), the French Impressionist painter Emile Bernard in Kirk Douglas' Lust for Life (1956) and the old man Quentin in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993). Mr. Phipps left show business in the late 1960s to live in Maui but returned to portray Theodore Roosevelt in the 1976 ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, winner of 11 Emmy Awards. He then reprised the role in a commercial for Maxwell House coffee. He also showed up on TV shows like The Twilight Zone (the 1960 episode "The Purple Testament"), Perry Mason, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Gunsmoke, F Troop, Batman, The Virginian and Mannix. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/3/18.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Who's Roger Daltrey released his first solo LP in 25 years, As Long As I Have You, on June. 1. A soulful grab bag of originals and covers, the album was described by Daltrey in a statement as "a return to the very beginning, to a time when we were a teenage band playing soul music to small crowds in church halls." - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Posts by Mick Jagger on his son Lucas Jagger's Instagram account have gone viral as the legendary Rolling Stones frontman apparently left a series of "dorky dad" comments to tease his son. "Looks like fun. Ha!" read one comment underneath a photo of Lucas at the Lollapalooza festival. "Watch out for the water," said another, written in the comments section on a photo of Lucas standing ankle deep in the ocean. Meanwhile, the Stones returned to London in late May for their first show in the city in five years. - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Mike NesmithFormer The Monkees members Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will kick off their "The Monkees Present The Mike & Micky Show Tour" in Arizona on June 1. Both Dolenz and Nesmith said the tour developed out of a mutual friendship and respect for each other that began early in the Monkees' career and has lasted through the years. "I've always been a fan of his and he's been a fan of mine," Dolenz says. "We always got along great creatively. (We have) similar tastes in music and style and stuff like that. I've had an enormous amount of respect for him as a musician, singer and songwriter." Nesmith says that he and Dolenz always "got on so well." "He could make me laugh hard and I could make him laugh hard. So we were playmates on that level," he said. "The Mike & Micky Show Tour" is also scheduled to hit California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and includes two dates in Canada. Nesmith, meanwhile, has just released his new memoir, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, in which he remembers his Monkees days as well as his tenure with the First National Band, along with his Christian Science philosophy and meeting the Beatles. - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Elton John spoke out about the recent successful referendum in Ireland to repeal the country's ban on abortion during a recent visit to Ukraine to raise awareness about AIDS. "Believe me, I love this country. We will do everything we can to continue the fight against AIDS," John said at an event organised by the Elena Pinchuk Foundation. "It takes a long time for things to happen as I said," Elton continued. "Look what just happened in Ireland: the vote for abortion. Things change. People | they change their mind. And with a younger generation coming up, they are different kind of people, and they're our future." It has also been announced that the pop star will be further establishing his alliance with people living with HIV and AIDS by delivering the "Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture" on HIV on June 8 in London. The lecture is presented with the mission to end AIDS, calling on the government and private sector to take necessary actions in order to rid the country of the disease. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures has given a May 17, 2019 opening date for the upcoming Elton biopic Rocketman. The movie has been billed as a "larger than life movie musical spectacle that tells the story of a child prodigy turned music legend" and will star Eddie the Eagle actor Taron Egerton as John. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 5/30/18...... The Jimmy Buffett Broadway musical "Escape to Margaritaville" has announced it will have its final performance on July 1 after the tequila-infused jukebox musical has struggled to build audiences since opening earlier in 2018. The romantic comedy, set at a Caribbean island getaway threatened by an erupting volcano, has been a modest earner at the box office since it began previews in February, suggesting that Manhattan is not a high-density Parrothead metropolis as it played to just 56 percent capacity. Built around songs drawn primarily from Buffett's back catalog but also including more recent material, the musical drew more consistent crowds in Houston and Chicago, suggesting that it might fare better on tour, and producers have announced a road company will kick off in Oct. 2019 at Rhode Island's Providence Performing Arts Center. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/31/18...... The estate of Michael Jackson filed a copyright infringement suit against the Walt Disney Co. on May 30, alleging that the television special The Last Days of Michael Jackson which aired on ABC on May 14 used Jackson's songs and videos without permission. Jackson's estate alleges that the producers used songs including "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "The Girl Is Mine," along with music videos such as "Thriller," and clips from This Is It, the concert documentary, without asking for permission before the show aired. The suit says when the estate raised objections, Disney asserted that the show was a "documentary" and was entitled to use the material under the "fair use" doctrine. Howard Weitzman, the attorney for the Jackson estate, argued that was "patently absurd," especially in light of Disney's aggressive enforcement of its own copyrights. - Variety.com, 5/30/18...... Randy BachmanA career-spanning documentary focusing on former The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive member Randy Bachman had its world premiere at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, Canada, in May and will air on Canada's CBC Documentary Channel later in 2018. Incorporating numerous present-day interviews with Bachman's family, management, and fellow musicians, the documentary touches on everything from Bachman's childhood to his various rock bands -- The Guess Who, BTO, Brave Belt, Bachman-Turner -- and solo work. Bachman says it's "pretty strange" seeing his life condensed into a 75-minute documentary. "It's like your dad doing a surprise and inviting out all your friends and showing all your old family home movies of going on vacation and the clothes you wore, and then have all your friends complaining about what a poor playmate you were or what a brat you were," he says. A number of musicians who cite Bachman as an influence, including Neil Young, Paul Shaffer, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Alex Lifeson and Peter Frampton, also contribute to the documentary. Bachman is also promoting his new album, By George By Bachman -- Songs of George Harrison, which he has described as "his last all-original studio work." and a new movie called Taking Care of Business is currently in the works. Bachman says his son, Tal Bachman, who scored an alternative rock hit with "She's So High," has also joined his band and "they're talking about re-recording it for the women's movement because "the women in the audience don't sing 'she's so high'; they sing 'we're so high, we're high above you,' but they're pointing to the men." - Billboard, 5/31/18...... A private retreat in the Turks & Caicos Islands that is believed to be the only remaining property in Prince's real estate portfolio is being put up for sale. A New York auction house is taking sealed bids on the 5.7-acre (23,000 sq.-meter) property which is surrounded by water on three sides and includes several structures totaling more than 10,000 square feet (930 sq. meters). It includes two private beaches, a marina and a long, winding driveway painted purple. Prince bought the property in 2011 for $13 million, and it is expected to bring as much as $15 million. - AP, 5/29/18...... Former Police frontman Sting and his wife Trudie Styler were presented with honorary degrees during the 250th commencement at Brown University in Providence, R.I., on May 27. Sting and Styler were recognized for their work with the environmental organization the Rainforest Fund, to protect the world's rainforests, which they co-founded. - AP, 5/28/18...... Willie Nelson was forced to leave the stage before playing a note at a concert in Charlotte, N.C., on May 26 at the PNC Music Pavilion after the country/pop legend complained he was ill. After picking up his trusty acoustic guitar Trigger and briefly putting it on, Nelson set it back down, flung his cowboy hat into the crowd and left the stage. The 85 year-old singer could be seen walking out of the stage door after what was reportedly his second attempt to take the stage that night. A spokesman for Nelson said the following day that he was suffering from a "stomach bug" that prevented him from performing and that the Charlotte show will be rescheduled at a later date. The concert promoter also issued a statement saying "Fans are asked to please hold on to their tickets until the new date is announced." - Billboard, 5/28/18...... Graham NashGraham Nash is prepping a 2-disc compilation of his solo material and work with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young entitled Over the Years. The release, which hits stores June 29, features 15 tracks of Nash's greatest solo material, up to 2016's Myself At Last on one disc, and an equal number of demos from 1968-80. The latter disc includes rarities such as "Horses Through A Rainstorm," co-written with Terry Reid and originally targeted to join "Our House" on CSNY's Deja Vu, as well as "Man In The Mirror," "I Miss You," "Simple Man" and "Right Between The Eyes." "I realized there hadn't ever been a 'greatest hits' album of my music," Nash says, "so I decided that I would find out what my 15 most popular songs are and put them on. And then I thought, 'Well, everybody's got those,' so I decided I would put demos on here because I think people are kind of interested in what happens from a demo to an actual record." As for a potential CSN and/or Y reunion (the band has been dormant since 2015), Nash says "I don't know what's going on." "All I know is I'm here on my own trip now and having a great time. If someone comes to me, if Neil (Young) calls again and says, 'Hey Willy, man, I've got six great songs here. What do you want to do?' then we're off and running again. But until that happens, nothing's going on." - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Ginger Baker's son Kofi Baker, Jack Bruce's son Malcolm Bruce and Eric Clapton's nephew Will Johns have announced they will come together for the first time in the UK to pay homage to Cream's extraordinary legacy with "The Music Of Cream - 50th Anniversary World Tour." The four-date UK tour, which starts at the Glasgow O2 Academy on Nov. 23, celebrates 50 years since the original line-up's farewell UK concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov. 26, 1968. Other dates include the Leamgton Spa, Assembly (11/24), London's O2 Forum (11/25) and the Manchester Ritz on Nov. 26. The trio will share personal stories and perform songs such Cream classics as "Sunshine of Your Love," "Crossroads," "Spoonful" and White Room" performed across a comprehensive set, which will also see the three interplay with footage of their fathers and mentors on the big screen, along with never-before-seen footage and photos. Tickets are available via www.themjrgroup.com/moc50th/. - Noble PR, 5/29/18...... The iconic 80s Canadian rock band Glass Tiger, best known for their 1986 UK Top 40 hit single "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" and 1991's "My Town" featuring Rod Stewart, return to the UK for the first time in 27 years to play two rare concerts. The band last came to the UK when they supported Roxette on their 1991 nationwide UK tour. Glass Tiger play the University of London Union on Oct. 19, followed by the Rockingham Festival at Nottingham Trent University on Oct. 21. Tickets for the University of London concert can be booked from Eventbrite, Eventim, and Gigantic. Tickets for Glass Tiger's Rockingham Festival performance are available from Ticketsource. To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, earlier this year Glass Tiger released a new album entitled 31 which includes two new songs and re-imagined recordings of all their hit singles. - Noble PR, 5/29/18...... Russ Regan, the "golden-eared" A&R music exec best known for signing the likes of Elton John, Neil Diamond and Barry White, among many others, has died following a series of health problems. He was 89. The 30-year industry veteran had been hospitalized this spring following surgery for a pacemaker, and his battles with cancer and other ailments even led to a GoFundMe campaign to help his family cover hospital expenses. In 1965, Mr. Regan joined the Warner Bros. soul imprint Loma as general manager, and two years later took over at the fledgling Uni Records, owned by MCA, where he proceeded to transform it into a powerhouse by signing both Diamond and John, as well as guiding other artists like Strawberry Alarm Clock ("Incense and Peppermints") and Hugh Masekela to mainstream success. Mr. Regan signed John to Uni in 1970 and played an integral part in introducing the British piano man to U.S. audiences during the elaborate promotional campaign for his second studio album (but first in the U.S.), which included breakthrough single "Your Song." On Twitter, Elton John paid tribute to Mr. Regan, saying thanks for "believing in me and helping launch my career." In 1972, Mr. Regan jumped ship to 20th Century Records where he launched then producer Barry White's singing career, and in 1977 he launched Parachute Records in a working partnership with Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records. He also did extensive work as a music supervisor or consultant for numerous films including The Karate Kid, Breakin', All the Right Moves and Flashdance, among others. - Billboard, 5/29/18...... Jimmy PageLed Zeppelin's Jimmy Page has persuaded authorities in the affluent Holland Park area of West London to postpone a decision on pop star Robbie Williams' plan for an underground gym and swimming pool. Page and the former Take That boy band member have been feuding for years over Williams' plans to extend his home, which Page says could damage his own 19th-century Gothic-revival mansion, Tower House, which features ornate tiling, plasterwork and stained glass. Page says Tower House could be damaged by vibrations from construction work. Page says he's careful to only play acoustic guitars in the home, which he bought in 1972 from actor Richard Harris, however Williams counters the construction work "will result in absolute minimal impact" to neighboring properties. At a meeting on May 30, the Kensington and Chelsea Council's planning committee decided not to grant Williams planning permission until it received further legal assurances. Page said he was "really pleased at the outcome" and the council's consideration for the house. "I'm only the custodian to pass it on to the next person in the same way I bought it from Richard Harris," he said. - AP, 5/30/18...... Australian guitar legend Phil Emmanuel died on May 24 in the Australian town of Parkes after a sudden asthma attack. He was 65. Revered for his versatility on the electric guitar, Emmanuel shared a stage with the greats of country, jazz and rock 'n' roll over 50-year-plus career, from Dolly Parton to Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Dire Straits, The Shadows, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Barnes, Carlos Santana and many more. The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games provided a career highlight for Emmanuel and his younger brother and regular bandmate Tommy Emmanuel as they performed at the Closing Ceremony, and the pair reunited again in late 2010 for a 50th anniversary tour. In 1991, Phil was inducted into Australia's Country Music Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 5/28/18...... Former US astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth man to walk on the Moon, has died in a Houston, Tex. hospital at the age of 86, his family has said. Mr. Bean also commanded the second Skylab crew in 1973 and went on in retirement to become an accomplished artist, producing paintings that were inspired by space. A former US Navy test pilot, Mr. Bean was selected by NASA as a trainee in 1963 and went into space twice, the first time in Nov. 1969 as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 Moon-landing mission. He later described how complex and risky the mission had been: "It was more science fiction to us, I think, than it was to the average public." Mr. Bean retired from NASA in 1981 and carved a successful career as an artist. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust. The three astronauts who preceded Alan Bean to the moon's surface were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in July 1969, and Charles Conrad who was also on the Apollo 12 mission. Of the four men, only Aldrin is still alive, now aged 88. Mr. Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister and two children from a previous marriage. - BBC.com, 5/27/18.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

In a new interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Ozzy Osbourne says he sometimes has a hard time remembering his age. "The hardest thing about getting old is all my good friends are dead," said Osbourne. "My problem, really, is I don't remember I'm 70. I don't really know what 70-year-old people are supposed to do. So I just do my own thing," he added. However, Ozzy is actually 69 and doesn't turn 70 until Dec. 3 -- a good six months away. The Black Sabbath frontman, a resident of Los Angeles since 1997, also said he'd "like to move back to England someday." "The weather is great here, but it's so easy to fall into the LA bulls--t," he said. "All the newspapers say I'm ill. F--- off! I'm on the front of the National Enquirer, like: 'Ozzy is dying, his last words were 'Eugh'." Osbourne will return to his native UK in June to headline the Downfold Festival, where he'll be headlining (on June 10) with Guns N' Roses and Avenged Sevenfold. - New Musical Express, 5/26/18...... HairAfter the success of its Jesus Christ Superstar - Live In Concert musical on Apr. 1, NBC has announced on May 22 that its next live production will be another hippie generation favorite -- the Broadway musical "Hair." "I'm overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece 'Hair', one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores," said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt at a presser. "These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I'm looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters." "Hair" has been revived several times since its original 1968 Broadway run, most recently with a celebrity-studded staging at the Hollywood Bowl and earned a film adaptation from Milos Forman in 1979. It tackled the Vietnam War, drugs, race, gender and sexual identity in a manner few mainstream musicals did at the time. The brief nudity in most stagings was also rather revolutionary when it first debuted, however don't expect that to make its way onto broadcast TV even in the spring of 2019, when Hair - Live In Concert is set to air. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/24/18...... Also celebrating an anniversary in 2018, its 20th, is the 1998 glam-rock tribute Velvet Goldmine. Director Todd Haynes' film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1998 and tells the story (loosely based on David Bowie, Iggy Pop and their fellow '70s-era glam rockers) of the rise and fall of a dazzling fictional rock star Brian Slade (stage persona Maxwell Demon). Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette, Christian Bale and Eddie Izzard, the movie's soundtrack itself served as the ideal beginner's guide for anyone looking to explore everything the '70s glam era had to offer, featuring music from the likes of Brian Eno, T. Rex, New York Dolls, Roxy Music, Lou Reed and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel. - Billboard, 5/23/18...... An all-star lineup of actors, comedians, and musicians including Laurie Anderson and Steve Buscemi celebrated Bob Dylan's 77th birthday on May 24 with a reimagination of Dylan's 1963 Town Hall Concert at the same NYC venue where the concert was originally held. "Tomorrow is a Long Time: Songs From Bob Dylan's 1963 Town Hall Concert" featured former Rolling Stones backup singer Lisa Fischer ripping through "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and Bill Murray showing up unnannounced for a reading of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." The event paid tribute to Dylan's April 23, 1963, show when a 21-year-old Dylan performed in front of one thousand people at Town Hall. - Billboard, 5/25/18...... The Rolling Stones played their first hometown gig in London in five years on May 22, delivering "Start Me Up," "Gimme Shelter," "Sympathy for the Devil" and other big hits. Five songs into the show, frontman Mick Jagger stressed how good it was for the Stones to be playing a proper show in the city that bred them, a sentiment he'd repeat several times throughout the evening. Opening for the Stones was Liam Gallagher, who plowed through a brief set featuring the occasional Oasis cut and tracks off his 2017 solo LP As You Were. But the concert was not without its hitches -- a great number of fans took to Twitter to voice their frustration at being refused entry due to the size of their bags at London Stadium. Many complained about the queues, being turned away, having to pay to store their bags, or simply abandoning their bags altogether, even though a statement on London Stadium's website reads: "The Rolling Stones along with its touring partners and host venues strongly encourages fans to not bring any type of bags to our live performances. For ALL of the upcoming European performances, fans will be able to carry the following style and size bag, package, or container when approaching queue lines of fans awaiting entry into the venue." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 5/23/18...... John FogertyJohn Fogerty has enlisted ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons to record a gritty new rocker called "Holy Grail" that will be released digitally on June 8 and is the first track from Fogerty's next album, which he's currently writing and hopes to enter the studio to begin recording this fall. Fogerty says that the song was the result of a short session he and Gibbons did during late February and posted on Facebook to promote his coheadlinging summer tour with Gibbons, which kicked off on May 25 in Atlantic City. "We played short versions of a few of each of our songs," Fogerty recalls, "and even before that, as the (tour announcement) was going to happen I began to think, 'Y'know, we ought to write a song and record it kind of in honor of this tour.'" The two met up at Fogerty's house not long after that, though he wound up doing the heavy lifting due to Gibbons' busy schedule. "I got a track recorded and then Billy came in and put his voice and guitar on it. I probably would've had this thing come out two months ago, but we haven't quite started the tour yet. So by this Friday we'll start to really groove on the song," says Fogerty, who adds the song's title comes from what he thought it would be like standing on the stage playing guitar with Gibbons. For his part, Gibbons says "it's not an overstatement to say that writing a song with John Fogerty is a genuine bonus" and the song "begs a shout of, 'Turn it up!'" Fogerty says he expects the joint tour to be "a lot of fun" and plans to play "Holy Grail" with Gibbons, and hopefully more. - Billboard, 5/24/18...... Peter Frampton is among the artists paying tribute to the Small Faces' 1968 LP Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, which hit stores on May 24, 1968. "Ogdens' was the best Small Faces album for me," Frampton tells Billboard. "It was just after its release that I first met Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, and there was talk of me joining the band as the fifth member as well. They were always one of my most favourite bands from, "Whatcha Gonna Do About It," onwards. This album's great material and concept are what made it their finest work. Its eye catching round cover made it unique before you even heard the music. Love this record!!," Frampton added. Bassist Lane, keyboardist Ian McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones would eventually form the Faces in 1970 with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, and Marriott became the frontman for Frampton's former band, Humble Pie, in 1969. - Billboard, 5/24/18...... The estate of Michael Jackson is slamming the ABC special The Last Days of Michael Jackson, which aired on the network on May 24. The estate says the special is not sponsored or approved by Jackson's heirs, and will most likely violate their intellectual property rights. "We believe the special to be another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music and image of Michael Jackson without respect for Michael's legacy, intellectual property rights or his children," the estate said in a statement. The estate said ABC used a copyrighted silhouette and photo to promote the special, but stopped after demands from Jackson attorneys, and also used other other intellectual property without permission, including music, photos and artwork. "It is particularly disheartening that (ABC owner) Disney, a company known to strongly believe in protecting its own IP rights, would choose to ignore these rights belonging to the Estate," the statement added. Representatives for ABC owner Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. - AP, 5/23/18...... As the trailer for the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was shared on the Internet in late May and criticized by some fans for leaving out any mention of frontman Freddie Mercury's alleged bisexuality, Queen's latest frontman Adam Lambert says he doesn't know how "in the closet" Freddie actually was. "I mean it was like another time where it was just taboo to even discuss it in the media," Lambert says. "I think it might have been interpreted as him being tongue-in-cheek, but he sort of owned it from the get-go." Lambert, who was the openly first gay man to have a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, is currently on a summer tour with Queen throughout Europe, before the group comes to Las Vegas for a limited three-week residency at the Park Theater. - Billboard, 5/23/18...... John McEuenBanjo player extraordinaire and producer John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame has just released a new memoir, The Life I've Picked: A Banjo Player's Nitty Gritty Journey. The comprehensively illustrated 328-page tome, with more than 70 photos, details the 72-year-old California native's rich musical career, from becoming a teenage banjoist to his longtime membership in the NGDB to his work with high school pal Steve Martin on "King Tut" and Martin's Grammy Award-winning LP The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo. McEuen says the Eagles have always been respectful of him and the Dirt Band for helping to forge a path they followed to their success. "I think we helped open that road a bit for them. Glenn Frey and the other guy, (Don) Henley, both gave credit to the Dirt Band. Actually, (Frey's) Longbranch Pennywhistle opened for us for a week at the Troubadour. That scene in southern California was the most overlooked scene in the country.... It was an exciting time." After leaving the NGDB for a second time late last year, McEuen is still active as a solo artist leading his own band. - Billboard, 5/23/18...... Fifty years after the Beatles' psychedelic animated movie classic, Yellow Submarine, hit theaters, Titan Comics is prepping a graphic novel take on the trippy adventure. In this Apple-approved version, The Simpsons comics artist Bill Morrison re-tells the story of the cheerful, music-loving underwater world Pepperland's invasion by the marauding, music-hating Blue Meanies, who turn the citizens into statues by shooting arrows that drop green apples on their heads while imprisoning Pepperland's guardians, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in a soundproof globe. The Beatles Yellow Submarine will be released Aug. 28, and its trailer can be viewed on EW.com. - Billboard, 5/23/18...... Roger Clark, a drummer who contributed to the legendary "Muscle Shoals sound" by contributing to albums by the likes of Tom Jones, Paul Anka, Lou Rawls and others died of a heart attack on May 24 at home. He was 67. Clark played his first paying gig at 14, going on to work in studios in Muscle Shoals and Nashville, and worked at FAME Recording Studios and Wishbone Recording Studio in the 1970s and '80s. Clark was also an inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, which says he drummed on more than 30 gold and platinum albums and toured with the Steve Miller Band, Journey and the Pointer Sisters, among others. - AP, 5/25/18...... Glenn Snoddy, a Nashville recording engineer who is credited with inventing the guitar fuzz pedal, died on May 21 at age 96. Mr. Snoddy was one of Nashville's top engineers beginning in the 1940s, and in the 1960s he constructed a guitar pedal that was housed in a structure that was similar to a box in an attempt to recreate a distorted sound that occured during a Marty Robbins recording session for the song "Don't Worry." All musicians would have to do was to push a button to distort the sound. The Gibson Company heard it, bought the rights to it and manufactured the Maestro Fuzz-Tone. Mr. Snoddy was also responsible for hiring a newcomer to town from Texas to be a janitor at Quonset Hut Studios in Nashville, where he was employed. His name was Kris Kristofferson. Mr. Snoddy, a U.S. Army veteran who served his country during World War II and earned three bronze stars, will be buried with full military honors. - Billboard, 5/23/18...... Philip RothAuthor Philip Roth, the prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, from the comic madness of Portnoy's Complaint to the elegiac lyricism of American Pastoral, died of congestive heart failure in a New York City hospital on May 22. He was 85. Author of more than 25 books, Mr. Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, and among the greatest writers never to win the Nobel Prize. But he received virtually every other literary honor, including two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle prizes and, in 1998, the Pulitzer for American Pastoral. He was in his 20s when he won his first award and awed critics and fellow writers by producing some of his most acclaimed novels in his 60s and 70s, including The Human Stain and Sabbath's Theater, a savage narrative of lust and mortality he considered his finest work. Mr. Roth identified himself as an American writer, not a Jewish one, but for Mr. Roth the American experience and the Jewish experience were often the same. After receiving a master's degree in English from the University of Chicago, he began publishing stories in The Paris Review and elsewhere. As narrated by Alexander Portnoy, from a psychiatrist's couch, Roth's novel Portnoy's Complaint satirized the dull expectations heaped upon "nice Jewish boys" and immortalized the most ribald manifestations of sexual obsession. Although Portnoy's Complaint was banned in Australia, many critics welcomed the novel as a declaration of creative freedom. The novel sold millions, making Mr. Roth wealthy and famous, and it was later turned into a movie adaptation, along with his novella Goodbye, Columbus. After his disastrous second marriage to British actress Claire Bloom ended, Mr. Roth threw himself back into writing. Now in his 60s, he wrote three of his better novels, American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain, focusing on American cultural history and several traumatic moments. - The New York Times/AP, 5/23/18.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Rolling Stones kicked off their European tour on May 17 at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland with the classic "Sympathy for the Devil," the first in a 19-song setlist that also included "Tumbling Dice," "Paint It Black," and an audience request, "Wild Horses." The band also performed its 1981 track "Neighbours" for the first time since 2003, and encored with "Gimme Shelter" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." The Stones' "No Filter Tour" hits their native England in the last week of May, playing two shows at the London Stadium where they'll be respectively supported by Liam Gallagher and Florence & The Machine. - New Musical Express, 5/18/18...... Michael JacksonThe Jacksons have been confirmed to headline the Detroit Music Weekend on June 14-17, where they will also be honored with a key to the city and Michael Jackson will have a street renamed in his honor. The city announced on May 17 that a downtown block will be renamed Michael Jackson Ave., however Marlon Jackson says it was his understanding the street was "supposed to be" renamed for the entire group and "I think it is going to be that. There was a mistake." While Detroit has a city ordinance that requires any honorary street naming to be for an individual only, sources said that talks were underway to allow for an exception to that. Detroit Music Weekend founder and producer Vince Paul says he wanted to start with Michael and "if I had my druthers there'll be [streets named for] Tito, Jackie, Marlon... That's where I'm going with it." In 2017, Aretha Franklin was the recipient of a street naming during the festival, and there are also plans to rename street after other legendary Detroit acts including The Tempations, The Four Tops and The Supremes. In addition to the Jacksons' free public performance on June 16, a Jacksons tribute concert to the group will take place on June 15. More than 500 performers are expected to play during the festival, including former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... In other Jacksons-related news, ABC has announced it will broadcast a two-hour Michael Jackson special dedicated to his live and legacy on May 24, ahead of next year's 10th anniversary of his death. The Last Days of Michael Jackson will feature never-before-seen interviews he did with Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, as well as conversations with his friends and family. The special airs on ABC on May 24 at 8:00 p.m. EST. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... In related news, NBC announced on May 17 it will broadcast a 50th anniversary tribute to Elvis Presley's iconic "1968 comeback" special sometime in 2019. The special is set to feature some of today's biggest music artists recreating the spectacle and the staging of the original Singer Presents... ELVIS show. Additionally, the two-hour broadcast will include rare footage of the superstar and interviews from those who were involved in the event 50 years ago. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... The George Clinton-fronted '70s funk band Parliament has released Medicaid Fraud Dogg, its first LP in 38 years. The first single from the lengthy 23-track album, "I'm Gon Make U Sick of Me" featuring Scarface, was released earlier in 2018. Clinton says Parliament's twin band Funkadelic had the last release, First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate, and now "it's Parliament's turn." Clinton recently announced his intention to retire from touring in 2019, saying that the decision had been coming for "a long time," but due to P-Funk's legacy, "They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." - Billboard, 5/22/18...... Roger DaltreyThe Who frontman Roger Daltrey had some harsh words for UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a recent interview with Britain's Event magazine. "Jeremy Corbyn is not a socialist. He's a communist," Daltrey said. "Be honest about that and see how many votes you get, Jeremy, because otherwise, you're going to be moving in to Downing Street under a false premise." Daltrey also weighed in on Brexit, saying "what I'm against is Brussels, not the EU. I can't live with that because we lost people in my family fighting for our right to be democratic." About the #MeToo movement, Daltrey argued that rock stars don't sexually harass women because they don't "need" to. "Why would any rock star need to push themselves on women?" he said. "Usually, it's the other way around. I'd like to have £1 for every woman that screws my ass. Mick Jagger would be a billionaire out of it. If it was going to be in the rock business, it would've been out by now. It would've been out a long time ago. I find this whole thing so obnoxious. It's always allegations and it's just salacious crap." Daltrey will release his first solo LP in 25 years, As Long As I Have You, on June 1. - New Musical Express, 5/20/18...... Elton John performed for guests at the wedding reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19. Sir Elton was among 600 people invited to the reception, and according to Kensington Palace, "performed for the newly married couple in recognition of the close connection he has with Prince Harry and his family." The palace did not disclose which songs that John, who was made a knight in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, chose for the occasion. Elton was a close friend of Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, and performed the song "Candle in the Wind" with recast lyrics at her funeral in 1997. In other Elton John news, the singer has joined the Swedish startup company Auddly co-owned by songwriters Max Martin and ABBA's Bjrn Ulvaeus as an official ambassador for the company. "It's time to realize that we need to manage our metadata more efficiently to overcome the challenges preventing creators from getting paid correctly, and I support Auddly in its efforts towards a more sustainable music industry," said John in a press release. Auddly aims to solve the problem of accurately identifying and paying songwriters for streamed compositions, and in the past year has entered into partnerships with some of the world's most powerful music companies and organizations, including Universal Music Publishing Group, ASCAP, PRS and STIM. - AP/Billboard, 5/19/18...... Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band have announced the first 13 rescheduled dates from their 2017 Runaway Train tour after frontman Seger was forced to postpone the tour halfway through due to spinal surgery in October. The first rescheduled show takes place Nov. 24 in Kansas City, with the remaining dates rolling into late February. Seger is reportedly feeling good and fully recovered from cervical laminectomy surger to repair a ruptured disc. The remaining 7 dates that were also postponed are expected to be announced soon. Seger will continue to promote his latest album, I Knew You When, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Current Rock Albums chart and No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 200. - Billboard, 5/21/18...... Ronnie Van ZantThe state of Florida has just erected a historical marker at the Jacksonville home of Southern rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special. The house is located at 5419 Woodcrest Road, one block off Lake Shore Boulevard, in a blue-collar neighborhood that Ronnie, Donnie and Johnnie Van Zant grew up in before forming Lynyrd Skynyrd, the reformed Skynyrd, and .38 Special, respectively. Jacksonville Beach entrepreneur Todd Smith bought the property and worked with the state to get the marker, which was officially unveiled to the public May 12. Smith says he found the house while looking for property in the area, learned about its history and decided something needed to be done to officially acknowledge it. He says he has plans to restore the house to look like a time capsule from the '70s, complete with an avocado-green rotary-dial phone and a wooden console stereo with an eight-track player and several Skynyrd eight-tracks that still sound just fine. Those touches fit in with the acoustical tile ceilings and the wood paneling on the walls, where Smith will place Skynyrd memorabilia where once the Van Zant parents hung gold records. - AP, 5/21/18...... Steven Tyler admitted he's spent "about $2 million" on drugs throughout his life during a game of "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts" on CBS's The Late Late Show with James Corden on May 17. The premise of the game is that host James Corden gets to pick a disgusting item for the celeb to eat if they refuse to answer a juicy question, and Tyler opted for honesty when having to eat head cheese or answer a question about how much he'd spent on drugs throughout his life. After saying he'd spent "about $2 million," the Aerosmith frontman joked that he'd "snorted half of Peru." Later, Tyler also admitted to having hit on his actress daughter Liv Tyler's friend, Cameron Diaz, rather than eat a dried out caterpillar. - JustJared.com, 5/18/18...... Founding Judas Priest member KK Downing's share of the royalty rights to over 130 Judas Priest tracks, including metal hits "Breaking The Law," "Living After Midnight" and "Painkiller," are being put for sale following the demise of a luxury golf resort in Shropshire, UK, that Downing invested in. In late 2017, the resort business fell into administration (similar to Chapter 11 insolvency in the U.S.) and the 320-acre estate was put up for immediate sale with an asking price of more than £10 million ($13.5 million). At the time, administrators blamed "tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market" for placing "unsustainable pressure" on the business. Astbury Hall and its golf course has since been acquired by new owners. The next part of the bankruptcy process involves the sale of Downing's share of the royalty rights to 136 Judas Priest songs, which administrators FRP Advisory LLP say generates between $340,000 and $400,000 per year. Downing hasn't been a member of Judas Priest since 2011, when he left the band citing a breakdown in relationships between members and dissatisfaction with the group's live performances. Judas Priest is set to kick off a 25-city co-headlining North American tour behind its latest LP Firepower with Deep Purple that's slated to kick off on Aug. 21 in Cincinnati, Oh. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... Tom JohnstonThe Doobie Brothers kicked off a 32-city coheadlining summer tour with Steely Dan on May 19 in Atlanta, and Doobies frontman Tom Johnston says the veteran rock band still feels adrenaline from the audience every night. "It's pretty much the interacting with the crowd, that is still the pinnacle right there," Johnston says. "That's why we keep doing what we do, because we love playing for people live. And the more action you get out of the crowd, I guess you could call it reciprocal, action back from the crowd, the better the gig is. And that's something that we always strive for every night." Johnston added that his touring partners Steely Dan "sounds as good or better than they ever did" despite the loss of Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker. "It's basically all about Donald (Fagen) right now," Johnston says. "And he's got a band assembled with really great players. A couple of gals singing background, horn section, and they nail the stuff. I mean it sounds like a record. It's just incredible." Johnston says he's particularly looking forward to a Sep. 22 date at Petco Park in San Diego when his group and the Zac Brown Band will be the openers for the Eagles. "They sound great, they've got a great visual show going, but if they didn't have the visual show, it wouldn't matter. They're sounding really good. We played with them last year at Dodgers Stadium, and then in New York at Citi Field." The Doobies have also been spending some time in the recording studio, working on a new album, says the band's John McFee. "That's our plan. We do want to make some new music. As a matter of fact, we have gone in and already cut four songs." - Billboard, 5/18/18...... Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, died on May 19 from complications with his heart in New York City. He was 65. After playing with Davis in the '70s, Lucas began a musical partnership with percussionist James Mtume. Together they wrote hits like Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's "The Closer I Get to You" -- later covered by Beyonce and Luther Vandross -- and Stephanie Mills' "Never Knew Love Like This Before," which won the duo the Grammy for best R&B song. Lucas went on to produce the majority of Madonna's 1983 self-titled debut album, which sold more than 5 million units and included the hits "Borderline" and "Lucky Star." In addition to his daughter, Lucas is survived by his wife Leslie Lucas; his son Julian Lucas; his mother Annie Wolinsky; and his brother Greg Lucas. - AP, 5/19/18...... Actor Clint Walker, best known for his role as cowboy hero Cheyenne Bodie on the hit 1950's western series Cheyenne, died suddenly on May 21, apparently after a heart problem. He was 90. Mr. Walker first made his mark on Hollywood by landing a role in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, and also starred in such films as None But the Brave, Small Soldiers, The White Buffalo, Pancho Villa, Yellowstone Kelly and The Great Bank Robbery, as well as as the TV series Kodiak. His last credit was 1998's Small Soldiers, in which he voiced the character Nick Nitro. Mr. Walker cheated death in 1971 when the tip of a ski pole pierced his heart during a vacation in Mammoth, Calif. The hulking actor made an amazing recovery and was back at work filming in Spain two months later. - WENN.com, 5/22/18...... Andy WarholInterview magazine, the publication founded by British journalist John Wilcock and pop art icon Andy Warhol in 1969, announced on May 21 that it is ending both its print and web publications after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In 1989, billionaire art collector and Warhol admirer Peter Brant purchased the glossy art and culture magazine from Warhol's estate. According to the New York Post, the magazine was evicted from its Soho office in February after Brant Publications apparently stopped paying the landlord. Interview was once dubbed "The Crystal Ball of Pop Culture" because of its iconic covers and lengthy, often freewheeling interviews with artists and people of note conducted by their celebrity peers. - Spin.com, 5/22/18...... Legendary movie poster artist Bill Gold, whose artworks included Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Dog Day Afternoon and decades' worth of Clint Eastwood films, died of natural causes at his home on Old Greenwich, Conn., on May 20. He was 97. Mr. Gold revolutionized the art of the movie poster over a seven-decade career that began at Warner Bros. in the early 1940s, and he had a hand in more than 2,000 posters during his iconic career, working on films for everyone from Alfred Hitchcock (1954's Dial M for Murder), Elia Kazan (1955's East of Eden) and Federico Fellini (1963's 8 1/2) to Sam Peckinpah (1969's The Wild Bunch), Robert Altman (1971's McCabe & Mrs. Miller) and Martin Scorsese (1990's GoodFellas). The Brooklyn native received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Hollywood Reporter during its 1994 Key Art Awards ceremony. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/21/18.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Elton John is reportedly set to serenade Prince Harry and Meghan Markle onstage as the two tie the knot at a Royal Wedding set for May 19 in Windsor, Berkshire. It is not known if Sir Elton, who was a close friend of the late Princess Diana and has been close to the royal family for years, will play during the ceremony or the reception. John famously delivered a rewritten version of "Candle in the Wind" as a heart wrenching tribute at Diana's funeral in 1997. - TMZ.com/Billboard, 5/16/18...... The Rock and Roll Playhouse, a family concert tour hosted at the Brooklyn Bowl, The Capitol Theatre and other New York venues, has announced it will stage 16 Grateful Dead-themed shows on Father's Day weekend as it expands across the U.S. in 2018 with shows in Los Angeles, Nashville, Tenn., Boulder, Col. and Berkely, Calif. At a typical concert, a band of local musicians dive into covers of music by the featured acts as the kids frolic underneath a parachute to the beat of the drums or hula-hoop on the sidelines. A spokesperson says this summer's Rock and Roll Playhouse show in New York City will feature the music of such artists as David Bowie, Van Morrison, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Simon & Garfunkle, among others. