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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Warner Bros. Pictures announced on Aug. 19 that it has acquired the release rights to the Bruce Springsteen documentary Western Stars. The studio will release Western Stars, which is also the musician's directoral debut, in U.S. theaters this fall, following its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary, which was co-directed by Thom Zimny, features archival footage and personal narration, as well as the New Jersey rocker performing all 13 songs on Western Stars, his first studio album in five years and on which he is backed by a band and a full orchestra in his historic nearly 100-year-old barn. The first official trailer for the film was released on Aug. 19. The Western Stars doc is slated for an October 2019 release, though an exact date has yet to be announced. It comes on the heels of another Springsteen-centric Warner Bros. film, Blinded by the Light, which hit theaters Aug. 16. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/19/19...... Don CorneliusAfter Tony-nominated producer Matthew Weaver, who made his mark on Broadway with the "Rock of Ages" musical, acquired the stage rights to adapt Soul Train into a musical back in 2014, the production is eyeing an official 2021 debut in celebration of the iconic '70s TV dance show's 50th anniversary. The "Soul Train" musical will tell the personal story of late host Don Cornelius through more than 20 classic dance songs from the era as he crafts the famed show. Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of The Roots, who is a four-time Grammy winner and author of Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, has signed on as an executive producer. Cornelius' son Tony Cornelius, CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker and Live Nation Urban president Shawn Gee will also executive produce the musical. Since its debut in 1971, Soul Train featured performances by R&B, pop, soul and hip-hop artists, in addition to occasional funk, jazz, disco and gospel performers, introducing new dance moves and styles on a weekly basis. The final episode was broadcast in 2006. In 2016, BET Networks acquired the Soul Train brand and is home to the annual Soul Train Awards, which honor the best in urban music and entertainment. BET also airs the period drama American Soul, based on the rise of Soul Train. The scripted original has been picked up for a second season by the network. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/20/19...... The U.S. Department of Justice has sided with Led Zeppelin in a long-running copyright feud surrounding their iconic hit "Stairway To Heaven." The DOJ filed an amicus brief on Aug. 15 which supports the classic rock icons' claim that they didn't steal the "guitar line and melody" from an instrumental track called "Taurus" originally penned by late Spirit guitarist Randy California and which appeared on Spirit's 1968 debut album. The case was reopened when a San Francisco court subsequently ruled that an earlier trial should have heard the two songs, instead of having a jury making their ruling based on the musical score or sheet music which showed chords and scale. In its brief, the DOJ says that the initial trial judge was correct when he ruled that only the song's sheet music was subject to copyright protection, as the song itself was written before a 1972 law which protected sound recordings. They added that the contentious sections of the song are only worthy of protection if they sound identical. Earlier in August, Led Zeppelin's position was supported by such acts as Korn, Tool, Judas Priest, Linkin Park when they signed a brief in support of Led Zep. The case is scheduled to be re-heard in late September in San Francisco. - New Musical Express, 8/17/19...... David BowieJohnny FlynnDavid Bowie's son Duncan Jones has posted to Twitter the first photo of actor Johnny Flynn transformed into David Bowie for the upcoming Bowie biopic Stardust. In the first photo from production, Flynn is seen evoking a young Bowie as he sits in a diner while smoking a cigarette. As well as sporting shoulder-length blonde locks, Flynn wears a purple turtleneck jumper and black fedora. Stardust, announced earlier in 2019, sees Flynn portray Bowie as he heads to America in 1971 with struggling publicist Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), "only to be met with a world not yet ready for him." The trip reportedly inspired the creation of his famous Ziggy Stardust persona. Although Stardust is due in 2021, Jones and the rest of Bowie's family have distanced themselves entirely from the production. "Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic I would know," Jones previously posted on Twitter. "I'm not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn't know. I'm saying that as it stands, this movie won't have any of dad's music in it, & I can't imagine that changing. If you want to see a biopic without his music or the family's blessing, that's up to the audience," he added. An official release date for Stardust has not yet been announced. - New Musical Express, 8/20/19...... Paul Simon is supporting the efforts of environmentalists trying to reinvigorate a forest on the Hawaiian island of Maui by planting a tree during a ceremony on Aug. 16. According to a local paper, Simon visited Auwahi Forest Restoration Project with volunteers who are trying to revive plant life in the area and helped plant a lama tree, participating in chants with the group after a helicopter tour that he called "awe-inspiring" and "life-changing." Simon inserted the plant and a scroll into a hole before refilling the soil and speaking with group members. "To even sit with you guys and be in the same community is such a privilege," said Simon, a part-time resident of Maui. Simon also performed two environmental benefit concerts at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center earlier in the week that drew more than 8,000 attendees. He announced he plans to donate the proceeds to the Auwahi project and the Hawaii environmental group Kuaaina Ulu Auamo. - AP, 8/19/19...... Carlos Santana is among eight music acts just named to the inaugural Ambassadors Council for the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the live entertainment/restaurant chain. The MFF offers free vocational training in the music industry to young people living in diverse and underserved communities. Each of the Ambassadors, which also includes Khalid, Benny Blanco, Martina McBride and the rock band Umphrey's McGee, will contribute to the cause by mentoring aspiring artists, speaking at educational workshops, donating funds from ticket sales and providing exclusive memorabilia for auction, among other things. - Billboard, 8/20/19...... Elvis PresleyFans of Elvis Presley made their annual pilgrimage to the late King of Rock & Roll's grave at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn., during the third week of August to participate in a vigil commemorating his death 42 years ago. The vigil was the cornerstone of Elvis Week, as silent mourners filed slowly past his resting place and the graves of his parents and grandmother in the Meditation Garden a Graceland. The vigil started on the evening of Aug. 15 and runs throughout the night into Aug. 16. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, and his Graceland attraction draws about 500,000 visitors annually. On Aug. 9, RCA/Legacy released Live 1969, an 11-disc set featuring 11 full shows from his sold-out run at Las Vegas's International Hotel that year. - AP, 8/16/19...... In other Elvis news, the streaming platform Netflix has added Presley to its roster of animated series. On Aug. 16, it announced it has ordered an adult animated show called Agent King, which imagines Elvis trading his white jumpsuit for a jet pack as he's inducted into a secret government spy program to help battle dark forces that threaten the country he loves -- all while holding down his day job as the most famous rock 'n' roll star on the planet. Agent King comes from Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures TV and Authentic Brands Group. Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley and John Eddie will serve as co-creators and executive producers, and Archer veteran Mike Arnold will write and produce. "From the time Elvis was a young boy he always dreamed of being the superhero fighting crime and saving the world!" said Priscilla Presley, who was married to Elvis from 1967-73. "Agent King lets him do just that. My co-creator John Eddie and I are so excited to be working with Netflix and Sony Animation on this amazing project and getting the chance to show the world an Elvis they haven't seen before." - Billboard, 8/16/19...... Neil Young announced on his Archives website on Aug. 17 that "Rainbow of Colors," the first single from his upcoming album with Crazy Horse, will be released later in August. "Rainbow of Colors" will be featured on Colorado, Young's first new record with Crazy Horse since 2012's Psychedelic Pill. In the post, Young revealed that Colorado will arrive in October and feature "10 new songs ranging from around 3 minutes to over 13 minutes." Besides CD and digital versions of the record, there will also be a double vinyl release comprising three sides of music and a 7" exclusive single not on the album. Earlier in August, Young announced he was postponing all tour plans for the rest of the year to focus on a whopping 15 film projects including a documentary on the making of Colorado. - New Musical Express, 8/19/19...... Original Woodstock veteran Arlo Guthrie delivered a rendition of the iconic Bob Dylan anthem "The Times They Are a-Changin'" at the original site of the 1969 Woodstock festival on Aug. 15 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Guthrie played an evening set atop the famous hill near the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, but said he also wanted to play at least one song near where the 1969 stage was located. Picking up a guitar, he sang the Dylan classic for a group of reporters gathered on the grass under the wilting afternoon sun. The Bethel Woods Center hosted a series of Woodstock events from Aug. 15 through Aug. 18, with concerts also by festival veterans like Carlos Santana and John Fogerty. "[Woodstock] was a great time," Guthrie told reporters, his long white hair flowing from a straw hat. "For me, the Woodstock festival was a celebratory end of an era. It was not the beginning of anything. It was the end of something, and it was an end of a very turbulent time that was also very wonderful." - AP, 8/16/19...... Elton JohnElton John is defending Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle over their use of private jets, confirming on Aug. 20 that he personally shelled out for a private flight so the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could "maintain a high level of much-needed protection." Elton defended the pair against what he called "relentless and untrue assassinations on their character," after the couple faced intense criticism in the British tabloids for reportedly travelling on four private jets in 11 days, despite being outspoken advocates on environmental issues. Posting on Twitter, John said he ensured the flight was carbon neutral by making an "appropriate contribution" to a carbon footprint fund. "I am deeply distressed by today's distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's private stay at my home in Nice last week," he wrote. "Prince Harry's mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana's untimely death," he added. Prince Harry has been vocal about the effects of environmental damage, writing on Instagram in July: "Only now are we starting to notice and understand the damage that we've been causing. With nearly 7.7 billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference." - New Musical Express, 8/20/19...... Motown legend Smokey Robinson participated in a "Soul Music Riff-Off" with Late Late Show host James Corden on the Aug. 14 episode of the CBS late night talk show. The segment opened with Corden sitting alone at his desk. He told the audience that he had recently watched Showtime's upcoming documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown, which he praised. Corden then shared his controversial opinion that new soul music is better than the original stuff. "I'm talking Usher, Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill," Corden said. "I feel like new soul has a better sound." Smokey Robinson then walked onstage to challenge Corden's view. "I heard you've been telling people that modern soul music is better than classic soul music," said Robinson. "Classic soul music is my thing, man." Robinson soon challenged Corden to a classic soul vs. modern soul riff-off, with Corden performing Bruno Mars' "Finesse." Following the host's number, Robinson sang The Temptations' "Get Ready." The riff-off concluded with the two singing "My Girl" with the audience joining the singer, host and an a capella group. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/15/19...... The Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead and Company have added a new string of fall tour dates on the East Coast, which will bring the legendary jam band to New York and Virginia in late October and November. The trek will kick off on Halloween (Oct. 31) with the first of two nights at Madison Square Garden in New York, followed by a Nov. 1 Madison Square Garden gig and then two nights at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., on Nov. 8 and 9. Dead and Company is made up of Grateful Dead veterans guitarist/singer Bob Weir, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, along with guitarist Oteil Burbridge, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and singer/guitarist John Mayer. - Billboard, 8/15/19...... Joe ElliottDef Leppard debuted its new 12-show residency at Planet Hollywood's Zappos Theater in Las Vegas on Aug. 14. Frontman Joe Elliott, who was performing his first gig since turning 60, said that "legacy artists and great music doesn't have an age on it anymore, it's like fine wine, it doesn't matter." "And these songs are now appealing to young kids," he added, noting that he consistently gets commentary on his Planet Rock radio show from teenage fans who have discovered Def Leppard by raiding their parents' record collections. Indeed, the Aug. 14 show was attended by a multi-gen audience, which ranged from teens to seniors, who rocked through the band's almost two-hour long set. It was filled with big moments, including two songs that the band has never played before in concert: "Let Me Be the One" from 2002's X album and "We Belong" from 2015's Def Leppard; as well as "Have You Ever Been," which they hadn't played in 25 years. "We dug deep into our catalog and we're going back [as recent as] the latest album," Elliott says. "And songs from High 'n' Dry that we don't play on a regular basis, songs from Pyromania that we haven't played in decades, and a couple of songs we've never played at all," he added. In addition to Elliott, Def Leppard's current lineup includes one-handed drummer Rick Allen and guitarists Phil Collen, Rick Savage and Vivian Campbell. - Billboard, 8/15/19...... Judas Priest's Glenn Tipton has thanked fans and his bandmates for helping to raise $150,000 for his Parkinson's disease foundation. Fans have purchased special T-shirts to support the cause, which Tipton launched in 2018 after announcing he had been battling the condition for a decade. "I'd like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who bought The Glenn Tipton Parkinson's Foundation charity t-shirts throughout the various tour legs," Tipton wrote on Twitter. "I'd also like to thank [Judas Priest members] Rob, Ian, Richie, Scott and Andy -- the donations are building up nicely and that wouldn't have been possible without all the hard work from the guys in the band and the crew who went onstage every night and helped raise money for a great cause." Tipton says all proceeds from the foundation will benefit a pioneering new treatment called MR-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy, which helps Parkinson's sufferers control their tremors. - WENN/, 8/16/19...... During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Aug. 16, Happy Days star Henry Winkler recalled how he once saved a suicidal teenager with a phone call. Winkler says he was shooting an episode of Happy Days when an Illinois state trooper asked him to help talk an aspiring actor down from a high-rise ledge he was planning to jump from. "The phone rings and they say, 'Henry, it's a call for you,'" Winkler recalled. "I walked over to the phone and the man said 'I'm sorry to bother you. I have a 17-year-old kid on the ledge. And he is threatening to jump off and he will only talk to you.' I don't know where I got the nerve to take the phone and start talking to this kid. I said, 'OK, what is your name. OK, John, how old are you? You're 17, you're on the ledge, why do you want to jump?' 'I wanna be an actor.'" Thinking quickly, Winkler asked the desperate teen to will him his record collection, prompting the 17 year old to step off the ledge. "(I said), 'If you get off the ledge, let's talk about acting I was 27 when I got the Fonz, John. I think you've got 10 good years to keep trying. How 'bout that? Will you do that? OK. Can I get back to rehearsing? Thank you.'" Winkler said he knows the teen survived -- because he never got his record collection. - WENN/, 8/16/19...... Aretha FranklinIn tribute to the one year anniversary of the death of Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Aug. 16, 2018, the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation has created The Aretha Franklin Fund for Neuroendocrine Cancer Research, with the blessing of the family. "We wanted to create this fund so that those who wanted to honor Aretha's memory have a way to support the research," foundation CEO Gellerman said. Franklin, who was 76 years old, had pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, which starts in the pancreas but is far different and much slower developing than the more common, aggressive type of pancreatic cancer known as adenocarcinoma. Franklin's kind is exceedingly rare: Neuroendocrine cancers comprise about 7% of cancers originating in the pancreas, according to the NTRF. Two of her doctors said the singing legend handled the diagnosis and treatment with grace -- and the grit to keep performing for years with a rare type of cancer. "As a person, she was extremely kind, she was respectful, she was funny -- she treated people like me and my team members as her friends," said Dr. Manisha Shah of Ohio State University. "There is no phone call that would end without her asking about us. Most of the time she would ask about us first. ... It's because who she was: She was really down-to-earth." Dr. Philip Agop Philip, a professor at Karmanos and Wayne State University, recalled how Aretha wanted to continue her life as normally -- and positively -- as possible. "She was full speed -- she wasn't even complaining," said Philip, who first saw Franklin in early 2011 and was her doctor of record at the time of her death. "That was different than what I expected... She never showed signs that she was close to thinking that she may give up... until the end, close to the end." - AP, 8/15/19...... Richard Gillis, a singer, songwriter and composer who worked for director Sam Peckinpah on the Western The Ballad of Cable Hogue, died on July 31 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., as a result of complications from a fall at his home in Toluca Lake. He was 80. For The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), which featured an original score by Jerry Goldsmith, Mr. Gillis wrote music and/or lyrics for such songs as "Butterfly Mornings," "Tomorrow Is the Song I Sing" and "Wait for Me, Sunrise," performed by actors Stella Stevens and Jason Robards (both lip-synced in the Arizona-set, turn-of-the-century movie) and Mr. Gillis himself. Mr. Gillis also composed music, sang or acted in other films including Schlock (1973), directed by John Landis; A Boy and His Dog (1975); The Bees (1978); Demonoid (1980); and Pretty Woman (1990) and Frankie and Johnny (1991), both helmed by Garry Marshall. He also worked as an art director, set designer, prop master, etc. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/15/19.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Peter FondaActor/producer/director and counterculture icon Peter Fonda, best known for his role in the seminal 1969 road movie Easy Rider, died on Aug. 16 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79, and his official cause of death was listed as respiratory failure due to lung cancer. Born on Feb. 23, 1939, in New York City, Fonda was the son of acting legend Henry Fonda and the younger brother of Jane Fonda. He was drawn to acting while still a boy, and was only 10 years old when his mother died of suicide in a mental hospital. He scored his first success playing the lead in a school production of "Harvey" as a student at the University of Omaha and made his Broadway debut in 1961 in "Blood Sweat and Stanley Poole." At first he played nondescript "squares" in such films as Tammy and the Doctor and The Victors (both 1963) and Lilith and The Young Lovers (both 1964). In 1966, he began cultivating a motorbike-riding "hippie" rebel image in The Wild Angels, followed the next year by the psychedelic The Trip, which was directed by Roger Corman and written by Jack Nicholson. This culminated in the phenomenally successful Easy Rider, in which he also produced and co-wrote with Dennis Hopper and author Terry Southern, in 1969. The movie, directed by Hopper, shook up the Hollywood establishment, reaped more than $41 million at the box office with a budget of less than $400,000, and earned Fonda and his co-writers a best screenplay Oscar nomination. In his 1998 autobiography, Don't Tell Dad: A Memoir, Fonda said that he got the idea for Easy Rider while staring at a poster for The Wild Angels: "It would be about the Duke and Jeffrey Hunter looking for Natalie Wood. I would be the Duke and (Dennis) Hopper would be my Ward Bond; America would be our Natalie Wood." In 1971, Fonda directed his first film, The Hired Hand, a lyrical western in which he also starred. But the astonishing career that some predicted for Fonda in the wake of Easy Rider never came to pass, and he developed a reputation for being "difficult and drug-addled" on-set. Later films include The Last Movie also in 1971, which was directed by his Easy Rider co-star Dennis Hopper, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974), Race With the Devil (1975), the Westworld sequel Futureworld (1976), Outlaw Blues (1977), and 1979's Wanda Nevada which he also directed and co-starred Henry Fonda and a young Brooke Shields. Peter FondaIn 1994, his career was rejuvenated when he was cast in John Carpenter's $50 million Escape From L.A. and given the third screen credit (before Cliff Robertson as the president). Total redemption came in 1997 when he played the lead in Victor Nunez's critically acclaimed indie Ulee's Gold, playing a Florida beekeeper who must tangle with some criminals to protect his family. Fonda received an Oscar nomination for best actor, and a classy profile in the New York Times. But the Oscar eluded him (it went to Jack Nicholson for a much showier performance in As Good as It Gets). More recently, Fonda played Mephistopheles in the Nicolas Cage vehicle Ghost Rider and a biker once again in the John Travolta-Tim Allen comedy Wild Hogs. He also had a supporting role as a bounty hunter in the 2007 remake 3:10 to Yuma, and reunited with Cage in the 2015 Louisiana political drama The Runner, in which Fonda played the younger actor's father. Fonda's family confirmed his passing in a statement that stated the actor passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. "While we mourn the loss of this sweet and gracious man, we also wish for all to celebrate his indomitable spirit and love of life. In honor of Peter, please raise a glass to freedom," the Fonda family said. Jane Fonda also released a separate statement, calling Peter "my sweet-hearted baby brother" and "the talker of the family." "I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing," she wrote. In addition to his actress daughter Bridget Fonda and her husband, film composer Danny Elfman, survivors include Fonda's third wife Margaret (Parky) DeVogelaere, whom he married in 2011; and son Justin, a cameraman, from his marriage to first wife Susan Brewer (as is Bridget). - Variety/, 8/16/19.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bruce Springsteen has suprised his fans with the release of his full acoustic performance from Neil Young's inaugural Bridge School Benefit Concert in 1986. The show at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., was Springsteen's first major gig since wrapping up the huge Born in the U.S.A. tour and his first acoustic set in more than a decade. The set is available on Springsteen's site,, with $2 from each sale going to benefit The Bridge School, which employs creative approaches to education and alternative communication systems to help educate children with severe speech and physical impairments. - Billboard, 8/12/19...... WoodstockThe generation-defining 1969 Woodstock festival will be commemorated in the third weekend of August as up to 100,000 fans are expected to flock to the original site in Bethel Woods, N.Y., for a 50th anniversary celebration featuring such acts as John Fogerty, Ringo Starr and Carlos Santana. Original Woodstock veteran Arlo Guthrie is set to perform on Aug. 15 before an outdoor screening of the Woodstock documentary. Organizers hope avoid the overcrowding and chaos that occurred 50 years ago by requiring event tickets and travel passes to drive to the site about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northwest of New York City. Fans interested in visiting Woodstock without tickets or travel passes will still be able to do over the anniversary weekend, however their time at the location will be limited. A free shuttle bus service will take passengers to the site where they will have a maximum of 30 minutes to spend there before they are required to leave. The 1969 festival was held on a dairy farm in Bethel, upstate New York, which is now maintained by the Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts. The not-for-profit Bethel Woods center bought up the hillside and surrounding land in the late '90s, and constructed a Woodstock-and-'60s-themed museum which sits atop the fenced-in field. An outdoor amphitheater is located over the hill where Santana and Fogerty will play on separate nights. An estimated 400,000 people showed up for the event on Aug. 15-18, 1969. A competing 50th anniversary Woodstock concert promoted by original Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang was canceled in late July after months of setbacks, funding issues, artist defections and permitting issues. Meanwhile, Philadelphia radio station WXPN has announced plans to broadcast the full 1969 Woodstock festival exactly 50 years after it happened, over four days. At exactly 5:07 EDT on Aug. 15, WXPN, which airs on 88.5 FM public radio, will run through the entire original recording of 1969's Woodstock, featuring every performance, set breaks and stage announcements, from Richie Havens' opening acoustic set to Jimi Hendrix's blistering festival closer. "Woodstock -- As It Happened -- 50 Years On" is being dubbed a "full authentic musical account" of the classic festival, which featured the likes of Hendrix, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin. - AP/New Musical Express, 8/15/19...... Iggy Pop released a tongue-in-cheek video for his latest single "James Bond" on Aug. 14. The video centers on the punk rock veteran as he sings to the camera, his image clouded by light and shadow. Faith Vern, who sings on the track, also appears in the video. "I've never had more fun singing a lyric," Pop said of the song. "Faith's reading is so loaded, and Leron [Thomas]' production and trumpet along with the band swings like crazy." "James Bond" will be featured on Free, Iggy's 18th studio album that's due out Sept. 6 and the follow-up to his 2016 LP Post Pop Depression. - New Musical Express, 8/15/19...... Joe StrummerA wide-ranging 40th anniversary exhibit showcasing The Clash's landmark 1979 third album London Calling is scheduled to open at the Museum of London. "The Clash: London Calling" will open on Nov. 15 and feature draft lyrics from Clash frontman Joe Strummer's notebook, stage outfits, photos and films. The free show, which will run through spring 2020, will also feature the bass guitar that Paul Simonon famously smashed on stage at The Palladium in New York on Sept. 21, 1979, handwritten albums sequence notes from singer/guitarist Mick Jones, and drummer Topper Headon's drum sticks. "London Calling is The Clash's defining album, a rallying call for Londoners and people around the world," said the Museum of London's Beatrice Behlen in a statement. "The album's lyrics reflected contemporary concerns, many of which are still relevant today, as it moved away from traditional punk by adopting and reworking much wider musical influences." The museum has also shared a YouTube trailer for the exhibit. In conjuntion with the anniversary, Sony Music has announced the release of London Calling Scrapbook, a 120-page hardback collection of photos, hand-written lyrics, notes and previously unseen material. - Billboard, 8/14/19...... Lynyrd Skynyrd announced on Aug. 13 they are postponing to upcoming shows on their farewell "Last of the Street Survivors" tour to allow guitarist co-founding member Gary Rossington to recover from recent heart surgery. The band has pushed back its Aug. 16 performance at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and Aug. 17 show at Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland, Calif. In a statement, the band said Rossington had been experiencing fatigue and other symptoms related to a leaky heart valve and underwent a procedure on July 31 to repair the valve. Rossington is expected to make a full recovery and the band has rescheduled the Nevada and California events for Oct. 18 and 19, respectively. "We all appreciate the well wishes for Gary and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused," said Skynyrd lead vocalist Johnny Van Zant in a press release. "But he can't wait to come back and perform at 100% for the fans. We will see you all soon!" Bad Company will remain as special guest, co-headliner for the rescheduled Las Vegas date on Oct. 18. Tickets purchased for the original Aug. 16 and 17 dates will be honored for the rescheduled dates in October. The tour, which runs through October, will also include special guests Hank Williams Jr., Bad Company, ZZ Top and Cody Jinks at selected dates. - Billboard, 8/13/19...... Michael JacksonA new documentary defending Michael Jackson, Chase the Truth, was released the third week in August. The counter documentary, which features testimony from Jackson's former bodyguard Matt Fiddes and actor Mark Lester is an answer to the controversial 2018 documentary Leaving Neverland in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck claimed the King of Pop sexually abused them when they were children. "Acquitted in life, back on trial after death," reads the synopsis. "Michael Jackson: Chase The Truth takes an investigative look into the legal battles of the global superstar. Close friends, former staff and researchers paint an intimate portrait of Jackson's complicated world and put allegations of sexual abuse under the microscope." A trailer for Chase The Truth has also been made available on YouTube. Meanwhile, Wade Robson has spoken out on MTV's recent decision to keep their VMA Vanguard Award named after the late singer. "I don't personally need MTV to do one thing or the other, but as child abuse survivors all over the world watch to see whether society will support them or not if they have the courage to come forward, in that regard, it's an unfortunate choice," Robson told MTV began recognizing artists with the Video Vanguard Award in 1984 and named the honor after Jackson in 1991. Missy Elliott will become the first female rapper to receive the award at this year's show, on Aug. 26. - NME/Billboard, 8/15/19...... The Rolling Stones' longtime musical director, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, has released a cover of the Stones' "Tumbling Dice" along with an accompanying video on YouTube. The "Tumbling Dice" cover appears on Leavell's new album, Chuck Gets Big, with his backing band the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. "This (album) is really a celebration of the career," Leavell told Billboard, "so of course there's something from the Allman Brothers, something from Sea Level, something from the Stones, instrumentals from my own records, too. There are also a few of the songs I've just always loved playing -- like 'Georgia on My Mind,' 'cause Ray Charles is my true hero. It's just kind of a mishmash celebrating the career and hand-picking songs that I felt like people would appreciate." Leavell says the album is also an opportunity "to showcase my own voice." "I mean, I get to sing background with the Stones and did with The Allmans, [Eric] Clapton and [Dave] Gilmour, but I wanted to have the opportunity to showcase my voice -- not that I'm an incredible singer, but that was important to me. I'm very pleased with the way it worked out." Leavell -- who also guests on the Allman Betts Band's debut album Down to the River -- has five more dates left on the Stones' No Filter Tour, which wraps up Aug. 31 in Miami. - Billboard, 8/13/19...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper announced on Aug. 13 he'll launch a tour of Australia's five biggest cities in February 2020, beginning on Feb. 8 at Perth's RAC Arena. Other stops down under include Adelaide (2/11), Melbourne (2/14), Sydney (2/15) and Brisbane (2/18). Cooper's "Ol' Black Eyes Is Back" tour is currently in progress across North America, after which he'll begin a six-week tour of the U.K. and Europe, before returning to the United States for further dates in November. The "entirely new production" according to Alice incorporates a setting inside his Nightmare Castle, and features FrankenAlice, the new Billion Dollar Baby, and a setlist which includes many of his classic hits, deep album tracks, and new music. Meanwhile, The Coop continues to record and perform in his supergroup side project Hollywood Vampires, and will release a mini-album on vinyl, The Breadcrumbs, on Sept. 13 that's said to be a tribute to his Detroit rock origins. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Alice's Pretties For You, his very first album. "I'm a healthy young man at 71," he says. - Billboard, 8/13/19...... In other shock-rocker news, a new book by a science scholar claims that Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne is a genetic mutant. In his new book Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs and the Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are, Indiana University School of Medicine genetic research professor Bill Sullivan employed a study by Gnome, a Massachusetts-based research company who studied Ozzy's DNA in 2010 to work out how he had managed to live so long despite his extensive alcohol and drug use. Sullivan concludes that "Ozzy is indeed a genetic mutant" who has managed to stay alive so song thanks to a "quirk in his DNA which has made him resilient to years of substance abuse." Osbourne will kick off a solo tour of the UK and Europe on Jan. 21 at Motorpoint Arena in Nottigham. He'll also visit Dublin (2/2), Manchester (2/5), Newcastle (2/7), London (2/10), Glasgow (2/12) and Birmingham (2/14). - New Musical Express, 8/13/19...... Barry Manilow and his husband/manager Garry Kief are reportedly "fighting horribly" because Manilow's Broadway run has gone awry and turned into a flop. According to a report on, the trouble began because the "Copacabana" singer wanted the run to be very short -- similar to Morrissey's 10-day blitz at the Lunt-Fontanne in May, which reportedly made $1.9 million -- perhaps even just a week long. But Kief, who married Manilow in 2014 after a 39-year relationship, purportedly pushed Manilow to do a months-long residency similar to Bruce Springsteen's triumphant Broadway stretch from last October to December. In the end, they split the difference and did the three-week run, also at the Lunt-Fontanne. But the scaled-down show is struggling to sell tickets and Manilow is now facing an "ocean of empty seats." "If he weren't his husband, Barry would have fired Garry by now," the source is quoted as saying. Making matters worse, Manilow could lose money on the run because he's on the hook for the cost of the production, while Kief gets a straight salary as executive producer and could end up making money on it. "It's terrible. Barry's up there at 76 years of age, and Garry's sitting in the back of the theater eating bonbons," the source said. -, 8/13/19...... Bob WeirPaul SimonDuring his performance at the Outside Lands festival at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Aug. 11, Paul Simon surprised fans by inviting Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead onstage for a duet of Simon's "The Boxer." In 1967, Simon recalled, he was in SF and seeking out the Grateful Dead with the intent of inviting them to perform at the Monterrey Pop Festival. "I knocked on the door of the house, and Bob Weir opened the door," he said. "We've been friends ever since, but actually, this is our first duet." Although Simon no longer tours -- he wrapped his final tour in his native Queens, N.Y. back in September -- he hopped on the Outside Lands bill, and offered to donate his profits from the festival to the San Francisco Parks Alliance and nonprofit greening organization Friends of the Urban Forest. Simon's performance also included such hits as "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes" and "You Can Call Me Al," along with such deep album tracks as "That Was Your Mother (Zydeco)" and "Obvious Child." He rounded out the set with "Still Crazy After All These Years," the Weir-featuring rendition of "The Boxer" and "American Tune," and Simon held Weir's hand before the rest of the band joined them for a bow center stage. - Billboard, 8/12/19...... As their co-headlining tour hit the Detroit area on Aug. 11, Santana and the Doobie Brothers joined forces to treat fans with a rendition of Bob Marley & the Wailers' "Exodus" -- because, Carlos Santana told the crowd, "we smoked some different kind of weed. Is it legal here yet?" (It is). The 17 total musicians combined for a long, heavily improvised take on the tune that worked in a bit of Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up," while Santana tossed solos to Doobies guitarists Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, keyboardist Bill Payne and saxophonist Marc Russo. Santana also used the occasion to pay tribute to the late Aretha Franklin in her home town as the first anniversary of her death approaches on Aug. 16. Before "Black Magic Woman" he the told the Motor City crowd that Franklin is "our queen that ascended into another dimension. She's still here with us -- she just changed her zip code." Pointing out that England has its queen, he concluded that Franklin is "my queen, that's your queen." - Billboard, 8/12/19.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Having wrapped his 11-month "Freshen Up" tour on July 13 at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium on July 13 after 37 concerts, grossing $192.2 million and selling 928,252 tickets, Paul McCartney is now among the top 10 artists in the history of the Billboard Boxscore report. The tour began in Canada in Sept. 2018 and ended with a 16-show run across North America from May 23-13, with the former Beatle playing four shows in Japan, eight concerts in Europe, and five in South America. However the tour fell short of his 57 shows from 2016-17's "One on One Tour" and the 60 shows of 2013-15's "Out There Tour." Accordingly, his recent $129 million gross trails the $199 million and $196 million of those previous tours. Meanwhile, Sir Paul will be signing copies of his new picture book Hey Grandude! in London in September. It will be a rare book signing event for the music icon, during which he will read the story of Grandude -- "a super-cool Grandad who takes his grandchildren on a whirlwind magical mystery tour, from tropical seas to Alpine mountains, all before bedtime!" It will take place on Sept. 6 at the Piccadilly branch of London's Waterstones alongside the book's illustrator Kathryn Durst. Fans will have the chance to purchase one of a limited amount of tickets to attend the event with up to two children or grandchildren, it was announced on McCartney's website on Aug. 8. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 8/9/19...... The BeatlesIn other Beatles-related news, the group's Apple Corps Ltd. along with their record label Capitol/Ume announced on Aug. 8 that the 50th anniversary release date of the band's 1969 swansong LP Abbey Road will be celebrated on Sept. 26 with several Abbey Road releases featuring unreleased demos and special recordings. The packages include a super deluxe box set that includes 40 tracks on three CDs and one Blu-ray disc, while the Super Deluxe digital audio collection presents all 40 tracks for download purchase and streaming. The limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The packages, which will be released on the anniversary date, will feature the album's 17 tracks newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo, high res stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos. Additionally, there will be 23 session recordings and demos, which are mostly unreleased. For more budget-minded fans, the 25th anniversary Abbey Road will also be available on single CD, MP3 music, and vinyl releases. Anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (White Album) were released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. - Billboard, 8/8/19...... In more Abbey Road news, hundreds of fans of the Fab Four gathered at a crosswalk in London's St. John's Wood neighborhood on Aug. 8 to recreate the album's iconic cover photo exactly 50 years after it was taken in 1969. Spectators snapped photos on cellphones and lookalikes from a Beatles cover band crossed the street in tribute to the original image, which was taken at 11:35 a.m. on Aug. 8, 1969, when Iain Macmillan photographed the quartet striding single-file across the black-and-white "zebra" crossing outside the Abbey Road Studios while a police officer stopped traffic. The spot remains a place of pilgrimage for Beatles fans from around the world. "Every hour of every day there are fans on the crossing," said Beatles tour guide Richard Porter, who organized the commemoration. "I've seen lots of different sights on the crossing, too, from couples having their wedding photos taken to people going across naked." - AP, 8/8/19...... Philadelphia's Music Alliance announced on Aug. 7 that a genre-spanning group of musicians including '70s stars The O'Jays and disco queen Evelyn "Champagne" King have been inducted into Philadelphia's Music Walk of Fame. The Class of 2019 inductees, which also includes the '80s group the Hooters and Universal Music Publishing Group head Jody Gerson, will be formally inducted on Oct. 22 during a gala at The Bellevue. - AP, 8/8/19...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at the premiere of the new Springsteen-themed movie Blinded By the Light on Aug. 8 at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, N.J. The Boss was flanked on the red carpet by his wife, Patti Scialfa, and the film's director, Gurinder Chanda and her family. He reportedly posed for photos, but didn't take questions. In the theater, he jammed on a handful of his classics including "Sherry Darling." Blinded by the Light, which tells the story of a British-Pakistani teenager in Margaret Thatcher's England who falls in love with Springsteen's music, will be in wide release across the U.S. on Aug. 16, and was released in the U.K. on Aug. 9. The Blinded By the Light soundtrack album is also currently available and features a previously unreleased song called "I'll Stand By You," which Springsteen originally wrote for a Harry Potter film, but was never used. "It's pretty good!" Springsteen said of the song in a 2016 interview, confirming that the track was written with the purpose of being used in the film franchise. "You'd have to ask them [why they didn't use it]," he said, describing the track as a "big ballad" that he wrote for his eldest son. "[It's] very uncharacteristic of something I'd sing myself. At some point I'd like to get it into a children's movie of some sort," he added. - Billboard, 8/8/19...... A spokesperson for Willie Nelson says the country music legend will return to the road in September, including his annual Farm Aid gig on Sept. 21, after he canceled some dates on his current Club Lick tour on Aug. 8, citing a "breathing problem." "To my fans, I'm sorry to cancel my tour, but I have a breathing problem that I need to have my doctor check out. I'll be back," Nelson, 86, posted to his social media accounts. Nelson's extensive summper tour is scheduled to wrap on Nov. 29 at the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, OK. In June 2018, Nelson canceled his performance at the Outlaw Music Festival due to illness, just months after scrapping several shows, citing the flu. In August 2017, he was also forced to cut a show short due to breathing difficulties. He has been the target of various online death hoaxes over the years, and addressed them in 2017 in a song called "Still Not Dead" on his God's Problem Child album. - Billboard, 8/8/19...... During a hearing on Aug. 6, an Oakland County, Mich. Probate Judge agreed to allow a handwriting expert to examine wills discovered in couch cushions after Aretha Franklin's death. A handwritten 2014 document shows Franklin apparently wanted her son, Kecalf Franklin, to handle her estate, which might be worth millions. After Franklin's death last August her heirs agreed to put the estate in the hands of Franklin's niece, Sabrina Owens, who is a university administrator. During the Aug. 6 hearing Judge Jennifer Callaghan also placed the administration of Franklin's estate under court supervision. - AP, 8/7/19...... A giant 7-meter sculpture of Tina Turner's head is set to be unveiled at the Dreamland vintage amusement park in Margate on Aug. 10. The fan art is being erected ahead of this year's Tina Turner Prize which comes to Margate's Turner Contemporary gallery from Sept. 28. The Tina Turner Prize is an open competition to find a new Tina Turner-themed work of art to adorn Dreamland's "Mural by The Sea" billboard. It even contains a karaoke booth so fans of the iconic singer, who turns 80 this year, can belt out her famous hits. The sculpture was commissioned by the artists Cool Shit who previously made a giant version of Lionel Richie's head in 2013. - New Musical Express, 8/7/19...... John Travolta'70s star John Travolta is featured in a video for the new single by American rapper Pitbull titled "3 To Tango". The video, for the most part, shows a bald man watching three beautiful women dance for him while he sips on an alcoholic drink. Some in-between scenes show a group of women, wearing black and red lingerie, doing a sultry dance routine. Although there were hints that the man was Pitbull, viewers were surprised at the end to see it was Travolta all along. Adding some extra spice to the clip, Travolta shows off his tango moves with each of the ladies before signing off with Pitbull's signature saying, "dale!" - Billboard, 8/5/19...... The Osmonds singer Jimmy Osmonds is unlikely ever to be able to perform live again after suffering a stroke on stage in Birmingham, U.K. in Dec. 2018, according to his brother Merrill Osmond. "I think live performances are off the cards. They're off the cards, brother," Merrill told a U.K. news outlet on Aug. 6. He added that Jimmy was currently only well enough to see his close family. "He doesn't want to meet with anybody. The rest of the time, it's basically family and all the space he needs to get better.... he's asked us to not to get into details... he just needs to have his life and live it the way he wants," Merrill added. Jimmy, 56, was the youngest member of The Osmonds and was appearing in "Captain Hook" at the Birmingham Hippodrome when he was taken ill. - NME, 8/6/19...... The state of California Franchise Tax Board has filed a $400K tax lien against Elvis Presley's 51-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Lisa Marie allegedly owes the money from the years 2016 and 2017. Lisa Marie and her ex-husband, Michael Lockwood, have been fighting over post-nuptial agreements, spousal supports and custody of their twin daughters, Harper and Finley, both 10. In March, a psychologist was appointed by the court to evaluate Lisa's daughters amid the bitter divorce war. Lisa Marie has been fighting for full custody of the girls. The tax lien is likely to add more pressure to the mother of four, who also shares daughter Riley, 30, and son Benjamin, 26, with Danny Keough. Earlier in 2019, sources told the website that Lisa's friends were worried sick over her drug use. "It is a miracle Lisa Marie is still alive," one pal told the source. She has reportedly battled addictions to cocaine, prescription pills and booze, court documents released in 2019 claimed the mother of four was "paranoid and hallucinatory" after abusing cocaine. The court filings also revealed that Lisa Marie's ex claimed to the Los Angeles Department Children and Family Services that the troubled singer popped "up to 80 opiate pills a day." After authorities began to investigate Lisa Marie's drug habits, she checked herself into rehab in an attempt to clean up her life. "She finally realized that she was killing herself, and decided that she didn't want to end up like her dad," a source said. - American Media/, 8/9/19...... Michael Jackson's nephew TJ Jackson has been handed guardianship of the late pop star's youngest son, Prince Michael "Blanket" Jackson, until he turns 18 in February 2020. TJ Jackson, who has shared guardianship of Blanket since 2012, has been granted an extension, which will leave him in charge of his cousin's welfare for the rest of his childhood. According to court documents, TJ filed updated Letters of Guardianship documents, and the agreement automatically ends when Blanket turns 18, "is adopted, marries, becomes emancipated by a court order, enters into active military duty, or dies." TJ has also been given "full legal and physical custody" of his cousin after previously sharing it with the boy's grandmother, Katherine Jackson. Blanket Jackson was 7 years old when his father died in 2009. - WENN/, 8/7/19...... Wayne NewtonWayne Newton is being sued by a Las Vegas woman who claims a pet monkey bit and injured her daughter during a visit to Newton's former mansion, Casa de Shenandoah, in 2017. Jocelyne Urena filed a civil negligence complaint in Nevada state court on Aug. 7, seeking at least $15,000 in damages on behalf of her daughter, Genevieve. The suit alleges the monkey attacked Genevieve without provocation during a visit to Newton's lavish 40-acre property southeast of the Las Vegas Strip where Newton lived with his family for more than 40 years before moving to another home in 2013. The Newtons sold the compound featuring several homes, gardens, pools, and exotic animals in 2010 to investors under the name CSD LLC who opened a tourist attraction and museum. The company also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Newton's wife, Kathleen McCrone Newton, said that a family business entity broke ties with Casa de Shenandoah in July 2017, three months before the lawsuit alleges the girl was injured. "We are not a party and have no idea what happened in October 2017," she said. - AP, 8/8/19...... Nicky Wonder, longtime guitarist for Brian Wilson and one of the founding members of the Wondermints, has died, aged 59. Born Nick Walusko on May 22, 1960, Wonder formed the Wondermints with another admirer of Wilson's work, Darian Sahanaja, in 1992. The band released five albums, including their self-titled debut album in 1995, and their final LP, 2009's Kaleidoscopin': Exploring Prisms of the Past. "Today is a sad sad day," Brian Wilson wrote in a statement posted to his website on Aug. 7. "It is with my deepest regret to tell you that our beloved Nicky Wonder passed away last night in his sleep. We are in a state of shock as you can imagine. But we are going to honor him with tonight's show." Wilson finished his statement by adding: "Our hearts go out to his wife Susan and his entire family, friends and fans. We love you Nicky." - New Musical Express, 8/8/19...... Henri Belolo, a co-creator of the Village People, died on Aug. 3 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 82. The French music producer helped shape disco music, penning hits for the Village People that were featured in several films, Broadway, commercials, and more. Born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1936, Mr. Belolo worked as a DJ/producer and moved to the U.S. in 1973, where he met fellow Moroccan producer Jacques Morali. He and Morali teamed up to produce the Ritchie Family's "Brazil" in 1975, which soon grew to be a hit and led the partnership between the two producers to carry on into the next decade. Together, they shaped the world of disco, hitting up night clubs and eventually forming the six-member group, Village People, in 1978. The group was wildly progressive, embracing gay culture with fantasy characters, costumes, and a free-spirited approach to music. The characters included a construction worker, police officer, cowboy, Indian, biker and soldier. Mr. Belolo became a strong ally for his partner Morali, who was gay and passed away from AIDs complications in 1991. "We extend our deepest sympathies to Henri's family... Henri will live on in our hearts and minds forever," Scorpio Music, the French record label founded by Mr. Belolo, said in a statement. A private funeral for Mr. Belolo was already held in France and a public memorial service will be announced soon. - Billboard, 8/7/19.

