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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

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

Thursday, July 15, 2021

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

Saturday, July 10, 2021

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

Monday, July 5, 2021

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

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

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

Friday, June 25, 2021

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

Sunday, June 20, 2021

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

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

Saturday, June 5, 2021

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

Monday, May 31, 2021

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

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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

Friday, May 21, 2021

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

Sunday, May 16, 2021

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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

Thursday, May 6, 2021

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

Saturday, May 1, 2021

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

Monday, Apr. 26, 2021

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

Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2021

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

Friday, Apr. 16, 2021

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

Sunday, Apr. 11, 2021

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

Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2021

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

Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021

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

Saturday, Mar. 27, 2021

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

Monday, Mar. 22, 2021

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

Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021

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

Friday, Mar. 12, 2021

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

Sunday, Mar. 7, 2021

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

Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021

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

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

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

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021

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

Monday, Feb. 15, 2021

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

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

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

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

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

Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021

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

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

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

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021

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

Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

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

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