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... Jeff BeckJeff Beck is the subject of an upcoming documentary of his life called Still on the Run: The Jeff Beck Story which covers the guitar legend's life from his days in The Yardbirds through his solo career, with rock legends including his rival Eric Clapton paying tribute. Beck has told Rolling Stone magazine that he was surprised Clapton agreed to take part in the doc. "I must admit there was a tear -- especially with Eric," Beck says. "I never expected him to bother to be in it. I studied his face over and over, just to make sure there wasn't something else going on [laughs]. But no, it was just overwhelming." Beck added that he learned from Clapton's former wife, Patti Boyd, that "there definitely was [rivalry]" between the two, "especially with the Stevie Wonder stuff. He was not too amused about me doing something successful with Stevie. I think that maybe got under his skin a bit." - New Musical Express, 5/17/18...... Speaking of Stevie Wonder, the Motown legend has announced he will play five shows in Las Vegas this summer at the Park Theater starting Aug. 3. The 5,300-seat venue is located at the Park MGM casino-resort, formerly known as the Monte Carlo. It previously hosted the residencies of Cher and Ricky Martin. - AP, 5/16/18...... A two day Julien's auction featuring memorabilia from the likes of Prince, Bob Dylan and George Harrison will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe New York and online during the third weekend in May. The first auction day, on May 18, is dedicated to Prince, the musical legend who died in April 2016. The items include a guitar the artist had commissioned, as well as a number of outfits he wore at different performances, and handwritten lyrics. The second day's items on May 19 include guitars played by Dylan and Harrison, as well as costumes and jewelry. - AP, 5/15/18...... Iggy Pop will be among the headliners at the 2018 Cal Jam festival, set for Oct. 6 at Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Calif. In 2017, alternative band Foo Fighters helped revive the long-forgotten festival that took place in the '70. Its 1974 concert boasted such rock giants as Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Eagles. In addition to Pop, the Foo Fighters will also be headlining the upcoming Cal Jam, along with Tenacious D, Garbage, Silversun Pickups and Manchester Orchestra. Pop will be reuniting with his former backing band Post Pop Depression during his performance. - Billboard, 5/14/18...... Bob Dylan has announced he will kick off his 2018 summer tour in Asia at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 29, 40 years since his first tour of Japan. The festival, held at Naeba Ski Resort, marks Dylan's 101st performance in Japan. After Japan, his tour travels to Hong Kong on Aug. 4 and Singapore on Aug. 6. - Billboard, 5/15/18...... Nick LowePower pop artist Nick Lowe will release a new EP with Los Straightjackets entitled "Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside" this summer which will feature a cover of Dionne Warwick's 1982 Bee Gees-written (and produced) his "Heartbreaker." Lowe says his easygoing, laid-back version of "Heartbreaker" was a song he played during soundchecks on tour "...something we might play before the show. I always thought it was a really, really great song, and like a lot of Bee Gees songs it really has got sort of hidden depth. I'm a great fan of the Bee Gees; You don't necessarily know what they're singing about a lot of the time, but they just make this fantastic sound and a lot of their songs are really soulful when you strip them all back. And that song 'Heartbreaker' I always thought was a really soulful song. I just started doing it in the soundchecks and then the Straitjackets liked it. They said, 'Let's have a go at doing that' and it really turned out well, I thought." Lowe's new EP will drop June 15 via Yep Roc Records, a week before he kicks off a US summer tour with Los Straightjackets in Jersey City, N.J., on June 22. Lowe says although releasing EPs "was a perfectly legitmate thing to do" in the early days of his career in England, he adds he "doesn't know if anyone buys EPs nowadays -- or albums anymore... everything about the marketing of records nowadays is a complete mystery to me." - Billboard, 5/16/18...... Interviewed at the Global Creators Summit during Canadian Music Week 2018 in Toronto on May 12, legendary producer Steve Lillywhite shared his memories working with such iconic artists as the Rolling Stones, U2, David Byrne and more. Lillywhite said that he was referred to the Stones by Elton John, "who is always on everything," and he went over to Paris and got the job. "So I was brought in by Mick Jagger, but the very funny thing, when I walked into the studio saying hi to all the engineer guys, everyone has these lock knives. Not great knives, it was just a thing to do. Two weeks later, I had my own. You become part of the whole scene [laughs]. I was brought in by Mick, but it was much cooler to hang out with Keith [Richards]. Lillywhite is currently living in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he is running a CD and sports shop, and recently worked on his ninth U2 album and has been producing Indonesian acts. - Billboard, 5/15/18...... In more Rolling Stones news, it has been revealed that the name of the investigation into Pres. Donald Trump's alleged ties with Russia was inspired by the Stones track "Jumpin' Jack Flash." During the pre-election stages of the investigation, it was known as "Crossfire Hurricane" -- a lyric lifted from the band's 1969 classic. Now, The New York Times has confirmed that the code name was in fact a direct reference to the track. "[The lyric] was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau," according to a report entitled "The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation." An accompanying post also states that Keith Richards is to thank for the words. "In his book Keith Richards: The Biography, [author Victor] Bockris wrote that Mr. Richards was born amid the bombing and air raid sirens of Dartford, England, in 1943 at the height of World War II. 'I was born with those sirens,' he said." Now run by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the investigation is no longer known by the Stones-inspired name. Meanwhile, in an interview with the BBC on May 16, Keith Richards revealed that he once "stuck a knife in a table" in order to "get rid of" private citizen Trump as the promoter of one of their shows. "He [Trump] was the promoter for us in Atlantic City," Richards said. "[It was billed as] 'Donald Trump presents The Rolling Stones' [with the band's name written in miniature]. I got out my trusty blade, stuck it in the table and said: 'You have to get rid of this man!'" Richards added that "now America has to get rid of him. Don't say I didn't warn you!" - New Musical Express, 5/16/18...... Freddie MercuryThe first trailer for the long-awaited Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was released on May 15. It opens with Freddie Mercury, played by actor Rami Malek, wearing a fluttering white cape, engaging in the familiar call-and-response with an audience that was one of Queen's signature live concert staple moves, before cutting to snippets of Malek as Mercury in a gold lame jumpsuit, a black leather outfit and shirtless while wielding the late singer's iconic half microphone stand as the instantly recognizable strains of "Another One Bites the Dust" kick in. The trailer then depicts Mercury's first meeting with guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and then to a scene in which Brian May plays the central "Rhapsody" riff in the studio and Mercury informs him from the mixing board "this is where the operatic section comes in." The trailer peaks with a glimpse of the massive crowd at Wembley Stadium in 1985 when Queen leaped into history with their unforgettable set at Live Aid. Bohemian Rhapsody will hit theaters on Nov. 2. - Billboard, 5/15/18...... Def Leppard has announced it is teaming up with Seattle's Elysian Brewing Company to craft "Def Leppard Pale," a brand new brew that will make its debut on May 23, the second date of Def Leppard's upcoming coheadlining summer tour with Journey. The potent 6% ABV beer will be available at most stops on their tour, as well as select bars and restaurants. "The best of British beer is the malt body and that beautiful malt balance. And the best thing about American beer is the citrus, piney hops," says Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott. "So we've taken those two aspects, put them together and come up with a beer you can actually drink a few of -- 6% ABV you can drink all night long." The Def Leppard/Journey tour kicks off May 21 and runs through Oct. 7. - Billboard, 5/14/18...... Metallica performed a funky cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" when their current world tour hit Stockholm, Sweden, in early May. Metallica are currently covering tunes relevant to the city they're playing in each night, and when in Norway they offered up a version of A-Ha's "Take On Me." - New Musical Express, 5/9/18...... In a new post on his official Facebook page, Neil Young says he's leaving the popular social media site to focus on expanding his NeilYoungArchives.com site, which he describes as "a giant time machine cabinet filled with "albums and tracks, bits and pieces, manuscripts and art, film and video." "Each song is being backed up with the archival material that relates to it and to the creation of it, from song writing, to band jams, the history of this music is there," Young continues. "It's never finished, it is huge and growing. We work night and day expanding the window you can see this archival stuff through. The musician added that as of June 1, he plans to charge $1.99 a month, or $19.99 a year for access to NeilYoungArchives.com. "If you want to hear my music and would like to have the option to listen to it with all the depth and glory of high resolution, it will be there," he says. "All my new records can be heard there first, before they get released anywhere else. New unreleased albums from the archives, old unreleased albums from the archives. Will always be heard there first." Young will kick off a 2018 summer tour on June 28 in St. Louis, also visiting Chicago (6/30, 7/1), Detroit (7/3) and Detroit (7/11, 7/12). - Spin.com, 5/14/18...... Lindsey BuckinghamDuring a show in Los Feliz, Calif., on May 11, former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham addressed his departure from the iconic rock band. "I have sadly taken leave of my band of 43 years, Fleetwood Mac. This was not something that was really my doing or my choice," Buckingham said. "I think what you would say is that there were factions within the band that had lost their perspective. It harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build," he said of the group's decision, "and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one's higher truth and one's higher destiny." Buckingham refrained from commenting when one audience member yelled "F--- Stevie Nicks." Buckingham was performing at a campaign fundraiser for Mike Levin, a California Democratic congressional candidate. On Apr. 9, Fleetwood Mac issued a statement saying that Buckingham "will not be performing with the band" on its upcoming tour, and "wishes Lindsey the best."I t was also revealed that he would be replaced by former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn on tour. - Billboard, 5/12/18...... A Prince symphony concert series was announced on May 16, with the funk/rock icon's hits performed by a full symphony orchestra. "4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince" will be co-curated by Questlove of The Roots and feature guest vocalists as well as videos and photos provided by Prince's estate. The 32 concert run will get underway on Sept. 6 in New Brunswick, N.J., and wrap on Oct. 19 in San Antonio, Tex. - New Musical Express, 5/16/18...... A new Robin Williams autobiography dubbed Robin by New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff was released on May 15. Itzkoff shows how Williams's comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. Itzkoff also shows how the former Mork & Mindy star struggled mightily with addiction and depression topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. - Macmillan.com, 5/15/18...... Billy Joel's ex-wife Christie Brinkley was spotted chatting with Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, N.Y., on May 13. It's unclear what they were discussing, but Brinkley once claimed Donald Trump hit on her one time while he was married to Ivana Trump, and when she was dating Billy Joel. She said Trump invited her to Aspen on his private jet, but she declined. Avenatti later said that he and Christie are friends: "She's a classy, smart woman with great insight." - TMZ.com, 5/14/18...... Margot KidderActress Margot Kidder, perhaps best known for her role as Lois Lane on 1978's Superman - The Movie and three Superman sequels, died on May 13 at her home in Livingston, Montana, of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 69. Kidder also starred opposite leading men including Robert Redford in The Great Waldo Pepper and Richard Pryor in Some Kind of Hero. She even appeared in Superman-inspired television series Smallville in 2004 (though as another character). Superman director Richard Donner said he cast Kidder after seeing her on the James Garner western series Nichols, which she appeared in from 1971-72. "She was charming and very funny. When I met her in the casting office, she tripped coming in and I just fell in love with her. It was perfect, this clumsy [behavior]," said in 2016. The Canadian-born actress acquired American citizenship in 2005, and became a political and women's rights activist alongside her acting. "Thank you for being the Lois Lane so many of us grew up with. RIP, Margot Kidder," the official DC Comics Twitter account posted on May 14. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/14/18...... Acclaimed author Tom Wolfe, who chronicled everything from hippies to the space race before turning his sharp eye to fiction, died on May 15 in a New York City hospital. He was 87. Mr. Wolfe's "new journalism" writing style was rife with exclamation points, italics and improbable words, and among his acclaimed books were The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, a satire of Manhattan-style power and justice that became one of the best-selling books of the 1980s. Mr. Wolfe, known for his signature three-piece white suits, was also an unlikely interloper into the heady LSD parties hosted by author Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead in the mid-1960s. Mr. Wolfe's 1979 book The Right Stuff, about the personal lives of Apollo astronauts, was turned into a hit 1983 movie of the same name starring Fred Ward, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Lance Henriksen, Sam Shepard, Dennnis Quaid and Barbara Hershey. - AP, 5/15/18...... American guitarist/composer Glenn Branca, who played a key role in the nascent "no wave" scene in New York City in the '70s and '80s, died on May 14 after a battle with throat cancer. He was 69. Branca was said a Facebook post from his wife and frequent collaborator Reg Bloor to have "lived a full life with no regrets" and that there will be no public memorial as per the guitarist's wishes. - Billboard, 5/14/18.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Foreigner has topped Billboard's Classical Albums & Classical Crossover Albums chart for the first time with its new live album, Foreigner With the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. The release, which reinterprets some of Foreigner's biggest rock and ballads hits including "Feels Like the First Time" and "Urgent" with a classical twist, moved 3,000 copies in the week ending May 3, according to Nielsen Music. Foreigner has previously topped the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, the Mainstream Rock Songs chart and the Adult Contemporary Songs chart. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... In other chart action, sales of ABBA music in the U.S. has jumped 57% after the quartet announced it has reunited to record new music for the first time in 35 years. On-demand streams of ABBA songs rose 37%, for a total of 6.38 million streams, up from 4.69 million a week earlier. "Dancing Queen" was the most streamed ABBA song, with 1.42 streams which was a 19% increase, and combined sales of the group's catalog of albums and songs jumped by 57% to 11,000 (up from 7,000 the week previous), while the act's overall equivalent album units tally spiked by 39% to 8,000 units (up from 6,000). ABBA also debuted on the Billboard Social 50 chart at No. 35, thanks to a surge in interest of the group on social networks -- especially on YouTube and from visits to the group's Wikipedia page. - Billboard, 5/9/18...... Glenn FreyA new career-spanning box set from late Eagles member Glenn Frey, Above the Clouds: The Collection, hit stores on May 10 and showcases many sides of the Detroit-born musician, including his work with the Eagles, solo music and his love for multiple genres, including R&B and soul. Frey's widow, Cindy Frey, says she wants people to remember the diversity of her husband's sound with the new release, which includes Glenn's hit songs, classic songs he covered and the pre-Eagles music he wrote with JD Souther. "It's hard to get beyond the sad part of, the longing of missing Glenn. But in a deep sort of weird way, it's a way of healing and living through grief for our family," Cindy told the AP. Glenn Frey died in 2016 at the age of 67, and his 24-year-old son, Deacon Frey, has been performing with the Eagles in his father's shoes, and his daughter, Taylor Frey, serves as road manager on the Eagles tour, which started up again on May 9 in Vancouver. - AP, 5/10/18...... A new Grateful Dead box set entitled Before the Dead provides a glimpse of late Dead frontman Jerry Garcia's early excursions into fold music. Compiled and assembled by longtime Dead publicist Dennis McNally and TV sound mixer Brian Miksis, Before the Dead boasts 84 tracks over 5 LPs or 4 CDs. The collection spans from May 1961 to 1964, when Garcia was playing often around Palo Alto, Calif., in coffee shops and at local radio stations and playing in such obscure groups as the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers, the Wildwood Boys, and the Black Mountain Boys. Before the Dead follows several collections of Garcia material that have been released in the last several years, including GarciaLive and a stand-alone release of the Hart Valley Drifters, an early folk band that also is featured on the box set. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... A new Prince album comprised of previously unreleased material from the late funk/rock icon's vaults is being planned for 2019. Prince's estate and the Tidal streaming service, which is owned by rapper Jay-Z, announced on May 11 that the as-yet-untitled album will stream exclusively on Tidal for two weeks before it is released in physical formats. It will also be available to download seven days after its debut, though it's unclear if or when the album will be shared with non-Tidal streaming services. An agreement between Prince's estate and Tidal was approved in probate court on May 9, which effectively ended a copyright dispute between the two parties over the streaming service's prior claim to streaming rights of Prince's catalog. The two parties entered into an exclusive agreement before Prince's death in April 2016 that gave Tidal the right to stream Prince's HITnRUN albums, although Tidal claimed it had an arrangement giving it exclusive rights to the artist's entire catalog. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... Paul AnkaIconic pop singer/songwriter Paul Anka has revealed that he and current singing sensation Drake will be teaming up for a new project that will drop in June 2018. "I'm working with a brilliant young artist who is as hot as you can get right now, a fellow young Canadian and his name is Drake," Anka said on May 10 during the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards, where he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from his friend Michael Bublé. "We recorded something that will be released, out in June. That's all I can tell you," he added. Anka, 76, wrote his first No. 1 hit "Diana" at age 15 and went on to pen such classics as "My Way," "Puppy Love," Lonely Boy," "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," "She's a Lady" and "(You're) Having My Baby," as well as the theme to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... Michael Jackson will appear on a new Pepsi can as part of the soft drink company's #PepsiGenerations campaign this summer, it was announced on May 11. Jackson will appear alongside similar retro designs featuring Pepsi-affiliated artists including Ray Charles and Britney Spears. #PepsiGenerations highlights Pepsi's biggest pop culture moments over the years, starting with February's "This is the Pepsi" Super Bowl commercial narrated by Jimmy Fallon. Jackson began appearing in Pepsi spots in 1984, when his hair famously caught fire during one shoot. He also appeared posthumously in a series of 2012 Pepsi ads to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his album Bad. The Jackson Pepsi can will also be available in select other countries around the world. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... The Beach Boys have announced they'll make their own foray into orchestral music with a new LP dubbed The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The unique collaboration, due out June 8, will pair some of the iconic American band's classic songs like "God Only Knows," "In My Room" and "California Girls" with an orchestral backdrop. "I always knew the vocal arrangements I did back in the 1960s would lend themselves perfectly for a symphony," Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson says. - Billboard, 5/10/18...... The Rolling Stones have announced details of pop-up stores across the UK that will see some of their most famous outfits going on display. Beginning on May 14 for three weeks, fans will will have the chance to see the band's iconic stage wear at their Corner Shop installation at Selfridges stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham, including a green oak leaf sequin jacket worn by Mick Jagger at Glastonbury in 2013, and a denim jacket worn on the Steel Wheels US tour in 1989. The Stones will launch a massive UK tour later in May. - New Musical Express, 5/8/18...... Stevie WonderStevie Wonder hinted that his next project could be a collaboration with Donald Glover and Childish Gambino during an intimate two-hour set at the Peppermint Club in Los Angeles on May 9. Billed as "The Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love and Music," the show was attended by such celebrities as Motown founder Berry Gordy, actress Angela Bassett, actor/comedian Craig Robinson, T.I., Nick Cannon and actor/activist Jesse Williams. During the evening, Wonder also referenced his forthcoming album, Through the Eyes of Wonder, telling the audience that he wanted to play some of the new material, "but unfortunately, the players don't know it." Wonder, who turns 68 on May 13, also revealed he intends to mount a new national tour behind his new album, although he did not mention a specific start date or itinerary. - Billboard, 5/10/18...... Neil Young has announced he's planning to produce and release a 35-minute film he conceived to go along with his 1982 album Trans some 16 years after it was first conceived. Young says the film was never actually created because his then record company Geffen "pulled the funding for the videos because they didn't like the record," which featured him singing through a vocoder over stiff synth grooves and earned him a lawsuit from the record company. Young says the backstory of Trans is poignant: he created it as a statement about the difficulty of communicating with his son Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy and unable to speak. (Hence the chilly, difficult-to-understand vocals.) The planned film would elucidate this concept more explicitly, featuring "electronic-voice people who were working in a hospital, and the one thing they were trying to do is teach this little baby to push a button," according to the Neil Young bio Shakey. Young also says he plans on releasing "four or five" previously unheard collaborations with his band Crazy Horse via his Neil Young Archives digital library project. - Spin.com/Yahoo News, 5/8/18...... Country music icon Dolly Parton was on hand at a senior center dedication ceremony in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., on May 7 to give the facility a new name: the My People Senior Activity Center, in honor of her parents, Robert and Avie Lee Parton. The 72-year-old Parton joked that she's a senior, too, and made fun of her plastic surgery, shouting "girl power" when she saw more women doing woodworking at the center than men. At the event, Parton gave her own secret to staying young: "Be busy, stay active and get involved." - AP, 5/8/18...... Steven Van ZandtBruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at the 2018 New Jersey Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Asbury Park Convention Center om Asbury Park, NJ, on May 6 to introduce his longtime friend and guitarist Steven Van Zandt into the hall. The two joined forces onstage and played "I Don't Want To Go Home," trading vocals and eventually welcoming the entire class of inductees -- and many of their family members -- onstage to close the show. "We did the impossible: We made New Jersey hip," said Van Zandt, who is from Middletown, NJ. Other performers getting the nod included Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry, of Hawthorne, NJ. Disco queen Gloria Gaynor, who is from Newark, turned the hall into a giant dance party as audience members leapt from their seats and boogied to her hit "I Will Survive." Frankie Valli, who also is from Newark, and his Four Seasons bandmates Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Joe Long, also were inducted. Bruce Springsteen himself was admitted into the NJHOF a decade earlier. - AP, 5/7/18...... London's AIR Studios, one of the world's largest and most prestigious recording facilities, has been put up for sale by its owners. Founded by Beatles producer Sir George Martin in 1969, the studio has been used by some of the biggest names in music with Paul McCartney, Adele, Coldplay, U2, Muse, George Michael, Kate Bush, Liam Gallagher, David Gilmour, Mumford & Sons and Katy Perry among the many artists to have recorded there. The facility's cavernous hexagonal shaped live room is big enough to house a full symphony orchestra and choir simultaneously, which has also made AIR an in-demand booking for film composers and Hollywood studios. Film scores for Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Alien Covenant are among recent projects recorded at the state-of-the-art studio, based at Lyndhurst Hall, a Grade II listed converted church in Hampstead, North London, since 1991. AIR Studios also boasts an enviable collection of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment (including one of the world's largest Neve 88R consoles), collectively said to be worth around £3 million ($4 million). Co-owner Richard Boote, who acquired the London facility from Chrysalis Group and Pioneer in 2006, says he and his partner Paul Woolf decided to sell the facility because "we're a pair of old farts, basically." - Billboard, 5/7/18...... Phil CollinsPhil Collins announced on May 7 that he'll mount his first major North American tour in 12 years beginning on Oct. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Entitled the "Phil Collins Not Dead Yet, Live!" tour after his recent autobiography Not Dead Yet: The Memoir, the trek will be a limited engagement of 15 shows also visiting Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Newark, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, Montreal, Cleveland, Oh., Columbus, Oh., Minneapolis, Chicago, Oakland, Calif., and Las Vegas before wrapping in Los Angeles on Oct. 28. Collins will be accompanied by musicians including his longtime guitarist Daryl Stuermer and his 16-year-old son Nicolas Collins on drums. - Billboard, 5/7/18...... Redmond O'Neal, the troubled 33-year-old son of Ryan O'Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett, was arrested on May 8 at 3:00 a.m. by the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division for robbing a convenient store with a knife. According to an LAPD spokesperson, Redmond "entered the store with a knife and approached the clerk and demanded money from the register. The clerk, who was in fear for his life, gave him the money." Though he fled on foot, O'Neal was caught by officers after matching the description of the suspect. "O'Neal was detained and identified as suspect from the robbery," the spokesperson continued. "Officers found the knife and cash in his possession." O'Neal was taken to jail, and is currently being held with a $50,000 bail. In recent years O'Neal has had multiple arrests, and spent a year in prison after being found guilty of drug charges. He had originally been sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation in an ongoing drug possession case. He struggled for years with his sobriety, and was released from prison in 2016. - RadarOnline.com, 5/10/18...... German-Israeli singer Abi Ofarim, who had hits including "Cinderella Rockefella" in the '60s with his wife in the musical duo Esther & Abi Ofarim, has died in Munich after a long illness. He was 80. Born Abraham Reichstadt in what is today Israel, Ofarim started performing there with Esther Zaled in 1959, and the two married in 1961. After hits in Germany, their greatest success came with "Cinderella Rockefella," which reached No. 1 in Britain in 1968 and led to appearances in London and New York. After the pair separated in 1970, Ofarim worked as a producer and manager but had little success with a solo career. In recent years he'd been working with a Munich organization to help seniors. - 5/4/18.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Aerosmith headlined Day 6 of the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the city's Fair Grounds Race Course on May 5 with a hit-packed set that kicked off with "Same Old Song and Dance," "Love In an Elevator" and "Cryin'." "I love this daytime s---!" singer Steven Tyler mused to the crowd watching the show during a light rain. "You can see me scratch my ass. I'm no better than you." The hits kept coming with "Livin On the Edge," "Rag Doll" and "Janie's Got A Gun," and a power-ballad break for "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing," the band's only Billboard No. 1 so far, gave the crowd a chance to sing along. After "Dream On," the band took an encore break and returned with the crowd-pleaser "Walk This Way." During the two-hour set, guitarist Joe Perry provided a bluesy, calming partner to the 70-year-old Tyler's manic energy, proving the band is still a force to be reckoned with live. - Billboard, 5/6/18...... Alice CooperMeanwhile another 70-year-old rocker, Alice Cooper, told New York's Q103 radio station on May 4 that he'll only consider retiring "If we do a tour and nobody shows up, then I'm retired... That's never happened." Cooper continued: "In fact, we're doing better business now than we've ever done. More people are coming to the show now, and I've never felt better, so I don't see any reason to retire at all. I know a lot of guys are quitting, but a lot of guys still smoke and drink. They're probably tired. I'm not tired. People always say, 'Well, you could just play golf every day,' and I say, 'I play golf every day anyway!'" Cooper is currently involved in a range of projects, including the "supergroup" Hollywood Vampires, and there are rumours he may also open for KISS on their 2019 tour. He released his most recent album, Paranormal, in July 2017. - New Musical Express, 5/5/18...... AC/DC's classic 1980 album Back in Black has re-entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at No. 152, thanks in part to sales generated from a limited-edition cassette reissue of the album for Record Store Day. Its cassette has been out of print since 2006. Of the album's 6,000 units, 3,000 were in traditional album sales, with cassettes accounting for 45% of the set's total sales for the week ending May 5. Meanwhile, Sting has added another No. 1 to his impressive array of genre chart leaders as his new collaboration with reggae superstar Shaggy, 44-876, has yielded the first No. 1 for the former Police frontman on the Reggae Albums Chart. In addition to the pop chart, Sting has previously topped such lists as the Traditional Classical Albums, Classical Crossover Albums and Holiday Albums Charts. - Billboard, 5/4/18...... AbbaNBC announced on May 4 that an ambitious, star-studded two-hour special dedicated to Sweden's ABBA, Thank You for the Music, An All-Star Tribute, will air in December. The network says the special will be broadcast around the world, with the BBC handling international distribution, and feature a variety of "specially invited artists" performing ABBA hits like "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," "The Winner Takes It All" and "Take a Chance On Me." It will also feature band members Agnetha Faltskog, Bjrn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad performing their brand-new song "I Still Have Faith In You" with a twist. It will be "sung" by a virtual ABBA: digital representation of the band in 1979 but voiced and recorded by the band members today. Meanwhile, in a new interview with the UK's Daily Star paper, Andersson and Ulvaeus said that the band have actually been on a break until recently, after spending time apart to focus on other projects. "We never made the decision to say, 'We'll never do it again'," said Andersson. "Bjrn and I wanted to write 'Chess' together with Tim Rice. We said to ourselves and to the girls: 'We'll probably need two years, so let's take a break'. During this time they both made solo albums. But we needed four years for 'Chess'. Then we were like: 'It was four years, why should we get together again?'" Asked about the sound of their new material, Andersson replied: "One of the songs is like we would've written it [for] today. The other, we could've written in 1972." - Billboard/Deadline.com/NME, 5/4/18...... The Charlie Daniels Band will co-headline an upcoming tornado relief concert for the Jacksonville, Fla., area with country icons Alabama, Jamey Johnson and Riley Green at Jacksonville State University on Sept. 26, 2018. An EF-3 level tornado tore through Jacksonville and the JSU campus in March, and Alabama's Randy Owen says the storm did a "tremendous amount of damage" to his alma mater and the band wants to do its part to help. - AP, 5/2/18...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney was made a Companion of Honor by the Royal Family on May 4 during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. King George V founded the Order of the Companions Honour in 1917, which is given as a reward for outstanding achievements to citizens of the Commonwealth realms. Sir Paul receives the honor 20 years after he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. "Congratulations Sir @PaulMcCartney who has been made a #CompanionofHonour at Buckingham Palace today for his lasting contribution to music in the UK and Worldwide," read the caption of the Royal Family's official Twitter account. McCartney was accompanied by his wife, Nancy Shevell, during the ceremony. - Billboard, 5/4/18...... In other Beatles-related news, Julien's Auctions announced on May 3 that Geroge Harrison's first first electric guitar will be auctioned at New York's Hard Rock Cafe on May 19. Harrison played the Hoffner Club 40 electric model when the Beatles played around Liverpool, England, as The Quarrymen. He traded his acoustic guitar for the electric model with Ray Ennis, who was a member of The Swinging Blue Jeans. Julien's estimates the guitar will sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. A 1965 Fender Telecaster owned by The Band's Robbie Robertson played by Harrison, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan is also on the block and estimated to sell between $400,000 and $600,000. - AP, 5/3/18...... Neil Young and Crazy Horse reunited for a concert at Fresno, California's Warnors Theatre on May 1, their first show since 2014. Their completely unrehearsed gig was the first of a three-night stint that Young said "will be the beginning of another beautiful chapter" in the band's nearly 50-year history. The 15-song setlist included covers of such Young solo material as "Winterlong," "World on a String," "Too Far Gone," "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," "Walk On," "Like a Hurricane" and the encore, "Roll Another Number (For the Road)." When recently asked about the future of Crazy Horse, Young said: "Well, we have an incredible album that's in the can that's a recent album. Alchemy. Then we have a 2001 album, Toast. We have a 1969/70 album, early days, which is a lot of stuff nobody's heard." - New Musical Express, 5/2/18...... Ric OcasekPaulina PorizkovaThe Cars singer/guitarist/songwriter Ric Ocasek and his model/actress wife Paulina Porizkova have decided to separate after 28 years of marriage, Porizkova announced on her Instagram page on May 2. "Our family always has been -- and still is -- a well-built car" the 53-year-old Porizkova wrote. "When the four of us are together, we can go wherever the road takes us. But as a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison. So, we're ditching the bicycle," she added. Ocasek and Porizkova first met while filming the music video for the Cars song "Drive" in 1984 and were together last month when 74-year-old Ocasek was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The couple has two sons. - AP, 5/3/18...... Drummer Jabo Starks, whose steady groove became the backbone for many of James Brown's classic hits, died on May 1 at his home in Mobile, Ala., after a battle with leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. He was 79. Mr. Starks, whose first name was John and whose nickname was sometimes spelled "Jab'o," was one of two drummers closely identified with Brown during his heyday in the 1960s and '70s. The other was Clyde Stubblefield, who died in 2017 and is remembered for his indelible drum solo on Brown's "Funky Drummer," perhaps the most sampled drumbeat of all time. Mr. Starks, who acquired his nickname as a baby, was born in Jackson, Ala., on Oct. 26, 1938, and grew up listening to gospel and blues. He became enamored with drums while watching a marching band in a Mardi Gras parade in Alabama. After graduation from high school, the self-taught drummer started playing with blues artists like John Lee Hooker, Smiley Lewis, Howlin' Wolf and Big Mama Thornton at the Harlem Duke Social Club in Prichard, Ala., a famous venue on the so-called chitlin' circuit. He joined Brown's band in 1965 and stayed with him until the mid-1970s, when he began touring and recording with B. B. King. He drummed on such Brown singles as "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine," "Super Bad" and "The Payback," and all those songs, like most of Brown's work, have had long afterlives. They have been sampled in songs by hip-hop artists like L. L. Cool J, Kendrick Lamar, A Tribe Called Quest, the Roots, the Black Eyed Peas and Kool Moe Dee. Mr. Starks and Clyde Stubblefield played together again years after they parted ways with Brown. They formed a duo called Funkmasters, which released music and recorded instructional videos, and also worked together on the soundtrack for the 2007 movie comedy Superbad. His manager said that Mr. Starks last performed in March, at the Red Bar in Grayton Beach, Fla., where he had played since the mid-1990s. - Billboard, 5/2/18.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Appearing on CBS' The Talk program on Apr. 27, Barry Manilow revealed that he will be returning to the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for 20 dates beginning in late May. "Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home" will be presented eight years after the Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award winner performed his residency at Westgate's International Theater from 2005 to 2010. The show opens for previews May 24-26, with grand opening weekend falling from June 14-16 just before Manilow's 75th birthday on June 17. Other show dates are June 21-23, July 19-21, July 26-28, Sept. 27-29, Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... Brian WilsonBrian Wilson announced on Twitter on May 1 that he has been forced to cancel his May Pet Sounds performances due to a back problem requiring a medical procedure. Wilson, who underwent back surgery at least once before in 2012, said his condition "runs in the family... [brother] Carl had back problems as well," and apologized to his fans. The nine dates affected include shows in Washington, D.C., Nashville, Tenn., Richmond, Va., Augusta, Ga., Clearwater, Fla., Viera, Fla. and Pampano Beach, Fla. The canceled shows are expected to be rescheduled. Meanwhile, Wilson's former Beach Boys bandmate Mike Love posted a photo of the two performing together on his Facebook page, and wished Brian well: "I hope one day we'll be able to do this again," he said, adding that he was "looking forward to perhaps one day throwing some hoops." - Billboard, 5/1/18...... Paul McCartney and Metallica will be among the headliners at the 2018 Austin City Music Festival, set for the city's Zilker Park over the weekends of Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14. The event will serve as McCartney and Metallica's sole North American festival dates for 2018, and other headlining acts include David Byrne, Shawn Mendes, Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys and Travis Scott. - Billboard, 5/1/18...... Speaking of David Byrne, the former Talking Heads frontman made his first appearance ever at the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Apr. 29. Actor and part-time New Orleanian John Goodman cheered Byrne on from side stage during his minimalist set, with no amplifier or monitor visible. Goodman's an old pal of Byrne's going back to the 1986 cult favorite True Stories, starring Goodman, which Byrne directed, co-wrote and narrated. Byrne's setlist was largely focused on his new American Utopia LP, however he also performed crowd-pleasing Heads classics including "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)," "Once In A Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House." - Billboard, 4/30/18...... Bruce SpringsteenThe committee responsible for the Tony Awards announced on May 1 that Bruce Springsteen will receive a special award for his blockbuster solo show "Springsteen on Broadway," which has become the top-grossing new production of the 2017-18 season. The honor, which had been widely anticipated in the theater community, was announced along with nominations in the competitive categories of the 72nd Annual Tony Awards. "Springsteen on Broadway" opened officially on Oct. 12 to rave reviews from both theater and music press, and was initially was scheduled to run through Nov. 26, but has been extended multiple times. The show, with average ticket prices around $500 (higher than "Hamilton"), is now scheduled to run through Dec. 15, 2018. The 72nd Annual Tony Awards are scheduled for June 10, and Springsteen will likely perform live on the CBS telecast before receiving his honor. - Billboard, 5/1/18...... In other Springsteen-related news, a red vinyl edition of the Boss' Greatest Hits LP helped the 11th annual Record Store Day on Apr. 21 become the biggest one yet. 580,000 vinyl albums were sold at independent retailers -- the single largest week for the format at the retail sector in Nielsen Music history. Holding the No. 2 position was David Bowie's live set Welcome to the Blackout (Live London '78), followed by Neil Young's Tonight's the Night Live at the Roxy. Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead's Dylan & The Dead came in at No. 5, followed by a mono version of Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Total album sales were up by 23 percent at independent record stores, as compared to Record Store Day week last year (799,000 vs. 649,000). - Billboard, 4/30/18...... The Who's Roger Daltrey was honored at the We Are Family Foundation gala at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom during a nostalgia-filled concert that also featured Chic's Nile Rodgers and LL Cool J. Named after Sister Sledge's 1979 classic "We Are Family" -- which was written and produced by Rodgers -- the non-profit We Are Family Foundation was launched following the 9/11 tragedy that struck New York in 2001 and creates programs for youth that encourages cultural diversity. Daltrey was awarded the Mattie J.T Stepanek Peacemaker Award for his organization, Teen Cancer America, and other charitable efforts. - Billboard, 4/28/18...... Bob DylanBob Dylan has announced that he's starting his own whiskey company, dubbed "Heaven's Door" after his famous 1973 track. Including a straight rye, a Tennessee bourbon, and a double barrel whiskey, the collection represents a partnership with Marc Bushala -- co-founder of Angel's Envy bourbon. "I've been traveling for decades and I've been able to try some of the best spirits that the world of whiskey has to offer. This is great whiskey," Dylan said in an interview with the New York Times. - Spin.com, 4/28/18...... On Apr. 30 a spokesman for ABBA squashed rumours that the quartet could headline the 2019 Glastonbury Festival in the UK, and also dismissed chances of a renunion tour. "No, - definitely not. We should remember them how they were in the 1970s, and listen to how they sing today," ABBA spokeswoman and manager Gorel Hanser told the UK paper The Mirror. In late April, ABBA announced that they'd be releasing their first new material in 35 years, having recorded two new songs together. The band is currently plotting a "virtual" tour for 2019 using hologram technology, and UK bookies began offering 33/1 odds that the pop icons could headline Glasto in 2019. - New Musical Express, 4/30/18...... Alternative rock faves Foo Fighters were joined by Grease star John Travolta on stage for a cover of the 1978 movie's tune "You're The One That I Want" during a show in Jacksonville, Fla., on Apr. 29. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl cryptically teased that "it gets better" during the start of the performance , before the Hollywood icon made his appearance on stage. It's believed that Travolta was in the area while he continues to film Moose, a new thriller directed by Limp Bizkit's Fred Furst. Another highlight of the show was Billy Idol joining the band for a cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth." - NME, 4/30/18...... A spokesman for Bonnie Raitt announced on Raitt's Facebook page on Apr. 30 that the singer/guitarist will miss the first leg of her upcoming coheadlining tour with James Taylor due to an unspecified health issue. "Following her annual physical, it was determined she needs to schedule some surgery soon. The prognosis is good and a full recovery is expected," read the statement. Raitt included a personal statement to fans, writing, "I'm deeply sorry to have to disappoint my fans, James and colleagues with these cancellations... I fully expect to return for the second leg of the US tour in June followed by our European tour in July." Raitt, 68, also asked for her fans to respect "my wish for privacy and giving me space to heal," promising to see them on the road again soon. - Billboard, 4/30/18...... Jim GordonOn Apr. 30 a California court denied parole for former Derek and the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon, who is serving a life sentence for killing his mother in 1983. The California Board of Parole determined that the 72-year-old Gordon could be a risk of violence if released from the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, where Gordon is jailed. Gordon, who played on such iconic 1960's and 1970's tracks as Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" and, most famously, "Layla," as a member of Eric Clapton's band Derek and the Dominos, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the height of his career. Beginning in 1978, he sought medical treatment at least 15 times, court records show, but he could not escape his mother's voice, which he claimed had tormented him for years. To confront the voices, Gordon drove to his mother's house, where he struck her head with a hammer and also stabbed her. In 1984 he was sentenced to 16 years to life, and "remains an unreasonable risk of threat to public safety," according to the parole board's decision. Today he reportedly refuses contact with lawyers and declines to attend parole hearings. He is said to rarely leave his cell, and often resists medication. A 2005 document shows he was collecting $4,000 a month in royalties at that time, and was disciplined for giving some of that money to fellow inmates. Gordon has served 34 years of his life term, has been denied parole 10 times now and will next be eligible for parole in 2021. - Billboard, 4/30/18...... A Massachusetts church building that was immortalized in Arlo Guthrie's classic 1967 track "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is reopening after some recently completed upgrades. The building in Great Barrington, which was known as the Old Trinity Church and dates to 1829, is home of the nonprofit Guthrie Center and has been closed for about two months during the work. Upgrades include the restoration of the circular stained-glass window at the front entrance, a new ceiling in the great room and insulation. The building will with a memorial for a local journalist who recently died. Its regular schedule of community lunches, musical events and non-denominational services will start in early May. Guthrie's rambling 18-minute song about the 1960s counterculture appeared on his 1967 debut album and inspired a 1969 film of the same name. - AP, 4/30/18...... George ClintonFunk icon George Clinton has announced he will retire from touring in May 2019. "This has been coming a long time," Clinton says in a statement announcing his retirement. "Anyone who has been to the shows over the past couple of years has noticed that I've been out front less and less." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Parliament/Funkadelic frontman/producer, who turns 77 in July, recently underwent pacemaker surgery, but says that the procedure wasn't a factor in his decision. "Truth be told, it's never really been about me," Clinton says. "It's always been about the music and the band. That's the real P-Funk legacy. They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." Clinton and P-Funk have 50 dates scheduled through the end of 2018, including performances in Europe and Japan. He released a new single, "I'm Gon Make You Sick O'Me," in January featuring Scarface. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... Actress and painter Kris Nelson, the ex-wife of Ricky Nelson and mother of actress Tracy Nelson, musicians Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, and Sam Nelson, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Apr. 26. She was 72. She was the daughter of football star Tom Harmon and the sister of actor Mark Harmon and actress-model Kelly Harmon. Kris had a recurring role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1963-66) and Adam-12 (1975), and with Ricky headlined the film Love and Kisses (1965). "My mother, Kristin Harmon Nelson, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last night," Tracy Nelson posted on her Facebook page on Apr. 27. "Love and light are welcome." - 4/28/18.