Monday, August 5, 2019

After the failure of a last gasp effort to stage the Woodstock 50 festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., organizers of the event announced on July 31 that the festival is officially over. "We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating," said Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, in a statement. "When we lost the [Watkins] Glen and then Vernon Downs we looked for a way to do some good rather than just cancel. We formed a collaboration with HeadCount to do a smaller event at the Merriweather Pavilion to raise funds for them to get out the vote and for certain NGOs involved in fighting climate change." Lang continued: "We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary.... We thank the artists, fans and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity. My thoughts turn to Bethel and its celebration of our 50th Anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock." In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine the day after the announcement, Lang expanded on those statements, citing its choice of investor as the main issue. "We just frankly picked the wrong partner in Dentsu," he said. "They didn't really understand the business. When the agreement went at the last minute of just being a backer to a co-producer, they had input into everything that we did." Lang added that working with an investor that wasn't in the business of music festivals had a detrimental effect in terms of delivering an event in a certain timeframe. "It just pretty much went off the rails from the beginning. [Dentsu] weren't cognizant of the timeframe for how these things have to get done and how much work has to get done.... Then when [Dentsu] pulled the plug, everything sort of stopped. The government agencies stopped. Everything stopped for six weeks. We were still focused on putting it together. We got new funding. But we ran out of time there as well," he said. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 7/31/19...... Barbra StreisandIn her first concert at New York's Madison Square Garden since 2006, Barbra Streisand took aim at Pres. Donald Trump durng her Aug. 3 show at the famed venue with a revamped version of the Steven Sonheim-composed song "Send In the Clowns." Her lyrics called on the president to release his hidden tax returns and questioned his deal-making skill, wrapping with a final verse that labeled him a "fraudulent twit" and stopped just short of saying he's "full of shit" (she let the audience shout out the final word -- "I can't say it," she insisted). "Some people say I talk too much about politics. Well, I'm a New Yorker and we have big mouths," the diva said. Streisand also gave a shout out to former president Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, both in attendance. "Over the last 50 years, one president has balanced the budget and left us with a surplus," she noted of the former. Of the latter, she said, "Needless to say, three years ago I was greatly hoping to sing at your inauguration." In her first encore, she covered a much less divisive offering, the 1965 Jackie DeShannon hit "What the World Needs Now Is Love," which is also featured on her latest album of covers, Walls. Lauding the crowd for singing along in tune, she also marveled at the beauty of MSG lighting up with waving lights from hundreds of cell phones in the air. - Billboard, 8/4/19...... An ultra-rare Prince album named The Versace Experience (Prelude 2 Gold) will be amoung three new albums released by late funk/rock icon on Sept. 13. Versace Experience previously only available as a numbered cassette, and given out to people who attended the Versace display at Paris Fashion Week in July 1995. Also being reissued are Chaos And Disorder and Emancipation. 1996's Chaos And Disorder was the final album of new music Prince released as part of his contract with Warner. It has long been unavailable, with Prince having previously refused to reissue it.Emancipation includes four cover versions of Joan Osbourne's then-current hit "One Of Us"; Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me"; and the soul classics "Betcha By Golly Wow" and "La La La Means I Love You." The reissues come alongside the first releases of Prince's previously-unheard music. Released in June, Originals is a 15-track album featuring Prince's original versions of songs he gave to other artists, including the Bangles' "Manic Monday" and Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2U." - NME, 8/2/19...... Founding The Byrds members David Crosby and Roger McGuinn cleared up some tension with a series of tweets on Aug. 3. In Remember My Name, the new Cameron Crowe-directed documentary about Crosby's life and music, Crosby mentioned that McGuinn as one of the people who "really dislike" him (along with his former collaborators Neil Young and Graham Nash). After seeing the movie which premiered on July 19, McGuinn reached out to Crosby on Aug. 3, saying he doesn't feel that way toward him at all. Crosby then responded to McGuinn quickly, who took positive development and ran with it by going so far as to suggesting he and McGuinn team up on stage in the future. Remember My Name is currently in select cinemas across the U.S. - Billboard, 8/3/19...... As Queen's popularity soars in Japan on the strength of the hit biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and the band set to visit the country on its 2020 Queen + Adam Lambert world tour, a grand display of thousands of fireworks are scheduled to light up the sky of the Land of the Rising Sun in November. "Queen Super Fireworks: Yozora no Rhapsody" will feature 13,000 fireworks synchronized to the band's iconic catalog, a mesmerizing hour-long extravaganza to be held for the first time in the world. The has given its nod of approval for the use of its music in the display, with original members Brian May and Roger Taylor sharing their excitement in a statement on Aug. 3. "Japan is a special place for Queen," May said. "We are very excited to hear that the Japanese traditional fireworks will light up the sky with our music. In 2020, we will be coming back to Japan for a tour, so it's great that there are many opportunities for the fans to enjoy our music. I wish I can be there to see it!" The display is set for Nov. 3 in Osaka; Nov. 16 in Urayasu, Chiba; and Nov. 30 in Miyazaki, Japan. - Billboard, 8/3/19...... Ringo StarrRingo Starr kicked off his latest All-Starr Band tour on Aug. 1 at Caesars Windsor on the south shore of the Detroit River. It was Ringo's 15th outing with his band since launching his first ASB tour on July 23, 1989. The 2019 lineup includes guitarist Steve Lukather and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, who shined on hits by their former bands, Toto and Santana, respectively. Colin Hay and Hamish Stuart also were given a showcase with hits from their former bands, Men at Work and Average White Band. Ringo kept the peace signs flashing and a smile on his face as he ran through the Beatles's cover of Carl Perkins' "Matchbox" and his first solo hit, "It Don't Come Easy." "Yellow Submarine" was its usual singalong favorite, while "Photograph," "Act Naturally" and "With a Little Help From My Friends" sent the crowd home on a high note. "I never sit and think, 'Oh, man, we'll be doing this in 30 years...' It's not a thought you have," Ringo told Billboard prior to the show. "But it's still going and it's still popular and I'm still having fun and I love playing, so I've got all the reasons I need to do it year after year. It worked 30 years ago, and it's still working today," he added. The ASB will tour throughout August and wrap on Sept. 1 the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Starr's fall will be busy as well. He'll be publishing a third photo book, Another Day in the Life, and he'll be finishing up his next album, the follow up to 2017's Give More Love, with guest appearances by Joe Walsh and Paul McCartney. - Billboard, 8/2/19...... The Rolling Stones' "No Filter Tour" hit MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Aug. 1 for the 10th stop on the rescheduled tour after Mick Jagger's recovery from heart surgery earlier in 2019. Jagger, 76, seemed no worse for the wear as he pranced, peacocked and gesticulated with as much flair as he's brought to any show in recent memory. The setlist included a marathon "Midnight Rambler" with effortlessly nasty guitar licks from Keith Richards and a stripped-down section of country-tinged classics like "Sweet Virginia" and "Dead Flowers." The evening's "by request" song (one of four that fans could vote for online) turned out to be the psych-pop gem "She's a Rainbow," a song that says the band has only played 18 times in concert. Jagger quipped that the song was chosen "because it's been in loads of commercials lately -- that's how it works!" - Billboard, 8/2/19...... Neil Young made a surprise announcement on his Neil Young Archives website on July 31 that he will postpone a planned 2019 tour with his backing band Crazy Horse in support of their upcoming album Colorado so he can work on a whopping 15 career-spanning film projects. A post titled "Archives Film Projects Take Precedent" announced that Young "will be devoting the rest of this year to Shakey Pictures projects that deserve our focused attention to complete and deliver at their highest level... bringing you all of the footage Shakey Pictures has collected through the years is a pleasure to us. We are combing through and completing." The full list of films was not made available, and none of the projects has received an official release date yet, though Archives teased that they will be screened at the Hearse Theater on the Archives site. The projects include seven Crazy Horse-related documentaries and eight solo-focused films. Young is still expected to perform on Sept. 14 at the "Harvest Moon -- A Gathering" benefit show in Lake Hughes, Calif. and at Farm Aid in East Troy, Wisc. on Sept. 21. - Billboard, 8/2/19...... Warner Bros. has given an Oct. 1, 2021, release date to the untitled Elvis Presley biopic directed by Baz Lurhrmann. The studio says the drama will "delve into [the] complex dynamic between Elvis (played by Austin Butler) and Col. Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks) from Presley's rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America." - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/2/19...... Mark LindsayMark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders says he's "just really grateful" that he and his former band are prominently featured in the new Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. "I'm, obviously, extremely honored that he would include three of our songs," says Lindsay, who once roomed with music producer Terry Melcher in the same house where actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and four other adults would be slain at the residence on Aug. 9, 1969 by members of the Charles Manson cult. "I'm a big fan of Tarantino's. It's a good feeling and I've been getting a lot of calls about it." The Raiders' "Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon," as well as "Hungry" and "Good Thing," are included in Tarantino's film, which blends fact and fiction about the era, with the latter song grimly tied to the tragedy of the Manson murders. "We wrote 'Good Thing' under the beam where the rope was apparently thrown over Sharon and Jay [Sebring]'s necks.... that was the last place that I could ever think something bad could have happened," he said. Lindsay remembered that after the murders, "everybody was locking their doors, hiring bodyguards and getting guard dogs. It just changed the atmosphere overnight." Lindsay also reflected on the sad time when his band's namesake, with whom he had a falling out with in 1975, passed away in 2014. "When I heard Paul had gotten a brain tumor I reassessed our relationship," says Lindsay, who revealed last fall that he had a pacemaker installed. "I called him and said, 'Let's sit down and have a beer or a cup of coffee,' but it never came together. I wanted to talk about how great it was that our dreams became much more magnified than we ever thought they could be and celebrate our luck." - Billboard, 8/1/19...... An excerpt from Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry's upcoming memoir Face It has been acquired by the British paper The Sun and reveals a harrowing incident. Harry, 74, has written that she was a New York resident who had been living with her boyfriend and bandmate Chris Stein when a thief broke into their home in search of valuables. He then proceeded to undress her and rape her. "He piled up the guitars and Chris's camera and then he untied my hands and told me to take off my pants," Harry recalled. But she added that "the stolen guitars hurt me more." Details on when the sexual assault occurred have not yet been disclosed but are likely in Face It, which will also touch on her experience with bisexuality and heroin use. Harry told the paper that parts of her life were funny and warm and others chilling "to the bone." She says she discovered by writing the book that she had led "a very full life." Face It will arrive on Oct. 1 via Dey Street Books. - American Media Inc./, 8/3/19...... A nine-part podcast showcasing country music icon Dolly Parton will launch in the fall. Dolly Parton's America will be run by Jad Abumrad, a former Nashville resident and co-host of the Radiolab series. An official launch date will be announced at a later date. Parton is set to star in the upcoming Hallmark film Christmas at Dollywood as well as select episodes of Heartstrings, an anthology series coming to Netflix based around her songs. - Billboard, 8/2/19...... David BowieThe classic 1976 sci-fi film The Man Who Fell To Earth starring David Bowie as an alien posing as a human in an attempt to save his home planet is being turned into a TV series, it was announced on Aug. 2. A cast for the new show, which is being adapted by CBS All Access, has not yet been announced but Alex Kurtzman who has previously worked on Star Trek, and Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married) are slated as writers, executive producers, and co-showrunners. Kurtzman, who says the series will explore "the next chapter" of alien Thomas Jerome Newton's story, is also set to direct. "Some strings will connect to both the novel and the film but if you haven't seen the film or haven't read the novel, it's fine," Kurtzman said. "You'll get to have an experience that's entirely singular. If you have, you'll have the benefit of understanding the history of the world that both of those things set up." "We loved the emotional moments in the book and we loved the visual spectacle of the movie," Lumet added. "We're taking it forward." - New Musical Express, 8/2/19...... Foreigner has announced it will join the long list of legacy rock acts bringing their music to a Las Vegas residency. The band has signed on for 10 dates at The Venetian Theatre, inside The Venetian Resort, starting in January 2020. Foreigner's current lineup includes founding member and guitarist Mick Jones, longtime multi-instrumentalist Thom Gimbel, lead singer Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson, keyboardist Michael Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson, and drummer Chris Frazier. The dates include Jan. 24, 25, 29 and 31; Feb. 1; and Apr. 17, 18, 22, 24 and 25. Foreigner plays around 110 shows every year and just came back from a European tour. - Billboard, 8/1/19...... After successful live appearances all over the world, lately opening for KISS, and the invitation to tour with the legendary Scorpions this summer, German hard rockers The New Roses released the music video for their second single, "Glory Road," on Aug. 1. The single is taken from their fourth studio album, Nothing But Wild, which was released the following day. "On Nothing But Wild, we fully concentrated on catchy songs with big melodies," says singer Timmy Rough. "Our goal was to record a strong and energetic Rock'n'Roll album without any frills and fillers. Simply true, simply loud, simply wild!" - Noble PR, 8/1/19...... Ian Gibbons, a former keyboardist for The Kinks, died on Aug. 1 at his home in England of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 67. Gibbons was a member of The Kinks from 1979-1996, joining the bnd after they merged into the pop mainstream. He stayed with the group for 10 years, while also working alongside the likes of Dr. Feelgood and The Kursaal Flyers. He rejoined The Kinks in 1993 and remained in the band until their split in 1996. In 2008, he joined the Kast Off Kinks, a group comprised of former band members Mick Avory, Jim Rodford, John Dalton, John Gosling and Dave Clarke. To simply say Ian will be missed would be an understatement," Kinks frontman Ray Davies said in a statement. "My first thoughts are for his family and loved ones." - NME, 8/2/19...... D.A. PennebakerLegendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, best known for directing films on such rock stars as Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, David Bowie as well as the concert film Montery Pop, died on Aug. 1 of natural causes. He was 94. In 1965, Mr. Pennebaker joined Dylan on his final acoustic tour in England, filming the much celebrated documentary Don't Look Back. Released in 1967, the film is often considered one of the greatest music documentaries of the past 60 years, as well as an early example of cinema verit filmmaking. Mr. Pennebaker also filmed Bowie for his final concert with the Spiders From Mars at the London Hammersmith Odeon, 1973's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Born Donn Alan Pennebaker on July 15, 1925, he had his start as a filmmaker in 1953 when he filmed his first short Daybreak Express, which offered a vivid look into the daily routine of commuters in New York City. He was later nominated for an Oscar for his work on The War Room, a documentary that chronicled the minds behind Pres. Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. In 2013, Mr. Pennebaker received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for his filmography of over 65+ years. - New Musical Express, 8/4/19.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A British accountant has just released a new book, Hunky Dory (Who Knew?), in which he reveals that Mick Jagger was already planning a pension fund when he was in his mid-20s. Lawrence Myers, who served as the Rolling Stones frontman's accountant, described Jagger as a "very bright" client who studied at the London School of Economics and was fascinated by business, and even once considered a career in insurance. "We started chatting, started talking about pensions," Myers recalls in the book. "[Mick] said, 'after all, Lawrence, I'm not going to be singing rock 'n' roll when I'm 60.' We roared. It was just a ridiculous thought that a young man would be singing rock 'n' roll when he was 60. Needless to say, he carried on beyond 60 and he reated his own pension." Jagger, now 76 and showing no signs of stopping despite a recent heart surgery, has amassed a fortune estimated to be £260 million. -, 7/28/19...... Rick WakemanAlan WhiteSteve HoweProg-rockers Yes, who just wrapped up their summer "Royal Affair Tour," will release a concert album, Yes 50 Live, on Aug. 2. The 2-disc release features 13 tracks recorded during the band's 2018 50th anniversary tour, including a Philadelphia reunion show that featured 10 Yes members, past and present. Although guitarist Steve Howe, the group's longest-serving member in the current line-up, says he's "not one to revel in nostalgia," he says the past couple of years have given him a bit of pause to appreciate the group's enduring legacy and longevity." There's something about it that connects with certain people, and with certain other people it won't," Howe says. "But the people who get it understand, and they keep coming back." Drummer Alan White, a Yes member since 1972, adds that, "It seems kind of unrealistic in a sense, like, 'Wow, how did we reach this milestone?' It's kind of hard to look at it, and I would never really have anticipated this 47 years ago, but there it is, you know?" In June, the band released an online documentary, Yes 50: Yesterday Today, Tomorrow, and Howe says he expects the band to tour in 2020, but he's less definitive about a follow-up to the group's last studio album, 2014's Heaven & Earth. "Well, we'll see -- that is the most honest and best answer I can give," he says. "We certainly still write music. I have a new solo album in progress, so I'm obviously writing. But to get the right team writing together (for Yes) is something we hope for. So let's put it this way -- I hope so." Meanwhile, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who toured in a different incarnation of Yes with Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin in 2016 and 2017, will be mounting his first North American solo tour in 13 years starting Sept. 21 in Annapolis, Md., and is also recording a Christmas album of solo piano holiday songs called Christmas Portraits for a fall release." I think we'll thoroughly enjoy another (tour) and then I think we can sort of proudly close the lid on it, very happy in our belief that we've done it proud," he says. - Billboard, 7/31/19...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Mirror, Paul McCartney revealed he sometimes has trouble remembering how to play some Beatles songs as the Fab Four's back catalogue now dates back some 55 years. "I have to re-learn everything," the 77-year-old Sir Paul says. "I've written an awful lot, you can't retain them all. We go in rehearsal and I'm, 'Oh yeah, that's how it goes.'" Macca, who has worked on over 1,000 songs, added that he believes most of them have stood the test of time when asked if he thinks his songs are "pretty good." "I do, I really do," he said. "Some of the old songs you say, 'Oh, that's clever, I wouldn't have done that'. It's exciting to think that still works. We were a little rock and roll group from Liverpool, it just kept going." McCartney also made headlines recently when he hinted that he may release an album of outtakes in the future after amassing "millions" of them during studio recordings, and music legend is also currently working on his first musical -- an adaptation of the classic Christmas movie It's A Wonderful Life. - New Musical Express, 7/31/19...... Don Henley'70s artists Don Henley of the Eagles and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire are among a group of artists banding together to form the Music Artists Coalition (MAC), a new organization established to advocate for and protect artists' rights. "Artists decide their musical fate every time they write a song or step on stage. Their true fate -- the ability to protect their music -- is being decided by others... bureaucrats, government legislators, and the powerful digital gatekeepers," longtime artists' rights advocate Don Henley said in a statement. "We are forming the Music Artists Coalition to ensure that there is an organization whose sole mission is to protect the rights of music artists -- performers and songwriters." A main goal of the coalition will be to educate and give artists, songwriters and other creators a voice in the many issues that determine how they are compensated in the complex digital landscape. Also onboard are Dave Matthews, Meghan Trainor and a number of high level artists managers including Irving Azoff, Coran Capshaw and John Silva. - Billboard, 7/29/19...... Elton John, whose struggles with addiction were laid out extensively in his recent biopic Rocketman, took to Twitter on July 29 to celebrate 29 years of sobriety, a battle he began back in 1990. "29 years ago today, I was a broken man," Elton's tweet begins. "I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: 'I need help.' Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful," he added. In June, Elton was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian award. French President Emmanuel Macron called the superstar a "melodic genius", and praised his efforts at representing the LGBT+ community. - NME, 7/29/19...... A new documentary on the original Woodstock festival, Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation, will debut on many PBS stations across the country on Aug. 6 as part of the network's American Experience series. Joel Rosenman, one of the producers of the 1969 festival, called the event a "lesson in community" during a screening of the new Barack Goodman-directed documentary during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on July 30, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. "Adversity itself is not what gets in the way of community," Rosenman said. "In fact, from Barack's film I saw clearly that adversity can create a community." Rosenman said he isn't involved in a planned 50th anniversary concert, other than licensing the use of the Woodstock name. Meanwhile, if Woodstock 50 actually takes place fans will now be able to attend the event free of charge, according to reports. According to, all the artists booked for the event have been released from their contract, and organizer Michael Lang will be giving tickets away for free. Attendees will be encouraged to donate to their favorite charities, but a vast majority of tickets will be available free of charge. Instructions on how to obtain tickets will reportedly be announced soon. On July 26, it was revealed that Jay-Z and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival had both pulled out of Woodstock 50, with the Raconteurs, Miley Cyrus and Santana also canceling their appearances. Woodstock 50 organizers are now trying to book new artists for a possible event at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Although the Woodstock 50 event may be bust, on July 30 a U.S. District Judge ruled that the Woodstock music festival name's can be licensed to create a marijuana brand marking the 50th anniversary of the famed gathering. Judge Paul Gardephe rejected a claim that the deal would infringe on the name of another company, Woodstock Roots. Woodstock Ventures, which produced the 1969 Woodstock festival, and Woodstock Roots sued each other in 2018, with Woodstock Ventures arguing recreational marijuana falls within its "natural zone of expansion" under federal trademark law. It is working on a deal with a major marijuana dispensary. - AP/Billboard/NME, 7/31/19...... William KingAs The Commodores celebrate their 50th (actually 52nd) anniversary in 2019, the group says what it wants most is to make some new music. William "Wak" King, the sole founding member left in the lineup, says he is working on some fresh Commodores tracks. "It's very exciting right now. Everybody's kinda pumped," King says. "It's taken awhile to get everybody in the frame of mind to get back in the studio, but we've been cutting four tracks and we want to get them completed and figure out what to do with them." King blames the long gap between Commodores' releases -- its last album, No Tricks, came out during 1993 -- on the success the group has on the road. "We've been working a bunch lately within the last number of years," he explains. "And when everyone comes back home again they're tired and they just want to rest and not see each other for a while. And just when you're getting a little comfortable you get a phone call that we need to push the tour dates up a bit and get back on the road. We've had to make time to get in the studio." King has a wish list of producers he'd like to work with, including Usher, and he's open to the idea of letting them guide what the new material will sound like. While he's planning the future, King and Commodores veterans Walter "Clyde" Orange (since 1972) and James Dean "J.D." Nicholas (since 1984) stay on the road celebrating the group's august past. Founded at Tuskegee University, the group signed with Motown during 1972 and opened for the Jackson 5, and along the way scored four platinum albums, a Grammy Award and 10 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 along with a Vocal Group Hall of Fame induction. Tuskegee, whose Commodore Museum housed the group's former rehearsal and recording studio, held a Commodores Day back in March, when the trio also received the keys to the city of Montgomery, Ala. - Billboard, 7/29/19...... German electronic pop pioneers Kraftwerk have won a long-running legal battle over their song "Metal On Metal." The 20-year case surrounds the sampling of the track, which appears on their 1997 album Trans Europe Express, by hip-hop producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas in a 1999 Sabrina Setlur track, "Nur Mir (Only Me)." On July 30, the European Court of Justice ruled that any sample taken from an existing recording cannot be used without the permission of the original producer. Kraftwerk's Ralf Htter and Florian Schneider-Esleben are credited as producers on "Metal On Metal." - New Musical Express, 7/30/19...... Fresh evidence on Brian Jones' murder will be presented in a new Netflix documentary on the death of founding Rolling Stones guitarist called Who Killed Christopher Robin? Jones died 50 years ago, when he was found dead in the swimming pool of his home at Cotchford Farm in Sussex. Now, Jones' manager Tom Keylock has claimed the guitarist was "out of his mind" on the night of his death on July 3, 1969. Keylock makes the claim in a previously-unseen interview which will be shown in a new Netflix documentary about the conspiracy theories surrounding Jones' death. Keylock was interviewed by investigative journalist Terry Rawlings, whose book Who Killed Christopher Robin? is the basis for the Netflix documentary. Its title is a reference to Cotchford Farm having been the inspiration for author AA Milne when he created the Winnie The Pooh character. Rawlings interviewed Keylock in 2009, but his interview has remained unseen until now. Jones' death was reopened by Sussex Police in 2009, following further fresh evidence from investigative journalist Scott Jones. But the 2009 report concluded that Jones' death would not be reopened. Sussex Police said: "There is no new evidence to suggest that the coroner's original verdict of 'death by misadventure' is incorrect." Netflix has not yet announced a transmission date for Who Killed Christopher Robin? - NME, 7/29/19...... Jonathan_CainJourney has added four December shows on Dec. 27, 28, 30 and 31 to its previously announced nine October shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. "We don't usually play a New Year's Eve show," keyboardist Jonathan Cain told Billboard. "How quick the [other] shows sold sealed the idea and this year it made sense for all of us." Cain and founding Journey members Neal Schon and Ross Valory will be joined by newer Journey members Arnel Pineda and Steve Smith for their first ever residency at the legendary Caesars Palace venue. Journey's 2018 co-headlining tour with Def Leppard was the band's most successful, landing them in the top 10 year-end touring chart with more than 1 million tickets sold, and Cain says the band is "looking forward to getting back out there... We built a really good machine that travels well, and has lasted." - Billboard, 7/29/19...... Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley has reportedly inked a million-dollar deal to pen a book which will include "shocking" revelations about her late ex, Michael Jackson. Presley, 51, was married to Jackson from 1994 to 1996, and is said to be ready to tell all about her life with the King of Pop in a bombshell tome which she has reportedly sold to Gallery Books for a sum of between $3-4 million. "(The book) promises shocking revelations about Michael Jackson and a completely new understanding of (Lisa's father) Elvis," according to a source quoted in The New York Post. Lisa Marie has never commented on the continuing rumors of child abuse by Jackson, and it is unclear if she plans on doing so in the book, however she is likely to also touch on her other marriages to Danny Keough, Nicolas Cage and Michael Lockwood, as well as her former addiction to painkillers. - WENN/, 7/31/19.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Columbia Records has announced the release of a soundtrack album to accompany the new highly anticipated Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood featuring such classic rock and pop acts as Neil Diamond, The Bob Seger System, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Deep Purple, Simon & Garfunkel and Paul Revere & The Raiders. The 76-minute Once Upon a Time in Hollywood soundtrack, personally curated by Tarantino himself, also includes vintage radio advertisements between some songs to create a true ambience of late 1960's Los Angeles, where the film is set. The film, starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie, follows the tale of a TV star and his stunt double as they work their way through the industry. In addition to CD, the album will also be available on vinyl and digitally across all platforms on the movie's day of release, July 26. - Billboard, 7/25/19...... Blondie has added the catchy Lil Nas X tune "Old Town Road" to their own set list. The smash hit, featuring Billie Ray Cyrus, is currently at its 16th week atop the Billboard Hot 100, tying the record for the most time at No. 1 in the chart's six-decade history. Blondie's Debbie Harry can be seen giving the song a sultry female rock vocal twist in a newly posted YouTube video. Blondie is currently in the midst of a co-headlining tour with Elvis Costello and the Imposters. - Billboard, 7/24/19...... ZZ TopAs ZZ Top prepares to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band with a North American tour in August, the band shared a trailer for the upcoming ZZ Top documentary, That Little Ol' Band from Texas, on July 25. It features snippets of interviews from ZZ members Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill, including actor Billy Bob Thornton saying: "They're unique, they're eccentric. When you would see them onstage, it was like seeing Bugs Bunny in person." That Little Ol' Band from Texas, which will have its world premiere on Aug. 13 at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood before hitting select theaters this fall, also includes never-before-seen footage and a performance at the oldest dance hall in Texas that was shot for the documentary. - Billboard, 7/25/19...... Refusing to throw in the towel after multiple setbacks, organizers of the Woodstock 50 concert have now relocated the festival to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbus, Maryland, some 350 miles south of the latest planned venue in Vernon, N.Y., but none of the artists from the original line up have been confirmed to perform at the new venue and organizers have released all the artists from their contracts. John Fogerty, whose Creedence Clearwater Revival played at the legendary 1969 Woodstock, and rap superstar Jay-Z had already reportedly pulled out of the Aug. 16-18 festival before reps for the festival including Michael Lang emailed the bands' talent agents and informed them that they would not try to enforce performance contracts for the event. Woodstock 50 organizers are now trying to book new artists for a possible event at Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion. "We made a deal quickly contingent on [Lang] putting a show together and dealing with the fact that we have a show booked on one of those dates," says Merriweather venue operator Seth Hurwitz. "So now I'm just a venue waiting to see if the promoter with the hold is going to confirm." John Fogerty has announced he will perform at a competing Woodstock anniversary festival at Woodstock's original site in Bethel, N.Y., on the same weekend in a smaller anniversary event not connected to Woodstock 50. The rock legend had appeared in March alongside Lang to announce that he and Jay-Z, Dead & Company and the Killers would perform at Woodstock 50. - Billboard/AP, 7/26/19...... Bette Midler has come under for one of her latest tweets in which she shared a photo from one of Pres. Donald Trump's recent rallies which included a handful of African-American men in the background, with the singer/actress adding in the caption: "Look, there are African American men in this shot! How much did he pay them to be 'blackground'? (sic)." The post didn't sit well in the Twitterverse, with many fans calling out Midler for being "racist" and "really sick" for suggesting black Trump supporters couldn't make their own political choices. "She thinks black men cannot think for themselves but are willing to be bribed," wrote one user, while another tweeted, "She is the definition of a racist." The feud between Trump, 72, and frequent Trump critic Midler, 73, heated up earlier this year when the president labelled the star a "washed up psycho" after she apologized for a previous statement she had erroneously attributed to Trump. - WENN/, 7/26/19...... While John Travolta is one of the most recognized actors in the industry today, the Saturday Night Fever star will take an opposite tack when he plays an obsessed fan in the upcoming Fred Durst-directed film, The Fanatic. In a just released trailer, Travolta is shown in the role of Moose, a mega-fan of action star Hunter Dunbar, played by Devon Sawa. On his hunt to get an autograph, Moose finds the star's address from a paparazzi photographer. After Hunter warns Moose to never come to his house again, Travolta's character rages into a series of terrifying stalker behavior, including breaking into Hunter's house and tying him to the bed. The Fanatic hits theaters in the U.S. on Aug. 30. - Billboard, 7/25/19...... The estate of Prince has shared a video for a new posthumous Prince release called "Holly Rock." The uptempo, synth-heavy jam was originally recorded at Los Angeles' Sunset Sound studios in April 1985, the same week Prince recorded his 1986 No. 1 hit "Kiss." Prince originally had given Sheila E. sole writing and producer credit, but the rock/funk icon actually co-wrote the song with her and produced the track himself. Originally recorded for the soundtrack to the 1985 film Krush Groove, "Holly Rock" has not appeared on a Prince-related album until the recently released Originals. This is the first time the song has been made available digitally. - Billboard, 7/25/19...... Elton JohnElton John hosted his inaugural "Midsummer Night's Dream Party" on July 24 in Antibes, France, with his husband David Furnish to raise funds for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Sir Elton said he's traditionally thrown a party during Wimbledon week at his home in Windsor, but was on tour this year, so decided to move the fete to France. "We thought a lot of people we know are here on holiday and it would be nice to invite our local friends. It's always great to mix things up and surprise people," he said. Also on hand was Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who took to the stage to play the band's hits "Something Just Like This," "Yellow" and "Viva la Vida" in a relaxed set before joining John for duets of Elton's own "Rocketman" and "I'm Still Standing." John Lennon's son Julian Lennon was also among the celebrities present, and it was Julian's first time seeing John perform live, despite the fact the two are neighbors on the Cote d'Azur. "We have a lot of the same friends and we bump into each other, but I'm busy, he's busy," Lennon said. "I don't know why but it's just never happened so far," he added. But the two have also discussed the idea of a musical collaboration. "We have talked about it so maybe that will happen this year," Julian said. In an auction fundraiser, guests paid $90,000 for tickets to John's annual Oscar party, and Elton himself bid $280,000 on a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to add to his art collection. The evening overall raised $6.1 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which is earmarked for testing and treatment programs in Kenya. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/25/19...... In a new interview on his official website, Paul McCartney has hinted that he may release an album of outtakes in the future after amassing "millions" of them during studio recordings. Sir Paul described the outtakes as a "treasure trove" of material taken from various ab-libbed sound checks and rehearsals. "Thankfully our stuff is captured because these days you can record just about anything that moves!," Macca noted. "It's a little treasure trove. And one day we will have to put together an album, or something, with a selection of these songs that we've gathered. Because they are from all around the world!" - New Musical Express, 7/24/19...... The Rolling Stones have unveiled a limited-edition line of merchandise intended to coincide with the second half of the band's "No Filter" world tour. Robbie Owens-Russo, global vp creative director of the Universal Music Group's Bravado, worked alongside creative director Sarah Andelman and also designed the installation for the collection, which is centered around two giant pieces with the Stones' tongue-and-lip motifs, one in the colors of the American flag. "The tongue is almost like the Nike of the music industry," says Owens-Russo. "It is this iconic thing that doesn't even need the word Rolling Stones next to it." Indeed, the original John Pasche design has resonated far and wide since 1969, when it was created for the band. The items, which just hit shelves at Bergdorf Goodman's in New York, coincide with the band's New Jersey dates in early August. The collection will next travel to Los Angeles, where it will be available at Maxfield during the band's August stops at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and the Rosebowl in Pasadena; then it will head to Miami, where the tour wraps on Aug. 31. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/24/19...... In other Rolling Stones news, Mick Jagger is set to make his silver screen comeback in The Burnt Orange Heresy, a new art heist thriller by Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi, that will premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival. An adaptation of American novelist Charles Willeford's book of the same title, the film stars Jagger opposite Donald Sutherland, Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki. Jagger plays Joseph Cassidy, a wealthy art collector who recruits a couple (Bang and Debicki) to steal a piece of artwork from a famous artist (Sutherland). Described as an "erotic neo-noir thriller," the movie will close out the 11-day Venice Film Festival on Sept. 7. It was filmed prior to Jagger's heart operation in April, when he underwent a heart valve replacement surgery after doctors told him he could not perform, forcing the postponement of the band's North American tour. - NME, 7/23/19...... John Paul JonesFormer Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, who has had stints in Them Crooked Vultures and performed with the likes of Seasick Steve and Butthole Surfers, is set to make his live return with a new band called Sons of Chipotle. Jones will be playing piano and electronics, with Finnish musician Anssi Karttunen on cello and electronics. "It is incredibly rare to find two of the finest musicians in the world performing in such an intimate setting for what will be a series of remarkable concerts," wrote Jones on his website. "Both musicians are known to be curious minds, always ready to learn and to discover. When they improvise, borders disappear, they are free to migrate beyond prejudices, across continents. They'll be joined by guest musicians Otomo Yoshihide of Ground Zero and Jim O'Rourke of Sonic Youth. They'll be making their debut with a series of gigs in Japan in early September, beginning with the Pit Inn in Shinjuku on Sept. 3 and 5. - NME, 7/24/19...... On July 22 Alice Cooper announced he'll release a six-song EP drawn from recent sessions with his longtime producer Bob Ezrin called Breadcrumbs. It will feature covers of Bob Seger's "East Side Story," the MC5's "Sister Anne," Suzi Quatro's "Your Mama Won't Like Me" and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels' "Devil With a Blue Dress On," plus a rework of "Detroit City" from 2003's The Eyes of Alice Cooper album titled "Detroit City 2020," and a new song co-written with MC5's Wayne Kramer, "Go Man Go." Cooper says he started recording the songs, which pay homage to his Motor City hometown, in Detroit during March and continued in Los Angeles. The EP will be released digitally and on limited 10-inch vinyl. No release date or title have been announced for Cooper's next full-length album, which will be the follow-up to his 2017 set Paranormal, but Alice says that he and Ezrin have finished seven songs so far and will be doing more during August after he wraps up a summer North American tour with Halestorm and Motionless In White. Meanwhile, Cooper also released another album, Rise, in June, with the Hollywood Vampires, his all-star band with Johnny Depp and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. - Billboard, 7/22/19...... On July 23 Bruce Springsteen announced that a companion film to his recent hit album Western Stars will premiere in September. Springsteen revealed earlier in July that a Western Stars movie, directed by Thom Zimny and Springsteen himself, is on the way. Speaking to SiriusXM's Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo on July 10, Springsteen said that the film consisted mostly of a live performance of the album. "We made a film of the 'Western Stars' album, where I play the record from start to finish along with some other things," he said. "We knew we weren't going to tour, so I was looking for a way to get some of the music live to the audience." The Western Stars film will receive its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from Sept. 5-15. "The incomparable Bruce Springsteen performs his critically acclaimed latest album and muses on life, rock, and the American dream, in this intimate and personal concert film co-directed by Thom Zimny and Springsteen himself," a premise for the 83-minute film states. The exact premiere date has yet to be confirmed. - New Musical Express, 7/23/19......Queen hit The Forum in Los Angeles on July 19 and 20 for two nights on its "The Rhapsody Tour," their first since the release of the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Alongside original members Brian May and Roger Taylor, current Queen frontman Adam Lambert delivered a 30-song set on the opening night with a dramatic flair all his own while still taking time to celebrate Mercury's legacy. After a hearty intro including "Keep Yourself Alive" and "Killer Queen," Lambert took a moment to address the "pink elephant in the room," as he put it. "I am not Freddie Mercury. I f---ing know, because there will only be one Freddie Mercury. There's no replacing him," Lambert said. "All I'm here to do tonight is celebrate Freddie and carry the torch for Freddie. And I hope I'm making him proud." The crowd cheered their approval, and Lambert launched into "Don't Stop Me Now" with immense energy. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was an obvious high point before a "We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" encore, with both Lambert and May sporting ridiculous outfits (an all-silver get up and an iridescent space-suit, respectively). As the iconic music video played in the background, the entire audience rocked out with the band until the song's dramatic finish. QueenMeanwhile, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video has officially surpassed one billion views on YouTube. Originally released in promotion of the band's single in 1975, it is the first pre-1990s music video to reach that milestone on the streaming platform, according to YouTube. To celebrate, the band released a newly remastered HD version of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video on its YouTube channel on July 22. In partnership with YouTube Music, Universal Music Group and Hollywood Records, Queen is also launching its "You Are the Champions" project, which gives fans the opportunity to take part in three new user-generated videos. - Billboard, 7/21/19...... In related news, a new video for David Bowie's iconic "Space Oddity" premiered at a NASA event at the Kennedy Center in Washington on July 20 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The event also marked the golden anniversary of the song that chronicles the outer space adventures of star-crossed astronaut "Major Tom." The stunning visual directed by Tim Pope mixes footage of a red-haired Bowie performing the song at his 50th birthday concert at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1997 along with footage shot by Edouard Lock for the backdrop screen on the singer's 1990 "Sound & Vision" tour. The accompanying audio is a new mix of the song created by Bowie's longtime producer, Tony Visconti. The new audio mix was released on July 12 as part of a 50th anniversary double 7" box set. - Billboard, 7/22/19...... In a new interview with Variety, Sylvester Stallone says he's "furious" that he has such a small financial stake in the Rocky film franchise. While negotiating the contract for the original 1976 Rocky, which he wrote and starred in, Stallone says he lost out on equity in the entire franchise, which would have made him a part-owner of all features in the series. "I have zero ownership of Rocky," he says. "Every word, every syllable, every grammatical error (in the contract) was all my fault. It was shocking that it never came to be, but I was told, 'Hey, you got paid, so what are you complaining about?' I was furious." Stallone said he's never been able to forgive himself for the lack of business savvy and naivete he had at the start of his career, but he adds, "You don't want to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose." His remarks have been met with criticism by some of his Rocky colleagues, with one anonymous associate telling Variety that Stallone has earned tens of millions in profit from his work in franchise installments as writer, star and producer over the years. "He made money from every angle, and still does, so I don't know what he's complaining about," his colleague stated. The original Rocky film cost roughly $1 million to make and has grossed global net profits of $225 million to date. - WENN/, 7/24/19...... Art Neville, a member of one of New Orleans' storied musical families, The Neville Brothers, and a founding member of the groundbreaking funk band The Meters, died on July 22 at his home in New Orleans. He was 81. His cause of death was not immediately available but Mr. Neville had battled a number of health issues including complications from back surgery. Mr. Neville was the voice of the iconic Carnival season anthem "Mardi Gras Mambo," which he recorded at 17 in 1954 with the group The Hawketts at a local radio station. After returning from a stint in the Navy, he recorded a number of songs that became late 1950s and '60s R&B classics, including "Cha Dooky Do" and "All These Things." Born Arthur Lanon Neville on Dec. 17, 1937, in New Orleans, La., Mr. Neville founded his family's eponymous band in 1976 with three of his brothers, Aaron, Cyril and late sibling Charles Neville, who died in 2018. Over the course of five-plus decades, the Neville family became the north star of the New Orleans funk scene, spinning off a series of related family bands and shepherding a long list of future funk stalwarts into the mainstream, including bassist George Porter Jr., drummer Joseph "Zihaboo" Modeliste, and guitarist Leo Nocentelli. In 1968, Art, Aaron and Cyril joined four New Orleans musicians to form The Meters, an American funk band often cited by other bands as a musical influence. Mr. Neville, known as "Poppa Funk," announced his retirement from music in December 2018, thanking fans for "all the wonderful years of support and for letting us share our music with the world." - AP/Billboard, 7/22/19...... Valerie HarperAs '70s TV icon Valerie Harper continues to struggle with cancer, her devoted husband of 32 years, actor Tony Cacciotti (The Longest Yard), says he refuses to put her in hospice care. On July 23, Cacciotti wrote an emotional Facebook message about his wife's health and their current situation. "I have been told by doctors to put Val in Hospice care and I can't (because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other) and I won't because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she's been here on earth," he wrote. Harper, best known for her award-winning role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her starring spinoff series Rhoda, was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in 2013, four years after she beat lung cancer. At the time, doctors predicted she only had three months to live. "We will continue going forward as long as the powers above allow us, I will do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible," wrote Cacciotti. "There are two special ANGELS on this planet masquerading as humans who live and work together, that have made it possible to have all of Val's needs taken care of." Harper, 79, has continued to receive chemotherapy treatments throughout her years-long health battle. "For those of you who have been in this position, you will totally understand that 'it's hard letting go.' So as long as I'm able and capable, I'll be where I belong right beside her," continued Cacciotti. "Many, many thanks for your outpouring of kindness and support." Cacciotti and Harper's good friend Deanna started a GoFundMe for the Valerie actress in mid-July and raised over $66,100. The page, however, has since been shut down, as members of the entertainment industry have stepped in to help pay for Harper's medical expenses. -, 7/24/19......Bob Frank, the Memphis folk singer-songwriter who developed a cult following after his 1972 self-titled debut album, has died at the age of 75. "LITA is incredibly bummed to hear that Bob Frank passed away yesterday," tweeted record label Light In The Attic. "In 2014 we reissued Bob's 1972 album and loved working with him. He took elements of Dylan, Johnny Cash, Ian Tyson and filtered it through a pot-smoked haze infused with Bob's friend, Jim Dickinson. RIP, Bob." Frank was a Vietnam veteran who moved to Nashville and became a songwriter for the Tree music publishing company after the war. His debut album, originally released by Vanguard Records, received positive reviews but wasn't a commercial success; it eventually became a rare collector's item before being reissued decades later. In 2001, he reemerged after decades away from music with a series of new albums on his own label, Bowstring Records. His most recent album, Dancing In Dallas, was released in 2018. - Billboard, 7/22/19...... Actor David Hedison, best known for his starring role in the popular 1960s adventure series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, died on July 18 in Los Angeles. He was 92. Mr. Hedison also appeared in Off Broadway productions by Clifford Odets and in the original version of the 1958 horror sci-fi classic The Fly with Vincent Price. He also starred in the spy TV series Five Fingers, and over the next few years had roles in Perry Mason, The Saint and the feature film The Greatest Story Ever Told. Though many other TV roles in such series as Dynasty, The Colbys, Fantasy Island and soap operas as Another World and The Young and the Restless would follow, it was his performance as the heroic, handsome Capt. Lee B. Crane in producer Irwin Allen's submarine-set 1964-68 Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea that secured his place in the collective memory of the Baby Boomer generation. "He was adored by so many, all of whom benefitted from his warm and generous heart," said his family in a statement. "Our dad brought joy and humor wherever he went and did so with great style." -, 7/22/19...... Dutch film actor Rutger Hauer, who specialized in menacing roles, including a memorable turn as a murderous android in Blade Runner opposite Harrison Ford, died on July 19 at his home in the Netherlands. He was 75. Hauer's roles included a terrorist in Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone, Cardinal Roark in Sin City and playing an evil corporate executive in Batman Begins. He was in the big-budget 1985 fantasy Ladyhawke, portrayed a menacing hitchhiker who's picked up by a murderer in the Mojave Desert in The Hitcher and won a supporting-actor Golden Globe award in 1988 for Escape from Sobibor. Early in his career, Hauer spent five years with a small troupe bringing theater to rural Holland. He made his film debut in the saucy Turkish Delight, nominated for an Oscar as best foreign language film of 1973. Gene Simmons, the KISS bassist who starred opposite Hauer in Wanted: Dead or Alive, described his former co-star as "always a gentleman, kind and compassionate."- AP, 7/24/19.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Rod Stewart has voiced his support for "my mate" A$AP Rocky following the Harlem rapper's recent arrest and incarceration in Sweden. Rocky, along with two members of his entourage, were arrested in Stockholm on July 2 ollowing a performance at the Smash music festival, will apparently be held for two weeks as Swedish authorities investigate the case. It's since been claimed that Rocky has been held in "inhumane conditions" while in prison, with the case prompting an outpouring of support from artists including Tyga and Tyler, the Creator. Rocky has also now received a message of support from Stewart, who said he was "dismayed" at Rocky's alleged "mistreatment at the hands of Swedish police." "I'm dismayed at the reports of mistreatment of my mate @asvpxrocky at the hands of Swedish police. Let's have #JusticeForRocky!," Stewart posted on Twitter on July 17. Stewart and Rocky first met after Rocky sampled Stewart's vocals from "In a Broken Dream," which he recorded with the band Python Lee Jackson in the early 1970s. The sample was used on Rocky's 2015 album At. Long. Last. ASAP, and Stewart received a feature credit on the track "Everyday" as a result. - New Musical Express, 7/17/19..... Tom JohnstonTom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers says the band has been recording in the studio with producer John Shanks, who has worked with the likes of Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow and the Goo Goo Dolls, for a 5-song EP that the Doobies plan to release sometime in 2020. "We got these done and everybody's pretty excited about them," Johnston told Billboard. "It's rock n' roll, basically. There's one that's kind of a ballad, but the rest of them are rock, with a little modern edge to it. It's totally different from anything we've ever done before... things I've never tried before vocally, musically. Everything is kind of different from what you expect to hear from normal Doobies, but it's still recognizable. It's a cross-matching of the two things -- (Shanks') input, which is strong, and ours," he added. The band has yet to give the new EP a name or set a release date, however it would be the group's first studio release since 2014's collaborative Southbound album and its first set of original material since 2010's World Gone Crazy. Meanwhile, the Doobies are on the road with Santana this summer, then mount a solo tour in the fall. It will include a stop at the Masonic Auditorium in the band's native San Francisco on Sept. 12 where it will perform their classic LP's Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me in their entirety, as it did in 2018 at New York's Beacon Theatre. - Billboard, 7/18/19...... A new wide-ranging exhibit of 150 rare Bruce Springsteen items will go on display at the Monmouth County Historical Association in Freehold, N.J. on Sept. 29. According to a press release, the "Springsteen: His Hometown" exhibit will provide a "comprehensive look of how Monmouth County, NJ has been thematically woven into Bruce Springsteen's music and art throughout his career." Items include the original color poster from Springsteen's Freehold-bred first band, The Castiles, a personal scrapbook made by the singer's mother, as well as her 1943 high school yearbook and the 1801 document signed by the Revolutionary War patriot and direct ancestor John Springsteen. Springsteen was born in Freehold, and the unveiling of the show will coincide with the city's centennial celebration. The pieces in the exhibit will come from both the Monmouth County Historical Association and the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University. Proceeds from the exhibit will benefit the Monmouth County Historical Association. - Billboard, 7/17/19...... A new, previously unreleased version of the Freddie Mercury song "Time Waits For No One" will be released on July 26. The single, which has been produced by Mercury's long-time friend Dave Clark of the 60's band The Dave Clark Five, was originally shared online in June and is described as showing Mercury "at his most compelling... a completely stripped-down performance, accompanied by just a piano [and] showcasing one of music s most beloved and show-stopping voices." "Time Waits For No One" is a previously unreleased version of "Time," which was recorded in 1986 for Mercury s concept album and musical of the same name. The single will be available on a vinyl picture disc and CD. - New Musical Express, 7/19/19...... John FogertyCreedence Clearwater Revival's performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival has been glaringly absent from all music and video documents about the legendary festival including the Oscar-winning documentary in 1970, but now the band plans to correct that with the upcoming Creedence Clearwater Revival - Live at Woodstock release, which hits stores on Aug. 2. "We weren't in the movie on purpose," CCR frontman John Fogerty says. "Nobody really understood what the movie would be. The track they wanted to use was 'Bad Moon Rising'; I just didn't feel it was our best work. At that point in time Creedence was the No. 1 band in the world. I felt like, 'Why go backwards?'" But Fogerty says he changed his position over time. "Maybe around the late '80s I began to think that, historically, it is what it is. It doesn't matter if it's well done or not well done, it became more a fact of history. Therefore nobody was hurt by it. It was just history." Three CCR tracks -- "Green River," "Bad Moon Rising" and "I Put a Spell On You" -- first appeared on the 2009 box set Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm and are reprised on the recent June 2019 release Woodstock Back to the Garden -- 50th Anniversary Experience. CCR's Live at Woodstock features the group's entire 11-song set, including lengthy rendition of "Keep on Chooglin'" and "Suzie Q" along with its signature tune, "Proud Mary," of which it has shared a YouTube video. "I thought we played good, and in some cases I thought we played great (at Woodstock)," recalls bassist Stu Cook, whose Creedence Clearwater Revisited with drummer Doug Clifford is in the midst of a farewell tour. "Just like any show it has its highs and lows from a performer's point of view, most of which the audience has no clue about. I thought we played a journeyman's set that had some real high points. It's a shame we weren't in the film, but that was not my decision. It wasn't really supported by the other guys in the band." Fogerty adds that the festival is "a remarkable event to look back on now -- fondly, of course," while Cook says he feels "the event was about the audience and not the artists... the bands were almost the Muzak of a mysterious event that happened." - Billboard, 7/18/19...... Four years after forming, the Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead & Company have topped the Billboard Hot Tours chart with their summer tour grossing $40.9 million and selling 486,917 tickets for their biggest tour yet. The band's June 14-15 engagement at Chicago's Wrigley Field grossed $7.1 million and sold 72,851 tickets, improving on their 2017 performance at the same venue when it grossed $6.4 million. The tour featured a fair mix of amphitheaters and stadiums, playing six stadium shows and 13 dates in amphitheaters. Meanwhile, Billy Joel was No. 5 in the Hot Tours recap, grossing $6,575,093, while Paul McCartney's tour grossed $4,915,772, good for the No. 7 spot. Veteran acts are also discovering farewell tours can be very lucrative. Elton John has the highest-grossing tour at the 2019 midyear mark, according to Billboard Boxscore, so far the most successful in a wave of farewell outings from such acts as Paul Simon, Slayer, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bob Seger. - Billboard, 7/18/19...... Mick JonesA new Foreigner concert documentary entitled Double Vision: Then and Now premiered on the digital cable channels AT&T AUDIENCE Network (Channel 239), DIRECTV Ultra 4k (104 and 105), AT&T U-verse (1114) on July 19, and is curently streaming on DIRECTV NOW and the DIRECTV App. The film, whose trailer is currently being shared on YouTube, documents the classic rockers' two nights at the Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Oct. 6 and 7, 2017, when four members of the original band -- founder Mick Jones, frontman Lou Gramm, multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and drummer Dennis Elliott) along with second bassist Rick Wills -- performed together for the first time since the early '80s, as part of the group's 40th anniversary celebration. In conjunction with Foreigner's current lineup, the troupe played a five-song mini-set, then joined its successors for a two-song encore. The reunion has been repeated a few times since and will happen again four more times this October. Mick Jones says the documentary has "been a little while in the making, but the production of it, obviously, and a lot of paints went into it." "I'm very happy with the result," he says. "I think it captures the vibe of when the two lineups played together. We had a lot of fun. I think we captured that, and it's nice for it to be documented in this way." Jones added that he'd "like I'd like to put some new Foreigner material out, definitely." "I'm not sure about doing an album these days, but we'll see. (Lou Gramm) and I have been working on ProTools in the hotel rooms and stuff like that. So it's cooking." - Billboard, 7/18/19...... Iggy Pop announced on July 18 that he will release Free, the follow-up to his 2016 album Post Pop Depression, on Sept. 6 via Loma Vista Recordings. In a press release, Pop described Free as having "virtually nothing in common sonically with its predecessor -- or with any other Iggy Pop album." A collaboration with jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas, Pop says Free is "uniquely somber and contemplative... in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice." Pop has also shared the eerie title track for the new 10-track release on YouTube. - Billboard, 7/18/19...... The Doors have announced they will release a special 50th anniversary edition of their 1969 album The Soft Parade. The 3-disc special edition, which is set for release on Oct. 18, will also include 12 never-before-released songs as well as some "stripped down" versions of some of the album's classic tracks. The Soft Parade entered the Top 10 upon its release, and features the hit single "Touch Me." The album split listeners on release thanks to the varied brass and string arrangements on the tracks. Now, the special edition will strip-back some of these tracks, including "Touch Me," "Tell All The People," "Wishful Sinful," "Runnin' Blue," and "Who Scared You" so listeners can hear them in a simpler form. - NME, 7/19/19...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Dave Davies of the Kinks says he and brother Ray Davies have been digging for songs for possible inclusion for the upcoming 50th anniversary of the band's 1969 album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), which is due in October. "Some we recorded but never used," Dave said of things they found in the archive. "Others don't have finished vocals or they need other embellishments." "The songs are really just in demo form now," he continued, noting that he and Ray are recording some new songs while also finishing and re-recording the old ones. "But good demos. Ray is still dissecting various other material we might use. The intention is to get the work out, but it's not a done deal." - Billboard, 7/17/19...... Verdine WhiteOn July 18 '70s pop/soul hitmakers Earth, Wind & Fire became the first R&B group in history to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, and just the fourth group overall to receive this acknowledgement, following three rock groups: The Who in 2008, Led Zeppelin in 2012, and the Eagles in 2016. The Kennedy Center Honors tend to go to individuals. As a result, they have generally chosen to honor lead singers and/or principal songwriters from groups, rather than the groups themselves. Maurice White, the lead songwriter for EWF, died in 2016. The Kennedy Center Honors program doesn't give posthumous awards, which led to them recognizing the group. Maurice's brother Verdine White, the group's longtime bassist, said he was proud of how their songs have become part of the soundtrack of American music. "We're part of the culture. We're part of people's lives," he said. "The music makes people happy. When you come to a show you leave happier than when you came." This year's other honorees include Linda Ronstadt, (who in 2019 released her first ever live album Live in Hollywood), classical conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, actress Sally Field and Sesame Street, the first TV show to be honored. The recipients will be honored during a gala 42nd annual ceremony on Dec. 7. The event will be taped for broadcast on PBS on Dec. 15. For the third straight year, the attendance of Pres. Donald Trump seems likely to be a subject of speculation in advance of the event. Pres. Trump has skipped the past two celebrations. The first time, multiple recipients threatened to boycott the event if he attended. The Kennedy Center's president, Deborah Rutter, said it was too early to tell whether Trump or first lady Melania Trump would attend. "They are always invited," she said. "He is the president of the United States of America, and it would be good to have these extraordinary individuals acknowledged by the president." - Billboard/AP, 7/18/19...... Paul McCartney has signed on to write his first ever stage musical, an adaptation of the classic 1946 movie It's a Wonderful Life. The ex-Beatle is collaborating with "Billy Elliot" playwright Lee Hall, who also wrote the screenplay for the Elton John biopic Rocketman, as well as Broadway producer Bill Kenwright. Sir Paul said he'd never considered writing a musical, but after meeting Kenwright and Hall three years ago, "I found myself thinking this could be interesting and fun." Lee Hall said McCartney's "wit, emotional honesty and melodic brilliance brings a whole new depth and breadth to the classic tale." Producers say they are aiming for a 2020 launch for the show. Its dates and venue have not been released. - AP, 7/17/19...... AC/DC has returned to social media after a prolonged silence to mark the upcoming 40th anniversary of their classic 1979 album Highway to Hell. AC/DC's Facebook account had been inactive ever since announcing the death of founding member Malcolm Young on Nov. 18, 2017. Now the band has posted an emotional tribute to Young on its Facebook page. "With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band," the band posted on July 15. The band also announced they would be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Highway to Hell throughout July. A similar clip was also posted to their Twitter account on July 16, their first post since they paid tribute to Chuck Berry following his death in March 2017. The new posts will only fuel fan speculation that the Aussie rockers are reconvening to record a follow-up to their last LP, 2014's Rock or Bust. - New Musical Express, 7/17/19...... WoodstockBarring the intervention of some kind of miracle, it appears there will be no Woodstock 50 concert at the Vernon Downs racetrack and casino in upstate New York in August 2019 after the Vernon town council voted unanimously on July 16 to uphold its permit application denial. Organizers released a statement after the decision, thanking everyone who supported them in recent weeks as it pushed to have the anniversary event moved to the upstate race track. "Woodstock 50 is disappointed that the Town of Vernon has passed up the opportunity to hold the historic 50th Anniversary Festival by denying our robust and thoughtful proposal," the statement said. "We regret that those in Vernon who supported Woodstock have been deprived of the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of the rebirth of a cultural peace movement that changed the world in 1969 and is what the world needs now. We want to thank the artists who stood by us. We are grateful for the support of Vernon Downs and its generous owner Jeffrey Gural." Also after the decision, Virgin Produced, who has been advising with the Woodstock 50 team, "officially concluded its consulting role with respect to the company and the proposed festival," according to a statement from Virgin Produced's publicist. The Woodstock 50 event had been originally planned for Aug. 16 to 18 at Watkins Glen International racetrack, but those plans also fell through. An estimated 65,000 people were expected to attend. -, 7/17/19...... A California judge has told the parties in the Michael Jackson estate/HBO lawsuit to deliver a briefing on whether a bid to force HBO to settle the case in arbitration violates the First Amendment. Jackson's estate filed suit against HBO in February, days before the Leaving Neverland documentary, which detailed allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, premiered on HBO. The estate claims the film is a violation of a non-disparagement clause in a 1992 contract that once gave HBO the right to air a first-ever televised concert after the release of Jackson's album Dangerous, however instead of a judge determining that issue the estate to compel arbitration pursuant to that same contract. Once that happens, an arbitrator would look at the contract and the documentary and settle the dispute. In his decision on July 19, U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu said, "While the Court agrees that attempting to enforce an arbitration agreement in a contract that includes a non-disparagement clause through the filing of a lawsuit does not initially suggest the presence of state action, the initiation of the litigation itself can trigger First Amendment concerns." A hearing to consider those concerns is now set for Sept. 16. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/19/19...... Meanwhile, Prince's estate has won a $7 million judgement against a record label it claims is bootlegging the star's music. Court documents reveal that the estate sued Eye Records in Aug. 2018, claiming it was a "bootleg label dedicated to Prince," for allegedly releasing 18 Prince compilations since his death. These included live performances and unreleased tracks, and were allegedly released without the sufficient rights. The label used the online store to sell the music, according to the lawsuit. Prince's estate had requested $2 million per trademark violation, but they have now been awarded $7 million. -, 6/20/19.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