Friday, April 27, 2018

A trailer for the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was screened at the CinemaCon event in Los Angeles on Apr. 26. Introduced by Rami Malek, who plays late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, the trailer opens with the band's classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" playing in the background, as a young Mercury asks to be the lead singer of a band. Retorts one of his future bandmates: "Not with those teeth, mate." The rest of the trailer is comprised of vignettes of Mercury and Queen discovering their sound -- "If I go any higher, only dogs will hear it," Mercury says. Malek also spoke about the pressures of playing Mercury in the film, which took 10 years to get to the screen, saying one of the challenges was capturing how Mercury filled his music "with pain and beauty." Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on Nov. 2. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/27/18...... AbbaLegendary Swedish pop quartet ABBA announced on Apr. 27 that they have reunited to write and record two new songs -- their first new tracks in 35 years. "The decision to go ahead with the exciting Abba avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence," said the band in a press release. "We all felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!" The group -- which includes Bjrn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad -- hinted at the sound of the new music, saying, "We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good." ABBA also revealed the name of one of the songs, "I Still Have Faith in You," which will be featured in an NBC/BBC special that is slated to air in December. The two-hour TV special will feature the group's avatars performing their greatest hits; the avatars are slated to launch a world tour in 2019. ABBA, which formed in Stockholm in 1972 and racked up a string of global smashes throughout the next decade before going their separate ways in 1983, made a brief reunion in 2016 when they performed together at a private event in Stockholm. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... In other ABBA-related news, Cher received a standing ovation at CinemaCon on Apr. 25 after performing ABBA's "Fernando" to promote her upcoming film, Mamma Mia: Here we Go Again! Dressed in a full glitter pantsuit and matching platform heels, Cher finished the song as balloons dropped form the ceiling. A small armada of dancers performed a choreographed routine, while Cher appeared on a raise platform from behind fake palm fronds. The sequel to the hit 2008 film Mamma Mia! opens in theaters on July 20, and many of the stars of the first film -- including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski and Colin Firth -- return returning for the follow-up, which will include ABBA songs not featured in the first film, along with some reprised favorites. New additions include Cher and Lily James. - Billboard, 4/25/18...... In a new post on his Neil Young Archives page, Neil Young has confirmed that he will return to the stage with his fitfully active backing group Crazy Horse on May 1 and 2 at Warriors Theatre in Fresno, Calif. "First time in a long time, live on stage. No rehearsal," Young posted. The news follows Young claiming in a recent Rolling Stone interview that he and Crazy Horse have "an incredible album in the can that's a recent album. Alchemy," though it is not known if songs from that album will be debuted at the upcoming shows. Longtime Crazy Horse guest guitarist Nils Lofgren mused on Twitter: "The great news is I am jumping back in with #CrazyHorse @Neilyoung I will be there. Beyond honored. Nothing like playing with old friends. A friend just reminded me, at this age you can't coast." - Billboard, 4/24/18...... In other Neil Young news, the rocker reunited with his Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young bandmate Stephen Stills on Apr. 25 for the 3rd Light Up the Blues Concert to benefit Autism Speaks at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. During his mini-set, Young announced after performing a powerful rendition of "Birds" that he wanted to bring his "brother" onto the stage. Stills then walked on to jam with Young on "Long May You Run," along with the Buffalo Springfield anthems "For What It's Worth" and "Mr. Soul." Stills, who organized the benefit concert alongside his wife Kristen in support of their autistic son Henry, addressed the Los Angeles crowd at one point saying, "With the help of steadfast friends and concerned professionals that shared our determination, Kristin and Iwere able to find a path that lead our boy to a far better way of life, and now he's in college." An even grander surprise took place with the late Tom Petty's band the Heartbreakers, who haven't performed since Petty's sudden death this past October, took the stage to perform the rocking "I Won't Back Down" alongside Stills. Patti Smith was also on hand for a performance of "Because The Night." - Billboard, 4/23/18...... Eric AndersenLegendary '70s singer/songwriter Eric Andersen has released The Essential Eric Andersen, a 33-track, 2-disc career-spanning set that's being released in conjunction with his 75th birthday. Though best-known as a songwriter whose tunes were recorded by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt and many others, Anderson released his own debut album, Today Is the Highway, in 1965, and has released albums steadily since then. The Essential touches on all eras of his career, and it features guest collaborations with Joan Baez, Dan Fogelberg, Leon Russell, Lou Reed, Richard Thompson, Rick Danko, Phil Ochs and others. Andersen, who currently resides in the Netherlands, will play three shows in California in late April -- Sacramento (4/27), Soquel (4/29) and a Q&A on May 3 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Andersen will also be the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary titled Songpoet. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... Willie Nelson's latest LP Last Man Standing was released in stores and online for streaming on Apr. 27. Announced in February, the album's title appears to be a reference to the songwriter's 85th birthday, which happens on Apr. 29. It is the follow-up to the country/pop icon's 2017 release God's Problem Child and includes the single "Me and You," as well as the album's title track. - Spin.com, 4/27/18...... Deep Purple and Judas Priest announced on Apr. 23 that they'll hit the road for a 25-city co-headlining North American late summer tour that's set to kick off on Aug. 21 in Cincinnati, Oh. The outing is scheduled to run through a Sept. 30 date at the Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland, Calif. Deep Purple are touring behind their 2017 album inFinite, while Judas Priest will be showcasing songs from their March 2018 release, Firepower. - Billboard, 4/23/18...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Fleetwood Mac have revealed that Lindsey Buckingham was indeed fired from the band due to scheduling conflicts. "Words like 'fired' are ugly references as far as I'm concerned," said drummer Mick Fleetwood. "Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall. This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him. Majority rules in term of what we need to do as a band and go forward." As for their falling out due to scheduling issues, Stevie Nicks revealed: "We were supposed to go into rehearsal in June and he wanted to put it off until November [2019]. That's a long time. I just did 70 shows [on a solo tour]. As soon as I finish one thing, I dive back into another. Why would we stop? We don't want to stop playing music. We don't have anything else to do. This is what we do." Meanwhile, on Apr. 25 the band announced dates for a 50-plus city fall tour that's set to kick off on Oct. 3 in Tulsa, Okla. With a rebooted lineup featuring former Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn, Fleetwood Mac will hit several major markets including Indianapolis (10/16), Kansas City (10/18), St. Louis (10/20), St. Paul (10/22), Cleveland (10/26), Milwaukee (10/28), Detroit (10/30) and Pittsburgh (11/1) before playing their final 2018 show on Dec. 13 in Inglewood, Calif. In 2019, they'll resume the U.S. leg with a show in Houston on Feb. 5, wrapping on Apr. 5 in Philadelphia. The group will also launch "The Fleetwood Mac Channel" on SiriusXM on May 1 at 5 p.m. ET, running throughout the month on channel 30, with music, interviews and hosted shows from current and former band members. - New Musical Express, 4/25/18...... Herb AlpertHerb Alpert has covered Louis Armstrong's iconic hit "What a Wonderful World" as an instrumental version for what he says is "in response to our times." "I'm not a politician, but there's a lot of things going on I'd like to respond to," Alpert said in an interview with Billboard. "I wouldn't in my wildest dreams think of covering such an iconic record, but I've always been taken by what Louis said, and there's a lot of things going on I'd like to respond to. It's a simple statement. It's a true statement. It's apolitical, and I'm sure a lot of people believe it. So I'm just trying to put some feelings out there I think deserve to be out there," he added. Proceeds from Alpert's "What A Wonderful World" will be going to the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. Alpert's treatment of the song, meanwhile, takes a more upbeat, world music approach, blending Alpert's trumpet with a variety of international instruments from countries including China, Turkey, Japan, Armenia and Trindidad. Alpert says the song is also a chance to salute Louis Armstrong, a friend and personal musical hero. "He was a spectacular guy, really something special. He was genuine, he was passionate, and that came right through his instrument. I've met a lot of great musicians in my day. Some played the shit out of their instrument and were a drag when you met them, but this guy was a beautiful human being. It was always heartwarming to see him. I really loved him." - Billboard, 4/26/18...... Nile Rodgers of Chic is recovering after taking a major spill in the studio on Apr. 25 and breaking his nose. In a video shared to Rodgers' social media pages, the 65-year-old disco icon can be seen on the floor of his studio holding tissues and an icepack to his nose, a pool of blood scattered across the hardwood floors beneath him. "I guess that's what you call a slip and fall," he continues as he scoffs at his misfortune, "I think we better go to the hospital bro." In the video's caption Rodgers writes, "Who's life is more #crazy than mine? I broke my nose tripping on the top stair of my studio." Rodgers, who was hospitalized in 2017 after falling ill in Toronto while on tour with Earth, Wind & Fire, is currently crafting a new Chic album that is set to feature Bruno Mars, Haim and Debbie Harry. - Billboard, 4/25/18...... The brassy troupe Tower of Power is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2018, and on June 1 will release a new album, Soul Side of Town. Co-founding member Emilio Castillo says the new album has been in the works since 2012, and was recorded over four sessions during the past six years. "The whole idea was to make the best record of our career," Castillo says. "One of our old managers said, 'You guys really need to ring the bell this time. You're at 50 years. You've got to make the best record of your career.' When all was said and done we had finished 28 songs and were ready to pick out the best of those." Tower of Power will also play a pair of 50th anniversary concerts on June 1-2 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Calif., which will be filmed for a documentary. - Billboard, 4/25/18...... In 2015, Patti Smith recorded a new live version of her 1975 debut album Horses to mark its 40th anniversary at New York's Electric Lady Studios before an in-studio audience, then hit the road to perform the album in full for packed theaters around the world. Now a new concert documentary of the tour, Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band, has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Apr. 23. Smith, guitarist Lenny Kaye, her son, Jackson and the rest of her musical outfit were the guests of honor as well as the headliners. Also jamming with Smith on a rendition of "Because the Night" and the finale, "People Have The Power," were Bruce Springsteen and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.. - Billboard, 4/24/18...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones have announced that Florence + the Machine, Liam Gallagher and Michael Bay will be their supporting acts for their upcoming U.K. tour, which launches on May 22 at London Stadium. Gallagher will join the Stones for the first night of the tour; Florence + the Machine will follow with another London Stadium date on May 25, with Bay closing the run with them back in London at Twickenham Stadium on June 19. Meanwhile, the Stones have also announced that a huge 15-album vinyl box set, The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016, will hit stores on June 15. The release will offer fans of the legendary band the opportunity to obtain a remastered version of every studio album released by the Stones since 1971's Sticky Fingers on brand new heavyweight, 180-gram black vinyl. Sourced from the original master tapes, each album has been remastered and cut at half-speed by engineers at Abbey Road Studios. Each album also contains a numbered certificate of authentication, with detailed artwork reproductions for each LP. In other Stones news, Mick Jagger has revealed that he is writing new material, ahead of band's upcoming UK tour. "I am writing at the moment," he told Independent IE in a recent interview. Questioned on whether his ideas would be part of a solo release or Stones record, Jagger replied: "I'm just writing. It is mostly for the Stones at the moment..."I don't really think about what I have written, much. I just keep ploughing forward, really." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 4/23/18...... The family of Prince have announced that they are to sue the Illinois hospital that treated the late music icon for an opioid overdose only a week before his death. The family, represented by trustee Michael A. Zimmer, claim that he received improper care after his private plane made an emergency landing in the early hours of Apr. 15, 2016, following a show in Atlanta. The lawsuit alleges that Prince's death was a "direct and proximate cause" of the Trinity Medical Centre's alleged failure to diagnose and treat the overdose, alongside an apparent failure to investigate the cause of it. The family is also suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens, accusing its employees of "dispensing narcotic prescription medications" to the singer for an invalid medical purpose. - NME, 4/24/18...... A rare vintage poster for a 1955 Elvis Presley concert in North Carolina has sold at auction for more than double the expected price. The poster, made by the iconic Nashville, Tenn.-based poster maker Hatch Show Prints, advertises a May 19, 1955 concert in Raleigh where Presley was on the lineup below Hank Snow, Faron Young and other acts. Giles Moon of Texas-based Heritage Auctions says he had expected the poster to sell for about $20,000, however it went for $42,500. Moon says both the buyer, who is from California, and the seller prefer to remain anonymous. - AP, 4/22/18...... Bill CosbyActor/comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting a woman on Apr. 26 in Norristown, Pa., in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era. A jury convicted the Cosby Show star of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, and the guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the charges. Cosby, 80, was charged with violating Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His lawyer called Ms. Constand a "con artist" who leveled false accusations against Cosby so she could sue him. Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the counts. Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to say he drugged and assaulted them. Five of the other accusers testified against him at the retrial. - AP, 4/26/18...... The premier of Britpop Classical will be the opening act on Sept. 1 at Cool Britannia Festival in Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, UK. Britpop Classical features a full rock back of some of the country's best session musicians together with an amazing horns section and orchestra, all backing a spectacular array of vocalists including The Farm's Peter Hooton performing "All Together Now," Saffron from Republica with "Ready To Go," Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory covering Pulp's "Common People" and just added -- the unique Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia, EastEnders) will close the set with Blur's "Parklife." Tickets for the festival are on sale now via the official festival website, CoolBritanniaFest.com. - Noble PR, 4/24/18...... Saxophonist Charles Neville, who once toured with B.B. King and later gained fame with the Neville Brothers group, died on Apr. 26 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 79. The New Orleans-born Neville began his career in the 1950s when he performed with King and other musical greats, but was best know for three decades of performances with his siblings Aaron, Art and Cyril as the Grammy-winning Neville Brothers. "I know you have a spot in the heavenly band next to James Booker, James Black, Herbert Hardesty, Fats Domino, Johnny Adams all the jazz bebop players who you turned me on to," Aaron Neville posted on his Facebook page. "Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Miles and the list goes on," he added. Charles Neville, who lived in Massachusetts in recent years, had announced in January that he had pancreatic cancer. His death came a day before the opening of his home town's signature musical and cultural event, the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. - AP, 4/26/18...... Bob Donough, the jazzman who created the clever and enduring Schoolhouse Rock childrens series of the 1970s that taught grammar, math, science and citizenship to a generation of TV-watching kids, died on Apr. 23 at his home in Mount Bethel, Penn. He was 94. His family did not give a cause. - AP, 4/24/18.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Seventies hitmaker Roberta Flack was rushed to a New York City hospital after cutting short her appearance at Harlem's Apollo Theater on Apr. 20 because she was not feeling well. Flack, 81, was taken to Harlem Hospital via ambulance, saying she felt dizzy. The singer, who was about to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Jazz Foundation of America during her appearance, was released from the hospital after several hours. A spokesperson for the Jazz Foundation said the "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" singer was "feeling fine," but Flack went to another Manhattan hospital after being released from Harlem Hospital for observation by her personal doctors. - AP, 4/21/18...... Led Zeppelin has shared a teaser trailer for their special 7" single release for this year's Record Store Day, featuring unreleased versions of both "Rock And Roll" and "Friends." The vinyl single hit stores on Record Day, Apr. 21, and offers fans the chance to hear the Sunset Sound Mix of "Rock And Roll" and the the Olympic Studios Mix of "Friends" for the first time ever. Led Zepp has also released a newly remastered version of their classic live album How The West Was Won in multiple formats. - NME, 4/20/18...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney remembered his late first wife Linda McCartney on Apr. 17, the 20th anniversary of her death in 1998, with a loving Instagram post. "Remembering Linda with love today. Beautiful memories," Sir Paul posted, below a picture of Linda. Linda, who tragically died at age 56 on April 17, 1998, after a three-year battle with breast cancer, were married (and inseparable) from their 1969 marriage until her death, and became a rock power couple as founding members of the chart-topping band Wings. - Billboard, 4/19/18...... In other Beatles-related news, Cheech & Chong member Tommy Chong says he and his partner Cheech Marin have "a ton of outtakes" from their 1973 hit "Basketball Jones," which featured the late George Harrison on lead guitar during the session. "We've got all of that in the can that we're going to spring on people eventually, one day. That'd be great," Chong said, though he did not state any specific plans for releasing the Harrison material. "George and I were buddies," Chong says. "George and I used to smoke quite a bit when we'd meet once in a while at different places. He was in the studio at A&M at the same time we were doing 'Basketball Jones,' so [producer] Lou [Adler] asked him to come in and do a little guitar riff for us. And George is George; He literally made that song." 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of "Basketball Jones" and the duo's Los Cochinos album, but currently Cheech & Chong have been focused primarily on celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 1978 film comedy Up In Smoke. Also participating on the "Basketball Jones" session were Beatles lieutenants Klaus Voorman and Billy Preston, along with Carole King, Tom Scott and Nicky Hopkins. - Billboard, 4/20/18...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr released a new video for the title track to his upcoming Give More Love album on Apr. 19. The clip, directed by Brent Carpenter, includes fan photos contributed especially for the video that were submitted in a contest sponsored by Ringo. "They (Ringo and the record company) told people to submit stills and video that to them meant 'Give More Love,'" says Carpenter, who added Ringo helped choose the images to be used. Meanwhile, on the same day Ringo announced plans for his 10th annual "Peace and Love" birthday event to take place July 7 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nice, France, during his Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band's upcoming European tour. Fans around the world can join in by saying or thinking "Peace and Love" at noon on July 7. Besides the live event, Hard Rock outlets around the globe will stream a special "Peace and Love" birthday video just before noon from Sir Ringo. After a date in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 2, Ringo and his band will head to Europe for 20 shows starting in Paris on June 6. They'll kick off a U.S. run on Sept. 1 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Tulsa, Okla. The ambitious 41-city summer trek will wrap on Sept. 29 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. - Billboard, 4/19/18...... In more Beatles news, a sketch drawn by John Lennon depicting himself as Adolf Hitler sold at auction for $54,000 on Apr. 22. The controversial drawing, an ink doodle which situates Lennon behind a podium with his arm raised in a Nazi salute, is part of a larger sketch book that makes liberal use of Nazi iconography mixed with the likeness of the Beatles members. "(John) drew these when he was a college student, and the fact that he even thought of depicting himself as Hitler is weird," says memorabilia dealer Gary Zimet, who added "original Lennon drawings are very desirable and they are ultra rare." - New Musical Express, 4/22/18...... Tom JonesStingSir Tom Jones and Sir Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, were among the famous singers performing at an Apr. 21 concert in London marking the 92nd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Also serenading the monarch, who was in attendance, were Kylie Minogue, Shaggy, Craig David and Jamie Cullum. Highlights included Sting and Shaggy performing their reggae-infused single "Don't Make Me Wait," which appears on their collaborative album 44/8762. Queen Elizabeth, the world's longest-reigning living monarch, was accompanied by other members of the royal family, including her grandson, Prince Harry. Her actual birthday on Apr. 21, which she usually marks privately with her family, and her "official birthday" occurs in the summer and will be recognized with a military parade in central London. - AP, 4/21/18...... The original pair of tassled loafers worn by Michael Jackson during a rehearsal for his first-ever "moonwalk" during his iconic 1983 performance of "Billie Jean" during the 25th Anniversary of Motown special are conservatively expected to bring as much as $10,000 when they're put on the auction block on May 26 at the Hilton in Universal City, Calif. It has been verified that Jackson wore the black Florsheim loafers during the rehearsal, and probably during the actual performance as well. - NME, 4/21/18...... Paramount Pictures announced on Apr. 20 that it has picked up distribution rights for the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman. Paramount will also finance the picture, which will star Kingsman actor Taron Egerton as the legendary pop singer, from his days at the Royal Academy of Music to his rise to international stardom in the early 1970s. John and his husband, David Furnish will produce the picture under their Rocket Pictures banner, with Dexter Fletcher, who previously worked with Egerton on Eddie the Eagle, directing. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/20/18...... Bette Midler announced on Apr. 20 that she will be returning to her lead role in the Tony Award-winning revival of "Hello, Dolly!" on July 17 for a six-week run that will close the production on Aug. 25. The iconic role of Dolly Levi marked The Divine Miss M's return to the Broadway musical stage in about 50 years and she shattered box office records at the Shubert Theatre. Midler won the Tony for best actress in a musical, and her co-star David Hyde Pierce earned a Tony nomination for his role in the production. Midler stepped into the role last spring and ended her run in mid-January. She was replaced by Bernadette Peters, who will now leave after the July 15 show. The first national tour of "Hello, Dolly!" kicks off in October at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio, starring Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley. - AP, 4/20/18...... Tina TurnerThe new Tina Turner jukebox musical "Tina" has opened at the Aldwych Theatre in London, showcasing the famed rock singer's tumultuous life story, from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tenn., through her remarkable comeback in the 1980's with her Private Dancer album. The adult Turner is played by Tony-nominated actress Adrienne Warren, and her domineering bandleader and ex-husband Ike Turner is portrayed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Directing the project is Phyllida Lloyd, who is best known for helming the ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!," which became a global smash on stage and screen. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/19/18...... Authorities in Minnesota released what they describe as the "vast majority" of evidence from their investigation into the Apr. 21, 2016, death of Prince on Apr. 20. The Carver County, Minn., sheriff's office released 15GB of data to the public under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which includes images of Prince's body from the death scene, CCTV footage of the star visiting a doctor's office the day before he died, and interviews with individuals close to the singer who say they had been concerned about his health in the days leading to his death. Also included are photos from inside Prince's Paisley Park vault and a Sinead O'Connor police interview from May 2016 where she alleged that Prince had a history of drug use and violence towards women. "I've seen him in very frightening conditions after using drugs," O'Connor told police, adding: "He had been extremely violent to a number of women in his life, including myself, and several women were put in the hospital while Prince was under the effects of these medications." Carver County attorney Mark Metz said the musician, age 57, had suffered the overdose due to taking counterfeit pills, which contained the powerful painkiller fentanyl, and that no one will be charged in the case, although none of the medications found in Prince's home after his death had been prescribed to him, with some having been prescribed to his former drummer Kirk Johnson, and others found in vitamin bottles and envelopes. Meanwhile, a previously unreleased original version of Prince's iconic hit "Nothing Compares 2 U" was issued for the first time on Apr. 19 by the Prince estate in collaboration with Warner Bros. Records. "Nothing Compares 2 U" became a breakout No. 1 hit for Sinead O'Connor in 1990 was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive "Warehouse" in Eden Prairie, Minn., by Prince's longtime engineer Susan Rogers and was originally composed, arranged and performed entirely by Prince. In addition to the saxophone breaks, the Prince version presents a more sensual take on the song. It has also been announced that Prince's unfinished memoir, The Beautiful One, will finally be released in the latter part of 2018. Prince had submitted only 50 pages of the handwritten memoir before his 2016 death, and the book may also feature "reproductions of Prince's longhand pages." - NME/Billboard, 4/20/18...... Carol BurnettComedy legend Carol Burnett will make her return to series television and her Netflix debut on May 4 with A Little Help With Carol Burnett. The show, which spotlights every day people receiving advice to their real-life problems from little kids, will also feature celebrity guests including DJ Khaled, Taraji P. Henson, Derek Hough, Taraji P. Henson, Derek Hough, Julie Bowen, Lisa Kudrow, Brittany Snow, Mark Cuban and Wanda Sykes, among others. - 4/16/18...... Verne Troyer, an actor best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series, died on Apr. 21 of an as yet undisclosed cause. He was 49. "It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today," a statement on his official Facebook page reads. "Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday." The statement makes sweeping statements about depression and suicide. "Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he's struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much," it says. Troyer, who grew up in an Amish community in Michigan, rose to fame after his Austin Powers debut in 1999's The Spy Who Shagged Me, and reprised the role in 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember. He also played Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Coach Punch Cherkov in The Love Guru, and had guest spots on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, Two and a Half Men and Boston Public. Troyer also memorably appeared as Mini Me in the music video for Ludacris' "Number One Spot" from the 2004 album The Red Light District. Troyer vocally battled alcohol addiction, having nearly died in 2002 from alcohol poisoning following a breakup, and footage of drunken antics from the reality show The Surreal Life went viral. "That was a bad period in my life," he said in 2016. "I've learned from it, and I move on," however in 2017, he announced that he was receiving treatment for alcohol addiction on his Facebook page. Among those offering their condolences to Troyer are Austin Powers star Mike Myers, actress Marley Matlin, and musician Slash. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/21/18.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bruce Springsteen treated his 92-year-old mother Adele Springsteen on Apr. 15 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., to an early birthday celebration before Mother Nature spoiled the party. The 68-year-old Boss and his mom, who will turn 93 on May 4, danced to two songs before severe storms caused the club to lose power. They were there to see the Eddie Testa Band, reportedly one of Adele's favorite bands. Patrons say the Springsteens -- along with the rocker's 24-year-old son Sam -- were in the club for about 90 minutes. Springsteen recently extended his run on Broadway until December as the rock legend's unusually intimate "Springsteen on Broadway" show keeps selling out tickets. It marks the third extension by Springsteen, who started the performances in October in the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theatre. - AP, 4/16/18......
Ric OcasekGraham Edge
Seventies artists The Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits were among the six music acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Cleveland, Oh., on Apr. 14. "The Moody Blues are and always have been a kick-ass rock 'n' roll band," Ann Wilson of Heart said as she inducted group. "It was so long that we were eligible and didn't make it that I got a real sour grapes [feeling] for everything about it," said the Moodys' Graeme Edge. "When it actually became something for us all to appreciate and have, I did realize that it means the world to me," he added. Edge was acknowledging the English prog rock band's long period of eligibility before finally being nominated, thanks in part to aggressive campaigning on behalf of the band's fans. Edge's fellow band co-founders Justin Hayward and John Lodge both thanked American radio disc jockeys who championed the band, and following the speech, the Moodys picked up their instruments for a set that included "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)," a galvanizing "Nights in White Satin" and "Ride My See Saw." The Cars, inducted after two previous times on the ballot and ushered in by Brandon Flowers of The Killers, spent much of their time paying homage to late bassist/singer Benjamin Orr, a native of Cleveland, much to the delight of the hometown Public Auditorium crowd. "When the band first started, Ben was supposed to be the lead singer and I was supposed to be the good-looking guy in the band -- but after a couple of gigs, I kinda got demoted to the songwriter," said Ric Ocasek. "But obviously it's hard not to notice that Benjamin Orr is not here. He would've been elated to be here on this stage. It still feels strange to be up here without him," he added. The group's set included "My Best Friend's Girl," "You Might Think," "Moving in Stereo" and "Just What I Needed." Without a designated presenter for Dire Straits (frontman Mark Knopfler and his brother David Knopfler had previously announced they wouldn't be attending the ceremony), band bassist and co-founder John Illsley took it upon himself to do the honors and subsequently make an acceptance speech. Illsley said the Knopfler brothers' absence was "for personal reasons, let's just leave it at that," and that Dire Straits "is really more about a group of people more than one person. It's a collective, a brotherhood, and that's something that needs acknowledging tonight... the many musicians who have worked with Dire Straits over the years and made the band's success possible and led us all the way to Cleveland tonight." Also inducted during the 33rd annual ceremony were New Jersey rocker Bon Jovi Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The late Tom Petty and Soundgarden's Chris Cornell were both honored in memorial segments by The Killers and Ann Wilson, respectively. Notably, the Rock Hall also inducted songs for the first time, with the first inductees including "Rocket 88" by Jackie Breston and his Delta Cats (1951), Link Wray and his Ray Men's "Rumble" (1958), "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen (1963), Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967) and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" (1968). The ceremony, which was filmed by HBO for a May 5 premiere, differed from other years in that Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner, who was accused by a journalist in November of offering a writing deal in exchange for sex, did not address the gathering, and there was no finale that brought inductees and presenters together. - Billboard, 4/14/18......