In an interview with the New York paper Poughkeepsie Journal on July 16, Woodstock 50 co-organizer Michael Lang said the anniversary concert may not happen this year, but he remains optimistic. "If it doesn't work this year, it doesn't work this year. We've tried everything we can. We've done our best. We'll continue to do our best until we find out one way or the other whether it's going to happen," Lang said. Lang and the other organizers recently applied for a permit to hold the event in the combined race track and casino "racino" at Vernon Downs in upstate New York, east of Syracuse, but the event was recently denied a permit. The Town of Vernon's planning board is set to hear an appeal on the evening of July 16, exactly a month before the festival would begin. Oneida County, N.Y. Administrator Anthony Picente Jr., was previously quoted as saying: "We could have done this with a year or 16 months advance [planning], but to do it in three to six weeks is really a near impossibility from a public safety and health standpoint. As someone who was here for 1999 [Woodstock], some names have changed but it's largely the same situation." - New Musical Express/Billboard, 7/16/19...... Neil YoungThree years after playing his final Bridge School Benefit concert in 2016, Neil Young has announced he'll be headlining a new charity show called the Harvest Moon Benefit concert on Sept. 14 at the Painted Turtle Camp, about an hour north of Los Angeles. Performances by Young, Father John Misty and Norah Jones will be set against the backdrop of the Los Angeles National Forest, with fans siting on a grassy hillside just a stones throw from the picturesque Lake Hughes. Harvest Moon will also raise money for the Painted Turtle, a non-profit providing children living with serious medical conditions a traditional camp experience, free of charge. From 1986-2016, Young's Bridge School Benefit concert series at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., hosted more than 100 artists annually, including Paul McCartney, Elton John and Metallica to provide free education to children with severe speech and physical impediments. More info can be found at the website. - Billboard, 7/16/19...... In other Neil Young news, Young and his fellow iconic folk/rock superstar Bob Dylan shared a stage for the first time in 25 years when they performed together on the final show of their co-headlining Never Ending Tour at Nowlan Park in Kilkenny, Ireland on July 14. To mark the occasion of the tour's final show, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers performed "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," a traditional hymn with origins dating back to the early 1900s. It's reportedly just the second time they've played this song together since 1975, when they joined forces at the SNACK Benefit at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. And it marked the first time they've performed together in a quarter century, the last time in 1994 at New York's Roseland Ballroom. Their tour also played London's Hyde Park on July 13, but there was no special duet that night. - Billboard, 7/15/19...... Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen will be competing for an Emmy award this year after the 71st annual Emmy Awards were announced on July 16. The McCartney and CBS The Late Show host James Cordon were nominated in the Best Variety Special, Pre-Recorded category for Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool, while Springsteen's Springsteen on Broadway and specials by Beyoncé, Wanda Sykes and Hannah Gadsby were nominated in the same category. Two previous Carpool Karaoke specials won in this category in 2016-17. Veteran music producer T Bone Burnett, who has won 13 Grammys and an Oscar, is also vying to win his first Emmy for the HBO's series True Detective, in the Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series category. The 2019 Emmy Awards will be presented Sept. 22 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and telecast live on the Fox network. - Billboard, 7/16/19...... Sharon Osbourne has explained her hubby Ozzy Osbourne's absence from Black Sabbath's Lifetime Achievement Grammy win in May, when Osbourne's Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward were present to accept the award, but there was no sign of Ozzy. "I was just so pissed off at the Grammys this year because they gave them a Lifetime Achievement Award, but wouldn't give it to them on the TV show that we all know as the Grammy Awards," Osbourne told the syndicated show Celebrity Access. "They did it at a separate ceremony which goes out on another network later on. I wouldn't let Ozzy go because I just thought it was shocking what they did to them. So I wouldn't let Ozzy go," she added. Sharon went on to describe the spin-off event as "some pissy f---ing ceremony" and argued that the group should have been recognized at the main Grammys show, which took place back in February. "So not to put them on the proper show, it was like, 'How dare you?' I was so angry. I just thought, 'F--- you. I am not going to give you the honour of having Ozzy at your sh---y ceremony.'" At the time, many fans suspected Ozzy's no-show was down to his recent health issues -- with the star being forced to postpone a number of shows earlier in 2019. - NME, 7/16/19...... The Rolling Stones were forced to postpone their concert in New Orleans, La., on July 14 to the following evening after Hurricane Barry wreaked havoc on the gulf coast the same weekend. "Due to the weather we're moving Sunday's Superdome show to Monday. Hang onto your tickets, they will be honored on July 15. We're here with you -- we'll get through this together," the band posted on Twitter. Dates for the Stones' No Filter tour were already postponed in the past, due to Mick Jagger, 75, who recently had a heart procedure. All 17 of the previously announced dates were moved around and rebooted for a June 21 launch in Chicago. Luckily, all tickets sold were honored for the rescheduled dates. - Billboard, 7/12/19...... Paul McCartneyRingo StarrJoe WalshPaul McCartney got by with a little help from his friend Ringo Starr on the final night of his "Freshen Up" US tour in at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 13 when the former Beatle brought out his old band's drummer to keep the beat on extended versions of the "White Album" classic "Helter Skelter" and "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)." The reunited pair could be seen hugging and mouthing the words "I love you man" to one another, with Ringo throwing his drum sticks into the crowd after performing the two classic Beatles tracks. As Starr left the stage, the crowd at the LA Dodgers stadium chanted his "peace and love" phrase in unison. Sir Paul also introduced Eagles star Joe Walsh to jam on guitar as part of a nostalgic climatic rendition of the Abbey Road closer "The End." The epic three-hour show featured 32 songs from the legendary 77-year-old's Beatles and solo repertoire, plus encores of "Birthday," "Sgt. Pepper's," "Helter Skelter," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight," and "The End." McCartney was driven by his excellent tour band, which includes Rusty Anderson on guitar, Brian Ray on bass, Paul Wickens on keyboard and percussion, and crowd pleaser Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 7/14/19...... In other Beatles-related news, it has been revealed that the new Beatles-themed movie Yesterday nearly featured cameos from all of the Fab Four, instead of only John Lennon. During an appearance on the "Empire" podcast, writer Richard Curtis and director Danny Boyle revealed they had originally intended to feature all four members of the band. "When [Jack] first goes to Liverpool, I'd written a long scene where he just goes to a pub and he bumps into George [Harrison] and Ringo [Starr]," Curtis said. "It was, I hope, a sweet scene, and they were just two delightful, oldish men who'd once been in a band together -- music enthusiasts who had never got any further." Curtis continued to explain that Paul McCartney would have appeared at the end of the film. "[Jack] was going to move to the Isle of Wight, to a cottage, and you were going to hear outside his window someone saying, 'Vera, Chuck, Dave!'" Curtis explained. "There were going to be three dogs and Paul was going to be walking them." Explaining why only Lennon made it into the final cut, the screenwriter said: "It was the scene that had the most meaning, and was in some ways the pivotal scene of the film." In the movie, singer-songwriter Jack (played by Himesh Patel) wakes up to discover the Beatles never existed and he is the only person with any knowledge of their music. After attempting to remind the world of the group, he begins to play their songs as his own and achieves huge success. - NME, 7/12/19...... Jackson Browne made a suprise appearance during Gaby Moreno's headlining performance at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival on July 12. As the evening drew to a close, Moreno told the crowd that her new album, Spangled, a collaboration with famed Los Angeles songwriter and producer Van Dyke Parks, would arrive Oct. 4 and that she'd just released the album's first single, "Across the Borderline," a song written in the early '80s by Ry Cooder, John Hiatt and Jim Dickinson. "I sing it as a duet with Jackson Browne," she said. "And guess what? Jackson Browne is here tonight, you guys! And we're going to sing it for all of you." Browne, bearded but still boyish at 70, walked onstage, gave Moreno a hug and recalled playing at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival a decade earlier before the pair performed the timely refugee-themed song "Across the Borderline." - Billboard, 7/13/19...... In an Instagram post on July 15, Queen guitarist Brian May insisted that late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury would have approved of Queen's latest frontman Adam Lambert and that Queen would never tour with a "Freddie Mercury impersonator." "And here is the Modern Marvel without whom, for sure, Queen would not be out here delivering at the top level. ADAM LAMBERT is only now beginning to be recognised by the greater public as the true phenomenon that he is," wrote May. "Gifted with a voice in a billion, for himself he is a passionate and unyielding perfectionist. Gifted to us, he is the reason that we are still alive as a functioning rock band. And still able to take on new challenges. Plus he's nice. That's a big deal when you're a touring family. Freddie would approve, big time." - NME, 7/15/19...... Austin ButlerElvis PresleyAfter an intense search that included such high profile names as Harry Styles and Ansel Elgort, the producers of an upcoming Elvis Presley biopic have selected Austin Butler (TV's The Carrie Diaries and Arrow) to portray the King of Rock & Roll in the new project from Warner Bros. The movie, to be directed by Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby), is described as focusing on Elvis's rise and zenith, with a major aspect being his relationship with Col. Tom Parker. Tom Hanks is set to play Parker, the manager who controlled every aspect of Elvis' life. Luhrmann is also co-producing the feature with wife Catherine Martin. The two have been developing the project since the director wrapped up The Great Gatsby. "I knew I couldn't make this film if the casting wasn't absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist," said Luhrmann in a statement. "Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in 'The Iceman Cometh' on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world's most iconic musical figures." Austin Butler will also be seen in this summer's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood from director Quentin Tarantino. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/15/19...... Jerry Lawson, the original lead singer of the a cappella group The Persuasions, died on July 10 "after a long illness" at a hospice in Phoenix. He was 75 years old. Lawson co-founded the group in Brooklyn in 1962. Six years later, they signed a record deal with Frank Zappa's Straight Records label and released their debut album Acapella in 1970. They released 24 more albums before Lawson left in 2002, although a further three records featuring his voice were released after his departure. Lawson released his first and only solo album Just A Mortal Man in 2015. After quitting The Persuasions, he had moved to Arizona and begun working with disabled adults. A documentary about Lawson was already in the works before his death and is expected to be released later in 2019. Rod Stewart is among those who have paid tribute to the late singer. "After working together at the Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert, I admired the undeniable depth in Jerry's big voice," he said in a statement. "A true soul singer." - New Musical Express, 7/12/19.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

During a Rolling Stones concert at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on July 7, Mick Jagger got in a jab at Pres. Donald Trump for Trump's recent July 4 gaffe in which he said "our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do" during the Revolutionary War." "In fact, the president made a very good point in his speech the other night," Jagger told the crowd. "He said, 'If only the British had held on to the airports, the whole thing might have gone very differently for us.'" Jagger's jab came as the legendary group is in the midst of its rescheduled North American "No Filter" tour, which was postponed earlier this year after Jagger underwent a heart procedure. It is the latest back-and-forth between the group and Trump, following several requests from the band that he stop using their music at his political rallies. - Billboard, 7/9/19...... In related news, Kiss bassist/singer Gene Simmons says he thinks Donald Trump becoming the 45th President of the US has forever changed politics. Appearing on the UK's Good Morning Britain TV show on July 9, Simmons said that "politics has forever changed... whether you like it or not, this president has changed it." "I understand this thing," Simmons said of Trump's public spats. "It's a New York streetfighter. If you say, 'What are you looking at? You're looking at me?' Politics are over. Now this guy is just saying, 'I don't care what my guys are saying. Did you just say something bad about me? I'm coming after you.'" Simmons, who appeared on Trump's Celebrity Apprentice TV series in 2008, reportedly "politely declined" the chance to play at Trump's inauguration in 2016. - New Musical Express, 7/10/19...... Roger WatersOn July 10 former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters announced a new Us + Them concert film which will be screened in select cinemas in the UK on Oct. 2 and Oct. 6. Waters wrapped his mammoth tour in Dec. 2018, performing for over two million people across 150 shows which spanned 18 months. The Us + Them film is co-directed by Waters and Sean Evans, who directed Waters' 2014 film Roger Waters: The Wall. Us + Them is comprised of footage from the four nights Waters and his band played at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome in June 2018, the film will also showcase the "state-of-the-art visual production and breath-taking sound" from the tour. - New Musical Express, 7/10/19...... Stage times for Bob Dylan and Neil Young's headlining sets at the Hyde Park Festival in London were announced on July 11. Young will be taking the main Great Oak stage on July 12 at 6 p.m. GMT, while Dylan will follow at 8:30 p.m. GMT. 65,000 people are expected to attend the mammoth event, which will also feature performances from the Doors, Sam Fender, Cat Power and Laura Marling Meanwhile, Young treated fans to a rare performance of his 1974 track "On the Beach" during a concert in Antwerp, Belgium on July 9. It was the first time Young had performed the track live in over 16 years, and the first time since the '70s that he performed it while backed by a full band. He also played a series of some of his biggest hits during the gig, including "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)" and "Rockin' In The Free World" alongside the likes of "Mansion On The Hill" and "F---in' Up." - New Musical Express, 7/11/19...... Aerosmith was featured in the History Channel series American Pickers on July 8 as hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz spotted the band's old tour van, a 1964 International Harvester Metro, on a property in Massachusetts. In the episode, Wolfe and Fritz drive the van to Las Vegas to show the legendary rock band their former travelling haunt. "I have some of my fondest memories in this van," Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer said in the episode, which is now available to watch online. Aerosmith are currently in the midst of their "Deuces Are Wild" residency in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry said in a new interview with Consequence of Sound that Aerosmith will be recording a new album "when the time is right." "I had just finished working on my last solo album [before the new Hollywood Vampires album], so I had been in the studio for the three or four months before we started on the Vampires record," Perry said. "So I was already rolling in the studio. It doesn't take much to get me going -- I love to record. So, when the time is right, Aerosmith will come around to do another record." Perry also weighed in on Aerosmith's Vegas residency. "We started talking about [the residency] a year ago, so it was a big production. So far, it seems to be working. I'm pretty surprised, if you wanna know the truth." - Billboard, 7/9/19...... Willie Nelson announced on July 9 his 34th annual Farm Aid benefit concert will be staged on Sept. 21 at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. Bonnie Raitt, Margo Price and Tanya Tucker will be headlining along Willie and his fellow Farm Aid co-founders, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews. will place tickets for Farm Aid 2019 on sale at 10 a.m. CT on July 12. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available at 10 a.m. CT on July 10 at Farm Aid, the longest-running concert for a cause, was first staged by Nelson and his fellow musicians at a time when a wave of foreclosures were pushing family farmers off their land. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised $53 million for programs to benefit family farmers and to support a family farm-centered food system in the U.S. - Billboard, 7/9/19...... Michael LangThe beleaguered Woodstock 50 festival co-organized by original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang could be about to make its last stand as they appeal a denial by an inspector in Vernon, N.Y. of their application to stage the festival. On July 11, organizers refiled their application for a temporary event permit after city officials denied the permit without comment or opportunity, other than saying it was "incomplete and filed too late." According to one source, local laws in Vernon say the application needed to be filed 120 days before the start of the event, which would mean it was due on Apr. 18 when Woodstock 50 was still a sketchy idea but still had its original financial backers, a venue in Watkins Glen New York and Superfly as a producer. Lang has been instructed by the team now trying to pull off the event to stop making statements to the press and city officials. Vernon Downs is the second location Woodstock 50 has tried to secure as a venue. Its original venue, Watkins Glen International, rescinded the event's permit application on June 10 with less than 70 days to go. That followed a number of setbacks for the festival, which started in late April when its investor Dentsu pulled out from the festival and then Lang and Peck lost a string of court hearings aimed at retaining the financer's promised funds. - Billboard, 7/10/19...... David Crosby's new biopic, David Crosby: Remember My Name' Is a Bittersweet, hits theaters on July 19, but don't expect to see new footage of Crosby's closest collaborators in the film. All of Crosby's Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmates appear in individual archival audio and video footage to comment on him. As of 2000, Neil Young wants nothing to do with him because of a misunderstanding gone awry. Graham Nash matter-of-factly tells Paul Shaffer in a 2018 interview that his 40-year friendship with Crosby is over for good, and Stephen Stills is never heard from. Crosby reveals with palpable twinges of hurt that none of his former bandmates want to talk to him, and the feelings will never change. "Music is the only thing I have to offer," Crosby says in the documentary. He's bothered by the present, haunted by the past. He doesn't have an answer as to why he made it to old age and many of his contemporaries did not. "Time is the final currency," he muses. "How do you spend it?" So Crosby continues to grind it out on the road with backup musicians half his age, tweets like a millennial and recently completed a new album. Cocaine has been replaced by prescription medication that he must take in nondescript hotel rooms. End or no, you have to admire that Crosby's still determined to teach the children well. - Billboard, 7/10/19...... Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson recreated their A Star Is Born magic at the British Summer Time Hyde Park festival on July 7 in London when they duetted on their 1976 tear-jerker "Lost Inside of You." After a performance of fan favorite "Evergreen" from the film, Streisand called out Kristofferson, who she said was "one of my favorite leading men," adding, "Here's a song that we sang together in the movie, right... I love this song." After planting a kiss on Kristofferson's cheek, Streisand walked him across the stage and launched into the ballad as she held his hand in front of the sold-out crowd of 65,000-plus. Kristofferson also appeared on the day's bill, along with Roxy Music singer and solo star Bryan Ferry. Streisand also brought out Lionel Richie, who joined her for a run through their 2014 duet on "The Way We Were." - Billboard, 7/8/19...... David BowieThe Mattel toy company announced on July 11 that their iconic Barbie doll will honor David Bowie's legacy with a new collectible Bowie Barbie doll. Dubbed "Barbie as Bowie," the doll is dressed as the late superstar's extraterrestrial glam-rock alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, complete with his iconic striped metallic "space suit" and platform red boots. The dramatic look is topped off with Ziggy's signature fiery-red hairdo and astral sphere forehead icon. The doll was created by Mattel in partnership with the 2019 The David Bowie Archive under license to Perryscope Productions LLC/Epic Rights. The doll retails for $50 and can be purchased on Mattel's website or at retailers nationwide starting now. Its July 11 release marks the 50th anniversary of the UK release of Bowie's "Space Oddity" single, from the singer's eponymous 1969 album. A 7-inch EP box set is also being released to mark the single's 50th anniversary. It also includes a double-sided poster featuring an original "Space Oddity" print advertisement, and a Ray Stevenson shot of Bowie taken on stage at the Save Rave '69 concert at the London Palladium on Nov. 30, 1969, the backdrop of which features a NASA astronaut. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 7/11/19...... Bruce Springsteen called in to SiriusXM's Springsteen radio channel E Street Radio on July 10 to chat with hosts Dave Marsh and Jim Rotolo about his new top 10 album, Western Stars. During the interview, Springsteen revealed that he shot a concert film where he performs the album in its entirety. "We knew we weren't going to tour," Springsteen said. "So I was looking for a way to get some of the music live to an audience and so we figured that was the best way to do it. We're looking forward to getting it to the fans when we can." The Boss also said he's pleased with fans' reaction to his latest studio set. "I really didn't know quite know what kind of response it was going to get. But just walking around and talking to fans on the street and seeing how the record was received was very exciting. It made us look how for we can further that experience for the fans without going out and playing live right now because I'm still working on some other things." A release date for the film has not been announced. - Billboard, 7/10/19...... Auction house Kruse GWS Auctions announced on July 10 that three of Elvis Presley's vehicles will be put up for sale on Aug. 31 as part of its Artifacts of Hollywood auction. The vehicles include a white-on-white 1973 Lincoln Continental stretch limo which the King drom many times around his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.I t features an old-school TV and other amenities. There are photos showing Presley driving the car he was in when he stopped at a car accident in Memphis in 1976. Elvis's 1976 Harley Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide motorcycle was the last motorcycle he ever purchased. He transported it from California to Memphis and sold it 90 days before he died in 1977 at age 42. The Harley has been on display at the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, S.D., since the late 1980's. The third Presley vehicle is one of three GMC pickups that Presley purchased in 1967 for his Circle G Ranch in Mississippi. Two years later, his father, Vernon Presley, sold them back to the same dealership, the auction house said. It has undergone a total restoration. - AP, 7/10/19...... Jackson BrowneJackson Browne has teamed up with Leslie Mendelson for a new song called "A Human Touch" that appears in the end credits of 5B, a new documentary about the San Francisco General Hospital AIDS ward during the early '80s and how nurses and doctors there learned how to best treat patients during the burgeoning epidemic. Browne says "A Human Touch" was "an assignment offered to me that I didn't want to take." But now he says he's glad he did. "It was an interesting thing to collaborate on a subject like this," explains Browne, who first met with Mendelson and her regular collaborator Steve McEwan last December. "In very few cases and very few times have I gotten into a discussion with anybody about a line and what it's supposed to mean. Some of these songs can be indistinct in their meaning. We really got into every line and nearly every word in depth to make sure it was what we wanted to say and convey in the song, because (5B) is such a human movie and really shows the courage and humanity of these nurses and the hospital staff and the population of people who were just suddenly struck by this epidemic and were devastated by it." Meanwhile, a new "A Human Touch" video has been released that intersperses scenes from the movie with Browne and Mendelson performing the song in Santa Fe, N.M., while Browne was visiting one of his sons and his family there. Browne, who's back on the road in August including three dates at the Venetian in Las Vegas, says he's hoping to write more with Mendelson and McEwan in the future. - Billboard, 7/9/19...... The very first managment contract signed by the Beatles on Jan. 24, 1962, has sold for $347,875 at a Sotheby's auction benefitting the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation. The document was signed by principal members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and original drummer Pete Best for the services of manager Brian Epstein. The contract guaranteed Epstein -- who died of a drug overdose in Aug. 1967 -- a 10% fee that would rise to 15% if the band's income exceeded $150 a week; McCartney had negotiated the fee down from 20%. "This contract was a transformative document not only for The Beatles, but also for the 1960s and popular culture of the time," said Sotheby's Books and Manuscripts specialist Gabriel Heaton. In other Beatles-related news, five of the Fab Four's songs have re-entered the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart for the week ending July 13 following the theatrical release of the Beatles-themed movie Yesterday, which premiered on June 28 and features many of the band's iconic tracks. The songs include "Here Comes the Sun," "Let It Be," "Hey Jude" and "Come Together." Yesterday actor Himesh Patel version of "Yesterday" from the film has also bowed on the chart at No. 37. - Billboard, 7/10/19...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney's fashion designer daughter Stella McCartney has drawn directly on the Beatles' musical messages of peace, love and understanding for her fall 2019 menswear and pre-fall 2019 womenswear collections. On July 8, Stella released an 85-piece "All Together Now" collection of apparel and accessories for men, women and children. Her website refers to the collection as "a fun, uplifting and hopeful statement of unity at a time when it feels more important than ever." The line, ranging from $295 to $6,840, features the film s psychedelic graphics including yellow submarines and Lucy (in the sky with diamonds, natch) as well as song lyrics such as "All You Need Is Love" on a sweater and "All Together Now" embroidered on a jean jacket. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/9/19...... Steve MillerSteve Miller has shared an alternate version of his 1977 hit "Swingtown" as he prepares to release his upcoming rarities box set Welcome to the Vault on Oct. 11. Vastly different than the kinetic, Teflon-slick to 20 single from his 1977 set Book of Dreams, this "Swingtown" starts with a ringing, psychedelic intro before going into a gentle chug that takes the track into its familiar melody. But throughout its three and a half minutes the song takes a few curves and left turns, almost as if Miller is tossing ideas on the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks. "I remember (co-writer) Chris McCarty had a basic idea for the song, and it was quite different -- quite a different intro," Miller says. "You can hear there's sort of a musical prelude and then it goes into 'Swingtown.' And then as we were working on it, it was the era of the two-minute-and-30-second single and it had to be made for radio and there were always limitations. So I took what we had and edited and pared it down. It's interesting to compare the two... I've listened to it a lot and I really like the intro to (the alternative track). I'm glad we're getting that out there for people to hear." The alternate "Swingtown" will also appear on the Vault box set, along with 37 other previously unreleased rarities on the three-CD/DVD collection, including more studio and live material as well as five previously unheard Miller songs dating back to the late '60s. Miller and his band are currently on the road all summer, and he says he has another album in the works as well -- a compilation of live collaborations with Peter Frampton from tours the two did together during 2017 and 2018. - Billboard, 7/11/19...... As the Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead & Company wrapped their summer tour on July 6 in Colorado, the band have announced the dates for their upcoming "Playing in the Sand" destination event. CID Presents will host the event from Jan. 16-19 at Moon Palace in Cancun, Mexico. The group will play three nights on the sand for the third annual event. Dead & Company consists of former Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, along with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti. - Billboard, 7/9/19...... On July 6 The Who played their first show at London's Wembley Stadium since their 1985 Live Aid performance, bringing out Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder and debuting a new song. Vedder joined the Who for the Quadrophenia track "The Punk and The Godfather," with frontman Roger Daltrey telling the crowd, "He's going to share this song with me because he knows where it came from." The pair also shared a laugh before the song when Daltrey asked "What one were you? You were also the one with the stutter?" and Vedder responded, "No, I'm still the punk." The band also performed a new song called "Hero Ground Zero." - Billboard, 7/7/19...... Dolly Parton will star in a new yuletide Hallmark Channel film this Christmas entitled Christmas at Dollywood. In the movie, the Grammy-winning country singer will be featured alongside Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years, Project Mc), who plays the role of Rachel Lewis, a Broadway producer and single mother who has learned that investors have mismanaged the funds for her upcoming show into bankruptcy. Rachel then hears of an opportunity to produce a show for the 20th anniversary of the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood and returns to her home of Tennessee with her nine-year-old daughter, Amy, to work on the event. "I grew up watching Dolly Parton on TV," McKellar says. "I love her. She is everything. I got to meet her -- she is charismatic and gorgeous and lovely, and she's the best person ever. I'm so excited that I get to work with her." Filming begins in Tennessee in August and McKellar promises the project will include "a lot of really fun Dolly surprises." - Billboard, 7/11/19...... Stevie WonderDuring a concert at London's BST Festival on July 6, Stevie Wonder took a moment to reveal that he's taking a break from performing to undergo a kidney transplant this September. "I'm all good, I'm all good, all good, I have a donor and it's all good," the Motown legend assured fans after informing them of the upcoming surgery. "I want you to know, I came here to give you my love and thank you for your love. You ain't got to hear no rumors. I told you what's up. I am good. I love you and God bless you." Wonder, 69, said he'll be performing three more shows before going on hiatus to receive the procedure. - Billboard, 7/6/19...... Rock & roll pioneer Dave Bartholomew was laid to rest at a New Orleans funeral on July 8 after passing away at age 100 on June 23 at a suburban New Orleans hospital. Along with Fats Domino, Bartholomew co-wrote and produced such Domino classics as "Ain't That a Shame," "I'm Walkin'" and "Let the Four Winds Blow." Bartholomew was a trumpet player since childhood and a bandleader and arranger before World War II. He befriended Domino in the late 1940s and they collaborated on dozens of hits that captured Domino s good-natured appeal, made him one of rock s earliest stars and made New Orleans a popular music center. - AP, 7/8/19...... James Henke, the first curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died on July 8 after a long battle with dementia. He was 65. Henke joined the Rock Hall before the groundbreaking on the repository of musical treasures designed by famed architect I.M. Pei had even taken place, following a 16-year run at Rolling Stone magazine, where he was credited with helping to write landmark stories on everyone from U2 -- penning the first major profile of the group in the U.S. before the release of their 1981 debut, Boy -- to Bruce Springsteen and The Clash. "Jim was a friend for many years and I owe him for his stewardship of the Rolling Stone music section for many years and then taking the responsibility of helping to found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner said in a statement. "He will be missed by all of us." - Billboard, 7/9/19...... Legendary actor Rip Torn passed away on July 9 at his home in Lakeville, Conn. He was 88. Mr. Torn won an Emmy for his portrayal of the deliciously devious producer Artie on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show and is also known for his work on Broadway, being a Tony-nominated actor who appeared on the Great White Way ten times. He is survived by his wife Amy Wright, their daughter Katie Torn, and his daughter with former wife and actress Geraldine Page, Angelica Page. -, 7/9/19...... Robert Rackstraw, the lead suspect in the notorious 1971 DB Cooper airplane hijacking case, passed away from natural causes on July 9 at age 75. A man -- dubbed DB Cooper by the FBI -- hijacked a plane in 1971, demanded $200k as it was still at the airport and then parachuted from it with the cash. The FBI first considered Rackstraw as a suspect seven years after the hijacking in 1978, with investigators saying so many things about him seemed to match with Cooper. An unexpected breakthrough came in 2018 when cold case expert and author Thomas J. Colbert identified Rackstraw, a military vet with a murky past riddled by murder accusations and con-artistry, as the man responsible for the crime, citing a decades-worth of research as evidence. The FBI had closed the investigation in 2016 saying Cooper most likely died of exposure in the woods after the daring escape. -, 7/9/19.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Various Michael Jackson fan clubs including the Michael Jackson Community, the MJ Street and On the Line have filed a defamation suit in France against the two alleged victims of abuse featured in the 2018 documentary Leaving Neverland. Unlike in America, under French law defamation laws extend beyond death. The groups are seeking symbolic damages of 1 euro from each man on the grounds that they are "sullying" the late pop superstar's "image." The groups' lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot said: "In France you cannot sully the image of the dead. There's moral and emotional suffering. And when there's suffering, there's compensation. It's very simple." He also compared the men's allegations to a "genuine lynching." A joint documentary from the BBC's Channel 4 and HBO, Leaving Neverland detailed allegations of child abuse from James Safechuck and Wade Robson against Jackson, all of which have been denied by Jackson's family. - New Musical Express, 7/5/19...... Roger DaltreyIn a new interview with Billboard, The Who's Roger Daltrey says he expects that age will claim his voice in the next few years. "Obviously within the next five years I think my voice will go. Age will get it in the end." But, Datrey adds, "It's still there at the moment," and says he plans on getting the most out of with the time he has left. In June, Daltrey released a live album from his tour performing the Who's iconic rock opera Tommy with symphony orchestras, after releasing his first new solo album (As Long As I Have You) in 26 years in 2018 and publishing a memoir (Thanks a Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite). As the iconic 1969 Woodstock festival approaches its 50th anniversary, Daltrey also reminisced about the Who's performance. "Once we got to 'See Me, Feel Me' it was sunrise and the sun just peeked itself over the horizon," he recalls. "You couldn't have planned it better. It was just magical." Daltrey also talked about the Who's new studio album, which has no title or release date yet. "It's turning out really much better than I ever thought it could be," he says. He reports there are nine tracks "that are absolutely fabulous," some of which will also be orchestrated, and he expects the group to add one or two more songs before it's finished. The Who's summer "Moving On!" tour schedule includes a huge show at London's Wembley Stadium on July 6, backed by a symphony orchestra and with special guests Kaiser Chiefs, Eddie Vedder, Imelda May and Connor Selby. The show comes only a day after Pete Townshend confirmed the death of the band's long-term guitar technician, Alan Rogan. Townshend described Rogan as "my guitar tech, friend, saviour and good buddy... (he) was an essential and hugely respected member of the Who crew for many years and will be sorely missed." Rogan, who also did guitar maintenance for Aerosmith, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards, has been described as "the greatest guitar tech of all time." - Billboard/NME, 7/3/19...... An official in Oneida County, N.Y., where the Woodstock 50 festival is scheduled to be held on Aug. 16-18 released a statement on July 2 saying hosting the festival "could pose a significant challenge." County Executive Anthony Picente says preparing for the health and safety of residents and concert goers with the event just over a month away will be challenging. "With the event just a little over a month away, we have been asked to prepare in just days what has failed to get done in over a year of negotiations and preparations at the previous location," Picente noted. "With such a short time frame, the logistical hurdles to ensure the public health and safety of the concertgoers and the surrounding community could pose a significant challenge. In light of the hundreds of thousands that turned out for the original 1969 festival our first and foremost concern is for the safety and welfare of Oneida County residents," he added. The Woodstock 50 festival has faced a series of setbacks, including the losses of a financial partner, a production company and original site, Watkins Glen International. A mass gathering permit application for the Vernon Downs harness track and casino in Vernon, N.Y., was recently filed after operators of the original festival site pulled out in June. - AP, 7/2/19...... Smokey RobinsonMotown legend Smokey Robinson recently traveled to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., to entertain its young patients. In a heartwarming new video, posted on Instagram, Robinson teaches patients Calvin, Cassidy and Alana the Temptations' "Get Ready." They sing the tune and clap their hands to the beat, and even delve into a small side-chat about how Smokey got his unique name. Robinson's visit was part of his participation in the "Music Gives to St. Jude Kids" initiative, which aims to inspire bands, their fans and the music industry as a whole to raise awareness for St. Jude. "It means the world to me to be able to spend time with these amazing kids and experience the joy that music brings to their faces," said Robinson in a press statement. "There is magic in song and the ability to harness that magic to help heal your mind and body is truly a gift. I am honored to share my love for music with these brave children and in turn, share that experience with the world through this video." - Billboard, 7/2/19...... On July 2, producers of an upcoming Elvis Presley biopic to be directed by Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby) revealed that a group of rising stars including Harry Styles, Miles Teller, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ansel Elgort and Austin Butler have tested to portray the late King of Rock 'n' Roll in the film. Styles seems to be the most obvious musical choice, with two wildly successful projects under his belt with One Direction and his just-starting solo career. Though his only venture into acting thus far has been in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, it was quite a prestigious start and critics say his performance was solid. In March, it was revealed that Tom Hanks, who counts Elvis as one of his musical heroes, is in talks to play Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Production on the movie is expected to begin later in 2019. - Billboard, 7/2/19...... Gilbert O'SullivanIrish-born and English-reared singer Gilbert O'Sullivan of "Alone Again, Naturally" fame will be returning to live performing in the U.S. for the first time in 43 years on July 9 and 10 with two gigs at Manhattan's City Winery and Philadelphia's World Cafe Live, respectively. O'Sullivan says he hopes it's the beginning of righting a wrong decision made by his management back in the mid-'70s. "After having three million-sellers I was ready for my first tour of America, so the decision that my manager at the time had to make -- and I had nothing to do with it -- was should I go and do my own shows and play big venues in Europe or come to America and support the Moody Blues?" O'Sullivan says his management opted to instead put him out as a headliner in all territories, which -- despite a successful performance at New York's Carnegie Hall -- proved to be "a wonderful disaster" in the U.S., where the tour was eventually aborted due to low ticket sales. "Just because you sell millions of records it doesn't guarantee bums on seats," he says. "I wasn't involved enough, but obviously looking back at this it was the wrong decision to send me out there without having the experience of doing support. So that's the story." After some career ups and downs, O'Sullivan returned to active live performing during the mid-00s and has been releasing music steadily, including a well-received 2018 self-titled effort, produced by Ethan Johns. He played some shows to introduce that release in an "intimate and up close and personal" duo format with guitarist Bill Shanley -- which is how O'Sullivan says he's electing to play his upcoming U.S. shows. O'Sullivan has more European dates set up during the remainder of 2019, as well as a plan to return to the U.S. next spring. "I mean, it's a guy who hasn't been there in so many years. They don't know what it's going to be like," he notes. "So they were very wary; We had to work really hard to even get this. So if we go down well and the reaction is good, we could be doing quite a few more dates covering the country. I'd certainly like that." - Billboard, 7/2/19...... Robert Plant performed the Led Zeppelin classic "Immigrant Song" for the first time in 23 years during his headlining set at the Secret Solstice festival in Iceland on June 29. Plant last performed the song on Feb. 9, 1996 during a tour with Jimmy Page. "We went to Iceland, and it made you think of Vikings and big ships. And bang, there it was -- ' Immigrant Song!'," Plant said of the 1970 tune at the time. "We come from the land of the ice and snow/From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow," the lyrics fittingly read. "Immigrant Song" was the lead single from Zeppelin's 1970 LP, Led Zeppelin III. - Billboard, 7/1/19...... In related news, the Rolling Stones performed their cover of Don Covay & The Goodtimers song "Mercy Mercy" for the first time in 50 years during their concert at Landover, Maryland on July 3. "It's a long time ago, so we're going to try to remember it," frontman Mick Jagger told the audience before launching into the song. The last time the Stones played "Mercy Mercy"' was at their Hyde Park show on July 6, 1969, days after the death of guitarist Brian Jones. Brian JonesMeanwhile, as the 50th anniversary of the death of Jones came on July 3, Jones' daughter Barbara Marion told the UK's Sky News she thinks her father could have been murdered. Describing his death as a "bit of a mystery, Marion said: "I think he was murdered and I think the police did not investigate it the way they should have. I would love to have them reopen [the case] and to get some answers." In 1969, a coroner recorded the death of the co-founding Stones member, who was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm in East Sussex, as a result of "misadventure." In March of this year, Sussex Police said: "From time to time over the past 49 years Sussex Police have also received messages or reports from journalists and other individuals about the death. Each is considered on its individual merits and reviewed wherever appropriate. No such report has been received since 2010 and no new evidence has emerged to suggest that the coroner's original verdict of 'death by misadventure' was incorrect. The case has not been reopened and there are no plans for that to happen." - New Musical Express, 7/5/19...... A copyright court case over Ed Sheeran allegedly copying Marvin Gaye's iconic 1973 single "Let's Get It On" has reportedly been delayed until 2020. In 1918, The family of Ed Townshend who co-wrote the song with Gaye, filed suit against the "Shape of You" singer for allegedly lifting variety of musical elements -- including melody, harmony, and rhythmic components -- for his 2014 single, "Thinking Out Loud." A request by Sheeran to dismiss the lawsuit was later rejected by District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan, who argued there are "substantial similarities between several of the two works' musical elements". He also referenced performances of Sheeran "seamlessly transitioning between [the songs]" to support the reasoning for the suit. Now, it's been reported that the case could be delayed until next year. According to Law360 magazine, Standon joked for those involved to "take the summer off!" while a similar copyright case between Led Zeppelin and Spirit over "Stairway to Heaven" has been resolved. The publication states that all parties will then be summoned by the US District Judge in New York. Sheeran is reportedly being sued for a $100m (£76.4m) over his alleged use of the track. - NME, 7/3/19...... City officials in Philadephia honored hometown girl Patti LaBelle during a ceremony on July 2 by renaming a street between Locust and Spruce Streets "Patti LaBelle Way." LaBelle, sometimes referred to as "The Godmother of Soul," was on hand to make remarks during the ceremony. Labelle's former group of the same name scored a No. 1 hit in 1975 with "Lady Marmalade," and she also had a successful solo career with hits like "You Are My Friend" and "New Attitude." LaBelle is the winner of two Grammy Awards and has appeared in her own cooking show, Patti LaBelle's Place. She has also launched a successful pie and cake business, with her deserts available at Walmart. - AP, 7/2/19...... Linda McCartneyAs a Linda McCartney photo retrospective exhibition prepares to open in Glasgow later this summer, Paul McCartney remembered his first wife during an interview with the BBC on July 5. "Both my mum and Linda died of breast cancer. We had no idea what my mum had died of because no-one talked about it. She just died." Sir Paul continued: "The worse thing about that was everyone was very stoic, everyone kept a stiff upper lip and then one evening you'd hear my dad crying in the next room. It was tragic because we'd never heard him cry. It was a quiet private kind of grief." Macca said he "cried for about a year, on and off." "You expect to see them walk in, this person you love, because you are so used to them," he said. "I cried a lot. It was almost embarrassing except it seemed the only thing to do." Paul also spoke of Linda's photography: "When she came to Britain and we got to together the greatest thing about it was we both wanted to be free. We did what we wanted and she took pictures of it all." Linda McCartney died after a battle with breast cancer on Apr. 17, 1998, at age 56. - New Musical Express, 7/5/19...... Comic Arte Johnson, best known for the hilarous characters he created for the 1960 comedy series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, died on July 3 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of heart failure following a three-year battle with bladder and prostate cancer, his family announced. He was 90. The 5-foot-4 Mr. Johnson, a master of ad libs, double-talk and dialects who once said he was content to be a "second banana," cracked up Laugh-In audiences with his portrayal of Wolfgang, a former German storm trooper who muttered "Verry interesting" to the most cracked proposals (or, "Verry interesting -- but stupid"). Mr. Johnson said he got the idea for the character while watching Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan battle the Nazis in the 1942 movie Desperate Journey. Mr. Johnson had a repertoire of more than 60 comic characters, including Piotr Rosmenko, an Eastern European song-and-dance man; Rabbi Shankar, an addled Indian guru; and a man in a yellow raincoat who could not help falling off his tricycle. Mr. Johnson came to Los Angeles in 1955 as a singer and appeared on such shows as Make Room for Daddy, Sally, The Twilight Zone, The Red Skelton Hour, The Andy Griffith Show and McHale's Navy and in the films Miracle in the Rain (1956), The Subterraneans (1960), The Third Day (1965) -- as a neurotic killer -- and The President's Analyst (1967). His versatile vocal creations led to work in scores of commercials over the years. Producer George Schlatter was impressed with his humorous characterizations and impersonations and asked Johnson to try out for Laugh-In, which debuted in September 1968. In the 1970s for NBC, Johnson headlined his own special, Verry Interesting; starred in the telefilm Call Holme, a comedy mystery that utilized his propensity for disguises and accents; and served as master of ceremonies for the quiz show Knockout. In 1968, Johnson married a German woman, Gisela, and picked up a love of needlepoint from her. She survives him, as does his brother. Donations in his name can be made to Actors & Others for Animals. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/3/19...... Alfred E. NeumanIt has been revealed that Mad magazine, the irreverent and highly influential satirical comic that gave the world Alfred E. Neuman, will effectively cease publication some time later in 2019, after 67 years in existence. According to sources, Mad will no longer be sold on newsstands after the August issue, and will only be available through comic book shops as well as mailed to subscribers. After the September issue, there will no longer be new content save for the end-of-year specials. Beginning with the October issue, the magazine will only feature previously published content -- classic and best-of nostalgic fare -- from its massive vault of material from the past 67 years. DC, however, will continue to publish Mad books and special collections. The venerable humor magazine was founded in 1952 by a group of editors led by Harvey Kurtzman. Although it began as a comic book, bimonthly issues were published and became the norm for the satirical content. Mad, with it's always memorable covers featuring the gap-toothed Alfred E. Neuman, has been highly influential for successive generations of comedians, artists, writers and performers. The news of Mad's closure has already led to reaction on social media, with a host of comedy heavyweights sharing their sorrow, how the mag influenced them and their favorite bits over the years. "I am profoundly sad to hear that after 67 years, Mad Magazine is ceasing publication," tweeted pop music satirist Weird Al Yankovic. "I can't begin to describe the impact it had on me as a young kid it's pretty much the reason I turned out weird. Goodbye to one of the all-time greatest American institutions. #ThanksMAD." DC Entertainment, the publishers of Mad, declined to comment. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/3/19...... Auto industry legend Lee Iacocca, best remembered as the man who was the driving force behind the Ford Mustang and as Chrysler CEO who managed to save the company from near-certain destruction in the early 1980s, died on July 2 at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif. He was 94. Mr. Iacocca also was likely the only auto executive to have a best-selling autobiography, and was the driving force behind the modern rebirth of the minivan while at Chrysler. He had his share of controversy as well, getting fired from his position as president of Ford as the result of the fallout from the Ford Pinto's exploding fuel tank scandal, the risks of which Ford (and Iacocca) were aware of before the car went to market. Outside of the automotive business, Mr. Iacocca was appointed by Pres. Ronald Reagan to head the foundation to raise funds for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, and founded the Olivio company, which makes olive oil-derived food products and donates all the profits to diabetes research. He also appeared on an episode of Miami Vice, as a park commissioner. -, 7/2/19.

Monday, July 1, 2019

It has been revealed that Mick Jagger has to be within feet of a doctor when on stage just weeks after having heart surgery, and indeed the Rolling Stones frontman has a cardiologist waiting in the wings at every Stones concert "just in case." Sir Mick, 75, returned to live performing on June 21 in Chicago as the Stones kicked off the latest leg of their No Filter in the U.S. after the band was forced to postpone its North American concerts after it was disclosed that Jagger needed life-saving heart valve replacement surgery in April. However, insurance requirements mean a heart specialist now has to be within feet of the singer every time he is on stage. "There has always been a doctor on tour with the band -- that's a requirement of any major tour, particularly given the ages of the band members," according to one source. "But now Mick has undergone heart surgery, there is a cardiologist there too, just for him. The insurance company demands it just in case anything happens," he added. Jagger has reportedly resumed his gruelling fitness regime, which includes working out for two hours a day with a trainer, and even has his own gym set up in a suite next to his hotel room. He also travels with a private chef who cooks him organic food. The source added: "Mick has always eaten clean but he's on a low-sodium diet because of his issues. He takes a handfuls of vitamins every day and has never looked or sounded better." On June 29, the Stones performed a Canada Day show at Burl's Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, about 90 minutes north of Toronto. "Hello Canada. Happy Canada Day, everybody," Jagger told his audience of around 60,000 after the band performed two opening songs ,"Street Fighting Man" and "Let's Spend The Night Together" (Canada Day is officially July 1), before launching into "Tumbling Dice." It would be the first of many Canadian references he would make during the two-hour set. The band's two-song encore consisted of Mick's vocal duet with Sasha Allen on "Gimme Shelter," while closer "Satisfaction" capped the show with a fireworks display. -, 6/29/19...... Neil DiamondOn July 1, a new biographical Broadway musical telling the life story of Neil Diamond was announced by producers Ken Davenport and Bob Gaudio. The as yet untitled musical, directed by Michael Mayer, will consist of the veteran singer's greatest hits and is based on a book by writer Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Theory of Everything). The musical will follow Diamond's journey throughout his life, from poor kid in Brooklyn to one of the greatest showmen in rock 'n' roll history. In a statement, Diamond said he's "always loved Broadway." "The inspiration for many of my early songs came from shows like 'West Side Story', 'My Fair Lady' and 'Fiddler on the Roof', so it seems only fitting to bring my songs to The Great White Way. I'm honored and excited to be working with this great team," he noted. Additional details will be announced soon. - Billboard, 7/1/19...... As the new Cameron Crowe-produced David Crosby documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name prepares to hit U.S. theaters on July 19, Crosby says he hopes the film will serve as "an apology" to fans for the mistakes he's made throughout his life. "It's a very difficult film for me, playing a flawed human being, highly imperfect -- sometimes an asshole," Crosby says. "Lots of mistakes. If you are trying to look at me as a whole picture, you can't leave that stuff out, because otherwise it's like cooking the meat and no salt." Crosby and Crowe have known each other since 1974, when then writer Crowe interviewed the rock superstar for a Rolling Stone magazine profile. Like most "Croz"'s friends and close observers, Crowe says he held little hope for a long run for the musician. "I ran into him probably four or five times between '78 and '93, where I really thought it would be the last time," Crowe says. "He felt a bit like an empty shell. I would see him at one of those [local school] events and he gave you this look like, 'Travel safely, my friend.' You go, oh, shoot, kiss it goodbye. Then a year later, he's back." The 95-minute picture debuted to a strong reception at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in 2019 and was quickly picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for release. - Billboard, 7/1/19...... A GoFundMe campaign has been launched by fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd to erect two Mississippi Blues Trail markers to commemorate the 1977 plane crash that killed three members of the legendary Southern rock band, their road managers and two pilots. According to a local paper, the markers will be unveiled in October, 42 years after the tragic accident -- one near the crash site in Gillsburg and the other at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb, where survivors were treated. Mississippian Skynyrd fan Mike Rounsaville, who is organizing the campaign, says his GoFundMe page has already reached $10,000 in donations. The Florida-based band is touring Europe and the U.S. in 2019. - AP, 6/29/19...... In related news, Yusuf/Cat Stevens is among the musicians participating in a crowdfunding campaign to help restore and preserve late singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone's childhood home in Tryon, N.C. The clapboard pier and beam house, which has been designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, helped inspire some of Simone's most powerful work, including the songs "Mississippi Goddam" and "Four Women." The National Trust is also taking the Simone crowdfunding campaign on the road, bringing it to the 25th annual Essence Festival in New Orleans (July 5-7). - Billboard, 7/1/19...... Bette Midler reacted to Pres. Donald Trump's recent tweet calling the singer a "washed-up psycho" on June 4 during a performance before a raucous crowd at the Javits Center in New York during her headlining set at New York's World Pride main event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot. Midler joked that she was surprised she was even invited after Trump's harsh lambasting on Twitter. "Just two weeks ago, I was a washed-up psycho," she quipped. "Happily, I have recovered completely, and there's something that I learned from my president's lunatic attack," she added, before dropping into her beloved hit "Friends." "I am not alone," Midler sang. "When he tweets me and derides me/ As he sits there on the throne/ At one thirty in the f---ing morning/ What is he doing?... he had just had dinner with the queen. He doesn't drink, but of course he is 73, so I'm sure he had to pee all night long. There he is sitting on the throne, got nothing better to do but call me a 'washed-up psycho.'" In June, Midler tweeted an apology for a previous statement she had erroneously attributed to Trump. "I apologize; this quote turns out to be a fake from way back in '15-16. Don't know how I missed it, but it sounds SO much like him that I believed it was true!" the singer-actress wrote. - Billboard, 7/1/19...... Sharon OsbourneOzzy OsbourneMeanwhile, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are blasting Pres. Trump's use of Ozzy's solo hit "Crazy Train" in a Twitter post about the recent Democratic presidential debate on June 27. Trump tweeted a doctored video that marries Osbourne's 1980 single with footage of a technical glitch that occurred at last night's Democratic primary debate in an effort to mock the participants. The video culminates with footage of Trump on a stage before ending with a plug for Trump's 2020 campaign. "Based on this morning's unauthorized use of Ozzy Osbourne's 'Crazy Train,' we are sending notice to the Trump campaign (or any other campaigns) that they are forbidden from using any of Ozzy Osbourne's music in political ads or in any political campaigns," said Sharon -- who notably appeared on Season 9 of Trump's NBC series The Celebrity Apprentice -- in a statement on behalf of her husband. "Ozzy's music cannot be used for any means without approvals. In the meantime, I have a suggestion for Mr. Trump -- perhaps he should reach out to some of his musician friends. Maybe Kayne West ('Gold Digger'), Kid Rock ('I Am the Bullgod') or Ted Nugent ('Stranglehold') will allow use of their music." Previously, such major rock stars as Queen, Neil Young, Aerosmith and R.E.M. have protested the president's use of their songs at Trump events. - Billboard, 6/27/19...... In other Black Sabbath-related news, the band's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler admitted that they "don't listen to modern heavy metal" during the opening of a new Black Sabbath exhibition in their hometown of Birmingham, UK on June 26. "I don't particularly [listen to modern metal," said Butler. "The Beatles, The Stones and The Kinks, that's my kind of music." "I tend to listen to the more older stuff really. More the classic stuff than the newer stuff because I relate to that more," Iommi added. The "Home Of Metal: Black Sabbath at 50" exhibition, will celebrate how the West Midlands band pioneered heavy metal before it spread across the globe. While Sabbath played their last gig in 2017, Ozzy Osbourne recently admitted he's hoping for one last gig with ousted drummer Bill Ward. - New Musical Express, 6/27/19...... In other Heavy Metal news, the University of Newcastle in Australia has just announced a scholarship for a PhD student to study "Heavy Metal Geographies." The scholarship is worth $27,596AUD (£15,256), and would allow the successful applicant to research "the social geography of heavy metal culture." For the metal degree, the course description reads: "While unique scenes have evolved across the globe, the bulk of Heavy Metal's bands have originated within countries in the northern latitudes. "Australia is uniquely positioned within this global evolution, owing to its historical connection to the United Kingdom and shared cultural affinities with its colonial originator. While remote from the geographical heart of Heavy Metal culture, Australia has developed its own unique and passionate approach, producing a number of high profile bands." - NME, 6/27/19...... During his second show in Las Vegas on his "Freshen Up Tour" on June 28, Paul McCartney brought out another famous rocker, Steven Tyler, to scream through what is probably the fiercest rocker in the Beatles' canon, "Helter Skelter." Tyler -- who's back in Vegas for his "Deuces Are Wild" residency with Aerosmith -- spent his night off enjoying the music of Macca. Before he hopped onstage to belt out "Helter Skelter" with McCartney, Tyler broadcast his joy to his followers through his Instagram account as he sang along with the chorus of "Hey Jude" from backstage. The Aerosmith frontman was clearly thrilled to be in the company of one of his own favorite musicians, and even brought his own trademark, scarf-draped microphone to the T-Mobile Arena for their standout moment in the deafening "Helter Skelter" encore. McCartney's "Freshen Up Tour" picks up again in Vancouver on July 6. Aerosmith will roll through their Vegas run of "Deuces Are Wild" dates through July 9 before they take their residency on an East Coast tour, which kicks off Aug. 8 in National Harbor, M.D. - Billboad, 6/29/19...... After Elton John released an open letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Instagram on June 28 saying he "strongly disagrees with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies," Putin is denying that Russia is hostile toward the LGBT community and said that British singer Elton John was wrong to make such claims. "[Elton John] is mistaken," Putin was quoted as saying by the Russian state-run news agency TASS on June 29. "We [in Russia] have a very neutral attitude to members of the LGBT community. We have a law, for which we've been slammed, a law banning propaganda of homosexuality among minors." According to Putin, the law just aims to make sure children are "left alone" until they've grown up, and then they can make decisions regarding their sexuality. In further remarks, Putin complemented John. "I respect him very much, he is a genial musician, he comes to Russia and we are happy to listen to him sing," he said. John's remarks referred to the fact that the recent Elton biopic Rocketman was censored in Russia, with scenes depicting gay sex and drug consumption being cut. However the Russian culture ministry, which is in charge of issuing permissions for movies to be released, stressed that it didn't request any changes, and that the cuts were made voluntarily by the local distributor. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/1/19...... Mike LoveThe Beach Boys singer Mike Love announced on June 28 that he'll be releasing a new solo album on July 19 entitled 12 Sides of Summer, and has also released a new song from the LP, "California Beach." Describing the song, Love says is about "That mythical place out west; the California I've been blessed to call home has provided a lifetime of inspiration. California Beach, in reality is not one, but many wonderful places that have held an allure beckoning so many for countless years. This song has been living in my head for a long time and finally, 'California Beach' has come to life just in time for summer." Love's fourth solo outing, 12 Sides of Summer will be made up of original tracks, updated versions of Beach Boys songs ("Surfin'," "Surfin' Safari" and the Hanson-featured "It's OK") and other covers (including the Ramones' "Rockaway Beach," the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," ABBA's "On and On and On," Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues," and the Dave Clark Five's "Over and Over"). - New Musical Express, 6/28/19...... Cher took to Twitter on June 28 on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, to celebrate gay pride. "Can't Believe It's 50 YRS SINCE STONEWALL," Cher wrote. "Don't Have Anything Witty Or Smart 2 Say..actually I'm in tears writing this. U HAVE FOUGHT SO LONG,BEEN SO STRONG,IM BEAMING WITH PRIDE. WE HAVE HAD EACH OTHERS BACKS SINCE I WAS 9.WE WILL CONTINUE 2 WALK THE ROAD 2GETHER." - Billboard, 6/28/19...... Queen has captured the top two spots on the just published Top Selling Vinyl Albums for the first six months of 2019, from Nielsen Music. The top-selling vinyl LP of 2019 thus far is Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack with 61,000 copies sold. The band also has the second-biggest selling vinyl set of the year, as its Greatest Hits package has shifted 49,000. Other '70s artists making the top 10 in vinyl sales include the Beatles (Abbey Road, 33,000), Pink Floyd (32,000), Bob Marley and the Wailers (Legend, 30,000), Fleetwood Mac (Rumours, 29,000), and Michael Jackson (Thriller, 29,000). Queen has sold more albums in North America than any other artist in the first half of 2019, as music featured in high profile Queen movies and television shows sent streaming and downloads of their music soaring. The band sold more than 731,000 albums -- more than any other artist -- as well as the most digital songs with more than 1.3 million downloads, Nielsen said. - Billboard, 6/28/19...... It has been revealed that the new owner of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's legendary "Black Strat" guitar used on such classic Floyd tracks as "Comfortably Numb" and "Money" is Jim Irsay, the owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts NFL team whose net worth stands at over $2 billion (£1.58b). "I just f----ing love Pink Floyd, man, I cannot deny it," Irsay told Rolling Stone magazine. Irsay contributed nearly a quarter of the $21.5 million total raised by the auction of Gilmour's guitars, dropping $3,975,000 (£3.13m) on the Black Strat and, in doing so, setting the world record for the most expensive guitar sold at auction. Irsay, through a proxy, also successfully bid for the Black Strat's flight case ($175,000, or £138,125) and another six-string, the 1969 Martin D-35 that was used on "Wish You Were Here" ($1,095,000, or £864,272). After the Martin acoustic guitar was sold for $900,000 (£710,388) -- its final price includes additional fees -- Irsay knew "that it would be a record-breaking auction," he told Rolling Stone. "It was really off-kilter. I was like, wow. Why on Earth and how on Earth? But Floyd internationally is a powerful thing." - NME, 6/28/19...... Chic mastermind Nile Rodgers is set to receive the coveted Artist's Artist Award at the U.K.'s Artists and Managers Awards on Nov. 14 at the Bloomsbury Big Top in central London. "I've been very lucky to receive recognition for my achievements throughout my career but this is very special," Rodgers says in a statement. "To be selected as 'The Artist's Artist' by some of my favorite artists is truly special. To receive that recognition from a panel as diverse as Annie Lennox, Nick Mason from Pink Floyd [and] Ed O' Brien from Radiohead... is very, very meaningful to me and will make for a special night in my life at the Artist & Managers Awards." Rodgers is also curator of this year's Meltdown Festival on London's Southbank. - Billboard, 6/27/19...... Brian JohnsonJoe WalshOn June 24, Eagles member Joe Walsh revealed in a mysterious post on his Instagram account that he and AC/DC singer Brian Johnson have been doing some recording in the studio. Walsh posted a photo of the pair together, along with a caption reading: "Great day making music today with my old pal Brian in London. We nailed it! Love ya man!" Walsh didn't give any further details about the collaboration, but it follows the pair making an impromptu song for Johnson's TV series A Life On The Road, in which the singer discusses the careers of several musicians, including Walsh. In their episode, Walsh talked about his career in the Eagles and his early band the James Gang. It has been speculated that the pair will record a studio version of their song from A Life On The Road, and that they have since been writing new music together. - New Musical Express, 6/27/19...... The Allman Brothers Band spinoff group the Allman Betts Band released their debut album, Down to the River, on June 28 via BMG Records. Down To The River was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and was produced by Grammy Award-winning boardman Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley). Peter Levin (Gregg Allman's Hammond B3 player) and Chuck Leavell (former ABB keyboardist and current Rolling Stones keyboardist) make special appearances on the record. The Allman Betts Band is comprised of Devon Allman, Duane Betts, Berry Duane Oakley, Johnny Stachela, John Ginty, R Scott Bryan and John Lum. The band kicked off their world tour on March 27 at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC then went on to sell out twelve of their first eighteen shows on the first leg of their 200-show world tour. - Noble PR, 6/28/19...... Sitcom actor Max Wright, best known as family patriarch Willie Tanner on the 1980s series ALF, died on June 27 after a long battle with cancer. He was 75. Wright appeared on the puppet-driven sitcom which ran for four seasons on NBC, also appearing in such shows as Cheers, Buffalo Bill, Misfits of Science and Norm, among others. His film credits included All That Jazz, Reds, The Sting II, Soul Man and The Shadow. He is survived by two children and his wife, Linda Ybarrondo, passed in 2017. -, 6/27/19.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Although the Cher-based Broadway musical "The Cher Show" recently won Tony Awards for lead actress Stephanie J. Block and costume designer Bob Mackie, the bio-musical has fallen short of commercial expectations and is scheduled to play its final show on Aug. 18 at the Neil Simon Theatre, following a run of 34 previews and 296 regular performances. Produced by Cher, Flody Suarez and Jeffrey Seller, for whom it was the follow-up project to the smash show "Hamilton," "The Cher Show" opened Dec. 3 to mixed reviews and has been slipping at the box office after doing $1 million-plus a week in its first three months. The show stars Block, Teal Wicks and Broadway newcomer Micaela Diamond as Cher at three points in her life, with Jarrod Spector as Cher's first husband Sonny Bono. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/26/19...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper is denying reports that he has a "death pact" with his longtime wife Sheryl Goddard after telling the U.K. paper The Mirror that they've agreed there is no way they can live without each other. Explaining the pact, he said: "We've made a pact -- there is no way of surviving without each other. I couldn't live without her. We always said there will never be a time when one of us will be mourning the other. She dances better now than she did in 1975. You would think people would want to get away from the wives but she is my best friend. And there is no way of surviving without each other." However, now Alice says what he really meant is that it's more of a "life pact" with his wife of 43 years instead. "What I was meaning was that because we're almost always together, at home and on the road, that if something did happen to either of us, we'd most likely be together at the time. But neither of us has a suicide pact. We have a life pact. And, besides, I'm booked through 2028, so..." Cooper, 71, first met Goddard, 61, in 1975 when she began dancing in his stage shows, and the couple have two daughters and one son together. He says they've "never cheated" on each other in their 43 years of marriage. Cooper is currently on tour with his "supergroup" side project, the Hollywood Vampires. - New Musical Express, 6/24/19...... After the animal rights organization PETA released some shocking footage of muscular dystrophy experiments on dogs at Texas A&M University, Paul McCartney is urging the university to end the mistreatment. In the experiments, golden retrievers are bred to have a crippling form of muscular dystrophy that leaves them struggling to walk, swallow and breathe. "The video footage of golden retrievers in your university's dog laboratory is heartbreaking," Sir Paul wrote in a letter on June 26, according to a PETA press release. "I have had dogs since I was a boy and loved them all dearly, including Martha, who was my companion for about 15 years and about whom I wrote the song 'Martha My Dear.' Please do the right thing by ending the suffering of dogs in TAMU's muscular dystrophy laboratory and switching to modern research methods instead." McCartney has been a longtime animal supporter, as a meat-free dieter who has teamed up with PETA multiple times in the past. - Billboard, 6/26/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which handles the Fab Four's catalog, is hoping the music of the Beatles resonates with the listeners of today as the new Beatles-themed movie Yesterday opens in U.S. theaters on June 28. "Our goal is that the new generation understands it and other films [and] other bands want to use the Beatles' music," says Sony/ATV marketing exec Brian Monaco. "It's a pretty healthy business for the Beatles in general. So will it get bigger? We don't know, but there's a hope there." Sony/ATV cleared 17 Beatles song copyrights for the Danny Boyle-directed fantasy that imagines what would happen if a lone singer/songwriter, played by Himesh Patel, was the only person who knew the Beatles had existed and claimed the Fab Four's songs for his own. The number is the most Beatles songs Sony/ATV has ever licensed for a non-documentary, feature film. Yesterday includes only one master usage -- the Beatles recording of "Hey Jude" that plays over the end credits. The movie follows Sony/ATV licensing "Help" for a Google commercial this spring, as well as clearing several Beatles' tracks for Netflix's children's series Beat Bugs. Capitol Records, which controls the Beatles' masters, released the Yesterday soundtrack to the film June 21. - Billboard, 6/26/19...... '70s artists George Clinton and Gloria Gaynor are among the musicians receiving the National Museum of African American Music's Rhapsody & Rhythm Award on June 27 in Nashville, Tenn. "The Rhapsody & Rhythm honorees span the breadth of African-American music, representing disco, hip-hop and funk," said NMAAM President and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III in a release announcing the gala. "Their artistry is innovative and influential, carrying an impact that can still be felt today." Meanwhile, actor Samuel L. Jackson has reportedly been cast as George Clinton in an upcoming biopic of disco music pioneer and Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart. The film, entitled Spinning Gold, will see Jackson play funk legend Clinton, while D.L. Hughley rock out as Clinton's funk brother, bassist Bootsy Collins. The role of Bogart will be played by Broadway's Jeremy Jordan. Production is set to begin in Montreal on July 16. - Billboard/NME, 6/26/19...... Michael JacksonOn June 25 the estate of Michael Jackson released a statement on the tenth anniversary of the superstar entertainer's untimely death. "Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian," the statement begins. "The entire global community joined in grieving during a powerful and emotional memorial service witnessed by more people than had ever viewed a live event before. United in grief, the world wept not only at the loss of an artistic genius but at the void left by the loss of a father, son and brother," the statement continues. "A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever. But the true measure of Michael was his giving to others which came in many forms." Jackson died June 25, 2009 of acute Propofol intoxication at age 50. At the time of his death, he had been prepping for his comeback concert residency "This Is It" at London's O2 Arena. Meanwhile, organizers of the controversial "Michael Jackson Is Innocent" campaign also commemorated the late music icon on the 10th anniversary of his death with billboards across Europe. Organizers have arranged for several electronic billboards to appear in London, Rotterdam and Dublin to commemorate the anniversary of Jackson's passing. They come from the same organizers at the website who in March purchased advertising space across London, including on buses and bus shelters, in the wake of the controversial documentary Leaving Neverland. that detailed allegations of child abuse against the star, allegations which have been denied by Jackson's family. - Billboard/NME, 6/25/19...... On June 25 Elton John shared footage of his 2019 Cannes Film Festival performance, along with the digitally remastered video for his 1983 hit "I'm Still Standing." The performance video was filmed at the Rocketman premiere afterparty, while the music video was shot 36 years earlier in the same spot: Carlton Beach, Cannes. The original footage for the "I'm Still Standing" promo was nearly lost after the director, Russell Mulcahy, fell off of a pier with his camera while filming. Re-scanned from the original negative and reconstructed entirely from scratch, "I'm Still Standing" is now visible in ultra-clear 4K. John's final tour, the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, concludes in 2020. Meanwhile, Elton is the latest recipient of France's highest award, the Legion of Honor. On June 21, John joined a call by French President Emmanuel Macron to fund AIDS research and treatment. John spoke alongside Macron before thousands of people packed into the presidential Elysee Palace courtyard for an event of the annual Fete de la Musique. John was clearly moved at receiving France's highest award, pinned on him by Macron in a private ceremony, attended by the singer's husband David Furnish and their two children, among some 20 people in his entourage present. The president saluted Elton as "an icon that knew how to set an example," the Elysee Palace said. "To receive this decoration the day of the Fete de la Musique makes it even more special," John said later in the palace courtyard. John performed in Paris the previous evening in what is billed as his farewell world tour. In still more Elton news, the singer will be among those contributing songs to the reboot of the movie The Lion King, which hits theaters in July. A brand new Elton track called "Never Too Late" will be included, while one song is still to be announced. The full Lion King soundtrack album is out digitally on July 11 and physically on July 19. - Billboard/AP, 6/25/19...... Van Morrison has announced details of his next UK shows for 2019 and 2020. Morrison will start his tour in October, in Bournemouth, Cardiff, Oxford and Nottingham, with a stop at Brighton in early December. He'll then pick things up on December 31 with three consecutive nights at Belfast's Stormont Hotel. The new dates will follow Morrison's two London shows at the Roundhouse on July 6 and 7 as part of Inversions Festival. He's also due to appear at London's Cadogan Hall for the Rock Island Line 65th anniversary concert on July 13. - New Musical Express, 6/26/19...... Black SabbathBlack Sabbath have marked their 50th anniversary by opening a new exhibition in Birmingham that celebrates their hugely influential legacy. The "Home Of Metal: Black Sabbath at 50" exhibition opened on June 26 at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and it celebrates how the heavy metal legends band pioneered the genre before it spread across the globe. As well as featuring various items from the band's history -- donated by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward -- it also includes some of the biggest tributes from their fans across 50 years. Items on display include Osbourne's distinctive purple glasses alongside an outfit worn by utler during a concert at Birmingham's Town Hall which featured in the gatefold sleeve of their 1972 Vol 4 album. While Sabbath played their last gig in 2017, Ozzy Osbourne recently admitted he's hoping for one last gig with ousted drummer Bill Ward. New Musical Express, 6/26/19...... This November will see the release of a new coloring book authorized by the estate of Frank Zappa, The Frank Zappa Coloring Book. It's a brand-new collection of interactive illustrations based around the life and work of one of America's most unique musicians and will feature 72 new pieces of artwork ready for coloring, complete with references, in-jokes and Easter eggs for Zappa enthusiasts from the "Valley Girl" fan to the hardcore "G-Spot Tornado" aficionado. The book, by David Calcano and Lindsay Lee, is published by Fantoons and will hit stores on Nov. 5. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/25/19...... A downsized Woodstock 50 festival could possibly be held at an upstate New York harness track and casino. Town of Vernon Supervisor Randy Watson tells the Poughkeepsie Journal that Woodstock 50 has applied for a permit to hold its concert Aug. 16-18 at Vernon Downs, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Syracuse. Watson says the proposed capacity was 45,000-50,000 people -- far smaller than the 150,000 planned for at the initial venue, Watkins Glen International. The owner of the track says his company is close to signing a letter of intent and could host up to 65,000 people, but without camping. The Woodstock 50 festival has faced a series of setbacks, including Watkins Glen pulling out earlier in June. - AP, 6/24/19...... Bruce Springsteen has scored his 20th top 10 album on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart with his newest release Western Stars, which debuted at No. 2 for the week ending June 20, according to Nielsen Music. Of the 66,000 equivalent album units earned, 62,000 were in album sales. Springsteen last hit the top 10 in 2016 with the retrospective compilation release Chapter and Verse, which debuted and peaked at No. 5. - Billboard, 6/23/19...... The Motown Museum in Detroit has announced it will host a weekend of events on Sept. 21-23 honoring the company's founder Berry Gordy Jr. with "Hitsville Honors: Celebrating Berry Gordy & 60 Years of Motown" at the city's Orchestra Hall. Members of the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas and the Supremes' Mary Wilson are expected to attend, along with Ne-Yo and Detroit-based Big Sean and Kem. Tickets run $50-$1,000 and go on sale Aug. 1 through - Billboard, 6/23/19...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones kicked off their No Filter U.S. tour in Chicago on June 21, with frontman Mick Jagger showing no signs of slowing down after undergoing heart surgery to replace one of the valves in his heart earlier this spring. The 75-year old singer was a paragon of unbridled energy and enthusiasm throughout the uncharacteristically chilly Friday night performance. From the opening notes of "Street Fighting Man," Jagger proved across two hours and 20 different songs why he's considered by many to be the greatest frontman in the history of rock and roll. There was hardly a moment in the show where he wasn't flailing his arms, gyrating his hips, strutting or jogging up and down the lengthy catwalk and asking the crowd to give him more. "This is our 38th show in Chicago, and I still haven't eaten an Italian Beef," Jagger joked to the crowd about the Windy City's signature, grease-laden sandwich. The show included such deep album cuts as "Sad Sad Sad" from Steel Wheels (for the first time in almost 17 years) and "You Got Me Rocking" from Voodoo Lounge, which made it into the setlist thanks to an online fan vote. Both songs were a nice compliment to the expected classics like "Sympathy For The Devil," "Gimmer Shelter," "Start Me Up," "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Honky Tonk Women." The night ultimately ended like so many other Stones concerts have before this one with a loose -- but extremely enthusiastic -- rendition of the band's signature hit "Satisfaction," kissed off with an explosion of fireworks high into the Midwestern sky. - Billboard, 6/22/19...... Bob Seger closed a six-night run at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in suburban Detroit, as well as the latest leg of the tour, on June 21. Returning to the stage after his main set, Seger told the crowd at the venue that there was "a special guest" in the house. He then dedicated his 1975 song "Fine Memory" -- which he'd played for the first time ever just six days before in the same venue -- to former International Space Station commander Andrew Feustel, who was attending the concert with his wife, Indira. Seger told the crowd that "Fine Memory" reminded Feustel of his wife every time he blasted off on a new mission. Feustel's last ISS mission ended on Oct. 3. Seger and his Silver Bullet Band now take an extended break before returning to the road Sept. 12 in Rapid City, S.D. with 14 shows, a run scheduled to finish Oct. 19 in Chicago. - Billboard, 6/22/19...... Barry Manilow has gifted $100,000 worth of new band gear to a North Carolina high school in an area still recovering from Hurricane Florence. News outlets report the band at East Duplin High School couldn't afford new instruments and uniforms, so they entered a national contest by the Manilow Music Project for help. In a video of the announcement at a Las Vegas show on June 19, Manilow takes a pause from dancing and singing to crown East Duplin, N.C., as the winner. Manilow said he had been "bombarded" with video entries from high schools across the country saying why they think they deserved the funds before giving East Duplin the $100,000 for new instruments and uniforms. The school's band director says words can't describe his gratitude. - AP, 6/21/19...... Elvis Costello will be among the 35 stars included in the Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2020, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce's Walk of Fame Selection Committee announced on June 21. Others in the musicians category to be honored include Billy Idol, Tanya Tucker, Alicia Keys and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. - ComingSoon.Net, 6/21/19...... Ambient music pioneer, former Roxy Music member, and producer Brian Eno has been honored with an asteroid named after him. On June 24, Eno was presented with the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication at the prestigious science festival, Starmus V. It was for his contribution to the popularization of science. In addition, a Southwest Research Institute astronomer named Marc Buie named a new asteroid after Eno. The asteroid was originally called '81948 (2000 OM69)' but is now titled called 'Eno' (rather than the musician's full name: Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno). Eno is marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this July by reissuing his seminal Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks, and his new album, For All Mankind, is paired with the release for issue on July 19. - Billboard, 6/26/19...... Elliot RobertsElliot Roberts, the longtime manager of Neil Young and former manager of Joni Mitchell, died on the morning of June 21 of undisclosed causes. He was 76. During his tenure Roberts also guided the careers of such enduring and influential artists as Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Born Elliot Rabinowitz in 1943, Roberts was prominent in the rise of the Laurel Canyon music scene throughout the '60s and '70s. He managed Mitchell early in her career, when she was living in New York. The two moved to Los Angeles together in 1967 with her then-boyfriend, David Crosby. That same year, Roberts formed Lookout Management with agent David Geffen, and eventually created Asylum Records, which signed major artists like the Eagles. His most famous manager-client relationship was with Young, which began in 1969 and continued until Roberts' death. "My friend for over 50 years, Elliot Roberts, has passed away. We are all heartbroken, but want to share what a great human being Elliot has been," Neil Young wrote on June 22. Young went on to describe how, as the "greatest manager of all time," Roberts "guided me through every move" in his career and "protected my music with a fierceness before signing off with "See you at the gig, Elliot." - Billboard, 6/21/19...... Pop/country drummer Jerry Carrigan, who played on about 120 tracks by Elvis Presley and later toured with John Denver, died earlier in June in Chattanooga, Tenn., of an unknown illness. He was 75. The Alabama-born Carrigan was a member of the late Rick Hall's first rhythm section, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and played on Hall's first big hit out of FAME Recording Studios, Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" [in 1961] and later on Jimmy Hughes' "Steal Away." After getting his start in Muscle Shoals, Carrigan moved to Nashville, where he became one of the top drummers there. Carrigan also played on hits by George Jones and Tammy Wynette and FAME Studios recordings of Tommy Roe, The Tams, Joe Tex and Sonny James. - AP, 6/26/19.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Facebook has reversed its ban on Led Zeppelin's 1973 classic LP Houses of the Holy album cover after the artwork, which depicts nude children ascending the rocks at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. It is speculated the cover was likely flagged by a Facebook moderator who was unfamiliar with the band and blocked the image for the fact that it aligns with Facebook's ban on gruesome imagery, paedophilia, and other illegal and obscene content. After a petition gathered nearly 1,000 signatures in favor of Facebook reinstating the image, the popular social media site has now lifted the ban. A spokesperson for the company commented, "As our community standards explain, we don't allow nude images of children on Facebook. But we know this a culturally significant image. Therefore, we're restoring the posts we removed." Facebook added that in the future it would now more carefully consider the newsworthiness or importance of the subject matter so as to avoid unnecessary bans in the future. - New Musical Express, 6/21/19...... David GilmourThe "Black Strat" Fender Stratocaster used by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has broken the world record for any guitar sold at auction during a Christie's auction in New York City on June 21. Earlier in 2019, Gilmour announced that he'd be selling 120 of his iconic guitars to "give joy" to other people and in turn raise funds to help fight climate change. "These guitars have been very good to me," he said. "They're my friends. They have given me lots of music. I just think it's time that they went off and served someone else. I have had my time with them. And of course the money that they will raise will do an enormous amount of good in the world, and that is my intention." Gilmour's Black Strat, used on such tracks as "Comfortably Numb," "Money" and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," among others, commanded $3,975,00. He also used it in his solo career, playing it on the albums About Face, On An Island, Rattle That Lock and his 1978 self-titled solo debut. Gilmour's entire guitar collection went for a total of $21.5 million. In a statement, Gilmour said: "The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible... Either we choose to go on as a civilisation, or we don't. The choice really is that simple, and I hope that the sale of these guitars will help ClientEarth in their cause to use the law to bring about real change. We need a civilised world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung." All proceeds from the auction will be donated to ClientEarth. - New Musical Express, 6/21/19...... The Rolling Stones will return to the stage on June 21 at Chicago's Solder Field for the first time since postponing their North American tour because frontman Mick Jagger needed medical treatment. A second show at the venue is scheduled for June 25. In May, the band said their No Filter tour would feature classic hits such as "Sympathy For The Devil" and "Paint It Black." The tour was delayed after doctors told Jagger, 75, in late March he couldn't tour at the time. - AP, 6/21/19...... Ozzy Osbourne is among the artists featured in the new DreamWorks animated film Trolls World Tour. In addition to Ozzy, the film stars a plethora of famed vocalists, including Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson A trailer for the movie, which hits theaters in April 2020, has just been released. - BIllboard, 6/20/19...... In 1979, Bette Midler made her proper film debut in the Janis Joplin-inspired classic The Rose, and though she lost the Best Actress Oscar award to Sally Field (in Norma Rae), the diva has now been honored with a rose variety named in her honor. "I didn't win the Oscar for The Rose," Midler mused at a June 19 charity gala at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. "Of course, I never think about it. But I do want to say right now, there's no Norma Rae rose." The flower -- which is on display in the Botanical Garden's rose garden (and which will go on sale to the public in 2020 with proceeds going to the New York Restoration Project in perpetuity) is described as "robust, sharp and stands out in a crowd"....just like the beloved singer herself. Midler also entertained the audience that night with a rewrite of Lynn Anderson's 1970 hit "Rose Garden" and her own "The Rose" from The Rose soundtrack, before wrapping with "Everything's Coming Up Roses," which found Bette shimmying around the stage while the audience belted along to the Gypsy tune with gusto. The previous evening, Paul Simon was honored by the Poetry Association of America during a dinner benefit at the Botannical Garden. His acceptance came in three parts: He read work by two poets who died this year, Les Murray and W.S. Merwin; chatted briefly on stage with U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins about writing; and, to everyone's obvious pleasure, performed a few songs, including "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" and "The Boxer." - Billboard/AP, 6/20/19...... On June 21 the estate of Prince released a never-before-seen video of the late pop/funk star's original demo recording of "Manic Monday." The clip of the track, which appears on Prince's recently-released Originals album, opens with the singer wearing tight black pants and a white tank top, doing a choreographed dance to his more baroque version of the song. "Manic Monday" would go on to become one of the '80s girl group The Bangles' most iconic hits. - Billboard, 6/21/19...... Fleetwood MacCrew members of the McDonalds restaurant in Lancashire, U.K. have finally met Fleetwood Mac after thousands of Facebook users joined a campaign calling for singer Stevie Nicks to work a shift at their restaurant. The event on Facebook by "Be Reet" called upon the legendary singer to head to the Fleetwood, Lancashire branch of the fast food chain, which is almost the namesake of her iconic band. While the petition prompted 20,000 signatures, it was the band who instead invited the Fleetwood McDonalds workers to attend their sold out show at Wembley Stadium on June 18. A photo taken backstage shows the crew hanging out with the likes of Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and the rest of the band, before being given the chance to watch them from the side of the stage. "It was a fantastic evening seeing Fleetwood Mac live and to have the opportunity to share the experience with some of the Fleetwood team," said Nigel Dunnington, the franchisee of Fleetwood McDonald. "I'm still amazed the band got in touch -- we're lucky our restaurant shares a name with such an iconic band. After 'Fleetwood Macs' met Fleetwood Mac, the restaurant team left the stage wings and enjoyed a night of live entertainment. Needless to say, they "were lovin' it." Meanwhile, the band has teased a headline performance at the U.K.'s Glastonbury festival in 2020. The band dropped the hint during their Wembley gig, when Mick Fleetwood told the crowd that the band still "had a big field to play." Other Twitter accounts added that Fleetwood made reference to "a rained out festival in England next year." - New Musical Express, 6/19/19...... A previously unreleased version of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's "Time Waits For No One" has been shared on YouTube. The song was originally recorded in 1985 after Mercury teamed up with '60s bandleader Dave Clark for the Time concept album, based on Clark's London musical of the same name. It was originally released in May 1986 as "Time" and saw Mercury's vocals being accompanied by renowned pianist Mike Moran. But Clark has now revisited the original essence of the track, after retrieving it from his tape archive in the spring of 2018. He stripped of backing vocals, and the new bare-bones version sees Mercury's powerful vocals featuring alongside Moran's new piano recording. Clark said of the original sessions: "We got on great... if I didn't like something I'd say, and vice versawe were both aiming for the same thing: to make something special." - New Musical Express, 6/20/19...... Carlos Santana has debuted at No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums Chart for the week ending June 22 with his latest release, Africa Speaks. After selling 57,000 album units for the week ending June 13, Africa Speaks' starting sum represents the biggest week for any Latin album in 2019, and the largest since the charts began ranking albums by equivalent album units in late 2014. The Rick Rubin-produced album features vocals by Spanish singer Buika, who is also credited as one of the writers of the album, British singer Laura Mvula, as well as Cindy Blackman Santana, Santana's wife, on drums. "The incredible synergy between Buika, Cindy Blackman Santana, the magnificent Santana Band, Rick Rubin and Concord Records made this masterpiece of joy come to fruition," Santana said in a statement. "Now more than ever, this is the consciousness that the world needs... This music gives people hope and courage. We call it mystical medicine music for a twisted, crooked world." - Billboard, 6/19/19...... As they release their second album Riseon June 21, the "supergroup" Hollywood Vampires stopped by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on June 20 to promote the new LP. The band, led by Alice Cooper, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, and actor/musician Johnny Depp, rocked out to a cover of David Bowie's classic "Heroes." They also performed "I Want My Now," a selection from the new album, and two other songs including Jim Carroll Band's "People Who Died" and Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory." - Billboard, 6/20/19...... Gloria GaynorGloria Gaynor, who charted the classic "I Will Survive" to the top of the Billboard pop chart in 1979, has climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for the week ending June 22 with her first faith-based set, Testimony. Gaynor recorded the 10-track Testimony in Nashville at RCA Studio A. It features such guests as Yolanda Adams (on "Talkin' 'Bout Jesus") and Bart Millard of MercyMe (on "He Won't Let Go"). "I Will Survive," which topped the charts for three weeks in 1979, won the only Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording at the 22nd annual ceremony in 1980. Amid a backlash against disco, the Academy renamed the award Best Dance Recording the following year. - Billboard, 6/19/19...... On June 18 Wayne Newton testified during a trial of one of two burgulars who allegedly raided his Las Vegas home in 2018. The longtime Vegas entertainer told a jury he fired a gunshot to scare away two burglars that he and his wife and daughter encountered fleeing their home. Newton, 77, emembered his wife, Kathleen Newton, yelling for him to shoot as one of the fleeing men stopped to pick up a duffel bag he dropped while hitting a family dog with a tire iron. He said the men disappeared through a hedge toward a wall on his large property in Las Vegas. The testimony came during trial for 22-year-old Weslie Martin, who prosecutors say was one of the burglars. - AP, 6/18/19...... Memorial services for Dr. John, who died on June 6 at age 77, have been scheduled for the third weekend in June. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival says memorial services for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, who was born Malcom "Mac" Rebennack Jr., are set for June 22 at the historic Orpheum Theater in downtown New Orleans. Public visitation starts at 7 a.m. and runs until 10:30 a.m. A service running from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Orpheum will be invitation-only but will be broadcast on WWOZ FM. There was no immediate word on any music and entertainment stars who might attend. That will be followed by a public "second line parade" that will begin at the theater. - AP, 6/18/19...... A joint hologram tour featuring Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison will kick off on Sept. 19 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. "Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly: The Rock 'N' Roll Dream Tour" will run for an additional 45 stops. The current slate of dates are scheduled to close out on Nov. 20 with a stop at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. "Working on the original Roy Orbison hologram tour last year was something special and to be able to do it again and add someone like Buddy Holly into the mix is very exciting," director Eric Schaeffer said in a release. "This show will be a celebration that blends these men's similar styles into one unforgettable evening that audiences will remember for a long time to come." Accompanied by a live band and back-up singers, the multi-media holographic performance and remastered audio will feature the rock 'n' roll legends' greatest hits on stage. The artists have a combined 16 platinum records, 19 gold records, nearly two dozen Top 40 hits and 10 Grammy awards. The tour wraps on Nov. 20 at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. - Billboard, 6/18/19...... Bruce Springsteen's latest album Western Stars is on track to top the album charts in the UK, according to the Official Chart Update. Western Stars is Springsteen's first album since 2012's U.K. chart-topping Wrecking Ball. If he reaches the top, it'll be the Boss's 11th No. 1 in the U.K. - Billboard, 6/18/19...... Paul McCartney was among the many musicians and celebrities celebrating Father's Day (June 16) on social media. "Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!," Sir Paul posted. Other '70s musicians paying tribute on Father's Day included Gene Simmons, Steven Tyler, Carole King and Alice Cooper. - Billboard, 6/16/19...... Elton John has just announced additional U.K. dates for his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour," including Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Leeds, and a sixth London show on Dec. 14, 2020. Speaking about the UK dates, John said: "The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will take us to many places that have meant a lot to me over the last fifty years, but these UK shows will be incredibly special. The UK is home, and where my heart will always be. To celebrate some of the incredible moments we've shared with my British fans over the years will be wonderful. These homecoming shows will be very emotional, and a lot of fun." - NME, 6/17/19...... Freddie MercuryAdam LambertIn a new interview with GuitarWorld magazine, Queen's Brian May praised the band's current frontman Adam Lambert, who took over from Bad Company/Free's Paul Rodgers in 2012 as the second Queen vocalist after the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991. While the American Idol runner-up's stint in Queen has faced questions from fans who compare his vocals of those of Mercury's, May insists that he's the perfect person to lead the band forward. "Adam can do all the stuff that Freddie did and more. It doesn't matter what you throw at Adam -- he can do it," May said. "He's a born exhibitionist. He's not Freddie, and he's not pretending to be him, but he has a parallel set of equipment." Hailing Lambert as a "born exhibitionist," May says that Lambert is a "born rock star and front man" and "we treat Adam exactly the same as we treated Freddie in almost every way." Meanwhile, Lambert has pushed back on rumours that their could be a sequel to the smash 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. "What would it be? A sequel? How would that work? It doesn't make sense to me but I haven't heard anything about it," he told NME. "But I somehow doubt that. Somehow I don't know what they would make the movie about." - NME, 6/19/19...... Jim Pike, co-founder and lead singer of The Lettermen pop vocal group, died of complications from Parkinson's Disease on June 9 at his home in Prescott, Ariz. He was 82. Mr. Pike and Bob Engemann, a college buddy from Brigham Young University, formed The Lettermen in Los Angeles in 1961 with fellow singer Tony Butala. The trio's lush vocal harmonies made the Grammy-nominated act one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1960s, and the group would place 19 more songs on the Billboard charts over the next 10 years. Two made the Top 10 -- 1962's "When I Fall in Love" and the Grammy-nominated 1968 medley "Goin' Out of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You." Their last hit was 1971's "Everything is Good About You." The Lettermen also earned Grammy nominations for Best New Artist of 1961 and for 1962's "A Song For Young Love." Through those years the group toured constantly, playing colleges across the country and other venues around the world. The constant touring wore out Mr. Pike's voice and he left the group in 1973, replaced by his youngest brother, Donny Pike. Gary Pike had replaced Engemann in 1967. After regaining his voice Mr. Pike formed a group called The Reunion with Engemann. The Lettermen, with Butala as the only remaining founding member, continues to tour. Engemann died in 2013. In addition to his brothers, Mr. Pike is survived by his sister, Candace Doyle, his wife Sue and his daughter, Kelly Pike. - Billboard, 6/19/19..... Fashion designer, artist, and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt died on the morning of June 17 in her Manhattan home. She was 95. Born in New York in 1924, Ms. Vanderbilt was the focus of media attention at an early age, dubbed "the poor little rich girl" amid an intense custody battle between her mother and her father's wealthy sister, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. As a fashion model, she appeared in such magazines as Vogue and Vanity Fair, and in 1954, she made her stage debut in a production of the romantic drama, The Swan. Later she produced fashion and textile designs that would earn her the 1969 Neiman Marcus Fashion Award, before opening the door to a line a line of ready-to-wear garments in the mid-1970s. Under her GV Ltd. brand, she'd go on to sell millions of pairs of jeans bearing her signature and trademark swan logo -- a nod to her first production as a thespian. An author of several books, including one on collage and another on interior design, Ms. Vanderbilt also a penned a history of her love life, It Seemed Important at the Time: A Romance Memoir, in 2004. She was the mother of two sons, including CNN host Anderson Cooper, who released a statement after her passing: "Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms. She was a painter, a writer and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they'd tell you: She was the youngest person they knew -- the coolest and most modern." -, 6/17/19.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Director Martin Scorsese premiered his new documentary about Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review on June 10 at New York City's Alice Tully Hall. The Netflix-distributed film explores the rag-tag group of bohemian artists who toured with Dylan in the 1970s, including Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Alan Ginsberg. Scorsese told the audience he'd been wanting to revisit Dylan and his work ever since he did the 2005 Dylan documentary, No Direction Home. "I felt that I missed being around that world, dealing with that music and those lyrics, and I said, 'If you ever have anything, let me know,'" Scorsese said. "And so [producer Jeff Rosen] brought me some of the footage in 2008 and I looked it and said, 'Maybe something can be done with this.' Obviously something could be done. I wanted to do something that captured the spirit of the tour, not just the chronology of it." The resulting film, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, feels like an intimate Dylan concert, and at the premiere, audience members applauded after songs as if the performance was live. "Bob Dylan still speaks to the current generation of music fans, and to see him at his prime being the most creative, most vital, I think that's an easy sell," said original Rolling Thunder tour member David Mansfield. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/12/19...... Bruce SpringsteenWith very little fanfare, Bruce Springsteen has made his latest album Western Stars available for free streaming on Comprised of 13 tracks, the LP is inspired by the Southern California pop records of the late '60s and early '70s, and is the Boss' followup to his 2014 set High Hopes. It features the previously released cuts "Tuscon Train," "There Goes My Miracle," and the lead single "Hello Sunshine." "This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements," Springsteen said in a statement. "It's a jewel box of a record." - Billboard, 6/14/19...... Documents filed with the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division on June 12 reveal that organizers of the Woodstock 50 festival lost their festival site at Watkins Glen International speedway because they failed to make a $150,000 payment due on May 15. They show that speedway president Michael Printup made several attempts to collect the payment from Woodstock 50 investor Greg Peck and the event's co-founder Michael Lang before issuing a breach notification on June 3. The missed payment was the second half of the $300,000 licensing fee festival organizers had agreed to pay the NASCAR track to host the festival on Aug. 16-18. The $150,000 payment was due the day after Woodstock 50 lost a key court battle on May 14 when a New York judge refused to force Dentsu, which had agreed to invest $49 million in the troubled Aug 16-18 festival and later attempted to cancel the event, to return $17.8 million of its own money withdrawn from the festival's bank account. Despite losing its permit, its producer, and its venue over the course of a few hours, and after losing its main investor and crucial parts of two recent court rulings, Greg Peck remains defiant and insists the festival will go ahead. "We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th--18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks," he said. - Billboard, 6/13/19...... The 50th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony was held on June 13 at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel, with '70s artists Yusuf/Cat Stevens, John Prine, Jack Tempchin and Tom T. Hall among the six songwriters being inducted. This year's event featured additional performances by presenters Justin Timberlake, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews, Patti LaBelle and Lukas Nelson, among others. Jack Tempchin, who co-wrote several Eagles songs including "Peaceful Easy Feeling," was inducted by Lukas Nelson who observed Tempchin was "a master of simplicity" in his songwriting craft. Dave Matthews introduced Yusuf/Cat Stevens with a performance of his 1970 classic "Father and Son." "The most important inspiration of this artist is has never stopped searching," Matthews said. Accepting the induction, Yusuf immediately agreed, noting, "Most of my songs are about the journey." Bonnie Raitt introduced John Prine with a rendition of Prine's "Angel from Montgomery," which originally appeared on Prine's 1971 eponymous debut album before Raitt released her own version on her Streetlights album in 1974. It has since become a staple of her catalog. "On behalf of all of us who sing your songs," she said, "thank you." Country Hall of Fame and Museum chief Peter Cooper inducted Hall, who only appeared by video because he prefers not to travel nowadays. "He wrote sophisticated stories about simple people," Cooper said. Toward the close of the ceremony, industry legend Clive Davis made the presentation for the Johnny Mercer Award -- an award so esteemed that only songwriters already in the SHOF are eligible to receive it -- to Carole Bayer Sager. "Her body of work is definitely considered the gold-standard by all of her peers," Davis said. Accepting her award, Sager recalled being too nervous to attend her SHOF induction 32 years ago, so she was thankful to have a second chance. She was then joined onstage by Patti LaBelle and others to sing "That's What Friends Are For." Also during the ceremony, SHOF chairman Nile Rodgers announced that his organization is partnering with the Grammys to create a traveling exhibition that will explore the craft of songwriting and help gain recognization for the giants of the discipline. - Billboard, 6/14/19...... RushRush's loyal legion of fans have been in a kind of Rush-withdrawal since their heroes went on hiatus in 2015, but on Aug. 21 they'll get a fix with the cinematic screening of a new Rush rock-doc called Rush: Cinema Strangiato 2019. The film will feature a hodge-podge of song performances, including "Tom Sawyer," "Closer to the Heart" and "Subdivisions," unreleased soundcheck and backstage footage from Rush's 2015 R40 40th anniversary tour, and new interviews with producer Nick Raskulinecz and Rush fans and fellow famous musicians Billy Corgan, Tom Morello and Taylor Hawkins, who inducted the Canadian trio into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his fellow Foo Fighters bandmate Dave Grohl in 2013. Beginning on June 20, theater locations and ticket details can be found at the website Unfortunately, the film project is probably as close as we're likely to come to a Rush reunion. In Dec. 2018, Geddy Lee told Billboard that a Rush reunion is "highly unlikely." "Neil [Peart] has retired and has no interest to play anymore. Alex [Lifeson] and I... it's possible. We'll see. I'm sure something else will come along for me to do." Lee nevertheless has his voiced support for archival projects, such as album box sets the group has been putting out. - Billboard, 6/11/19...... On June 13, Elton John and the star of his new Rocketman biopic Taron Egerton released a music video on YouTube for their charming duet, "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," written by John and Bernie Taupin for Rocketman. The colorful new video consists of shots both from archived footage of John's career, along with clips of Egerton from the film. "I'm gonna love me again/ Check in on my very best friend," the pair sing. John and Egerton also surprised fans by performing together on stage recently during a stop in Hove, Sussex on Elton's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, singing a rendition of "Your Song." Since its premiere in the US on May 31, Rocketman has become an unequivocal success, maintaining an impressive 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and recently surpassing $100 million at the box office. Meanwhile, the director of the mega-hit Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Dexter Fletcher, has revealed he had an idea for Rami Malek's Freddie Mercury character to appear in Rocketman. "There was an idea I had at one point, where Elton's in a restaurant with his mother," he told Gay Star News. "I thought John Reid [Elton John and Freddie Mercury's manager] and Freddie could be at another table and they wave at each other! That would have been amazing [but] it didn't come to pass. It would've been a little too knowing I'm not looking to set out to make a cinematic universe!" Reid is played by Aidan Gillen in Bohemian Rhapsody and Richard Madden in Rocketman. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 6/13/19...... In other Queen-related news, co-founding guitarist Brian May recently retraced the journey of Freddie Mercury by visiting Zanzibar, the east African island where the legendary singer was born. May's "pilgramage" to Mercury included visiting key locations in the musician's early life, including the home where he was born and his first ever school. Posting on Instagram, May shared a photo of himself outside the school with wife Anita Dobson. "At Freddie's school," wrote May. "Under guidance from Freddie's lovely sister Kashmira and Abdul, our excellent Zanzibarian guide, we managed to retrace many of Freddie's childhood steps. Nice to share with you folks." May also posted photos from outside Mercury's childhood home, located in Zanzibar's Stone Town. The family apartment block has since been developed into the Tembo House Hotel, which is also known as "Freddie Mercury House." Mercury was born as Farrokh Bulsara on the island in 1946 and lived there until the age of eight, when his parents sent him to school in Mumbai. He later returned in 19643, but fled to London after a revolution caused social unrest. - NME, 6/12/19...... Miles DavisA "lost" Miles Davis album entitled Rubberband is set to be released on Sept. 6, almost 30 years after the legendary jazz musician's death. The 12-track album was recorded in 1985 and marked his first record on Warner Bros after moving from Columbia Records. It marked a stylistic change for the jazz icon, who incorporated funk and soul vibes on the record for the first time in his career. But Rubberband ultimately failed to see the light of day when Davis' talents became increasingly in demand. While he had planned to record with vocalists including Chaka Khan and Al Jarreau, the early sessions were ultimately put on the back burner so he could focus on his Tutu album, which arrived in Sept. 1986. Rubberband will see vocals being provided by Lalah Hathaway (the daughter of Donny Hathaway) and Grammy-nominated Ledisi. It will also feature cover art personally designed by Davis too -- which sees him channelling a Pablo Picasso-esque spirit. - New Musical Express, 6/14/19...... It has been revealed that Dr. John recorded an unreleased album a year before his passing on June 6, and that he understood "this was his final record." Consisting of originals, twangy covers and reworked classics, the LP features the likes of Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville and Rickie Lee Jones. It was completed in December 2018 with the help of guitarist Shane Theriot, who told Rolling Stone that listening to the final project was emotional. "We sat and listened to everything twice," Theriot said. "He was singing along and had a big grin on his face. Then he walked me out to my car, stared at me and said, 'I'm glad. I made the right choice.' And then he hugged and kissed me on the cheek." Theriot added that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was able to preview the entire album for he died. "Mac got to hear it and live with it and make suggestions," he said. "This was one of his creations." While the LP is completely finished, a title and release date are still being planned. - Rolling Stone, 6/11/19...... During a Q&A session at a The Who pop-up shop at 52 Brewer Street in London's Soho on June 13, frontman Roger Daltrey said he thinks The Who "have made their "best album since Quadrophenia." The band has been busy working on their first album since 2006's Endless Wire after guitarist Pete Townshend revealed in 2018 that the untitled album at the time consisted of 15 demos. He described the new album as a mixture of "dark ballads, heavy rock stuff, experimental electronica, sampled stuff and cliched Who-ish tunes that began with a guitar that goes yanga-dang." While Daltrey said he was initially skeptical about the new LP, he says he's now changed his mind and is "incredibly optimistic" about their 12th studio album. "When I first heard the songs I was very skeptical as I didn't think I could do it," Daltrey explained. "I thought Pete had written a really great solo album and I said to him, 'Pete, what do you need to do this for? Release it as a solo album, it's great.' But he said he wanted it to be a Who album. So I took the songs away and I listened to them, and listened to them some more, and I had some ideas. [Pete] let me have a bit of freedom with changing a few things, changing the tenses of songs and other little things. And he gave me complete melodic freedom. And I gotta tell you that after being very skeptical I'm now incredibly optimistic. I think we've made our best album since Quadrophenia." Daltrey added: "Pete hasn't lost it, he's still a fabulous songwriter and he's still got that cutting edge, man." The Who will be a huge show at London's Wembley Stadium on July 6 with support from Kaiser Chiefs and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. The Who kicked off their "Moving On! Tour" at New York City's Madison Square Garden on May 13. - New Musical Express, 6/13/19...... Brian EpsteinThe Beatles' first contract with their manager Brian Epstein is expected to fetch around £300,000 when it is auctioned by Sotheby's in July. The contract, which is from the collection of Epstein's publisher Ernest Hecht, was signed by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and original drummer Pete Best, and is thought to have been signed in the living room at Best's mother's house and is the first of two contracts between the group and Epstein. A second one was signed on Oct. 1, 1962, after Best was replaced by Ringo Starr. Interestingly, Epstein did not sign the document because he "wanted to free the Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off." "Even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100 percent faith in myself to help the Beatles," he is quoted as saying. Epstein's fee was spelled out as 10 percent of the band's earnings, which would rise to 15 percent if those earnings went over £120 a week. It also agreed that the manager would be responsible for finding work for the Beatles, managing their schedule and publicity, and "all matters concerning clothes, make-up and the presentation and construction of the artists' acts and also on all music to be performed." "[Epstein] stopped them eating on stage. He made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set... They had the stage energy but he instilled a sense of professionalism in them," said Gabriel Heaton of Sotheby's. - New Musical Express, 6/14/19...... A week after announcing he was delaying his upcoming tour to work on some mental health issues, Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson posted on Twitter thanking his fans for their continued support. "Brian, Melinda and the Wilson family would like to thank all of you for your wonderful notes and good wishes," his post on June 10 reads. "Brian looks forward to feeling better and seeing you again this Fall. Love & Mercy." Wilson originally posted on his official website that he was "not feeling like myself." "Mentally insecure is how I'd describe it. We're not sure what is causing it but i do know that it's not good for me to be on the road right now," he wrote. - Billboard, 6/10/19...... Veteran singer/actor Steve Lawrence revealed on June 11 that he has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. In a press release set by his spokesperson Howard Bragman, Lawrence confirmed the diagnosis, saying that he felt he needed to speak out in light of recent rumors and media inquiries. "I'm living my life, going out in public and trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends while I am still able to engage and enjoy," he wrote. Lawrence said he doesn't want pity or sympathy in response to his diagnosis. "I have lived and am living a wonderful, joyous life filled with love, support and amazing moments," he said. Lawrence, 83, is known for solo hits including the No. 1 ballad "Go Away Little Girl" and as one half of the 1960s pop duo Steve and Eydie alongside his wife, Eydie Gorme, who died in 2013. The couple were known for their frequent appearances on TV variety and talk shows, in night clubs, and on the stages of Las Vegas. -, 6/11/19...... Iggy Pop has released a new video for his song "Run Like a Villain" on YouTube. The video is animated by Polish visual artist Marta Kacprzak of Motion Picture Stories and follows the release of "The Villagers" / "Pain and Suffering" for this year's Record Store Day. The song is takend from the reissue of Pop's Zombie Birdhouse album, which is due out on June 28. The also contains a previously unreleased version of "Pain and Suffering," which features backing vocals from Blondie's Debbie Harry. - NME, 6/13/19...... Philomena Lynott, the mother of legendary late Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, passed away in Dublin on June 12 after an extensive battle with cancer. She was 88. Ms. Lynott was the author of My Boy, which told the story of her son's life from his early days in Manchester and Dublin, to his success as the frontman of the legendary rock band. "She was a formidable and brilliant woman," says Hot Press editor Niall Stokes. "I am really proud that we were able to participate in telling her remarkable story. Because she was indeed a remarkable woman." Philomena remained a huge champion of her son's talents after his passing and successfully campaigned for a statue in his memory to be erected in Dublin in 2005. In 2012, she also made international headlines after criticising Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for using Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" at a campaign rally. - NME, 6/12/19...... Kenny RogersCountry/pop crossover legend Kenny Rogers is dismissing "wild misinformation and speculation" about his health and says he plans on "sticking around" for years to come. A statement released on Rogers' behalf on June 14 was published after a U.S. tabloid report claimed the 80-year-old "Lucille" singer had been diagnosed with bladder cancer and was dying. The statement said Rogers, who hasn't been seen in public since April 2018, was recently admitted to a hospital in Georgia and treated for dehydration. "He will remain there to complete some physical therapy to get his strength back prior to discharge and can assure everyone he plans on sticking around through the years to come," it added. Rogers embarked on a world farewell tour in 2016 but in April 2018 he canceled the last few shows citing "a series of health challenges." Meanwhile, a woman who has accused the singer of sex assault is demanding an apology from the superstar "before he dies." "I'm sad he's sick and I don't want anybody to die, but it's time to cleanse his soul for his actions," Lisa Applewhite Kimbell, who claimed Rogers ruined her life when he allegedly sexually attacked her during a supposed "movie audition" nearly 30 years ago, told the website Kimbell, 53, says she was a nursing student and part-time actress when she met the star in 1990 through a family friend. She alleges Rogers started calling her and begging her to come to New York City to read for a role. Kimbell went -- and that's when she said things went horribly wrong. We talked for a while, then he grabbed me, touched me inappropriately and tried to kiss me," said Kimbell. "The last thing he said as I left was he had power in Hollywood, and if I told anybody, I'd never become an actress." Kimbell -- who's currently recovering from grueling facial reconstruction surgery after developing skin cancer -- claimed Rogers even called her at home to try to indulge his sick sexual fantasies. She kept quiet until 1992, when two other women claimed he made obscene phone calls to them -- and Kimbell joined them in filing a lawsuit against Kenny. "I was shocked to find the Kenny Rogers so many people know and love is nothing but a dirty old man," she said at the time. Rogers denied their allegations, and she says she eventually felt pressured to drop her lawsuit. - Reuters/American Media, Inc., 6/14/19...... Actress Sylvia Miles, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her brief appearance in the movie Midnight Cowboy, died in New York City on June 12. She was 94. The NYC native began her career in the theatre in the late 1940s, and soon moved into TV and film, landing the role of Sally Rogers in the pilot episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, although the part was eventually given to actress Rose Marie. Ms. Miles received her second Oscar nod in 1975 for another brief performance in Farewell, My Lovely. Her other film credits included Wall Street in 1987 and its 2010 sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, as well as Andy Warhol's Heat, Critical Condition, Crossing Delancey, and She-Devil, in which she portrayed Meryl Streep's movie mother. She was also a regular on TV, featuring in Sex and the City, NYPD, One Life to Live and All My Children, among many other shows. - WENN/, 6/13/19.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The city of New Orleans sent one of its recently deceased famous sons, Dr. John, off in style on June 7 when it hosted one of its famous "second line funerals" in tribute to the musician, who passed away on June 6 at age 77. The parade was announced on social media by local restauranteur Kermit Ruffins, and it kicked off in front of Kermit's Mother-in-Law Lounge. Trumpeter James Andrews started off the procession with a solo version of Dr. John's "Such A Night" before the celebration of the iconic musician's life wrapped up with the band playing "I'll Fly Away." Dr. John's granddaughter, Stephanie O'Quin, was also reportedly in attendance. - Billboard, 6/8/19...... The Cher-themed Broadway musical "The Cher Show" nabbed two Tony Awards -- Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for Stephanie J. Block and Best Costume Design of a Musical for Bob Mackie -- during the 2019 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2019 in New York City. The Temptations-based musical "Ain't Too Proud -- The Life and Times of the Temptations" also won in the Best Choreography category, for Sergio Trujillo, and was nominated in a total of 10 categories, including Best Musical. The cast of "Ain't Too Proud" also performed during the ceremony. - Billboard, 6/9/19......Brian WilsonThe Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson announced on June 6 that he's postponing his "Pet Sounds and Greatest Hits Live" tour as he struggles with his well publicized mental health issues. "It is no secret that I have been living with mental illness for many decades," Wilson posted on his Facebook page and website. "There were times when it was unbearable but with doctors and medications I have been able to live a wonderful, healthy and productive life with support from my family, friends and fans who have helped me through this journey," the 76-year-old musician said. He added that he had three successful operations on his back in the past year and had been recording and rehearsing with the intentions of touring but the latest surgery made him feel "strange" and turned "pretty scary" as he began to struggle with "stuff in my head and saying things I don't mean and I don't know why." Wilson said he plans to work with his doctors, rest and recover, and that he's "looking forward to seeing everyone later in the year." "The music and my fans keep me going and I know this will be something I can AGAIN overcome," he concluded. The tour -- celebrating the Beach Boys' classic 1966 album Pet Sounds with The Zombies as openers -- had already been postponed in 2018, when Wilson had the first of his back surgeries. Wilson was officially diagnosed as a schizoaffective disorder with mild manic depression, and has regularly experienced auditory hallucinations. - The Daily Mail UK, 6/6/19...... The Pacific island nation of Samoa has become the latest nation to ban the Elton John biopic Rocketman because of its depictions of homosexuality. Leiataua Niuapu Faaui, Samoa's principal censor, told a local newspaper on June 11 that Rocketman's homosexual activity violated laws and didn't sit well with the country's cultural and Christian beliefs, however he conceded that "it's a good story, in that it's about an individual trying to move on in life." In a Facebook post, Apollo Cinemas Samoa posted that "due to censoring issues we have had to cancel Rocketman (which) examines John's sexuality and relationship with then-manager John Reid. It stars Taron Egerton who does his own singing as John in the musical fantasy that aims to capture the essence of the musician's life." About 97% of people in Samoa identify as Christian, and the society is generally considered conservative and traditional. Under Samoa's 2013 Crimes Act, sodomy is deemed an offense that is punishable by up to seven years in prison, even if both parties consent. In May, a Russian movie distributor censored scenes from the film that featured gay sex and drug use. Elton John and Paramount Pictures issued a joint statement condemning the action and said it was a "sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people." Meanwhile, John and Egerton recently performed a rendition of Elton's first big hit, "Your Song," as John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour hit the open-air venue of Hove County Ground in the UK. A snippet can be viewed on YouTube. - AP/New Musical Express, 6/11/19...... Who Do I Think I Am?, a new documentary on late Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, will premiere in select US cities in July before being released on DVD on Aug. 17. The film chronicles Clemons' 40 years playing with Springsteen as well as his "spiritual awakening" that came in 2003 at the end of the Boss's The Rising tour. Those offering their memories of Clemons, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 69 from complications caused by a stroke, include Nils Lofgren, Joe Walsh and Bill Clemons. Who Do I Think I Am? producer Joe Amodei says Clemons was "a true Big Man... His spirituality rose to the top of every interview we conducted." - Billboard, 6/7/19...... Elvis CostelloEven though he once sniffed "I wouldn't do anything with the Royal family. They're scum. Why do we subsidize this family of buffoons?" during the punk rock heyday of the late 1970s, Elvis Costello says he's "happy to accept this very surprising honour" after he was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) during Queen Elizabeth II's annual Birthday Honours List on June 7. In his blog post, Costello added, "To be honest, I'm pretty tickled to receive this acknowledgement for my 'Services To Music', as it confirms my long held suspicion nobody really listens to the words in songs or the outcome might have been somewhat different." Costello went on to reveal how he called his mother after receiving the news, asking her for advice about whether to accept the award or not. "I thought for a while, then folded the document and slept on the news until the morning when I could place a call to England and speak to my mother, Lillian MacManus," he wrote. But Costello, who has often been critical of British imperialism and politics (particularly on tracks like "Oliver's Army" or "Tramp the Dirt Down") added that he had mixed feelings about receiving the distinction. "It is hard to receive anything named for the 'British Empire', and all that term embodies, without a pause for reflection," he noted. "It would be a lie to pretend that I was brought up to have a great sense of loyalty to the Crown, let alone notions of Empire." Costello's latest album, Look Now was released last October. It was the first LP with his backing band the Imposters since 2008's Momofuku and his first album since 2013's Wise Up Ghost which featured The Roots. - New Musical Express, 6/8/19...... On June 10 a panel of 11 judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear Led Zeppelin's appeal in a copyright lawsuit alleging the group stole its 1971 rock epic "Stairway To Heaven" from an obscure 1960s instrumental called "Taurus." Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Robert Plant offered testimony in a 2016 trial in which a jury found that "Stairway" did not significantly resemble "Taurus," written by the late Randy Wolfe and performed by his band Spirit. But in September, a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit ruled that the judge at the trial had failed to advise the jury properly, and ordered a new trial. The judges unanimously found that the trial judge was wrong to tell jurors that individual elements of a song such as its notes or scale may not qualify for copyright protection, because a combination of those elements may qualify if they are sufficiently original. Lawyers for Zeppelin then moved to the next level of appeal, asking for the larger group of judges to rehear the case, and the request was granted. The 11-judge panel will hear the case in late September in San Francisco. - AP, 6/11/19...... The upcoming Woodstock 50 festival celebrating the milestone anniversary of the iconic 1969 concert has been hit with more ongoing issues as its venue, the Watkins Glen International speedway in New York, issued a statement on June 11 saying it would not host the event because it has violated "provisions of the contract." In turn, current Woodstock 50 organizers CID Entertainment then confirmed that Watkins Glen would no longer host the event. "CID Entertainment had been engaged to provide enhanced camping, travel packages and transportation for Woodstock 50. Given developments, we can confirm that CID is no longer involved in Woodstock 50 in any capacity," they said. A spokesperson for the festival said it is "in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th--18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks." Woodstock 50's troubles began in April after its primary funding partner Dentsu Aegis Network withdrew its financial commitment and announced the "cancellation" of Woodstock 50. - New Musical Express, 6/11/19...... Yusuf IslamAs Yusuf/Cat Stevens prepares to be inducted into the 50th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards on June 13 during a ceremony on June 13, the singer/songwriter gave an extensive interview with Billboard which included the stories behing some of his biggest hits, including "The First Cut Is the Deepest." "It was partly telling the story of a breakup between me and one of my first loves, really, and that was a very strong sentiment," Yusuf says. "What I wanted to do there was I loved R&B. As well as listening to musicals I was also going down to clubs and listening to the latest R&B records coming over from across the Atlantic. I loved Otis Redding and I tried to write a song for Otis Redding and that is how 'First Cut Is the Deepest' came about. It's very much a soulful tune. My guitar playing wasn't that clever in those days, so you hear those three little notes, which is pretty basic, but it begins the whole song and it's a signature tune." Yusuf added that Rod Stewart's cover version of the song is one of his favorite covers of his material. "I think he did the best job there, and he made it his own as well." Yusuf added that his next album "has been more or less recorded and we're in the mixing stage" and that his memoir is "being finalized and published" and should be released in 2020. - Billboard, 6/7/19...... In an interview with Toronto radio station Q107 that was his first since undergoing heart surgery in March, Mick Jagger said he was "feeling pretty good" and has "been rehearsing a lot lately in the last few weeks." "This morning [I did] a bit of gym. Nothing crazy. Then I go into rehearsal with the rest of the band," the Rolling Stones frontman added. Jagger says that the band rehearsed the 1976 rarity "Memory Motel" from Black and Blue, however he added the band's upcoming tour reboot, set to begin on June 21, will be filled with plenty of well known Stones classics. "The favorite ones people like to hear are, you know, 'Paint it Black, 'Honky Tonk [Women]' and 'Satisfaction' and things like that," said Jagger. "We don't always necessarily do all of them. We sometimes drop one or two, but there's maybe ten favorites. I don't know how people would feel if you didn't do any of them. I think people would say, 'Oh, that's a bit unfortunate, I came to hear this.'" At the same time, he says "We usually have a [fan] vote song. We usually throw a couple different things in. There might be a few." Meanwhile, the Stones have shared a clip of a live performance of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from their recently reissued film The Rock and Roll Circus. The 1968 film, which also features such rock royalty as The Who, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton and John Lennon, was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 7 in the US, with a June 28 release in the UK. - New Musical Express, 6/11/19...... Kool & the Gang were among the headliners on the opening day of the 2019 Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on June 8. The band performed several of its enduring hits, including "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," "Fresh," "Get Down on It," "Ladies Night" and "Hollywood Swinging." "We've always been jazz musicians at heart," band leader Robert "Kool" Bell told reporters before the show. "I wanted to be John Coltrane at heart. I knew I couldn't be," he added with a laugh, "but I was chasing him like everyone else." The two-day, 41st annual Playboy Jazz Festival wrapped on June 9 with a lineup including Boz Scaggs, The Family Stone, Maceo Parker and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. - Billboard, 6/9/19...... A surreal, satirical documentary narrated by Iggy Pop, In Praise of Nothing, will be available to stream beginning June 21 on the streaming platform Mubi. The film explores what the concept of "Nothing" would say to humans if it could speak, and Iggy narrates as "The Voice of Nothing" throughout. In March, Pop shared a series of clips from the documentary and also revealed that the film had been translated into 35 languages. Described as "a whistleblowing documentary parody," the 78-minute film -- which took almost ten years to make -- is entirely composed of fixed shots filmed by 68 filmmakers in over 70 countries. Earlier in June, Pop also announced he's prepping a career retrospective book entitled 'Til Wrong Feels Right that will highlight lyrics from more than 100 of his songs. - NME, 6/8/19...... Bob SegerOn the opening night of a six-show run at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in his hometown of Detroit on June 6, Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band treated the audience to a rarely played track from his 1978 Stranger in Town album, "The Famous Final Scene." "I wanted to do another extra song for this encore 'cause I'm home, dammit," Seger told the sold-out crowd at the amphitheater. "And," he added, "it seems appropros" for this stop on his "Roll Me Away" farewell tour. "The Famous Final Scene" was one of several localized touches offered by the Detroit rocker during his hit-filled, 130-minute show -- from 1976's "Mainstreet," about Seger's native Ann Arbor, to the first encore, "In Your Time," a new track he composed for his 1994 Greatest Hits album, inspired by his then two-year-old son Cole. Seger also dedicated the group's rendition of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" to the late Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, a fellow Michigan native and close friend -- and backing vocalist on Seger's 1968 hit "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." The show came a day after the DTE Energy Music Theatre venue renamed its address to "33 Bob Seger Drive," commemorating what will be 33 sell-outs at the venue by the time this stand ends on June 21. During a short ceremony on Wednesday, Seger, who was accompanied by his family, called the honor "overwhelming. I'm really happy about this. Great honor, and thank you so much." In a statement, he also said that, "I have a great affection for this historic venue and now to be a part of it forever is truly overwhelming." Seger and his band will take the summer off before resuming the farewell tour on Sept. 12 in Rapid City, S.D. So far 10 dates have been announced for the fall leg, though more are reportedly coming. - Billboard, 6/7/19...... In February, Duncan Jones, the son of David Bowie, said he wouldn't be giving a Bowie biopic titled Stardust that is currently in production his seal of approval. Instead Jones, who has helmed such film projects as Moon, Source Code and the upcoming Rogue Trooper, said he would only approve of a film about his dad if American Gods author Neil Gaiman and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse director Peter Ramsey were involved. Now Gaiman and Ramsey have expressed an interest in making a Bowie film. Gaiman and Ramsey replied to Jones in a series of tweets on June 7 saying they would "be in" on a Bowie movie. But Jones since clarified that he will not be involved in the movie if it goes ahead. Responding to a fan he said, "I will be making Rogue Trooper. If it happens, Neil & Peter don t need my interference on this grand endeavour." - NME, 6/7/19...... Mavis Staples will be among the lineup for the 2019 concert series at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y. The hotel/restaurant/vacation spot will host the pop/gospel legend on June 16, and the series will run through Sept. 2 when it wraps with a performance from Lukas Nelson. - Billboard, 6/7/19...... In a new interview with Canada's Edmonton Journal newspaper, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford opened up about the he experienced when he came out as gay in the late nineties. "I was surrounded by homophobia, which still exists today. There are places I can't go back to because I'll be stoned to death," Halford said. "As far as that whole business, I discovered when I did come out that I was in this trap gay people find themselves living in that you're living your life for everyone else, but not yourself. During the '70s and '80s it was incredibly difficult." But Halford added that he "loves Priest more than, so while always in my mind -- I have to be careful how I say this -- it's not important to the music. Though I will say, a straight man can't do my job [laughs]. That's the way I view it." Halford also says that "Queen "would've been a totally different band" if Freddie Mercury hadn't been gay, and revealed that he'd do a duet with Elton John "in a heartbeat!" Judas Priest is currently in the midst of a summer tour of North America. - NME, 6/8/19...... Phil CollinsMike RutherfordGenesis' Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford performed together for the first time in 12 years when Rutherford jammed with Collins during his June 7 concert in Berlin on the band's 1978 hit "Follow You Follow Me." Fan-shot footage shows Rutherford hug Collins as he walks onstage and is handed an acoustic guitar. After rapturous applause from the audience, Collins said: "I think we'll have it one more time - Mr. Mike Rutherford!" Rutherford's band Mike + The Mechanics had performed earlier in the evening, with the group supporting Collins on the current tour. In 2018, Collins said that he'd be open to a Genesis reunion if his son would drum for the band. Both Collins and Rutherford have expressed interest in reforming Genesis in recent years, and Tony Banks also added to the speculation by refusing to rule out the prospect of a future Genesis reunion. - New Musical Express, 6/9/19...... Three months after suffering a stroke Jerry Lee Lewis is on the mend, according to a rep for the 83-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. "Jerry Lee Lewis is back home after a successful stay at a rehabilitation center following a stroke earlier this year," the rep told People magazine on June 7. "He is right on track to be back on stage soon and will be heading into the studio in the next couple of months to record a Gospel record. The Killer wants to express his continued appreciation to his fans across the world for their continued thoughts and prayers," the statement continued. On March 1, Lewis suffered a stroke and was transferred to a rehabilitation center shortly after, according to his rep. Lewis has spent the last year touring the US, with his most recent appearance occurring on Feb. 16 in Greenville, S.C., according to his website. His scheduled performances in April, May, and June were canceled so Lewis could focus on his health. -, 6/8/19...... CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment released a 50th anniversary The Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection on June 4. Described as "an ultimate compilation of programming spanning throughout the entirety of the Brady franchise history," the set features all five seasons of the original series and a compilation of Brady movies and derivative TV series, including The Brady Kids: The Complete Animated Series, The Bradys, and The Brady Brides spinoffs, alongside five television films: The Brady Bunch Movie, A Very Brady Christmas, The Brady Bunch in the White House, Growing Up Brady and A Very Brady Sequel. - ComingSoon.Net, 6/7/19.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Dr. JohnPioneering "swamp rock"-styled instrumentalist and legendary New Orleans musician Dr. John died of a heart attack on the morning of June 6, his family announced in a statement several hours later. He was 77. "The family thanks all whom have shared his unique musical journey, and requests privacy at this time," the statement said. Born Malcolm John ("Mac") Rebennack in New Orleans on Nov. 21, 1941, Dr. John's mother was a professional model, and as a baby Mac himself once appeared in soap company ads. But a stronger influence was his father, who owned a local record store. From an early age, Mac grew up listening to the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, and later played guitar and piano in school bands. As a teenager, he hung out around N.O. recording studios, befriendign and learning from the likes of local N.O. legends Professor Longhair, Huey Piano Smith and Fats Domino band members Walter Nelson and Roy Montrell. By 1956, on the strength of this unique grounding, Rebennack had graduated to backing Longhair, Frankie Ford (of "Sea Cruise" fame), Joe Tex, Leonard James, and the following year recorded an unreleased instrumental album. From 1963 to 1965, Rebennack spent time in federal prison for heroin possession after tough-on-crime N.O. District Attorney and JFK conspiracy theorist Jim Garrison conducted an underworld sweep of the city. Later in the '60s, Rebennack worked as a producer/session player with the Minit Records label in N.O. and Ace Records in Baton Rouge, and helped form and signed with the black artists co-operative label AFO (All For One) Records. The label's roster also boasted one Prince Lala, whose mystical voodoo trappings Rebennack would later re-work for his Dr. John persona. By the mid-'60s, Rebbenack was working as a sessionman in Los Angeles for the likes of Phil Spector, Sam Cooke and Sonny and Cher, and, through his growing interest in voodoo, gradually metamorphosed into "Dr. John The Night Tripper," the latter part of the name said to be an answer to the Beatles' "Day Tripper." Signed to Atco Records, Dr. John released his first album, Gris Gris, in 1968, which was comprised of a number of songs written during his pre-L.A. period, and the follow-up Babylon was released the following year. Both were startingly original recordings, combining traditional Creole chants and N.O. influences with the emergent psychedelic movement. Dr. JohnLike The Band before him, Dr. John's reputation spread at first largely by word of mouth, with his name constantly appearing in interviews with major rock celebrities. Two of these, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, later appeared on his 1971 LP Sun, Moon and Herbs. By this time, Dr. John was firmly established as a cult attraction, appearing onstage in garish beaded robes and feathered head-dress with backed by similarly attired dancing girls and musicians. His voodoo obsession continued on 1972's Gumbo album, though it was 1973's In the Right Place that marked a shift toward more mainstream rock, and became one of his biggest sellers. From that album, standout cut "Right Place Wrong Time" became his sole 1970s US Top 40 hit, reaching No. 9 in May 1973, though he followed that a few months later with the No. 42 "Such a Night." That same year he also worked in Triumvirate, a short-lived trio with Mike Bloomfield and John Hammond Jr. His 1974 set, Desitively Bonnaroo, was also well received by critics and its title track recalled his hit "Right Place Wrong Time." Though the album only peaked at No. 105 on the charts, it would later be immortalized in rock history by being the namesake of the annual Bonnaroo rock festival in Tennessee. Dr. John appeared in The Band's farewell concert film The Last Waltz in 1978, and three years later released the first of several solo-piano LP's, Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack. In the late 1980's, he began reaching back to his N.O. roots, while also subtly mainstreaming his appeal.

Further reading on
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"Dr. John Binge-A-Thon"

His 1989 LP In a Sentimental Mood collected old blues and saloon standards and earned him a Grammy, for his duet with Rickie Lee Jones on "Makin' Whoopee." Later albums included Bluesiana Triangle which detoured into jazz, and Goin' Back to New Orleans, which he recorded with fellow N.O. legends Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Danny Barker, Alvin "Red" Tyler and the Neville Brothers, and earned him another Grammy. By now, Dr. John's gruff baritone had become familiar to millions through a succession of TV commercial jingles. In 1991, rap group PM Dawn sampled his "I Walk on Gilded Splinters," and two years later rising alternative rock star Beck sampled the same track for his folk-rap slacker anthem, "Loser." In 1993, Dr. John published his autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon and a year later appeared on the Windham Hill album Crescent City Gold, along with fellow N.O. vets Tyler Allen Toussaint, Earl Palmer, Lee Allen and Edward Frank. In addition to his six Grammy wins, Dr. John was honored with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, on his first nomination. In 2014, he released his 30th studio album, a Louis Armstrong tribute entitled Ske-Det-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch. The musician had not been seen in public much since late 2017, when he canceled several gigs, and had lately been resting at his N.O. area home, according to a 2018 interview with his publicist Karen Beninato. "It's with the deepest of sympathy that we acknowledge the passing of the Legendary Dr John," said his former managers Peter Himberger and Ed Gerrard in a statement. "We managed Mac for 20 years and celebrated his many accomplishments including Grammy's, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction, performance's at the White House, Super Bowl, numerous sessions with some of Rock n Roll elite.... He was one of a kind and like his lyric to his song Big Shot, 'It never was, never gonna be, another big shot like me.'...RIP to the Nite Tripper..." - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll/Billboard, 6/6/19.