GreaseOlivia Newton-John
As the hit 1978 movie Grease and its soundtrack turn 40 this year, Grease star Olivia Newton-John says she thinks that the Grease songs "are timeless." "They're fun and have great energy," Olivia says. "The '50s-feel music has always been popular, and it's nostalgic for my generation, and then the young kids are rediscovering it every 10 years or so, it seems. People buying the album was a way for them to remember those feelings of watching the movie and feelings of that time period. I feel very grateful to be a part of this movie that's still loved so much," she added. Newton-John, who was a "reluctant Sandy," says she insisted on doing a screen test after the failure of her 1970 musical film Toomorrow and asked that her frequent collaborator John Farrar be brought in to produce and write two of the four new songs added to the original Broadway score by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. "It's always great fun recording with John because he's been my friend since I was 15," says Newton-John of her fellow Melbourne, Australia native, who she had worked with on hits like 1973's "Let Me Be There," 1974's "I Honestly Love You" and 1975's "Have You Never Been Mellow." "I think John Farrar is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. He's a brilliant musician." "You're the One That I Want," which went all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, was another immediate hit with Newton-John. "John stayed up all night writing it and finishing it, came to my trailer early in the morning, played it for me, and I knew it was a smash," she recalled. Frankie Valli, who racked up the last No. 1 single of his career with "Grease," says he has continued to spread "the word" ever since by performing the song regularly in his concerts. "Oh yes -- It's a definite part of my show. It's been a very important song in my career," says Valli, who praises other Grease soundtrack cuts too: "I liked all of the songs that were sung by Olivia, and I was always a big [John] Travolta fan. It was really put together very well musically." - Billboard, 4/14/18...... Speaking of John Travolta, a former security officer for the Church of Scientology has revealed the bitter blood between the actor/singer and another high flyer in the controversial religion, actor Tom Cruse. "Cruise is the only celeb with a direct line to [Scientology leader] David Miscavige. Travolta and Kirstie [Alley] don't have that," former member Brendan Tighe told the UK paper The Daily Mail. "Travolta doesn't get anything free, no one is giving him absurd gifts like an airplane hangar, custom-made bikes, or over the top favours," Tighe added. According to Tighe, when the 55-year-old Mission: Impossible star was recently given Scientology's Freedom Medal of Valor for his devotion, Travolta was furious. Until that point, Travolta was considered Miscavige's protege. - Canoe.com, 4/16/18...... The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati has honored singer and activist Mavis Staples with one of the museum's highest honors. The center presented Staples with the Everyday Freedom Hero Award at a reception on Apr.. Staples received the reward prior to her concert performance, "An Evening with Mavis Staples." The Freedom Center says it created the Everyday Freedom Hero Award to recognize individuals and organizations that strive to live up to the ideals of the Underground Railroad movement while using their resources for the well-being and betterment of their communities. - AP, 4/14/18...... David BowieNew David Bowie subway cards have just been introduced in New York City's massive subway system. Bowie MetroCards are now available at Broadway-Lafayette station, just a few blocks from where the late rock legend used to live in SoHo for a portion of his life. The entire Broadway-Lafayette station has been transformed into something of a tribute to Bowie, too Advertisements for the "David Bowie Is" exhibition -- currently in progress at the Brooklyn Museum -- decorate the station, and outside, there's another giant Bowie mural. Costing $6.50, the new MetroCards reportedly have a two ride minimum. Meanwhile, Bowie's former collaborators are bringing Bowie's musical "Lazarus" back to life in New York City. "Lazarus" will be returning to the Big Apple for the first time since Bowie's death, in a one-night performance on May 2 at Kings Theater in Brooklyn. The new iteration is a screening of a previously filmed London performance accompanied by a live band. Dexter's Michael C. Hall will return to his leading role, with the original band performing 20 of Bowie's songs as they were arranged by the artist and band leader Henry Hey. The one night performance boasts a team of Bowie's peers behind the scenes, who joined the new project in order to preserve the artist's original vision. "I would like people to know that David Bowie really was -- far above being an incredible artist and an incredible performer -- he was, most importantly, an amazing human being," Hey said. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 4/17/18...... James Taylor and Bonnie Raiit are gearing up for a 17-date co-headlining summer tour that's set to kick off May 8 in Jacksonville, Fla. "We're a good 30 percent ahead of where we were last time," says Taylor's manager, Sam Feldman, of ticket sales for the upcoming arena road trip. The tour will cover 30-plus markets between the U.S. and Europe, where the pair will join fellow legend Paul Simon's farewell tour for two shows in Dublin and London. - Billboard, 4/13/18...... Doors from rooms where such iconic rockers as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell once stayed at the Chelsea Hotel in New York have been sold at auction, selling for thousands of dollars each. Dylan's door went for a whopping $100,000 alone, while the door to a room occupied by Cohen and Joplin during an affair that is rumoured to have inspired Cohen's track "Chelsea Hotel No. 22" went for $85,000. Jimi Hendrix and Madonna's doors went for $13,000 each. The doors were reportedly rescued by Jim Georgiou, a former tenant, who saw them being thrown away and arranged to take possession of them. - New Musical Express, 4/13/18...... Director Milos Forman, who earned Oscars for his movie masterpieces One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, died on Apr. 13 in Danbury Hospital near his home in Warren, Conn., after a short illness. He was 86. Mr. Forman left his native Czechoslovakia for creative freedom in the U.S., and his films generally appealed to sophisticated audiences, though he could reach the mainstream with his savvy flourishes. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), adapted from Ken Kesey's 1962 novel, dealt with life inside an Oregon mental institution. Starring Jack Nicholson as an insurgent patient, it was a sensation at the Oscars, winning five major categories (picture, director, actor, actress and adapted screenplay). Amadeus (1984), starring Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, raked in 11 Oscar noms and eight wins, including those for best picture and director. He also played a minor role in Heartburn (1986), which reunited him with Nicholson. Mr. Forman served as a professor of film and co-chair of the film division of Columbia University's School of the Arts, and he wrote an autobiography, Turnaround, which was published in 1994. He is survived by his third wife Martina Zborilova and their twin sons, Andrew and James. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/14/18...... Cliff RichardBritish pop singer Cliff Richard has begun his High Court battle against the BBC, after the corporation broadcast a police raid on his Berkshire home in 2014. Richard, 77, is seeking "very substantial" damages after the BBC acted on a tip-off from South Yorkshire Police and offered live coverage of a raid on his apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, as part of an investigation into a historical child sex abuse allegation. Sir Cliff was previously questioned over the allegation, but he has constantly maintained his innocence and has never faced charges. The BBC has confirmed that they will "defend ourselves rigorously," and argued in court that South Yorkshire Police attempted to "shoot its messenger." The public broadcaster also claims that it was in the public interest to broadcast the raid, and insists that their reporting "fully respected the presumption of innocence" of the popular singer. The BBC previously offered an apology to the singer in 2016. - NME, 4/13/18...... Character actor Tim O'Connor, best known for portraying Elliot Carson, Mia Farrow's father and Dorothy Malone's husband on more than 400 episodes of the 1960s ABC primetime soap Peyton Place, has died. He was 90. Mr. O'Connor also starred as Dr. Elias Huer on the 1979-81 NBC sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, starring Gil Gerard, and on a memorable 1975 episode of All in the Family, he guest-starred as a former sweetheart of Edith's (Jean Stapleton) from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who's interested in rekindling their childhood romance. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/12/18...... Actor R. Lee Emery, best known for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, has died after complications from pneumonia. He was 74. Ermey had several other mostly authority figure roles to his credit, including Sheriff Hoyt in 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, a police captain in Se7en, and the voice of the plastic army men's leader Sarge in Toy Story. - Variety.com, 4/16/18...... Sitcom actor Harry Anderson, who presided over the hit NBC comedy Night Court for nine seasons, was found dead at his home in Asheville, N.C., on Apr. 16. He was 65. No foul play was suspected, according to police. After his family moved to Los Angeles, the amiable Rhode Island native began performing magic on variety TV series like The Mike Douglas Show, The Late Show With David Letterman, and Saturday Night Live; the latter led to his role as con artist Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers, which in turn led to a starring role as Judge Harry Stone on Night Court. - Variety.com, 4/16/18.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rhino Records has released a 50th anniversary boxed set of the classic Love album Forever Changes featuring alternate mixes, demos, studio banter and other oddities. Bruce Botnick, who co-produced the LP, says Love frontman Arthur Lee was "always into his head...getting loaded, being on the street, taking advantage of the scene, of the politics, love and his relationships." "He was an incredibly prolific and romantic figure with an amazing sense of humor," Botnick added. - Billboard, 4/12/18...... In a new interview for the Elvis Presley documentary The Searcher, Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley claims that Elvis was well aware of the risks associated with taking drugs before he died in 1977. "People go, well why didn't anyone do anything? Well, that's not true," Priscilla says. "People there in the inner group did, but you did not tell Elvis Presley what to do. You did not. I mean, you'd be out of there faster than a scratched cat. They would try and no way." The Searcher is set to premiere on cable TV's HBO on Apr. 14. - New Musical Express, 4/9/18...... Neil FinnMike CampbellLindsey BuckinghamFleetwood Mac released a statement on Apr. 9 announcing that Lindsey Buckingham will be replaced on the band's upcoming tour by both Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House. A disagreement with Buckingham over the tour was apparently the reason for his firing, and the band said it "wishes Lindsey all the best." There was no comment regarding his future plans with the group. The band's Facebook page was also updated on Apr. 9 to an illustrated image, notably scrubbing Buckingham's image from its profile (although band images including Buckingham still remain on the page). The news initially broke in the first week of April after former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Billy Burnette posted -- then deleted -- a tweet declaring Buckingham out. The band added that it is "thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the caliber of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family... With Mike and Neil, we'll be performing all the hits that the fans love, plus we'll be surprising our audiences with some racks from our historic catalogue of songs... Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution... We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour." Buckingham, responsible for such hits as "Tusk" and "Go Your Own Way," joined Fleetwood Mac along with his then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks in 1974 and has been with them on an intermittent basis since then, taking time away to record six solo albums. Although Fleetwood Mac are yet to release specific details of their 2018 tour, it's believed that it will kick off in the US in the fall. - Rolling Stone/Billboard, 4/9/18...... An electronic treatment of Paul Simon's classic 1986 solo album Graceland is being prepped for a June 1 release. Graceland - The Remixes features some of the biggest names in the electronic arena, including Paul Oakenfold, Groove Armada, Thievery Corporation, and others. Simon, who recently announced that he is retiring from touring, will bring his farewell "Homeward Bound" tour to the UK and Europe this summer. - New Musical Express, 4/7/18...... A new project called Songwriters Fonts has created downloadable typefaces built from the handwriting of dead rock legends including David Bowie, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Kurt Cobain. Each font was created using the songwriter's "original handwritten letters and notes" and comes with the disclaimer, "This font is for a personal use only." "The Songwriters fonts have been created to give musicians inspiration," according to the Songwriters Fonts website. "Writing lyrics with the handwriting of influential songwriters helps imagination to develop. Being in the mood of Bowie, Cobain, Cohen, Gainsbourg, Lennon, might be purely imaginative but that's precisely the point." - Stereogum.com, 4/9/18...... Cheech MarinTommy ChongTo celebrate the 40th anniversary of their 1978 trend-setting stoner film Up In Smoke, Cheech & Chong have recorded "Up In Smoke 2018," a track with revised lyrics that will accompany the film's re-release on Blu-ray and a new deluxe vinyl edition of the soundtrack. "It was so easy," Tommy Chong told Billboard about getting back into his original Up In Smoke character. "I think I wrote my part in about a half-hour and Cheech [Marin] wrote his part in about a half-hour, then we recorded it in another half-hour. It was real simple. We've been on the road doing Cheech & Chong ever since, so it wasn't a real big stretch to get back in the studio and do it." "Yeah, we had chops and shit," Marin adds. The track "Up In Smoke" initially came out as a single during August of 1978 to coincide with the movie's release. The soundtrack features dialogue as well as other songs, including a cover of War's "Low Rider," while the 40th anniversary edition also includes a previously unreleased version of "Up In Smoke" with an additional Spanish verse by Marin. The re-release also brings the soundtrack back to vinyl for the first time since its original release. The 40th anniversary edition DVD of the film, meanwhile, features new commentary by Marin and Cisco Adler, the documentaries How Pedro Met The Man: Up In Smoke at 40 and Lighting It Up: A Look Back At Up In Smoke, the theatrical trailer and vintage radio spots. The definitive doper duo add that they're happy with the state of marijuana law reform in the U.S. now. "There's 29 states that have some sort of legalized form of marijuana," Marin says. "I think we're moving in the right direction." Chong, who credits marijuana use with helping him battle cancer, adds that, "The Trump people would like to think different but, no, we're definitely moving in the right direction. People know." - Billboard, 4/12/18...... Dire Straits is set to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Apr. 14 in Cleveland, Oh., but frontman Mark Knopfler and his brother and fellow guitarist David Knopfler won't be in attendance. "He just didn't feel like coming, it's as simple as that," says band co-founder John Illsley, who co-owns the Dire Straits band name with Knopfler. "It just didn't appeal to him, and I appealed to him on several occasions. I said, 'Look, I'd love you to get your head around this.' He said, 'Look, I just can't do it, John. I'm really sorry. It's a great honor for us and all the rest of it, and I just can't get my head around it,' so I've just got to respect it. He's got his reasons, which he really doesn't want to share with me which is unusual because we've shared most things over the years." Illsley added that he's "very proud of being inducted... I think it's fantastic for the band. I think it's fantastic for all the musicians who have worked with us over the years, who have been part of the journey... and all the producers and engineers we worked with over the years." - Billboard, 4/12/18...... Ringo StarrBMG Music announced on Apr. 10 that it has inked an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Ringo Starr that will cover Starr's Beatles and solo catalog, spanning nearly 50 years, as well as future compositions. Among the over 150 titles included in the deal are his songwriting contributions with the Beatles' "What Goes On" from Rubber Soul, "Flying" from Magical Mystery Tour, "Don't Pass Me By" from the "White Album," "Octopus's Garden" from Abbey Road and "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" from Let It Be, as well as other rarities. As a solo artist, Starr has released 19 studio albums, spanning from 1970's Sentimental Journey to last year's Give More Love. Starr has been awarded nine Grammy Awards and has twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- first as a Beatle and again as a solo artist. In March, he was honored with a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for services to music and his charity work. "I love making music and the song writing process -- and putting new music out there to play along side the old," Ringo said in a statement. "How great to be working with BMG who are excited to have my entire catalogue." Starr will be heading out on tour later this year with a new iteration of his All Starr Band. - Billboard, 4/10/18...... In other Beatles-related news, authorities in Toronto, Canada are working to identify a woman who allegedly stole an individual stone from a Yoko exhibit at the Gardiner Museum on Apr. 6. The rock, which has an appraised insurance value of $17,500, was part of a three-part interactive instillation from Ono called The Riverbed. One of these three parts is an interactive work called "Stone Piece," which "features a pile of river stones that have been honed and shaped by water over time," according to the museum's website. "Ono has inscribed some of the stones with words, such as dream, wish, and remember. Visitors are invited to pick up a stone and hold it, concentrating on the word, and then placing the stone upon the pile of other stones in the center of the room." - Spin.com, 4/9/18...... About 300 Merle Haggard fans turned up in the late country music icon's hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., on Apr. 7 to celebrate the naming of a United States Post Office in Haggard's honor. The event fell on the two-year anniversary of Haggard's death -- and what would have been his 81st birthday -- and was also attended by his sister. Norm Hamlet, who played in the "Okie From Muskogee" singer's band for nearly a half-century, told a local paper that Haggard would've been humbled by the honor. - AP, 4/8/18...... Soul songwriter Ron Dunbar, who co-wrote countless soul classics including Freda Payne's "Band of Gold," Chairmen of the Board's "Give Me Just a Little More Time" and Clarence Carter's "Patches," has died at age 77. Dunbar was a songwriter and producer supreme, best known for his work with the post-Motown Holland-Dozier-Holland label Invictus and with the Parliament-Funkadelic world of George Clinton. By the 1990s Dunbar became an independent producer again and also worked with the Holland brothers. - 4/5/18...... Yvonne StaplesGospel/pop singer Yvonne Staples, who rose to fame as one of the voices of powerhouse trio The Staple Singers, died at her home in Chicago's South Shore on Apr. 10. She was 80. Yvonne performed on the Staple Singers hits including "Respect Yourself," "I'll Take You There" and "Heavy Makes You Happy" with her sisters Mavis and Cleotha and their father, guitarist Pops Staples. Yvonne was born in Chicago to Pops and Oceola Staples, both with Mississippi roots. She started singing with Mavis and their brother Pervis in the 1940s at their uncle's church, and in 1970 replaced her brother in the group. The Staple Singers made more than 30 albums, with their greatest chart successes on Stax Records in the early 1970s. Their performance was a highlight of the film Wattstax, a documentary of a 1972 Los Angeles concert dubbed the "Black Woodstock." The Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Pops Staples died in 2000 and Cleotha died in 2013. - Billboard, 4/10/18...... Country music singer/songwriter Kenny O'Dell, who penned the smash Charlie Rich hits "Behind Closed Doors" and "I Take It On Home" as well as "Mama He's Crazy" for The Judds, has died at age 73. Early in his career, O'Dell worked with guitarist Duane Eddy, and his own band, Guys and Dolls. O'Dell also had his own country hits with "Beautiful People" and "Let's Shake Hands and Come Out Lovin'." When O'Dell first moved to Nashville, he ran Bobby Goldsboro's publishing company. He has had other hit covers including "Trouble in Paradise" by Loretta Lynn in 1974. - 3/30/18...... Rock vocalist Mike Harrison of Spooky Tooth passed away on Mar. 25 at the age of 72. From 1966 to 1970 and in 1972-1973, Harrison sang on Spooky Tooth songs mostly written by keyboard player Gary Wright, along with covers such as Bob Dylan's "The Weight." - 3/28/18...... Mitzi Shore, the owner of L.A.'s legendary The Comedy Store where such comedy legends as Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock and Roseanne Barr cut their teeth, died on Apr. 11. She was 87. "It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that we report the passing of Mitzi Shore, the legendary Godmother of the world famous Comedy Store," according to a statement from The Comedy Store. "Mitzi was an extraordinary businesswoman and decades ahead of her time who cultivated and celebrated the artistry of stand-up comedy. She was also a loving mother, not only to her own four children, but to the myriad of comedians who adored her. She leaves behind an indelible mark and legacy and has helped change the face of comedy." No cause of death was provided for Ms. Shore, who was the mother of comedian Pauly Shore. Survivors also include sons Peter and Scott and a daughter, Sandi. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/11/18.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Before the CBS Elton John special I'm Still Standing -- A Grammy Salute was filmed in January, more than one person warned executive producer Ken Ehrlich that John may get up and leave during the performances. "He's really not a fan of watching other people do his songs," Ehrlich admits. But the legend never left his seat while Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, John Legend, and others performed his hits, or when Neil Patrick Harris paid tribute to Elton's pal Ryan White, who became a poster child for HIV/AIDS before dying in 1990. Says Ehrlich: "Elton was just bawling." The two-hour I'm Still Standing -- A Grammy Salute airs on CBS on Apr. 10 at 9:00 p.m. EDT. - Entertainment Weekly, 4/13/18...... In other Elton John news, two Elton tribute covers albums, Revamp and Restoration, were released on Apr. 6, the former featuring modern pop and rock acts hand-selected by Elton himself taking a crack at his classic tunes, while the latter, organized by his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, finds country musicians doing the same. Revamp's 13-tracks feature artists ranging from Lady Gaga to Queens of the Stone Age to Mary J. Blige, while Restoration's highlights include country star Chris Stapleton offering a faithful rendition of "I Want Love." - Stereogum.com, 4/6/18...... Elvis PresleyA famous 1963 painting by pop art icon Andy Warhol of Elvis Presley called "Double Elvis [Ferus Type]" is expected to fetch as much as $30 million when it goes up for sale in a Christie's auction in New York on May 17. "Double Elvis" is Warhol's only full-length portrait, and depicts the hip-swiveling musician holding a revolver, as he appeared in the 1960 movie Western Flaming Star. A ghostly duplicate image hovers in the background. The Elvis painting, along with other Warhol paintings that are expected to bring similar high prices, are on display at Christie's London showroom from Apr. 6 until Apr. 10. The record for a Warhol work is $105 million paid for "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)" at a 2013 Sotheby's auction. In other Elvis news, a new Presley documentary titled The Searcher premieres on cable channel HBO on Apr. 14. The film traces the King's life from childhood to the 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions, featuring interviews with musicians, producers, and more artists. It is exec-produced by Jerry Schilling, one of Elvis' longtime friends, along with Priscilla Presley, Elvis' ex-wife, and director Thom Zimny had full access to the vault at Elvis' Graceland mansion. - AP/Entertainment Weekly, 4/6/18...... Country-folk singer/songwriter John Prine has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Downtown, the company announced on Apr. 5. Downtown will now rep over 230 compositions from Prine's songbook, which includes the majority of his output as a solo artist, as well as songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, The Everly Brothers, John Denver, Kris Kristofferson and many others. The agreement also covers Prine's forthcoming album, The Tree of Forgiveness, featuring his first new material in 13 years, which drops on Apr. 13 via his own Oh Boy Records imprint. - Billboard, 5/5/18...... Bob Dylan is among several artists who have reimagined popular love songs to honor the LGBTQ community by switching pronouns for a new six-song EP called Universal Love. Dylan re-worked "She's Funny That Way" into "He's Funny That Way," singing lines like "I got a man crazy for me." Universal Love, which also features such artists as Kesha and St. Vincent, is available on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music and distributed through Sony Music's Legacy Recordings. - AP, 4/5/18...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper, who recently appeared in a live TV production of Jesus Christ Superstar, has revealed to Entertainment Weekly magazine how he once nearly died in the 1980s after a hanging stunt went wrong. Magician James Randi concepted the stunt, which which had Cooper attached to a harness that was attached to rafters by a thick piano wire. For the simulation, the noose was above his neck, and for the most part, the rig had protected him. But as he performed the stunt at London's Wembley Stadium in 1988, the stunt backfired. "Everything has its stress limit and after doing so many shows, I never thought about changing the wire. You know, I figured it'll last forever," Cooper recalled. He added: "The wire snaps. I could hear the rope hit my chin and in an instant I flipped my head back. That must've been a fraction of a second because if it caught my chin it would have been a different result. It went over my neck and gave me a pretty good burn. I went down to the floor and pretty much blacked out." Cooper, 70, says he still performs the stunt "but with some really strong wire." Cooper and his "supergroup" Hollywood Vampires featuring himself, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp have announced they'll make their UK debut in June for an arena tour. - NME/Entertainment Weekly, 4/4/18...... A five-minute clip honoring late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assasinated 50 years ago on Apr. 4, 1968, was posted by Stevie Wonder on his YouTube and Facebook page on Apr. 4 at 7:05 p.m. CT, which is the exact time King was fatally shot. In the video, Wonder and a wide variety of celebrities -- from Barack and Michelle Obama to Paul McCartney and Harry Styles -- shared a dream they see for the future. The caption encourages viewers to "create and post your own 'Dream Still Lives' video with #DreamStillLives. Spread love...spread hope." - Billboard, 4/4/18...... After a tweet from a Twitter user known as @bottledfleet that features Fleetwood Mac's classic 1977 track "Dreams" went viral, the song has re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at No. 14. "Fleetwood Mac's music is so boring, you can't even dance to it," the tweet reads, followed by "Me, an intellectual:," The tweet then features a 38-second clip of a marching band's dance team dancing to the track. "Dreams" received a 36% surge in download sales, and the song also racked up 1.9 million on-demand streams, marking a 24% gain. "Dreams" originally reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1977. - New Musical Express, 4/4/18...... A new Jimi Hendrix brand merchandise program including fashion apparel, headwear, footwear, tops, figures, wall art, accessories, jewelry, home decor, digital products and collectibles will begin arriving at retail outlets by early summer 2018. The "Authentic Hendrix" program is a collaboration between Experience Hendrix, which oversees the legacy of Jimi Hendrix, and Epic Rights and Perryscope Productions, who represent retail branding for such artists as David Bowie, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Genesis and Janis Joplin. - Billboard, 4/5/18...... Wayne KramerLegendary Detroit rock combo MC5 has announced it will launch a 35-city US tour this fall in honor of the 50th anniversary of its signature 1969 album, Kick Out the Jams. MC5, led by guitarist Wayne Kramer, will kick off the tour on Sept. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and hit most major US markets, wrapping with two shows in their hometown of Detroit on Oct. 26 and 27, playing both St. Andrew's Hall and The Fillmore, respectively. - Spin.com, 4/4/18...... Country star Kenny Rogers has announced he will be canceling the remainder of his farewell 2018 performances on doctor's orders. The singer's Cherokee, N.C., show on May 26 was cancelled among other shows reportedly due to a "series of health issues." According to a release sent to the venues, the doctors expect Rogers to be okay, but they recommend he cancels the rest of his "The Gambler's Last Deal" tour to help recovery. Fans who expected to attend the concert will get a full refund of their ticket purchase. - Billboard, 4/4/18...... After hearing how Pres. Donald Trump tweeted out his "thoughts and prayers" after the recent mass shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, Calif. on Apr. 3, Bette Midler had some thoughts of her own about Pres. Trump and the series of gun violence incidents in the US. "Mr. Trump, you know in your heart that no one needs or wants your 'thoughts and prayers'... what people long for is to feel safe and secure in their schools and workplaces and houses of worship. You nearly stood up to the NRA. What changed your mind??," Midler tweeted on Apr. 3. - Billboard, 4/3/18...... Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe has announced he'll produce a new documentary on the life and music of folk-rock icon David Crosby. Crowe's Vinyl Films will produce the A.J. Eaton-directed film about the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer with BMG, which is financing and executive producing the doc. In addition to producing the documentary, Crowe has conducted multiple interviews with Crosby that will cast a new light on the artist, whose career includes stints in the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, as well as a vibrant solo career. "David Crosby has been near the forefront of music and social change for the last four decades. Now 76, he's forging a new path by seeking out younger musicians and trying to make a mark in a world now so different from the generation he came to define in the 60's," Crowe said in a statement. Crowe, an Oscar-winning director/journalist, previously wrote and directed the musical documentaries Pearl Jam Twenty (PJ20) and The Union, a making-of featuring the collaboration between Elton John and Leon Russell. - Billboard, 4/3/18...... Brian WilsonThe Beach Boys' Brian Wilson has announced he will perform the Beach Boys' 1964 Christmas Album in its entirety this winter on a month-long holiday tour. Wilson's fellow original Beach Boy Al Jardine and longtime collaborator Blondie Chaplin will be featured on the run of dates. Wilson's decision to highlight this particular Beach Boys album is noteworthy, as the group itself had its roots when the then-teenaged family band sang Christmas carols in the Wilson family home in Hawthorne, Calif. Wilson's Christmas Album tour launches Nov. 28 in Minneapolis, Minn., and the 12-date trek will also include shows in Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Florida and Texas before wrapping on Dec. 20 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Wilson will also highlight tracks from his 2005 seasonal LP, What I Really Want for Christmas. - Billboard, 4/2/18...... Country duo The Bellamy Brothers will release their autobiography, Let Your Love Flow, on Apr. 17. The book, which takes its name from the brothers' biggest hit, was co-authored with veteran music journalist Michael Kosser and details the unlikely career trajectory of the Bellamy siblings from their growing up years in Florida all the way to their string of hit records and their newest endeavor -- a reality series titled Honky Tonk Ranch, which premieres on Apr. 8 on cable TV's The Cowboy Channel. - Billboard, 4/3/18...... Billboard is reporting that the Beatles will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine by bringing back the beloved movie -- sporting a new 4K digital restoration and a 5.1 stereo surround sound remix -- to theaters across North America this July. A new trailer and film poster have been released for the film's return. The Beatles previously announced a similar 50th anniversary event in January for the U.K. and Ireland with the film playing on big screens there on July 8. "We're thrilled to have the privilege of bringing Yellow Submarine back to the big screen so that three generations of happy Beatles fans can enjoy the ground-breaking animation and classic tunes that have long been part of our collective cultural DNA," said Richard Abramowitz of Abramorama, who is co-producing the project with the Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. and Universal Music Group. - Billboard, 4/3/18...... Police in Dallas, Tex., have recovered four guitars stolen from E Street Band member Nils Lofgren as he was preparing to perform a solo concert in the city. Dallas police tweeted on Apr. 2 that they also have made an arrest in the theft, but provided no further details. Lofgren tweeted his gratitude that his instruments have been recovered, saying: "Looks like my guitars are coming back to me," and thanking fellow musicians who offered to loan him their guitars. The instruments were left in a van parked outside a Holiday Inn on Mar. 29. The theft was discovered the next morning, and Lofgren used borrowed instruments when he performed solo at the Kessler Theater in Dallas on Mar. 29. - AP, 4/3/18...... Larry HagmanSurviving cast members of TV's Dallas recently gathered with fans of the show at Southfork Ranch, where the hit series was set, to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary. Linda Gray, who portrayed Sue Ellen Ewing, said her former co-star Larry Hagman (J.R.) used to "hate it" when she told people how "wonderful he was and how lovely and generous and kind." "He would not be very happy. He'd reprimand me. He'd say, 'You're supposed to not like me. You can't tell me how nice I am,'" the actress said. "It was so funny. We never stopped laughing. And then we played these dreadful, dysfunctional people on camera," she added. The cast all agreed that Hagman, who died at 81 in 2012, was "one of the best actors ever." Added Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), "I don't miss him because I'm so full of him. He was my best friend. And I can't think of him without smiling." Dallas also broke traditional barriers by featuring a gay character in multiple episodes. "We had to use the word 'homosexual,'" Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing) said. "You couldn't even say the word 'gay.'" After 14 seasons, 357 episodes, two reunion movies and a reboot on TNT, would the cast consider taking on their characters again? "Who knows? Never say never," Gray and Duffy both said. - ABC News, 4/2/18...... Rocky star Sylvester Stallone surprised fans of his iconic 1976 boxing film on Apr. 6 when he made a surprise visit to the statue of his iconic Rocky Balboa character in Philadelphia. The 71-year-old Stallone has played the underdog boxing champ in seven Rocky films since 1976 and is currently in the City of Brotherly Love making the sequel to the 2015 hit Creed, called Creed II. Stallone took a break from shooting to join Philly Mayor Jim Kenney at the statue, next to the Philadelphia Art Museum steps he famously climbed in the first Rocky film. They rededicated a plaque that had been lost for 12 years and Kenney presented him with a personalized jersey from the Super Bowl champion Eagles. - AP, 4/6/18...... Cecil Taylor, the visionary pianist who revolutionized jazz by launching the free-jazz movement in the late '50s, died on Apr. 5 at his home in Brooklyn. He was 89. Mr. Taylor, born in New York on Mar. 25, 1929, was known as one of the pioneers of the free jazz movement, and was seen as both a grounding breaking and uncompromising artist. He released his first album, Jazz Advance, in 1956, and was also known as a poet and would recite his poems at live shows. He returned to the stage in 2016 in New York City after years away, using a cane and holding his assistant's arm. He received a standing ovation. - AP, 4/6/18.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pre-orders are available for a new remastered Bruce Springsteen vinyl box set of the Boss' releases from 1987-1996. Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 2, 1987-1996 includes the studio albums Tunnel of Love (1987), Human Touch (1992), Lucky Town (1992) and The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995), plus EPs Chimes of Freedom (1988) and Blood Brothers (1996), along with live album In Concert/MTV Plugged (1993). The 10-disc set, which comes with a 60-page book featuring vintage press clippings, rare photos, and other memorabilia, will be released on May 18 through Columbia/Legacy Recordings. - Billboard, 3/29/18...... In related news, guitarist Nils Lofgren, a member of Springsteen's E Street Band, had four guitars and an electric harp stolen from a van outside a Holiday Inn Express as he was preparing to play a solo show in the Dallas suburb of West Oak Cliff, Tex., on on Mar. 29. "I am devastated by this robbery," the guitarist tweeted after the incident. "These are my first shows out after a very difficult year." Lofgren was able to perform that night thanks to a loaner guitar from one of his former bandmates, and his next headlining set is at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, Calif., on Apr. 12. - Spin.com, 3/31/18...... Patti SmithPatti Smith has announced a new concert documentary film titled Horses: Patti Smith and her Band which will celebrate the 40th anniversary tour of her seminal debut album Horses. Shot at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in early 2016, the film captures the final gig of the Horses anniversary tour and will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC on Apr. 23. Meanwhile, Smith is preparing to play selected dates in the UK and Ireland this summer, including the All Points East Festival and a concert in Dublin in June. - New Musical Express, 3/29/18...... Former President Jimmy Carter appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Mar. 30 as part of his promotional tour for his new book, Faith: A Journey For All, and during the lively interview the 39th president told host Stephen Colbert that he regularly prays that Pres. Donald Trump will not use nuclear weapons and that he will support human rights. "Do you think your prayers are being answered?" Colbert asked. Carter responded with an anecdote from his pastor: "When you pray, God has one of three answers: yes, no and you've got to be kidding. Not sure which one it is [with Trump] yet." When Colbert asked the 93-year-old Carter if he thinks America "wants a jerk for president," Pres. Carter deadpanned, "Apparently, from this recent election year." - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/31/18...... Ted Nugent has accused students of Florida's Parkland High School of having "no soul" and being "mushy brained children" after they led a nationwide protest for more gun restrictions in response to the recent shooting at the school. Nugent made the comments on Mar. 30 during The Joe Page Show, a nationally syndicated conservative radio program. Nugent, an board member of the National Rifle Association, said survivors of the Parkland school shooting are wrong to blame the NRA for mass shootings. "The evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul," said the 69-year-old Nugent. "The measures they support amount to spiritual suicide." A rep for Nugent did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and his comments were made the same day several TV advertisers dropped Fox News personality Laura Ingraham after she mocked a survivor of the Parkland shooting online. - AP, 3/31/18...... Elton JohnIn a new inteview with the fashion magazine V, Elton John discussed his influence on fashion and his costumes for his upcoming "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" which kicks off this fall. For the farewell tour costumes, which are exclusively designed by Gucci's Alessandro Michele, the 71-year-old John happily referenced his style throughout his career. "I've kept an archive of my stage costumes from the very beginning of my career and thought it would be fun to open up my little treasure chest with Alessandro and his design team," he told V. Elton also discussed how influential the spirit of the '70s is to today's fashion: "I feel so blessed to have been a songwriter and performer in the '70s. It was a decade with an unprecedented explosion of creativity in music, fashion, and filmmaking." The Rocket Man also noted that he is "proud of the part I played in moving eyewear from function to fashion," saying that his assortment of oversized, rhinestone glasses, while expressive, were actually an attempt to hide his "extreme shyness." - Billboard, 3/29/18...... Neil Young has released a new video for his 2016 track "Peace Trails" directed by Young's girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah. The video sees Young and his backing band Promise of the Real performing under a tent as characters from Young's new film Paradox drift in and out of frame. Young stars in Paradox along with Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah. Paradox premiered at the SXSW Music Festival on Mar. 15, and Netflix has acquired the global rights to the musical and began streaming the movie on its site on Mar. 25. - NME, 4/1/18...... Hall & Oates have teamed up with their summer tour partners Train to record an ode to their hometown and the first new Hall & Oates track in 15 years, "Philly Forget Me Not." "It will be cool to play a new song on this upcoming tour with Train," said John Oates. "These songs pretty much describe my feeling about Philly, my music home," Daryl Hall added. In addition, iHeart Radio will exclusively stream a live performance from Daryl's House, a live music venue and restaurant in Pawling NY, featuring the musicians on Apr. 3. - Billboard, 3/30/18...... Robert LammOn Apr. 5 Chicago will release a new career-spanning box set called VI Decades Live (This Is What We Do) featuring 4 CDs and a DVD featuring material from 1964-2014, including the original lineup's performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival and vintage shows from Washington D.C., Paris, Oakland and, of course, Chicago. The DVD, meanwhile, showcases a 1977 appearance on Germany's Rockpalast TV show. Chicago co-founder and keyboardist Robert Lamm says of "especially the early stuff," the band "never really thought the quality was worth pursuing or releasing, so it just sat in the vaults... But they've been dusted off and somewhat improved; Lee Loughnane is kind of our archivist and the guy who oversees the mixes, and he spent a lot of time on the box set, sitting and tweaking. In certain cases as we were going through the remixes we thought they were too good; They sounded kind of fake, so we went back to try to get the original live recording and get them in shape." Chicago, fresh off a Las Vegas residency at the Venetian, is gearing up for a summer tour with REO Speedwagon. - Billboard, 3/29/18...... A 1965 Fender Telecaster guitar played by Bob Dylan during his first "electric tour" and on his legendary LPs Blonde on Blonde and The Basement Tapes will be auctioned as part of Julien's Auctions' upcoming Music Icons sale to be held at NYC's Hard Rock Cafe and online on May 19. Also played by Dylan during several of his outings with The Band including their Rock of Ages tour, the instrument is expected to bring as much as $400,000 to $500,000. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Indian College Fund. Prior to the sale, Julien's is holding a free exhibition of various entertainment memorabilia at the same location May 14-18. - Billboard, 3/29/18...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has revealed that he is now cancer-free after having a health scare in 2017. Then the rock icon revealed that he had prepared to "say goodbye" to his loved ones before he underwent five hours of surgery to remove cancer from one of his lungs. Now, Wood says he's been given the all clear. "I had three months of check-ups and it was all clear and they said 'go and enjoy life'.... There was none in the rest of my body so I didn't require chemo." Wood told a UK paper. Asked about what advice he'd give to anyone battling cancer, he urged them to "stay positive and stay strong." "I've had a great life and I was all ready to go," he added. "Wow! I didn't know I was going to be given the ticket to last this long. What a reprieve." Meanwhile, the Stones are preparing for a 9-date tour of the UK and Ireland set to launch on May 17 in Dublin, and Ryan Adams will headline a tribute concert for the Stones' seminal album Exile on Main St. The show, titled "Exile on Bourbon St.," will take place at New Orleans' Saenger Theatre on May 5. - New Musical Express/Spin.com, 3/29/18...... Sly StoneThe reclusive personal life of groundbreaking pop/funk/rock fusion icon Sly Stone will be examined in a new documentary produced by Network Entertainment and filmmaker Derik Murray. While there have been previous documentaries about Stone, this marks the first film about his life that Stone has participated in, having already sat for one interview with more to potentially come. Murray says he's also working with the various rights holders of Sly & The Family Stone's masters to license them for the film. The film will trace Stone's life from child prodigy to current-day recluse through classic performances, archival footage and fresh interviews. The enigmatic Stone has seldom been seen over the past 20 years outside of Sly & The Family Stone's 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and turning up for a tribute at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Stone's longtime representative and the documentary's co-executive producer, Robert Allan, said, "Sly felt it was the right time for him to return to the spotlight and share his incredible journey with the world." Vancouver-based Network Entertainment has produced a number of acclaimed projects, including films on Martin Luther King, Jr., Johnny Cash, Muhammad Ali, Heath Ledger, Steve McQueen and more. - Billboard, 3/28/18...... Legendary TV producer and writer Steven Bochoone, who created such successful shows as L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, died on Apr. 1 after a battle with leukemia. He was 74. Over the course of his career, Bochco won 10 Emmy Awards and a handful of Peabody Awards and Writers Guild Awards, and he also popularized the idea of a primetime TV show having a large ensemble cast and multiple ongoing story arcs. Bochco was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago, but a then-anonymous stem cell donation in 2014 did manage to prolong his life. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/1/18.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Paul McCartney was in attendance at an anti-gun "March For Our Lives" rally in New York City on Mar. 24 which saw hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. and internationally protest the lack of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the recent Parkland school shooting in Florida where 17 people were killed. "This is what we can do, so we're here to do it," Sir Paul told a CNN interviewer. "One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right round here so it's important to me," added the former Beatle, referring to how John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman on Dec. 8, 1980, outside his nearby New York apartment. McCartney was sporting a "We can end gun violence" T-shirt, and when asked what he hoped the marches around the country would accomplish, he pointed to the shirt. - Billboard, 3/24/18...... In other Beatles-related news, a portfolio containing over 300 previously unseen photos of the Fab Four assembled by a Baltimore, Md. teen sold for over £250,000 at auction on Mar. 24. Mike Mitchell's photographs captured the band playing their renowned shows in Washington DC and Baltimore in 1964. A total of 413 negatives were sold for £253,2000 at auction -- 46 of which had been seen before. Mitchell, who was 18 at the time, said he was inspired to shoot the group after watching their famous TV performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. "I was very motivated to come up with stuff that was as unique as could possibly be," he said. Since he couldn't afford a flash, Mitchell said he shot the Beatles as they arrived at the Washington Coliseum using natural light to capture the band. At the Beatles' show in Baltimore the following September, he said he managed to climb on stage to get a better view of the band. - New Musical Express, 3/24/18...... Richie BlackmoreFormer Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore has five shows slated for April with his new incarnation of his Deep Purple spinoff band Rainbow. The reformed Rainbow has played select shows in Europe each of the last two years, and on Apr. 6 will release Memories in Rock II, which features a live rendition of "I Surrender" and will include the first new Rainbow studio recording in 22 years, "Waiting For a Sign." Blackmore, who has been concentrating since 1997 on the medieval sounds of Blackmore's Night with his wife Candice Night, said he "just felt like playing some rock n' roll on a few dates" when asked why he decided to record and perform with Rainbow again. "So I basically put together the right players to do a few shows, just playing the old rock stuff, Purple stuff and Rainbow," Blackmore says. "I was doing it, one, for the fans and, two, for the nostalgia, and the singer I found (Ronnie Romero) is very exciting. Candice found him on YouTube, so I auditioned him and he passed. He's got a great voice, a cross between, like, Dio meets Freddie Mercury." Blackmore added he has no regrets about not attending Deep Purple's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "I have no interest in that type of thing.... Rock n' roll is all about freedom, not having a panel of phantom arbiters discussing who is going to be in and who is going to be out. I think Steve Miller said it best when he was inducted. Check YouTube for that." - Billboard, 3/28/18...... A confidential toxicology report from the autopsy of Prince was obtained by the Associated Press on Mar. 27 and shows the late funk rock icon had what multiple experts called an "exceedingly high" concentration of fentanyl in his body when he died. "The amount in his blood is exceedingly high, even for somebody who is a chronic pain patient on fentanyl patches," said Dr. Lewis Nelson of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who is not connected to the Prince investigation. The report says the concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, while fatalities due to the drug have been documented in people with blood levels as low as three microgramp per liter. "It's a pretty clear smoking gun," Dr. Lewis said. Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on Apr.21, 2016. Public data released six weeks after his death showed he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. Meanwhile, officials in Minnesota are preparing for a large group of Prince fans who are expected to pay tribute on the second anniversary of his death on the grounds of his Paisley Park estate and in nearby Minneapolis. A tribute fence will be installed at Prince's famed music studio and home at Paisley Park, and tribute concert called "Prince: Live On The Big Screen" will be held at Target Center in Minneapolis, where fans can also leave messages on a specially erected fence. Also a "Celebration 2018" tribute will feature guest speakers including members of Prince's backing band The Revolution. - AP, 3/27/18...... Steven SpielbergDirector Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated new film Ready Player One may be set in 2045, but its soundtrack is straight from the previous century. Songs from the likes of Prince ("I Wanna Be Your Lover"), The Temptations ("Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," Blondie ("One Way Or Another"), The Bee Gees ("Stayin' Alive") and Hall & Oates ("You Make My Dreams Come True") are featured in the film, which is based on Ernest Cline's 2011 science fiction novel of the same name about the battle for OASIS, an immersive virtual universe. A compilation of songs from the movie, Ready Player One: Songs From The Motion Picture, will be released via WaterTower Music on Mar. 30, and Ready Player One: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, a 2-CD version of the film's score, will hit stores on Apr. 6 with double vinyl and cassette configurations planned for this summer. - Billboard, 3/28/18...... Speaking to the New York Daily News ahead of his Easter Sunday appearance in the live broadcast of the '70s musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," Alice Cooper creditd religion for helping him to overcome his alcohol addiction. "Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me," Cooper said. "I was drinking with (late Doors singer) Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with (late The Who drummer) Keith Moon and they all died at 27." Cooper revealed that after he received his diagnosis and left the hospital, he reconnected with his faith and never went back to drinking. "My wife and I are both Christian," he said. "My father was a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it - almost died - and then came back to the church." The Coop added that "there's nothing in Christianity that says I can't be a rock star.... It has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ." Cooper will portray Bible villain King Herod in the live broadcast "Jesus Christ Superstar" on NBC on Apr. 1, starring alongside John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and Ben Daniels as Pontius Pilate. - WENN.com, 3/26/18...... Steven Tyler's three dauthers Liv, Mia and Chelsea took to Instagram on Mar. 27 to wish their dad and Aerosmith frontman a happy 70th birthday. Liv, the oldest, posted a photo of their father-daughter Rolling Stone cover with a lengthy paragraph of how their bond has taught her to really appreciate all the beauty in life, while 39-year-old Mia posted a series of joyous moments with her dad, including adorable photos of Tyler holding her 10-month-old son Axton Joseph. Tyler's youngest daughter Chelsea, 29, opted for a throwback photo of herself smiling wide as she embraces her father, who she described as a "force of nature." - Billboard, 3/27/18...... Ian AndersonJethro Tull has announced it will release a massive, 3-disc compilation titled 50 for 50 to celebrate its 50th anniversary as a group. Handpicked by Tull frontman Ian Anderson, 50 for 50 will unearth some underestimated gems from the iconic prog rock band's history, including such lesser-known Tull gems as "Really Don't Mind/See There A Son is Born" (from Thick as a Brick), "One White Duck / 0^10 = Nothing at All" (from Minstrel in the Gallery), "One Brown Mouse" (from Heavy Horses), and "Steel Monkey" (from Crest of a Knave). - Billboard, 3/27/18...... The world's first statue of David Bowie was vandalized on Mar. 27 only 48 hours after it was first unveiled in Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury, England. The vandals were apparently protesting money being on a statue when there are more pressing needs in the area, however Deputy Mayor Mark Willis stressed that no public money was spent on the statue. "I want to point out that this statue received precisely £0 of public money," he said. "That's right, £0. It was entirely funded through crowdfunding, by members of the public, myself included." Vandals covered the statue in the Aylesbury Market Square close to the town's Friars music venue where Bowie first debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona in the early 1970s with graffiti that says "feed the homeless first" and "RIP DB." The statue was designed by Andrew Sinclair and mainly funded through a £10,000 crowdfunding campaign led by legendary music promoter David Stopps, who tweeted "Some Dickheads about. Bowie statue vandalised within 48 hours of unveiling." Stopps told the BBC that security cameras are trained on the statue and could aid in finding the culprit: "There is a webcam on it 24/7, so whoever did it, we have got them on webcam." Marillion lead singer Steve Hogarth unveiled the statue on Mar. 25. - New Musical Express, 3/27/18...... Members of Bob Marley's family have announced they are coming together for a two-day event honoring the late reggae legend called the Kaya Festival. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Marley's Kaya album, Stephen, Ziggy, Damian, Julian and Ky-Mani Marley have planned the fest for Apr. 28 and 29 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif. Organizers are calling the event "a one-of-a-kind socially conscious music and awareness experience that fosters unity, one love and peace amongst people from all over the world." The Marley brothers will perform together for the first time in a decade on Apr. 28, followed the next day with a special acoustic set by Stephen Marley of the Kaya album. Released in 1978, Kaya featured such Wailers classics as "Is This Love?" and "Sun Is Shining," and spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, peaking at No. 50. There will also be a cannabis symposium at the event, focusing on the benefits of medical marijuana, and breakthroughs with products like Cannabidiol, as well as health sessions and wellness workshops. - Billboard, 3/28/18...... Yvonne EllimanGrammy-winning singer Yvonne Elliman of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and Saturday Night Fever fame is scheduled to be sentenced on drug possession charges in the U.S. territory of Guam in the last week of March. Yvonne Marianne Elliman-Alexander, 66, who performs under her maiden name Yvonne Elliman, and her husband, Allen Bernard Alexander, are scheduled for sentencing Guam, where they had gone to perform at a benefit concert and were stopped by authorities at the airport in August 2017, who found marijuana in Alexander's belongings and crystal-like rocks and a glass pipe in Elliman-Alexander's belongings. Their attorney, Mike Phillip, said he is hopeful they will receive probation. They both pleaded guilty to felony drug possession charges. After a court appearance on Mar. 26, Elliman-Alexander said she and her husband had performed about 120 hours of community service in Hawaii, where they live. They face a maximum of six months in prison, according to Assistant Deputy Attorney General James Collins. But probation would mean they won't spend any more time behind bars. Elliman-Alexander had her first hit, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from "Jesus Chris Superstar," and she played Mary Magdalene in the 1973 movie version of the Broadway hit. She also performed "If I Can't Have You" on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which won a Grammy for album of the year in 1978. - AP, 3/26/18.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Speaking to The Times of London, Tina Turner revealed that she has forgiven her ex-husband Ike Turner for his past instances of domestic abuse, but added that she "wouldn't work with him." As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him," Turner, 78, explained. "He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, 'No, absolutely not.' Ike wasn't someone you could forgive and allow him back in. It's all gone, all forgotten." Turner also revealed in the interview that she sometimes thinks about Ike, who died in 2007, but doesn't think about the abuse -- instead, the good memories sometimes linger. "I don't know what the dreams are about," she explained. "The dreams are still there -- not the violence, the anger. I wonder if I'm still holding something in." Ike and Tina's divorce was finalized in 1978, and since then, Tina has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, has won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and got remarried. - Billboard, 3/21/18...... Rod StewartIn a recent appearance on the Bravo TV show Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Rod Stewart hit out at Elton John's plans for a forthcoming farewell tour, describing it as a "dishonest" attempt to sell tickets. "I did email her [Elton] and said, 'What, again dear?' And I didn't hear anything back!," Stewart said. "If I retire, I won't make an announcement. I'll just fade away. I don't think this is a big deal, it stinks of selling tickets," he added. When fellow guest and Stewart touring partner Cyndi Lauper described Elton's tour as "not a bad idea," Rod shot back: "It's dishonest. It's not rock and roll." In January, John announced plans for a massive three-year world tour, concluding with his final ever shows in 2021. Meanwhile Stewart and Lauper's summer tour kicks off June 25 at the Hollywood Bowl. - New Musical Express, 3/23/18...... Ozzy Osbourne filed a class action antitrust lawsuit against music giant AEG in California federal court on Mar. 21, claiming it is "coercing" artists into committing to playing its venues in both London and Los Angeles. In the suit, Osbourne claims AEG is illegally tying its venues, London's O2 Arena and the Staples Center in LA, with an agreement called the Staples Center Commitment, which prohibits artists from playing The O2 unless they also play the Staples Center as their Los Angeles leg. Osbourne's lawyers argue that while Los Angeles is "a competitive venue market," The O2 is a "must have" venue in the English capital and the "only indoor arena in London with the capacity to host major concerts." His lawsuit looks to nullify the agreement for any artist that signed it. AEG has responded to the suit, saying in a statement: "This suit is without merit and we will vigorously fight it. We welcome a closer look at the global live entertainment market and, specifically, our practices and the practices of our competition." - NME, 3/22/18...... It was announced on Mar. 21 that Bruce Springsteen's acclaimed Broadway show series "Springsteen on Broadway" at The Walter Kerr Theatre will be extended into December due to exceptional demand. With 81 additional shows announced for Springsteen's performances from July 10, the unique series will end with a final show on Dec. 15, 2018. At the end of the year, "Springsteen on Broadway," in which the legendary singer performs solo from his back catalog and reads passages from his autobiography Born to Run, will have run for 236 performances. - Billboard, 3/21/18...... Fleetwood MacThe National Recording Registry announced on Mar. 21 that signature songs from such artits as The Temptations ("My Girl"), Kenny Rogers ("The Gambler"), Arlo Guthrie ("Alice's Restaurant Massacree"), Chic ("Le Freak") and Tony Bennett ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco") and iconic albums from Fleetwood Mac (Rumours), Run-DMC and Groucho Marx have been selected by the NRR to be preserved. The Library of Congress' Registry each year honors 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" recordings, and among the aural treasures making the cut this time around are the soundtrack of The Sound of Music (1965); The Ink Spots' "If I Didn't Care," one of the biggest-selling songs of all time, from 1939; Kenny Loggins' 1984 colossal hit "Footloose"; and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine's sweeping 1987 single "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." The number of recordings in the Registry now number an even 500. Nominations were gathered through online submissions from the public and the National Recording Preservation Board, which is comprised of leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/21/18...... Neil Diamond will be honored with the Johnny Mercer Award at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, being held June 14 in New York City. The award is the Hall's highest honor and is reserved exclusively for past inductees -- Diamond was inducted in 1984. "The Johnny Mercer Award goes to a songwriter or songwriting team whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it "upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer," the Hall said in a press release. Diamond, whose songwriting credits include "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," "Cracklin' Rose" and "Sweet Caroline," among many others, later this year will receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to the Songwriters Hall, he's also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was honored in 2011 at Kennedy Center Honors. He recently announced his retirement from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. - Billboard, 3/20/18...... The We Are Family Foundation has announced The Who's Roger Daltrey and rapper LL Cool J as honorees for the 2018 WAFF gala celebration taking place this April. Daltrey will receive the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award, named in honor of poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T Stepanek, who died at age 13 in 2004. "I am delighted to receive the 2018 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award," Daltrey said. "As one of the founders of Teen Cancer America I am proud to be honored by the We Are Family Foundation, who also recognizes the specific needs of our adolescents and young adults and understands how vital it is that we support them as they strive to positively change the world." - Billboard, 3/20/18...... Gene SimmonsDuring a press conference in Toronto on Mar. 21, Gene Simmons spoke out about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, claiming their "collateral damage is heinous" and that "there's no presumption of innocence." "Let me put it bluntly. I think the sh--storm is going to be here for a while and the pendulum will finally get to reality after," Simmons said. "Right now it's in the extreme. But I'm the last guy to understand any of this stuff. I think it's wonderful for women to be engaged in the conversation and the positive side is there have been a lot of bad guys who have gotten away with it (and aren't anymore) -- that's a good thing. The collateral damage is heinous because anybody can say anything and there's no presumption of innocence. That's the problem; the problem is you don't have your day in court." The Kiss co-founder added that women affected by incidents of sexual harassment should sidestep the press and go straight to court. "You'll make more money. You'll embarrass him everyday. Instead of in a news conference which gets you no money. I'm totally in support of anything and everything that follows the rule of law. Get a lawyer. Do it legitimately," he said. Simmons was sued for sexual assault at the end of 2017 over an incident in which he allegedly grabbed a woman during an interview -- an accusation he vehemently denied. - New Musical Express, 3/22/18...... Midwest prog-rockers Kansas will launch a U.S. tour in support of the 40th anniversary of its 1978 album Point of Know Return beginning this fall. In honor of the anniversary, Kansas is performing Point of Know Return in its entirety on a theater tour booked by Keith Naisbitt at APA, following their success touring the 40th anniversary of the Leftoverture album in 2017. "[The last tour] was incredibly successful," Naisbitt says. "We took a different approach and after a couple years not playing major markets, we returned with sets that were really special in places like Atlanta, Nashville and Los Angeles. It took the band to a whole new level and now we're getting ready for Point of Know Return, which is obviously a bigger album and will mean the biggest shows we possibly can play." The tour kicks off Sept. 28 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, with stops at the Ryman in Nashville (Sept. 29), the Tobin Center in San Antonio (Nov. 2) and the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Nov. 23), before ending at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (Dec. 15). - Billboard, 3/19/18...... Ringo StarrThe Beatles' Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr, was formally knighted in a ceremony at London's Buckingham Palace on Mar. 20. Starr told the BBC he was honored to get the title: "It means a lot actually. It means recognition for the things we've done. I was really pleased to accept this." He also said he was a little nervous about getting the award by himself as opposed to when the Beatles as a group received MBEs in 1965, explaining, "I was a bit shaky today on my own." An announcement of Ringo's knighthood was made at the end of December and brought congratulations from many, including his fellow Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono. A picture of the Ringo's ceremony was posted by his reps on social media, with the words "Another busy day for Sir Ringo. Peace and love, peace and love." - Billboard, 3/20/18...... Stevie Wonder has spoken in defense of Bruno Mars following accusations of cultural appropriation. Mars was the subject of heated online discussion last week after writer Seren Sensei accused the star of appropriating black music. The original video that featured Sensei's criticism went viral, racking up over 3 million views. But Stevie Wonder has told TMZ.com that Mars is "a great talent, so all the other stuff is just bullshit... He was inspired by great musicians and great artists and songwriters. So that's good." Wonder added: "Here's the thing, God created music for all of us to enjoy. So we cannot limit ourselves by people's fears and insecurities." - NME, 3/19/18...... A funeral for notorious cult leader Charles Manson was conducted at a funeral home in Porterville, Calif. on Mar. 20, with Manson's body cremated on site. Songs by The Beach Boys and Guns N' Roses were played at the funeral service, according to reports, and Church of the Nazarene paster Mark Pitcher said around 20-25 people attended the service, including Manson's grandson Jason Freeman, and there was a "hippie vibe" during the service. Guests including former Manson Family member Sandra Good also attended a private viewing of the body earlier in the day. After being sentenced to death in 1971 for masterminding the murders of actress Sharon Tate and several of her houseguests in 1969, Manson's conviction was eventually commuted into a life sentence, with him remaining imprisoned in California until his death in November 2017 at age 83. Since Manson's death, it has been announced that Quentin Tarantino is working on a movie about the Manson Family murders. - NME, 3/20/18...... Steven TylerAerosmith frontman Steven Tyler announced on Mar. 19 that he is hitting the road for a solo tour, with Nashville's Loving Mary Band as his backing group. The 13-date tour is comprised of headlining shows, festival gigs and a benefit concert for Akron's Children Hospital, and will get underway on June 12 in Lewiston, N.Y. Tyler will hit smaller venues in New York, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Alberta through July 11, then travel to Europe for shows in Switzlerland, Italy, Spain and the UK beginning on July 15 in Sion, Switzerland. Tyler is touring behind h is 2016 debut LP We're All Somebody From Somewhere, which hit No. 1 on Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and entered the top 20 of the Billboard 200 albums chart. - Billboard, 3/19/18...... Frank Avruch, a longtime Boston television personality and entertainer who was the star of the popular children's TV program Bozo the Clown, died on Mar. 20 at his Boston hime from heart disease. He was 89. Mr. Avruch played Bozo the Clown from 1959 to 1970, a clown character particularly popular in the U.S. in the 1960s because of widespread franchising in television, and Mr. Avruch became the first nationally-syndicated Bozo the Clown. He was just one of several people who performed as Bozo the Clown through the years, and his 11-year stint as the character ended in 1970. "He had a heart of gold," manager Stuart Hersh said. "He brought the Bozo the Clown character to life better than anyone else's portrayal of Bozo the Clown." Mr. Avruch also was a contributor to WCVB-TV for more than 40 years as a host of Man About Town and The Great Entertainment. He was also an active philanthropist and a board member of UNICEF'S New England chapter, touring the world performing as Bozo the clown for UNICEF. He is survived by his wife Betty, two sons Matthew and Steven and several grandchildren. - AP, 3/22/18.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

CBS announced on Mar. 13 that a previously recorded all-star Grammy tribute to Elton John will air on the network on Apr. 10 at 9:00 P.M. EDT. Elton John: I'm Still Standing - A Grammy Salute, which runs two hours, will showcase musicians from multiple genres performing some of Elton's biggest hits, including Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Kesha, Little Big Town, Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, among others. John also takes the stage at the end to perform a medley of his hits, including "Bennie and the Jets," "Philadelphia Freedom" and "I'm Still Standing." - CBS.com, 3/13/18...... Rita CoolidgeLegendary '70s singer Rita Coolidge performed at Coopers BBQ during the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., on Mar. 16. After opening with "Late Again," the "Higher and Higher" singer announced that she wasn't going to "play it safe" by only performing her hits, but that she was going to "do a bunch from my new album, 'cause that's why we're here." Coolidge was referring to Safe in the Arms of Time, her new album which is due May 4 via Blue Elan Records, which hosted the showcase. The album is Coolidge's first release of original material in 13 years, and Coolidge wo-wrote three of its 12 tracks. The 72-year-old songstress didn't completely ignore her past however, treating the audience to "We're All Alone" and closing her set with "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." - Billboard, 3/17/18...... English heavy metal icons Judas Priest have just scored their highest charting album ever in the US with their latest effort, Firepower. The band's 18th studio album, Firepower debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Mar. 15, moving 49,000 units according to Nielsen Music. The album surpasses the Priest's previous chart high, logged when 2014's Redeemer of Souls debuted and peaked at No. 6. "Lightning Strike," Firepower's first single, has risen to No. 21 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart, making it the band's highest charting single on the tally since 1982, when their classic hit "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" peaked at No. 4. - Billboard, 3/18/18...... Also achieving his highest charting album ever on the Hot 200 is former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, whose American Utopia has climbed to No. 3 with 63,000 equivalent album units earned in the Mar. 15 chart. American Utopia is Byrne's 12th charting solo album, and its arrival was enhanced by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with his current tour, which started earlier in March. American Utopia was led by its first single, "Everybody's Coming to My House," which has reached No. 5 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart. - Billboard, 3/18/18...... Bruce SpringsteenFive months into its run, Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show "Springsteen On Broadway" played host to a star-studded SiriusXM event at Walter Kerr Theatre on Mar. 14 in New York City. The audience included SiriusXM subscribers (including devotes of the E Street Radio channel) and more than a few celebrities, including Howard Stern, Stephen Colbert, Ricky Gervais, Jenny McCarthy, Donnie Wahlberg, Liev Schreiber and Emmylou Harris. Debuting in October 2017, "Springsteen on Broadway" finds the 68-year-old New Jersey rocker reading passages from his memoir and singing 15 songs that tangentially relate to the text. - Billboard, 3/15/18...... A new David Bowie statue is set to be unveiled in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in the town's Market Square on Mar. 25. The statue sees Bowie dressed as his Ziggy Stardust persona with various other versions of Bowie looking on. Meanwhile, a resident of Aylesbury has started a petition to change the town's name from Aylesbury to "Aylesbowie." David Stopps notes a name change would not be out of the ordinary as Aylesbury has had several names over the years. "Since records began there have been 57 variations of the town's name," he said. A spokesman for Buckinghamshire County Council called it an "interesting idea" and added "perhaps on 25 March we could all think 'Aylesbowie' -- just for one day!" - New Musical Express, 3/16/18...... Barbra Streisand was honored with an Icon Tribute during the kickoff to the 35th annual PaleyFest LA at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Mar. 16. Ryan Murphy was on hand to a lead an in-depth conversation with the diva about her life in television, which began in 1961 with an appearance on The Tonight Show. "I have to look up everything about myself because I forget," Streisand said. "I don't remember. I asked my assistant today, 'Did I win the Emmy for that? I don't remember that.'" Streisand also said she never experienced a "#MeToo moment." "I wasn't one of those pretty girls with those nice little noses," she said, adding, "We're in a strange time now with men and women and the pendulum is swinging this way and that way and it's going to have to come to the center." Streisand said has seen parts of the upcoming remake of A Star is Born directed by and starring Bradley Copper opposite Lady Gaga. "It's very very good," she said. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/17/18...... Don McLeanDon McLean is reportedly dating a Playboy model and 24-year-old media star named Paris Dylan who is 48 years his junior. The "American Pie" singer was spotted with Dylan while on a recent promotional tour in the U.K., according to People magazine. Dylan seemingly confirmed the romance by sharing several photos from television and radio studios in Manchester on Instagram on Mar. 15. "Don was on BBC Breakfast today and the whole entire production crew had to run out after to get photos with him," she captioned an image of her linking arms with McLean while sat on a sofa with BBC Breakfast hosts Louise Minchin and Charlie Stayt. "Such a nice time in Manchester!" The new couple then headed to Ireland, and Dylan shared backstage shots of McLean performing on CBS' The Late Late Show with James Corden on Mar. 16. Paris Dylan is the first woman McLean has been linked to since his split from Patrisha Shnier, his wife of 29 years, in 2016. In January of that year he was arrested at his home in Maine for domestic violence against Shnier. McLean later pleaded guilty to misdemeanour counts of domestic violence assault, domestic violence criminal threatening, criminal mischief, and criminal restraint as part of a "deferred disposition," meaning the charges would be dismissed if he complied with the court's orders over the next year. The charges were then dismissed last July. - WENN.com, 3/18/18...... Keyboardist Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers has announced a solo show at Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, but says his concert will not include any other members of Petty's band. "Absolutely not. It means I hope some of my friends show up to play along, but who knows? It definitely does not mean any Heartbreakers," Tench responded on Twitter when asked whether other members of the band will perform. The Heartbreakers have not performed together since Petty's death in October. - Billboard, 3/16/18...... Bob DylanBob Dylan has been added to Japan's three-day Fuji Rock Festival Lineup, set for July 27-29 at a ski resort in Naeba, Niigata prefecture, about 200 miles from the iconic Mt. Fuji. Other previously announced headliners include Kendrick Lamar, N.E.R.D., Skrillex and Vampire Weekend. - Billboard, 3/15/18...... NRA Spokesperson Dana Loesch apparently has it in for Neil Young, regularly tweeting anti-Neil (and sometimes, by proxy, anti-Canadian) sentiments comparing Young's voice to "a dying cow fart." Young responded to Loesch's hatred of his music at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Tex., where he's promoting his new film Paradox. "The spokesperson? That woman? She doesn't like me?" Young laughed, before declaring that he was "glad [he] got under her skin." In response to Loesch's questionable metaphor of the "dying cow," Young said: "Why doesn't she just shoot me?" Young then qualified the statement: "You know, I hate to say that because I have kids and I really don't want anybody to shoot me. I've still got to bring up my kids, so don't take that seriously!" Young also recently commented to Rolling Stone on the recent announcement of "farewell tours" by the likes of Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne and Paul Simon, calling them "bullsh*t." "I'm going out with Cher. Cher and I are doing a retirement tour. When I retire, people will know, because I'll be dead... 'm not gonna say, 'I'm not coming back.' What kind of bullsh*t is that? I could go out and play if I felt like it, but I don't feel like it." - Spin.com/Rolling Stone, 3/15/18...... Former Deep Purple singer/bassist Glenn Hughes will be performing Deep Purple only material in Ireland at the Waterfront in Belfast on Sept. 29 and the Olympia in Dublin on Sept. 30. "I'm excited to be touring the "Classic Deep Purple Live" in Ireland this September," Hughes says. "I first toured Classic Deep Purple Live in Australia and New Zealand last year and it went down like a storm. We're also touring the show throughout South America in April, and festivals throughout the summer. By the time we tour Ireland in September, we'll be on fire." Tickets for the shows went on sale on Mar. 16 at seetickets.com. - Noble PR, 3/14/18...... Grammy-nominated guitarist Joe Bonamassa, who completed a UK and European tour on Mar. 17, has announced the release of British Blues Explosion Live on May 18 on CD/DVD/Blu-Ray & 3LP via Mascot Label Group in Europe and J&R Adventures in North America. The DVD and Blu-ray includes bonus content such as Joe performing "Taxman" Live at the Cavern Club, Joe being honoured with a "Brick In The Wall", the "British Blues Explosion Explained" by Mick Wall and a photo gallery of the British Blues Explosion UK Tour. Bonamassa will play the Hampton Court Palace Festival in London on June 12. - Noble PR, 3/7/18...... Roger DaltreyPerforming at a recent solo show in Las Vegas, The Who's Roger Daltrey warned those in the audience that they should "take your f***ing earplugs" to gigs because "now I'm very, very deaf." "I advise you all -- all you rock-and-roll fans -- take your fucking ear plugs to the gigs," and revealed that he now relies on lip-reading. However, Daltrey vowed to keep on performing "for a long time," saying he is "lucky to be doing what I do -- so thank you." Meanwhile, Daltrey is preparing to perform a headlining show at one of his own Teenage Cancer Trust shows at London's Royal Albert Hall on Mar. 22. He'll be joined by Dr Pepper's Jaded Hearts Club Band, a supergroup that includes members of Muse and Blur performing Beatles covers. Nile Rodgers & Chic, Def Leppard and UB40 will also perform during the two-day event. - New Musical Express, 3/14/18...... Legendary British physicist Stephen Hawking, the author of the worldwide best-selling book A Brief History of Time and the subject of the Oscar-nominated film The Theory of Everything, died on Mar. 13. He was 76. "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," his children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement. "He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years." A child prodigy, Hawking began his storied academic career in 1950, entering Oxford University at the age of 17. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 at the age of 21. At the time, his doctors gave him a life expectancy of two years. He would defy medical science and go on to have a long and distinguished academic career at Cambridge University. His condition gradually paralysed Hawking over decades and he was only able to communicate using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device. Despite his disability, Hawking became a leader in his field, becoming an expert on black holes. He achieved worldwide fame when his book A Brief History of Time became a worldwide bestseller and sold 10 million copies. Hawking's life was captured on the big screen in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane Wilde Hawking. The movie was nominated for five Oscars including best picture with Redmayne winning best actor. Hawking also made appearances on The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation. - Billboard, 3/13/18.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced it will release some of the best performances from its induction ceremonies between 2010-2017 in a variety of formats on Apr. 24. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert will arrive as four DVDs and two Blu-rays featuring 53 live performances from the likes of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Deep Purple, Rush, Yes, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Journey and Joan Jett, among others. The video sets will also feature induction and acceptance speeches from the ceremonies. Five digital Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame: In Concert digital albums, each covering two ceremonies, will drop the same day, with bonus performances by Alice Cooper, Donovan, Dr. John, Heart, the Hollies, Darlene Love, Leon Russell, the Stooges, Tom Waits, the Small Faces/Faces, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more. Meanwhile, the 2018 Rock Hall induction ceremony is set for Apr. 14 in Cleveland, honoring Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues, Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. It will be, as usual, filmed by HBO for subsequent broadcast. - Billboard, 3/13/18...... Brian JohnsonFormer AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson made a surprise appearance at a Hawaiian restaurant owned by Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood on Mar. 6 for a jam of the R&B standard "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66." After Fleetwood introduced Johnson at his Fleetwood's On Front St. restaurant in his home of Maui, Hawaii, Johnson told the intimate audience it was a "a big honor" to join his idol Fleetwood onstage. Mispronouncing his name as "Flick Meetwood," Johnson joked that he was "breaking these teeth in for a friend," then sang the 1940s track with Fleetwood and his band. In 2017, Johnson announced he was retiring from AC/DC due to hearing problems. He was replaced by Guns 'N Roses' Axl Rose as guest vocalist, though it was reported in February than Rose will continue touring and recording with the Aussie hard rockers. - New Musical Express, 3/7/18...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson dropped by the offices of Teen Vogue magazine on Mar. 7 to reveal the "soundtrack of my life," which included a plethora of oldies from different genres, including Andy Williams' "Moon River," the Eagles' "Peaceful Easy Feeling," Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke," Elton John's "Daniel," and the more recent "Concrete Wall" by Zee Avi. The 19-year-old model, who will soon be making her onscreen debut in the new Joel Edgerton-directed crime-drama film Gringo, said that "Music is everything to me. It's kind of all I know and the biggest form of connection I have with anything. It's all of the things that make you feel. Period. Not just good, but everything." - Billboard, 3/9/18...... On Mar. 9, the Rolling Stones announced two more final shows for their upcoming No Filter tour of the UK and Ireland. The Stones added shows in Southampton on May 29 and Coventry on June 2 for their 9-city UK tour, which begins on May 17 in Dublin. It will wrap on June 19 at London's Twickenham Stadium. The band last played London in 2013 at Hyde Park. The announcement comes after Stones fans in the UK were left disappointed last year when a lack of suitable venues meant that their European tour wouldn't visit their native Britain. "Sorry to our UK fans there are no UK dates on this run, due to lack of available venues because of sporting fixtures...hope to be their in 2018," the band said at the time. - NME, 3/9/18...... David ByrneDavid Byrne appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Mar. 9 to deliver a riveting performance of "Everybody's Coming To My House" from his recently released LP, American Utopia. In the performance, the former Talking Heads frontman was joined by a variety of musicians and dancers, barefoot and all dressed in matching grey suits, with host Steven Colbert later joining in on the performance. Byrne was also interviewed on the show, where he told Colbert what he's been up to for the past decade, which included several musicals. He mentioned that Pres. Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner would be the one person in the White House he could write a musical about. Byrne previously announced he'll mount a world tour behind American Utopia later in 2018, tweeting that it will be "the most ambitious show I've done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense, so fingers crossed." - NME, 3/10/18...... British singer Dame Shirley Bassey, best known to American audiences for her top 10 rendition of the 1964 James Bond theme song "Goldfinger," is responding to a false report that she has passed away. A spokesperson for the 81-year-old Bassey told Wales Online that the claims were "completely false", "unfair" to fans -- and that she was very much "alive and kicking." Concern for Bassey spread after Manfred Mann singer Mike D'Abo told the audience at a Mar. 7 show in Cardiff in Bassey's native Wales that he had been informed that she had died, and he didn't know the cause of death. Dame Bassey was recently honored with the Nordoff Robins O2 Silver Clef Award for her lifelong commitment to music and outstanding achievements. Her last studio album was 2014's Hello Like Before. - New Musical Express, 3/9/18...... Netflix's redo of the 1974 flick Benji finds the titular street pup with a penchant for strawberries befriending a pair of kids who look past his scruff and see the hero/detective within -- which comes in handy when PG Benji foils some very PG-13 crooks. Benji begins streaming on Netflix on Mar. 16. - Entertainment Weekly, 3/23/18...... Jesus Christ SuperstarJesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, NBC's latest live musical, is of biblical proportions. The 1971 Broadway rock opera gets the all-star treatment with John Legend as Jesus Christ, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and rock icon Alice Cooper as King Herod. With lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber exec-producing, you can expect a spectacle that remains true to the original production but still fills you with that holy Sunday feeling. Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert airs on NBC on Apr. 1 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. - Entertainment Weekly, 3/23/18...... The spooky battle over who gets ownership of notorious cult leader Charles Manson's body has been determined by a California judge. After Manson died on Nov. 19 after more than 40 years behind bars for masterminding the murders of actress Sharon Tate and several others in 1969, a slew of people sought ownership of his ice-packed remains, including Manson's grandson, Jason Freeman, longtime Manson pen pal Michael Channels, a musician named Matt Lentz who claims to be his son, and another dude named Michael Brunner who also claims to be his son. Lentz claimed that Manson fathered him during a Wisconsin orgy and was named as his sole beneficiary in a 2017 will that Manson purportedly signed. Channels also claimed to be Manson's sole beneficiary in a will filed in 2002 that disinherited the cult leader's natural born children including Freeman's father, Charles Manson Jr. On Mar. 13, Kern County Superior Court Judge Alisa Knight ruled that the "lucky winner" will be Jason Freeman, who says his plans plans for disposing of his grandpa consist of cremating him, as well as holding a "small family ceremony." He says he also intends to extend an invitation to Brunner and Channels on the basis that he "wouldn't want them to miss out." Still up for grabs, however, are Manson's writings, drawings, and music compositions, ensuring that various other battles over his property will be waged for many more decades to come. - Jezebel.com, 3/13/18...... British comedian Ken Dodd, a titan of British comedy whose peak fame in the U.K. rivaled that of the Beatles, died after a battle with a chest infection at his home in Liverpool -- the same house where he was born in 1927 -- on Mar. 10. He was 90. Instantly recognizable for his unruly mop of hair and snaggletoothed grin, Mr. Dodd came up through the hardscrabble ranks of Britain's variety circuit, where performers kept demanding crowds entertained with songs, a bit of dance and a slew of jokes. He was famous for his rapid-fire one-liners, surreal imaginative flights of fancy, use of fanciful words like "tattyfilarious" and marathon stand-up shows. Even in his 80s, Mr. Dodd's shows often ran three to four hours. In the 1960s, he held the Guinness world record for the longest joke-telling session: 1,500 jokes in three-and-a-half hours. In his 1960s and '70s heyday, Mr. Dodd played a record 42 straight weeks at the London Palladium, hosted primetime TV shows and hit the music charts with songs including his signature tune "Happiness." Mr. Dodd was knighted in 2017 by Queen Elizabeth II, becoming Sir Ken Dodd. He gave his final performance in Liverpool at the end of December. On Mar. 12, Paul McCartney tweeted a picture of the Beatles with Mr. Dodd in the 1960s, alongside a statement bidding "farewell to my fellow Liverpudlian the tattyfilarious Ken Dodd. Beloved by many people in Britain and a great champion of his home city and comedy. We met him on a few occasions as The Beatles and always ended up in tears of laughter. Today it's tears of sadness as well. See you Doddy." - AP, 3/13/18...... Gary BurdenGrammy Award-winning album cover artist Gary Burden, who designed the covers of such famous Classic Rock albums as Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, The Doors' Morrison Hotel, Joni Mitchell's Blue, and Crosby, Stills Nash & Young's Déjà Vu, has died at age 84. In more recent years, Mr. Burden helped design the covers for Monsters of Folk's self-titled album, My Morning Jacket's Evil Urges and Circuital, and several Conor Oberst albums. In 2010, Mr. Burden won a Grammy Award for best boxed or special limited edition packaging for his work on Neil Young's The Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972. Young, with whom Burden collaborated for decades, shared a lengthy tribute on his Neil Young Archives website. "My friend for life, Gary was my art director, creating album covers with me for almost 50 years, beginning with After the Gold Rush and ending with Paradox and Roxy, my next two albums... I still have some covers for unreleased albums that we made together," Young wrote. "I have so many memories of Gary and I doing these album covers. He was a great man and a true artist. Rest in peace my old friend," he added. - Stereogum.com, 3/10/18...... Nokie Edwards, lead guitarist with the legendary instrumental rock combo The Ventures, died on Mar. 12 following complications with hip surgery. He was 82. Born into a musical family on May 9, 1935 in Lahoma, Okla., Mr. Edwards was playing stringed instruments at age 5. The Ventures were formed in Tacoma, Wash., in 1958 when core members Bob Bogle (initially on lead guitar) and Don Wilson (rhythm) came together with Edwards and drummer Howie Johnson. Early on, Mr. Edwards played bass before switching to lead with the new group, which was known as the Impacts and then Versatones, before they agreed on The Ventures. The Ventures explored their musical boundaries through the '60s and tapped into surf-music and psychedelic rock. They even made recordings exclusively for the Japanese market, as "they are highly revered in that country, even outselling the Beatles there in their heyday," according to the Recording Academy, which inducted The Ventures into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. The Ventures' hits included the No. 2 "Walk--Don't Run" in 1962 and the the surf-rock classic "Hawaii Five-O," which reached No. 4 in 1969. Mr. Edwards left the band in 1968 to pursue a solo career, before returning in 1972, where he remained until late 1984 when he would leave once more to follow a music career in Nashville, Tenn. The guitarist had been active on the live circuit until recently, and he would occasionally join The Ventures (currently led by Don Wilson) for concerts. "He was an innovator and one of the greats on guitar, so much so that he influenced many young players over the course of his career," The Ventures posted on their official website. - Billboard, 3/13/18.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Oscar-winning composer John Williams revealed during a Mar. 3 interview with California radio station KUSC that his next score for the upcoming Star Wars film Episode IX will be his last. "We know [director] J.J. Abrams is preparing one now for next year that I will hopefully do for him, and I look forward to it," the 86-year-old Williams said. "It will round out a series of nine and be quite enough for me." Williams said that when he scored the original 1977 Star Wars movie, later retitled A New Hope, that he had no idea there would be more films, "so it's developed in the most amazing way." Asked what his favorite Star Wars character was, Williams said it was Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, and he agreed to score Episode IX after being told by producer Kathleen Kennedy that Ridley would return. "She said yes, so I said yes," Williams said. In addition to the Star Wars franchise, WIlliams has also scored the Indiana Jones and Harry Potter series, JFK, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman and E.T, among many more, during his over six-decade career. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/8/18...... Neil YoungNetflix announced on Mar. 7 that it has acquired the global rights to a new musical starring Neil Young called Paradox. The feature directional debut by Young's actress girlfriend Daryl Hannah, Paradox also stars Willie Nelson and Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah Nelson and is described as a "far-fetched, whimsical western tale of music and love" on the website of the SXSW Music Festival, where the film will premiere on Mar. 15. "Somewhere in the future past, The Man in the Black Hat hides out between heists at an old stagecoach stop with Jail Time, the Particle Kid, and an odd band of outlaws," according to the site. A Paradox soundtrack LP will also be released digitally and on vinyl that includes live performances from Young -- along with covers and exclusive music. - New Musical Express, 3/7/18...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who will release his first solo album in 14 years on Mar. 9, has taken to social media to address criticism of not collaborating with any female artists on the LP, titled American Utopia. "I'd like to thank those of you who wrote for calling attention to this -- this matters a lot to me," Byrne wrote. "This lack of representation is something that is problematic and wide spread in our industry. I regret not hiring and collaborating with women for this album -- it's ridiculous, it's not who I am and it certainly doesn't match how I've worked in the past." Byrne continued: "I never thought of myself as being 'one of those guys,' but I guess to some extent I am. Your responses serve as a corrective. Thank you." Byrne has previously said that American Utopia's title "refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible." - NME, 3/5/18...... Queen + Adam Lambert's current tour of Australia and New Zealand has earned it the top spot in Billboard's Hot Tours roundup for the week ending Mar. 6. The band played Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena on Feb. 21 and 22, the second stop on a trek through Australia and New Zealand that recently wrapped on March 6. Queen + Adam Lambert launched its tour last summer in North America with a 25-city run, kicking off in Phoenix on June 23. A European leg through 23 cities followed in November and December, and Queen will return to the continent for a second leg this summer before its finale in Dublin on July 8. - Billboard, 3/7/18...... Elton John has shared details of why he walked off the stage at a recent show at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in the middle of a performance of the set closer, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." "Thursday night in Las Vegas a fan put his hands on the piano keys while I was playing and continued to do so even after I asked him to stop," Sir Elton explained in a press release. "He then proceeded to reach over the piano and try to take pictures, completely disrupting the performance. I bring fans onstage every evening when we play 'Saturday Night' in the set, it is always a lovely part of the show where I get to meet them, shake their hands and have them right there with me while I play. They have always been very courteous to the fact we are in the middle of playing a song live. This guy was rude, disruptive and had no care or respect for our show and so I let him know how I felt, then left the stage until they had removed him." John will return for the next leg of his Vegas residency from Apr. 28 to May 17, before his extensive farewell tour begins in September. - Billboard, 3/3/18...... Mick JaggerIn a new inteview with the UK paper The Sunday Post, Mick Jagger downplayed rumours that the Rolling Stones' upcoming UK tour could well be their last. "I haven't really thought about this set of gigs being our last tour, to be honest," Jagger said. "There is going to come a point when we don't want to do it any more, for whatever reason -- but I'm not thinking about that this summer." The Stones' "No Filter" tour has seen a huge demand for tickets, especially after drummer Charlie Watts was quoted as saying he "wouldn't mind" if the band split up. "I hope [when it ends] that everyone says, 'that'll be it'. I'd hate for it to be a bloody big argument," Watts told New Musical Express. "That would be a real sad moment. But to say this is the last show wouldn't be a particularly sad moment, not to me anyway. I'll just carry on as I was yesterday or today," he added. Meanwhile, many fans have also complained about the pricey tickets to the tour, which can total £451.95 for a premium standing ticket. The seating option, meanwhile, will see fans forking out up to £203. - New Musical Express, 3/5/18...... Canadian country music legend Ronnie Prophet, who scored 26 hit singles in Canada, five in the U.S., and hosted several television shows, died on Mar. 2 in Florida from cardiac and kidney failure. He was 80. Born in Hawkesbury, Ont., Mr. Prophet moved to Montreal at age 17 where he sang at various clubs. In the early '60s, he relocated to America, working in New York, Fort Lauderdale and eventually setting up in Nashville in 1969. There he performed at his eponymous nightclub, Ronnie Prophet's Carousel Club, for more than 16 years, all the while touring worldwide with such names as Kenny Rogers, Perry Como, Mel Tillis, George Jones and Charley Pride. In the '70s, he became a household name when he hosted CBC's Country Roads (1973), then CTV's The Ronnie Prophet Show (1974) and Grand Old Country (1975-1980). Mr. Prophet was known for his one-man shows, combining songs, comedy, impersonations and his guitar prowess. Guests on his shows included Dolly Parton, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., Crystal Gayle and Don Everly. Mr. Prophet also appeared on several other talks shows, including those hosted by Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Alan Thicke and David Frost. Mr. Prophet also co-hosted the CCMAs from 1987 to 1989 and in 1999 was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Mr. Prophet had five songs on the Billboard charts from 1975 to 1977, beginning with "Sanctuary" and followed by "Shine On," "It's Enough," "Big Big World" and "It's Ain't Easy Lovin' Me." He also had a half-dozen hits with his wife, singer Glory-Anne Carriere. "He loved life, + friends, family + his fans were so important to him," she said. "His passion for music was part of who he was and it was always his wish to keep people smiling wherever he went." - Billboard, 3/3/18...... David Ogden StiersActor David Ogden Stiers, best known for playing Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on the hit wartime sitcom M*A*S*H, died at his home in Newport, Ore., on Mar. 3 after battling bladder cancer. He was 75. Stiers filled in for actor Larry Linville on M*A*S*H after he left the show, playing a blue-blooded surgeon and straightman to the cast's practical jokers. Stiers was nominated for two primetime Emmys for his role as Winchester, in 1981 and 1982; he later won a primetime Emmy for his role as U.S. Olympic Committee founder William Milligan Sloane in the NBC miniseries The First Olympics: Athens 1896 in 1984. He also acted in the ABC series North and South and the 1987 Showtime TV movie J. Edgar Hoover. Aside from his live-action work, Stiers was a prolific voice actor, working in eight Disney animated features including 1991's Beauty and the Beast (in which he played Cogsworth), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Archdeacon), Pocahantas (Governor Ratcliffe) and Lilo & Stitch (Dr. Jumba Jookiba). He also voiced Kamaji in the English-dubbed version of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. Born in Peoria, Ill., Stiers moved with his family to Eugene, Ore. and graduated from North Eugene High School in 1960. In 1969 he moved to New York City and studied drama at Julliard and joined the Houseman City Center Acting Company. "My dear friend and client of 30 years is gone," representative Mitchell Stubbs of Mitchell K. Stubbs & Associates said. "David had wisdom and talent in so many different areas. I wish people could know the beautiful heart that he had. His friends and family knew, as he told us so." - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/4/18...... Bill Burkette, the original lead singer of American vocal group The Vogues, died on Mar. 1 at the age of 75. The Vogues were formed at the old Turtle Creek High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., calling themselves the Val-Aires. Burkette helped bring the quartet to national prominence with hit songs "You're The One" and "Five O'Clock World" in 1965. Other popular songs include "My Special Angel" and "Turn Around Look At Me." The Vogues appeared on such shows as American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Mike Douglas Show. Burkette continued to tour with The Vogues in recent years, and his last performance was in Tucson in April 2017.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Elton John's famous temper was on display at a Mar. 1 concert at The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas when he stormed off the stage after an overzealous fan kept touching him during his performance. As Elton was wrapping up his performance, he invited fans up to the stage for the set-closer "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," and became increasingly upset with one particular fan who kept tapping him on the shoulder and asking for a high-five. After telling the fan to "f--- off" twice, the Rocket Man stood up from his piano and walked off the stage as his backing band continued to play in the background. Elton later returned to the stage to finish the song, but he also told fans that he would no longer be inviting anyone up on stage. "No more coming on stage on 'Saturday Night'," he announced. "You f---ed it up." John is currently in the middle of a long Las Vegas residency, playing regular gigs at The Colosseum at the famous Caesar's Palace. - New Musical Express, 3/3/18...... Robert PlantAppearing on CBS' late night gabfest The Late Late Show on Mar. 1, Robert Plant revealed he has a disdain for karaoke after being out-performed at a karoake bar in China about 20 years ago. The former Led Zeppelin frontman told host James Corden that he decided to sing an Elvis Presley song after also considering songs by ABBA and Aerosmith, but hilariously explained that "another bloke" had also settled on Elvis, and his rendition was much preferred by the Chinese audience, despite the fact that he was Taiwanese. Plant said he still doesn't fare well at karaoke to this day, and called it a "dastardly trick." Plant then treated Corden and the audience to a performance, with his own backing band, of "New World," a cut from his 2017 studio album Carry Fire. - Billboard, 3/2/18...... Speaking of Robert Plant, the "Stairway to Heaven" singer will be joining such rockers as Neil Young, Jack White, the Pretenders, Kings of Leon, Guy Clark Jr. and Third Eye Blind as headliners at the 2018 Arroyo Seco Weekend festival, set for June 23 and 24 in Pasadena, Calif. The event will feature three stages of music, in addition to specially curated menus from local restaurants around Pasadena. The inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend last year was headlined by Mumford & Sons and the late Tom Petty. - Billboard, 3/1/18...... Previously-unread poems from Lou Reed will be published in a new book titled Do Angels Need Haircuts?, publisher Anthology Editions announced on Mar. 2. The poems were written during a six-month stint in 1970 when Reed left the Velvet Underground and returned to Long Island to to work for his father's accountancy firm. Only three of the 12 poems and short stories in the collection have been published before, and the book will be accompanied by recordings of Reed reciting the poems in 1971 at St Mark's Church in New York, where poet Allen Ginsberg is said to have been in the audience. The collection will feature an afterword by Reed's widow, Laurie Anderson, and introductions from Reed himself. - NME, 3/2/18...... Steve PerryJourney's 1988 Greatest Hits album has just joined an elite group -- becoming just the third album to spend 500 weeks on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. After debuting on the chart on Dec. 3, 1988, Journey's Greatest Hits peaked at No. 10 on Feb. 11, 1989. The album was a fairly consistent fixture on the chart until it departed the list after Oct. 27, 1990. The collection -- boasting classic Steve Perry-belted hits like "Open Arms" and "Don't Stop Believin'" -- returned to the list on Dec. 5, 2009, and continued to rack up its lengthy run. The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers holds the No. 2 position for longevity on the same chart with 510 weeks, and the all-time longevity champ, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, has accumulated a whopping 937 weeks so far. - Billboard, 3/1/18...... The UK's Record Store Day, which takes place on Apr. 21, will see three rare and unreleased David Bowie records released this year. Bowie's Welcome To The Blackout (Live London '78) album be released as a 3-LP set. It features recordings from Bowie's "Isolar II" tour performances at London's now-demolished Earls Court on June 30 and July 1, 1978. Also being released is the first full-length single of "Let's Dance," along with a live version on the B-side. Finally, Bowie Now -- a rare 1977 US only promotional-only LP, featuring tracks from Heroes and Low -- will get its first commercial release. In other Bowie vinyl news, Aladdin Sane is getting a vinyl reissue to commemorate its 45th anniversary on Apr. 20. Pressed onto silver vinyl, the record will only be available from "bricks and mortar" record shops, according to a press release. Also, Changestwobowie, the star's 1981 compilation album, will be released on vinyl on Apr. 13, with Changesonebowie being added to streaming services on that same day. - NME, 3/1/18...... In other Bowie news, the record-breaking Bowie career retrospective "David Bowie Is" will take its final bow at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City beginning on Mar. 2. The sprawling exhibit, which includes over 60 performance costumes, handwritten lyrics, and Bowie's own oil paintings, breaks new ground through its non-linear storytelling. Rather than a chronological walk-through of the music legend's life, the exhibit creates separate spheres for Bowie's creations, encapsulated by the cities, people and artists that shaped them. "I really think that if you go through the show you're going to feel a sense of being an explorer," Brooklyn Museum's Matthew Yokobosky said. After premiering at London's Victoria and Albert Museum in Mar. 2013, the exhibit went on tour for five years, and the Brooklyn Museum is hosting its last run. - Billboard, 3/1/18...... Cable TV's HBO channel has released a trailer for its upcoming Elvis Presley documentary, Elvis: The Searcher. The nearly three-and-a-half-hour-long, 2-part documentary (which will also get a soundtrack released through Sony/Legacy) features new interviews with scholars, stars like Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris and the late Tom Petty, and Elvis' ex-wife Priscilla Presley, who is responsible for the special's name. "Elvis was a searcher," she says in the documentary's trailer. "He said to me, 'I wanna be able to reach and feel what we all go through as human beings.'" Elvis: The Searcher debuts Apr. 14 at 8 P.M. on HBO. The Elvis: The Searcher soundtrack hits stores on Apr. 6 and features 18 Elvis Presley hits, live performances, and rare alternative versions of songs, tracking the progression from his early career to his greatest hits. - Spin.com, 2/28/18...... Roger DaltreyThe Who's Roger Daltrey will be joining the Rock Legends Cruise, which is billed as "the largest rock festival at sea," when it next sets sail in 2019. For the water-bound rock concert's seventh run on Feb. 14-19, 2019, Daltrey will be be joining Buddy Guy, Dave Davies and Kansas as it departs from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and head to the Caribbean coast of Mexico's eastern Yucatn Peninsula, with a four-night itinerary that includes a lineup of more than 20 artists, 60 concerts, artist meet & greets, interviews, acoustic sets and more. Rock Legends Cruise takes place aboard the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, and is sponsored each year by the Native American Heritage Association, with money raised donated directly to in-need Native American families living on reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming. - Billboard, 3/1/18...... Joan Baez has just released her first album in nearly a decade, Whistle Down the Wind, along with news that upcoming tour of Europe and North America will be her last. Produced by Joe Henry and Baez's 25th studio album, Whistle Down the Wind features a mix of songs, some written expressly for Baez and some covers chosen by the artist. Baez, 77, has spent nearly six decades -- from her early days in the folk music scene in Boston to her recent appearance at Barclays Center when she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame -- performing for audiences all over the world. She's also been on the frontlines of the civil rights battle in Selma, Ala., the Occupy Wall Street protests, and the battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. Asked if she has plans to get her voice heard in support of candidates or causes important to her in 2018, Baez says: "I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll do what I feel comfortable doing." - Billboard, 3/1/18...... In a new interview with Variety, Barbra Streisand discussed everything from her extensive film career to Harvey Weinstein to her elaborate home. But perhaps the most interesting piece of information from the interview was when the actress and director revealed that her dogs are clones. Of the two cloned puppies, Streisand said: "They have different personalities. I'm waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness." Her dogs Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet were cloned using cells from the mouth and stomach of her beloved previous dog Samantha, who died in 2017 at 14 years old. Miss Fanny, whose mom was named Funny Girl, was given to Streisand while she waited for her two clones. "I was so devastated by the loss of my dear Samantha, after 14 years together, that I just wanted to keep her with me in some way," Streisand told the New York Times. "It was easier to let Sammie go if I knew I could keep some part of her alive, something that came from her DNA," she added. - Billboard, 2/27/18...... Dolly PartonCountry music icon Dolly Parton has donated her 100 millionth book to needy children through her non-profit organization Imagination Library. Inspired by her father, who never learned to read or write, Parton began donating books to children in 1986, earning the nickname of "the book lady" by kids around the world. "I never thought about being the book lady, but that just goes to show you, you can't judge a book by its cover," Parton said at the Library of Congress on Feb. 27. Parton then read her newest book, Coat Of Many Colors, based on her 1971 single of the same name. Parton's Imagination Library donates books to families in need once a month, from their birth until they go to kindergarten. In other Dolly news, the singer's 1980 comedy 9 to 5 in which she co-starred with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin is perhaps the archetypal movie about sexual harassment, and now the movie is reportedly being remade for the #MeToo era. 20th Century Fox is said to be in the early stages of making a modern reboot of the film, which features the three ladies as secretaries getting revenge on their sexist boss (played by Dabney Coleman). The plot would, again, center around three young women facing sexism in the workplace, but would see the new trio turning to the characters from the original movie for help. Parton, Fonda and Tomlin are all said to be interested in signing on for the remake. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/28/18...... Speaking of the #MeToo movement, singer/songwriter Don McLean recently criticized #MeToo along with Time's UP in an interview with Kentucky radio station 91.9 WFPK. "There's a lot of disingenuousness around now. I think it was more sincere when we were dealing with our friends and buddies being killed in Vietnam," McLean said. "To have people in Hollywood all dressing in black as if they've suddenly discovered the casting couch after 60 years is a laugh," he added. Asked whether he would write a song about the topic, McLean replied: "If I wanted to. I can't really figure out what to say. I want to make sure that you write about things that are really gonna last. If you were going to write a political song, a topical song, I think a more important one would be about police brutality. That would be a more interesting topic than some of this other stuff." McLean was arrested on domestic violence charges in Jan. 2016, later saying that he was "not a villain" after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault and terrorizing. The charges were later dismissed after the "American Pie" singer met terms of his plea agreement. - NME, 3/1/18...... The estate of Prince announced on Feb. 27 that it has cut a new merchandising deal with the Minnesota Twins MLB team. The Twins will honor Minneapolis' favorite son and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with its second annual "Prince Night" during the upcoming 2018 season, and also features Prince and Twins logo merch, which will be available year-round and includes baseball caps marked with Prince's signature symbol as well as the Twins "TC" stamp. Last year's first-ever Prince Night featured a tribute video and the Twins players honored the "Purple Rain" star on field wearing purple sleeves and gloves during the evening's game. In addition, 10,000 fans were treated to purple umbrellas in memory of the icon's hit. Prince Night 2018 will take place on June 8 and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will be rewarded with an inflatable version of Prince's signature guitar, a "Special remembrance" video will also be played. - Billboard, 2/27/18...... Keith RichardsRolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards described himself as an "opinionated bastard" in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, and expressed several of those opinions including wishing Taylor Swift's career well, "while it lasts." Richards went on to say he isn't a huge pop music fan: "I've just been around too long to be picking the bones out of kids," he said. "It wouldn't be fair of me and I've always been an opinionated bastard anyway. And I never did really like pop music -- even when I became pop music, I was listening to the blues and jazz and not interested in the hits." Richards' comments come after Swift performed with the Stones on stage in 2013, an experience that she said was the "best moment ever," and duetted with Stones frontman Mick Jagger during a stop in Nashville, Tenn. on her "1989" tour in 2015. Richards also apoligized to Mick Jagger for saying in the same interview that Mick should get a vasectomy. "Mick's a randy old bastard! It's time for the snip.... you can't be a father at that age. Those poor kids!" Richards later tweeted that "I deeply regret the comments I made about Mick in the WSJ which were completely out of line. I have of course apologised to him in person." - Billboard, 3/2/18...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley was ordered to pay $100,000 to her estranged husband Michael Lockwood on Feb. 28 by the judge in her divorce case. The ruling came after Presley's soon-to-be ex Lockwood alleged Presley has been lying about her assets, insisting she is making a lot more money than she claims. Lockwood had requested $450,000 to cover his legal bills, and the judge ordered Lisa Marie to pay the $100K within 30 days. Presley is also suing her ex-business manager, Barry Siegel, accusing him of mishandling her fortune and costing her millions. She is suing for breach of trust, negligence and constructive fraud. - WENN.com/TMZ.com, 2/28/18...... Warner Bros. Pictures announced on Mar. 2 that it will release a reboot of the '70s action/adventure series The Six Million Dollar Man starring Mark Wahlberg on May 31, 2019. Wahlberg will portray Steve Austin, a man who is saved by cutting-edged technology that turns him half machine following a horrible accident. In Dec. 2017, Warner Bros. announced it was looking to buy the adaptation of the 1970s TV series from the Weinstein Co., which has recently been sold to another group of investors after the Harvey Weinstein sexual harrassment scandal exploded. The '70s series, starring Lee Majors in the title role, ran from 1974 to 1978 and spun off another successful series, The Bionic Woman. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/2/18.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Rolling Stones posted on all their social media accounts on Feb. 26 that they plan to hit the road in summer 2018 for an 11-date string of concerts across the U.K. and Europe. "The news you've all been waiting for! The Rolling Stones are bringing the No Filter tour to the UK and Ireland this summer, with some additional European shows!," the band posted, along with a teaser video that features their classics "Paint It Black" and "Satisfaction" and their 2013 release "Doom and Gloom." The U.K., which was passed over on the band's 2017 15-date No Filter tour of Europe, this time will get five shows by the rock legends (London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Twickenham), Germany two (Berlin and Stuttgart) and France, Czech Republic and Poland score one apiece. The tour will get underway on May 17 with a show at Dublin, Ireland's Croke Park. The Stones have yet to announce whether they intend to extend their trek into the Americas and beyond. - Billboard, 2/26/18...... George HarrisonLate Beatle George Harrison was publicly remembered on Twitter on Feb. 25th, what would have been his 75th birthday, by his former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney and Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison. "Happy Birthday Georgie. Wonderful memories," McCartney tweeted along with a black and white photograph of the two of them together during the Beatlemania days, along with other photos. Olivia and the couple's son, Dhani Harrison, tweeted an invitation for fans to celebrate George's birthday by watching a video of Billy Preston and Eric Clapton performing the Harrison song "Isn't It a Pity" at the star-studded Concert for George in 2002. Another tweet from the same account also shared a video of "Blue Jay Way," a 1967 Beatles song written by Harrison. Harrison died of cancer in 2001 at the age of 58. - AP, 2/25/18...... Billy Joel has announced plans to perform for the fifth consecutive year at three U.S. stadium venues in 2018 -- Citizen's Business Bank Park in Philadelphia (July 27), Fenway Park in Boston (Aug. 10), and Wrigley Field in Chicago (Sept. 7). "No one's ever done that before, it's his own version of a stadium residency," Joel's longtime agent Dennis Arfa said on Feb. 25. "He gives an amazing performance. People want to hear him sing his legendary songs from a catalog that contain so many iconic hits." The Piano Man will also be visiting Europe this summer with a June 16 concert at Old Trafford Football Ground in Manchester, a June 23 show at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and a June 30 show at Voksparkstadion. Two stateside stadium concerts -- Sept. 21 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City and an Oct. 13 show at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. -- have also been announced. It has also been revealed that Joel has also sold his one-millionth ticket for Madison Square Garden, where he has performed 105 shows overall. - Billboard, 2/25/18...... A New York man says he kicked former Saturday Night Live cast member Chevy Chase in self-defense during a traffic dispute on Feb. 9 after the comedian climbed into a vehicle and tried to punch him during a profanity-laced traffic dispute. Chase told police he was cut off by another driver. Thinking his car might be damaged, he followed the car across the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Both drivers pulled over in South Nyack. A truck passenger, Michael Landrio, tells the New York Post that his friend tried to make peace, but Chase got into their vehicle and tried to punch him. Landrio says that's when he kicked Chase, sending him flying. Landrio was charged with harassment, and Chase was not charged. Chase's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. - Canoe.com, 2/23/18...... Neil YoungNeil Young announced on Feb. 24 that his long anticipated live album of 1973 shows at L.A.'s Roxy Theatre, Tonight's the Night Live, will be released on standard vinyl, CD and digitally on Apr. 24. Also, a limited 2xLP pressing will be released as part of Record Store Day in the U.K. on Apr. 21 and will feature a print of Young and his band on stage at the Roxy. Preorders begin on Mar. 5. Young performed with band Santa Monica Flyers at the Roxy as the opening act between Sept. 20-22, 1973. The performance featured nine songs that would become part of Young's celebrated album Tonight's the Night. "We really knew the Tonight's The Night songs after playing them for a month [in the studio]," Young once recalled. "So we just played them again, the album, top to bottom, without the added songs, two sets a night, for a few days. We had a great time." - New Musical Express, 2/24/18...... Marc Hubbard, a North Carolina man who pleaded guilty in 2016 of defrauding the University of Hawaii of $200,000 by lying about being able to produce a Stevie Wonder fundraiser concert, is requesting that his plea be changed, however a prosecutor says that Hubbard could risk more jail time if he succeeds and is eventually convicted. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Wallenstein argued during a hearing on Feb. 22 that a decision by Hubbard to plead not guilty could mean the end of his current sentencing deal, which called for him to have his Hawaii sentence served at the same time as a six-and-a-half year sentence he received for a similar conviction in Pennsylvania. Hubbard under the plea deal would likely be released after serving the Pennsylvania sentence, Wallenstein said, but faces an additional sentence of about six years without the deal. "I hope Mr. Hubbard sees the folly of what he's doing," Wallenstein said. Hubbard pleaded guilty in 2016 to wire fraud, saying he lied about his ability to secure Wonder for a concert. In 2012, the university paid a $200,000 deposit, began selling tickets and then learned neither Wonder nor his representatives had authorized a show. Thousands of tickets were refunded, embarrassing the school. A hearing has been set for March to discuss whether Hubbard will be allowed to withdraw his plea. - AP, 2/23/18...... Producer Quincy Jones, who recently raised eyebrows with several outlandish comments during recent interviews, has apologized for his remarks after reportedly receiving a "family intervention" from his six daughters about his comments. In an interview in GQ magazine, Jones slammed Taylor Swift's songwriting, Ray Charles' drug use, and accused Michael Jackson of "stealing" songs. In an interview with Vulture, Jones also mentioned dating Ivanka Trump, complimenting her legs, and called the Beatles "no-playing motherf-----s... the worst musicians in the world." Jones also alleged that Richard Pryor once had sex with Marlon Brando. "I'm sorry to anyone whom my words offended," Jones posted on Twitter on Feb. 22. "I am an imperfect human and I'm not afraid to say it. And I'm sorry and I'm not afraid to say it," he added. - Billboard, 2/22/18...... Issac HayesThree classic LP's by Isaac Hayes -- Hot Buttered Soul, Shaft, and Black Moses -- were released by the Concord Music imprint Craft Recordings on Feb. 23 in newly remastered vinyl editions. Each reissue comes complete with old-school style tip-on jackets, and the Black Moses package also features a replica of the original four-foot cross-shaped fold-out image of Hayes as the titular character. Hits and choice cuts in the albums include "Walk on By," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the Oscar-winning "Theme from Shaft," "Do Your Thing," "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Ike's Rap II/Help Me Love." Also arriving on Apr. 13 will be two remastered hits collections from Hayes' fellow R&B/soul icon, Barry White. Love's Theme: The Best of the 20th Century Records Singles is a single-CD compilation featuring 21 hits including title track "Love's Theme" and "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby." It will also be available as a double vinyl album featuring the bonus track "Satin Soul" by White's Love Unlimited Orchestra. Mercury Records/UMe has also announced plans to drop two other Barry White collections, the 3-CD, 46-track The Complete 20th Century Records Singles (1973-1979) and The 20th Century Records Singles (1973-1975), a box set of 10 seven-inch vinyl singles. - Billboard, 2/23/18...... Ozzy Osbourne and his clan's hit 2002-2005 series The Osbournes will be returning on Mar. 5 in the form of a podcast, it was revealed on Feb. 22. The weekly show, called The Osbournes Podcast, will debut on Mar. 5 -- marking the 16th anniversary of the popular series -- and run for 10 episodes. Speaking of their return, Ozzy's son Jack Osbourne said that the podcast was the closest thing to reviving the series. "There's been talk about bringing The Osbournes back, but it would never work," he said. "I thought, 'Well, this is probably the next best thing.'" Jack also revealed that the podcast will not disappoint fans which revelled in the honesty of the original MTV series. Guest appearances on the podcast will include singer Carnie Wilson, comedian Sheryl Underwood, and The Osbournes executive producer Greg Johnston. Some favorites from the TV show will also feature on the podcast, like Big Dave the nanny, and Melinda Varga. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/22/18...... The Devon Allman Project, a band fronted by Gregg Allman's son Devon Allman, has announced a tour of the U.K. this fall. With special guest Duane Betts, the son of Allmon Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts, the tour will visit Bristol (9/2), Bilston (9/3), London (9/4), Newcastle (9/6), and Leeds (9/7) before wrapping in Manchester on Sept. 8. Devon Allman also participated in an all-star tribute to his father Gregg and the late ABB member Butch Trucks at Peachfest festival, which featured Chuck Leavell, Jaimoe and Duane Betts, among others. - Noble PR, 2/26/18...... Mr. RogersThe 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers' legendary PBS children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is being celebrated in 2018 in the form of a documentary called Won't You Be My Neighbor that recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and will be released nationally in June. Also, a Mr. Rogers' tribute special airing on PBS, Mister Rogers: It's You I Like, has also been announced, along with a new feature film, You Are My Friend, which chronicles the friendship between Mister Rogers (played by Tom Hanks) and writer Tom Junod, who was assigned to cover the program for Esquire in 1998. Meanwhile, the United States Postal Service will issue a stamp in Mr. Rogers' honor on Mar. 23. Often backed by the show's musical director, legendary Pittsburgh area pianist Johnny Costa, the gentle and wise Mr. Rogers wrote over 289 songs over the course of the show's run and released a number of LPs, all of which sadly remain out of print. Although he succumbed to stomach cancer 15 years ago, on Feb. 27, 2003, his legacy continues to thrive and educate in the form of the animated spin-off of his "Neighborhood of Make Believe" segment, "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." - Billboard, 2/23/18...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley has reportedly filed a $100 million lawsuit against her former business manager, Barry Siegel, who she accuses of "reckless and negligent mismanagement" of her inheritance. According to reports, Presley is claiming that Siegel is responsible for the loss of the money she inherited from her famous father. Lisa Marie, a former wife of both Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage, says her cash reserves have been reduced to $14,000 (£10,000) due to poor investments. She also accuses Siegel of "self serving-ambition" and claims that he placed her assets "in risky ventures in hopes of attaining his own celebrity in the entertainment industry." Elvis left only a few million at the time of his death in 1977 but the fortune increased to $100 million by the time Lisa Marie inherited his estate when she turned 25 in 1993. Siegel has reportedly countersued in response to the claims and has accused Presley of having "uncontrollable spending habits," adding that his former client is "looking to blame others instead of taking responsibility for her actions." Lisa Marie's estranged husband with whom she is currently locked in a bitter divorce battle, Michael Lockwood, claims she is lying about her huge debts, and has filed a counter-claim disputing her money woes. - NME, 2/23/18...... Singer Barbara Ann Alston, formerly of the '60s girl group The Crystals, died in Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 16 after contracting the flu. She was 74. Formed in 1961, The Crystals signed to Phil Spector's Philles Records, and released their debut single "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" later the same year. Alston sung the lead on that first release, as well as the two that followed it in 1962 -- "Uptown," and "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)." Of the latter, she later said it was "absolutely, positively, the one record that none of us liked." Phil Spector gave The Crystals name to Darlene Love after the commercial failure of "He Hit Me," but the band were later allowed to use it again in 1963. They split in 1968. - NME, 2/23/18...... Nanette FabrayActress/singer/comedienne Nanette Fabray, best known to modern audiences as the mother of Bonnie Franklin's character on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, passed away on Feb. 23 at her home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. She was 97. Born Ruby Nanette Bernadette Theresa Fabares in San Diego, Ms. Fabray was performing in vaudeville by the age of 4, and by the age of 19, she was doing bit parts in Hollywood movies and made her Broadway debut in the 1941 musical comedy "Let's Face It" opposite Danny Kaye. In 1949, Ms. Fabray won a Tony for best actress in a musical for "Love Life," and her most notable film appearance was with Fred Astaire in The Band Wagon (1953), considered to be one of MGM's best musicals. Ms. Fabray also played a major part in the evolution of television. During the 1940s, NBC hired her to work as a demonstration model for color television because her skin tone showed off the technology just right. During this time, Ms. Fabray was suffering from an undiagnosed hearing problem called otosclerosis that affected her ability to perform. She coped by learning sign language and wearing hearing aids, and also had four operations from 1955 to 1977 before her hearing was restored. Also during that time, Ms. Fabray appeared on many classic sitcoms and variety show, winning three Emmys in the 1950s for her work on Sid Caesar's Caesar's Hour variety show. She later became a popular guest on shows like The Love Boat, Maude and Murder, She Wrote. She played the mother of Ann Romano (Franklin) on One Day at a Time and the mother of Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. On the 1990s ABC sitcom Coach, Fabray portrayed the mom of a character played by Shelley Fabares, her real-life niece, and in 1987 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. She is survived by her son, Dr. Jamie MacDougall, from her second marriage to screenwriter Ranald MacDougal, as well as Fabares and her husband, actor Mike Farrell. - The Huffington Post, 2/23/18.