On June 5 The Who announced a new pop-up shop and fan experience in London ahead of their upcoming Tommy orchestral gig at Wembley Stadium on July 6. "The Who @ 52" shop in Soho will offer an exhibition of rare and archive memorabilia, pinball competition on a full-size, retro Tommy pinball machine, new Who merch, and a drawing for a ticket to the show. The temporary space at 52 Brewer Street in London's Soho and will be open between 10am and 6pm on June 14 and 15. The concert will mark the release of its new The Who's Tommy Orchestra CD with a live version of their seminal album performed by a full symphony orchestra. Opening acts include Kaiser Chiefs, Eddie Vedder, Imelda May and Connor Selby. Later in 2019, The Who will embark on a tour of the US. In April, guitarist Pete Townshend announced the band's long-shelved "Lifehouse" project will be made into a graphic novel instead of an ambitious rock novel as originally planned. - New Musical Express, 6/5/19...... Bette MidlerDuring an event-filled Head of State visit with Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family in early June, Pres. Donald Trump found time to chastise one of his most vocal critics, Bette Midler, on Twitter on June 5. "Washed up psycho @BetteMidler was forced to apologize for a statement she attributed to me that turned out to be totally fabricated by her in order to make 'your great president' look really bad. She got caught, just like the Fake News Media gets caught. A sick scammer!," the president snarled on the popular social media outlet. The Trump quote in question was allegedly from a 1998 People magazine interview, in which he (allegedly) said: "If I were to run, I'd run as a Republican. They're the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they'd still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific." Though the quote was found to be fake back in 2015, Midler tweeted an apology on June 3: "I apologize; this quote turns out to be a fake from way back in '15-16. Don't know how I missed it, but it sounds SO much like him that I believed it was true! Fact Check: Did Trump say in '98 Republicans are dumb?" But her apology apparently wasn't good enough for the president, who must have only seen the tweet after a full day spent being booed by thousands of protesters in London. Midler responded to the president's indignant post with a series of her own tweets, and this time there was no apology. "Because there are SO MANY LIES, most of them generated by Trump himself, that the task of separating the truth from the lies is impossible. Which is just how he likes it," the diva posted on June 3. She also fired off a series of tweets mocking his ill-fitting tuxedo, accused him of lying about the size of the protests in London, and even suggested "he slam his dick in a door": "Trump said he was greeted by thousands in the UK, but they were actually thousands of protesters. How does he always hear the opposite of the truth? Donald, if you're reading this you SHOULD NOT slam your dick in a door!" -, 6/5/19...... Bernie TaupinA new multi-media art exhibit by Elton John's longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin will open at L.A.'s Galerie Michael on June 7. The exhibit will feature 20 unseen, life-size sculptures and artwork made from barbed wire, shattered guitars and various American flags. "This is inspired by things that inspire me," said Taupin, who has been creating visual art since the age of 17 and whose work has previously appeared in museums and exhibits throughout the U.S. Taupin, 69, says his "Bernie Taupin: The Artist, The Raconteur & His Blowtorch" exhibit is a comprehensive overview of his work. "It's certainly one of the largest that I've ever presented. This is very much me in the moment," he noted. Taupin said veterans and family members of veterans who were killed in action donated the flags to him. The flags include images of Captain America and Johnny Cash along with chicken wire. Taupin said using the US flag was an obvious choice, calling it an "iconic" artifact. The British-born songwriter said he is fascinated with the American flag because it is a "thrilling representation of the drama that this country is built upon. The good and the bad." The exhibit runs until June 30. - AP, 6/6/19...... In other Elton-related news, the superstar and his Rocketman doppelgänger Taron Egerton have responded to Russia's decision to censor the film in the country by cutting out around five minutes of the film that involve kissing, sex and oral sex between men in an attempt to downplay the sexuality of one of the world s most famous gay celebrities for a conservative Russian audience. "We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," the May 31 statement issued by John and movie studio Paramount read. "Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton s extraordinary life, warts and all," the statement continued. Posting on Instagram on May 31, Taron Egerton said he was "crestfallen that the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market." "I in no way condone this decision and feel disappointed I wasn't made aware and given the chance to fight this move. Love is love. No compromises," he wrote. Meanwhile, Elton's half-brother Geoff Dwight has slammed the biopic for its portrayal of their mutual father, Stanley Dwight (played by Steven Mackintosh in the movie). Speaking to the DailyMailOnline, Geoff said their father wasn't at all homophobic, as portrayed in the film. "Dad didn't have a homophobic bone in his body. When Elton came out, dad didn't care. He didn't even mention it, because it wasn't important to him," Geoff said. "This coldness is a million miles away from what dad was like. He was a product of a time when men didn't go around hugging each other and showing their feelings every minute of the day, but he had plenty of love in him for all of us," he added. Stanley Dwight died in 1991. Elton -- whose real name is Reginald Dwight -- and Geoff have only spoken once since then. But Dwight denied there was a feud, saying: "There's no ill feeling from me toward Elton, far from it. I love him, but our paths have gone in different directions." - New Musical Express, 6/3/19...... The EaglesThe Eagles announced on June 5 they are adding a third date to their upcoming Hotel California Las Vegas residency at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 27 and 28. The band's final show will now be on Oct. 5, and the three appearances will be the first time the Eagles have played the iconic Grammy-winning 1976 album in its entirety live. The Vegas shows, which will be the Eagles' only North American performances in 2019, will also include an additional set of the band's greatest hits. The Eagles current lineup consists of Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit with recent additions Vince Gill and founding member Glenn Frey's son Deacon Frey. - Billboard, 6/5/19...... Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joan Jett joined the recently reunited "grrrl group" Bikini Kill at their Brooklyn's Kings Theatre show on June 4 for a rendition of "Rebel Girl." Jett, who collaborated with Bikini Kill on the studio recording of "Rebel Girl" and two other tracks from their 1998 compilation album The Singles, played guitar on the song during the performance. Jett produced the tracks on The Singles as well as playing guitar on them and contributing vocals. - New Musical Express, 6/5/19...... Kool & The Gang have been tapped to receive Philadelphia's Marian Anderson Award during a gala in November. The award, named after the pioneering African-American opera singer, is given in Philly to "critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way." Kool & The Gang, who recorded several albums in Philadelphia, said in a statement they're "truly honored" to receive the award and that "Funky Philly" played an integral part in their career. Past winners of the award include Dionne Warwick, Jon Bon Jovi, Maya Angelou and Quincy Jones. Kool & The Gang's previous honors include two Grammy Awards and seven American Music Awards. - AP, 6/5/19...... Bob DylanBob Dylan will release The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Performances, featuring five concerts from his legendary '75 tour, on June 7. The set contains a wealth of music over 14 discs, with a whopping 148 tracks, 113 previously unreleased, recorded during the wildly unorthodox tour, which was less a traditional tour than a rambling, ragtag caravan featuring at various times Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, among others. With its release, every official recording from the 1975 leg of the tour finally out to the public, with some of the performances previously released on the 1976 live album Hard Rain, then on 2002's double-disc The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975. The Rolling Thunder Revue tour is also featured in an upcoming Martin Scorsese documentary, and the trailer for the film was released on June 3. "The tour was a catastrophe," Dylan explains in the clip, which features interviews with the legend and other members of the tour. "It wasn't a success. Not if you measure success in terms of profit. We didn't have enough masks on that tour," he continued, as scenes of the circus-themed tour flashed on the screen. "Life isn't about finding yourself or finding anything, life is about creating yourself." The documentary is out June 12. Meanwhile on May 10, the Bob Dylan Archive Collection in Tulsa, Okla., opened a new Dylan exhibit that showcases 12 pastel portraits painted by the musician. "Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond" will run through Sept. 15 at the museum, which has more than 100,000 items from Dylan's 60-year career. - Billboard, 6/5/19...... The Rolling Stones have announced an eclectic lineup of opening artists on their forthcoming 2019 No Filter tour of North America. The recently rescheduled tour will kick off with openers St. Paul & The Broken Bones in Chicago on June 21 and wrap on Aug. 31 in Miami with Juanes. The Glorious Sons and The Beaches will playing the only Canadian date, in Ontario on June 29, to celebrate Canada Day Weekend. Other openers on the 17-date tour include Guy Clark Jr., The Revivalists, Bishop Gunn, The Wombats, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Vista Kicks and KALEO. Meanwhile, birthday tributes to Charlie Watts poured in on June 2 when the Stones drummer turned 78. Mick Jagger wrote: "Happy birthday dearest Charlie, love Mick, as well as sharing a vintage picture of the pair, with Ronnie Wood tweeting "Happy Birthday Charlie," and sharing a more recent pic of them together. Watts is a member of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone's 2016 "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time" list. - Billboard/NME, 6/5/19...... Roky EricksonRoky Erickson, the hugely influential former lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the '60s psychedelic band The 13th Floor Elevators, died on May 31 in Austin, Tex. He was 71. Born in Austin on July 15, 1947, Erickson first rose to regional prominence as a member of Austin-based band The Spades, with whom he recorded an early version of "You're Gonna Miss Me" -- the song that eventually became the Elevators' debut single. Released in 1966, the latter version reached No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was seen as seminal in the development of psychedelic and garage rock. That same year, the group performed the single on an episode of Dick Clark's American Bandstand in front of a cluster of cardboard palm trees. Despite that early (albeit minor) chart success, The 13th Floor Elevators' forward-looking brand of rock (they are widely considered the first truly psychedelic band) never gained a foothold in the mainstream. Nonetheless, the group -- whose core lineup consisted of electric jug player Tommy Hall and lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland -- went on to develop a rabid cult following with their unique, reverb-drenched sound, which centered around Erickson's impassioned vocals and surreal lyrics. The band dissolved following the release of their last studio album Bull of the Woods thanks in part to Erickson's increasing volatility brought on by his drug use and bouts of schizophrenia, and the singer would cycle in and out of psychiatric hospitals for the remainder of his life. Erickson's struggles with mental illness would eventually be chronicled in the Independent Spirit Award-nominated documentary You're Gonna Miss Me in 2007. Following the news of Erickson's death, those he inspired have been coming out to pay tribute. "It's almost unfathomable to contemplate a world without Roky Erickson," ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons said in a statement. "He created his own musical galaxy and early on was a true inspiration." "His musical legacy speaks for itself," added Erickson's agent Dave Kaplan. "He's an incredibly influential artists and 'You're Gonna Miss Me' is one of the 10 or 20 greatest rock and roll songs of all time." - Billboard, 5/31/19...... John Gary Williams, the lead singer for the R&B vocal group The Mad Lads who sung "I Want Someone" and "Don't Have to Shop Around," died at his home in Memphis in late May. He was 73. Williams formed The Mad Lads with William Brown, Julius Green and Robert Phillips in Memphis and recorded on Stax Record's Volt label. With Williams' high tenor voice and the group's soft soul harmonies, The Mad Lads had several songs on the Billboard R&B chart in the 1960s, including "I Want a Girl" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." In the middle of his recording career, Williams was drafted into military service and served in the Vietnam War. He also recorded as a solo artist in the 1970s. - AP, 5/30/19.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Who wrapped the first leg of its ambitious Moving On tour in Pittsburgh on May 30 before it heads to England for a July 6 show at London's Wembley Stadium. On the tour, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company have been delving into some of the most iconic rock opera tracks of all time as they're backed by an orchestra, opening the show with the first five tracks from Tommy before diving into a frenzied "Pinball Wizard" and "We're Not Gonna Take It." During the show, the orchestra is onstage for an hour and 40 minutes before The Who take over for 25 minutes or so for band-only runs through hits and deep tracks, such as "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Tea & Theatre." The orchestra then returns for the final Quadrophenia set, ending with an explosive "Baba O'Riley." "We've had glitches every night," says orchestra conductor Keith Levenson. "But it's The Who. It's a dangerous band. It's not like we're doing Rod Stewart Sings the American Songbook, where you play one note all night and you're not playing with one of the greatest drummers in the world [Zak Starkey]." The Who will return to America for a second leg of the tour this summer. - Billboard, 5/30/19...... SantanaCarlos Santana has shared a new video for "Candombe Cumbele," the closing track from his new studio album Africa Speaks. "Candombe Cumbele" is, according to the Grammy-winning guitarist and bandleader, "the basket that will hold the things that I want to do in the future." "It's a Budu ritual," Santana explains. "When you hear this, the closest thing we've had is on Christmas Eve, when you have the Pope going 'the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Nabisco, Fig Newson, Amen.' You're drinking the blood of Christ, right, to account for the sins of mankind. That's a ritual; I don't care what people call it -- anything that has to do with blood and sacrifice is a ritual, whether it's Catholic or Haiti or Africa or American Indian or whatever. A ritual is a ritual, and 'Cumbele' is ground zero. Santana says Africa Speaks was culled from 200 tracks he'd accumulated for the project; 49 were recorded from which the 11 were chosen (13 for a Target exclusive edition). "Sometimes we were recording, like seven songs a day, one right after the other," Santana says. Santana will be playing some Africa Speaks material during his summer Supernatural Tour, which kicks off June 22 in Phoenix, celebrating not only the 20th anniversary of his Grammy Award-winning Supernatural album but also the 50th anniversary of his band's recording career. An Africa Speaks tour, he says, will take place during 2020, playing in theaters. He's also booked to play on the original Woodstock festival anniversary weekend at both the Bethel Arts Center (Aug. 17) on the original site and at the embattled Woodstock 50 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Africa Speaks hits stores on June 7. - Billboard, 5/30/19...... A monthlong "Unfiltered" exhibit of photos of Keith Richards and some of rock's other legendary acts opened on May 23 at West Hollywood's Sunset Marquis Hotel. Photographer Timothy White says that Richards "was just easy" to work with. "Here I am with this like rock idol god, you know?" White says. "And he was unpretentious. Shows up by himself, met him in a bar, had a drink, played a little pool, went for a walk, just started taking pictures on the street. Like, who does that, you know?" White's photos from that day's session -- during which Richards was notably mobbed by a swarm of fans and police officers -- were just a few of many represented at the exhibition, whose opening gala drew the likes of Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Other photos taken by such legendary rock photographers as Bob Gruen, Lynn Goldsmith, Norman Seeff, Gered Mankowitz and Michael Joseph are also on display. The exhibition runs from May 24 to June 22, with concurrent showings at the gallery's New York and Maui outposts. - Billboard, 5/28/19...... A full tape of the Beatles' only performance on the long-running UK show Top of the Pops has been found in an attic. The Fab Four appeared on the show in June 1966, weeks before their last-ever gig at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Fab Four fan David Chandler used a wind-up camera to record the band's performance of "'Paperback Writer" when it aired and says he was compelled to try and find it after hearing about the discovery of a short 11-second clip of the appearance in Mexico in April. The footage lasts for 92 seconds and has been donated to Kaleidoscope, a UK organization which specializes in locating missing TV footage. Chandler's footage had no sound and slowed down where the camera was wound up but has now been remastered by Kaleidoscope. The company's CEO called the footage "phenomenal," and says it be shown in Birmingham on June 1 at Birmingham City University. Other performances from Top Of The Pops will also be screened, including ones by The Troggs, The Hollies and Small Faces. - New Musical Express, 5/30/19...... Mike LoveThe Beach Boys co-founder Mike Love released a cover of the Ramones' classic "Rockaway Beach" on May 30. "It felt so natural to sing it," says Love, who turned 78 in March. "It fits beautifully in the Beach Boys surfing song genre. Not only is it a great song, it's also right in my vocal range. It's almost as if it was designed for me to sing, and that's why I am so eager to play it live." The current Beach Boys lineup (which includes Love and long-time Beach Boy Bruce Johnston) will feature "Rockaway Beach" in their live act this summer. Love's version of "Rockaway Beach" will also feature on his upcoming solo album 12 Sides of Summer, which drops on July 19. It also features covers of "Summertime Blues" and "California Sun," along with re-boots of BB classics "Surfin' Safari" and "Surfin'." Legendary rock producer Ed Stasium, who produced the Ramones original version of "Rockaway Beach" (and added both guitar and harmony vocals to the track), says the Beach Boys were never far from the Ramones' mind. "Every one of the Ramones expressed their admiration for The Beach Boys on numerous occasions," notes Stasium, who produced five albums for the Ramones between 1977 and 1984. "When we recorded 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker' in the spring of '77, Johnny [Ramone] asked specifically if I could play a guitar bit that would reflect the 'plonky' guitar on the Beach Boys' 'Little Honda'." - Billboard, 5/30/19...... In related news, recently deceased surf guitar great Dick Dale was remembered with a California beach memorial on May 26 when a crowd gathered at the Huntington Beach Pier to remember Dale, who died in April at age 81. A group of surfers then took to the water for a "paddle-out," the traditional ceremony held for fellow surfers when they die. Dale was famous for his pounding, blaringly loud power-chord instrumentals in the 1960s on songs like "Miserlou" and "Let's Go Trippin." - AP, 5/27/19...... Bruce Springsteen confirmed on May 28 that he and his E Street Band will head back into the studio later in 2019 before hitting the road again in 2020. Speaking to Italian news site Repubblica, he explained: "I'll record with the E Street Band in the autumn, and when we are done, we'll go on tour [next year]." It comes after Springsteen teased the record in an interview with Martin Scorsese to promote the new documentary Springsteen on Broadway. "About a month or so ago, I wrote almost an album's worth of material for the band...There'll be another tour!" The Boss explained. Springsteen is gearing up to released his latest solo LP, Western Stars, on June 14. On May 30, Springsteen unveiled "Tuscon Train," the third preview track from Western Stars. Accompanied by a string and horn section and a train track beat, the mid-tempo love song about waiting for a lover to arrive mixes anxiety, anticipation and regret in a lush Wall of Sound-style arrangement. The black-and-white performance video was directed by acclaimed collaborator Thom Zinny, who also worked on Springsteen on Broadway. - NME, 5/28/19...... Tom Petty's widow Dana Petty filed new appeals in Los Angeles County court on May 29 and 30 against her daughters Adria and Annakim Petty in the family's escalating battle over the late rocker's trust. In two separate petitions, Dana asks the court to deny a previous petition filed by Adria demanding that Dana immediately fund Petty Unlimited, an LLC set up to receive assets (a.k.a. "artistic property") from Petty's trust. Instead, Dana wants to fund and execute an operating agreement for Tom Petty Legacy, a separate LLC that she established on her own. In Adria's petition filed in April, she accused Dana of withholding Petty's assets from Petty Unlimited in order to keep her and Annakim from "participat[ing] equally" in the management of those assets, as stipulated in the trust. Dana's new petitions dispute that characterization, instead claiming that as "sole successor trustee" of Petty's trust, she is "exclusively authorized" to form any entity of her choosing to be the beneficiary of Petty's assets so long as all three women are given equal participation in its management. The attorney for the daughters, Alex Weingarten, says that "Dana and her lawyer are basing their case on smoke and mirrors. Every claim they make is demonstrably false. Adria and Annakim are laser focused on one thing -- honoring and protecting their father's legacy and enforcing the terms of his trust, as written." Petty died of an accidental drug overdose on October 2, 2017, at the age of 66. - Billboard, 5/30/19...... Prince's former bodyguard Kirk Johnson was deposed for seven hours on on May 29 in Minneapolis as part of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by relatives of the late rock star. His attorney told reporters that the deposition for his client, who considered Prince a good friend, "was traumatic event for my client." "He feels very sad over the loss of a good friend of his. To have to come back and go through this and re-litigate this whole matter has been very difficult," the attorney siad. The lawsuit names Dr. Michael Schulenberg as a defendant. Authorities say Schulenberg admitted prescribing oxycodone, a different opioid, to Johnson in the days before Prince died, knowing the drug would go to Prince. Schulenberg has disputed that, although he paid $30,000 to settle a federal civil violation alleging the drug was prescribed illegally. Schulenberg's attorney has said his client stands behind the care Prince received. - AP, 5/30/19...... Iggy Pop has announced he's prepping a career retrospective book entitled 'Til Wrong Feels Right that will highlight lyrics from more than 100 of his songs along with photos, memorabilia and previously unseen notes from the punk godfather. Billed as offering Pop's insight into his creative world-with the complete lyrics for 100 songs brought to life by full-color photos, his own memorabilia, never-before-seen notes, short essays by Iggy, and commentary from other music legends-from T. Rex's Mark Bolan to Blondie's Debbie Harry," the 288-page book is due out on Oct. 1 from Penguin Random House. Meanwhile, Iggy fans can see the rocker in cult director Jim Marmusch's new zombie comedy The Dead Don't Die, which also stars Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Danny Glover and Steve Buscemi and hits theaters on June 14. - Billboard, 5/30/19...... Debbie HarryIn related news, Blondie's Debbie Harry will release her memoir, Face It, on Oct. 1 via Dey Street Books. In a statement, the New Wave legend said she originally didn't want to write the book, but took on the project anyway. In the book, Harry writes about her years in 1970s New York and her rise with Blondie and shares stories about everyone from fellow New York bands Talking Heads and the Ramones to encounters with Rita Hayworth and David Bowie. Harry said parts of her life were funny and warm and others chilling "to the bone." She says writing the book led to her discovery that she had led "a very full life." Her memoir is also expected to provide new details about her claims that she narrowly escaped the deadly clutches of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. Harry has previously spoken of the time she once hitched a ride from a handsome stranger in New York City the early 1970s, not realizing she was within a hair of an untimely trip to the morgue, but was able to bail herself out of the car after realizing she'd made a big mistake. - AP, 5/29/19...... As his Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour hit Verona, Italy on May 29, Elton John took time out to weigh in with reporters on the UK's controversual Brexit issue. "I'm sick to death of politicians, especially British politicians. I am sick to death of Brexit. I am a European. I am not a stupid, colonial, imperialist, English idiot," Elton said. John has previously spoken out on Brext, telling The Guardian in 2018 that "I don't think people in Britain were told the truth to start with They were promised something that was completely ridiculous and wasn't economically viable. [Brexit was like] walking through Hampton Court maze blindfolded, being turned around 16 times and trying to find your way out." Meanwhile, Elton has revealed that he found his new biopic Rocketman, which premiered in the US on May 31, "difficult" to watch as it delves into the darker moments of his life. "This is how my life was, and I didn't want to cover it and gloss it over. And it's difficult to watch because I thought, 'God, I don't want to go back there. Thank God I came out of it'," he said. Meanwhile, the son of record mogul Dick James, who is portrayed in Rocketman as a foul-mouthed cockney in the movie, is hitting out at the film's depiction of his dad. Stephen James insists that his late father "just wasn't like that." He instead claims that he had been "like a surrogate father" to the singer and says he and his dad "only ever tried to do the best for him and to promote his career." "They basically depict my father in the film completely opposite to the way he was in real life. It's rather upset me because my father was a nice guy. Elton's own father had run off and wasn't around. He treated my father at the time as very much a father figure, and my father treated Elton very much as if he was a son." Describing how his father had been reduced to "stereotypes," he added: "They have turned him into this stereotype with a big fat cigar, swearing every other word." Elton initially fell out with Stephen and Dick in 1985 after a High Court battle over royalties. Dick died of a heart attack only three months after the legal dispute came to an end. In other Rocketman news, it has been revealed that Justin Timberlake was once in the running to play Elton in the movie, a role that eventually went to Taron Egerton. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, John's husband and Rocketman producer David Furnish said Timberlake, who had previously portrayed John in the music video for "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" in 2001, was the first person the star thought of when first beginning work on the movie, "but we never formally approached Justin because we weren't ever at a stage where it was the right time to approach him." - New Musical Express, 5/31/19...... In a new interview with the music publication Kerrang!, Ozzy Osbourne revealed that he wishes Black Sabbath could have finished their recent farewell tour with co-founding Sabbath drummer Bill Ward. The sticksman was due to go on tour with Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, and bassist Geezer Butler, when they announced a final reunion tour in 2011. But at the time Ward cited an "unsignable" contract, and parted ways with the iconic metal band. They wrapped up their final two hometown gigs in Birmingham, in 2017. "[stand in drummer] Tommy [Clufetos] did great, but the four of us started this, and it should have been the four of us ending it," Osbourne said. "Those final gigs in Birmingham were bittersweet because you think of how far we came, and how much we did, and it would have been good to have shared that together. Maybe one day there'll be one last gig, I don't know." Ozzy recently announced a rescheduled run of shows for 2020, after serious illness forced him to postpone his farewell tour. - New Musical Express, 5/27/19...... In other Heavy Metal news, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford became irritated at a fan who was filming him with a mobile phone during a Priest concert in Rosemont, Ill. on May 25, and kicked the phone out of the fan's hand mid-concert. The band was performing the song "Judas Rising," when suddenly, Halford sends a front-row fan's phone flying with a swift and powerful kick. - NME, 5/31/19...... Sammy Hagar has released "Affirmation," the third video from his first studio set from his current band, the Circle. Hagar will be releasing Space Between: The Affirmation, an album-length short film later in 2019. "The reason I like this movie is it gives the album more legs. It's not just a record, and when you see this movie you're gonna go back and listen to the record and go 'Oh!' It elevates your listening and viewing experience." Hagar released his new CD with the Circle, Space Between, on May 10. - Billboard, 5/28/19...... Robert PlantRobert Plant has announced he'll be launching a new career retrospictive podcast, Digging Deep, on June 3. "I'm going to be picking out some songs from here and there along the way, mixing constant shifts in sound and in tension," the former Led Zeppelin singer explained. In a one-minute teaser for the new podcast, Plant describes going back and listening to some of the songs he's recorded during his five-decade career and marveling at them, finding the players in the room to be, "out of sight... they found me to be something that they hadn't been used to dealing with." The podcast promises to uncover the "moments, people and places that have inspired some of his most treasured music." Plant has not announced how many episodes the podcast will run. The podcast announcement comes on the heels of news in May that a Led Zeppelin "in their own words" documentary with new interviews from Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones and directed by Bernard MacMahon (American Epic) is in the works. Plant is on the road this summer playing a series of festival dates and amphitheater shows in support of his 2017 Carry Fire album. - Billboard, 5/28/19...... HBO has won the first round of a lawsuit brought by Michael Jackson's estate over the recent controversial Leaving Neverland documentary. Ahead of its premiere in March 2019, Jackson's estate sued the HBO network while protesting the late star's innocence. Claiming that his accusers are seeking financial gain, the complaint to Los Angeles Superior Court read: "Michael is an easy target because he is not here to defend himself, and the law does not protect the deceased from defamation, no matter how extreme the lies are." Following a recent hearing, a federal judge has rejected a motion from Jackson's estate to throw the case to an arbitrator, and it will remain open in court. The estate alleges that Leaving Neverland constitutes a breach of a non-disparagement clause in an agreement that is 27 years old. It's said that the deal provided the network with rights to air a Michael Jackson live show around the time of his 1991 album, Dangerous. HBO has claimed that the decades-old deal had expired, and therefore does not cover the Leaving Neverland film. The broadcasters hit out at legal action set in motion by Jackson's estate, claiming it was a "transparent effort to bolster their publicity campaign against the documentary." - NME, 5/29/19...... Fans of the 1977 sci-fi classic Star Wars will be able to attend a music festival later this year in the desert where the iconic movies were filmed. Les Dunes Electroniques was founded in 2014 but has not been held for the last three years. In September, it will return with 30 hours of "uninterrupted music" from a line-up of Tunisian, French, and international electronic artists. Although the line-up is yet to be confirmed, tickets are on sale now for the festival which will run from Sept. 21-22. - NME, 5/29/19...... Neil Young defied a strict 10:00 p.m. curfew put in place by California's BottleRock Napa Valley Festival on May 25 when he finished his set with his iconic "Rockin' In The Free World," even if it meant finishing off with an acoustic flourish. Videos posted on YouTube show the 'Heart of Gold' singer and his band continuing to play after the plug has been pulled, much to the delight of the huge crowd in attendance. The California festival is known for its strict curfew, with Foo Fighters previously getting the plugged pulled after they dared to defy the rule at the very same event. - NME, 5/29/19...... Country/pop crossover icon Kenny Rogers has been admitted to a Georgia hospital for dehydration, according to his official Twitter account. A statement posted on May 31 said the singer would remain there for physical therapy to "get his strength back" before being discharged. The statement said the 80-year-old Rogers appreciated the well wishes from fans and wanted to assure everyone that "he plans on sticking around through the years to come." Rogers retired from touring in 2017 after a 60-year career spanning jazz, folk, country and pop, with hits like "The Gambler," "Lucille" and "Lady." - AP, 5/31/19...... Elvis Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley has sold her L.A. mansion for $3.8 million after she put it on the market to bail out her debt-riddled, drug-challenged daughter Lisa Marie Presley. The sale of the Brentwood area home brought in a huge cash windfall for the daughter who was in a legal battle with her divorce and financial woes. Lisa Marie has claimed that her business manager squandered her famous father's $100 million fortune and she was left virtually penniless in the process. Her mother, who never lived in the 1950s style ranch home, put the mansion on the market for $3.6 million but earned a whopping $200,000 more in the final deal, according to Variety. Priscilla purchased the home for $170,000 in 1976, three years after she divorced Elvis. -, 5/30/19...... Leon RedboneLegendary Tin Pan Alley/jazz interpreter Leon Redbone died on May 30 of undisclosed causes, his family has confirmed. He was 69. "It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127," read the statement, which channeled the same whimisical air that Redbone portrayed in his jester musical persona. "He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat," the statement continued. Over the course of more than a dozen albums, Redbone took a deep dive into his love of all things jazz, country, ragtime, blues and vaudeville, reaching back to a bygone era of the 1920s and '30s through his natty onstage attire -- which invariably included his ever-present white Panama hat, matching suit and dark shades -- on songs such as the whistle-assisted, taking-its-time jazz ramble "Lazybones" from his 1975 debut, On the Track. Despite seeming perpetually out of time, Redbone's singular style shone through even in the midst of the heady rock of the mid 1970s, with two guest musical appearances in the debut 1975-76 season of Saturday Night Live (and again in 1977 and 1983) as well as multiple The Tonight Show spots. His final studio album of new material was 2014's Flying By on his own August Records imprint, with fan Jack White re-releasing Redbone's 1975 Warner Bros. debut album and the pre-fame collections of unheard tracks Long Way From Home in 2016. "I don't do anything mysterious on purpose," Redbone once said about why he nevery directly answered questions about his age, origin or family background. "I'm less than forthcoming, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm mysterious. It just means I'm not inclined to go there." - Billboard, 5/30/19...... Legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr died on May 26 at the age of 85, the team announced. The Packers announced Starr, a catalyst of Vince Lombardi's powerhouse NFL teams of the 1960s, died in Birmingham, Ala., citing his family. "We are saddened to note the passing of our husband, father, grandfather and friend, Bart Starr," family members said in a statement. Starr "battled with courage and determination" after a serious stroke in September 2014, but "his most recent illness was too much to overcome," family members said. The Packers selected Starr out of the University of Alabama with the 200th pick in the 1956 draft. He led the team to six division titles, five NFL championships and wins in the first two Super Bowls. Until Brett Favre came along, Starr was known as the best Packer ever. The team retired his No. 15 jersey in 1973, making him just the third player to receive that honor. Four years later, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. In 1965, Starr and his wife, Cherry, helped co-found Rawhide Boys Ranch in New London, Wisconsin, a facility designed to help at-risk and troubled boys throughout the state. The couple dealt with tragedy in 1988 when their son Brett died at 24 due to complications from cocaine addiction. They also had another son, Bart Jr. - Fox News, 5/26/19.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Elton John has written an article for the UK paper The Guardian about his new biopic, Rocketman in which he reveals he fought hard for the film's R-rating. "Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven't led a PG-13 rated life," Elton wrote. "I didn't want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn't seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I'd quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon's Bible for company." John also writes that some movie studios had wanted a more traditional biopic instead of Rocketman's more surreal elements, "but that was missing the point." "Like I said, I lived in my own head a lot as a kid. And when my career took off, it took off in such a way that it almost didn't seem real to me. I wasn't an overnight success by any means -- I'd been slogging around the clubs, making records, writing songs with [songwriting partner] Bernie [Taupin] and trying to sell them to people who weren't interested for four or five years before anything big happened. But when it happened, it went off like a missile: there's a moment in Rocketman when I'm playing onstage in the Troubadour club in LA and everything in the room starts levitating, me included, and honestly, that's what it felt like." Meanwhile in a new interview on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 show on Apple Music, the singer explained why Taron Egerton was the ideal candidate to play him in the movie. "I'd heard him sing 'I'm Still Standing' on the Sing soundtrack," Elton said. "I knew he could sing and I definitely wanted in this movie people to know that it wasn't me singing. I didn't want lip syncing. So he was given the brief of 'you're going to sing everything'. My songs aren't easy to sing. I know because loads of musicians have told me that they're hard to sing." Explaining that he stayed away from the recording sessions for the soundtrack, John said Egerton's work "blew his mind" when he heard the results. "What he's done is quite extraordinary because he sounds like me, but he also sounds like Taron," he said. "And that's down to Giles [Martin, producer] giving him the confidence in the studio as well. As well as featuring Egerton singing some of John's classic tracks, the Rocketman soundtrack also boasts a brand new song performed by the actor and the musician. '(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again' was written by Taupin and plays out over the film's credits. Rocketman opens in theaters in the US on May 31. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 5/26/19...... Ian GillanShortly before accepting an International Achievement Award at the 2019 Ivors Awards in the UK on May 24, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan told reporters that younger artists should not have heroes and make a space of their own. "When I was in my formative years, I rejected Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Dean Martin," Gillan said. "I now realise they were all great artists but at the time as a young man, you have to clear the decks. There's this sort of psychological vandalism that takes place for yourself." Gillan added: "The only advice I can give is to absorb as much as you can from as wide a spectrum as you can. If you're in a rock band and only soak up Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple kind of beginnings then you're not going to have much leeway. We soaked up everything from Beethoven to Chopin to Jimi Hendrix to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan." Deep Purple will kick off a lengthy US tour this fall in September. - New Musical Express, 5/24/19...... The 100th birthday of folk legend Pete Seeger was honored on May 23 during the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater benefit concert in Albany, N.Y. The Pete Seeger Centennial Concert at The Egg, the performing arts center in Albany, was one of several international events honoring Seeger, but few were as intimate as the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater benefit with such Seeger muses as Arlo Guthrie, Dar Williams, Dan Zanes and Guy Davis sharing songs and memories of the man they knew and loved deeply. "What a night," said Guthrie, who led the evening's bill. "I don't do a lot of tribute things. But this is one I could not say no to." Arlo's father, Woody Guthrie, was Seeger's longtime friend, and Arlo toured with Seeger for some four decades. "He brought humanity together with his actions, not just as a performer but as a human being," Guthrie said after Seeger's death in 2014. The concert was a benefit for the Hudson River sloop Clearwater, a 106-foot-long wooden replica of a Dutch sailing vessel, which Seeger launched 50 years ago on May 17, 1969. The most-enduring activist organization with its roots in music, the Clearwater is widely recognized for its role in the decades-long cleanup of the Hudson River, for its advocacy of environmental and social justice campaigns and for its education programs to train a new generation of environmental activists. For the show's finale, Guthrie was joined by all the artists for "This Land Is Your Land," which his father had written but Seeger had popularized. - Billboard, 5/25/19...... The Rolling Stones have given The Verve leader Richard Ashcroft back the royalties and profits from The Verve's 1997 single "Bitter Sweet Symphony." The song sampled a four-second segment of Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham's orchestral recording for the Stones' "The Last Time," and the only deal Ashcroft could reach that allowed him to keep Urban Hymns, the album the song featured on, on shelves was to sign away all of his rights and royalties to the track. "It gives me great pleasure to announce as of last month Mick Jagger and Keith Richards agreed to give me their share of the song 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'," Ashcroft said in a statement after receiving an Outstanding Contribution to British Music award at the Ivor Awards on May 23. "This remarkable and life-affirming turn of events was made possible by a kind and magnanimous gesture from Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards], who have also agreed that they are happy for the writing credit to exclude their names and all their royalties derived from the song they will now pass to me." The news follows Ashcroft filing a lawsuit in 2018 in the hopes of reclaiming some of the royalties from "Bitter Sweet Symphony." "Someone stole god knows how many million dollars off me in 1997, and they've still got it," he said at the time. "In terms, in normal basic terms, I don't care where you come from, that's a serious matter. The Verve split up in 1999, but later reformed from 2007-2009, including a headline set at Glastonbury. - NME, 5/23/19...... The estate of Michael Jackson and Jackson's former manager Tohme Tohme have settled a long-running dispute mid-trial over whether Tohme was owed commission from as far back as 2008. Tohme had sued the estate in 2012, claiming he was owed a 15 percent commission on money Jackson made during the last year of his life, a cut of the Jackson movie This Is It's revenues and a finder's fee for a loan that stopped Neverland Ranch from going into foreclosure. The estate had argued Tohme was terminated before Jackson's death and that he breached his fiduciary duty, among other claims. The trial began May 14, but ended after just five days in court when the two parties announced they had reached a confidential settlement. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/24/19...... Eddie LevertEddie Levert of The O'Jays has reflected on the sudden chart success of The O'Jay's' 1972 chart-topping smash "Love Train" in a new podcast with Billboard. Levert said what he remembers most about the song was how it was created right in the studio. "When it came out, it just shot up the Billboard charts," he recalls, noting that it felt surreal because the thing he had always dreamt of was happening. His fellow O'Jays member Walter Williams added that the band had to "hustle to catch up with it," when it came to things such as their live shows and their uniforms. "It really went to the top, and we were not ready," he explains. "You have to get ready for it being at the top of the charts, because it puts you in places that you were never gonna be without that No. 1." The O'Jays released their latest studio album, The Last Word, on Apr. 19.- Billboard, 5/24/19...... Preston Epps, a renowned percussionist whose 1959 instrumental hit "Bongo Rock" helped introduce bongos and conga drums to mainstream pop, has died. He was 88. Born on July 19, 1930, in Mangum, Okla., Mr. Epps attended grade school in Tulsa and moved as a teenager to Oakland, where he attended junior high and high school. He served in the Air Force in Okinawa during the Korean War. He became fascinated with the drums in the early '50s when he visited a San Francisco jazz spot called Bop City. He started as a percussionist but took to the bongos after he saw an African group perform in the City of Hope and they gave him his first drum. Mr. Epps was the main percussionist on "Earth Angel," first recorded by The Penguins in 1954. Mr. Epps followed "Bongo Rock" with other tunes like "Bongo Bongo Bongo," "Bongo in the Congo," "Bongo Rocket" and "Bongo Boogie." He also toured and performed with such artists as Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, Johnny Otis, Sam Cooke, Jewel Akens and Clifton Eddie, and appeared as a headliner in Las Vegas. Mr. Epps also helped to establish and manage the West Hollywood nightclub Pandora's Box, where he discovered Lou Rawls. Mr. Epps performed until he was 85, with his final gig coming in 2014 at the Tiki Oasis in San Diego before more than 3,000 people. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/21/19.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Producer Brian Eno, who once released an album titled Before and After Science, is being recognized for his contribtions to science. The legendary producer, who has helmed hit albums for such artists as David Bowie and U2, is scheduled to receive the Stephen Hawking Medal at the 2019 Starmus science and music festival in Switzerland for his contributions to "science communication." Previous recipients include composers Jean-Michel Jarre and Hans Zimmer, and astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Starmus V event will be held in Zurich, Switzerland from June 24 to 29. Business magnate, investor, and engineer Elon Musk will also be honored. - Billboard/, 5/22/19...... Billy Gibbons"Sharp Dressed Man," a musical based on the music of the Texas trio ZZ Top, will open in Las Vegas in 2020, it was announced on May 21. Executive produced by ZZ Top -- vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons, vocalist/bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard -- "Sharp Dressed Man" is described as a a rock musical with a wicked sense of humor and a heart as big as Texas" about "a Lone Star auto mechanic who becomes a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing hearts -- and car parts -- with the help of his merry band of beer drinkers and hell raisers." Iconic ZZ Top songs including "Legs," "La Grange," "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and "Cheap Sunglasses" will all be featured. "We're excited about this fantastic project and look forward to hearing our music in a new innovative context," said Billy Gibbons said in a statement. "Fans have often told us that we've provided the soundtrack to their lives, and this is very much in line with that kind of enthusiastic thinking." Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins, who wrote the teleplays for Fox TV's Grease Live! and A Christmas Story Live!, have been tapped to write the musical. - Billboard, 5/21/19...... The Woodstock 50 festival is appealing part of a ruling earlier in May when Japanese financier Dentsu withdrew from the festival in late April and withdrew $18 million from the event's banking account. On May 15, Justice Barry Ostrager ruled Dentsu did not have the right to cancel Woodstock 50, but also decided he would not force Dentsu to return the remainder of the $49 million investment to festival founder Michael Lang and his partner Greg Peck so they could continue to produce the show. Lang responded with a lawsuit and, after a two-day hearing, Ostrager ruled a clause in the contract that allowed Dentsu to take control of the festival did not include the right to cancel it. But the judge stopped short of demanding Dentsu return any money it had previously promised to invest. Woodstock 50 attorney Marc Kasowitz's appeal seeks "a preliminary injunction in aid of arbitration requiring (Dentsu) to return $18 million withdrawn from a dedicated festival account and allowing Petitioner to use those funds for appropriate expenses." - Billboard, 5/22/19...... A trailer for the new Leonard Cohen documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words Of Love was released online on May 22. The documentary explores Cohen's relationship with his muse, Marianne Ihlen, who inspired songs like "So Long, Marianne." It documents the pair's initial meeting on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 and their life in a bohemian community. The trailer also features an excerpt from a letter Cohen wrote to Ihlen just before her death, in which he said: "Dearest Marianne, I'm just a little behind you -- close enough to take your hand." Marianne & Leonard: Words Of Love, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in 2019, features unseen footage by legendary rock documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and arrives in US cinemas on July 5. - New Musical Express, 5/22/19...... The official Jerry Lee Lewis Facebook page posted on May 21 that the iconic rock 'n' roll pioneer has been forced to cancel a show at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center set for July 1 as he recovers from a stroke he suffered in late February. "Although Jerry Lee is progressing miraculously in his recovery following the recent stroke, he doesn't feel his performing is yet back to the level that his fans deserve," the post says. In the meantime, Jerry Lee is continuing his rehabilitation and his team expects a full recovery, as well as a return show in Nashville in the very near future." Lewis, 83, suffered what was described as a minor stroke Feb. 28 in Memphis. A statement was later issued saying he would make "a full recovery." - Billboard, 5/21/19...... Dolly Parton, who turned 73 years old in January, took time to wish her friend Cher, who turned the same age on May 20, a happy birthday. "Hi Cher, It's Dolly. Happy birthday to you. We're the same age now," the country icon said in a video uploaded to social media. "Well, I might be a minute or two older than you but what's a minute or two among friends and old bags like us?" Parton continued: "I just want you to know I'm proud of you. I think you're great. I hope you'll be around for 100 more years to hang out with me, if nothing else... Heres to more years of singin', sequins, and swappin' secrets!" - Billboard, 5/20/19...... After legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away in August 2018 it was widely reported that the singer left no will. Now, her neice Sabrina Owens has found her aunt's will wedged under sofa cushions and filed them in court on May 20. "Two handwritten wills from 2010 have been found in a locked cabinet, and another dated 2014 was found in a notebook underneath some couch cushions," the brief states. The validity of the documents will be examined at a hearing set for June 12. A breakdown of the wills by The Detroit Free Press shows that Franklin's 2014 document requests that her son Kecalf Franklin serve as the estate's personal representative. That role is currently held by Owens. Meanwhile, Detroit's Chene Park was officially renamed Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre earlier in May in tribute to the late soul singer. - New Musical Express, 5/22/19...... David Lee RothA remix of Van Halen's 1983 hit "Jump" by VH singer David Lee Roth and Dutch trance DJ/producer Armin Van Buuren has been released by Warner Bros. Records. van Burren says he's "always been a fan of the song," which became Van Halen's biggest hit and topped the Billboard Hot 200 pop chart for five weeks. "I was 6 when it came out. I've heard it many times, and years ago, I had a conversation with my publisher saying if there could be one track that I want to get my hands on one day, [it's 'Jump.'] He remembered that, and a couple of months ago, I got the stems from a befriended label. First of all, to have the original stems to such an iconic record [is amazing.] I sent the mix it a label... For about two weeks, I didn't hear anything, then I got a phone call when I was on my way to Israel to do a gig. My publisher couldn't breathe. He was like 'David Lee Roth loves it, and he loves it so much, he wants to come to Miami to perform with you.' That's when I couldn't breathe anymore." The strange musical partners have been performing the "Jump" remix on the road, live for crowds at Ultra Miami and on stage at KAOS day club at the Las Vegas Palms Casino for the recent EDC festivities. "There are places in Texas where you could drive off the road and 20 minutes later I can still see the car," Roth says. "That's like these remixes. You can still kind of see the car and feel the music of the original, but it sure looks different and very far away from what it was originally." - Billboard, 5/20/19...... Sting will be among the headliners at NBC's fifth annual Red Nose Day Special, it was announced on May 20. The two-hour-long special airs on May 22 at 8:00 p.m. EDT in support of this year's Red Nose Day campaign, which raises money and awareness to ensure impoverished children in the U.S. and around the world are "safe, healthy and educated." Also performing at the star-studded charity event, hosted by Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews, will be John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. In its four years in the U.S., Red Nose Day -- created by Yesterday and Love Actually director Richard Curtis -- has raised almost $150 million. - Billboard, 5/20/19...... Patti Smith was among the headliners at the Museum of Contemporary Art 40th Anniversary Benefit in Los Angeles on May 18. Lenny Kaye performed several of her mainstays, including "In My Blakean Year," "Wing" and a cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" before closing the evening with a fiery rendition of "Because the Night." "Robert Mapplethorpe and I used to go to museums," Smith told the audience. "We were 20 years old and we had very little money and never had enough money to go into museums together. We would turns -- I would go in the Museum of Modern Art, he would wait for me outside, and then he'd go in the Whitney and I wait for him outside. And it would have meant so much to us to be able to just go into a museum for free and just study and absorb the work within. So good luck with this pursuit. And it's such a beautiful thought." - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/19/19...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Sun, Elton John slammed the haters of his new biopic Rocketman because lead actor Taron Egerton, who is straight, plays a gay man. "That's all bulls---, I'm sorry," John said. "If people don't like it, review-wise, or it doesn't make one dollar, it's the movie I wanted to make and that's all that counts," John continued. "I can look back and say, 'You know what, I love it. I can live with it." Egerton has previously spoken out about his same-sex love scenes. "For me, kissing a man onscreen is no less appealing than kissing a woman onscreen," he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not in any way repulsed by the male form. It's an uncomfortable thing regardless of who you're with." Rocketman hits US theaters May 31. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes has announced a new set of UK dates in November alongside ones he recently re-scheduled for his "Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live" tour. The re-scheduled dates include Salisbury (11/17), Norwich (11/20), Holmfirth (11/23) and Birmingham (11/29) with additional dates in Bexhill (11/16), Cambridge (11/19), Cheltenham (11/22), Aberdeen (11/25), Inverness (11/26) and Middlesbrough (11/28). "I'm excited to return to touring "Classic Deep Purple Live" in the UK in November 2019," says Hughes. "I first toured Classic Deep Purple Live in Australia and New Zealand last year and it went down a storm. We are looking forward for a second round in the UK in November." - Noble PR, 5/21/19...... '70s glam rockers Sweet have announced Novatines will be their special guests on their upcoming UK tour this November and December. The 16-city tour kicks off on Nov. 28 in Frome, also hitting venues in Holmfirth, Stockton, Nottingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Islington, Exeter and Southampton before wrapping in Bexhill on Dec. 21. - Noble PR, 5/22/19...... Farrah FawcettThe final days of '70s sex symbol Farrah Fawcett are chronicled in a new ABC special, This Is Farrah Fawcett, which airs on the network on May 23 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The special documents Fawcett's years-long battle with cancer in a series of raw and intimate video diaries. "She was never, ever someone who cried about why she got cancer and someone else didn't," said her oncologist and friend Dr. Lawrence Piro, who is also the chief medical advisor for the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. "She wanted to show everyone that cancer looks the same on one of the most glamorous, beautiful women in the world as it looks on every other woman and every other man." Fawcett passed away on June 25, 2009, in Santa Monica, Calif., with her husband Ryan O'Neal and close friend Alana Stewart by her side. She was 62 years old. "About a week before she died, she was in the hospital and I was sitting by her bed," Stewart remembered. "I remember I was holding her hand and I said, 'You know, you're my sister.' And she said... She looked up at me, and she was very ill at the time and weak, and she looked up at me and she said, 'More than a sister.'" -, 5/22/19...... Geneviève Waïte, an actress, singer and songwriter and the mother of actress Bijou Phillips, died in her sleep Saturday in Los Angeles. She was 71. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Wate starred as the title character opposite Calvin Lockhart and Donald Sutherland in the London-set racial drama Joanna (1968). She also recorded a 1974 album, Romance Is on the Rise, that was produced by her then-husband, John Phillips, of Mamas and the Papas fame. Waïte also worked as a model and appeared in Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Move (1970), and her song "Love Is Coming Back" from Romance Is on the Rise is heard in the 1976 David Bowie starred The Man Who Fell to Earth. (Phillips did music for the film.) She was married to Phillips from 1972 until their divorce in 1985. Survivors also include her son, Tamerlane, and three stepchildren: actress Mackenzie Phillips, actress-singer Chynna Phillips and Jeffrey Phillips. "She was a beautiful soul and born from another planet," Bijou Phillips said in a statement. "Her ideas, her songs, her voice and her heartbeat [were] to a beautiful African rhythm no one else had, and I am so thankful she was able to share it." - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/21/19...... Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk, best known for writing the WW2 novels The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, died on May 17 at the age of 103. Mr. Wouk (pronounced woke) regarded The Caine Mutiny as his "signature work," and the novel's ringing plausibility springs from its author's personal experience. Set aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific during World War II -- "a pile of junk" modeled on ships Wouk served on -- the novel tells the story of a crew that rebels against its psychotic skipper, Philip F. Queeg. It was later turned into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. Mr. Wouk, who was born on May 27, 1915 in the Bronx, followed Caine with another hit, 1955's Marjorie Morningstar, the story of an aspiring Jewish actress who, after a sexual fling, abandons her dreams of the stage and settles into a safe suburban marriage with a man who regards her loss of virginity as a "deformity." The novel, an unabashedly conservative call for conformity and chastity, was made into a film starring Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly. It also landed its author on the cover of Time magazine. Mr. Wouk's The Winds of War and War and Remembrance were turned into a lavish TV miniseries starring Robert Mitchum. In 2008 Mr. Wouk was awarded the first Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Writing of Fiction by the Library of Congress. At the awards ceremony, which included a performance by Jimmy Buffett, Mr. Wouk donated more than 100 volumes of his journals to the library.-, 5/17/19.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Temptations will be among the headliners at the Apollo Theater's 2019 Spring Gala on June 10. "It is a real honor to take part in the prestigious Apollo Theater Walk of Fame and 85th gala celebration," says co-founding Temptations member Otis Williams. "I'm looking forward to sharing our music and reflecting on the wonderful and vivid memories that Paul (Williams), David (Ruffin), Eddie (Kendricks), Melvin (Franklin) and I spent at the Apollo Theater, a beloved national treasure." The Tempts and the legendary Harlem venue have a long history, it was backstage there that the group, with Smokey Robinson, came up with the lyrics to "My Girl," which became a platinum-seller the following year. The benefit will feature a special performance from The Temptations and Williams, their last living original member, and the group will also be inducted in the Apollo Walk of Fame days prior to the June 7 fundraiser. Other artists set to appear include Estelle, Jose James, Liv Warfield and Morris Day and The Time. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... Elton JohnWith the premiere of the long-awaited Elton John biopic Rocketman at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, Paramount Pictures becomes the first major studio to depict gay male sex onscreen. Rocketman features multiple scenes between Taron Egerton, who plays John, and Richard Madden (portraying his first gay lover, music manager John Reid) (while Ang Lee's 2005 film Brokeback Mountain also showed a sex scene between two men, it was not aimed at broad audiences like Rocketman and was released by the specialty label Focus Features). "For me, kissing a man onscreen is no less appealing than kissing a woman onscreen," Egerton says in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not in any way repulsed by the male form. It's an uncomfortable thing regardless of who you're with -- it makes no difference as to your sexual preference." However Rocketman's R-rating and its depiction of gay sex should most certainly disqualify it from being released in China, indeed the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody edited out any suggestion that Freddie Mercury was bisexual for its release in that lucrative market. "Our movie is a different animal," Egerton said during a May 16 press conference at Cannes. "Our movie is a musical. It requires an actor who can sing in the lead role. For a biopic, that's not necessary. I'm very grateful that people compare us (to Bohemian Rhapsody). Hopefully, it shows that there's an appetite for movies [like this]. However, that movie is a unicorn." Meanwhile, Elton John has released new track, "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," from the soundtrack of Rocketman which also features vocals from Egerton. The upbeat track, written by John and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, plays out over the film's credits. "It was so important that the music I composed and recorded had to be sung by Taron," Elton says. "I wanted his interpretation of me, through Bernie's lyrics and my music -- not just acting. I left Taron in the hands of [producer and composer] Giles Martin, who I trusted implicitly because he's brilliant." Rocketman hits US theaters on May 31. - The Hollywood Reporter/New Musical Express, 5/17/19...... In related news, Queen guitarist Brian May said during a May 14 appearance on BBC Radio 2's The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show that the band "hasn't earned a penny" from the worldwide smash biopic, which stars Rami Malek as frontman Freddie Mercury. "It was a long labour of love -- about 12 years in development, I guess. We thought it would do well in the end and we felt good about it, but we didn't realise it would do that well. It's incredible around the world -- it's like a billion-dollar movie." But May went on to say that it hadn't had an impact on the band's finances that many fans assume. "I had to laugh the other day because there's a thing in the paper saying that we were getting rich off this movie," he said. "If they only knew. We had an accountant in the other day and we still haven't earned a penny from it. Isn't that funny? How successful does a movie have to be before you make money? There's so many people that people don't realise will take pieces off the top." - NME, 5/14/19...... Cheap Trick will be among the headliners honoring songwriter Linda Perry on June 29 in Los Angeles at The Novo at L.A. Live. "Linda Perry & Friends: A Night at the Grammy Museum" will also feature appearances from Sharon Osbourne and Oscar-nominated actress Juliette Lewis and Perry's wife, actress Sara Gilbert. Perry, one of the most successful songwriters and producers in the music industry, has crafted hits for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys and others. Proceeds from the gala will assist the Grammy Museum Foundation. - AP, 5/16/19...... Dionne WarwickDionne Warwick has just released She's Back, the pop songstress's first new studio album in five years. The 15-song set features new recordings of her hits "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and 1979's "Deja Vu" -- the latter featuring a guest appearance by Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Warwick says the inclusion of her signature 1965 hit "What the World Needs Now Is Love" has special meaning for her. "That's something I feel everyone should be singing at this point in time," she explains. "We're living in a chaotic time and we need love -- we desperately need it. I don't like what's going on with my country or what's going on around the world; Nobody cares about anybody anymore or seems to want a care. It's like the '60s; It doesn't make sense, so we've got to get a grip. So I hope people start paying attention to those words again, because we need it." Other guests on She's Back include Kenny Lattimore ("What Color Is Love"), Brian McKnight ("Forever In My Heart") and Musiq Soulchild. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... On May 17, Bruce Springsteen released "There Goes My Miracle," the second song from his upcoming studio album Western Stars. Singing in a higher register than we're used to hearing from the Boss, he trades his gravely tone for a clear tenor in the vein of one of his musical heros, the late Roy Orbison, on the track. "There goes my miracle/ Walkin' away, walkin' away," Springsteen croons on the song's swaying chorus, backed by lush Burt Bacharach-style strings. Primarily recorded at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York, Western Stars is due on June 14 from Columbia Records. It's his first new studio album in more than five years, and his 19th overall. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has reacted to his decision to call out some audience members who were smoking pot directly in front of him at The Who's May 13 concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. "I'd just like to make it clear that it is quite well known amongst real Who fans that I have an extreme allergic reaction to pot and cigarette smoke," Daltrey told Billboard on May 16. "I have a sensitive issue on my vocal cords and the smoke has the effect of shutting down my voice making singing really hard work. I really don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment, all I ask for is a little respect for someone doing their best to deliver a good night out for everyone. If you have to smoke it, get off your ass and go to the bog (bathroom) or eat it, please refrain from blowing clouds of it at me. I probably end up smoking more of your pot than you do and it becomes a singer's nightmare. You are putting the whole show in jeopardy by your selfish behavior, give it some thought." Daltrey was responding to a report about the incident in Britain's The Daily Mail, which described the 75-year-old musician as a "geriatric rocker." During the MSG concert Daltrey called out some smokers, saying "All the ones smoking grass down in the front there, I'm totally allergic to it. I'm not kidding, whoever it is down there, you f---ed my night and you made me really.. .I'm allergic to that shit and my voice just goes...It sucks up. So f---- you!" Daltrey has made similar comments at other shows -- including a particularly well-chronicled threat to stop the show during a May 2015 concert at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. The Who's "Moving On!" tour has two North American legs, the second starting on Sept. 3 in Toronto. On May 15, Daltrey Who guitarist Pete Townshend played their iconic song "Won't Get Fooled Again" on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon using classroom instruments, including a plastic toy ukulele and a child's tambourine. Townshend even ended the segment with his signature guitar smashing bit, breaking the colorful ukulele in half as Daltrey joked that he was leaving the band. - Billboard, 5/16/19...... The Allman Brothes Band spinoff The Allman Betts Band will release its debut album, Down To The River, on June 28 via BMG Records. Featuring ABB progeny Devon Allman, Duane Betts and Berry Duane Oakley, Jr., the band is embracing their inevitable comparison to the legendary ABB. "There was hesitation for 30 years, but there's no more hesitation because it's the right timing," says Allman, the son of the late Gregg Allman. "We've all done our thing. I've been in three, four, five different bands. Duane has. Berry has. It wasn't like we had to do this, but we ended up having real chemistry -- unforced, organic -- and we wanted to make music together." Friends and, in their words, "family" since they were children, Allman and Betts began touring together in 2018, after Allman invited Betts to take part in a December 2017 tribute concert for Gregg Allman in San Francisco. While on the road, writing together seemed like a natural progression. Oakley was recruited, according to Allman, "because he was a bad-ass bass player, not just because of who he was or what his name was." Allman says his band has "a fine, fine, fine line" to walk, even as they play some Allman Brothers Band material in its shows. "Y'know, if we hit the stage and did a two-hour show and played all Allman Brothers, that would just be weird. It would be a tribute band, and that's not what we're into," Allman says. "We have our own songs, our own show, our own album. But if we also go on that stage and didn't play one (Allmans song), that would be weird, too. So we need to tip our hats. It's appropriate." The band a full slate of concerts and festivals that will take the group into 2020, and is also already working on its next album. - Billboard, 5/16/19...... David ByrneDavid Byrne has announced he's taking his "American Utopia" show to a residency at Broadway's Theatreland this fall, following the likes of such artists as Bruce Springsteen and Morrisey. The former Talking Heads frontman's stint will take place at the Hudson Theatre and will open for previews on October 4, 2019, with an official opening taking place on Oct. 20. The residency will run until January 20, 2020. In a statement, Byrne explained why he was taking the show to Broadway. "Because of how theatrical the show is, others started telling me 'this needs to go to Broadway,'" he said. "Why not? But what did that mean? Parked in a beautiful Broadway theatre we can perfect the sound, the lights, the movement. I thought to myself that this new context might be good -- it might bring out the narrative arc a little bit more, to make it just a little more explicit... People ask me will I be darting into a town car after these shows or taking a flying leap onto my bicycle -- take a wild guess." Byrne's 2018 "American Utopia" tour was acclaimed by critics, with one describing it as "maybe just the best live show of all-time," and the musician later released a six-song live EP from the theatrical performance and named it after that quote. - NME, 5/17/19......The Rolling Stones have announced their itinerary of rescheduled "No Filter" tour dates, after the tour was postponed earlier to allow frontman Mick Jagger to heal after undergoing heart surgery in April. All 17 previously announced dates have been rescheduled, with the band now gearing up to launch the tour with a two-night stand at Chicago's Soldier Field on June 21 and June 25. They will then visit such markets as Ontario (6/29), Washington, D.C. (7/3), Foxboro, Mass. (7/7), New Orleans (7/14) and Philadelphia (7/23) before wrapping up with an Aug. 31 show at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Mick Jagger proved he was ready to rock the stage again on May 15 when he posted a video in which he's doing one of his signature vigorous dance routines before a mirror in a studio. Jagger was told by doctors in late March he could not go on tour "at this time." Jagger tweeted he was "devastated" the band couldn't tour, but said he hoped to be "back on stage as soon I can." - Billboard/AP, 5/16/19...... Dana York Petty, the widow of late Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty, is being sued for $5 million by Petty's daughters Adria and Annakim Petty. In a suit filed in Los Angeles County court on May 15, Dana and several other defendants are bing accused of breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and more. Filed on behalf of plaintiff Petty Unlimited -- an LLC established in Petty's will that allocated one-third of Petty's assets to each of the three women -- the suit alleges "self-dealing, theft, and gross mismanagement of company assets" on Dana's part by failing to fund the LLC with assets from Petty's trust, for which she was previously named as "directing trustee." "Tom Petty wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his daughters, Adria and Annakim, and his wife, Dana," said Petty Unlimited's attorney Alex Weingarten says that Tom "wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his daughters, Adria and Annakim, and his wife, Dana. Dana has refused Tom's express wishes and insisted instead upon misappropriating Tom's life's work for her own selfish interests. After countless efforts to resolve this matter amicably and out of court, we could no longer stand idly by and watch Dana disrespect Tom's wishes, his music, and his legacy." In response, Dana Petty's lawyer Adam Streisand said: "This misguided and meritless lawsuit sadly demonstrates exactly why Tom Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate. Dana will not allow destructive nonsense like this to distract her from protecting her husband's legacy." Petty died on Oct. 2, 2017, of an accidental drug overdose at age 66. - Billboard, 5/15/19...... The Alice Cooper-led supergroup Hollywood Vampires shared their new single, "The Boogieman Surprise," and posted a live performance of the track online on May 17. Hollywood Vampires debuted the new track recently at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and were joined on stage at separate points by Marilyn Manson and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. The band, comprised of Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry, are prepping for the release of their second album, Rise, on June 21. Unlike their debut album, the band's new project is mostly made up of original material, written by them. "[It's] not only a totally different animal than the first Vampires album, it is unique to anything I've ever been a part of," Cooper says. "I think that with this album, we are establishing what the Vampires' sound really is, whereas with the first album we were more tipping our hats to our fallen rock n roll brothers." - New Musical Express, 5/17/19...... Don FelderFormer Eagles guitarist Don Felder released his third solo album, American Rock 'n' Roll, in April. Felder says he's currently writing for another record "that I'd like to try to get out in the next two, two and a half years," adding that a busy touring schedule, including both regular concerts and private charitable and corporate events, has long been the speed bump for getting more material out. "I wish I had the time to actually spend more time every month at home in the studio, writing and recording... Unless I stop touring for a year, it takes me years to write and record and produce a record. With my touring schedule the only way I can write is sitting backstage on a little iPhone or on a plane writing lyrics or driving down the 405 singing something into my phone...It's really not until I can be home and settled that I can do anything with any of that. And I promise you that when I'm home I'm not lying out by my pool; I'm actually in the studio working. So I try, I really do." Felder's new 11-track set features guest appearances by musical pals such as Sammy Hagar, Peter Frampton, Slash, Joe Satriani, Bob Weir, Alex Lifeson, Richie Sambora, Mick Fleetwood and Toto members David Paich and Steve Porcaro. - Billboard, 5/14/19...... It appears the beleagured Woodstock 50 festival will go ahead after its organizers have secured new financial backing for the festival. On May 16, organizer and Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang confirmed that a new investor has been found. Investment bank and financial services company Oppenheimer & Co. will act "as a financial advisor to complete the financing for the festival," according to a statement issued by the festival. "Event preparations will continue as planned as Oppenheimer joins the list of strong institutions producing the festival," the statement continued. The news comes after the New York Supreme Court ruled on May 15 that Woodstock's former investor, Dentsu Aegis Network, could not cancel the festival. When Dentsu pulled out of funding the event, they issued a statement saying Woodstock 50 would no longer be going ahead. The court also ruled the Japanese conglamerate didn't have to return the $18 million it withdrew from a bank account it shared with backers of the anniversary concert. The festival has suffered several setbacks since Denstu's withdrawal, including The Black Keys dropping out, ticket sales being postponed, and the previous investors taking back their money. The event, which is due to take place in Watkins Glen, upstate New York, in August, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival. - New Musical Express, 5/17/19...... After 43 shows throughout the U.S. and Canada, Kiss wrapped the first leg of its "End of the Road" world tour on April 13 in Birmingham, Ala. In total, the band's North American leg grossed $58.7 million and sold 518,395 tickets, and the 2019 grosses lift the band's career total past the $300 million mark. The tour's biggest showing was at New York's Madison Square Garden on Mar. 27, where they grossed $1.947 million and sold 13,359 tickets. Of course, this isn't the first time Kiss has said goodbye. Almost 20 years ago, the "Kiss Farewell Tour" ran from Mar. 11, 2000, through Apr. 13, 2001. That trek had reported grosses of $55.6 million. Kiss will continue along the "End of the Road" tour throughout 2019, with 26 dates in Europe, an additional 26 in North America, and eight final shows in Australia and New Zealand. - Billboard, 5/14/19...... Norman LearThough the cast of the ABC special Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons is new, everything else is a blast from the past -- including the sets, which replicate the originals down to their precise measurements, and 1970s-inspired costumes. "These two scripts will be done word for word. We're not updating anything," says producer Norman Lear. "The lesson is human nature doesn't change. All of the problems that Archie and the Jeffersons face are clearly here today. Nothing has been totally resolved. There isn't any subject we did through all those years that we couldn't do again today." The 90-minute trip down memory lane airs live on ABC on May 22 at 8:00 PM EDT. - Entertainment Weekly, 5/17/19...... Michael Jackson's two sons Prince Jackson and Bigi (formerly "Blanket) Jackson have just launched a new film review show on YouTube. The show, which is hosted on Prince Jackson's Life On 2 channel, also features Taj Jackson, the nephew of Michael. The trio launched their show with a review of Avengers: Endgame, which was uploaded on May 15 and features James Sutherland as a special guest. - NME, 5/16/19...... Rock vocalist Glenn Hughes has rescheduled the four dates of his upcoming UK "Classic Deep Purple Live" tour due to illness. The rescheduled dates are Salisbury City Hall (11/17), Norwich Waterfront (venue change from Norwich UEA) (11/20), Holmfirth Picturedome (11/23) and Birmingham O2 Institute (11/29). The rescheduled concerts follow the news of Hughes needing to cancel his May 2019 UK tour dates due to illness. He needs to be treated for an illness that while not life threatening, must be dealt with immediately so that does not become a serious problem. Hughes is expected to make a full recovery. The shows for Edinburgh, St Albans, Liverpool and Nottingham had to be cancelled. Customers for the cancelled shows have been asked to return to their original point of purchase to request refunds. The former bassist and singer of Deep Purple is the current front man for rock super group Black Country Communion and had been scheduled to kick off the second leg of his tour at the Holmfirth Picturedrome on May 14. - Noble PR, 5/15/19...... Former Thin Lizzy member Brian Downey's "Alive and Dangerous" tour will return to the Camden Underworld for a one off concert on Nov. 7. Downey's band also features guitarist Brian Grace and former Low Rider band members Matt Wilson (lead vocals, bass), and Phil Edgar (lead guitar). 2018 marked the 40th Anniversary of Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album. Although the album was recorded live in 1977 at London's Hammersmith Apollo and Toronto's Seneca College, it wasn't officially released until a year later in 1978. - Noble PR, 5/14/19.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Peggy LiptonActress Peggy Lipton, who rose to stardom in the late 1960s as a co-star of the counterculture police series The Mod Squad and later became a cast member of the acclaimed series Twin Peaks, died on May 11 after a battle with cancer. She was 72. Born in New York on Aug. 30, 1946, the blonde beauty began a successful modeling career at age 15, then four years later made her TV debut on the sitcom The John Forsythe Show, which led to appearances on such series as Bewitched, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Virginian. At 21, she rocketed to fame in 1968 as the street-smart flower child Julie Barnes, one of a trio of Los Angeles undercover "hippie cops" on the ABC crime series The Mod Squad, one of the first TV shows to feature an interracial cast. Lipton was nominated for four Emmys during the series' five year run, and in 1971 she won a Golden Globe award for best actress in a TV drama. Her role and later marriage to music producer Quincy Jones in 1974 put the actress in the center of country dealing with racial tensions, but she later said she found the spotlight uncomfortable. "I never saw myself as trend-setting," Lipton told The Los Angeles Times in 1993. "We were always working. Fame really drove me into my house. I was very paranoid. I didn't like going out. I had no idea how to be comfortable with the press. I was very young. It was really hard for me." Meanwhile, she parlayed her TV fame into a singing career, enjoying chart success with her cover versions of "Stoney End" and "Lu" by Laura Nyro and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" by Donovan. With the exception of a Mod Squad reunion TV movie in 1979, Lipton stepped away from her acting career to raise her two daughters with Jones, actresses Kidida and Rashida Jones. After her divorce from Jones in 1989, she decided to return to acting, landing the role of Norma Jennings on the cult TV series Twin Peaks. More recently, she made occasional supporting role appearances in such films as When in Rome and A Dog's Purpose and TV series like Alias, Crash and 2017's Twin Peaks revival. In her 2005 memoir Breathing Out, Lipton wrote of her struggles with fame and the racism she and Jones faced as an interracial couple and revealed that she had been diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer the previous year. Her death was announced by her daughters on May 11. "She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side," they said in a statement. "We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her.... Peggy was and will always be our beacon of light, both in this world and beyond. She will always be a part of us." - The Los Angeles Times, 5/11/19...... Doris DayScreen legend and singing star Doris Day, whose wholesome, all-American image guaranteed box-office and record-chart hits in the '40s, '50s and '60s, died in the early hours of May 13 at her Carmel Valley, Calif., home, nearly two months after celebrating her 97th birthday, her Doris Day Animal Foundation announced shortly later. Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Oh., on Apr. 3, 1922, the daughter of a music teacher and a homemaker, the crystal-voiced pop soprano changed her surname to Day when, as a teen, she began singing on the radio. After appearances with the Big Bands of Barney Rapp and Bob Crosby, she joined Les Brown's Band of Renown and had her first hit with "Sentimental Journey." Going solo in 1947, she successfully auditioned for Warner Bros. the following year and was cast in the studio's attempts to compete with the romantic musicals that were the specialty of rival MGM. By the mid-'50s came better roles at other studios including 1954's Love Me or Leave Me, a fictionalized biopic of '20s singer Ruth Etting, which she considered her best film. In 1956, she costarred with James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which she introduced the Oscar-winning song that became her signature, "Que Sera Sera." In 1959, she was paired for the first time with leading man Rock Hudson in the racy (for its time) romantic comedy Pillow Talk, which resulted in her one and only Best Actress Oscar nomination, and also in her greatest box-office success. Two more vehicles with Hudson (and sidekick Tony Randall) followed, as did similar comedies in which Ms. Day -- sometimes as a career woman, but always squeaky clean -- costarred with the likes of Cary Grant, James Garner and Rod Taylor, prompting Hollywood musician and resident Oscar Levant to famously quip, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin." In 1967, she was offered the role of Mrs. Robinson in the box office smash The Graduate by director Mike Nichols, however Ms. Day wasn't interested. "I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I'd seduced," she recalled later. "I realized it was an effective part... but it offended my sense of values." As the '60s wound down and her wholesome image went out of fashion onscreen, Ms. Day turned to TV, having been forced there by a contract signed by her third husband and manager Martin Melcher without her knowledge. CBS's 1968-73 The Doris Day Show never rose above the level of being a poor man's Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Ms. Day herself was highly critical of it. Melcher died unexpectedly in 1968, leaving Ms. Day in financial straits. Her husband's reliance on attorney Jerome Rosenthal for business advice proved disastrous: The lawyer went through Ms. Day's millions with bad investments in oil wells, cattle and hotels. But despite an ever-changing format, The Doris Day Show ran for five seasons, gave her financial stability, and kept her working as she coped with the loss of her spouse of 17 years. Ms. Day sued Rosenthal for mismanagement and won a $20 million-plus verdict in 1974 after years of litigation (she later settled with insurers). In 1976, Ms. Day married for a fourth time at age 52, to businessman Barry Comden. By the mid-'70s, Ms. Day withdrew from the limelight in her Monterey, Calif., home to focus on animal rights and set up the Doris Day Animal League and Doris Day Animal Foundation. "All my life, I have never felt lonely with a dog I loved at my side, no matter how many times I've been alone," Ms. Day said in her memoir. As a staunch advocate for animals, she briefly came out of retirement to host a cable TV pet show called Doris Day's Best Friends, which included an emotional reunion with three-time co-star Rock Hudson shortly before his death in 1985. Perhaps her closest friend, son Terry Melcher, a music producer, died in 2004 at 62. There was talk of comebacks: She reportedly was offered Murder, She Wrote and the Debbie Reynolds role in Mother in 1996. But she resisted Hollywood overtures. In 2015, she batted down reports she was to appear in a Clint Eastwood film. Ms. Day once told People magazine that humor had always been her secret weapon. "I love to laugh," said the star who made so many others laugh and sing. "It's the only way to live. Enjoy each day -- it's not coming back again!" Ms. Day passed away surrounded by a few close friends at her Carmel Valley home. She had celebrated her 97th birthday just last month with nearly 300 fans who gathered in Carmel to celebrate with her. -, 5/13/19...... Tim ConwayBeloved comedian Tim Conway, a five-time Emmy winner who reveled in cracking up straight man Harvey Korman on CBS's variety series The Carol Burnett Show and before that as Charles Parker in the 1962-66 sitcom McHale's Navy, died from complications of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) on May 14 in Los Angeles. He was 85. Born in Willoughby, Oh., on Dec. 15, 1933, Mr. Conways' 50-year-plus career kicked into gear with his role as Ens. Charles Parker in the 1962-66 ABC sitcom McHale's Navy, opposite titluar star Ernest Borgnine and other regulars including Gavin McLeod and Joe Flynn. Although the series wasn't a massive hit, it aired more than 130 episodes and spawned a pair of movies in which he co-starred: McHale's Navy (1964) and McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force (1965). In the latter, his Ens. Parker is mistaken for a pilot, which gets his ship's crew somehow into the unfriendly skies. After McHale's Navy ended its run in 1966 -- only to live on in reruns and be discovered by younger comedy fans in the ensuing decades -- Mr. Conway starred in the 1967 Western sitcom Rango for ABC. His title character was an, of course, bumbling Texas Ranger who is assigned to the state's loneliest outpost, where it was assumed he would stay out of mischief. The midseason series lasted fewer than 20 episodes. But Mr. Conway became best known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show after joining its cast as a regular member in 1975, winning viewers over with characters like the Oldest Man and Mr. Tudball, whose accent he has said was inspired by his Romanian mother. Mr. Conway was known to ad-lib his sketches -- even surprising his scene partners -- and won a Golden Globe Award for the series in 1976, along with Emmys in 1973, 1977 and 1978. Emmys were also awarded to him for guest spots on such series as Coach (1996) and 30 Rock (2008). At a 2013 event promoting his memoir, What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life, Burnett, 86, painted her collaborator as an on-set prankster. "Tim's goal in life was to destroy [costar] Harvey Korman," she told the crowd, with Mr. Conway chiming in, "in the dentist sketch you can actually see Harvey wet his pants from laughing." Mr. Conway also was known for Dorf, the diminutive character -- he performed it on his knees, where fake shoes were placed -- who appeared in a litany of how-to videos launched during the 1980s, including Dorf on Golf (1987). Originating as a skit on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dorf introduced Mr. Conway to a new generation of fans while tickling his longtime ones. "I'm heartbroken," Carol Burnett said in a statement after learning of her longtime friend's passing. "He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He'll be in my heart forever." Mr. Conway is survived by his wife of 35 years, his stepdaughter, his six biological children and two granddaughters. -, 5/14/19.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour has just made his entire 2016 Live at Pompeii concert film available for free streaming on YouTube. Gilmour put on the special two-night concert event in Pompeii in July 2016, 45 years after Pink Floyd staged a similar show in the same city. Gilmour's full performance was released in 2017 as a concert film, which incorporated footage from the Pink Floyd Pompeii gig, and live album. Originally screened in cinemas for one night only, the film was later released on DVD and Blu-ray. - New Musical Express, 5/11/19...... Brian Wilson and recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Zombies are teaming up this summer for a North American tour in celebration of their music from 1968, fittingly titled the "Something Great From '68" tour. Wilson will most perform songs from two of his favorite Beach Boys albums, 1968's Friends and 1971's Surf's Up, with former bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin joining him onstage. The Zombies will open each show with a full performance of their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, in addition to other classics in their set. The 15-city trek kicks off Aug. 31 in Las Vegas, also hitting such major markets as Phoenix (9/6), Los Angeles (9/12), Oakland (9/13), Seattle (9/16), Denver (9/20), Milwaukee (9/22) and Detroit (9/24) before wrapping on Sept. 26 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. - Billboard, 5/7/19...... Rickie Lee JonesAcclaimed '70s/'80s singer Rickie Lee Jones will release a new album of covers, Kicks, on June 7. Jones, best known for such hits as "Chuck E.'s in Love," "Young Blood" and "A Lucky Guy" as well as her 1979 self-titled debut album which hit No. 3 on the charts, already has three all-covers albums to her credit: 1991's Pop Pop, 2000's It's Like This and 2012's The Devil You Know, in which she took well-known songs by Donovan, Frank Sinatra and Steely Dan and molded them in her own image. Kicks will feature renditions of such '70s rockers as Elton John ("My Father's Gun"), Steve Miller Band ("Quicksilver Girl"), and Bad Company ("Bad Company"), alongside such jazz classics as "Nagasaki" and "Mack the Knife." One highlight of the new set is a cover of America's "Lonely People." While Jones says the breezy pop band "weren't A-listers" in their time, she found a deep well of sentimental value in "Lonely People," a friendly ode to the isolated. "You have to get over how you perceive a thing and look for the treasure in the music," she says. Jones has also released a video for "Lonely People" which features her changing from costume to costume while poking fun at her own image. - Billboard, 5/10/19...... John Lennon's personal copy of the legendary Beatles Yesterday and Today "butcher cover" album has brought £180,000 -- the third-highest price ever paid for a vinyl record -- after being auctioned by Julien's Auctions at The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool, England on May 9. The "butcher" Yesterday and Today, which showed the Fab Four covered in raw meat and decapitated baby dolls before it was withdrawn from sale in 1966, was sold to an anonymous collector as part of a wider sale of Beatles memorabilia. At the time of release, the graphic image was replaced by a cover that showed the band standing around a travel trunk. It was said to be the only Beatles album to lose money for Capitol Records. Lennon's copy previously adorned the wall of his New York The Dakota apartment until he gifted it to Dave Morrell, a lifelong Beatles fan and bootleg collector. With signatures by Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, it is is believed to be the only "butcher" album featuring three Beatles' signatures. Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions said an American collector had "bought the record as an investment believing it will increase in value in the years to come." Julien added the market is still developing "so we anticipate in the next five years this same record could bring $500,000-plus (£385,000). This was a world record for a Beatles butcher cover and the third-highest price paid for a vinyl." Other Beatles items to go under the hammer the same day included a baseball signed by the band at their final US performance, which fetched £57,600 ($75,000). The "butcher cover" sale comes after Ringo Starr's rare copy of the band's "White Album" became the most expensive vinyl in 2015, when it sold for $790,000 (£ 522,438). - New Musical Express, 5/10/19...... A lawsuit brought seven years ago by Michael Jackson's singer's mysterious ex-manager, Tohme Tohme, is finally set to get underway in Los Angeles on May 14. Tohme, who filed the suit all the way back in 2012, alleges he provided the necessary "advice, guidance and skillful work" to improve Jackson's public image, alleviate the singer's financial situation, and put his client in a position to make a final tour. Tohme claims the Jackson estate owes him a 15 percent commission on compensation that Jackson received during the last year of his life, before he died from an overdose of propofol at age 50 on June 25, 2009, and also wants a cut of revenues relating to This Is It, the concert film that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. Finally, Tohme is seeking a finder's fee for securing a loan that prevented foreclosure on Jackson's Neverland Ranch home. The trial is being split into two phases: a contractual interpretation, in which Tohme is hoping to bring experts to the witness stand to testify that post-termination commissions are customary in the entertainment industry, and a second phase which may get into the nitty-gritty of the relationship between Jackson and Tohme -- for instance, whether or not Jackson actually fired Tohme is a point of controversy among the parties and something that would be dealt with if necessary at the later stage. Tohme alleges that he only took 15 percent after Jackson proposed becoming 50/50 partners. Although Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young may see reason to delay the trial once agaain, it will likely commence quite soon. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/9/19...... In other Jackson-related news, his eldest son Prince Jackson, whose real name is Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., graduated from Loyola Marymout University in Los Angeles on May 11. Prince, 22, graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration. The day was celebrated in social media posts from Prince, who was 12 when his father died almost 10 years ago, and relatives in his famous family. Michael has two other children, 21-year-old Paris Jackson and 17-year-old Prince Michael Jackson, known by the nickname Blanket. - New Musical Express, 5/11/19...... Billy JoelBilly Joel celebrated his 70th birthday with a blowout concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on May 9. "Welcome to my birthday. This is kind of a weird night," Joel said, as he looked out at the 18,000-plus crowd packing the venue. "But what else am I gonna do?" he deadpanned. Joel's birthday bash included video happy birthday wishes from the likes of Paul McCartney, Don Henley, Garth Brooks, Pink and Brian Johnson of AC/DC. Peter Frampton showed up in person to jam on "Show Me The Way" and "Baby, I Love Your Way" with the Piano Man, and Joel's daughters Alexa Ray, 34, and 3-year-old Della Rose appeared onstage to sing "Happy Birthday" to their dad. Joel wrapped the show with four high-energy hits: "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Uptown Girl," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and "You May Be Right," and encored with his signature tune, "Piano Man." The show was Joel's 64th consecutive sell-out at the Garden, a continuation of the record-setting residency he launched in December 2013. The Garden has already announced the 70th show in the MSG residency for Nov. 15, which will be Joel's 116th all-time performance at the arena. In January, Joel announced his sixth consecutive year of playing stadium shows, including a concert June 22 at Wembley Stadium in London. - Billboard, 5/10/19...... Speaking of Peter Frampton, the '70s rocker will release a new album of blues covers, All Blues, on June 7. All Blues will feature such classic blues songs as B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," which Frampton says "is not a song I would ever have done" before meeting King when the late blues legend was part of his 2013 Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus tour. "I went to his bus to meet the King, and I'm very nervous and sort of stuttering and stuff in front of him," Frampton recalls with a laugh. "He could see I was having a little trouble, and he said, 'Peter, sit down, boy. Just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it for you.' I couldn't believe it. He just put me at ease -- such a modest man and the nicest, easiest to get along with person you could ever dream of." The Thrill is Gone" is one of 10 blues covers on All Blues, and will be the first in a series of albums Frampton and his Peter Frampton Band have been making since October. "We must have done nearly 40, 45 tracks, and we're still going," reports Frampton, who was diagnosed with Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM) some years ago but only made it public in 2019. He reckons he has three albums done already "and we're working on a fourth right now, and after that I think it's time for a Christmas album!" "I want to go out playing really well," says Frampton, who pulled the plug on a planned co-headlining trek with Alice Cooper this summer because he felt it was the right time for his farewell tour. His farewell tour kicks off June 18 in Oklahoma, and he promises "it won't be a static playlist... I'll change it every night." Meanwhile, in between touring, a book project, and his Sirius XM radio show, Frampton is also being treated for his IBM at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he plans to take part in a drug test study after the farewell tour wraps during mid-October. - Billboard, 5/9/19...... Pop/gospel legend Mavis Staples celebrated her 80th birthday at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem on May 9, the first of several star-packed 80th birthday parties she has planned. Staples, who won't officially turn 80 until July 10, first played the Apollo in 1956 with her family band, the Staple Singers; a portrait of her alongside her father, Roebuck "Pops Staples, and sisters, Yvonne and Cleotha, hangs on the storied venue's staircase leading up to the mezzanine. Staples' performance included duets with Valerie June and Maggie Rogers on such songs as "Living On a High Note" (which June penned for Staples) and "May The Circle Be Unbroken" (the first song Pops Staples taught his children), and with former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne on Byrne's own "Slippery People." The night reached a peak in the effervescence of the Staple Singers No. 1 hit "I'll Take You There." Staples will continue to celebrate her birthday on May 15 with a concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and on May 22 at Los Angeles' Theatre at the Ace Hotel. - Billboard, 5/10/19...... Sammy HagarSammy Hagar released a new album with his all-star band The Circle, Space Between, on May 10. The Circle -- which includes Hagar's longtime guitarist Vic Johnson, founding Van Halen bassist and Hagar's Chickenfoot bandmate Michael Anthony and drummer Jason Bonham -- has been together for about seven years, to this point playing favorites from his past and an assortment of Led Zeppelin covers. The group released a live album, At Your Service, in 2015, but Hagar acknowledges until now he was "scared to make a record" of original material with the group. "But I think we did it," Hagar says. "Touring seven years together, playing, we knew what we were all about. It was like starting over, like when we were kids and paid all our dues together -- and then we made an album. The album is really about money, greed, enlightenment and truth. It's greed that's the problem. Guys like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, you can't be mad at them for being so rich. These guys build hospitals, build schools for children and other countries. Those are good guys. That's what you can do with money." - Billboard, 5/9/19...... An attorney representing the Woodstock 50 concert is seeking an injunction on behalf of the troubled festival to force its main investor, Japanese media company Dentsu, to return $17.8 million it allegedly "misappropriated" from a bank account used by anniversary event organizers. "Dentsu's actions have caused a worldwide uproar over its efforts to kill the Festival's commemoration of one of the most iconic cultural events of the 20th century," attorney Marc Kasowitz wrote in a filing in New York state court on May 9. Kasowitz, a well-known trial lawyer who has represented Pres. Donald Trump, wants Dentsu to return the money and agree to not disparage the festival or interfere with Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang's attempts to stage Woodstock 50 at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York this August. With just 100 days to go before the scheduled festival was to begin, Kasowitz argues the injuction is needed to save the event before it's too late, arguing that "the only true impediments to that success are Dentsu's ongoing interference with W50's contractual right to produce the festival, Dentsu's theft of the festival's funds, and Dentsu's active effort to disparage W50 and the festival through lies and mischaracterizations intended to destroy W50's business relationships." In late April, a rep for Dentsu announced that it was canceling the festival because organizers with Woodstock 50 had failed to meet certain goals and benchmarks on the festival site allowed in the company's contract. Kasowitz also wants Dentsu officials to agree to "cooperate with W50 in connection with W50's continued planning of the Festival" and "produce bank records relating to removal of funds from the bank account" and "communications between Dentsu and any person or entity involved in the planning or production of the festival." - Billboard, 5/9/19...... In other Woodstock-related news, a cool $800 is the list price for a new 38-disc, 432-song Woodstock 50th anniversary box set, Woodstock 50 - Back to the Garden - The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive. Set for release on Aug. 2, the 36 hour limited-edition behemoth promises to be the first definitive collection featuring every artist who played the original concert. The collection will come in 1,969 limited-edition, numbered box sets released worldwide, with fully restored audio and 267 previously unreleased tracks. For those who can get by on a lesser Woodstock fix, 10-disc and three-disc versions, as well as a 5 album vinyl collection, will also be available on June 28. Woodstock has been commemorated before, in 1970 with a three-LP album of highlights, as well as in 2009 with a 6-disc set. - Billboard, 5/9/19...... German electro-pop titans Kraftwerk recently wrapped up their Asia tour with ive shows in Japan and one show in Seoul, followed by a gig at Hong Kong's Star Hall on Apr. 29 as their final stop. Kraftwerk -- Ralf Hütter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert, and Falk Grieffenhagen -- fused music with art, with visuals tailored to every city Kraftwerk has visited. For the Hong Kong performance, the group merged shots of the Hong Kong skyline with futuristic animations, including a UFO flying over the city, all presented in 3-D to give audiences an enhanced concert experience. Kraftwerk's next show is June 1, when they will close the second day of the Best Kept Secret Festival in the Netherlands. - Billboard, 5/8/19...... Marie OsmondMarie Osmond announced on May 7 that she will join the panel of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk, replacing Sara Gilbert one month after the Roseanne star announced her departure. Osmond -- who last appeared on the small screen in her short-lived Marie daytime talk show on the Hallmark Channel in 2013 -- has been a regular guest host on The Talk over the years. The singer/actress will join the current panel of rapper/actress Eve, Carrie Ann Inaba, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood when The Talk kicks off its 10th season on Sept. 6. I could not be more thrilled," Osmond said in video to fans. Osmond recently announced that she and brother Donny Osmond -- her co-star in the 1970s Donny & Marie variety show -- would end their 11-year run in Las Vegas later this year. "Thrilled for my sister @MarieOsmond as she takes on new role @TheTalkCBS," Donny tweeted on May 9. "Working 2 shows at once will be a challenge, but if anyone can do it, it's Marie. She makes a perfect co-host. Ladies of #TheTalk, good luck getting a word in edgewise... I ve been trying for years!," he added. - Billboard, 5/8/19...... A new documentary on Led Zeppelin is heading to the Cannes market for distribution. Bernard MacMahon, the director of the Emmy-nominated 1920's music documentary series American Epic, is helming the as-yet-untitled doc, which will feature new interviews with band members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, as well as rare archival interviews with the late John Bonham. Currently in post-production, the documentary is billed as the "definitive telling of the birth of the world's biggest-selling rock band" and will be told solely from the band's perspective, with never-before seen archive film footage and photographs and state-of-the-art audio transfers of the band's music. "When I saw everything Bernard had done both visually and sonically on the remarkable achievement that is American Epic, I knew he would be qualified to tell our story," Jimmy Page said in a statement. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/8/19...... Meat Loaf reportedly suffered a broken collarbone after he fell off a stage during a speaking engagement in Texas on May 4. The 71-year-old "Bat Out of Hell" vocalist, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, was taking part in a Q&A at the Dallas horror film convention Texas Frightmare Weekend when he suffered the fall. According to, Meat Loaf was treated for a broken collarbone at a local hospital and was kept in overnight. Organisers of the horror convention took to Facebook following the incident to offer their statement. "As everyone knows Meat Loaf fell today. We wanted to keep you updated as soon as we knew something," the convention wrote. "We just found out that the hospital is keeping him overnight for observation. He will not be able to return on Sunday but he has already confirmed that he will be back in 2020! He's a trooper and we are praying a speedy recovery!" Meat Loaf collapsed on stage in June 2016, and subsequently underwent a new diet and fitness regime and an emergency back operation. He told fans on Twitter in January about the current state of his health, writing: "Living in constant pain is a pain. I just what to go to work. Love you all. May you never know constant pain. Those that do I feel for you. God bless you." - New Musical Express, 5/7/19...... Robin Trower, Maxi Priest and Livingstone Browne have joined forces for a nationwide UK tour in October 2019. The three musicians have recorded a new album, United State of Mind, which will be released later in 2019. Their tour kicks off at The Picturedrome in Holmfirth on Oct. 24, then hits The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh (10/25); Boiler Shop, Newcastle (10/27); Town Hall, Birmingham (10/28) and Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (10/29). Special guest on the tour will be American blues rock vocalist Sari Schorr. - Noble PR, 5/9/19...... '70s glam-rockers Sweet will embark on a 16-date tour of the UK on Nov. 28 beginning on Nov. 28 in Frome. Currently comprised of Andy Scott (lead guitar, vocals), Bruce Bisland (drums, vocals) Tony O'Hora (lead vocals, bass) and Paul Manzi (guitar, keyboards, vocals), still tour the world extensively and have a string of top 10 records in the UK and Europe, including "Blockbuster," "Hellraiser," "Ballroom Blitz," "Teenage Rampage" and "The Sixteens." In the US, they became known in 1975 with their "Fox on the Run" hitting the No. 3 spot. "Love is Like Oxygen," written by Scott, also became a worldwide hit in 1978. Other cities on the tour include Holmfirth, Nottingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Islington, Exeter and Southampton before the tour wraps in Bexhill on Dec. 21. Tickets went on sale May 8 via and - Noble PR, 5/8/19...... Pete TownshendRoger DaltreyThe Who kicked off their "Moving On!" North American tour on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company were accompanied by a 49-piece orchestra on 18 of the night's 22 songs, tastefully blending rock and richness in material from Tommy and Quadrophenia. The latter's instrumental "The Rock," in fact, was the show's best moment, replicating the original album version with genuinely exciting precision. Songs from the rest of the Who's catalog varied, meanwhile, with some faring better (the rare "Imagine a Man," "Emminence Front") than others ("Who Are You"). After a particularly messy "Join Together," Townshend -- who also poked fun at the sheet music on a music stand in front of him -- even told the crowd, "It's all a bit too much, I think." The band delivered a roaring show-closing rendition of "Baba O' Riley," spotlighting touring violinist Katie Jacoby. But 28 more North American shows across two legs gives Townshend and Daltrey plenty of time to build it up to its promise, and the duo could still be credited with trying on a new challenge when it could have easily played the age-old favorites in a traditional manner yet again. - Billboard, 5/8/19...... J. R. Cobb Jr., a founding member of the '60s band Classics IV and later the '70s group Atlanta Rhythm Section, died on May 4 of a heart attack. He was 75. Born James Barney Cobb Jr. in Birmingham, Ala., and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., Cobb was a co-founder of Classics IV, which formed in Jacksonville in 1965, and co-wrote such hits as "Spooky," "Stormy" and "Traces" with Buddy Buie, the band's manager and producer. "Spooky" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 1968 and was later re-recorded by ARS on their 1979 Underdog album. In the spring of 1970, Cobb, who had already moved to Atlanta, worked as a session guitarist at Doraville's Studio One, where he played in a session band with members of Classics IV and The Candymen. Two years later, Cobb, along with three former members of the Candymen -- Rodney Justo, Dean Daughtry and Robert Nix -- formed ARS with Justo on vocals, Daughtry on keyboards, Nix on drums, Cobb on guitar, Barry Bailey on guitar and Paul Goddard on bass. ARS charted seven Top 40 singles on the pop chart from 1974 through 1981, their biggest hits being "So Into You" (1977) and "Imaginary Lover" (1978), which both reached No. 7. Cobb left ARS in 1986, and in 1993 he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His death was shared by his family and bandmates on the ARS Facebook page. - 5/6/19....... Zoologist Jim Fowler, best known as the longtime host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, has died at the age of 89. Mr. Fowler first co-hosted Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins beginning in 1963, then became its main host starting in 1986. Fowler, who helped preserve and protect endangered species through his educational and outreach work, made hundreds of appearances on television, including Omaha's KETV NewsWatch 7, and he would visit schools whenever he visited the city. Dennis Pate, the director of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium praised Mr. Fowler's service. "Jim Fowler was an early ambassador of wildlife conservation along with Marlin Perkins. He continued that wildlife stewardship late into his career and throughout his life. Jim set the stage for many others to follow in advancing wildlife conservation." In 2003, Mr. Fowler was honored with the Lindbergh Award for his 40 years of dedication to wildlife preservation and education. He was president of the Fowler Center for Wildlife Education, with a mission of educating the public about wildlife so they may help protect habitats and influence government policy. - AP, 5/9/19.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Neil Young announced a new book about audio quality he co-authored with his Neil Young Archives CEO Phil Baker on his official website on May 3. Titled To Feel the Music: A Songwriter's Mission to Save High-Quality Audio, the book is Young's attempt to, according to him, tell "the story of my efforts to improve the quality of audio that you hear." "It takes you through how the sound was and is compromised by the tech and record companies, and instead of improving over time like other technologies, it has become worse," Young continues. "Our book also tells the business and development story behind Pono, and then, when people wanted the convenience of streaming, how we developed Xstream high resolution streaming, the highest quality streaming in the world, as you hear it at NYA. The issue of improving audio quality has been one of the most important things we've been doing for decades, and something I focus on every day. We spent a year writing this and I think you'll find it interesting and informative." To Feel the Music is scheduled to drop on Sept. 9. Young launched a new subscription service and app in Dec. 2018 that brought together material from across his entire career. The Neil Young Archives (NYA), originally launched in 2017, includes Young's complete back catalogue of audio and visual content. - New Musical Express, 5/4/19...... Neil YoungIn more Neil Young news, the singer/songwriter is among a slew of Canadian musicians including Rufus Wainwright, k.d. lang and members of Arcade Fire who have signed the "Pact for a Green New Deal," asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal federal government to devise "an ambitious policy platform that re-tools our economy to respond to the multiple crises we are faced with today," including global climate change, decent jobs, tackling hate crimes and racism, and fulfilling outstanding promises to Indigenous peoples. "A bold and far reaching plan to cut emissions in half in 11 years in line with Indigenous knowledge and climate science, create more than a million good jobs you can support a family with, and build inclusive communities in the process," the petition states. "We need a Green New Deal -- for everyone. And we need everyone to be a part of building it." Open to the public, the petition was created by "a coalition of workers, artists, Indigenous leaders, scientists, youth, and people directly impacted by climate catastrophe." - Billboard, 5/7/19...... In related news, Queen's Brian May is calling for another concert on the epic scale of the 1985 Live Aid event will take place to tackle climate change. "It probably would take the younger generation to take that bull by the horns," May told the UK paper Daily Mirror on May 7. "We'd help in any way we can but I think that's what it would require." May and Queen played an integral role at the original Live Aid, playing what was arguably the most famous gig of their entire career, but May admits another in a long string of benefit concerts might not have the desired effect. "People have seen so many concerts since Live Aid purporting to be solving the problems of the world so it's not quite as easy as it seems," May noted. - NME, 5/7/19...... Cher performed her big hits "Believe" and "If I Could Turn Back Time" along with ABBA's "Waterloo" at the "2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art" on May 6 in New York City. Showing off blue hair and a skin-tight glittery body suit, Cher shone on a high-camp night first with "If I Could Turn Back Time," and later transformed herself with an outfit change, appearing on stage with blonde locks, a black puffer jacket over a pink slip and jeans for a performance of "Believe" and "Waterloo." Among the attendees were Kayne West and various members of the Kardashian clan, Travis Scott and Corey Gamble. - Billboard, 5/7/19...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Sun, Elton John laments about being "too old" to have more children because he and husband David Furnish already have too much on their hands. John, 72, is already father to two sons, Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, and gushed that being a parent is "fantastic" though, even if he never expected his lifte to take this turn of events. "Ten years ago if you'd have told me that, I'd have said you're crazy," Elton said. John, who is currently on his goodbye "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, explained that as a dad he has "other things to do" with his time than taking on more parenting responsibilties, as he prepares to close the door on his touring career. He adds that he feels like now is the right time to stop performing after almost 50 years on and off the road, and his main focus will be raising his two sons, who he revealed are "girl mad," after the tour finishes. Meanwhile, a behind-the-scenes featurette of the upcoming Elton biopic Rocketman was released on May 6. In the film, fans get a look at how the superstar's wardrobe was treated for the film. Actor Taron Egerton, who plays John in the new film, said settling into the star's iconic clothing was one of the most fun parts of filming. "I have found the process of inhabiting Elton John and his wardrobe incredibly liberating," he said. The clip also introduces Julian Day, the film's costume designer, who says "What we talked about was using the basis of Elton's clothes to create our own look for him." Rocketman premiered in the UK on May 2 and will hit US theaters on May 31., 5/3/19...... A George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Musical Achievement Award that was to be presented to Don McLean by the Student Alumni Association of University of California, Los Angeles, has been rescinded after the association learned that McLean was involved in a domestic violence assault incident in 2016. McLean, 73, pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault against his then wife Patrisha McLean, and the case was dismissed after he met the terms of a plea agreement. The couple are now divorced. A spokesman for McLean called it "disrespectful" for an award to be rescinded over failure to conduct due diligence on a widely reported incident. Past recipients of the award include Julie Andrews, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. - AP, 5/7/19...... Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang has announced he plans on raising $30 million by May 10 in a last ditch attempt to save his floundering Woodstock 50th anniversary concert, set for Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International speedway, 150 miles east of the original 1969 Woodstock festival site. Lang estimates that he will need $30 million to stage the three-day concert, in addition to the $30 million Japanese firm Dentsu already spent on headliners for the festival including Jay-Z, Dead & Company, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus and Chance the Rapper. Officials with Dentsu previously said that their announcement on Apr. 28 to withdraw from Woodstock 50 meant the anniversary festival would be canceled, but Lang disagreed and said he would continue to produce the festival without Dentsu or producer Rick Farman from Superfly, which issued a statement on May 1 saying New York City-based promoter "will no longer be participating" in Woodstock 50. It is unclear if Lang will be able to raise the $30 million he needs, with promoters Live Nation and AEG already passing on offers to invest in the event, or if the artists announced to perform at the festival are still obligated to perform. - Billboard, 5/6/19...... Diana RossChaka KhanThe final two days of the 8-day 2019 New Orleans Jazz Fest were closed out in style with headlining sets from Diana Ross on May 4 and Chaka Khan on May 5. On May 4, Ross hit the stage with, appropriately, a gangbusters rendition of "I'm Coming Out" as her first song. She followed that with "More Today Than Yesterday" and her first words to the crowd: "If you know these songs, you gotta join in and sing with me, okay?" "This is my Diamond Jubilee!" Ross later told the crowd. "So if I'm 75, you can do it too, come on!" Ross finished her performance with such nuggets as "Love Hangover," "Ease on Down the Road" from The Wiz, and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." She went beyond her time with an encore of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," and reprised the song for a second encore. Ross also made headlines as she traveled home after the festival, blaming the Transportation Security Administration for an "over the top!!" screening at the New Orleans airport that "made her want to cry." The Motown legend posted on Twitter that she felt "violated" by an airport screener who touched her between her legs. "On one hand I'm treated like royalty in New Orleans and at the airport I was treated like shit," she wrote. The TSA responded in a statement: "TSA is aware of concerns presented by Diana Ross about her screening experience at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport this morning. Initial review of CCTV indicates that the officers involved with Ms. Ross's screening correctly followed all protocols, however, TSA leadership will continue to investigate the matter further. We encourage Ms. Ross to reach out to TSA so we can work with her directly to address her concerns." The following afternoon, Chaka Khan played the crowd-pleasing funk she's known for playing to an absolutely packed and scorching Congo Square Stage. Khan opened with "This Is My Night," with its bright synth horns, and "Do You Love What You Feel" and "Tell Me Something Good," two more Rufus jams. She followed them with "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me?" a "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" for the '80s, with her soaring vocal runs on the outro. She then performed a medley of Rufus songs, including "Stay" and "Sweet Thang." Attendance estimates for 2019 NOJF are expected to surpass the 2018 festival, which drew upwards of 60,000 or so attendees daily. - Billboard/AP, 5/6/19...... Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was a surprise guest at the fifth annual "Ride For Ronnie" Ronnie James Dio charity event in Encino, Calif., on May 5. Grohl was part of a special live band who covered Motörhead and Thin Lizzy during the charity show. Grohl played drums during the gig in a band which was comprised of the Black Star Riders' Ricky Warwick and Robbie Crane, as well as the former Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson. Together, the quartet performed covers of Motörhead's "Bomber" and Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak." "I am here on this beautiful day in Encino [because] everybody loves Ronnie James Dio," Grohl told those who attended the event. "He was my neighbor actually; we lived down the street from each other. "I encourage everybody to come out and support the cause, because it's a beautiful day with a bunch of beautiful people and we hope to see you next year." - New Musical Express, 5/7/19...... Bruce Springsteen showed up at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood at the opening night of the Netflix FYSEE "Springsteen On Broadway" event on May 5 to, by his own admission complete strangers for their vote." During the event, which promoted The Boss's Broadway special before Emmy voters, Springsteen and director Martin Scorsese discussed the film of "Springsteen on Broadway" in an often humorous and personal chat. Springsteen and Scorsese first met in 1975 when the legendary director and Robert DeNiro went to a Springsteen concert at the Roxy in Los Angeles. But it was about 30 minutes into the 40-minute talk that Springsteen said what any Bruce fan wanted to hear: "There will be another tour with the E Street Band. "I've spent about seven years not writing anything for the band. I couldn't write anything for the band," confessed Springsteen, whose new solo album, Western Stars, drops June 14. "And then about a month or so ago, I wrote almost an album's worth of material for the band and it came out of just I mean I know where it came from, but at the same time, it just came out of almost nowhere. I had almost two weeks of those daily visitations and it was so nice. It makes you so happy. You go, 'Fine, I'm not f---ed.' There'll be another tour." The news brought a cheer from the 200-person audience, who were also treated to a two-song acoustic performance of "Dancing In the Dark" and "Land of Hope and Dreams" by Springsteen. Meanwhile, the previous evening Springsteen made a surprise appearance with E Street Band member Little Steven Van Zandt at Van Zandt's Disciples of Soul show at Beverly Hills' Saban Theater. Springsteen joined Steven Van Zandt's band -- which was celebrating the May 3 release of their new album Summer of Sorcery -- for renditions of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "Sun City" and "I Don't Want to Go Home." - Billboard, 5/6/19...... The BeatlesThe new Beatles tribute film Yesterday from director Danny Boyle premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on May 4. Right before Boyle unveiled his new film, he shared a quick anecdote about filming inside the Mersey Tunnel in the Fab Four's native Liverpool. A local construction worker stopped him, he said, and gave him a stern warning about the project: "Don't f---k it Up." From all indications, he didn't. Oscar-winning Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) have crafted a crowd-pleaser that aims to delight, and when the musical rom-com fantasy is released to the masses on June 28, it will certainly be anointed as the "feel-good picture of the summer." In Yesterday, Boyle allows fans to re-experience the Beatles' songs as if they're brand-new. After a freak 12-second global blackout and a bus accident that landed main character Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) in the hospital and wrecked his guitar, he's gifted a new instrument by his friends once he's on the mend. Turns out Jack is the only human on Earth to have heard of the Beatles or their unparalleled repertoire following that unexpected, dimension-shifting blink. When Jack straps on an electric guitar and performs a sizzling rendition of "Help!" the feeling is exhilarating. As his popularity grows into "Hard Day's Night"-levels, there's a sense that sooner rather than later someone will and should figure out that "The Long and Winding Road" is not an original and Jack must face a serious reckoning. - Billboard, 5/5/19...... A federal judge in Mississippi has dismissed most of a lawsuit in which rock 'n' roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis alleged a daughter had stolen money from him. U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers ruled on Apr. 25 that most claims were barred by a three-year statute of limitations. Judge Biggers left alive only claims by Lewis' son and current wife that they were defamed by online comments from the daughter's husband. The lawsuit is another fracture in the often difficult personal life of the 83-year-old pianist and singer known as "The Killer." The Louisiana native and survivor from the dawn of rock now lives in Nesbit, Miss. Lewis suffered a stroke in February and canceled upcoming performances. - Billboard, 5/3/19...... A former accountant for Deep Purple has been sentenced to six years and four months in a UK prison for stealing £2.2million from the band. Dipak Rao was sentenced on Apr. 30 after it was revealed that he transferred large sums of money from the accounts of Deep Purple Overseas Ltd and HEC Enterprises Ltd -- both of which he was a director of -- into his own account. Rao then invested the cash into a number of money-making schemes that all turned out to be scams, resulting in Rao losing the money. Discovering Rao's wrongdoings in 2014, he was sued by the surviving founding members of Deep Purple (Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice) and the estates of the late Jon Lord and their former manager Tony Edwards in early 2017. Edwards' children were said to have become suspicious when they inherited some of the band's business following their father's death in 2010. "The stress that we have been under during this time is immeasurable," said a statement from Tony Edwards' daughter, read out in court. "He has devastated the legacy that my father spent his life building. This devastation was brought about by a man that we had known for years and trusted." Pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position and transferring criminal property, Rao is due to serve at least half of his prison sentence and has been disqualified from being the director of any business until 2028. - New Musical Express, 5/2/19...... Stevie Wonder was among the family and friends of recently deceased director John Singleton at his Los Angeles funeral on May 6. The private service was held at Angelus Funeral Home in South Los Angeles, the neighborhood formerly known as South Central, where Singleton spent part of his childhood and where his career-defining film, Boyz N the Hood, was set. Also paying their respects were Rep. Maxine Waters, Ice Cube, Ludacris and actors Ving Rhames and Taraji P. Henson. The service came a week after Singleton s family announced that he had died at age 51, days after he suffered a stroke. - AP, 5/7/19...... Led_ZeppelinSongs by Frank Sinatra, Ed Sheeran, Led Zeppelin, Meat Loaf and Robbie Williams are the most popular songs played at funerals in the UK, according to a new poll by Co-op Funeralcare. Sinatra's "My Way"' topped the latest chart drawn up by the UK's biggest chain of funeral directors, but for the first time since the biennial exercise began in 2002 not a single traditional hymn made it into the top ten. "Supermarket Flowers" -- Sheeran's tribute to his late grandmother, written from the perspective of his mother -- has entered the roundup at No. 6. Other popular choices included Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" and Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell," while "Angels" by Robbie Williams is the most requested pop tune, said the Co-op. "What people want more than anything at a funeral is a combination of the personal and the familiar," Rev. Dr. Jeremy Brooks, a member of a Church of England focus group working on funerals, told The Guardian. "Contemporary lyrics, classical music and songs that have been the soundtrack of our lives are all valuable in helping people remember and grieve. For a family to be able to choose particular songs for a funeral led by a church minister -- whether the music is expressly religious or not -- is an important part of any service," he added. - NME, 5/3/19...... Stephen I. Diener, a music and entertainment executive who served as president of ABC Records in the late '70s where he worked with such artists as Steely Dan, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett and the Commodores, died on Apr. 30 at his home in Coral Gables, Florida. He was 80. After graduating from Tulane University, Mr. Diener began his professional career in New York at the firms Young & Rubicam and Revlon. Pursuing a love for the arts and entertainment, he entered the music industry and held various executive positions at CBS Records International before departing to Paris to head CBS Records France. Mr. Diener then moved to Los Angeles where he was named president of ABC Records in 1977. In the early '80s, Mr. Diener relocated to Miami and returned to CBS International, where he helmed the marketing operations of the European and Latin American divisions. Later, as a pioneer in the home video business, he was named president of 20th Century Fox Video. - Billboard, 5/3/19...... Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the iconic Star Wars character Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, Episode 3 of the prequels and the new trilogy, died on Apr. 30 in his North Texas home with his family by his side. He was 74. The 7-foot-2-inch tall Mayhew was plucked from obscurity in 1976, when he was working as an orderly at London's King's College Hospital. Producer Charles H. Schneer cast him as a minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger after seeing a photograph of Mayhew in an article about a man with large feet. That lead to Mayhew being cast as Chewbacca in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, and the rest is history. "He put his heart and soul into Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films, from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth," his family said in a statement. Mayhew was a mainstay at Star Wars conventions around the world, including the bi-annual "Star Wars Celebration," and he was heavily involved in the Make-A-Wish foundation, Wounded Warriors and the Star Wars organization the 501st Legion, a fan collective that creates authentic props and costumes. He also established The Peter Mayhew Foundation, which supported individuals and families in crisis situations, providing "food and supplies for children of Venezuela during their recent road to freedom." -, 5/2/19.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Neil Young announced on Apr. 28 that he'll drop a previously unreleased live album recorded with his then backing band the Stray Gators in 1973 on June 7. Called Tuscaloosa, the live album originally recorded on Feb. 5, 1973 at the University of Alabama features songs from such classic Young albums as Harvest and Time Fades Away. With a total of 11 tracks, Tuscaloosa is shorter than the original performance because the show tape didn't capture the whole thing, according to Young's engineer, John Hanlon, who says "The Loner" wasn't included because "it was out of tune" and "On The Way Home" is absent simply as it appears on too many other live albums. Young defended the decision to leave out those two songs on his Neil Young Archives website: "I still make those decisions because I am here on the planet. However, those two versions will be available in the archives for members to hear. I have no plans to release everything I have ever recorded. Some of it is just not good enough." - NME, 4/28/19...... Joe PerryAerosmith guitarist Joe Perry's "Bladerunner" guitar, which he famously played in the "Walk This Way" video with Run-D.M.C., is part of the new "Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll" exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. "I was really honored to think a guitar I played would have enough gravitas to make it into the Met," Perry told Billboard during a break at Aerosmith's current "Deuces Are Wild" residency at Las Vegas' Park MGM. "There's a thousand great guitar players out there who have contributed to the last 50, 70 years of rock n' roll. To be asked to have even one guitar in that display is a real honor. The guitar I picked -- I'm sure there are plenty of Les Pauls and Stratocasters and those guitars that have played a big part in my career in the studio and on the stage -- but that guitar was in a video that was pretty pivotal," Perry added. Perry says his Bladerunner has "a little different sound than what I usually like, but it's got a good neck on it, it's a well-built guitar." "I actually went online and I couldn't find one," he noted. " don't know how many they made; the guy who gave it to me from the Guild said it was a prototype. I had another one duplicated from a guitar-maker friend of mine, so I have two, just in case something happens to the original. They're very rare, I don't know how many they made actually." Aerosmith began their Las Vegas residency on Apr. 6, with many of the scheduled 18 shows already sold out. Beginning Aug. 8, they'll play 9 shows at the The Theater at MGM Grand Harbor in National Harbor, Maryland. - Billboard, 4/30/19...... On Apr. 29 Ozzy Osbourne released a list of rescheduled dates for his "No More Tours 2" tour, which the heavy metal had been forced to postpone after being laid up with a variety of health issues for much of the new year. Ozzy will kick off the European leg of his 19-city tour in his native country on Jan. 31 with a show at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. He'll also be visiting Dublin, Manchester, Newcastle, London, Glasgow and and Birmingham in the next two weeks, before playing several cities on the continent through a Mar. 16 gig in Zurich. Osbourne also rescheduled 27 North American dates, which starts with a show in Atlanta on May 27 and runs through a July 31 concert in Las Vegas. "I'm really looking forward to getting back to Europe for these shows," Osbourne said in a statement. "Thank you to all the fans for sticking with me and waiting for the new dates to be announced. I can't wait to see you all next year." - Billboard, 4/29/19...... Meanwhile, Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne and Gene Simmons of KISS are among the names speaking out against a suggested boycott of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. Set for Tel Aviv in May with headliner Madonna confirmed to perform, the annual competition has sparked much controversy due to its location. Earlier in 2019, Peter Gabriel, Vivienne Westwood and Wolf Alice were among the signatories of an open letter calling for the BBC to boycott the contest in solidarity with Palestine -- arguing that taking part would be "a dubious honour" for "any artist of conscience." Now, Simmons, Osbourne and over 100 other public figures have signed a letter arguing against a boycott, claiming that it would only work against the show's "spirit of togetherness" and ultimately "subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division." Meanwhile, the BBC is denying that Eurovision had any political associations. "The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC's participation for political reasons," the UK broadcaster said. "Because of this, we will be taking part in this year's event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC." The first run of semi-finals for Eurovision 2019 begin on May 14, before the final takes place on May 18. - New Musical Express, 4/30/19...... Former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung is working on his first solo album since his 2009 effort One Hundred Years From Now, despite his feeling that the current music business "is as crass and as unrewarding as it has ever been." "It's a lot of work, and there's no radio to play it... I couldn't see any reason to do it," DeYoung recently told Billboard. DeYoung has written eight new songs with his neighbor in Chicago and former Survivor/Ides of March principal Jim Peterik for the new album, and one of the songs, the proggy and soul-searching "Proof of Heaven," is out now, with a video, and will appear on solo albums by both men. DeYoung is currently touring his "The Grand Illusion 40th Anniversary Album Tour" as well as his "The Music of Styx" shows, and acknowledges it is interfering with his as-yet-untitled solo album's completion. "I just tell people the party's going on... it's gonna go on just as long as they want to come and see it," he says. - Billboard, 4/29/19...... Van MorrisonAs the 2019 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival continues in the Crescent City, Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt brought down the house on Day 4 on Apr. 28 at the Fair Grounds Race Course. "This is the greatest festival in the world for artists of all stripes," Bonnie Raitt told the crowd as she performed on the Acura Stage at 3:40 p.m., adding that the NOJF was "an endangered species." Raitt had kind words for singer/songwriter John Prine, who she noted was "having a helluva year," by way of introducing "Angel From Montgomery," which Prine penned but she popularized. She remarked on the 30th anniversary of her classic Nick of Time LP before playing "Something to Talk About." After performing a funked-up version of that album's "Love Letter" that she dedicated to "all the New Orleans funk greats," Raitt wound down her set with the maudlin "I Can't Make You Love Me." At 5:35 p.m., Van Morrison took the stage, starting out his set with Muddy Waters' "Baby Please Don't Go" (as in, "down to New Orleans," in an offering to locals) with a vocal effects mic as well as Waters' "Got My Mojo Working." The Celtic crooner also treated fans to a beloved romantic ballad of his from his 1989 Avalon Sunset album, "Have I Told You Lately," with Morrison on sax, soloing alongside his bandmates. Later on in his set, Morrison performed the light-as-air "Moondance," and ended his set with a trio of killers: "Wild Night," "Real Real Gone" and, of course, "Brown Eyed Girl." - Billboard, 4/29/19...... The Rolling Stones announced on Apr. 30 that they'll reissue their classic 1968 The Rock and Roll Circus film on June 7 in the US and June 28 in the UK. Originally conceived as a BBC-TV special, The Rock and Roll Circus was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (the Beatles' Let It Be) and recorded in front of a live audience in London in 1968. It also featured performances from The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono, as well as "supergroup" The Dirty Mac - consisting of Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and John Lennon. Unheard tracks by the collective will be available on the new release for the first time ever. The film has received a 4K Dolby Vision restoration for Blu-ray and DVD, with the soundtrack also remixed and expanded to 28 songs and set to be released on double CD and triple vinyl sets. A Limited Deluxe Edition will include the film on Blu-Ray ray and DVD, plus the 2-CD expanded soundtrack, and a 44-page booklet with custom foldout gatefold design. Meanwhile in other band news, Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has shared an update on Mick Jagger's health after the singer underwent surgery: "Sally [Humphreys, Wood's wife] and I went on a break to the Caribbean with Keith [Richards] and Patti [Hansen], and we sent him videos of us playing and singing 'get well' songs on the guitar," Wood said. "[Jagger] was amused and impressed!" Wood added. "He is doing really well. I spoke to him yesterday and he's feeling great." - New Musical Express, 4/30/19...... Concert promoter Michael Lang, the co-organizer of the beleaguered 50th anniversary Woodstock festival set for Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Aug. 16-18, is vowing to keep his celebration of the iconic 1969 festival alive after its primary funding partner Dentsu Aegis Network withdrew its financial commitment and announced the "cancellation" of Woodstock 50 over concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness, and permitting issues. Lang, who co-founded the original Woodstock festival, has hired well-known New York trial lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz, who has represented Pres. Donald Trump in the past, in an effort to calm the storm surrounding Woodstock 50's immediate future. Kasowitz issued an industry-wide statement on Apr. 30 which declared that Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the festival, and instructed "all stakeholders, including the entertainers" to proceed as planned, even though representatives from two major talent agencies with headliners booked for the event said Dentsu's decision to pull out of the event "voids their contract and releases them from playing the festival." Speaking to the New York Times, Michael Lang said that he and the other organizers of Woodstock 50 are currently "in talks with investors who are anxious to come in" and save the festival. "We have a short window to put this back together. That's obvious," Lang added. "We feel it's enough time, and there is enough interest, that we think we will accomplish it." In a separate statement issued by Lang a few days earlier, he cited the memory of the chaotic staging of the original 1969 festival as inspiration for how Woodstock 50 could get back on track. "It's deja vu all over again... it seems in a way that history is repeating itself," he wrote. "In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go, we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!" More than 80 artists, including John Fogerty, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, the Black Keys and Chance the Rapper, are expected to perform on three main stages at Watkins Glen International racetrack in the Finger Lakes for Woodstock 50. The original Woodstock was held on a farm in Bethel, New York, that is now run as an attraction by The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. That venue has its own anniversary event Aug. 16-18 with performances by Fogerty, Santana and Ringo Starr. - New Musical Express/AP, 5/2/19...... Linda RonstadtThe Sound of My Voice, a new Linda Ronstadt documentary that traces the singer's rise in Los Angeles clubs to opening for Neil Young and eventually packing many of those arenas herself in the years that followed, made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Apr. 26. Such Ronstadt collaborators as David Geffen, Ry Cooder, J.D. Souther, Don Henley and Cameron Crowe all weigh in with their recollections, but present-day Linda, who retired from music in 2011 just before being diagnosed with Parkinson's, only plays a minor role in the film, appearing briefly at the beginning and end of the picture and in voiceovers. The bulk of the narration is stitched together from more than 50 years' worth of interviews, a triumph of both research and clever storytelling. Sheryl Crow was on hand to close the premiere with a short set of Ronstadt nuggets, including "When Will I Be Loved," "Tumbling Dice" and "You're No Good" -- before introducing her own "My Favorite Mistake" and gushing about Ronstadt's influence on her own career. The Sound of My Voice is based on Ronstadt's 2013 autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, and comes from filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. - Billboard, 4/29/19...... A Los Angeles man who claims he was the victim of a gay hate crime perpetrated by Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal's son Redmond O'Neal is suing O'Neal for over $100 million in damages. Ken Fox claims he was walking down the street while singing opera on May 2, 2018. Fox says he passed by O'Neal, who then looked at him and said, "What are you looking at, f----t?" Before he could react, Fox claims O'Neal then struck him in the head with a bottle (or another hard object), breaking his nose. Fox says he then fell to the ground and O'Neal began punching him as he hurled more expletives. O'Neal eventually fled the scene and ended up getting arrested several days later after he allegedly committed several other crimes. He was eventually charged with attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, brandishing a knife and battery. Fox has now filed a statement of damages with the court, saying he is going after O'Neal for $15 million for pain and suffering and another $15 million for emotional distress. After the addition of medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, attorneys fees and punitive damages, it adds up to over $100 million in damages. O'Neal is still behind bars awaiting trial on a slew of charges stemming from his latest crime spree. -, 4/30/19...... Detroit rock concert promoter Russ Gibb, who promoted hundreds of concerts by the likes of The Who, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa as well as being responsible for the infamous "Paul (McCartney) Is Dead" rumors that began in 1969, died on Apr. 30 in Garden City, Mich., after years of declining health. He was 87. First working as a teacher, Mr. Gibb moved into music by working part-time at WKNR in Dearborn, Mich., and DJing at local sock hops -- where he "made more money in one night than in about three weeks of teaching." He was already operating the Grande when he made international news via the "Paul is Dead" rumor. It began on Oct. 12, 1969, during his radio shift at Detroit's WKNR when Gibb took a call from a listener claiming that the Beatles bassist had died in 1966 and been replaced by a cosmetically altered look-alike. The caller encouraged Gibb to play the group's "Revolution 9" backwards, with its purported message of "turn me on dead man," setting off a firestorm of speculation that spread around the world. "The whole thing just exploded," Gibb recalled. "The phones were ringing off the hook. People were calling with their own clues. It was non-stop." Gibb laughed as he remembered the station's owner telling him, "Whatever you're doing, just keep doing it." He even called Eric Clapton, a friend in England, to ask if he knew anything about it. "He told me, 'Come to think of it, I haven't seen Paul for awhile...' "It was really a phenomenon. For a while, it seemed like it might really be true." McCartney called the rumor "bloody stupid" when Life magazine reporters found him in Scotland shortly after, but in 2009 he told David Letterman that, "I just laughed it off but it was a little strange because people did start looking at me like...'Is it him or a very good double?'" Mr. Gibb also owned the Grande Ballroom in Detroit -- one of the key theaters on the early U.S. rock n' roll circuit during the late '60s and early '70s -- and made it one of the country's premier rock venues during its six-year run. The Grande was defined by extravagant light shows -- including the first strobe light in the U.S., Gibb claimed -- and psychedelic poster art as well as often mixed-genre bills. Roger Daltrey of The Who -- which gave the rock opera "Tommy" its U.S. premiere on May 9, 1969 at the Grande -- noted that the venue "was one of THOSE places, the ones you had to play when you came to America. If you played there it was a sign that you were important." Mr. Gibb closed the Grande during 1972, after a six-year run, over financial concerts and when national acts "started using their own (opening) bands and Detroit bands were being squeezed out." He went on to his career as an educator and, until 2016, maintained an active website that included an outspoken blog called At Random. Tributes to Mr. Gibb were posted by Wayne Kramer of the Detroit band The MC5 ("he was one of a kind") and Alice Cooper ("when nobody else would book us, Uncle Russ would"). - Billboard, 5/1/19...... Maureen McCormickFormer The Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick says she is not happy with an anti-vaccination group that has been using a clip of herself and other Brady Bunch actors to downplay the seriousness of measles, which is currently having its largest outbreak in the US since the disease was declared eliminated in nationwide 2000. The "anti-vaxer" group is referencing an episode of The Brady Bunch from 1969 in which McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on the iconic sitcom, catches measles along with her other siblings. In it Marcia says, "If you have to get sick, you sure can't beat the measles." "I think it's really wrong when people use people's images today to promote whatever they want to promote and the person's image they're using, they haven't asked or they have no idea where they stand on the issue," McCormick told NPR. She also added that her own daughter was vaccinated. "Having the measles was not a fun thing," McCormick recalled of when she contracted measles as a child. "I remember it spread through my family," she added. Most cases in the United States have emerged in communities with low rates of vaccination against the virus, according to public health officials. Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or if someone comes into direct contact with them or shares germs by touching the same objects or surfaces. Measles symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash of red spots. - CNN, 4/29/19...... Rock vocalist Phil McCormack, who took over as lead singer of the Southern Rock act Molly Hatchet in 1992, died on Apr. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes at age 58. McCormack -- who previously performed in The Roadducks and Savoy Brown -- joined the Southern rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971 in 1995, taking over for longtime singer Danny Joe Brown, who passed away in 2005. With his gritty, soulful voice, McCormack became the band's official full-time lead singer in 1995 and fronted the group until his death, appearing on seven albums, including 1996's Devil's Canyon, 2000's Kingdom of XII and 2012's covers album Regrinding the Axes. "Wherever he performed he gave his all," McCormick's family posted on Apr. 29. "Phil loved his audiences and they loved him." - Billboard, 4/29/19.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