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Songs by '70s stars David Bowie, Pink Floyd and the Poilice helped spice up the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena in PyeongChang, South Korea on Feb. 17. American ice skater Vincent Zhou skated to a Moulin Rouge! selection during men's free skate with a medley of Bowie singing "Nature Boy" and "Come What May" sung by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, and Australia's Brendan Kerry busted out a medley of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Money." Earlier in the games, Canadian skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir performed to the Moulin Rouge! version of the Police's "Roxanne." - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Rob HalfordBritish hard rockers Judas Priest will release their 18th studio album, Firepower, on Mar. 18 via Epic Records. Co-produced by Tom Allom (Priest's producer from the '80s) and Andy Sneap, the LP is arguably the band's strongest outing since their Grammy-nominated 1990 epic Painkiller and features the band's trademark impassioned vocals, soaring guitars and thundering rhythms. The 14-track Firepower took three months to write and three months to record, and lead vocalist Rob Halford says its lyrics speak to how he views the current state of the world, including a villainous antagonist in the song "Spectre" who tries to lead the masses astray, which could be interpreted as a reference to Pres. Donald Trump. "In a league of his own/ a villain with no morals/ above the law and reckless/mutating day by day," he sings, but Halford adds it's "a very interesting reference that's coming forward that I didn't even think about" when he wrote the song. - Billboard, 2/20/18...... Grammy-winning singer Mavis Staples, formerly of The Staples Singers, will be among the headliners for this year's Chicago Blues Festival planned the weekend of June 8-10 in the Windy City's Millennium Park. Opening night Friday will celebrate the 65th anniversary of Delmark Records with a lineup honoring the label's blues artists, and a tribute to blues harpist Little Walter is set for Saturday evening, with Staples closing the weekend Sunday. This year marks the city's 35th annual blues music festival. - AP, 2/20/18...... Steven TylerTwo songs by Aerosmith and Queen have charted on Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart after being featured in commercials during the 2018 Super Bowl championship. Aerosmith's signature '70s song "Dream On," which was featured in a Kia ad starring frontman Steven Tyler, debuted on the chart at No. 11, selling 2,000 downloads (up 131 percent) and drawing 3.5 million U.S. streams (up 13 percent) in the week ending Feb. 8, according to Nielsen Music. Queen's 1977 anthem "We Will Rock You," featured in a Ram Trucks ad, bowed at No. 13 on the 7-year-old Hot Rock Songs chart, with 3,000 sold, up 56 percent, and 2.7 million streams, up 13 percent. - Billboard, 2/16/18...... The Beatles tribute band Bootleg Beatles are auditioning for a new John Lennon after its current Lennon, Adam Hastings, has apparently decided to leave the group. "The world's premier Beatle band is searching for a new John Lennon. Must have the look, the voice, basic keyboard and rhythm guitar skills," reads an ad in the U.K. music publication Music Week. The Bootleg Beatles was established in 1980 and have gone on to play huge, notable shows in the U.K. and other locations. They were among the artists on the bill at the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, and have also performed at Glastonbury. They currently have dates booked in the UK and Ireland from February 25 through to the end of 2018. - New Musical Express, 2/21/18...... Court documents filed by Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley in her divorce from Michael Lockwood reveal the King's daughter is apparently swimming in debt. In the docs Lisa Marie says most of her debt is unpaid taxes from 2012 to 2015, totaling more than $10 million. She also says she has a house in the U.K. that she owes an additional $6 million on and she's desperately trying to unload that property because she's defaulted on the mortgage. Lisa Marie sold off 85% of Elvis Enterprises in 2004 for $100 million, and while she still receives $100K monthly from that agreement, it apparently is not enough to cover all her mounting bills, which also include credit card debt and unpaid attorney's bills. Lisa Marie disclosed her current financial situation because Lockwood is demanding she pay more than $450 for his attorney fees. - TMZ.com, 2/16/18...... Sylvester StalloneSylvester Stallone is laughing off rumors of his death after a hoax claiming the Rocky star had lost a secret battle with pancreatic cancer started to swirl on the Internet. "Please ignore this stupidity," Stallone posted on Instagram on Feb. 19. "Alive and well and happy and healthy. Still punching!" Stallone also shared a fake obituary with followers, in which his picture had been drastically altered to give him a frail, aged appearance. Stallone's brother Frank Stallone also slammed the reports, writing on Twitter: "Rumors that my brother is dead are false. What kind of sick demented cruel mind thinks of things like this to post? People like this are mentally deranged and don't deserve a place in society." Sylvester, 71, was also the victim of a death hoax in 2016. - PostMedia Network, 2/19/18...... In related news, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill is reassuring his fans that social media reports of his death were premature. On Feb. 17, Hamill posted on Twitter that he was still alive and well and included a little joke: "HAMILL DIES: Much of Nation Mourns GOP: Meh #DontRushMe." Hamill has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump and the GOP. Hamill recently started in the latest Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi, in which many critics and fans said he gave his best performance yet as the beloved sci-fi hero. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/18/18...... Chicago power pop band Kevin Lee & The Kings have released their latest album, Sticks & Stones, via Sigus Records. Fronted by singer/songwriter Kevin Lee, a former MCA recording artist who has toured with such bands as Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Lou Gramm, Matthew Sweet and Pearl Jam, the band's new effort features an infectious sound of modern pop/rock packed with big guitars, indelible hooks, and soaring vocal harmonies. Sticks & Stones marks Lee's third album with The Kings, following 2013's Breakout (2013), which was voted one of the best of the year by Illinois Entertainer, and 2010's Dusk Till Dawn, whose signature anthem, "Time Won't Stand Still," hit #1 at WMWX in Cincinnati, Ohio. To support the new album, the band will play a series of shows throughout Chicagoland including a special appearance at the Fox River Harley-Davidson in St. Charles on Apr. 7. The band will perform in Bolingbrook, Il. on Mar. 3, Hanover Park, Il. on Mar. 10, Berwyn, Il. on Mar. 22, St. Charles, Il. on Apr. 7, and Dundee, Il. on Apr. 14. More info can be found at KevinLeeOnline.com. - 1888 Media, 2/20/18...... Billy GrahamThe Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his diligent preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died on the morning of Feb. 21 at his home in North Carolina after a battle with cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. He was 99. The famed evangelist reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, Rev. Graham was known for abandoning narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society. - AP, 2/21/18...... Bassist Craig MacGregor of Foghat died on Feb. 9 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 68. MacGregor, who joined Foghat in 1975, stopped performing with the band after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, but remained an official member until his death. He underwent aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments but was no longer able to play because his fingers had become "clubbed," a deformation related to his illness. "On behalf of Craig MacGregor's family and the Foghat family, it is with great sadness that we are letting you know that we have lost our brother, good friend, husband, father and bandmate this morning," the band wrote on Facebook. "He passed peacefully in his wife Lisa MacGregor's arms after a prolonged battle with cancer. Please respect the privacy of the family and band members at this time. We will be sharing information in the next day or so. Rest in peace, Thunderfingers." Foghat is currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of its 1978 album Stone Blue, and its most recent release was 2016's Under the Influence. MacGregor's death follows the death of two other co-founding Foghat members, singer/guitarist "Lonesome Dave" Peverett in 2000, and original lead guitarist Rod Price in 2005. - 2/9/18...... Judy Blame, a punk fashion icon of the 1980s London scene where he became renowned for designs that were heavily influenced by his punk aesthetic, has died at the age of 58. Born Chris Barnes in 1958, Blame was also known for his involvement with the New Romantic scene, and co-hosted his own night at the Heaven club which was frequented by the likes of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. - NME, 2/20/18.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A new sci-fi thriller set in a futuristic Berlin titled Mute was influenced by David Bowie's relationship with his son, says Bowie's son and the film's director, Duncan Jones. "An awful lot of the story revolves around the nature of parenthood. What makes a good parent?," says Jones, who says he wrote a draft of the script 15 years ago and showed it to his dad. Jones says he decided to return to the project "because there was too much personal stuff in there." Mute also pays homage to Bowie by using paintings the star made while living in Berlin in the '70s. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Mute will make its premiere on Netflix on Feb. 23. - New Musical Express, 2/16/17...... Dave DaviesThe Kinks co-founder Dave Davies launched a 2018 tour of the US on Feb. 14 at the Roxy on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. About halfway into his enthusiastically received set, the 71-year-old musician told the audience that "the music business takes its toll on people," then performed the meditative "Path Is Long" from his current sole album Open Road. Davies dedicated "Young and Innocent Days" from the Kinks' classic concept album Arthur to his older sibling Ray Davies, and remembered late-era Kinks (and Argent) bassist Jim Rodford, who passed away in England Jan. 20 after a fall, with a performance of "See My Friends." Backed by former Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken and Davies' familiar musical companion David Nolte on bass, Davies' 16-date tour will hopscotch the US through late April. As for a possible Kinks reunion, Davies told reporters that he and Ray have "been getting along okay now, trying to do something -- I don't know what, but after touring I'm going back to discuss -- something." - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and David Israelite have co-authored an editorial for Billboard urging Congress to pass the Pass the Music Modernization Act and fix how songwriters are paid. "Songwriters are the unsung heroes of the music industry; what improves their ability to create will improve the entire ecosystem. Today's songwriters face an uphill battle. If we don't fix how music creators are paid by digital streaming services, we may never hear the great songs of tomorrow. As people who have been in this industry for a long time, we've seen the songwriters affected first hand," the pair write. "Fortunately, there's hope in the form of the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The MMA is legislation that has brought everyone to the table like never before and now presents a promising future for songwriters and the digital companies who rely on their work. We just need Congress to pass it," they add. The pair went on to say many times ownership information for each song isn't located by digital music companies, and "there have been many lawsuits filed and instead of working together like business partners, songwriters have felt under attack. "The MMA establishes a new central database -- run by music publishers and songwriters -- which will house all ownership information and, in return for proper payment, allow a service to use any song they'd like," according to Tyler and Israelite. Israelite is the President & CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association -- the trade association representing U.S. music publishers and songwriters. - Billboard, 2/15/18...... Record producer Chris Moon, the co-writer of Prince's first ever single "Soft and Wet," is offering to sell his 50% share of the rights of the song for a cool $490,000. Since the rise of music streaming has devalued songwriting royalties, and "Soft and Wet" was only a modest hit in the first place (charting at number 92 and appearing on Prince's 1978 debut For You), Moon says that "anyone who buys this probably shouldn't be doing it for financial purposes... It's more about owning one of the most unique collectibles ever related to Prince." Moon, the former owner of the Minneapolis studio where a teenage Prince recorded his first demo tape, admitted that he made more money off the song when MC Hammer sampled it on his own "She's Soft and Wet" in 1990. - Billboard, 2/14/18...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Feb. 4, is musing that "somebody was trying to keep me from getting to 70" after he was among the residents of Hawaii who were traumatized by a recent false nuclear attack alert, then two weeks later, being involved in a head-on car collision back home in Phoenix that totaled both vehicles. "Both of us walked out of it without a scratch," Cooper reports. "My car looked like a piece of art, but I did come out of it with a 1965 350 Shelby Mustang -- a real Detroit car. That's where the insurance money's going." About the false nuclear attack alert, Cooper says: "y theology told me I'm gonna go from one paradise to another one, but it's still a bit of a shock to think, 'In about 18 minutes, I'm gonna be fried.' When it blew over everybody was laughing about it, but believe me, it was scary." On Mar. 1, Cooper will kick off a new US tour behind his 2017 album Paranormal, promising three or four songs from the new album. Cooper and his longtime manager Shep Gordon are also planning a major new show that will probably hit the road during 2019. "There's a million ideas out there," Cooper notes. "It won't look like this (upcoming) tour and it'll be a bigger show. There's no way from getting away from the 15 songs for so you have to do, so it's, 'How do you approach them? What's the look of Alice? What's the look of the band?' That's what we're working on how. The creativity has not gone." Meanwhile, the Coop kicked off a mini-tour of the UK with his supergroup Hollywood Vampires on Feb. 7, and says the band will enter the studio to record its second album this summer. Cooper's other major project this year is continuing his acting career by playing King Herod for Jesus Christ Superstar Live on Easter Sunday, Apr. 1 on NBC. "I think I should play it like Alan Rickman, a very condescending kind of arrogance," says Cooper, who recorded a version of the track for a 1996 Superstar album in the U.K. "It's the only song in the whole show that's funny, and Herod is being so abusive, verbally, to Christ, even though he's treating him as a guest. There's a lot of ways to take that song." - Billboard, 2/15/18...... In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Neil Young reveals he thinks he knows why his Pono music player and download service crashed: "The record labels killed it by insisting on charging two to three times as much for the high-res files as for MP3s. Why would anybody pay three times as much?" Young launched his PonoMusic World store in early 2015, following the release of the actual player, with a catalog of 24-bit 192kHz tracks. Prices for full albums of hi-res files went from anywhere between $20 to $28 versus half that on iTunes and other download stores. Individual songs on PonoMusic usually cost between $1.99 and $2.99 a piece. Young noted that more than 1 million hi-res tracks were downloaded from the service before it shut down last year, but it wasn't enough to outrun overhead costs and the rising tide of streaming. "It's my feeling that all music should cost the same," he says. "The [hi-res] file doesn't cost any more to transfer. And today with streaming, you don't have the problem [of unauthorized file sharing]. Who wants to copy something if you can stream it? The record companies, by charging three times as much for hi-res music as they charge for regular music, they've killed hi-res music. It's the dumbest thing I've ever seen." Young has now turned his attention to establishing a hi-res streaming platform called XStream, which he is putting to use on his recently launched Neil Young Archives website. Currently free, Young says he plans on introducing a couple paid subscription options for fans who want continued access beyond six months. - Billboard, 2/15/18...... Robby KriegerThe Doors will release a new live DVD/CD, The Doors: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970, on Feb. 23 via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Also coming out on Blu-ray, Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 captures the L.A.-based band's third-to-last concert, and the final one ever filmed, and occurred in the midst of frontman Jim Morrison's infamous trial for indecent exposure and obscenity during a 1969 concert in Miami. "It was a nervous time for us," Doors guitarist Robby Krieger says, "and it was pretty different than any of our other shows. "Jim was in the midst of the Miami thing, so he wasn't in the best of moods, and we were into the part of his career where he was way overweight and had the beard. He didn't really do a great show; He sang well, but he didn't move an inch, and usually he was real animated and all over the place, depending on how much drugs he had in him. And he insisted on green light only. He wanted it as dark as possible on stage, so they're lucky they got anything, really. But other than that, it was pretty fun." The Doors played just two more concerts after Isle of Wight, triumphantly in Dallas on Dec. 11, 1970, where the group premiered material from its upcoming L.A. Woman album, and catastrophically the following night in New Orleans. Krieger says that recordings exist of the Dallas show that are being prepared for future release. Meanwhile the Doors plan to continue releasing expanded 50th anniversary editions of its albums, with Waiting For The Sun on tap for 2018. "Some of my favorite songs that I wrote are on that album," says Krieger, who's says he's also working on a new solo instrumental LP. - Billboard, 2/13/18...... In a new interview with music mag Planet Rock, Jimmy Page admits that he does not expect any more live shows from the legendary band he co-founded, Led Zeppelin, but that there are some new "products" in the works. "You've just got to face facts. We've gone past the tenth anniversary of the O2 [show], where we managed to do one serious concert," Page said. "That's the only thing that we've done for such a long time, so I very much doubt we'll do anything else. I really think the time has gone." As for future Led Zep projects, Page said: "I can't give the game away, but there's a recording that's another multi-track that we'll release. It's so different to all the other things that are out there. It's another view compared to How The West Was Won or The Song Remains The Same. I'm looking forward to people hearing that. There's a lot of stuff to come out, a number of releases. I'd like to say that they'll be coming out over the next 10 years. There's more to come for sure." Page also comments on the new Led Zeppelin book due out this fall. "I'm really pleased that we're all doing it collectively because there are so many other people doing books. There's about ten that I know of that are coming, which is pretty ridiculous! It will be really good to have an authoritative book, where the band are actually contributing to it rather than being ripped off." - Billboard, 2/14/18...... Paul McCartney was named one of the recipients of Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize on Feb. 12. Each year the Wolf Foundation awards $100,000 prizes in five fields, which in addition to music include chemistry, agriculture, mathematics and physics. An organizer said the foundation had notified McCartney's representatives, and described the former Beatle as "one of the greatest songwriters of all time." It was not immediately known if McCartney will appear in Israel for the award ceremony in May. - AP, 2/12/18...... In other Beatles-related news, four of Korea's most well-known artists covered John Lennon's "Imagine" during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9. Taking to the center of the stadium, the singers held hands as they covered the Lennon classic, surrounded by spectators holding candles. An estimated 35,000 spectators were in attendance at the Olympic Stadium, with temperatures reaching as low as -6C during the two-hour ceremony. - New Musical Express, 2/10/18...... Steve MillerThe Steve Miller band will reunite with fellow classic rocker Peter Frampton for another co-headlining summer trek this year, it was announced via a press release on Feb. 12. "We plan to travel between the psychedelic sixties through the future with a vengeance," says the 74-year-old Miller, who released his first LP Children of the Future 50 years ago, in June 1968. The tour will kick off June 12 in Evansville, In., and includes dates at Radio City Music Hall in New York (6/27), concluding in the Washington state city of Woodinville on Aug. 25 and 26 with a two-night run. The Steve Miller Band will also be closing out the final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in May prior to the tour's start. - Billboard, 2/12/18...... Elton John was the victim of "friendly fire" when he was struck by a flying necklace during a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day after he invited the front row of the crowd to come on stage as he performed his hit "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Footage of the performance shows John stopping his performing momentarily and checking his teeth for any damage. It is believed that one of the fans threw the Mardi Gras beads at Sir Elton. John recently announced he was canceling two of his Las Vegas residency performances in order to attend the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. - NME, 2/16/18...... Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton revealed on Feb. 12 that he intends to quit touring after being diagonosed with Parkinson's disease. Tipton, 70, joined the heavy metal band in 1974, shortly before they released their debut album Rocka Rolla. In a press release, Judas Priest said that "ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson's... From then until recently Glenn has lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he has always been, maintaining by his own definition a standard of quality and performance that is incredibly important." The band also revealed that Tipton has requested that guitarist Andy Sneap, who produced the Priest's latest album Firepower, replace him live. In January, former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland died at the age of 69. - NME, 2/12/18...... Country music legend Willie Nelson announced on Feb. 16 that he'll release his latest album, Last Man Standing, on Apr. 27, just two days before his 85th birthday. On the title track Nelson, who has been plagued with health issues over the past year which forced him to cancel numerous concerts, seems to play with this idea that he will live forever, singing "I don't want to be the last man standing. Oh wait a minute, maybe I do." In addition to the tracklisting of the 11-track LP, Nelson also shared a new video for "Last Man Standing" which features him and his band in the studio. - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Marty AllenComedian Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, passed away from complications from pneumonia on Feb. 13. He was 95. Mr. Allen, known for his greeting and catchphrase "hello dere," first found fame as half of the duo Allen & Rossi with partner Steve Rossi, who died in 2014. Allen & Rossi appeared 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show, including the episodes where the Beatles performed and most of America watched. "Everyone remembers those shows with the Beatles, and they were great, but we appeared on all the shows," Mr. Allen said in 2014. "There wasn't a talk show on TV that didn't want Allen & Rossi." The duo appeared regularly on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show, also touring comedy clubs nationwide, headlining shows at major Las Vegas casinos, and releasing a series of hit albums until their amicable breakup in 1968. Mr. Allen then took on a series of serious roles on daytime television and made-for-TV movies, and was a regular on The Hollywood Squares and other celebrity-themed game shows. Mr. Allen, who kept making crows laugh with live performances well into his mid-90s, is survived by his wife Karon Kate Blackwell, a singer-songwriter who became his performing partner in his last decades and acted as the goofy Allen's "straight man" just as Rossi did half a century earlier. - Fox News, 2/13/18...... Singer Vic Damone, one of the last remaining crooners of the golden era, passed away from complications of a respiratory illness on Feb. 12. He was 89. Famously described as having the "best pipes in the business" by Frank Sinatra, Mr. Damone's performing career lasted five decades and spawned dozens of hits thanks to his smooth, mellow baritone and a style that was indisputably inspired by his compatriot Sinatra. Best known for lush, romantic ballads, Mr. Damone's career was launched in 1947 when he won first place in Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show, which led to regular radio gigs and a chance encounter with comedian Milton Berle, who helped the then-19 year-old performer land gigs at prominent nightclubs. With his matinee idol good looks, Mr. Damone also had a notable run on the big screen, signing a contract with MGM in 1951 and appearing in The Strip and Rich, Young and Pretty before his career was put on hold for two years when he was drafted into the military. One of Mr. Damone's signature songs was "On the Street Where You Live," the Lerner and Loewe song from "My Fair Lady", which the singer released in 1956, hitting No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 pop chart. In all, he recorded more than 2,000 songs over his five-decade career, which landed him an induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1997. The Brooklyn-born crooner continued to be a big draw in Las Vegas after his radio hits dried up in the late 1960s. - Billboard, 2/12/18.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Elton John has announced he's canceling two shows this spring set for Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in order to attend the upcoming royal wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle. "I spent some time with [Harry] in Sicily last summer and I could tell he was totally in love," Sir Elton said of Prince Harry in a recent interview. The Caesar's Palace shows affected by Elton's change of plans fall on May 18 and 19, with May 19 being Harry and Meghan's wedding date. John announced in January that he would mount an epic "farewell" tour beginning this fall that would visit around 300 cities and last three years. - New Musical Express, 2/7/18...... In a new extensive profile of Jimmy Buffett in the New York Times, the Parrothead-In-Chief revealed that he's been following a strict diet recently: "No sugar and no carbs... Except on Sunday." Buffett also said he has stopped smoking weed and instead opts for vape oils sometimes after working. But while he's no longer "searching for his lost shaker of salt," he says he still hasn't given up his beloved tequila, which he now imbibes with "a lot of water." - Billboard, 2/8/18...... Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne held a press conference at his L.A. home on Feb. 6 to announce dates for the first North American leg of his farewell "No More Tours 2" tour, which takes its name from his hit album No More Tears. "I'm 70-something. I've missed my family over the years," Ozzy said, with wife Sharon Osbourne at his side. "I've always been out on the road the whole time with a few breaks here and there. It's just time," he added. Ozzy, a grandfather who recently welcomed his eighth grandchild, is looking to slow down after his final tour but insists it isn't the end for his music career. "I'm not retiring from the music business; I'm just not doing world tours anymore. I'll be doing gigs," he said. When asked about what kind of shows fans can expect from the heavy metal musician, Sharon responded, "Anything but Coachella." Ozzy confirmed that his Ozzfest tour, which was put together by himself, Sharon and son Jack Osbourne, will continue. He will play two dates in the US, on Apr. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla., and Apr. 29 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before traveling to Central America and then Europe and Israel in May, June and July. His No More Tears 2 tour will kick off on Aug. 30 in Allentown, Pa., playing 32 dates in mostly smaller markets before wrapping on Oct. 13 in Las Vegas. Ozzy and the band that made him famous as its frontman, Black Sabbath, wound up their farewell tour in Feb. 2017 in their hometown of Birmingham, UK. "It is the greatest love affair I've ever had in my life," he said of his days with Black Sabbath. - Billboard, 2/6/18...... Carly Simon has signed a global administration deal for the entirety of her song catalog with Universal Music Publishing Group, the company announced on Feb. 8. "From my generation to my daughter's, her music continues to be a source of inspiration and emotional resonance for people around the world," said UMPG chairperson and CEO Jody Gerson. "UMPG is thrilled to welcome her to our world-class family of songwriters." During her lengthy career the "You're So Vain" singer has won a total of three Grammys and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall Fame and named to the ASCAP Founders Award, among numerous other prestigious honors. - Billboard, 2/8/18...... Hollywood Vampires, the "supergroup" comprised of Alice Cooper, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, and actor Johnny Depp announced details of a four-city summer UK tour on Feb. 7. The band, making their live debut in the country, will play Birmingham's Genting Arena on June 16, the Manchester Arena on June 17, Glasgow's SSE Hydro on June 19, and London's SSE Arena in Wembley on June 20. Hollywood Vampires began back in the 1970s on the Sunset Strip at the Rainbow Bar & Grill's upstairs bar, and has welcomed a rotation of stars passing through LA throughout the years. "To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members," Alice Cooper once recalled of his drinking buddies. "I would walk in on a typical night and John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon would be there, then another time Bernie Taupin, Jim Morrison or Mickey Dolenz might be there." - New Musical Express, 2/7/18....... Film company Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights for the new Joan Jett documentary Bad Reputation, which follows the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee from her early years as the founder of The Runaways through her major mainstream chart success with songs like "I Love Rock 'n Roll" and "Crimson and Clover." Directed by Kevin Kerslake and written by Joel Marcus, Bad Reputation will likely be released by Magnolia sometime later in 2018. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/9/18...... Paul StanleyKiss singer/guitarist Paul Stanley exhibited his own paintings and sculptures on Feb. 9 and 10 at the Wentworth Gallery in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, respectively. "I enjoy going to the galleries. I enjoy meeting people. People acquire pieces and we get a chance to talk about those pieces and I'm interested in their take and what they're getting out of the piece," said Stanley, who studied art as a youth and returned to active painting a decade ago. "I'm a big believer that people are intimidated by art and theater because critics have intimidated them. Nobody needs to be told what good art is; Good art is what you like and bad art is what you don't like," he added. Stanley's Florida exhibitions included a variety of works, ranging from paintings (including pieces of he and Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons on stage) to an acrylic guitar sculpture that represents some of his most recent artistic interests. Stanley, who also fronts a 13-piece R&B group called Soul Station, says he has more time for painting hobby in what looks like a light year for Kiss. The group has a handful of festival and headlining dates during July in Spain and Portugal but will be spending most of the year off the road. Stanley and Soul Station recently played a dozen shows in Japan and says he'd like the band to "really bring Philly soul and Motown live, the way it was done, in the studio." He added that the group is also considering some original material. "I have some friends of mine who are some of the top producer/writers, and we may do some new material that's very much in that vein," he noted. - Billboard, 2/7/18...... The estate of late Steely Dan member Walter Becker has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Steely Dan's Donald Fagen over ownership of Steely Dan. In November, Fagen sued Becker's estate for full ownership of Steely Dan Inc. based on a Buy/Sell agreement drawn up between Becker and Fagen in 1972 that stated that if a member of Steely Dan dies or leaves the group, the other members would then buy their shares. Now Becker's estate has issued a statement criticizing Fagen for having "his lawyer send a demand letter" trying to claim total ownership of Steely Dan Inc. one day after his bandmate of 50 years passed away, on Oct. 29. Fagen's attorneys responded with a motion claiming that Becker's estate "already received its fair share of Steely Dan's revenues based on Becker's contributions to the band while he was alive," and argue that it would be unfair for Becker's estate to earn the revenue Fagen generates by continuing to tour as Steely Dan. Meanwhile, Fagen has announced plans to launch a new Steely Dan tour with the Doobie Brothers in May. - Spin.com, 2/7/18...... A new album featuring previously undiscovered poems and lyrics written by late country icon Johnny Cash is being planned for this spring. Johnny Cash: Forever Words will be released on Apr. 6 via Sony's Legacy Recordings and feature such artists as Cash's daughters Roseanne Cash and Carlene Carter, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Braid Paisley, Alison Kraus, Jewel and the late Chris Cornell. Cash's son John Carter Cash was a co-producer of the new project and described it as a "monstrous amassment" of undiscovered material. The track "You Never Knew My Mind" is sung and performed by Cornell as one of the late Soundgarden artist's final recordings. It will be released almost 21 years after Cash covered Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" for his acclaimed late career album, Unchained. - NME, 2/7/18...... Donna SummerStreams of '70s disco legend Donna Summer's 1982 single "State of Independence" have increased dramatically after producer Quincy Jones claimed in a recent interview that Michael Jackson "stole" the song for his own smash single, "Billie Jean." On Feb. 7, the day Jones' interview was published in Vulture, as well as Feb. 8, Nielsen Music reported that "State" racked up more than 150,000 on-demand audio and video streams -- up more than 12,000 percent compared to its on-demand streaming sum on Feb. 5 and 6 (less than 2,000 streams). Streams of "Billie Jean" also grew in streaming activity, to a lesser extent. Clearly, readers of Jones' interview were very curious to see if they could hear anything in "State" that sounded similar to "Billie Jean." Jones was the producer of Summer's "State of Independence," and he co-produced "Billie Jean" with Jackson. Meanwhile in the same Vulture interview, Quincy Jones claimed late comedian Richard Pryor once had sex with Marlon Brando "He'd f-- a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye," Jones said of Brando. And now, Pryor's widow Jennifer has apparently confirmed Jones' claim. "It was the '70s! Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes," she told the gossip site TMZ.com. "If you did enough cocaine, you'd f-- a radiator and send it flowers in the morning." Jennifer said she plans on publishing Pryor's diary entries -- which allegedly document his sexual escapades -- later in 2018. - Billboard/PostMedia News, 2/10/18...... Legendary rock guitarist Robin Trower has announced a one-off UK show at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on Feb. 27. Trower released his latest album, Time and Emotion, in 2017, and in the upcoming concert will be supported by the New York based blues vocalist Sari Schorr Trio featuring guitarist Ash Wilson and keyboardist Bob Fridzema (former King King). "I can honestly say I don't know when I have been happier with an album," the 72-year-old guitarist said of his last LP. "I feel Time and Emotion contains some of my very best work." Tickets for the show can be purchased at TheGigCartel.com or the venue's website, http://bit.ly/19KfXmW. - Noble PR, 2/8/18...... Memorabilia company Molecule8.com has announced it's first flagship release, a John Lennon 1:6 scale figure set, featuring Lennon's likeness captured by internationally celebrated sculptor and Molecule8 collaborator Ms. K.A.KIM. The "John Lennon: IMAGINE" figure set also incorporates Molecule8's internal Mark I Endoskeleton and soft skin technology. More info can be found on the Molecule8.com website. - Molecule8.com, 2/9/18...... John GavinActor John Gavin, best known for appearing in such classic films as Psycho, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spartacus, Imitation of Life, Back Street and Midnight Lace, died on the morning of Feb. 9 died from complications with pneumonia. He was 86. The handsome thespian also served as Ambassador to Mexico under Pres. Ronald Reagan, and once accompanied First Lady Nancy Reagan on a tour to survey earthquake damage in Mexico City in 1985. Mr. Gavin won a Golden Globe for his role in the 1958 TV movie A Time to Love and a Time To Die, and was also a familiar face on TV, playing Harrison Destry in 1960s series Destry, and appearing on hit shows like Convoy, The Love Boat and The New Adventures of Heidi. His last credit came in the late 1970s series Fantasy Island. - WENN.com, 2/9/18..... Songwriter and digital rights advocate John Perry Barlow, who penned numerous songs for the Grateful Dead from 1971 to 1995, including "Cassidy," "Mexicali Blues" and "Black-Throated Wind," reportedly passed away in his sleep on Feb. 7. He was 70. The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir has paid tribute to Barlow on Twitter, writing: "This life is fleeting, as we all know -- the Muse we serve is not. John had a way of taking life's most difficult things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures. He was to be admired for that, even emulated. He'll live on in the songs we wrote." As well as his work with The Grateful Dead, Barlow was known for his vocal activism and defense of Internet freedom, digital rights and online liberties, and helped establish the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 1990. "We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF. It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow's vision and leadership," the organization's Cindy Cohn said. - New Musical Express, 2/8/18.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne will be among the headliners at the 2018 Sasquatch! Festival in Washington state. Set for May 25-27, the event will also feature Bon Iver, Modest Mouse, Tyler and Spoon, among other artists. - Spin.com, 2/6/18...... Kool & the Gang and John Mellencamp will be among the inductees into the class of 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Feb. 6. Kool & the Gang members Robert "Kool" Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James "JT" Taylor will be inducted into the Hall during a June 14 ceremony, with country artists Alan Jackson and Bill Anderson and hip-hop act Jermaine Dupri also being recognized. "The 2018 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a prodigious representation of creators of cross-genre hits, certain to resonate with everyone," Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the organization's co-chairs, and Linda Moran, its president and CEO, said in a joint statement. - AP, 2/6/18...... PrinceThe famous ruffled, sparkly outfits worn by Prince along with his white "cloud" guitars will be among the memorabilia belonging to the late funk superstar in a two-day "music icons" sale, Julien's Auctions announced on Feb. 5. The Prince items are being sold by family members and former employees, and the auction will take place both online and live at the Hard Rock Cafe on May 18. A purple glitter outfit worn by Prince during tours in 1997 and 1998 could bring between $6,000 to $8,000, and a custom electric blue two-piece ensemble Prince wore onstage in a 1999 pay-per-view concert at Paisley Park has an estimated value of $40,000 to $50,000. Meanwhile, Prince's sister Tyka Nelson, says her late brother wouldn't have been mad at Justin Timberlake halftime Super Bowl tribute to Prince on Feb. 4 in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis. Some fans of Prince have complained that the musician wouldn't have approved of Timberlake covering Prince's "I Would Die 4 U" before a giant projected image of Minneapolis' finest, considering Prince once dinged Timberlake over his hit "SexyBack" with a quip about how "sexy never left," and Justin smacking back on "Give It To Me" with the line "Now if sexy never left, then why is everybody on my shit." But Tyka says that she was "pleasantly surprised" by JT's performance and enjoyed the tribute to her late brother, though the family was not previously aware that Prince would appear via a large video projection. Tyka added that her brother would have been fine with the tribute, and "said what he said and kept it moving." - AP, 2/5/18...... In related news, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler was featured in a surprisingly sad Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 4 for automaker Kia. In the ad, Tyler steps behind the wheel of a Kia Stinger on a dusty race track, throws the car into reverse and puts the pedal to the medal. When Tyler emerges from the car, he's 40 years younger (thanks to CGI), resembling the shaggy-haired hippie who belted out classics on Toys In the Attic and Rocks. The message? "Feel something again." - Billboard, 2/4/18...... Willie Nelson announced on Feb. 5 that he will be canceling the remainder of his shows set for the month of February as he recovers from the flu and needs "a few extra weeks to recover completely." Nelson, 84, was also forced to cancel shows due to illness in January and in 2017 also scrapped some shows in February and ended an August concert early. Nelson's next anticipated tour date is on Mar. 5 in Greenville, S.C. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... Queen + Adam Lambert announced on Feb. 5 that they'll mount another European tour in 2018 that kicks off on June 13 in Cologne, Germany, also visiting Berlin (6/19), Hamburg (6/20) and Milan, Italy (6/25) before wrapping at London's O2 Arena on July 2. It will be Queen + Adam Lambert's first European tour since a 25 date trek in November and December of 2017. - NME, 2/5/18...... Frank ZappaA year after touring a hologram of late rocker Ronnie James Dio, production company Eyellusion has announced it will be launching a new hologram for Frank Zappa. "The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa" tour will include a hologram of the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" singer who passed away in 1993, along with appearances by living musicians who performed with Zappa including Ray White, Mike Keneally, Scott Thunes and Robert Martin. They will be joined on the tour at various stops by Steve Vai, Warren Cuccurullo, Ian Underwood, Vinnie Colaiuta and Napoleon Murphy Brock. Eyellusion said it constructed the Zappa hologram using hours of never-before-seen Zappa performance footage taped in his Los Angeles studio in 1974 and witnessed only by camera operators until it was unveiled earlier this year in cooperation with the Zappa Family Trust. Eyellusion debuted the hologram technology for the "Dio Returns" tour of 2016. Meanwhile, a Roy Orbison hologram show put on by BASE Entertainment will kick off in the UK in April and reach North America in the fall. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... A source close to AC/DC, biographer Murray Engleheart, is claiming that the Aussie rockers will continue to tour and record with Guns N' Roses leader Axl Rose in the future. In a recent Facebook post, Engleheart wrote: "Speculate all you want but I've said it before and I'll say it again: AC/DC will continue with Axl on vocals -- new album, touring, the whole nine yards... What was a massive gamble by Angus (Young) turned out to be an equally enormous triumph that has set the scene for the future." Axl Rose joined AC/DC in 2016 after previous frontman Brian Johnson was forced to retire from performing after suffering from hearing loss. Guns N' Roses are currently scheduled to finish touring in July 2018, when their Not In This Lifetime world tour wraps up in Sweden. Before it concludes, they will headline Download Festival at Leicestershire's Donington Park on June 9. - New Musical Express, 2/5/18...... Paul Simon confirmed on Feb. 5 that he will indeed playing his farewell tour in 2018, announcing North American dates for what he is calling "Homeward Bound - The Farewell Tour." Simon, 76, posted that he's spent much time considering his decision to retire from live performing, and while he's emotionally torn of it, now feels like the right time to bow out gracefully. "I've often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I'd consider bringing my performing career to a natural end," he said. "Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief. I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly." Simon goes on to note that his band recently lost their lead guitarist and friend of 30 years: Vincent N'guini, who passed in December. "His loss is not the only reason I've decided to stop touring, but it is a contributing factor," Simon explained. "Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing." Simon's 19-city farewell tour will get underway on May 16 in Vancouver, BC, hitting several major cities including Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia before wrapping on June 20 in Nashville, Tenn. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... Mick RonsonA new documentary about late David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson titled Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story has been released that sheds light on the crucial and creative member of Bowie's influential early '70s band the Spiders From Mars. Currently streaming through Amazon Prime and also available on Blu-ray, the 2017 documentary showcases the shaggy-haired guitar virtuoso whose "grit and energy cut through the room," as Bowie observes in the film. Interviews about Ronson with contemporaries and collaborators, including producer Tony Visconti, Lou Reed, Rick Wakeman and Bowie's first wife Angie Bowie are included in the documentary directed by Jon Brewer. Ronson died in 1993 of liver cancer, the disease that also claimed Bowie in 2016, at age 46. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... In other Bowie-related news, keyboardist Mike Garson who performed and recorded with the "Space Oddity" singer throughout his career has announced he will be publishing an updated edition of his 2015 biography Bowie's Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson on May 15 which contains stories he couldn't tell before, including an incident when Bowie met with a psychic during the late 70s who accurately forecasted his Jan. 2016 passing. "(The psychic) told him he was going to die exactly when he died," says Garson, who's preparing to lead the next leg of his all-star "Celebrating David Bowie" tour in North America. "There are a lot of psychics who are out of their minds and full of it, but this one was real," Garson added. "David knew it and didn't doubt it for a second. He told me about (the reading) with certainty, accepted it and planned his future out based on that. He had 30, 40 years to plan out his life." - Billboard, 2/2/18...... David Crosby's latest album Sky Trails features a song that is included in the new independent film Little Pink House, which centers on the Susette Kelo Supreme Court decision concerning eminent domain. Crosby says he wrote the song with his son James after they saw the film and were moved by it. "With eminent domain, where they take away your property, there's usually people being paid under the table," Crosby notes. "They took this woman's home away from her. It was brutal, underhanded and completely wrong, and everybody knew it. She fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. It was a tough tale to look at. It was a moving thing," he added. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/5/18...... The Beatles' companies Apple Corps Ltd. and Subafilms Ltd. filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit on Feb. 1 against a list of 48 internet dealers and aliases for promoting, distributing and selling items that bear counterfeit logos or imitations of their respective trademarks. The defendants in the suit include shirtsforyou.net, B.F. Store, Good luck to you, GreenMango Store and HOOK ON YOU. The lawsuit alleges trademark counterfeiting and infringement, "false designation of origins" to confuse potential buyers, common law unfair competition and common law trademark infringement. According to the lawsuit, the defendants are either located in or distribute their products from territories with lax trademark enforcement. Besides their own websites, the suit says the goods were also available from the sellers on commercial sites such as Amazon, eBay, Bonanza.com and Etsy. Apple Corps Ltd. -- owned by the two living Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the estates of the late John Lennon and George Harrison -- owns and controls the exclusive merchandising rights "and other intangible rights in the name of the Beatles," according to the complaint. Subafilms Ltd. is an associated company also owned by the Beatles related to the merchandising rights from the Fab Four's 1967 animated movie Yellow Submarine. - Billboard, 1/2/18...... Nile RodgersNile Rodgers of Chic says that Chic's long-awaited new album It's About Time is "absolutely coming this year." In 2015, Rodgers and his legendary act Chic was supposed to release its first album since 1992. Dubbed It's About Time, its title would turn out to be an ironic one considering it's been delayed since, with sudden passings (Chris Cornell, Prince, David Bowie) and Rodgers' medical issues getting in the way. But Rodgers says it's "100 percent" that the album will be released this year. "The reason I don't have a specific release date right now is because we're looking at visuals and concepts with different video directors," he says. "This album is sort of like a musical compendium, if you will. It really taught me a lot. It's me saying, 'This is how I got here, I'm so appreciative, it's so fun, this is how we do it and this is what I believe in.'" - Billboard, 2/1/18...... Retailer Best Buy announced on Feb. 2 that it plans to pull compact discs from its stores on July 1, and threatened to pay labels for CDs only when customers buy them. At one point, Best Buy was the most powerful music merchandiser in the U.S., but nowadays it's a shadow of its former self, with a reduced offering of CDs, which Best Buy says were down 18.5 percent in sales in 2017. While it says it's planning to pull out CDs, Best Buy will continue to carry vinyl for the next two years, keeping a commitment it made to vendors. The vinyl will now be merchandised with the turntables, sources suggest. - Billboard, 2/2/18...... Ozzy and Jack Osbourne's A&E show Ozzy & Jack's World Detour has been renewed for a third season, Jack Osbourne announced in a Facebook post on Feb. 1. "Everyone keeps asking if we're doing a season 3 of World Detour well guess what today is? Day 1 of season 3 baby!!! Woooohoooo," Jack wrote. The series follows the Osbournes they hit the road on a father-son journey they've waited years to take. Season 2 saw the duo visiting Disaster City, Texas, testing their battle skills while riding in a tank, and hunting for pythons in Florida, among other adventures. - Deadline.com, 2/1/18...... Actor Robert Wagner has been named a "person of interest" in the death of his late wife Natalie Wood, who disappeared from her family's yacht off the coast of Catalina Island in Nov. 1981 and was found floating in the water the next day in a red down jacket and flannel nightgown. Los Angeles County investigators say they believe Wood's then-husband Wagner is a "person of interest" in the case, which was reopened in 2011 after initially being ruled an accident. "[W]e know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant John Corina says. Investigators noted the autopsy report indicates there were a number of bruises that appeared to be fresh on Wood's body, and that Wagner's "version of events just don't add up." Wagner, who maintains he had nothing to do with his wife's death, has refused to speak with them since the case was reopened. "We have not been able to prove this was a homicide. And we haven't been able to prove that this was an accident, either," an LA Sheriff's Dept. detective says. - Jezebel.com, 2/1/18...... Dennis EdwardsThe Temptations singer Dennis Edwards, who replaced David Ruffin in the Motown group in 1968, died at his home in Chicago on Feb. 2. He was 74. Edwards began his career as lead singer of another Motown group, The Contours, before being recruited to replace Ruffin after the singer's fallout with the group. Edwards' voice defined the sound of The Temptations through their funkiest period, in which he sang lead on major hits like "I Can't Get Next To You," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Cloud Nine" and "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)". Edwards remained the lead singer of the group through 1977, when they left Motown Records, and was reinstated when they returned to the label in 1980. He also released three solo albums, and his 1984 Motown debut Don't Look Any Further and its title track charted in the top five of the R&B charts. Edwards continued to perform Temptations material as part of splinter group The Temptations Revue Featuring Dennis Edwards up until last year. - Spin.com, 2/2/18...... Ndugu Chancler, a session drummer who crafted the legendary intro to Michael Jackson's 1983 smash hit "Billie Jean" and worked with many of musics' most notable acts over a 50-plus year career, passed away on Feb. 3. He was 65. Chancler also played with the likes of Thelonius Monk, Frank Sinatra and Lionel Richie, and is co-credited as a songwriter on Dazz Band's Grammy-nominated 1982 record "Let It Whip." His cause of death has not yet been revealed. - Billboard, 2/5/18.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The upcoming SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Tex. in mid-March will feature the premiere of a new Western movie titled Paradox and starring Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah Nelson. Music from Young, as well as his sometime backup band Promise of the Real which features Lukas and Micah, will also be included in the film, which is described on the official SXSW website as "a far-fetched, whimsical western tale of music and love." The SXSW Film Festival, an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences, kicks off on Mar. 9. - New Musical Express, 2/1/18...... John DenverThe estate of John Denver announced on Jan. 30 it was launching a Patreon.com page on where fans of the late singer-songwriter can listen to a bounty of previously unreleased tracks and sample unique content, including Denver's artwork and photography, much of which has never been seen before. "John Denver's Estate continually seeks new ways to bring John's fans content in a way we feel John would have supported," Brian Schwartz, the manager of Denver's estate, told Billboard. "Patreon is an innovative way for the estate to do just this. We can offer rare and exclusive content to excited consumers with ease and in the true spirit of John Denver, in a way that supports environmental causes." Patreon.com is a membership platform that allows content creators to house subscription sites for their followers. To date it claims to have more than 50,000 active creators, which include musicians, videographers, animators, podcasters and game developers, who are paid directly by a reported 1 million customers interested in their art. In October, Denver's estate released a previously unheard version of Judy Collins' "The Blizzard" that was recorded during the early 1990s but never released. - Billboard, 1/30/18...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has posted a playlist of Carribbean and African music titled "The Beautiful Shitholes" on his official website DavidByrne.com in response to Pres. Donald Trump's recent comments during a meeting at the White House in which he purportedly said, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here? Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out." "I assume I don't have to explain where the shithole reference came from," Byrne said in his playlist's description. "Here's a playlist that gives just the smallest sample of the depth and range of creativity that continues to pour out of the countries in Africa and the Caribbean. It is undeniable. Can music help us empathize with its makers?" Byrne added that "Trump is not the issue... We know and have known for a long time that he is racist... What is truly disturbing is the Republicans who go along with this person" and urged his fans to "remember that at voting time." - NME, 2/1/18...... The B-52s were among the honorees at the sixth annual She Rocks Awards, held on Jan. 26 at the House of Blues in Anaheim, Calif. The B-52s' Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson accepted the Vanguard Award, and other female artists recognized during the event included Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge. - Billboard, 1/27/18...... Lionel Richie has announced he'll be heading back to the UK this summer for a 12-city tour, performing in towns that he's never previously visited including Lincolnshire, Shrewsbury, Leigh, Carlisle, Scarborough, Chesterfield and Hove. The tour will kick off on June 1 in Northampton and also hit London on June 6. "I've been missing the UK and cant wait to make my long awaited return and to see parts of the country I've never made it out to before," Richie said in a press release. - New Musical Express, 1/30/18...... Jonathan CainJourney keyboardist Jonathan Cain will release his memoir, titled Don't Stop Believin' after the famous Journey song, on May 1 to coincide with Journey's upcoming co-headlining tour with Def Leppard which begins three weeks later. Cain says he started writing the book "10 years ago" and that it's "a musical, songwriter's book." "It's about dealing with the setbacks of the music business -- the ups and downs, the dedications, the rejection, dealing with everybody that says 'You're not good enough' and carrying on," he says. "Just because somebody tells you you can't write and you can't sing doesn't mean you've got to quit, it just means you haven't gotten to the right position yet. So it's a book of hope and faith." Cain credits his late dad Leonard Friga for telling him to not to stop believing and that Jonathan's tenure with The Babys before hitting it big with Journey was "just a stepping stone." Cain also details the inner-workings of Journey in the book, providing insights into his relationship with former frontman Steve Perry, both as a songwriter and a friend. As for the upcoming tour, Cain says Journey is "clicking" even though the tensions between him and guitarist Neal Schon that surfaced last year via social media haven't been fully rectified. - Billboard, 1/31/18...... In a new interview with GQ magazine, legendary producer Quincy Jones dissed pop sensation Taylor Swift by saying, "We need more songs, man. F---ing songs, not hooks." "Some people consider her the greatest songwriter of our age," to which the producer laughed and commented, "Whatever crumbles your cookie." Jones added that "a great song can make the worst singer in the world a star. A bad song can't be saved by the three best singers in the world. I learned that 50 years ago." In the same interview, the 84-year-old producer also opened up about his very active love life, admitting he has been enjoying romances with women of all different backgrounds, with none of them older than 42. "I got 22 girlfriends," the father-of-seven smiled. Asked if he was serious, he replied, "Hell yeah. Everywhere. Cape Town. Cairo. Stockholm -- she's coming in next week. Brazil -- Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, and Rio. Shanghai -- got a great girl over there from Shanghai, man. Cairo, whew." - Billboard/WENN.com, 1/30/18...... An upcoming documentary and biopic on the life of legendary rock 'n' roller Chuck Berry, who passed away in March 2017, is being planned in cooperation with his estate and widow Themetta Berry. Cardinal Releasing Ltd, which has previously produced films on music legends including Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and Nat King Cole, has already begun work on the documentary titled Chuck! The Documentary. "I am very privileged to be able to produce and direct this fully authorized and official story of the legendary Chuck Berry," Chuck! director Jon Brewer said in a statement. - Billboard, 1/30/18...... Paul SimonPaul Simon has apparently announced that his final show, at least in the United Kingdom, will be on July 15 at the Barclaycard British Summer Time Festival. According to a post on the festival's website, the 76-year-old, 12-time Grammy winner will close out the event in what is being billed as "Paul Simon: Homeward Bound The Farewell Performance" with special guests James Taylor & His All-Star Band and Bonnie Raitt. The massive summer fest will kick off on July 6 with headliner Roger Waters, and other nights will feature the likes of Eric Clapton, Santana, Steve Winwood, Guy Clark Jr. and Bruno Mars. - Billboard, 1/30/18...... A Grammy viewing party hosted by Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler to benefit his Janie's Fund charity was held on Jan. 28 at the historic RED Studios in Hollywood. The event drew the likes of Alice Cooper, Caitlyn Jenner, Sharon Stone, Olivia Wilde and Randy Jackson, all dressed in their best "rock star chic." "My dreams are to do this next year and the year after and the year after," Tyler said prior to the event. "And if I die in the meantime, we'll have someone else do it. I'll get Slash involved or someone," he joked. The evening concluded with Tyler taking the stage with his Nashville-based band, Loving Mary, to perform a 10-song set, which included such Aerosmith classics as "Sweet Emotion," "Jaded," and "Dream On." Tyler raised an estimated $2.4 million for his Janie's Fund charity, which helps girls heal after suffering abuse and neglect, and an auction included a chance to spend a week at his Maui home (which went for $55,000). - Billboard, 1/29/18...... Meanwhile the actual Grammys event, which took place on Jan. 28 in New York City's Madison Square Garden, featured a performance of "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John with a beautifully dressed Miley Cyrus. The pair was all smiles as they sang the tear-jerking, sweeping pop ballad, with Cyrus imbuing the song -- which already has a touch of twang -- with some Southern vocal tone. Elton was also the subject of a Grammy salute on Jan. 30, which will air at a later date. Also performing during the show were Sting and Jamaican-American hitmaker Shaggy, who described themselves as "the not-so-odd couple." Sting opened with his jazzy 1987 reggae song "Englishman In New York," which they segued into their joint single "Don't Make Me Wait," and then back to "Englishman." The pair consider themselves besties and have announced they have a joint album coming out soon. - Billboard, 1/28/18...... In other Grammy-related news, late actress Carrie Fisher was awarded a posthumous Grammy in the Best Spoken Word category for her memoir The Princess Diarist, which gives a peek behind the curtain of her life while filming the first Star Wars movie. - Billboard, 1/28/18...... Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin has chosen Jennifer Hudson to play her in an upcoming biopic on her life. Music mogul Clive Davis, a former mentor of Franklin's, made the announcement at his annual pre-Grammy bash on Jan. 28. Hudson reportedly sang Franklin classics like "Think" and "Respect" as part of her performance during Davis' gala. - Deadline.com, 1/28/18...... Cable TV's Showtime channel will premiere the Eric Clapton documentary Life in 12 Bars on Feb. 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The 135-minute rock doc, directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, relies solely on voice-overs to tell the story of the legend's life, with his memorable ups, like being the only three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and tragic downs, including the death of his young son. - Entertainment Weekly, 2/2/18...... Songwriter-composer Robert Arthur, who famously tweaked the lyrics to the Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together" so the band could perform it on the iconic CBS variety program in 1967, died on Jan. 21 at his Topanga Canyon home in Los Angeles. He was 89. A songwriter and composer, Mr. Arthur worked with newspaper columnist-turned-TV host Ed Sullivan from 1952, on Sullivan's earlier show Toast of the Town, until the renamed Ed Sullivan Show left the airwaves for good on June 6, 1971. Mr. Arthur handled all the music for Sullivan, arranging and composing songs for and working with such guests as The Beatles, Judy Garland, Sly Stone, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Kate Smith, Count Basie, Perry Como and Diana Ross, among many others. Recalling his notorious reworking of "Let's Spend the Night Together," which could not pass CBS's censors, Mr. Arthur once said: "So I was sent to deal with them, because I was also a songwriter -- and I came up with a phrase that was almost the same thing and sounded almost the same, and it was, 'Let's spend some time together.' Mick Jagger agreed." Jagger appeared to roll his eyes as he sung the substituted line, however few in the screaming audience probably noticed the difference. After The Ed Sullivan Show went off the air, the Flushing, N.Y. native moved to Los Angeles, where he helped Dick Clark launch the American Music Awards. He also produced videos that Michael Jackson showed during his concerts; co-wrote the Natalie Cole hit "All About Love;" and had his tunes performed by Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis. - 1/27/18.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fleetwood Mac was presented with the MusiCares Person of the Year honor by former president Bill Clinton at the annual pre-Grammys gala at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Jan. 26. "I've had 'Don't Stop' played more for me than 'Hail to the Chief'," Pres. Clinton mused, referring to the song that became his 1992 presidential campaign's theme song. All members of Fleetwood Mac, except bassist John McVie spoke after receiving their award, with Lindsey Buckingham acknowledging the dysfunction that fueled so many of the band's hits, but added, "not very far below the level of dysfunction, what we are feeling more than ever in our career is love." Stevie Nicks took time to remember her late "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" duet partner Tom Petty during her speech, saying Petty's loss "has just about broken my heart" and "he was one of my best friends. Petty, who died of an accidental drug overdose on Oct. 2, was the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year honoree. The ceremony featured performances of popular Fleetwood Mac songs by such artists as Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban and Miley Cyrus, with Fleetwood Mac performing their hits "The Chain," "Little Lies," "Tusk," "Gold Dust Woman" and "Go Your Own Way." The event raised nearly $7 million for the MusiCares charity, according to Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow. - Billboard, 1/27/18...... Neil DiamondNeil Diamond posted a statement on his official website on Jan. 22 announcing he was retiring from touring due to his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. "I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come," the Grammy-winning singer wrote. "My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you," he added. Diamond had planned to launch a tour of Australia and New Zealand in March, but now he is canceling the tour on the advice from his doctor. Thousands of fans down under who had bought Diamond concert tickets opted to donate their refunded ticket money to Parkinson's research, animal rescue groups and victim funds, among other charities. Diamond's wife and manager, Katie, then took to Twitter to express her gratitude to the fans. "My heart is so full of joy to see this silver lining. Faith in humanity = restored," she wrote. News of Diamond's retirement from live performing also prompted his friend and former labelmate, Elton John, to pay tribute to the "Solitary Man" singer: "I would like to pay my respects to him," John told reporters on Jan. 24. "He introduced me off his own back at the [iconic Hollywood venue] Troubadour because he loved my record -- he was a huge star then, and he's a huge star now. And I know that he's said he's not going to tour any more because he has Parkinson's. I'm going to contact to him personally, but I would like to say publicly that I love him and I can't thank him enough for what he did for me along the way." - Billboard, 1/22/18...... Speaking of Elton John, the Rocket Man held a press conference at New York's Gotham Hall on Jan. 24 to announce that he'll kick off a 300-city, three-year "farewell" tour this fall, beginning in September with stops including Allentown, Penn., New York City, Orlando, and Los Angeles. The event opened with a dazzling, psychedelic video going through some of John's biggest hits before cutting to him performing a live version of "Tiny Dancer" and "I'm Still Standing." "I'm not going to be touring anymore, apart from this global tour which launches in September," Elton told CNN's Anderson Cooper, noting he will be saying goodbye with a 300-date, three-year worldwide Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour promoted by AEG Presents. "My priorities have changed in my life," John told Cooper, noting the impact of his 2005 marriage to advertising executive David Furnish, as well as the birth of their two sons. "My priorities in my life are now my children, my husband and my family," he added. After the US leg, John will head to Europe in May 2019 and will add additional dates in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Elton added that unlike Cher, who has launched several "farewell tours" in the past decades, he will not be returning to the road once his tour wraps: "I'm not Cher, even though I like wearing her clothes -- this is the end." - Billboard, 1/24/18...... Gary RossingtonAlso planning a farewell tour are Southern Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers announcing on Jan. 25 that their final tour will begin May 4 in West Palm Beach, Fla., with special guests including .38 Special, ZZ Top, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Bad Company, Hank Williams, Jr. and Kid Rock. Rossington added that the band is "just winding it down a little bit" and "even if the touring ends we'll still do special shows and special guest things here and there with the whole band." "I just want to go out on a high note and make sure the band's name stays in high regard instead of going out and playing fairs and casinos and things like that... I want to live it still filling arenas and sheds like we still can," he said. Formed in Jacksonville in 1966, Lynyrd Skynyrd was struck by tragedy in 1977 when a plane crash killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines and several members of the road crew. The lineup now includes Rossington and Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie's brother. Rossington says the group has "a lot of big plans (for) last kind of goodbye things here and there, special things," including a CMT-produced documentary and a new studio album, the follow-up to 2012's Last Of A Dyin' Breed. - AP/Billboard, 1/25/18...... Led Zeppelin will reissue their classic 2003 live LP How The West Was Won on Mar. 23, with remastered sound supervised by Jimmy Page. How The West Was Won features original performances from two dates on the band's 1972 US concert tour: Los Angeles Forum on June 25, 1972 and Long Beach Arena on June 27, 1972. Part of the band's 50th anniversary celebrations, the reissue will also include a "Super Deluxe Boxed Set" version featuring three CDs, four vinyl LPs, a download of the entire album, plus a book "filled with rare and previously unpublished photos of the band at each of the concert locations." - NME, 1/24/18...... In an interview with a Louisville radio station on Jan. 25, former Genesis member Tony Banks said he "wouldn't rule out" Genesis reuniting for more live shows. Banks said that he and former bandmate Mike Rutherford, and Rutherford as well as Phil Collins have also expressed interest in reforming the band in the past couple of years. "We don't rule it out. It'd be fun to try," Banks said. "But Phil's gotta survive his tour first of all and we'll see where it goes." Acknowledging the one "slight problem" that the band would have to navigate, Banks added: "Phil's our drummer and he can't drum anymore." Genesis last performed together in 2007 to mark the band's 40th anniversary, and Collins has announced he'll kick off a tour of South America in February in the next leg of his "Not Dead Yet" world tour. - New Musical Express, 1/25/18...... The 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival announced on Jan. 24 that its headliners this year will include Aretha Franklin, Sting, Aerosmith, Lionel Richie, Jack White and Beck. The 2018 festival, held at the N.O. Fair Grounds Race Course, is scheduled for two weekends this spring -- April 27-29 and May 3-6. In addition, the festival is planning a tribute to Fats Domino and a celebration of New Orleans' 300th anniversary. - AP, 1/24/18...... Jackson BrowneJackson Browne will be recognized with the Les Paul Innovation Award during the 33rd annual NAMM Technical Excellence and Creativity (TEC) Awards in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 27. "Jackson Browne's success as a singer, songwriter and guitarist has had a prolific impression on the music industry throughout his successful career," says Michael Braunstein, executive director of the Les Paul Foundation. "Like Les Paul, Jackson has never shied away from expressing his emotions or thoughts through his music. I have no doubt that Les would have liked to have shared a few jams with Jackson along the way." Four veteran sidemen -- guitarist Danny Kortchmar, keyboardist Craig Doerge, bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Russ Kunkel -- collectively known as The Section and known for their work with Browne, James Taylor, Carole King and Crosby, Stills & Nash will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame and will perform at the awards. Earlier in the day, the four sidemen will participate in a panel discussion on the making of Browne's best-selling 1977 album Running on Empty. - Billboard, 1/23/18...... Stevie Wonder reportedly called actor Raphael Saadiq to congratulate him on his Oscar nomination for co-writing "Mighty River" from the film Mudbound. "He just said, 'Congratulations, my Taurean brother,' because we're both Tauruses," Saadiq told Billboard. "Mighty River" is a gospel-tinged song that plays over the movie's end credits, and was co-written with Mary J. Blige and Taura Stinson. - Billboard, 1/23/18...... George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison has played a key role in the making of M.I.A's upcoming biography documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in January. The score of the documentary, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A, was co-written by Harrison and his Thenewno2 bandmate Paul Hicks. - New Musical Express, 1/24/18...... A paper cup used by Elvis Presley that dates back to a 1956 tour stop in Tulsa, Okla., by the King when it ended up in the hands of a fan sold has sold at auction for $3,300. The buyer of the decades-old cup owns the Icon Hotel in Luton, England, and the seller was aiming to get only $1,000 for it. - TMZ.com, 1/23/18...... Former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland died at age 69. Holland played in a series of pop and rock band including Finders Keepers and Trapeze, which also featured future Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes. After leaving Trapeze to play with Priest, Holland appeared on a number of the group's best-selling albums, including 1980's British Steel, 1981's Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith, Turbo and 1988's Ram it Down; he was replaced by drummer Scott Travis on 1990's Painkiller. "It is with regret that we hear of the passing of Dave Holland," Judas Priest wrote in a statement. "Despite his actions since working with the band, his time with us was amongst the most productive and successful in the band's career and for that alone he shall be missed." - Billboard, 1/23/18...... Hugh MasekelaLegendary South African musician Hugh Masekela died on Jan. 23 after a long battle with cancer, the South African government announced on its official Twitter page. He was 78. Known as the father of South African jazz, Masekela channeled the struggle against apartheid into soulful compositions that championed the experiences of ordinary South Africans. His 1986 song "Bring Him Back Home," written for Nelson Mandela, became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement. The Grammy-nominated artist also toured with Paul Simon and was a major player on the jazz and world music scene for decades. "A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss," the family said in a statement released by his agents Dreamcatcher. In the 1960s, he went into exile in the United Kingdom and the United States, where he collaborated with American jazz legend Harry Belafonte and used his music to spread awareness about the oppressive system of white-minority rule in South Africa. He also scored an international number one hit in 1968 with "Grazing In The Grass," and was married to South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba for two years. In October 2017, Masekela issued a statement that he had been fighting prostate cancer since 2008 and would have to cancel his professional commitments to focus on his health. He said he started treatment after doctors found a "small 'speck'" on his bladder, and had surgery in Mar. 2016 after the cancer spread. South African President Jacob Zuma expressed his condolences, saying Masekela "kept the torch of freedom alive globally, fighting apartheid through his music and mobilizing international support for the struggle for liberation and raising awareness of the evils of apartheid... His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten." - CNN, 1/23/18...... Actress Olivia Cole, an Emmy-winner best known for her performances in the 1970s miniseries Backstairs at the White House and Roots, died on Jan. 26 at her home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 75. Cole also portrayed the gossipy Miss Sophie alongside Oprah Winfrey on the 1989 ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place and on a subsequent, short-lived series. She received her supporting actress Emmy for her turn as Matilda, the wife of Ben Vereen's Chicken George and mother of Georg Stanford Brown's Tom in Roots, which was broadcast on ABC in January 1977 on eight consecutive nights and watched by an estimated 140 million people. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/24/18...... Actress Connie Sawyer, known as Hollywood's oldest working actress, has died peacefully at the age of 105 at her in Woodland Hills, Calif. To many, she is recognized as the lady in Dumb and Dumber who stole Jim Carrey's character's wallet. She also appeared in The Pineapple Express, as well as When Harry Met Sally. Ms. Sawyer also has numerous TV credits which span six decades, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hawaii Five-O, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Archie Bunker's Place, Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, ER, The Office, and How I Met Your Mother. Most recently she appeared in Showtime's Ray Donovan as James Woods' mother. - MSN.com, 1/23/18.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tom Waits has announced he'll reissue his first 7 albums, including Closing Time (1973), Heart of Saturday Night (1974), Nighthawks at the Diner (1975), Small Change (1976), Foreign Affairs (1977), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heartattack & Vine (1980), on CD on Mar. 23, with vinyl versions also becoming available later in 2018. The 7 albums will also be available on streaming services on Mar. 9. - Billboard, 1/22/18...... Tom PettyDana Petty, the widow of rock legend Tom Petty, revealed in a Facebook post on Jan. 19 that her late husband died on Oct. 2 of an accidental overdose due to a mixture of medications. Dana and the couple's daughter, Adria, posted that according to the Los Angeles County Coroner Tom's organs failed due to "mixed drug toxicity" which included oxycodone, Xanax, and Fentanyl, and that Petty was taking a number of medications due to a series of ailments, including a fractured (and then broken) hip, knee problems and emphysema. Dana and Adria said they hope Tom's death leads to a greater conversation about the country's tragic opioid crisis. "Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications," they posted. The mom and daughter also noted that "on the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication." "Unfortunately Tom's body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip... Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury," they added, concluding with a positive note: "We now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40 plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed." - Billboard, 1/19/18...... Hall & Oates announced a on Jan. 22 they'll kick off a 37-city North American tour on May 1 in Sacramento, Calif., with the pop-rock band Train as the opener. Stops also include St. Paul, Minn. (5/16), Philadephia (5/26), Washington D.C. (6/11), New York City (6/14),Atlanta (6/20) and Grand Rapids, Mich. (7/15), before wrapping on Aug. 11 in Seattle. While both Daryl Hall and John Oates have released individual projects in recent years, the legendary Philly soul duo hasn't released a project together since their 2006 effort Home for Christmas. - Billboard, 1/22/18...... Yoko OnoYoko Ono was among the many female celebrities supporting the Women's March 2018, which took place across the U.S. on Jan. 20, one year after millions of people gathered to protest the inauguration of Pres. Donald Trump. In a tweet featuring photos of herself at the Women's March in New York City, Ono simply wrote: "PEACE IS POWER." This year's Women's March was spurred by the political climate as well as the innumerable recently surfaced accounts of men abusing women, and the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that have resulted. - Billboard, 1/20/18...... In other Beatles-related news, Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson revealed that she "cried like a g--damn baby" after meeting Paul McCartney at an A-list Los Angeles party thrown by Sir Paul's daughter, fashion designer Stella McCartney, on Jan. 16. Paris said that Macca was "the love of my life" in a Teen Vogue interview last May, and the 19 year-old finally met McCartney at the party -- where he jammed with an all-star Beatles cover band -- and posted a pic with the rock icon captioned, "I cried like a g--damn baby." In the same interview Jackson revealed that she's already written a song she'd like McCartney to sing, adding "but it probs won't happen." - Billboard, 1/18/18...... Billy Joel announced on Jan. 22 that he'll play his record-breaking 100th career show at New York's Madison Square Garden on July 18. Joel was the first person to ever become a "music franchise" at the legendary Big Apple venue, as he began a residency in 2014, and has played a show every month since. His 100th career show will be his 54th consecutive show since the beginning of his stay, marking a record-setting music franchise at The Garden. Joel also announced plans to perform in Ireland, Germany, and the UK, all in between his June and July New York shows. - Billboard, 1/22/18...... In an interview with Louisville, Ky. radio station WFPK on Jan. 20, Robert Plant said he had "no idea" whether he and his former Led Zeppelin bandmate Jimmy Page would work together again. "It's not even within my countenance to imagine it, really," he said. When the interviewer noted that fans still hold the band "dear in their hearts," Plant responded: "Me too -- nobody more than me. But I don't want to do it a disservice either." Plant and Page last performed together in 2007 at a show at The O2 in London. Afterwards, the rest of Led Zeppelin, including bassit John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham, were reportedly willing to tour and work on new material, but Plant was busy with other touring commitments. Jimmy Page recently revealed that since 2018 is the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin, "there's all manner of surprises coming out." - New Musical Express, 1/20/18...... Joe ElliottDef Leppard and Journey have announced a co-headlining North American tour that will kick off on May 21 in Hartford, Conn. The ambitious 58-city tour will hit most major US cities and wrap on Oct. 6 in Los Angeles. The two bands also shared a co-headlining tour in the early 2000s. "We've toured together before and it was massive," said Def Leppard's Joe Elliott in a press release. This time it's going to be even bigger and better!" Journey's Jonathan Cain said "We are all anxious to share our sound with the world again and, along with Def Leppard, we are part of a world-class package to the rock stage that spans decades and represents a multi-platinum legacy." Meanwhile, Def Leppard are joining an esteemed list of formerly reluctant artists to abstain from streaming, announcing on Jan. 19 that its entire catalog is now available on all major streaming and download platforms. "It is with a mixture of relief and euphoria that we now see our entire catalog finally getting a digital release," said frontman Elliott. "Having embraced every other format with open arms, especially and more recently the reemergence of vinyl, we're now going to be available to everyone everywhere and honestly, it's as exciting as the original releases were." Def Leppard's dispute with their former label Mercury Records/UMG over licensing and compensation was at the core for the band's reluctance to make their earlier music available to stream or even download. - Billboard, 1/19/18...... Dead & Company have announced a 19-city summer tour to launch on May 30 in Mansfield, Mass. Featuring founding Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, as well as John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, Dead & Company last toured in 2017. The 2018 tour will wrap with two dates in Boulder, Col., on July 13 and 14. - Billboard, 1/18/18...... The Eagles have announced they've settled their lawsuit with a Mexican hotel using the name of the band's famous song "Hotel California." A joint dismissal of the Eagles' lawsuit against the hotel in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, was filed on Jan. 17 with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The same day, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office accepted Hotel California Baja's request to permanently abandon its trademark application. "This matter has been settled by mutual agreement of the Parties," said Eagles' attorney Tom Jirgal in a statement. In the initial lawsuit filed in 2017, the Eagles argued that the hotel was trying to capitalize on its success. The Eagles' filing pointed out that the band has become synonymous with the song "Hotel California," and as the act's most popular album, Hotel California is the "essence of the band itself and, as such, all sorts of merchandise has been sold with the mark." The hotel's current owners, Debbie and John Stewart, bought the property in 2001, and denied their hotel was trying to mislead guests, arguing customers were unlikely to be confused. - Billboard, 1/18/18...... Dolly PartonCountry-pop legend Dolly Parton has collected two new Guinness World Records, for most decades with a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart (six) and most hits on the Hot Country Songs chart by a female artist (107). Parton, 71, said she was "humbled" and "blessed" when she received the Guinness certificates recognizing her newly-set records. "To receive these two Guinness World Records is so great," Dolly said on receiving her framed certificates. "Joining so many wonderful singers and songwriters who have been honored this way feels so special to me. You never know when you start out with your work how it's going to turn out, but to have these two world records makes me feel very humbled and blessed." - Billboard, 1/17/18...... Bassist Jim Rodford, who played with The Kinks and The Zombies and was also a founding member of the Zombies spin-off band Argent, died at his home in St. Albans, England, on Jan. 20. He was 76. Rodford was a cousin of Zombies and Argent member Rod Argent, who confirmed the news on the Zombies' Facebook page. "It is with deep sadness that I learned this morning that my dear cousin and lifelong friend, Jim Rodford, died this morning after a fall on the stairs," Argent wrote. "Jim was not only a magnificent bass player, but also from the first inextricably bound to the story of The Zombies. An enormous enabler for us," he continued. "To the end, Jim's life was dedicated to music. He was unfailingly committed to local music -- an ever present member of the local scene in St.Albans, where he had spent his whole life." - Billboard, 1/20/18.

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. - Stereogum.com, 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 Reddit.com, 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. - MSN.com, 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. - Jalopnik.com, 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. - Spin.com, 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.

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News items appearing in Super Seventies RockSite!'s "Favorite Seventies Artists In The News" are compiled from numerous online and printed sources, including Billboard.com, New Musical Express, Jam! Music, Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, CNN, Rolling Stone.com, The Hollywood Reporter, Stereogum.com, Spin.com, and Noble PR.






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