'70s artists are well represented on a new pop-up SiriusXM radio channel counting down the top songs of the 1980s and 1990s. Olivia-Newton John's "Physical" crowned the 1980s chart, while Santana and Rob Thomas' "Smooth" was named the most popular song of the 1990s. "Physical" led the weekly Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-tying 10 weeks, beginning in November 1981, with "Smooth" leading the Hot 100 for 12 weeks, beginning in October 1999, marking Santana's first No. 1 a record 30 years after the Carlos Santana-fronted act's first appearance on the chart. SiriusXM partnered with Billboard for the pop-up channel countdowns. - Billboard, 4/24/19...... Meanwhile, SiriusXM has announced special Willie Nelson programming in the last weekend of April to celebrate the country icon's 86th birthday on Apr. 30. "Willie Nelson's 4-Day Birthday Weekend" gets underway on the curated Willie's Roadhouse channel on Apr. 27 at 7:00 p.m. EDT, featuring a conversation between Nelson and his daughter Paula and his full 45-minute Luck Reunion performance. It will be repeated on Apr. 28 at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Apr. 29 at noon and 6 p.m. and Apr. 30 at midnight and 8:00 p.m. - Billboard, 4/26/19...... Cameron CroweA musical based on the beloved '70s-themed acclaimed 2000 movie Almost Famous will have its world premiere in San Diego on Sept. 13 at The Old Globe Theater, producers Lia Vollack announced on Apr. 26. The city is the hometown of the movie's director, Cameron Crowe, and is based on his own teenage adventures as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and where he set the story. "The story has always been a personal one for me and it is a special thrill that we are coming to the Old Globe," Crowe said in a statement. "We used to live in an apartment on Sixth Street across from Balboa Park and the Old Globe. I first met [rock critic] Lester Bangs less than a mile away from where the 'Almost Famous' musical will open. It all feels a little bit like fun destiny to bring this story about loving music back to San Diego, where it all began." The show will open the 2019-2020 season at the Old Globe, with the musical's book written by Crowe based on his Oscar-winning screenplay, with music by two-time Tony winner Tom Kitt and lyrics by Kitt and Crowe; the show will be directed by Tony nominee Jeremy Herrin. Set in 1973, the story unfolds in the twilight of the Watergate-besieged Richard Nixon presidency, and follows idealistic 15 year-old aspiring music journalist William Miller. "'Almost Famous' is about a young man finding his place in the world and the indelible characters he meets along the way, featuring classic hits, in addition to the new songs by Kitt," according to a press release. Casting and other news about the show, which is co-produced by Columbia Live Stage, will be announced at a later date. - Billboard, 4/26/19...... A&M Records co-founder and '60s band leader Herb Alpert will hold his annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) event in New York on May 13. Alpert, 84, established HAAIA 25 years ago in response to cutbacks in government funding for the arts, and he says the situation hasn't changed. "The politicians don't get it," says Alpert. "The heart and soul of a country is shaped by its artists." Each year, the Herb Alpert Foundation offers a $75,000 prize (it previously was $50,000) to boundary-pushing midcareer artists, one each in the categories of dance, film and video, music, theater and visual arts. During his 50-year career, the Los Angeles native led The Tijuana Brass, won nine Grammys and, with his partner Jerry Moss, co-founded A&M Records, which the two sold to PolyGram in 1989. But he remains humble: "We started out very inconspicuously in my garage," he says of his early days. Using the funds from album royalties and the A&M sale, he established the foundation to support arts education, inspired by his decision to pick up a trumpet in his own school's music class. Alpert says he removes himself from both the process of selecting winners and the logistics of running HAAIA so there's "no corruption," but his discerning taste and generous spirit permeate the awards nonetheless. "The artists that we gravitate toward," he says, "have that certain something." - Billboard, 4/26/19...... In related news, Paul McCartney is criticizing the UK government after Liverpool's Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) reportedly lost £16 million in funding. The institution, which the former Beatle co-founded, claims a "series of errors, made in 2016, cost the institute in potential funding and a further £160,000 for the initial steps of a judicial review." An investigation has now been launched by the Parliamentary Ombudsman over how the Office for Students disqualified LIPA. "I helped to bring LIPA into life during very difficult times for Liverpool. It is now a highly respected institution all over the world," said Sir Paul in a statement. "Our funding was recently affected by what to me, and the heads of every university in Liverpool, was a flawed process. LIPA is my passion and part of my legacy. It would not be fair to allow injustice to affect its future. I sincerely hope the Government will correct this error and help us to continue our work successfully into the future," he added. - New Musical Express, 4/25/19...... In other Beatles-related news, the 2009 John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy is being adapted as a musical for the theatre stage. Based on a book written by the late Beatle's half-sister Julia Baird, the film Nowhere Boy depicted Lennon's teenage years and starred Aaron Johnson as the musician. Kristin Scott Thomas, David Morrissey and Anne-Marie Duff also starred, while Sam Taylor-Wood made her directorial debut with the movie. The musical will largely follow the narrative that was set out in the original film, which focused on the Quarrymen-era Lennon and the relationships he had with his mother, Julia Lennon, and Julia's older sister, Mimi Smith. The musical's producer, Dayna Lee, said that, as was the case with the movie, this focus on Lennon's aunt and mother will depict "two very different women, very powerful in different ways." Lennon's wido Yoko Ono is aware of the project "but has no involvement." As with the film version of Nowhere Boy, the musical will not include Beatles songs -- but will instead use rock and roll hits from the late 1950s. - NME, 4/23/19...... Bruce SpringsteenIt was revealed on Apr. 25 that Bruce Springsteen's first new studio album in more than five years will be released on June 14 by Columbia Records. Western Stars, Springsteen's 19th LP, draws inspiration from the Southern California pop records of the late '60s and early '70s. It was primarily recorded at the musician's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. "This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements," said Springsteen in a statement. "It's a jewel box of a record." Western Stars' 13 tracks -- all written by Springsteen -- are described as "encompass[ing] a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope." Western Stars was co-produced by Springsteen with Ron Aniello, who also produced the artist's last two studio albums, 2012's Wrecking Ball and 2014's High Hopes. Patti Scialfa, a long-time member of Springsteen's E Street Band who has been married to the musician since 1991, provided vocals and contributed vocal arrangements on four tracks. The first single and video from Western Stars, "Hello Sunshine," was released on Apr. 26. The four-minute, mid-tempo ballad features the Boss's melancholy vocals over a quickly strummed acoustic guitar, with a repeating piano figure coming in as the song's chorus is introduced with a touch of pedal steel guitar. - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer was absent during the eighth night of the band's "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vegas residency at the Park MGM on Apr. 23. He was replaced by his drum tech, John Douglas, after the 68-year-old suffered a minor accident, the band later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Joey had a minor accident and is totally fine, but he hurt his shoulder in the process so he won't be playing tomorrow," read the statement, which did not describe the injury. Douglas also replaced Kramer for the band's Apr. 26 show. - Billboard, 4/26/19...... A new David Bowie demo collection called The Mercury Demos after his former label will be released by Rhino/Parlophone Records on June 28. Songs on the album were recorded live in one take in the late musician's flat in 1969, and feature Bowie singing and playing guitar and Stylophone. John "Hutch" Hutchinson also appears on guitar and vocals. The 10-track LP will also include an early version of "Space Oddity," which according to a press release will be "presented in its true context for the first time." The rest of The Mercury Demos will be comprised of Bowie originals including "Conversation Piece" and "An Occasional Dream," a cover of Roger Bunn's "Life Is A Circus," and Lesley Duncan's "Love Song." The latter was later covered by Elton John for his 1971 album Tumbleweed Connection. "Janine" features a brief section sung to the melody of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." The album will be released in a replica of the original tape box and will feature one mono 33 1/3 RPM vinyl, one print, two photo contact sheets, and sleeve notes by Mark Adams. The collection will follow another box-set called Clareville Grove Demos. That set will also include a version of "Life Is A Circus" and will mark the 50th anniversary of "Space Oddity." - New Musical Express, 4/26/19...... Paul Simon announced on Apr. 23 that he's donating all net proceeds from his upcoming 2019 Outside Lands Festival performance to two environmental organizations, the San Francisco Parks Alliance and Friends of the Urban Forest. The Outside Lands Festival will take place Aug. 9-11 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Other performers will include Childish Gambino, Kacey Musgraves, Mavis Staples, Twenty One Pilots, Lil Wayne, Blink-182 and Ella Mai. Simon, 77, retired from touring last year but plans to perform occasionally at benefit concerts. In a statement, Simon says he's "pleased to be playing in San Francisco with its well-deserved reputation for being in the forefront of environmental issues." - AP, 4/23/19...... Actor Taron Egerton, the star of the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman, says he understands why gay actors would feel more suited to the role of Elton. "It's easy for me to sit here as a white, heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want. But I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this is an opportunity for which they would be better suited," Egerton recently told the UK's Attitude magazine. "The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play him in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay. I want to live in a world where people are excited about playing people who are different from themselves. I believe that there is something inclusive and progressive about that," he added. Rocketman is set to premiere in the U.K. on May 2 and the U.S. on May 31. - NME, 4/25/19...... Donald FagenSteely Dan brought their sophisticated ecstasy to their new Vegas residency, dubbed "Reelin' In the Chips 2," at the Venetian at its debut on Apr. 24, with band co-founder Donald Fagan fully front and center after the death of Walter Becker in 2017. The team accompanying Fagen in 2019 is a practically flawless assortment of instrumental pros -- much like the cast of studio pros who played on Steely Dan's '70s albums -- whose every guitar riff, horn vamp or silky backup vocal brings to mind the original studio version without feeling like a slavish recreation. Before delving into "FM (No Static At All)," the title track to the forgotten 1978 comedy starring Martin Mull, Fagan noted: "This is a song we wrote -- I'm talking about my partner Walter Becker -- for a movie that was kind of a stinker. It was okay, could have used a little help on the screenplay." Fagen and his band also trotted out such classics as "Reelin' In the Years," "Peg," "My Old School," "Hey Nineteen," "Aja" and "Dirty Work." "I hope we're good -- or at least passable," Fagen told the crowd at one point. - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Meanwhile, Sting announced on Apr. 24 that he'll headline a new Las Vegas residency, "Sting: My Songs," beginning May 22, 2020. The 16-show residency will take place at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and explore Sting's decades-long catalog, including his hits with The Police and his solo work. "I'm thrilled to announce that my brand new Las Vegas residency "Sting: My Songs" will be opening at the legendary Caesars Colosseum in May of 2020!," Sting tweeted on Apr. 24. Before he heads to Vegas, Sting has a string of projects in the works: He'll tour the United Kingdom with Shaggy (they won the best reggae album Grammy this year for their collaborative album 44/876); he has a number of solo shows in the United States and around the world; and he will release a new album that re-imagines some of his biggest hits, My Songs, on May 24. - Billboard, 4/24/19...... The producers of an upcoming new Michael Jackson musical have said that production will continue regardless of controversial claims made against the pop star in recent documentary Leaving Neverland. "We're not judge and jury," director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon recently told The New York Times. "In our process, we're facing [the controversy] pretty much head on, but we're also studying the many facets of Michael Jackson." Meanwhile, a former bodyguard of Jackson's, Matt Fiddes, has defended the late singer despite allegations in the Leaving Neverland documentary. Fiddes, who owns a string of martial arts schools across the UK with a business empire worth a reported £30 million, recently posted on Instagram it was "now to defend a friend @michaeljackson who was always so great to my family and staff." He claims that key facts were left out of the film which details accounts of two subjects named Wade Robson and Jame Safechuck who claim they were sexually abused by the singer. "I have sat back and watched the circus which we got used too over the years," he added. "People forget this man was and still is the most famous man in the world. The biggest target in the world. And he wanted his life to be a "mystery." He understood the media value of that. And it has backfired on him in death sadly." - New Musical Express, 4/25/19...... The Prince estate and Warner Bros. Records announced on Apr. 25 the upcoming release of an album of 14 previously unreleased Prince demos, marking the latest posthumous release from the late musicians's vast vault of career-spanning material. The focus of Originals is 14 songs Prince wrote for other artists, including Apollonia 6, The Time, The Bangles, Sheila E., Vanity 6, Kenny Rogers and Martika. Tracks on the LP, which were selected by Troy Carter on behalf of the Estate and Jay-Z, will begin streaming exclusively on TIDAL for two weeks beginning June 7, before Warner Bros. releases the collection on all download and streaming partners and CD on June 21. A 180s gram 2-LP and limited-edition deluxe 2CD-2LP format will follow on July 19. - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Motown Records launched new mentorship programs for Detroit-based musicians and startups on Apr. 25. The legendary label says the two new programs are aimed at fostering local talent and entrepreneurs. The first program, dubbed the Motown Musician Accelerator, will offer individualized coaching, industry introductions and a $20,000 grant to four musicians or musical groups during a 12-week program slated to launch in summer 2019. A second component of the Accelerator program will involve quarterly workshops conducted by industry professionals that will offer information and advice on distribution, booking and touring and songwriting, among other topics. "Detroit has always been a creative hub for new talent and development," said Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam in a statement. "Being able to provide the necessary support, funding and programming to help them grow in their careers is an absolute honor for us." - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Rick Springfield'80s pop hitmaker Rick Springfield, who released his debut album in 1974, will release Orchestrating My Life, a collection of his tunes with orchestral accompaniment, on Apr. 26. Springfield said he was inspired to release the new album, which features such key hits as "Don't Talk to Strangers," "Affair of the Heart," "Human Touch" and "I've Done Everything For You," after being invited to Germany to play six weeks of orchestral concerts in 2018. The Orchestrating My Life arrangements got their U.S. debut on Mar. 30 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles. Ahead of the album, Springfield has released an orchestral version of his iconic 1981 hit, "Jessie's Girl." Meanwhile, Springfield has just completed his second novel, World on Fire, and is "in the middle" of a third, which he says "is going good and bad, like it always does. I'd like to finish it f---ing soon, but it'll be done when it's done." - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Netflix announced on Apr. 25 that Martin Scorsese's upcoming Bob Dylan tour documentary will be released by the studio on Netflix and in selected cinemas on June 12. Scorsese's new film chronicles Dylan's famed "Rolling Thunder Revue Tour," which took place during 1975-76 and saw the musician performing with the likes of Joan Baez, Mick Ronson and T-Bone Burnett. Titled Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, the film has been described as "part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream." It will feature on-camera interviews with Dylan, and, according to a press release, promises to "capture the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year." A companion 14-CD box set, The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings, will also be released in June and is now available to pre-order on Dylan's official website. - New Musical Express, 4/25/19...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has unveiled a series of new paintings, including a Picasso-inspired picture that honours his band. Entitled "Abstract Stones," the painting is one of five different works of art Wood began selling online as hand-signed prints on Apr. 26. "I call it The Picasso Stones. It's my interpretation of Picasso's painting The Three Dancers," Wood said. "Looking at the original, I was inspired to do my own take featuring the boys. I did a few versions and each one was slightly different and more honed than the last. I had great fun doing it. Picasso did his own take on a lot of artists but I bet he never thought no one would ever do a take on him. I hope and think he'd be flattered, but also a bit shocked and pleasantly surprised at my take on his work." Wood has also painted a set of his own personal interpretations of classic Stones tour posters: "Bridges to Babylon," "Urban Jungle" and "Voodoo Lounge." They can be viewed and purchased on Wood's official site. - NME, 4/25/19...... In other Rolling Stones news, Mick Jagger made his first appearance since undergoing heart surgery earlier in the month on Apr. 18 at the premiere of his partner Melanie Hamrick's new ballet in New York. Jagger reportedly remained backstage for the opening night "Porte Rouge," which includes choreographed dance routines to Stones classics such as "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Paint It Black." Although he wasn't spotted by attendees, the 75-year-old musician made his presence known by sharing a message over the PA. "Mick Jagger here. Hope you enjoy this wonderful new ballet and the music," he told the audience. An insider said that the frontman stayed out of view as he "didn't quite look like Mick Jagger" following his recent operation. Backstage sources added that he stayed for the entire show and congratulated dancers. - NME, 4/24/19...... Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack Osbourne has given an update on his dad's health following Ozzy's cancellation of his 2019 tour after being hospitalized with pneumonia. "He's doing really well," said Jack during an appearance on The Jenny McCarthy Show. "He's good. He's getting back on his feet, so he's good." Elsewhere in a recent chat with People magazine, Jack said that Ozzy is "back to being his cynical old self," which he claimed "is always a good sign." In February, the rock star was forced to postpone dates in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. He then postponed all upcoming 2019 shows due to a subsequent fall. - NME, 4/24/19...... A new Frank Zappa-based holographic tour, "The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa," made its world premiere on Apr. 22 at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, N.J. The show combines holographic performances, surreal visuals and a live band of Zappa collaborators for a maximalist tribute. The show is a joint effort between the Frank Zappa Family Trust and Eyellusion, a hologram production company that is simultaneously reuniting the late Ronnie James Dio with his Dio bandmates. "It really takes you on the emotional journey that Frank was about," Eyellusion co-founder and CEO Jeff Pezzuti says. "But even if you know nothing about Frank, you're still going to enjoy the show, just based on the visuals." Although the idea never came to fruition during his lifetime, Zappa shared his vision for consumer-grade holograms in his 1989 memoir The Real Frank Zappa Book. "[It would] generate free-standing 3-D images, in any size, on your coffee table at home, or on a stage for theatrical use." He even came up with a company name: Intercontinental Absurdities. - Billboard, 4/23/19...... Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will reproduce two episodes of classic '70s Norman Lear sitcoms for a new ABC Primetime special on May 22. Kimmel will stage episodes of All in the Family and The Jeffersons with an all-star cast, including Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker. - The Wrap/, 4/23/19...... Ken KerchevalActor Ken Kercheval, best known for portraying oil tycoon Cliff Barnes on the 1978-1991 CBS soap opera Dallas, died in his hometown of Clinton, Ind., on Apr. 21. He was 83. A spokeswoman of the Frist Funeral Home confirmed his death and did not provide additional information, however Mr. Kercheval had been a heavy smoker and had part of his lung removed in 1994 after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Mr. Kercheval and Larry Hagman as his rival J.R. Ewing were the only two stars who appeared on Dallas for its entire 14-season run. Mr. Kercheval was a recurring character for the first two seasons, but was then upped to a regular in the 1979-1980 season. He reprised his role in the 1996 Dallas reunion, the 2004 CBS reunion special and the 2012-2014 TNT revival. He was among five series stars who directed episodes, taking the helm for two episodes for Seasons 13-14. When Dallas viewers asked him when Cliff was "finally going to get J.R.," Mr. Kercheval always answered: "This Friday night!" Born on July 15, 1935, in Wolcottville, Ind., and raised nearby in Clinton, Mr. Kercheval attended the Indiana University to major in music and drama, and later studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York with Sanford Meisner. In the 1960s, Mr. Kercheval appeared on Broadway in Mike Nichols' "The Apple Tree" and Harold Prince's "Cabaret." He also had roles in films like Pretty Poison, Rabbit Run and Sidney Lumet's Network and F.I.S.T. His small-screen career was prolific, with appearances on Search for Tomorrow in the 60s and early 70s, CHiPs, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, ER, and more. -, 4/24/19.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Fans of Prince are tweeting tributes to the late funk rocker, who died on Apr. 21, 2016, in his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, on the third anniversary of his death. "Three years since Prince died & whilst time may fly, his music will last forever," posted one fan, while another said: "Thank you for the amazing music you made, your memory will live forever." Meanwhile, the memoir Prince was working on at the time of his death has been given an Oct. 29 release date, publisher Random House announced on Apr. 22. Titled The Beautiful Ones, the 288-page book will combine Prince's unfinished manuscript with rare photos, scrapbooks and lyrics. First announced just weeks before Prince's 2016 death, the book will include an introduction by The New Yorker writer Dan Piepenbring, whom Prince had chosen as a collaborator. The memoir, which spans from the artist's childhood to his early years as a musician to the cusp of international stardom, is an exclusive partnership with the Prince Estate. - New Musical Express/AP, 4/21/19...... Eric ClaptonEric Clapton announced on Apr. 22 that he'll play three dates in the Western US this September before presenting the fifth iteration of his Crossroads Guitar Festival later the same month. Slowhand will play San Francisco's Chase Center on Sept. 11, Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 13, and Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sept. 14 before his two-day Crossroads Festival gig, which is set for Dallas' American Airlines Center on Sept. 20-21. The festival has announced a superlative group of ax-slingers, with 2019's roster boasting Gary Clark, Jr., Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Billy Gibbons, James Bay and more. Clapton will be the only artist playing both nights of Crossroads, whereas every other player is split between Friday and Saturday's slate of performances. Proceeds from the event will benefit Clapton's Crossroads Centre in Antigua, his facility for chemically-dependent persons focused on treatment and education. - Billboard, 4/22/19...... Photographic portraits of Joni Mitchell by veteran rock photographer Norman Seeff have gone on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Seeff's latest photo book, The Joni Mitchell Sessions, was released in Dec. 2018 captures Mitchell in a variety of moods and looks from her 1970s heyday, from 1972's Court and Spark shoot through 1975's bathing-suited Hissing of Summer Lawns work and on through to a concluding set of mysterious poses for her Don Juan's Reckless DaughterLP in 1977. "I usually like to be extemporaneous, which is dangerous," Seeff told the audience during a recent preview of his full exhibit at the Grammy Museum. "Working with Joni is also dangerous," he added with a fondness. The Grammy Museum will mount a larger exhibition of Seeff's Mitchell portraits later in 2019. - Billboard, 4/22/19...... The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the sailing vessel and environmental organization launched 50 years ago by the late folk icon and green activist Pete Seeger, announced on Apr. 22, which is "Earth Day," that Mavis Staples and Ani DiFranco will headline its annual festival on June 15, followed by the Wailers and Railroad Earth on June 16. Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, which takes place at Croton Point Park on the banks of the Hudson River, 30-plus miles north of New York City, is billed as "the country's oldest and largest music and environmental festival." The 2019 Clearwater Festival, as it's commonly known, will recognize the centennial of Seeger's birth, on May 3, 1919, and the 50th anniversary of the launch of the sloop Clearwater on May 17, 1969. Seeger, who passed away in 2014 at age 94, conceived of the Clearwater in the early 1960s with a simple goal. "We're going to build a boat to save the river," he said of the vessel, a 106-foot-long replica of the wooden Dutch sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 19th century. With Seeger's inspiration, and the commitment of multiple generations of leaders, crew and volunteers, the sloop has achieved much more. The festival will also feature several co-headliners, including Lone Bellow, Del McCoury Band, Tom Paxton & the DonJuans, Tom Chapin and Joanne Shenandoah. - Billboard, 4/22/19...... Steve PerryServing as the keynote speaker at the Pop Conference 2019 at the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture' on Apr. 20, former Journey frontman Steve Perry spoke of how personal loss affected his music, and how he sees his songs as "little ghosts in time." "I'm a pretty melancholy kind of guy," Perry said when asked how grief affects writers' songs. "I kind of live in a melancholy state all the time. For me, is that too much sadness? I don't know. It does keep me centered, it keeps me in the moment. Am I a depressive guy? I don't know, I call it melancholy. I write music that I think speaks from that place." Perry then brought up the loss of his partner Kellie Nash, who died in 2012 after a battle with cancer. They were together for a year and a half before she passed away. "When I had my profound loss with Kellie [Nash] a few years back, I agree that being pulled into that moment deeper than I ever experienced before was a new place, to where everything that mattered, I thought, fell off," Perry said. "I sought professional help to really learn how to grieve, because I didn't know how." Perry also spoke about his most recent solo album, 2018's Traces. "It's a complex record because there are two songs I wrote that were about profound grief -- one called 'In the Rain,' which is the darkness of grief, pictures that stare back in silence, by myself; the other one is a song called 'Most of All,' a little but more uplifting, but still about loss," said Perry. "Those songs were written before I met Kellie, which was really bizarre." He later spoke of the "haunting" aspect of music. "Some of the recordings are little ghosts in time, and they have a tendency to remain that to us personally, but they are invisible until they hit your inner ear and they go in your mind and they recall spots where you first heard that song, what it means to you, what's going on today. They conjure all these emotions." - Billboard, 4/21/19...... Concert promoter Michael Lang, who is heading one of the two planned 50th anniversary Woodstock festivals later in 2019, is pushing back against rumors that his Woodstock 50 festival has been cancelled after an email alerting agents that a ticket on-sale has been postponed. "Woodstock is a phenomenon that for fifty years has drawn attention to its principles and also the rumors that can be attached to that attention," Lang, one of the co-founders of the original 1969 event in Bethel Woods, N.Y., told Billboard. "It's just more rumors." Tickets for the three-day event with headliners The Killers, Dead and Co, Imagine Dragons and Jay-Z had been set to go on sale on Apr. 22 in honor of Earth Day. No new date has been announced, and the delay has prompted concern from managers and agents with acts playing the multi-genre festival. - Billboard, 4/19/19...... The Rolling Stones released a new career-spanning greatest hits compilation titled Honk on Apr. 19, ahead of their recently postponed North American leg of their "No Filter" tour. The collection collects hits and classic cuts from every Stones album from 1971's Sticky Fingers to 2016's covers album Blue & Lonesome. The album comes in 3 CD, 4 LP and digital formats, with 36 essential tracks, including "Brown Sugar," "Tumbling Dice," "Angie," "Miss You," "Emotional Rescue" and "Start Me Up." A deluxe version also has a bonus disc of 10 live tracks recorded during the band's recent tours, including "Dead Flowers" with Brad Paisley, "Bitch" with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, "Wild Horses" with Florence Welch and "Beast of Burden" with Ed Sheeran. "All the very best hits in one spot! #HONK is available to stream and download at @AppleMusic. Add it to your library today! #therollingstones #applemusic #bestof #listennow," the band tweeted on Apr. 19. The Stones recently postponed the launch of the 17-date North American leg of their tour after singer Mick Jagger underwent heart valve replacement surgery. The 75 year-old singer is reportedly recuperating and expected to make a full recovery. - Billboard, 4/19/19...... Alice CooperThe supergroup Hollywood Vampires have released the lead single, "Who's Laughing Now," from their forthcoming second album Rise, which will drop on June 21. The 16-track effort from the group, which features Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, will contain mostly original material written by the band -- unlike their 2015 debut, which featured covers of songs by The Who, Spirit, The Doors, Harry Nilsson, Badfinger and others. "Rise is not only a totally different animal than the first Vampires album, it is unique to anything I've ever been a part of," says Cooper in a statement. "I approached it very differently than I usually do when working on an album. Each of us; Joe, Johnny, Tommy, and myself have written songs on this album. What is different though is that I didn't try to change any songs to be more 'Alice-like.' Because each of us has different influences, the sound of this album is very cool. I think that with this album, we are establishing what the Vampires' sound really is, whereas with the first album, we were more tipping our hats to our fallen rock 'n' roll brothers." The band has also announced a 7-city tour behind the new LP which will kick off on May 10 in Las Vegas. Additional dates include Los Angeles (5/11), San Francisco (5/12), Denver (5/14), Albuquerque, N.M. (5/16), Scottsdale, Ariz. (5/17) and Indio, Calif. (5/18). - Billboard, 4/18/19...... Drummer Jason Bonham has retracted a recent story about Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page purportedly giving him his first line of cocaine when he was just 16. On Apr. 19, Bonham issued a statement to "unconditionally retract all derogatory and defamatory comments relating to Mr J Page." "It is wholly untrue that Mr J Page offered me any illegal substances either when I was a minor or at all," Bonham wrote on his website. "I apologize to Mr Page, unreservedly, for making these unfounded and untrue comments about him. Out of my long held respect for Mr Page I will make no further comments on the interview and I agree to make no further comments which Mr Page might view as disparaging, either now or in the future." Bonham, the son of late Led Zepp drummer John Bonham, made headlines earlier in April after telling SiriusXM talk show host Howard Stern how the guitar icon offered him the drug at a hotel while the band was on tour. "Jimmy was the first one to ever give it to me," Bonham previously told Stern. "We got called to his room. I was 16 at this point, and there was a woman on the floor with a collar on, meowing, and he had this grinder thing and he turned it over and he went, 'Here you go,' and I went, 'Thanks.' He's like, 'You've done this before, right?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, of course I have.'" The original anecdote came after Bonham previously stood in for his dad at several Led Zepp reunions -- including the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and their comeback performance at Ahmet Ertegun's O2 Arena tribute concert in 2007. - New Musical Express, 4/19/19...... Pop hitmaker Sheryl Crow has released "Redemption Day," the lead single from her forthcoming final album of duets, which is due out this summer. The poignant tune is a duet with Johnny Cash, who previously recorded the tune. Penned by Crow in 1996 after a trip to Bosnia with Hillary Clinton, "Redemption Day" was featured on the singer's 1996 self-titled album. After Johnny Cash heard the tune in 2003, he approached Crow about the song's lyrics and later recorded it himself. His version was released on the posthumous American VI: Ain't No Grave in 2010. The country legend is one of several duet partners featured on Crow's forthcoming release on the Big Machine imprint the Valory Music Co. Additional collaborations include Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks and St. Vincent. - Billboard, 4/19/19...... Michael McDonaldFormer Doobie Brothers member and '80s solo star Michael McDonald has inked a new worldwide publishing deal with Kobalt Music, the company announced on Apr. 18. The worldwide agreement includes administrative, creative and global synch services for the former Doobie Brother's entire catalogue and any future works. "Having penned some of the most significant songs of the last fifty years, Michael's catalogue is a treasure trove of hits," Kobalt exec Merril Wasserman-Serling said in a statement. "Michael continues to write and I'm certain that more great songs are on the horizon. It's an honor to welcome him to the Kobalt family and look forward to working closely with him and his team." "I'm very excited about my new affiliation with Kobalt Music Publishing," McDonald added. "I look forward to working with... Merril Wasserman... and the entire Kobalt team in the years ahead." McDonald is currently on a North American co-headling tour with Chaka Khan. He continues to collaborate with other artists, including recent work with Barbra Streisand, Thundercat and Nashville duo Johnnyswim. - Billboard, 4/18/19...... Fleetwood Mac announced the rescheduled date for their upcoming North American tour on Apr. 18 after cancelling a handful of shows earlier in April due to the illness of a band member. The previously scheduled show in Boston at TD Garden has been shifted to Oct. 28, while a show in Quebec City at Centre Videotron will now take place on Oct. 30. New dates have also been announced for shows in Toronto (11/1), Philadelphia (11/3), Winnipeg (11/7), Calgary (11/10) and Edmonton (11/12). However the Mac will not be making up a planned appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in May, which was to be a replacement act after the Rolling Stones had to cancel their performance due to Mick Jagger recent surgery. All previously held tickets will be honored for the new dates. - Billboard, 4/18/19...... During a performance in Vienna, Austria on Apr. 17, Bob Dylan called out fans for taking photos after he nearly fell over during the concert. After nearly wiping out on a foldback wedge, the rock icon gathered himself and paused when a fan broke his "no photos" rule. "Take pictures or don't take pictures. We can either play or we can pose. Okay," Dylan grumbled to the audience before taking his seat at the piano for a rendition of "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry." This isn't the first time that Dylan has taken issue with fan photography at gigs. As Rolling Stone reports, a New York show last year had ushers shining flashlights at anyone they spotted using a phone, with repeat offenders threatened with being removed from the show. Dylan's European tour continues, including a headline performance at Roskilde Festival in June as well as performing at London's Hyde Park with Neil Young in July. Meanwhile, Dylan is expected to help open his new whiskey distillery in downtown Nashville, Tenn. next fall under the brand "Heaven's Door," in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of his classic Nashville Skyline album. - New Musical Express, 4/18/19...... Berry GordyA 60th anniversary Motown concert featuring a slew of famous Motown acts including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson was aired on CBS on Apr. 21. The "Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration" concert, which was held on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles, also featured Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., who told the packed Microsoft Theater that he wanted his label to "bring people together from all walks of life through a legacy of love." "My dream came true," added Gordy, who started the African American label in 1959, building a roster that included superstar artists such as Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and The Temptations. Ross, who was once signed to Motown as lead singer of The Supremes, brought attendees to their feet when she opened her set singing to Gordy while sitting next to him. After singing a couple of songs onstage, she returned back to Gordy and sang "My Man." The event was hosted by Robinson and Cedric the Entertainer. - AP, 4/17/19...... Accomplished British songwriter Les Reed, who penned songs for the likes of Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and Shirley Bassey, has passed away at age 83, his family has confirmed. The Woking-born songwriter was the co-writer of Jones' hits "Delilah" and "It's Not Unusual," the latter which was released in 1964 and became Jones' debut single and first No. 1 hit. It also featured Mr. Reed as arranger and pianist. The pair reprised their success with "Delilah" in 1968, which reached the Top 10. In 1959, Mr. Reed joined The John Barry Seven as a pianist, and developed his career as a songwriter in the 1960s, writing hits for artists including Lulu, Herman's Hermits and The Dave Clark Five. Tom Jones paid tribute to Mr. Reed on Twitter, describing him as a "gifted songwriter who was instrumental in penning many a hit, incl two important songs for me. Les was a lovely man, whose legacy will live through his music." Mr. Reed was born in Woking, Surrey, in 1935. He is survived by his daughter, Donna, and grandsons. - The BBC, 4/16/19...... Soul music songwriter Kent "Boogalo" Harris, who wrote hits for such acts as The Coasters, Bo Diddley and The Platters, has reportedly died of cancer at his Southern California home at age 88. Mr. Harris's stock and trade in the 1950s was writing catchy novelty songs such as "Shopping For Clothes" for The Coasters and "Cops and Robbers" for Diddley. He also wrote for his own family group, The Harris Sisters (later called The Dimples Harris Trio), who had several modest hits during the decade, and recorded and performed with his own act, Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew. Mr. Harris also became an entrepreneur, opening a Los Angeles record store in the 1960s and forming his own record label. He also continued to write and producer for a number of R&B and jazz artists, including Adoph Jacobs and Jimmy Ellis. Mr. Harris continued to work into the new century, reportedly contributing to the music of the somewhat maligned Eddie Murphy movie, Norbit. He also would perform his delightfully humorous repertoire around the U.S. with his Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew. - AP, 4/16/19.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Pulitzer Prize jury announced on Apr. 15 that Aretha Franklin is being honored with a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her contribution to American music and culture. "Congratulations to @Aretha Franklin and her family and friends," the Pulitzer Prize account tweeted to make the announcement, using the hashtags #QueenofSoul and #Respect. The jury occasionally awards the Special Citations when deemed necessary, and has previously awarded them to the likes of Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. Franklin, who passed away on August 16th at age 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, is also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... Carly Simon is writing an "intimate, vulnerable" memoir about her famous late friend, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux announced on Apr. 15. The press release states that Simon and Onassis, who died in 1994, met at a summer party on Martha's Vineyard and began an "improbable, but lasting friendship" with Onassis becoming everything from a "protective mother figure" to a "mischievous pal" to the popular singer/songwriter. Titled Touched by the Sun, the book has been given an Oct. 22 release date. - New York Post, 4/15/19...... Kenny NolanSongwriter/singer Kenny Nolan, the composer of such iconic '70s hits as LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade," Frankie Valli's "My Eyes Adored You" as well as his own 1976 No. 3 hit "I Like Dreamin'," has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing for breach of contract and copyright infringement, according to court documents filed April 10. According to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, Nolan alleges that Sony/ATV bought the publishing rights to dozens of his compositions without his knowledge and have been failing to pay him his fair share of royalties ever since. Nolan claims that after licensing his 50% share of the publishing rights to 77 compositions -- including "Lady Marmalade" -- to his former co-writer Bob Crewe, Crewe later licensed those compositions to music publisher Stone Diamond. Nolan alleges that Stone Diamond then sold the rights to Sony/ATV without his knowledge or consent. EMI April Music, EMI Blackwood and Stone Diamond Music Corporation are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. Nolan is seeking a total of at least $20 million to be determined at trial, as well as a "necessary and appropriate accounting to determine exactly how much money Sony/ATV owes him. A representative for Sony/ATV declined to comment. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... Attorney John Branca, a co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, spoke publicly for the first time about the controversial Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland and indicated that he's considering suing the film's director, Dan Reed. At a panel discussion titled "Trial by Media: Guilty Until Proven Innocent" presented at Harvard's Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Mass., on Apr. 16, Branca and other members of Jackson's legal team including Howard Weitzman and Bryan Freedman had harsh words for the documentary and Reed, telling the small audience they were determined to defend and rebuild Jackson's reputation in the wake of Leaving Neverland, which contained disturbing and graphic first-person accounts of Jackson's alleged pedophilia but did not give the estate a chance to respond to these accusations. Branca said although the estate has taken a hit after the airing of the documentary, streaming sales of Michael's music is still up from 2018. He added that "From the point of view of society, I want to make it so people feel comfortable saying, 'I love Michael's music.' Michael is too big to fail." In February, the estate filed a $100-million lawsuit against the pay-cable network HBO, which aired the documentary in the US, alleging it had violated a non-disparagement clause contained in a 1992 agreement to premiere Jackson's concert film, Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has named its new photography gallery in Elton John's honor after the superstar recently made a "significant donation" to the attraction. Recognizing John and his husband David Furnish's generosity, gallery 101 has been renamed The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery. The singer's private collection of more than 7,000 photographs will also go on display at the gallery, with the images spanning from the early 20th Century to the present day. John has described the collaboration and renaming as "the perfect partnership," with a major co-curated temporary exhibition set to be announced in the near future. "We are delighted to be part of this exciting moment and we hope that audiences will walk away with the same excitement and appreciation for photography as I did when I first started collecting," said John in a statement. Meanwhile, the new Elton biopic Rocketman will hit theaters in the U.S. on May 31 and in the U.K. on May 2. - New Musical Express, 4/16/19...... SiriusXM radio launced its highly anticipated new Cher channel on Apr. 17. The limited run channel will play music from throughout the diva's career, including her hits and her musical influences, along with stories from Cher herself about her music that defined multiple decades and her life. The Cher channel will also feature tracks off the original cast album for "The Cher Show," the new bio musical currently playing on Broadway. SiriusXM subscribers will be able to enter for the chance to win two trips for the winner and a friend to New York City. The prize includes airfares, hotel stays and a pair of tickets to see The Cher Show on Broadway, plus see Cher live at Madison Square Garden from the front row and the opportunity to meet her. The Cher Channel will run through May 1 at 3 a.m. EST on SiriusXM radios (channel 4) and on the SiriusXM app. Meanwhile, Cher performed her Sonny & Cher hit "I Got You Babe" with the cast of "The Cher Show" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Apr. 15. Cher, rocking a fire engine-red wig and a sparkly black suit, also came out with host Jimmy Fallon to lip sync to a bunch of random New York bar patrons screeching her hit "Believe" and recreated the famous Moonstruck slap during his monologue. Cher also revealed that she used to be terribly shy and still gets embarrassed to sing in front of strangers. Also, she told late ex-husband Sonny Bono that she thought "I Got You Babe" wasn't very good when she heard it for the first time. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... Paul Simon stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Apr. 15 for a spirited performance of the Cajun-inspired tune "That Was Your Mother" with host Stephen Colbert accompanying him on washboard. "That Was Your Mother" was first recorded by Simon on his revered 1986 album Graceland, and one of its orginal contributors, John Batiste who also fronts The Late Show house band, joined in on accordian. Meanwhile, Simon is set to headline Outside Lands Festival in August with Twenty One Pilots and Childish Gambino. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... Journey announced via its Twitter account on Apr. 15 that it will play a nine-show residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace this October. The nine performances are set for Oct. 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23, 25 and 26. The band last toured together in 2018 during an extensive 56-date show across the U.S. with co-headliner Def Leppard. Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... James TaylorIn related news, James Taylor will kick off his first ever Vegas residency at The Colosseum on Apr. 17. Taylor will perform 17 shows at the venue, which has also hosted residencies by the likes of Elton John, Cher, Celine Dion and Bette Midler Taylor will be performing on acustom-built stage that will include the return of his One Man Band drum machine. "I was a Vegas snob forever, for sure," the 71-year-old Taylor notes. "Back in the day, Vegas definitely had a very specific connotation for us, and it was something [that folk and pop artists] in the late '60s and early '70s, were distancing ourselves from. For one thing, it's now a town of two million people. It's not just the strip; there's an actual population there, and it's just an excellent place to put on a show." He says he's most excited about performing on his most elaborate stage to date. "This particular staging that we're going to present is something we've essentially been perfecting over the past couple of years," he said. Taylor will play the Colosseum on April 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27 and May 1, 3, 4, 8, 10 and 11, with the possibility of more gigs added in the future. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at New York's Tribeca Grill Loft on Apr. 13 at a benefit for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund. Hopping on stage with famed photographer Danny Clinch's Tangier Blues Band, the Boss ripped through Johnny Rivers' classic "Rockin' Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu" and the blues rock standard "Down the Road Apiece" at the event, dubbed "A Night to Remember." The event was aimed at raising money to fight the soft tissue cancer sarcoma in honor of Carr, the late daughter of rock journalist Dave Marsh and Springsteen's co-manager, Barbara Carr. Kristen Carr died of sarcoma in 1993 at age 21. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... Police log books from the Beatles' first visit to the U.S. have gone on display at Liverpool's Magical Beatles Museum. The log books, which were set to be destroyed, were discovered by NYPD officer Patrick Cassidy, who discovered the logs while searching in police records. "The Ed Sullivan Theatre is in the confines of my precinct, so one day in 2013, I went into the storage area that holds these books," Cassidy told the BBC. "After 50 years, they clean out and destroy them, so I looked up February '64 and found the book, which would have been destroyed the following year." The logs list the names of the officers who guarded the band in New York as they prepared to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 and their show at Carnegie Hall. At the latter, the logs state that there was an incident where an officer was "knocked off balance" and injured outside the Plaza Hotel while "attempting to restrain the surging crowd." The Fab Four's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which marked their US TV debut, was watched by a then record 73 million people at the time. - New Musical Express, 4/15/19...... The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has made nearly $1 billion (£760 million) taking in box office receipts of over $900 (£687 million) around the world since its premiere in 2018, Variety has reported. The Oscar-winning film generated $901 million (£688 million) internationally and of those figures, it has been a huge hit in Japan where it has grossed $114 million (£87 million), a further $76 million (£58 million) in South Korea and in the United Kingdom where it has brought in returns of $71 million (£54 million). The ticket sales show a huge return for the biopic, which itself only cost Fox $50 million (£38.2 million) to make. Bohemian Rhapsody swept the board at major film awards earlier in 2019 including winning accolades for Best Picture at the Golden Globes and numerous Best Actor awards for Rami Malek, who portrayed Freddie Mercury in the blockbuster. Rudi Dolezal, the director of many Queen music videos, recently revealed that a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel could also be in the works. A documentary about Queen and its current frontman Adam Lambert, The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, to be aired on ABC on Apr. 29 and will follow the band's ongoing collaboration with Lambert. - New Musical Express, 4/15/19...... A source close to AC/DC says its former frontman Brian Johnson will "absolutely" tour again with the Aussie rockers in 2019. Last year, it was reported that the rock icons were working on a new album that would feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track." Then, earlier this year, American band Terrorizer confirmed that after bumping into Johnson at an airport, he told them that he would feature on the new album and that he was "sick of denying it." Johnson meanwhile was forced to quit AC/DC in 2016 after suffering hearing loss and was replaced on the band's tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. But according to radio DJ Eddie Trunk, Johnson will rejoin the legendary band to tour the upcoming album. "I have sources that have told me that they are absolutely going to tour with Brian back again," Trunk says. "That's all unconfirmed from their camp, but I had it from some reliable sources." The band is reportedly back in the studio working on a new album with Johnson on vocals. - NME, 4/13/19...... Mick Jagger posted a pic on Twitter of himself taking a stroll in a park on Apr. 11, once week after the 75-year-old rock icon had surgery to replace a heart valve. Dressed in jeans, a dark blue dress shirt and gray baseball hat, Jagger posed in front of a tree filled with white spring blossoms, a slight smile on his face, with the caption "A walk in the park!" The Stones announced earlier in April that they were rescheduling their North American "No Filter Tour" so that Jagger could have the procedure. Originally slated to begin in April, the tour will now begin in July with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks. - Billboard, 4/12/19...... John PrineSinger/songwriter John Prine gave a rollicking performance at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre on Apr. 13, the one year anniversary of his 2018 album The Tree of Forgiveness, his most acclaimed and successful album in several years. "Today is its birthday, one year ago tonight," said Prine to the sold-out crowd at the majestically restored venue. The album's arrival last spring marked Prine's first set of new songs in some 13 years, and the disc debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The album also signaled Prine's confident return after surgery for lung cancer in 2013, following his recovery from neck cancer 15 years earlier. Prine, 72, was named artist of the year at the Americana Music Awards in September. He was honored in an all-star tribute concert on the eve of this year's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, and he will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York on June 13. After touring throughout 2018, Prine spent this March performing in Australia. The Brooklyn gig was his second stateside stop on a world tour that currently runs through December. - Billboard, 4/14/19...... As the 2020 presidential primary campaign heats up, some of the leading Democratic candidates have received donations from several famous rock and country musicians before the recent close of the first quarter fundraising deadline. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a former member of a punk rock band, has received $2,800 from a fellow Texan, county music icon Willie Nelson, as well as $1,850 from Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and $2,800 from Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley. In March, Michael Jackson producer and composer Quincy Jones was among the celebrities contributing to California Sen. Kamala Harris' bid for the White House, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has received donations from members of Foo Fighters and Phish. - AP, 4/16/19...... Paul Raymond, a guitarist for the rock band UFO, died of a heart attack only one week after the band's final U.K. show, his life partner Sandra announced on Facebook on Apr. 14. He was 73. "With a desperate and broken heart, fully in tears and pains that feel like they will kill me I have to tell you that my most beautiful and beloved darling Paul Raymond has passed away today," she wrote. "The doctors were trying to reanimate him and with success at first but then his system shot down again and there was nothing more they could do for him, he died of a heart attack." First joining UFO in 1976, Raymond played on the albums No Place to Run, Obsession and Lights Out as well as the live Strangers In The Night album. After playing with the band during four different stints, he was a regular in the UFO lineup since 2003. Raymond's other musical endeavours included replacing Christine McVie in Chicken Shack after she left to join Fleetwood Mac, as well as being a member of Savoy Brown. He also played with two former UFO bandmates on two separate occasions. He also played with guitarist Michael Schenker in MSG, and then with Pete Way in Waysted. UFO will be performing at a series of European festival dates this coming June and July, with a US tour in October. They will also perform as part of the Rock Legends Cruise, which departs from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 27, 2020. - New Musical Express, 4/13/19...... Gary Stewart a music industry veteran who spent decades in the industry working at Rhino Entertainment and Apple Music, died on Apr. 11. He was 62. A musical savant, Stewart used his vast knowledge to introduce music to a new audience through such memorable catalog collections for Rhino Entertainment as the kitschy Have a Nice Day '70s compilation series to Nuggets, a slate of albums devoted to obscure psychedelic rock from the '60s, as well as more scholarly sets, including Shout! Factory's Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans. After a hiatus, he rose to senior vp A&R for Rhino and then moved to Apple Music. His first role was chief music officer for Apple's iTunes before he left and then returned to work in catalog curation. He parted ways with Apple for good in 2018. Stewart, a massive Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen fan, was also a co-founder with David Gorman of, a website evangelizing "underappreciated yet overachieving music, movies, and television," as the description phrased it. Stewart was also a committed philanthropist. At Rhino, he was the impetus for a volunteer program whereby employees who donated 18 hours of time per year would get off the week between Christmas and New Year's Day with pay. At various times, he served on the boards of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, the Community Coalition, Liberty Hill Foundation and Social Venture Network. He was a donor, fundraiser and activist on social justice issues and progressive candidates and initiatives, advocating for such issues as living wages, progressive taxation, marriage equality, affirmative action and immigrant rights. Elvis Costello posted a tribute to Stewart on Facebook on Apr. 14. "This morning's brief promise of Spring was punctured by the news of the passing of Gary Stewart. It is rare enough to find people of insight, kindness and loyalty but Gary had all these qualities in abundance. Friends have called or written all today trying to make sense of the impossible and the inexplicable." - Billboard, 4/12/19...... Georgia EngelEmmy-winning sitcom actress Georgia Engel, best known for playing Ted Baxter's significant other Georgette Franklin on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the mother-in-law of Robert Barone (Brad Garrett) on Everybody Loves Raymond, died on Apr. 12 in Princeton, N.J. She was 70. The Washington, D.C. native joined The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1972 when it was a top 10 primetime series and would appear in nearly 60 episodes over its final five seasons. Her demure, dim but well-meaning Georgette was the love interest of self-important anchorman Baxter (Ted Knight), who courted and eventually married her during the November 1975 sweep -- though he didn't seem all that prepared for it. They went on to adopt a child and later had one of their own. The role earned Engel back-to-back Emmy noms for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1976 and '77. She appeared as Georgette in the MTMS spinoff Rhoda and later was a regular in a different role as Betty White's ditzy best pal on CBS' The Betty White Show (1977-78). She also was a series regular on the single-season ABC comedy Goodtime Girls in 1980 and the network's 1983-84 sitcom Jennifer Slept Here and had a recurring role as Shirley Burleigh on Coach from 1991-97. During that era, Engel also guested on such shows as The Love Boat, Mork & Mindy and Fantasy Island. She also did voice work on such animated series as The Care Bears, Hercules and Hey Arnold! and played a giraffe in the 2001 feature Dr. Dolittle 2. She joined CBS' megahit Everybody Loves Raymond during Season 7 in 2003 when she scored back-to-back-to-back Guest Actress Emmy nominations. She continued to work in TV post-Raymond, appearing in episodes of such series as The Office, Two and a Half Men, Passions and Neighbours. She also recurred as Mamie in 20 episodes of Hot in Cleveland, TV Land's first scripted series, and her final credit was a 2018 appearance in Netflix's Grace and Frankie. "Georgia Engel was a comedy machine," Mary Tyler Moore Show co-creator James L. Brooks once told the TV Academy's The Interviews series. "She was a great character, a great addition to the show. She as much as any actor I've ever worked with, when she's talking people lean forward -- just reaching for her words." -, 4/13/19.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A remixed version of Diana Ross' Aug. 1979 hit "The Boss" has topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending Apr. 13. "The Boss 2019" remix by producer Eric Kupper, among others, is Ross' third remix to hit No. 1 on the chart, following "I'm Coming Out"/"Upside Down 2018" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough 2017." The singer also topped the Dance Club Songs with her original versions of "Upside Down"/"I'm Coming Out," in 1980, "Swept Away" (1984) and "Take Me Higher" (1995). - Billboard, 4/11/19...... Electric Light Orchestra mastermind Jeff Lynne will be honored with the Founders Award for songwriters and composers at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards, set for May 16 in Beverly Hills, Calif. "Jeff Lynne has led a singular career and we are all fortunate that his musical genius has been felt so widely. His legendary stature is well-deserved and ASCAP is very proud to present him with our highest honor," said ASCAP chairman of the board and president Paul Williams. During the invitation-only ceremony Blondie icons Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke will also be feted with ASCAP's career-encompassing Golden Note Award. - Billboard, 4/11/19...... Neil YoungNeil Young posted on his Neil Young Archives site on Apr. 8 that he and Crazy Horse are "about to enter the studio with 11 new ones." "We sincerely hope [fans] enjoy our new music when it is released this year, because we know we will enjoy making it," Young added. He has released a total of 23 records with Crazy Horse, including EPs and live albums. Young and Crazy horse last recorded together in 2012 for their Psychedelic Pill album, and the two camps reunited in 2018 for a one off concert. Young launched his Neil Young Archives, a subscription service and app that gives fans access to a complete back catalogue of audio and visual content, in 2018. - New Musical Express, 4/10/19...... On Apr. 9 the Fender guitar company released replicas of two iconic guitars made famous by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page to mark the band's 50th anniversary -- the "Dragon" and "Mirror" models of Page's Telecaster. In an animated clip from Fender which features Page's voiceover, he recalls the time his former Yardbirds bandmate Jeff Beck gifted him the "Mirror" -- "He said, 'Here, this is yours', and he gave me the Telecaster." Page goes on to discuss how he wanted to "really make it [his] own" following his time with the Yardbirds. "I tried applying mirrors to it so you could use it in an optical way," he remembers. "It was this whole thing of the reflective surfaces, and you could actually reflect the light onto other things; to make it sort of almost kinetic at the same time." - New Musical Express, 4/9/19...... In other Zeppelin-related news, drummer Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zepp drummer John Bonham, has revealed how Jimmy Page gave him his first line of cocaine when he was just 16. Appearing on Howard Stern's SiriusXM show, Bonham explained how he entered Page's hotel room to discover a woman on the floor who was meowing and wearing a collar. "Jimmy was the first one to ever give [cocaine] to me," Bonham said. "We got called to his room. I was 16 at this point, and there was a woman on the floor with a collar on, meowing, and he had this grinder thing and he turned it over and he went, 'Here you go,' and I went, 'Thanks.' He's like, 'You've done this before, right?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, of course I have.'" Jason Bonham has filled in for his dad on the kit at several Led Zeppelin reunions - including the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and their comeback performance at Ahmet Ertegun's O2 Arena tribute concert in 2007. - NME, 4/11/19...... Steven Van ZandtDisciples of Soul, a side project of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, will release their latest album, Summer of Sorcery, on May 3. Van Zandt first launched the Disciples of Soul back in 1982 and recently brought the group back to active duty with 2017's Soulfire, its first release in 18 years, and 2018's Soulfire Live. Among the upcoming projects on Van Zandt's list is another TV show to follow his well-received roles in The Sopranos and Lilyhammer. "If (Springsteen) decides not to do anything, then I'll probably go back to TV," he says. "I've dedicated a good, solid two years to becoming reacquainted with my own life's work and re-introducing myself as an artist, which has been very satisfying, and I'll continue to do that on a regular cycle. But having done that I think it's time to look back at TV and what I might be able to do there now. - Billboard, 4/11/19...... Sharon Osbourne became a bit emotional as updated fans on husband Ozzy Osbourne's health on the Apr. 8 broadcast of her talk show The View. Sharon recalled that at the beginning of 2019 Ozzy had a "very bad flu" that developed into bronchitis and then a bout of pneumonia. After leaving the hospital for treatment of the flu, "he had a bad accident at home, he fell... in the middle of the night," she said, noting that the fall aggravated injuries from a 2003 motorbike accident that put him in a coma for several days. "And what he'd done was he re-injured his back and neck and shoulders. All of the metal rods and everything that were put in his body were dislodged. So we had to cancel his year of dates." As her fellow panelists rubbed her back and soothed a teary Osbourne, she assured them that Ozzy is "good... he's fine, he's great." Ozzy announced on Apr. 4 that he has been forced to postpone all his 2019 North American and European as he recovers from a the injury sustained at his Los Angeles home. - Billboard, 4/10/19...... Meanwhile, a tour featuring a hologram of the singer who once replaced Ozzy in Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, will launch on Mar. 31 and feature the late rocker's former Dio bandmates. The official band line-up will feature Craig Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright on drums, Scott Warren on keyboards and newer Dio family member Bjorn Englen on bass. The show will also feature renowned metal vocalists Tim "Ripper" Owens and Oni Logan of Lynch Mob. The 90-minute celebration of Dio will include fan favorites such as "Holy Diver," "King of Rock N' Roll" and "We Rock," and fans will get to see the hologram of Dio perform material ranging from Rainbow to Black Sabbath, to his own Dio material. The "Dio Returns" tour will visit 18 cities, including Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Dallas and Los Angeles, and wrap on June 29 in Las Vegas. - Billboard, 4/9/19...... The B-52's have announced their 40th anniversary world tour will kick off on May 4 at West Palm Beach, Fla.'s Sunfest festival on May 4. OMD and Berlin will open for the band on select U.S. tour dates. The band will play two additional U.S. dates, in Arlington, Tex. (5/12) and Nashville, Tenn. (5/26), before touring Europe in June and July. In August, they'll play 29 additional U.S. dates before wrapping at New York City's Central Park Summerstage on Sept. 24. Meanwhile, the B52's are working on their first official book, which is due in 2020. "Woo-hoo! Europe and then all over North America! Dust off those go-go boots and shine your dancing shoes because the B-52s are coming!," frontman Fred Schneider said in a press release. - Billboard, 4/9/19...... Robert FrippLegendary prog-rockers King Crimson are finally entering the digital world in conjunction with their upcoming 50th anniversary world tour. At a presser on Apr. 6, King Crimson manager David Singleton announced that the band's entire studio-album catalog will soon launch on the Spotify streaming platform, as part of an "outreach year" for King Crimson. Their 13 studio albums will be available on other streaming platforms in May before uploading to Spotify on June 10, the same day the band kicks off their ambitious 43-city 50th anniversary world tour on June 10 in Leipzig, Germany. The Robert Fripp-led group is also releasing reissues of their back catalog, a new documentary, and commemorative merchandise in celebration of five decades together. - Billboard, 4/8/19...... Music publisher Primary Wave has signed a deal with the estate of Leon Russell to curate the songwriting catalog of the late 1970s rocker, including such oft-covered songs as his 1970 classic "A Song For You." Under the new deal, Primary Wave also acquires the music publishing and master recording income stream of songs including his 1972 hit single "Tight Rope," "The Masquerade," which George Benson recorded, and "Superstar," a hit for The Carpenters. Since Russell released "A Song For You" on his eponymous debut album, it has been covered by the likes of Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and Amy Winehouse. "I am delighted that Leon Russell and his heirs have joined the Primary Wave family," said Primary Wave CEO and founder Lawrence Mestel. "Leon was a legendary songwriter whose music has resonated in people's lives for decades. His songs were an inspiration to so many and we look forward to furthering the legacy of this remarkable musician." The partnership comes one week after what would have been Russell's 77th birthday. The eclectic Grammy-winning artist, who was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, died in 2016 at age 74. - Billboard, 4/9/19...... More details have been announced about Bob Dylan's recently announced whiskey distillery which will open in downtown Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of his iconic Nashville Skyline album. Dylan is set to help open the distillery in fall 2020 under the brand "Heaven's Door," which takes its name from one of his biggest hits. According to a press release, "Heaven's Door Spirits will transform the 160-year-old Elm Street Church into the Heaven's Door Distillery and Center for the Arts, featuring the distillery, a whiskey library, a restaurant and a 360-seat live performance venue. It will also feature Dylan's paintings and metalwork sculptures." - AP, 4/9/19...... A silent 11-second clip of the Beatles performing on the legendary U.K. music program Top Of The Pops that was once thought lost has been unearthed in Mexico. The clip is the only surviving footage of the band miming to 'Paperback Writer' on the show back in 1966, as the BBC did not keep the tapes. However, one family in Liverpool happened to be filming the footage from a television on an 8mm camera. A collector in Mexico then happened upon the footage, who handed it over to missing TV footage specialists Kaleidoscope in Birmingham. "I think if you're a Beatles fans, it's the holy grail," Chris Perry of the UK band Kaleidoscope told the BBC. "People thought it was gone forever because videotape wasn't kept in 1966. To find it all these years later was stunning." While the band pre-recorded a number of performances for Top Of The Pops, this was their only live appearance. - New Musical Express, 4/9/19...... Rod StewartJeff BeckClassic rock veterans Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck have announced they'll reunite this September for a connect in Los Angeles, marking the first time the two have shared a stage together in almost a decade. Stewart and Beck, who played together in The Jeff Beck Group, are set to play the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 27 in what is being described as "their most in depth concert in over 35 years." Their set list will include a mixture of hits and rare early classics. The Jeff Beck Group was formed by Stewart and Beck in 1967 and also included Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. The group released several albums before disbanding in the early 1970's. The last time the two reunited was during a concert in 2009. - New Musical Express, 4/8/19...... Fans of Creedence Clearwater Revival will have their final opportunity to see the CCR spinoff band Creedence Clearwater Revisited this summer as the band has announced a 20-city farewell tour will kick off on June 13 in Del Mar, Calif. and the San Diego County Fair. Original bassist Stu Cook says "this just seemed like a good time to wrap it up." "Both (drummer Doug Clifford) and I are approaching 74 this month and just thought, 'Y'know, we've been there, done that, seen it, we know how it feels, we know how it tastes'," Cook explains. "We're gonna miss it, but there's still time to do other things in life. We all have bigger families, grandkids. We're still playing great, but we are pretty tired of the road. We're not retiring, but the idea right now is to put the band to bed and see what else comes along and how we feel about it moving forward. I'd like to try other things and explore other ideas and places before my time's up." CCRevisited formed during 1995, at a time Cook and Clifford's former bandmate John Fogerty was still refusing the play the band's material. Cook and Clifford did lock horns periodically with Fogerty -- who famously refused to perform with them during CCR's 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction during Revisited's tenure. Though in 1997 Fogerty's legal actions briefly forced them to change the group name to Cosmo's Factory, courts ultimately ruled in the duo's favor and it returned to the Revisited moniker. The three settled their various disputes a few years ago and now jointly operate an LLC "to market the brand and, if you will, exploit our good will," with plans for merchandising and other endeavors -- among them a possible video release of CCR's performance at the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which was not included in the 1970 documentary from the festival. CCRevisited will not be taking part in any of the upcoming Woodstock 50th anniversary celebrations, but he and Clifford are looking towards the final shows, which Cook predicts "will be a tough one" but, ultimately, satisfying as a long-term job well done. - Billboard, 4/8/19...... AC/DC are reportedly back in the studio and "doing something" musically together, according to the band's longtime engineer Mike Fraser. Speaking on the Mastering Music Mastering Life podcast recently, Fraser didn't deny that the band had been recording recently. "Well, yeah, I could say that we've been in the studio doing something," Fraser said. "What's come of that I can't discuss yet." Asked if Johnson was back singing vocals, Fraser answered: "I think so." Rumours have been circulating about possible new AC/DC material ever since lead vocalist Brian Johnson (who was forced to quit the band's tour in 2016 due to hearing loss) and ex-drummer Phil Rudd were seen leaving a studio in Vancouver last summer. Guitarists Angus Young and Stevie Young were also spotted outside the same studio the day after, while former bassist Cliff Williams was seen in Vancouver with Johnson back in December. - NME, 4/10/19...... ZZ TopZZ Top announced on Apr. 8 that they'll embark on a lengthy 34-city U.S. tour this summer in celebration of their 50 years as a band, with Cheap Trick and Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for the Texas trio on selected dates. "It's been five decades, and I think we're starting to get pretty good at all this!" ZZ Top guitarist/vocalist Billy Gibbons said in a statement. "We're truly excited to be appearing across the continent this summer and fall, playing our bluesy kind of rock like we started in '69." The tour is set to kick off Aug. 16 in Ridgefield, Wash., also hitting cities including Irvine, Calif. (8/23), San Diego (8/28), Phoenix (8/29), Milwaukee (9/4), Boston (9/18), Cleveland (9/21), Charlotte (10/6) and Tampa, Fla. (10/19) before wrapping in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Oct. 20. - Billboard, 4/8/19......Just a few days after announcing they'd be stepping in to replace the Rolling Stones at the 2019 Jazz Fest in New Orleans as Stones frontman Mick Jagger recouperates from surgery to replace a faulty heart valve, the band has been forced to drop out of the Jazz Fest as well due to an illness affecting Mac singer Stevie Nicks. "Due to the illness of Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac has just announced the postponement of four upcoming North American tour dates and their performance at Jazz Fest on May 2," the Jazz Fest announced on Apr. 8. Mac announced on April 4 that the band would replace fellow veterans the Stones at the annual New Orleans festival, with Nicks tweeting to fans that she "can't wait to get back to New Orleans again." Earlier in April, Mac postponed shows in Philadelphia and Boston due to what was described as "a band member illness." "We are having more fun than ever on this current tour, but as we all know, touring life comes with its challenges," drummer Mick Fleetwood said. "The flu has sidelined Stevie for a couple of weeks but she is on the mend and we look forward to getting back out on the road. We so apologize to the fans, but we are working on rescheduling." - Billboard, 4/8/19...... Meanwhile, Mick Jagger updated fans on his healthon Apr. 5, posting on his Facebook page that he's "feeling much better now and on the mend." The 75-year-old singer also thanked his fans for their messages of support, "and also a huge thank you to all the hospital staff for doing a superb job." The Stones announced last week that they were rescheduling their North American No Filter Tour so that Jagger could have the procedure. Orginally slated to begin in April, the tour will now begin in July with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks. The Stones are expected to make up nearly all the dates on their "No Filter Tour." - Billboard, 4/8/19...... In other Stones-related news, the UK's Sheffield Documentary Festival has pulled a screening of a film about former Stones bassist Bill Wyman over "sex predator" protests in the country. Wyman's The Quiet One documentary was among the festival's most high-profile offerings for the 2019 event, where it was due to be screened alongside a Q&A session with Wyman himself and the film's director Oliver Murray. Both events have now been pulled after detractors singled out Wyman's relationship with his second wife Mandy Smith. Wyman met Smith when she was just 13, and he was 47. While the pair married in 1989 when she was 18 and Wyman was 52, Smith later alleged that they first had sex when she was just 14. While the screening has been cancelled, Wyman has never been arrested or charged with any offences and previously said that he volunteered to be interviewed by police. "I went to the police and I went to the public prosecutor and said, 'Do you want to talk to me? Do you want to meet up with me, or anything like that?' and I got a message back, 'No,'" he said. "I was totally open about it." Wyman was the main bassist with the Rolling Stones until his retirement in 1993. He has since made a handful of comeback cameo performances, including a brief stint during a show at London's O2 Arena in 2012. - New Musical Express, 4/8/19...... GreaseA "prequel" to the smash 1978 movie musical Grease titled Summer Loving is in development, with with writer John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) set to write the script. Summer Loving is said to center on a summer fling Danny Zuko (originally played by John Travolta and Sandy Olsson (originally played by Olivia Newton-John each bring up to their friends in the movie during the song "Summer Nights." Zuko's take on the fling is much more graphic than Olsson's version of the story, which is more innocent and wistful. In 2016, a live TV version of the original movie starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens won five Emmy Awards. Grease has remained a popular title and soundtrack for Paramount ever since it's '78 release, forever cemented in pop culture. -, 4/9/19...... Country singer/songwriter Earl Thomas Conley, known for his country hits in the '80s and early '90s including "Holding Her and Loving You," "What'd You Say" and "Right From the Start," died on Apr. 10 at age 77. Conley had been in hospice care for several months while suffering from a condition similar to dementia, accordding to The Tennessean. "I'm sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning," according to country singer and The Voice judge Blake Shelton. "Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest..." Shelton, Conley and and Michael Pyle composed Shelton's 2002 hit "All Over Me." Born in Portsmouth, Oh., in 1941, Conley began writing songs while in the U.S. Army and after being honorably discharged in 1968 he'd frequently travel from Ohio to Nashville. In 1974 he signed with independent record label GRT. While his early singles failed to chart, Conley continued to have success writing songs for other artists, including Conway Twitty ("This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me") and Mel Street ("Smokey Mountain Memories"). In 1979 he signed with Warner Bros. Records and released his first major hit, "Dreamin's All I Do," which peaked at No. 32. He'd see his first No. 1 in 1981 with "Fire and Smoke" and receive a string of nine chart-toppers from 1983-1986, beginning with "Your Love's on the Line" and including "Don't Make It Easy for Me," "Angel in Disguise" and "Chance of Lovin' You," among others. He went on to release 10 albums and secure more than 30 singles on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. - Billboard, 4/10/19...... Actor Seymour Cassel died on Apr. 7 following complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 84. Mr. Cassel collaborated with director/actor John Cassavettes on several of his films, and earned an Oscar nomination for their 1968 movie Faces. He later worked with filmmaker Wes Anderson on Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. His other screen credits included the Steve Buscemi comedy In the Soup in 1992, and TV series Under Suspicion, Good Company and Tracey Ullman's Tracey Takes On. - WENN/, 4/8/19.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

ABBA's Bjrn Ulvaeus has revealed that new music from the Swedish pop icons will arrive this autumn. Ulvaeus told Denmark's Ekstra Bladet tabloid on Apr. 3 that fans can expect a new song "in September or October." A new song titled "I Still Have Faith In You" was due to premiere on the BBC in December 2018. ABBA also recorded another new song called "Don't Shut Me Down." This comes after Ulvaeus hinted last year that the band's recent recording sessions could lead to "a new album, possibly." Ulvaeus added in the interview with Ekstra Bladet that the group's planned avatar spectacular, in which he, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog planned to reunite in a virtual tour featuring digital avatars, "has been delayed for too long," saying that "it takes an extremely long time" to make the video with the avatars of the group members. - New Musical Express, 4/3/19...... AerosmithAerosmith delivered the first performance of their "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vegas residency at the Park MGM on Apr. 6 that saw the Boston-based rock veterans blast through their greatest hits while re-tracing the steps of their journey to rock legend status. Before taking the stage, fans were taken on a trip down memory lane as eight towering screens projected tons of never-before-seen photos, concert reels, TV spots and interviews, including Aerosmith's 1991 appearance in the animated series The Simpsons. Frontman Steven Tyler also chose to sport a T-shirt bearing the "Simpsonified" versions of himself and his bandmates for their first night of the Vegas run. Tyler was in top form throughout the concert, which kicked off with the band's cover of The Yardbirds' "Train Kept A-Rollin'," followed by "Mama Kin," "Back in the Saddle," "Kings And Queens" and "Sweet Emotion." They wrapped the 16-song set with the 1-2-3 punch of "Dude Looks Like a Lady," "Dream On" and "Walk This Way." - Billboard, 4/7/19...... A rep for Mick Jagger confirmed on Apr. 4 that the Rolling Stones frontman has successfully undergone a heart valve procedure in New York and is "expected to make a full recovery." Doctors were reportedly able to access Jagger's heart valve through his femoral artery, using a a catheter without opening the chest, and are now monitoring the musician for any complications that could arise from the procedure, including excess bleeding. The minimally invasive procedure is believed to have been carried out at New York-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell Hospital, and although the 75-year-old singer could be up an moving in a few days, he will need some additional recovery time before returning to the stage. On Mar. 31, the Stones announced they were rescheduling their North American "No Filter Tour" so that Jagger could have the procedure. Orginally slated to begin in April, the tour will now begin in July with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Jagger became a great-grandfather for the second time on Mar. 31 after his 26-year-old grandaughter Assisi Jackson, whose mother is his 47-year-old daughter Jade, gave birth to her second daughter. Assisi and her chef boyfriend are already parents to a four-year-old daughter, Ezra, who was Mick's first great-grandchild. Jagger also has eight children, the youngest of whom, Deveraux, was born in 2016. - Billboard/, 4/4/19...... In related news, Fleetwood Mac will be replacing the Rolling Stones at the upcoming 50th anniversary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May. Fleetwood Mac will take the stage on May 2, the day the Stones had been set to appear before being forced to postpone their tour due to Mick Jagger's health. New Orleans Jazz Fest lineup will also feature Tom Jones, Ziggy Marley, Mavis Staples and Regina Carter's Southern Comfort, along with many local artists. Fleetwood Mac was forced to postpone a show itself on April 2 at Boston's TD Garden due to a "band member illness," according to a post by the venue on Twitter. The band has also since postponed their April 5 show in Philadelphia. It is unclear which band member is sick. In November 2018, the group rescheduled their concert at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, right before the show was set to begin after Stevie Nicks became ill. Tickets for the original Boston concert will be honored at the rescheduled show, or fans have the option to refund their purchases. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... Michael Jackson's family has decided to speak out against the recent bombshell allegations of sexual abuse against the pop star made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. In a new 30-minute film posted online titled Investigating Neverland, journalist Liam McEwan interviews several of Jackson's relatives and inner circle, who vehemently defended him against numerous claims. MJ's 37-year-old niece, Brandi Jackson, details how she originally met Robson, when she was about nine years old in 1991. The two would go on to become best friends and dated for nearly a decade. "Everything was fine until he was about 17 or 18, when I noticed his behavior changed. That's when he began to cheat," she explained. "As I would confront him about these things, he would say, 'No these aren't true.' Constantly lying. He denied [the infedelities]." Brandi continues: "He has always been a bit of an opportunist. He knows how to position himself in different situations that will benefit him in a financial way. Once other jobs weren't coming through, this was his next outlet," Brandi continued. Her relationship with Robson was left out of Leaving Neverland. "It would discredit the things he's trying to claim. I find it fascinating that he thinks he's able to erase 10 years of life." If presented with the opportunity to confront Robson, Brandi says, "I would tell him to stop lying. I'm not curious as to why he's doing it, he needs to stop. I don't care what his reasoning is, as far as trying to be relevant, desperate for money. These lies need to stop. It's not okay. My uncle took care of him and did very well by his family." - Billboard, 4/5/19...... Roger TaylorQueen drummer Roger Taylor has released a new politically-themed solo single, "Gangsters Are Running This World." The track -- his first new music in more than five years -- feature lyrics that address the state of the world. "There's blood in the streets / Panic in the air / The markets are trading up / In madness and fear," Taylor sings in the new song. It's not the first time that Taylor has made political statements in his material. In 1994 he released the single "Nazis" while his 1998 album Electric Fire featured a cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero." In 2011, Taylor re-released a protest song he wrote about media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. There were no details of a possible new album with the release of "Gangsters Are Running This World." - New Musical Express, 4/2/19...... Ozzy Osbourne announced on Apr. 5 that he has been forced to postpone all his 2019 North American and European as he recovers from an injury he sustained while recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia. "I can't believe I have to reschedule more tour dates," Osburne, 70, said in a statement. "Words cannot express how frustrated, angry and depressed I am not to be able to tour right now. I'm grateful for the love and support I'm getting from my family, my band, friends and fans, it's really what's keeping me going. Just know that I am getting better every day...I will fully recover... I will finish my tour... I will be back!" In the statement, Osbourne said he fell at his Los Angeles home and aggravated a years-old injury from a 2003 ATV accident, requiring an unspecified surgical procedure in March. He will reportedly remain under a doctor's care in L.A. as he recovers. On Feb. 19, Osbourne was forced to cancel shows in Australia, New Zealand and Japan on his "No More Tours 2" as a result of developing pneumonia from the flu. The news came a week after wife/manager Sharon Osbourne revealed the rock star had been released from intensive care unit. In early March, Ozzy's song Jack Osbourne said in an interview that his dad was "back to his normal routine" following hospitalization for complications from the flu. According to the new statement, all of Ozzy's shows will be rescheduled beginning in February 2020, with ticketholders asked to hold onto their original tickets, which will be honored at the rescheduled dates. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... Former presidental candidate Hillary Clinton was spotted in the audience at the Cher-themed Broadway musical "The Cher Show" on Apr. 3. The former presidential candidate was happy to pose with the cast for snaps at the Neil Simon Theatre, which were shared wide on Twitter and Instagram. Cher and Clinton are friends from way back. The pop legend is a longtime - and vocal -- supporter of Clinton and in 2016 campaigned for the former First Lady at a string of campaign events. Cher will be on the road through much of the year with her "Here We Go Again" tour, which has just expanded with 14 new dates. "The Cher Show" traces the trailblazing singer, comedienne, actress's career. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... A full house congregated on Mar. 31 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church for the Los Angeles premiere of the Aretha Franklin concert documentary Amazing Grace, which chronicles the live, two-day recording of Franklin's best-selling gospel album of the same name. In the exact spot where the film and album were originally recorded 47 years ago, viewers clapped and cheered in the blue-upholstered pews as the late Franklin sang onscreen, echoing those who sat in her presence in 1972. Amazing Grace, which recently won the NAACP Image Award for best documentary film, was remastered and released on March 22 by the American film production and distribution company Neon. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/3/19...... Tom Petty's widow and his two daughters are reportedly locked in a fierce legal battle as they feud over the late singer's will and the future of his unreleased music. According to the celebrity gossip site, Petty's wife Dana York Petty and his daughters Adria and Annakim Petty are feuding over the late music icon's estate. In a petition filed in Los Angeles County court, Dana states that she is in control of Petty's estate -- but Adria and Annakim, his daughters from a previous relationship, say that their father always intended for them to be involved too. Dana has also accused Tom's daughters of verbally attacking Petty's former bandmates and making it increasingly difficult for her to control the estate. The court filing also sees Dana accusing Petty's daughters of blocking the release of solo material he recorded 25 years ago. His widow reportedly wanted to include the tracks on a 25th anniversary box set reissue of his seminal 1994 album Wildflowers and expected the project to have pulled in more than $1 million in royalties. Petty died on October 2, 2017, of an accidental drug overdose. He was 66 years old. - NME, 4/3/19...... George HarrisonIt has just been revealed that George Harrison once sent an angry telegram to then president Richard M. Nixon after being detained at a U.S. airport in March 1973 to discuss the Beatles' record company Apple and to work on Ringo Starr's album Ringo. Beatles researcher Chip Madinger, the co-author of Eight Arms to Hold You and Lennonology: Strange Days Indeed, says when he researched the latter book he did a Freedom of Information request and got John Lennon's INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] file "and just went ahead and got George's at the same time." "[George] came in from Pakistan and was detained at the airport. And they went through some 'he said and she said' and but eventually was allowed to come into the States. And I believe he was given permission to stay until June 1 and he was looking for more time," Madinger says. "He'd supposedly gone to an INS office and gotten an OK to stay until the 30th of June. And he wanted more time beyond that. And that's when it was denied. So he and [wife] Pattie Boyd shipped back to the U.K. on, I believe it was, June 28th of '73. And he must have just gotten a bee in his bonnet or something about it and wrote this telegram." The telegram, addressed to "President Richard Nixon, White House DC," with misspellings, reads: "Sir, how can you bomb Cambonian (sic) citizens and worry about kicking me out of the country for smoking marijuana at the time. Your repressive emperaour (sic) war monger ways stop before too piece (cq) luv (cq). We will run the world Harry Krisher, Hare Hara Krishne Hare Hara Hare Hara Krishner. George Harrison." "I think it's clear that he dictated it because of the misspellings in it," Madinger says. John Lennon also famously had immigration problems with the U.S. government in the early '70s after the Nixon Administration feared he would galvanize young voters, so they then moved to deport him. Lennon's victory came in four steps in Federal Court. He and wife Yoko Ono were first approved as "outstanding artists" and then was given "non-priority status" to keep from being deported. Lennon also sued the government for "selective prosecution," and lastly won an appeal on the deportation order. The Lennon case became an important legal precedent in immigration law. - Billboard, 4/5/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney's 2019 tour of Latin America has broken the $100 million threshold, earning $17.8 million from four South American shows. Of that total, he has earned $21.5 million in Argentina (four shows) and $47.8 million in Brazil (10 shows). His recent shows in late March at Brazil's Allianz Parque were his first double-header in the country and as such, become his highest-grossing engagement there. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... Robin Trower, Maxi Priest and Livingstone Brown will embark on a nationwide U.K. tour in October 2019, playing Holmfirth on Oct. 24, Edinburgh on Oct. 25, Newcastle on Oct. 27, Birmingham on Oct. 28 and London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on Oct. 29. The three musicians have joined forces on a new album, United State of Mind, which will be released later in 2019. After a chance meeting at Brown's recording studio in Brixton, the unlikely duo of Trower and Priest hit it off. Both are directly influenced by soul and gospel music and still share a mutual passion for the genre. Robin, Maxi and Livingston went even further, striking up a very productive joint songwriting partnership, that quickly developed over a dozen new songs. In the 90's Brown played in Trower's band and co-produced his highly rated 20th Century Blues album. - Noble PR, 4/4/19...... Veteran British blues rockers Savoy Brown, with leader Kim Simmonds at the helm, will return with this summer with their 40th album, City Night, set for a June 7 release via Quarto Valley Records. The new 12-track album features Simmonds on vocals and searing lead guitar and includes such tracks as "Walking On Hot Stones," "Payback Time" and "Don't Hang Me Out To Dry." Savoy Brown was formed by guitarist Simmonds in 1965 in London. Simmonds has been the group's guiding hand from the first singles released in 1966 through the band's newest effort, their 40th album. Savoy Brown has announced five U.K. dates in which they will premiere songs from the new album. They will play Banham (4/11), London (4/12), Sheffield (4/14), Wolverhampton (4/15) and Edinburgh (4/15). - Noble PR, 4/5/19...... The EaglesThe Eagles announced on Apr. 2 they will perform their 1976 album Hotel California in its entirety in concert for the first time. According to promoter Live Nation, the performance will take place on Sept. 27 and 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Tickets will go on sale through Ticketmaster on Apr. 12. Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit will be joined by Deacon Frey and Vince Gill on both nights for what will be the group's only North American performances of 2019. Founding member Glenn Frey, Deacon's father, died in 2016. Hotel California is the third best-selling U.S. album in history, and features the Grammy-winning songs "Hotel California" and "New Kid in Town." The Eagles have won six Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. - AP, 4/2/19...... Bill Isles, an original member of the chart-topping R&B group The O'Jays, has died at his southern California home in Oceanside, just north of San Diego. He was 78. Isles died of cancer on Mar. 28, and his funeral was held on Apr. 6, according to his son, Duane Isles. Bill Isles and his childhood friends in Canton, Oh., formed The Mascots in 1958 before changing the name to The Triumphs and releasing a single in 1961. The band changed its name to The O'Jays after getting pivotal advice from a Cleveland DJ named Eddie O'Jay. Isles was featured on songs including "Lonely Drifter" and "Lipstick Traces" before he quit the group in 1965. Duane Isles says his father was The O'Jays' tour manager between 1971 and 1974, when the group released its biggest hits, "Love Train" and "Back Stabbers." The O'Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Isles spent the latter part of the 1970s in Los Angeles before moving his family in 1981 to Oceanside. - AP, 4/7/19...... Actor Noah Keen, who appeared in several episodes of Bonanza as well as such series as Mission: Impossible, Perry Mason, Cagney and Lacey and The Twilight Zone, died at his home in Harlem, N.Y., on Mar. 24. He was 98. His film credits include Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Tom Sawyer and Big Hand for a Little Lady. Mr. Keen, who was born in Cincinnati and served as a bombardier in WWII, moved to NY and worked at NBC. On his way to becoming a director, he decided he wanted to try acting, which became his passion. After several off-Broadway plays he made his way to the West Coast, where he was hired to appear in Bonanza. He is survived by his wife, Gerrianne, his daughter Evan, and two grandsons, Greyson and Riley. - The Los Angeles Times, 4/25/19.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Elvis Costello & The Attractions and Blondie have announced a co-headlining 13-city tour this summer set to kick off on July 20 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York. The tour, in honor of the two groups' long friendship and past collaborations, will also visit Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and more, before wrapping Aug. 10 at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery near Seattle. Costello and his band will be playing songs from his deep catalog, including his latest effort, 2018's Look Now. Blondie is touring in support of their 2017 album Pollinator. - Billboard, 4/2/19...... A musical inspired by the music of Queen has been announced for a tour of North America following the success of the recent Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Producers announced on Apr. 1 that "We Will Rock You" will open in Winnipeg, Canada, on Sept. 3. The tour will stop in other cities including New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas. The original production in London's West End opened in 2002 and featured music supervision from Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor. The producers say the musical reflects the scale and spectacle that marked Queen s live performances, and casting for the North American tour is currently underway. - AP, 4/1/19...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones are reportedly planning to return to the road by this July after after the band was forced to postpone its nine-week "No Filter" tour across the US and Canada when frontman Mick Jagger was told by his doctors that he needs to have a damaged heart valve replaced in early April. The 75-year-old Jagger, who follows a strict diet and exercise regime, is expected to make a complete recovery, as heart valve replacement surgery has a 95% success rate. The rock icon had undergone a routine scan that alerted doctors to an unexpected issue that could require hospital treatment. Despite being ordered to rest, Jagger is said to have told friends he "feels great" and that he is already "bored" of taking it easy. He was spotted on Mar. 31 playing with his youngest son on a beach in Miami and taking it easy ahead of the surgery. Jagger was seen enjoying some family time with two-year-old Deveraux, girlfriend Melanie Hamrick and daughter Georgia May after cancelling the sell-out North American tour which was due to start on Apr. 20. The postponed dates include the Stones' set at New Orlean's Jazz Festival on May 2, as well as the recently added show planned for Canada Day weekend on June 29 in Ontario. Jagger, a father of eight, apologized to fans on Twitter for the cancellation of the tour. "I really hate letting you down like this. I'm devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can. Once again, huge apologies everyone," he posted. In 2016, Jagger pulled out of a show in Las Vegas owing to what was described as "bad laryngitis." Two years earlier, the band cancelled the entire Australasia leg of their world tour due to Jagger's devastation over the suicide of his girlfriend L'Wren Scott. - Billboard/, 4/1/19...... The Who's long-shelved "Lifehouse" project is to be made into a graphic novel more than four decades after the ambitious rock opera was intended to be released, Who guitarist Pete Townshend announced on Apr. 1. "A graphic novel based on my very first 1970 concept for The Who's abandoned Lifehouse project is perhaps the most exciting creative development in my long career," Townshend said in a statement. "Lifehouse always had a strong and important visual story that was never even touched on. Even by 1971, when Lifehouse was written, it had to be treated as a film script, which was entirely beyond my skill set, and beyond the financial scope of The Who," Townshend continued. "If I had completed my art studies, instead of staying with The Who, I might have made my own graphic novels. I am excited then, with huge anticipation, that at last Lifehouse can be realised visually, and as a story -- part science fiction, part spiritual allegory." Townshend originally wrote the opera as a follow-up to the band's 1969 album Tommy, which was later adapted for stage and screen. But Lifehouse was abandoned in favour of the group's 1971 record, Who's Next. In March, Townshend announced the release of his debut novel, The Age of Anxiety, on Nov. 5 of 2019. It is described as a "great rock novel [that] captures the craziness of the music business through a cultured, witty, and unreliable" narrator. - New Musical Express, 4/1/19...... Willie Nelson has announced his 46th annual 4th of July Picnic concert will return to Circuit of The Americas' Austin360 Amphitheater on July 4 in Austin, Tex. This year's concert will also feature performances by Luke Combs, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and many more. The all-day event held on America's birthday features performances from artists on two stages. In March, Nelson also announced the lineup for his 2019 Outlaw Music Festival Tour, set to launch on June 14 in Bangor, Maine, will also feature Krauss, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Avett Brothers, The Revivalists and more. - Billboard, 4/1/19...... Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, which is now known as Ojai's Sycamore Valley Ranch, has been languishing on the real estate market even before the recent controversial Leaving Neverland documentary. Its asking price was slashed from $69 million to $31 million a few days before the premiere of Leaving Neverland, a four-hour documentary that centers on the testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused them as children. Meanwhile, Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson and her boyfriend Gabriel Glen played their first public show as the Soundflowers on Mar. 30 at The Mint in Los Angeles. The intimate, mostly seated venue was packed with the duo's friends and family, including Paris' older brother Prince Michael, mother Debbie Rowe, cousin TJ Jackson and Godfather Macauley Culkin. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 3/31/19...... Stevie NicksBryan FerryJoe ElliottStevie Nicks, Roxy Music, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, The Cure, Radiohead and The Zombies were formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Mar. 29 during an induction ceremony at Barclays Center in New York City. Nicks, already a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as part of Fleetwood Mac, was inducted as a solo act, and opened the show with her pounding 1983 hit "Stand Back." "This is the original cape from 'Stand Back,'" Nicks pointed out to the crowd. "My frugal mother would've appreciated that." Well, at least eventually. "If she found out how much it cost in 1983 ($3,000), she would've grounded me, even though I was too old to ground." After a duet with the Eagles' Don Henley on "Leather and Lace," the pair's 1981 duet, Nicks welcomed another surprise guest, rising singer Harry Styles, for a duet of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," originally recorded by Nicks and the late Tom Petty. Nicks closed her set with "Edge of Seventeen," after which Styles returned to the stage to induct her and praise her as the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock Hall for a second time. "She is forever current," Styles said. "'Dreams' was the first song I knew all the words to before I even knew what it meant -- I thought it was a song about the weather," he said to laughter. Also that evening, Bryan Ferry reunited with some of his Roxy Music bandmates including multi-instrumentalist Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera for performances of such Roxy classics as "In Every Dream Home A Heartache," "Out Of The Blue," "Love Is The Drug," "More Than This," "Avalon" and "Editions Of You." Former Roxy members Brian Eno and Paul Thompson were not present due to other commitments, however a selection of musicians who have also played with Ferry and the band over the years accompanied Ferry, Mackay and Manzanera, including Chris Spedding, Neil Jason and Fonzi Thornton. "I'd like to thank everybody for this unexpected honor, especially our fans around the world, who've supported us through the years," said Ferry, after the band was inducted by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor of Duran Duran. Def Leppard led and all-star jam to close out the ceremony, which included an all-star jam of Mott the Hoople's 1972 David Bowie-penned song "All the Young Dudes" that included Queen's Brian May; the Zombies' Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent; the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs; "Little" Steven Van Zandt; and Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter. Earlier in the evening, Brian May gave the induction speech for Def Leppard, calling the pop-metal band a "magnificent rock group, in the classic tradition of what a rock group really is." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/30/19...... Speaking of Mott the Hoople, the veteran '70s rockers kicked off an 8-date tour of selected U.S. cities on Apr. 1 in Milwaukee. Other dates on the "Mott the Hoople '74" tour include Minneapolis (4/2), Chicago (4/3), Detroit (4/5), Cleveland, Oh. (4/6), Glenside, Penn. (4/8), and Boston (4/9) before wrapping at New York's Beacon Theatre on Apr. 10. Touring with Hunter will be two members of Mott's 1974 incarnation, keyboardist Morgan Fischer and guitarist Ariel Bender, however two key members -- bassist Pete Watts and drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin -- have died in the last few years, and guitarist-songwriter Mick Ralphs can't appear due to complications from a stroke he suffered in 2017. Hunter was asked if he had any thoughts on turning 80, which happens two months after the tour ends. "I feel great about it! 80 sounds sunshiny and clear and lovely, and 79 sounded all murky. I didn't think I'd make 50, so this is all a bonus," he said. - Billboard, 4/1/19...... The Brach's candy company has announced the release of special "Purple Rain" jelly beans for Easter holiday this year in honor of the late Prince, who died three years ago on Apr. 21, also the date of Easter in 2019. The "Purple Rain Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs" will feature four flavors: berry, blueberry, blue raspberry and grape and be available in 3 oz and 11 oz bags. - Billboard, 3/29/19...... Victor WillisOriginal The Village People member, "cop" Victor Willis, has announced he plans on "rebooting" the famous '70s disco group after years of legal issues have been settled. The "YMCA" hitmakers began life back in 1977, created by French producers Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo. Appearing alongside Willis' policeman alter-ego were the GI, the builder, the cowboy, the biker, and the Native American. After original frontman Willis quit the band back in 1979, he is now looking to bring the Village People back as his own -- with years of legal issues surrounding royalties finally resolved. "There was nothing I could do about it until this legal stuff was straightened out," Willis told the BBC on Mar. 31 of returning to front the group. "And this just happened to be at the 40-year anniversary of Village People. Everything seemed to fall into place where I could say, 'OK, it's time for me to take over the group again.'" Willis added: "Not a reunion, but to reboot the group. To have to get new characters. Then I have to get a band like when Jacques and I first sat down and decided we're going to create this Village People thing." He went on to explain that the new incarnation of the group will be "something that's live" and "real." "And this what I came back to do," he said. Willis won a landmark royalties court case back in 2012, which gave him back partial ownership of a number of Village People tracks. In 2009, he sued a new version of the band for $1 million over image issues. He sought the damages after claiming that his image and voice had been used for new promotional purposes without his consent. Willis recently wrapped up his "40 Years of Disco UK" arena tour. - New Musical Express, 3/31/19...... Elton John is standing by actor George Clooney's call to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei after the country passed a law that would allow stoning LGBTQ people to death. He was referring to an op-ed Clooney penned for about the Asian nation's law and its Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, who is instituting the law and happens to be the owner of several luxury hotels around the world. ("On this particular April 3rd the nation of Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay," Clooney wrote. "Let that sink in." "Our hearts go out to the good, hardworking employees of properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei, many of whom we know to be gay," John said. In another tweet, Sir Elton added: "We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That's why [my husband] David [Furnish] and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so. We hope you will join us in solidarity." John then provided a list of hotels he's urging others to boycott: The Dorchester in London, 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in the U.K., the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, Le Meurice in Paris, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan. - Billboard, 3/30/19...... A museum in Tulsa, Okla., will soon open a new Bob Dylan exhibit that will showcase 12 pastel portraits painted by the iconic musician. Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum will display "Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond" from May 10 to Sept. 15. The exhibit is filled with pieces from the Bob Dylan Archives, which has more than 100,000 items from his 60-year career. It's the first major show from the archives since it was acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa in 2016. The paintings highlight Dylan's multifaceted artistic capabilities, said Michael Chaiken, the archive's curator. "He's best known for his music, but Dylan is also a writer of prose, a filmmaker and someone who has been involved in the visual arts for decades," Chaiken said. "This show is an opportunity to explore all those different avenues of Dylan's creativity." The portraits were first shown in London in 2013. The only time they were on display in the U.S. was during a two-month exhibit in Ohio in 2016. The exhibit will also include handwritten song lyrics, a black leather jacket, an electric guitar and screen tests filmed by Andy Warhol. - AP, 3/30/19...... The Grateful Dead has announced it will reissue its 1969 album Aoxomoxoa on June 7 in honor of the LP's 50th anniversary. The two-disc deluxe edition will include the original album with newly remastered sound, plus a bonus disc of unreleased live recordings. The album will also be released as a 12-inch picture disc as a limited edition of 10,000 copies on Rhino Records. Aoxomoxoa is the third studio recording from the Grateful Dead. There will be two versions included in the release: One is fully remastered from the original 1969 recording, and the other remastered from the 1971 band-produced mix. Also included is a bonus disc with previously unreleased live music recorded January 24-26, 1969, at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. - Billboard, 3/28/19...... Marvin GayeMotown Records released the previously unheard "lost" Marvin Gaye album, You're the Man, on Mar. 29. The posthumous record features 17 tracks from the scrapped follow-up to the late soul icon's legendary 1971 album, What's Going On. The songs were recorded back in 1972 in Detroit and Los Angeles, including new versions of "My Last Chance," "Symphony," and "I'd Give My Life for You," mixed by Amy Winehouse producer Salaam Remi. An extended version of "I Want to Come Home for Christmas," is also among the tracks. It marks the first time that all of the Motown legend's follow-up tracks will appear together. - Billboard, 3/29/19...... Actor Tom Hanks is reportedly in talks to play Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in a forthcoming Presley biopic from Austrailian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby). Luhrmann, who co-wrote the screenplay with Craig Pearce, is reportedly seeking an unknown actor for the main role of Elvis, with the director apparently meeting potential candidates at present. It's also thought that, should Hanks agree to play Parker, Warner Bros. will likely allocate a significant budget for Luhrmann's picture -- with the director reportedly seeking to start production on the biopic later in 2019. Parker came across Elvis in 1955 and subsequently signed him up as an exclusive client the following year. Born in the Netherlands, Parker was largely responsible for a number of milestone moments in Elvis' career, including the successful negotiation of his landmark record contract with RCA. - NME, 3/29/19...... Rockabilly musician Billy Adams, best known for writing and recording the rockabilly staple "Rock, Pretty Mama," died on Mar. 30 in Westmoreland, Tenn. He was 79. Adams once said he was inspired to write "Rock, Pretty Mama" listening to the sound of trains near his home. It was released in 1957 and was included in multiple compilations of rockabilly songs. He recorded a comeback albun at Sun Studios in Memphis in 200 called Legacy. Among other songs he recorded in the late 50s include "You Heard Me Knocking," "True Love Will Come Your Way," and "You Gotta Have a Duck Tail." The Redbush, Kentucky native was also an inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. - AP, 4/1/19...... Shelley Lazar, the president of SLO VIP Ticket Services and a longtime veteran in the VIP ticketing space with four decades of experience dating back to her work with legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, passed away on Mar. 31 after a battle with cancer. She was 69. Lazar, known to her friends as "the MFTQ" (Mothaf---ing Ticketing Queen), worked on hundreds of tours for artists including the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Lady Gaga. She created SLO Limited in 2002, building it into one of live music's most successful VIP ticketing providers, selling her company in 2008 to Ticketmaster where she had worked until becoming ill. Lazar also sat on the board of the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Little Rock Kids, the Taylor Family Foundation, Tipping Point Community, Human Rights Watch and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. - Billboard, 3/31/19.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Activists in the LGBT community in China are condemning a decision by Chinese authorities to release the recent Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody with all its references to homosexualy removed. The film was released in the country earlier in March with censored scenes, including ones which showed two men kissing or featured the word "gay." All references to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's sexuality were also edited out, while the scene in which he comes out to his then-girlfriend was also removed. Another notable change includes the audio being muted during the emotional moment when Mercury tells the band that he has AIDS. Thousands of Chinese social media users have been sharing reviews of the film online, and most have been positive, however many have criticized their government's revisions of Bohemian Rhapsody. Homosexuality has been legal in China for more than two decades and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed it from the country's classification of mental disorders in 2001. But the movie's censorship was widely anticipated. In recent years, Chinese authorities have embarked on a campaign to purge content it deems inappropriate. Explicit references to same-sex relationships are banned under Chinese regulations. Gay content is frequently removed or censored by Chinese media anxious to ensure compliance. - New Musical Express/, 3/27/19...... StingSting will revisit and reimagine 15 of his best known songs as a solo artist and Police frontman on his new album My Songs, which drops on May 24. "I'm constantly tinkering and I'm always wanting to make the songs as contemporary as they can possible be, because I think they are good songs," Sting says. "Sometimes songs are identified by the technology they were recorded with -- recording techniques, the sound of synthesizers or the drum sound. They all date a song, so we just want to re-contemporize the stuff." My Songs was recorded in various locations, making use of both existing and newly recorded tracks, with members of Sting's touring band, including guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Josh Freese. A deluxe edition with five live bonus tracks will also be available. Sting, who shared a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with Shaggy for their 44/876 collaboration, will hit the road again with the rapper on May 19 for a short U.K. tour, then play two dates in the U.S. during May before launching a "Sting: My Songs" tour starting on May 28 in Paris. He also has a handful of additional U.S. dates slated for late summer. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... '70s artists Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Bill Murray will be among the cast for director Jim Jarmusch's upcoming zombie film, Focus Features announced on Mar. 28. Written and directed by Jarmusch, the film is set to hit theaters worldwide on June 14 and will also feature Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Danny Glover and Selena Gomez. Jarmusch is known for helming such films as Dead Man (1995) and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), and some of the cast have worked with him in previous films, such as Pop in Dead Man. - Billboard, 3/28/19...... Herbie Hancock will be among the headliners in 2019's International Jazz Day weekend, set for April in Melbourne, Australia. The festival will occur on both Apr. 29 and 30 and will include jazz performances by artists from more than 130 countries around the world, education programs and community service initiatives across both days that feature over a dozen jazz masters. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... The Beatles producing legend Sir George Martin and late Atlantic Records head Ahmet Ertegun will be inducted into the Music Business Hall of Fame during the 61st annual Music Business Association (Music Biz) conference on May 7 in Nashville. Music Biz launched its Hall of Fame in 2018, inducting Tower Records founder Russ Solomon. It aims to celebrate the achievements of industry executives, companies, media, venues, institutions and others who have made significant contributions to the music business. Martin, who passed away in March 2016 at age 90, will be inducted by his son, Giles Martin. The Music Biz 2019 Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner will take place as part of Music Biz's Annual Conference on May 7 at the JW Marriott Nashville. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... The Motown Museum in Detroit celebrated the 75th anniversary of one of its most famous performers, Diana Ross, on Mar. 26 with a screening of Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy at the Emagine theater at the original Hitsville USA headquarters. The new documentary showcases Ross's famed 1983 conterts in New York's Central Park, and patrons in attendance were also serenaded by the local Prism Mens Chorus, which sang her hit "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" as well as "Happy Birthday." Although Ross herself was celebrating her birthday at home in Los Angeles that night, Ross's youngest sister Rita, who reminded everybody she's the "baby of the family," told the crowd that she was "blessed to be part of my sister's journey for over seven decades." That included traveling with The Supremes as part of a Dick Clark Caravan tour and joining the group on Sammy Davis Jr.'s private plane on its way to the trio's first engagement at the Copacabana in New York during 1965. "I remember we were going over and over and over, trying to get their opening speech (down), so I learned it by heart," the younger Ross said. The event also included a specially videotaped message by Rhonda Ross, her daughter with Motown founder Berry Gordy and a member of the Motown Museum board. Meanwhile, Ross is pleading with critics of her late friend Michael Jackson to "stop in the name of love" amid resurfaced claims of Jackson's alleged sexual abuse stemming from the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. "This is what's on my heart this morning. I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others," the former Supremes frontwoman posted on Twitter on Mar. 23. "STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE," she added, referencing the Supremes' chart-topping hit. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... Stevie WonderIn other Motown-related news, Stevie Wonder is set to headline a gig at this year's British Summer Time at London's Hyde Park on July 6, with former The Commodores and '80s solo superstar Lionel Richie as his opener. "The Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love & Music" will be presented on Great Oak Stage with Wonder playing music from his almost six decades-long career. "I'm very thankful that you all have been so wonderful to me, giving me your life and allowing me to share my music with you since I was 11 years old, which was just a little ago," Wonder told the UK's New Musical Express. "So, we're just going to play and have fun." Wonder is also set to headline the international TV festival SeriesFest on June 24 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. This will mark Wonder's first-ever performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Meanwhile, Lionel Richie has announced he'll release his latest album, Live from Las Vegas, on Aug. 23, his first release under his new deal with Capitol Records. Recorded at Zappos Theater at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, the album will feature Richie performing some of his biggest hits, inclukding "All Night Long," "Say You, Say Me," "Hello," "Dancing On The Ceiling" and "Truly," as well as songs from his time with The Commodores, including "Three Times a Lady" and "Easy." Richie will kick off a 32-date "Hello Tour" on May 28 at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, Tex., also making stops in Radio City Music Hall in New York CIty (July 17, 18) and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (Aug. 5), among others, before wrapping on Aug. 30 at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Minn. - Billboard/NME, 3/26/19...... Family members of late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin celebrated what would have been her 77th birthday on Mar. 25 with a memorial service at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, nearby where Franklin was laid to rest in a crypt in August 2018. Those who attended remembered not only the legendary singer but also other departed members of the Franklin family. Later in the evening, the Detroit Institute of Arts hosted the premiere of the documentary Amazing Grace, which chronicles Franklin's 1972 performance at a Los Angeles church. Amazing Grace will be released on DVD in April with many extras, including several songs that aren't in the movie. - AP, 3/25/19...... Playing his 62nd sold out show during his residency at Madison Square Garden in New York on Mar. 21, Billy Joel surprised his audience by bringing out John Fogerty to jam with him on a couple of Creedence Clearwater Revival classics, "Up Around the Bend" and "Fortunate Son." Fogerty was in New York for the Woodstock 50 festival lineup announcement at Electric Lady Studios earlier in the week, where he also performed a few CCR songs. - Billboard, 3/25/19...... The estate of Michael Jackson is criticizing the recent announcement by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that Michael's mega-selling 1982 album Thriller (33 million copies sold) has been surpassed as the "best-selling album of all time" by the Eagles' 1975 hits collection, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which the RIAA recently certified as a 38-million seller. Though the two albums have jockeyed for the top spot since the 1980s, trading the lead five times, executives from both Jackson's estate and Sony Music were stunned by the news that Their Greatest Hits had gained nine new platinum certifications in a single day from the RIAA for the years 2006 to 2018 -- meaning 9 million additional U.S. album sales had been made or discovered over those 12 years. Jackson estate co-executor and Ziffren Brittenham partner/head of music John Branca says he's skeptical. "When you review the analysis of the [Eagles] record's performance over the last 20 years, this sudden certification of newly discovered albums that were uncounted calls into question the accuracy of the RIAA certifications," he said in January. "Record companies regularly restrict audits of sales to a three-year period. I've never seen an audit that goes back 20 years." The data team at Warner Music Group, the Eagles' label, had undertaken an exhaustive forensic search to find all sales and royalty reports dating back to 1976, when the album was first issued, sources say. At the very least, Thriller remains the sales leader worldwide, says Branca: The United States accounts for only 30 percent of Jackson's sales and streaming, both of which are up even after the documentary. "When you look at it on a global basis, it's not even a fair conversation," he said. "No album comes close." - Billboard, 3/25/19...... Elton JohnElton John revealed the title, release date and cover for his long-awaited biography on Mar. 25 to mark his 72nd birthday. Titled Me, the memoir will arrive in bookstores on Oct. 15 and its cover features a black and white image of John in his younger years, sporting a pair of his colorful trademark specs. "This is the very first time anyone has seen this, apart from me, of course," the singer said during the unveiling on Twitter. A press release describes Me as "[Elton]'s first and only official autobiography [which] reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the upcoming film Rocketman. The result is Me -- the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time." Me will be published by Henry Holt in the U.S. and Pan Macmillan in the U.K. Meanwhile, actor Taron Egerton, who plays John in the upcoming biopic Rocketman spoke at a recent partial preview of the Dexter Fletcher-directed movie and said it tells the singer's full story -- warts and all. Egerton says that the film begins with John entering rehab, then the film unfolds as he tells of how he ended up so broken. Egerton has also denied rumours that a gay sex scene has been removed from Rocketman, and says it will be more of a musical than a typical bipoic. Rocketman hits theaters in the U.S. on May 31 and in the U.K. on May 2. - New Musical Express, 3/26/19...... The B-52's have announced plans for a farewell tour of the U.K. this summer. Best known for their hits "Love Shack" and "Rock Lobster," the Georgia-based band will play five dates, kicking off at Gateshead Sage in Newcastle on June 29, then visiting London's Aventim Apollo on June 30 and Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall on July 2. before wrapping up at Manchester O2 Apollo on July 3. The B-52's formed in October 1976 over a shared flaming volcano cocktail at the Hunan Chinese Restaurant. They released their self-titled debut album in 1979, produced by Chris Blackwell via Island Records. The band is also currently working on a documentary and their first official book. In 2018, the band celebrated what they dubbed their 40th anniversary by co-headlining a North American tour with fellow '80s stars Boy George & Culture Club and Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey. - NME, 3/26/19...... A new study from a team at New York University has revealed that the 1960s is the best decade for pop music. The team quizzed 643 subjects aged between 18 and 25 on their pop song knowledge throughout the last 50 years and, in a major victory for fans of the 1960s, it seems that chart toppers from that decade proved to be a whole lot more memorable than the songs from the years 2000 to 2015. Other songs from across the decades were also found to be particularly memorable. Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman," Blondie's "The Tide Is High" and the lesser known "Baby Come Back" by Player were among the most memorable tunes. As for the least memorable, that dubious accolade went to Dawn's "Knock Three Times," John Denver's "I'm Sorry" and Lionel Richie's "Truly." "The 1960s to 1990s was a special time in music, reflected by a steady recognition of pieces of that era-even by today's millennials," said Dr. Pascal Wallisch, lead author of the study. - New Musical Express, 3/27/19...... Olivia Newton-John has claimed that she is regularly haunted the ghosts of celebrity friends that have passed away. The singer made the comments in her new memoirs Don't Stop Believin' and suggested that her late famous pals -- including John Denver and Karen Carpenter -- hover around her while she's performing and act as her spirit guides to ensure her shows always go without a hitch. "I often feel as if they hover around me when I perform," the 70-year-old said. "They are my spirit guides who I ask to support me before every show and they keep me strong. They're gone, but their love never dies." Newton-John, who recently revealed she's currently battling cancer for the third time, also says that she has a number of ghostly companions, which also include a friend's daughter who died as a child, along with other family members. "She has been with me ever since (she passed away), along with my parents (and) my sister," she confessed. - WENN/, 3/26/19...... Redmond O'Neal, the troubled son of actor Ryan O'Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett, has been sued by one of the men he allegedly attacked in 2018 during a violent crime spree. The alleged victim, Steven Jaco, claims the 34-year-old Redmond stabbed him in the head during a drug-fueled rage in Venice, Calif. Jaco claims O'Neal attacked "without provocation," and was wielding his fists, along with some sort of "spike." Jaco, who insists O'Neal was under the influence of drugs, claims he was stabbed "on the right side of his skull, near the side of his left eye and his temple." Jaco claims he has incurred tons of medical expenses, along with not being able to work, and now wants to go after O'Neal for the damages. It's the second lawsuit brought against Redmond, as in 2018 another man sued him during a different violent spree, accusing him of a hate crime. O'Neal remains behind bars until his next hearing in July. -, 3/26/19...... A new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Oh., spotlights the 2019 inductees, which include Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson, The Cure, Def Leppard, Radiohead, Roxy Music and The Zombies. Nicks items include her performance outfits from her 1983 "Wild Heart" solo tour and the tambourine from the cover of her 1981 solo debut album. The 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Mar. 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with an edited version slated to air on HBO on Apr. 27. According to a press release, Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry will renunite with former members of his band, including Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera, at the ceremony. - Billboard, 3/25/19...... Joan JettSpeaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett is set to take the stage at WWE's Wrestlemania on Apr. 7, the entertainment company announced on Mar. 26. Jett will perform her hit song "Bad Reputation" as Ronda Rousey makes her grand entrance into the ring for the annual wrestling smackdown. With her performance, Jett will join a lengthy list of stars who've graced the extravaganza's stage over the years, including Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, Kid Rock and others. Wrestlemania is set to take place April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and will stream live around the globe on WWE Network. - Billboard, 3/26/19...... Ranking Roger, a former member of The English Beat and General Public, passed away on Mar. 26 after a battle with cancer. He was 56. Roger, whose real name is Roger Charlery, announced his diagnosis back in January, revealing that cancer had been discovered in his brain and in his lungs after he suffered a stroke last summer. He began his career drumming for the Nam Nam Boys before joining The Beat (known as The English Beat in North America) for their three albums, 1980's classic I Just Can't Stop It, 1981's Wha'ppen? and 1982's Special Beat Service. After the band's breakup in 1983, Roger and Dave Wakeling went on to form General Public with members of Dexys Midnight Runners and The Specials. - Billboard, 3/26/19...... Scott Walker (neé Scott Engel) of the '60s group The Walker Brothers has died aged 76, his record label said on Mar. 25. The US pop trio enjoyed hits like "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" and "Make It Easy On Yourself" in the 1960s. The band moved to Britain and at one point their fame in their adopted country rivalled that of the Beatles. "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Scott Walker. Scott was 76 years old and is survived by his daughter, Lee, his granddaughter, Emmi-Lee, and his partner, Beverly," record label 4AD posted on Twitter. - TV News London, 3/25/19...... Blues harmonica virtuoso and onetime Muddy Waters sideman James Cotten died on Mar. 14 at a medical center in Austin of pneumonia. He was 81. Mr. Cotton, who was born on a cotton farm in Tunica, Miss. on July 1, 1935, came to prominence in the Fifties when he cut two singles for the fledging label Sun Records and performed gigs with Waters. Mr. Cotton, dubbed "Mr. Superharp," formed the James Cotton Band in 1966, with the group issuing a self-titled debut the next year. In the Seventies, he recorded for Buddha and Capitol, reuniting with Waters for LPs produced by guitarist Johnny Winter. The first, Hard Again, came out in 1977 and won a Grammy. He also made appearances on albums by Sumlin, Memphis Slim, Steve Miller and others, and welcomed Miller, Winter, Dr. John, Todd Rundgren, David Sanborn and others onto his own recordings. He continued to record throughout the Eighties, including a run on Alligator Records, and won the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy for his Deep in the Blues LP in 1997. His most recent album was Cotton Mouth Man, which came out in 2013 and was nominated for a Grammy. - 3/19/19.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Although Paul Simon has announced he is finished touring for good, the singer/songwriter has signed on to headline the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, which is set for Aug. 9-11, and donating the entire net proceeds from his performance to local environmental non-profits. Simon's decision is in line with his 2018 retirement, where he said he was finished touring but not performing live. Simon will play Outside Lands nearly one year after wrapping his "Homeward Bound Farewell Tour" with a final two-and-a-half-hour show show at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in September where he closed with "Sound of Silence" before walking off stage and telling fans "It means more than you can know." In a statement about his Outside Lands appearance, Simon said: "I'm looking forward with great anticipation to playing at Golden Gate Park this summer. This will be my first appearance there, and it's an honor to join the long line of musicians who've given the park its sanctified musical heritage. I'm equally pleased to be playing in San Francisco with its well-deserved reputation for being in the forefront of environmental issues. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be of service to this vital cause." - Billboard, 3/22/19...... Barbra StreisandBarbra Streisand has clarified her comments regarding Michael Jackson and the controversial new Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland after facing criticism for an interview with the Times of London on Mar. 22 in which she said Jackson's "sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has... You can say 'molested,' but those children, as you heard [the grown-up Wade Robson and James Safechuck] say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." Streisand went on to say that she has "a combination of feelings" on the situation and that she blames the parents of Jackson's alleged victims, saying, "I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him." On Mar. 23, Streisand issued an additional clarification, saying she is adamant that she does not condone the behavior Jackson is accused of perpetrating in the documentary, which details the experiences of Robson and Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused and groomed them as children. "To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone," her statement reads. "The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them." In an additional apology on her website, Streisand said that the original comments to The Times "do not reflect my true feelings." "I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims, because the words as printed do not reflect my true feelings," she writes. "I didn't mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way. Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth." - Billboard, 3/23/19...... In related news, the Jackson estate has been informing the media of its many concerns about the credibility of Leaving Neverland and Safechuck and Robson. In a 24-page PowerPoint document not intended for publication titled "Leaving Neverland and the Truth," the estate questions the accusers' memories and the filmmakers' motives in detail. The estate also attached recent news clips in which the Jackson's defense attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., called the charges "hogwash." "The quotes are taken out of context and no effort was made to clarify," notes the estate, which sued HBO before the film's wide debut for violating a 1992 nondisparagement clause. "The facts don't add up, but no one has really been interested in reporting on it." Meanwhile, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has said it has no intentions of removing Jackson from its list of legendary superstars despite the extensive allegations against Jackson. The music icon was inducted into the prestigious hall twice during his lifetime, once with the Jackson 5 in 1997, and again as a solo artist in 2001. This comes after the legendary Madame Tussauds wax museum said that all waxwork statues of Jackson are set to remain on display at all of their museums. "The figures on display at Madame Tussauds reflect profiles that have had an impact on popular culture and that visitors expect to see," a spokesperson says. "Michael Jackson has been and is currently a feature of Madame Tussauds attractions around the world. We regularly monitor our choice of figures on display based on external events and visitor feedback." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/22/19...... Sources close to the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman say the film is expected to get an R-ration for sex and drug scenes. Rocketman will reportedly include an intimate love scene between Taron Egerton, who portrays John, and Richard Madden, who plays Elton's former manager and lover, John Reid. Director Dexter Fletcher is in the midst of editing the film, which is slated for release in the U.S. on May 31 and in the U.K. on May 24, and produced by John's husband, David Furnish. Fletcher recently tweeted a statement saying the movie "has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in." Paramount test screened the film earlier in March in Pasadena, Calif., and according to a source, it received scores in the high 80s, a promising sign for an unfinished $40 million musical that grapples with some challenging themes, including John's drug addiction. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/22/19...... An old school book containing essays written by Paul McCartney when the former Beatles member was 17-18 years old and studying at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys will be auctioned on Mar. 26 as part of a Beatles memorabilia auction by Merseyside's Omega Auctions. The green book contains English essays on such classic literary works as Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native and John Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as notes and doodles. The book is expected to reach a final price of between £4,000 and £6,000 -- although estimates of £10,000 have also been quoted. In Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn's book The Beatles - All These Years: Vol. One McCartney is quoted as saying, "I did most of my reading in (that) little period of my life I thought it was a bit swotty, a good image I felt like I was at university." - New Musical Express, 3/22/19...... Todd RundgrenAs Todd Rundgren prepares to launch the U.S. leg of his "The Individualist" tour on Apr. 10 in Atlanta, Ga., the musician will release Todd Rundgren's Utopia Live at the Chicago Theatre on CD and Blu-ray/DVD on Apr. 5. Rundgren and Utopia, which is comprised of bassist Kasim Sulton, drummer Willie Wilcox and keyboardist Gil Assayas, hit the road for the first time in 32 years in the spring of 2018 for a 33-date tour. The quartet played two-set shows, the first focusing on the more expansive prog-rock of the early Utopia catalog, the second on the poppier side of the group's canon. "It was fun," Rundgren says in retrospect. "It started off very nerve-racking because of the volume of music we had to cover as well as, you know, the band hadn't played together for 35 years or whatever. So trying to regain some sort of tightness, synch, stuff like that, it doesn't must come immediately. It takes a couple gigs for all that to settle in. But as the tour went on it got to be more comfortable and more fun and lasted just about the right amount of time." Before the 20-date, 10-city U.S. leg of his The Individualist tour, Rundgren will play in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Apr. 3 and in London on Apr. 6. After the U.S. leg wraps on May 13 in San Francisco, Rundgren will play two shows in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka, on May 22 and 23, respectively. Although Rundgren was nominated for the 2019 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he says he isn't losing any sleep about being passed over for the honor. "I didn't expect it and have never cared about it," he says. "I'm not looking for some organization to acknowledge me, somehow. Besides, the Hall of fame doesn't make any sense to me because musicians don't have to retire. Athletes retire, and that's when they go into the hall of fame, because they're not playing anymore. But everybody (the Rock Hall) is inducting now is still playing, so how can you say you've got the measure of them? You don't. So, no, I really don't care." - Billboard, 3/22/19...... Phil Collins, who wrapped his "Not Dead Yet!" tour in 2018, has announced he's returning to the U.S. for an extended run of shows this fall for which he has cleverly dubbed the "Still Not Dead Yet, Live!" tour. Collins' 15-date tour will kick off Sept. 23 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Tex., also visiting major markets including Houston (9/24), Atlanta (9/28), Detroit (10/1), New York (10/6), Denver (10/13), Phoenix (10/15) and San Francisco (10/17) before wrapping at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 19. Collins promises fans will be treated to an assortment of hits spanning his career, including "Against All Odds," "In the Air Tonight," "Invisible Touch" and more. - Billboard, 3/21/19...... The O'Jays have released a new single, "Stand Up (Show Love)," ahead of their new studio album The Last Word, which hits stores on Apr. 19. "Stand Up (Show Love)"'s video goes behind-the-scenes of The O'Jays' recording process, as the lead trio, lead by O'Jays veterans Eddie Levert and Walter Williams are assisted by backup vocalists and a luscious combination of guitars, drums, and keys. "'Stand Up (Show Love)' is our response to what we see happening in the world today as well as the ignorance and hatred we feel is coming from the Trump administration," Eddie Levert explains. "It is a great example of what The O'Jays are all about, message music that make you think while you dance. With this video we wanted to invite people into the studio with us and get them excited to stand up, to take action." Fans can catch The O'Jays performing cuts from the new LP as well as their many classic songs at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on Apr. 26. - Billboard, 3/22/19...... Alan ParsonsAlan Parsons will release a new studio album, The Secret, on Apr. 26 which he says should appeal to his longtime fans more than his last set, 2004's A Valid Path in which he explored electronica. "I've been keeping busy," the musician-producer-engineer -- who recently won a Grammy Award this year for Eye in the Sky -- 35th Anniversary Edition for Best Immersive Audio Album -- says, ticking off a range of endeavors from buying a new home and building a new studio to putting together special reissues of the Alan Parsons Project's Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Eye in the Sky and an album for ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, who guests on The Secret. "Throughout this period Frontiers [Records] have been chasing me to make a new studio album, and eventually we came to an agreement and literally came to a deal that I could live with. Here it is, and here we are, almost 15 years later. I have no problem with that." The Secret also features vocals by Jason Mraz ("Miracle"), Foreigner co-founder Lou Gramm ("Sometimes") and longtime Parsons concert vocalist P.J. Olsson ("Beyond the Years of Glory"), with Parsons lending his vocals to "As Lights Fall" and "Soiree Fantastique." Genesis alumnus Steve Hackett plays on a rendition of Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," which kicks off the album. Parsons takes his live band on the road starting Feb. 26 in Quebec City, with dates throughout April in North America and a European run right after that into June -- and he promises more live dates will follow. - Billboard, 3/20/19...... R&B icon Curtis Mayfield's 1972 hit "Superfly" is among the 25 songs that have recently been added to the National Recording Registry, the Library of Congress announced on Mar. 20. Other memorable titles chosing by the Registry include Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" and songs from the '70s children's series Schoolhouse Rock. The library selects titles for preservation because of their cultural and historic importance to the American soundscape. - AP, 3/20/19...... The Michigan legislature has approved a portion of M-10 in Detroit be renamed "Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway" in honor of Aretha Franklin, who died in Detroit in 2018 after pancreatic cancer. The legislation will next go to the state Senate for approval before being signed by the governor. The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Leslie Love of Detroit, says Franklin was a "special lady" who fought for civil rights and "gave us all a soundtrack to our lives." - AP, 3/20/19...... Fleetwood Mac is on track to gross more than $100 million on the North American leg of their 2018/2019 tour with venues across the country reporting grosses between $1.5 to $2 million per show powered by a new generation of fans who have embraced the legendary group and its deep catalog of No. 1 hits. In 2018, the group announced they were going on tour without longtime member Lindsey Buckingham, but with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Crowded House's Neil Finn standing in for the guitarist/singer Buckingham. "The tour is playing to sold out arenas every night and I love walking thru the crowds, seeing generations of longtime fans dancing and singing along to their favorite songs," the band's co-manager Sheryl Louis said in a statement. "What I've noticed on this tour specifically is so many younger fans, who are equally as enthusiastic, seeing the band live for the first time and loving it." - Billboard, 3/18/19...... Cher is reaching out to fans for help in finding her beloved black, rhinestone-studded "Eat the Rich" T-shirt which the diva says she has misplaced after remaining loyal to it for nearly 40 years now. On Mar. 20, Cher tweeted "My T-Shirt Is Gone," along with a few sad-face and broken-heart emojis. "Black studded Rhinestone Shirt with white pirate," she added. "Worn it for 30-40 years. My favorite piece of clothing." She also noted that she's hoping for a little divine intervention, tweeting, "I'm Asking St. Anthony To Get Involved, He Finds Everything." - Billboard, 3/21/19...... Boz ScaggsBoz Scaggs has released a video for "Little Miss Night and Day" from his latest album, 2018's Grammy Award-nominated Out of the Blues. "That's what it's about," Scaggs says of the black & white clip, which features backstage, soundcheck and on stage footage from a tour stop. "It's on the road. It's live. I like people to come out and see it, and we're really running on the enthusiasm that has been created from the last number of years of shows. It's exciting. I'd forgotten how much fun I could have on stage." Scaggs and his band will return to touring on Mar. 27 as part of the 70s Rock & Romance Cruise before starting a U.S. tour leading up to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Apr. 27, and then tours of Japan and back to the U.S. Out of the Blues, which was up for a Grammy for best contemporary blues album this year, was the concluding piece in a trilogy in which Scaggs explored his various musical influences, particularly soul, blues and Americana. Scaggs says he's looking at "a wide open palette" for what he'll do next. - Billboard, 3/20/19...... The Woodstock 50 anniversary festival has announced a massive list of headliners including Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Dead & Company, David Crosby and original Woodstock veteran Santana. Rappers Jay-Z and Chance The Rapper have also been confirmed to headline the event at Watkins Glen, N.Y. running Aug. 16-18. Original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang previously said the 50th anniversary Woodstock will "cross genres from rock to pop, folk and hip hop... It's kind of representative of this idea of engagement and trying to steer toward acts that are heavily involved in social issues. So there's some real gravitas in the performance and we want it to live on beyond the event." Woodstock 50 will occur on the same weekend as another Woodstock anniversary festival produced by Live Nation with headliners Ringo Starr and Santana. - Billboard, 3/19/19...... Jerry Lee Lewis has announced he is canceling several upcoming shows, including his appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival on Apr. 28, as he recovers from a stroke he suffered in February. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also announced he is cancelling his May 18 concert in Knoxville, Tenn., and a June 8 concert in Alexandria, Va. According to a statement from the 83-year-old Lewis' neurologist released on Mar. 18, he is expected to fully recover with aggressive and intensive rehab. - AP, 3/19/19...... Country artist Roseanne Cash has joined forces with artist and producer Ry Cooder for a five-city run of "Cash and Cooder on Cash: A Musical Tribute to Johnny Cash." The performances are tribute to Johnny Cash by his daughter and Cooder featuring heartfelt personal interpretations of gems from his treasure-filled songbook. The special performances will kick off on June 16 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville then head to the Chicago Theatre in Illinois, Wang Theatre in Boston, Carnegie Hall in New York and close out on Nov. 3 at the Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia. - Amplify, 3/18/19...... Ray Stevens'70s hitmaker Ray Stevens is among the country/pop acts who have been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Mar. 18. Stevens, along with Brooks & Dunn and Jerry Bradley, will be formally inducted during a ceremony at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum later in 2019. The induction into the CMHOF is the pinnacle of achievement in country music. - Billboard, 3/18/19...... A California judge has allowed a lawsuit brought by former Journey singer Steve Perry over vocals he recorded in a garage two decades ago to move forward. In Nov. 2018, Perry sued Phil Brown, claiming the musician wants to release without his permission demos the two recorded together in the early 1990s. Perry says he never intended for those vocals to be used in a larger sound recording in which any other party would have a copyright interest and that the two signed an agreement that Perry would control the exploitation of the musical compositions. Perry says Brown has ignored his cease and desist demands, so he sued. He asked the court for a declaration to clear up who owns the recordings, and is seeking damages for violation of his publicity rights and false endorsement. The court in November granted a temporary restraining order that bars Brown from releasing the works. The next hearing in the case is currently set for Mar. 25. - Billboard, 3/18/19...... R&B legend Andre Williams, perhaps best known for songs including "Bacon Fat" (1956), "Jail Bait" (1957), "Cadillac Jack" (1966), and the R&B classic, "Shake a Tail Feather" (1963), passed away on Mar. 17 in Chicago. He was 82. "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams," a Facebook post from the Chicago-based label Pravda Records read. "He died this afternoon in Chicago at the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of countless others. We love you Dre." Mr. Williams was signed to Motown and Chess Records during his career, and released his last album, Don't Ever Give Up, via Pravda in 2016. - New Musical Express, 3/18/19.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A new 3-disc Rolling Stones compilation called Honk will be released on CD, vinyl and digitally on Apr. 19, the band announced on Mar. 14. The "best of" collection will consist of classic tracks and big hits from every Stones studio album from 1971 onwards, as well as recent recordings of 10 live tracks with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Dave Grohl and Florence Welch. A special, fan edition deluxe 4-LP coloured vinyl will also be released. - NME, 3/14/19...... Ringo StarrA rep for Ringo Starr confirmed on Mar. 17 that the former Beatles drummer "has been working on a new record for months." This comes three days after Ringo's recording engineer, Bruce Sugar, posted a pic of himself, Ringo and Steve Lukather of Ringo's All-Starr Band on Facebook with the caption, "Another great day in the Studio..." Starr later tweeted the same day: "In the studio again with the great Steve Lukather what a guy peace and Love." Ringo's most recent album, Give More Love, peaked at No. 128 on the Billboard 200 in October 2017. There's no word on when the new album will be released. Ringo and his band will kick off a 2019 US tour on Mar. 21 in Funner, Calif., followed by nine shows in April in Japan. He'll be back performing in Canada and the U.S. starting Aug. 1, including the 50th anniversary Woodstock music festival. - Billboard, 3/17/19...... In other Beatles-related news, a letter written by John Lennon in 1971 which details his anger with his record label and the music industry at large over the Two Virgins album he released with Yoko Ono has been put up for auction, with bids expected to reach as much as £15,000. Addressed to "Martin George of Rock Ink," who is interpreted to be either Beatles producer George Martin or, more likely, underground Ink music mag journalist Martin George, the letter states: "Yoko and I got 'Two Virgins' out in spite of [which is underlined] being past owners of Apple. We made it in May and they f---ed us about till November! Then E. M. I. (who have the real control) wrote warning letters to all their puppets around the world telling them not handle it in any way (this after Sir Joe [Lockwood, chairman of EMI] had told us face to face that he would do 'everything he could' to help us with it - and asking us for autographed copies!!)." Lennon continues: "In the States it came out on Tetragrammaton which vanished leaving a few thousand spares (it was sold discretely wrapped in a brown paper bags). Retailers here and there were too scared to handle it and it sold very few - it's very well known but not many people could actually get it. In most other major markets, e.g. Japan, it has never been released." After railing against the censorship of the word "fuck" and the "banning" of Ono's 'Open Your Box', Lennon concluded the letter with: "Just thought you'd like to know." - New Musical Express, 3/13/19...... The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana has announced its upcoming Roger Ebert Eberfest film festival will feature the premiere of a restored version of Aretha Franklin's "lost" 1972 concert film Amazing Grace. The 1972 film directed by Sydney Pollack, which has been stored in a vault for decades, has now been restored and released. It will kick off this year's Ebertfest followed by a live community choir performance. Franklin died at the age of 76 in August 2018 from pancreatic cancer. The annual festival honors Ebert, the late Chicago Sun-Times film critic and UI graduate, and runs from Apr. 10-13 at Champaign's Virginia Theatre. - AP, 3/18/19...... As the Brexit issue comes to an apparent climax in the U.K., The Who's Roger Daltrey has told reporters for Sky News that Britain's controversial withdrawal from the European Union won't affect British musicians. Daltrey, who has previously defended his pro-Brexit views, was asked whether Brexit would be "bad for British rock music." "No. What's it got to do with the rock business?," Daltrey said. "How are you going to tour in Europe?" the interviewer replied. "Oh dear. As if we didn't tour Europe before the f---ing EU," he said. "Oh give it up!" Daltrey then compared the EU to the mafia, saying: "If you want to be signed up to be ruled by a f---ing mafia, you do it. Like being governed by FIFA." The Who will kick off a North American tour on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich. - New Musical Express, 3/17/19...... Lou ReedA huge Lou Reed archive that personal notes, photographs and more than 600 hours of recordings is now available at the New York Public Library. The archive was acquired by the library after Reed's wife, performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, decided to share it with an institution that could preserve and showcase the archive. In an interview with the New York Times, Anderson says her late husband never discussed what to do with his belongings before his death in 2013. She says she thought the archive should be accessible to young musicians and anyone interested in his life. Reed was the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the '60s band The Velvet Underground before launching a solo career that spanned decades. - AP, 3/18/19...... The Jacksons performed a "medley tribute" to their brother Michael Jackson on Mar. 16 during a concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Performing songs such as "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save' and "Dancing Machine," all of which feature Michael as the lead vocalist, The Jacksons member Tito Jackson says that their current world tour is "a tribute to MJ... He is everything and will be represented on the stage." In addition to Tito, the The Jacksons consist of Marlon, Jermaine, Randy and Jackie Jackson. However due to an illness Jermaine was unable to make the trip to Sao Paulo. The group will end their visit to South America on Mar. 23 with a concert in Chile. Meanwhile, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis announced on Mar. 15 that it plans to remove three Michael Jackson items from exhibits after the new documentary Leaving Neverland renewed allegations of child sexual abuse against the late singer and Gary, Ind. native. The Indianapolis Star reports a fedora and glove Jackson wore onstage and a Jackson poster are no longer on display at the museum, which says it wants items on display to tell stories of "people of high character." On Mar. 14, Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson posted on Twitter that "There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said in regards to defense," of her late dad, noting that her cousin Taj Jackson "is doing a perfect job on his own and I support him." "I'm just (trying to) get everyone to chill out and go with the flow, be mellow and think about the bigger picture. that's me," she added. Taking a more aggressive approach to defending the memory of the late King of Pop are three of his fan club groups, who are suing his accusers for "sullying his memory." The Michael Jackson Community, the MJ Street, and On The Line fan clubs have filed a lawsuit in France against Wade Robson, 26, and James Safechuck, 41, who claim in the Dan Reed-directed film that they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were children. Their attorney, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP on Mar. 15 that they are suing Jackson's accusers for "sullying his memory" and for "lynching" the late star. The groups, he added, "want to discredit the accusations of paedophilia." Ludot previously successfully sued Jackson's personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray for causing distress to his fans by giving him the drugs that killed him in 2009. - New Musical Express/AP/Billboard, 3/18/19...... Bernie Tormé, a former guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne's band in the early 1980s, died on Mar. 17 at age 66. The Irish guitarist's official website confirmed the news of his passing and his family issued a statement on Mar. 18, which read, "Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family. He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications. Bernie will be remembered for dedicating his life to his music for five decades. He will be sorely missed." Tormé came to prominence in the mid-1970s when he played in a series of bands that lead to a gig as the lead guitarist in Gillan, the hard-rocking group fronted by former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan. His three-year stint ended in 1981, after which he briefly joined Osbourne's solo band for a handful of live dates as the replacement for Randy Rhoades, following Rhoades death in a plane crash in 1982. While that gig was short-lived, Tormé continued to write, record and tour with bands that performed under his name, including Tormé and Electric Gypsies. Osbourne and wife/manager Sharon Osbourne sent their best wishes to Tormé in February upon hearing of his illness. Tormé briefly teamed up with Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider in the group Desperado, whose only album was never offically released, and then formed the supergroup Guy McCoy Tormé in 2006 with former Gillan bassist John McCoy and drummer Robin Guy. - Billboard, 3/18/19...... David ByrneSpeaking at the South By Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin, Tex. on Mar. 13, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne screened and answered questions about the acclaimed 1986 Talking Heads documentary True Stories, as well as the music industry in general. The first of the digitally submitted questions asked Byrne to weigh in on the current economies of the music industry -- which producer T Bone Burnett focused a great deal of his time on during his talk in the same Hilton Hotel ballroom just before Byrne spoke. "Yes, things are changing very rapidly," Byrne told the overflow crowd. "In some ways what we as musicians do feels like it's been devalued over the years. It's become kind of free wallpaper or whatever." Byrne then noted that his personal antidote has been playing live. "I find that for me, at least, performance is still a thing that I do fairly often," Bryne said. "That experience as an audience or as a performer lives outside the commodification of music. That, to me, is a good sign. There's an opportunity for things to be heard beyond the gatekeepers." Byrne added that the changes in the music business have not really changed his creative practice, either. "I just kind of find other kinds of media, whether it's film or (his new Reasons To Be Cheerful) projects," he said. "I have been lucky enough to make enough money from touring -- not so much from records anymore, but from touring -- that I have the luxury of being able to say, 'Oh, I want to do this' and can dedicate my time and pay people to collaborate with me on things. That's not that different than what I used to do." Byrne says he launched his Reasons To Be Cheerful project as a response to the current state of division and divisiveness in America and other parts of the world -- through his own investigations as well as through musical projects such as his 2018 album American Utopia and the widely acclaimed tour that supported it. - Billboard, 3/13/19...... In other David Byrne news, the singer/songwriter will be among those inducting artists into the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class on Mar. 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Byrne will be inducting Radiohead, with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor doing the honors for The Cure, Queen's Brian May for Def Leppard, The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs for The Zombies and Duran Duran's Simon LeBon, John Taylor for Roxy Music, and Harry Styles for Stevie Nicks. Although no details have been formally announced on which acts will perform, Def Leppard, Nicks, the Zombies and Roxy Music are expected to take the stage. - Billboard, 3/13/19...... Chauncey "Chick" Crumpacker, best known as the producer and music exec who brought Elvis Presley to RCA Victor Records, died of natural causes on Mar. 12. He was 91. Mr. Crumpacker's career in music began in 1953 in RCA Victor's A&R department shortly after moving to New York City. During his time in A&R, he played a key role in bringing Presley to the label from Sun Records and then toured and traveled with the now-iconic rocker. He also tried to bring Johnny Cash to the label, but was ultimately unsuccessful after the label failed to support the move. Mr. Crumpacker also wrote Grammy-nominated liner notes for many records at RCA and spent many of his last years in the label's archive, cataloging and researching. - Billboard, 3/15/19...... Eddie Lambert, a veteran music exec who who worked at companies including ABC/Dunhill, Motown and EMI-Capitol during his five-decade career, died on Mar. 4 at his home in West Hills, California, after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 76. In 1974, Lambert and his brother, songwriter/producer Dennis Lambert, launched Haven Records, and Eddie Lambert, as vice president and GM, signed the newly reunited Righteous Brothers as well as Evie Sands, Player and The Grass Roots. He also worked closely with Dennis on the Tavares and Glen Campbell albums that his brother and Brian Potter produced for Capitol. He also supervised and coordinated the soundtrack albums for The Big Chill (1983) and A Fine Mess (1986). A number of those LPs were produced or co-produced by his brother. He retired in 2017 because of his illness. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/13/19...... Dick DaleDick Dale, known as "The King of The Surf Guitar" whose biggest hit "Miserlou" soundtracked one of the most iconic opening sequences in film in Pulp Fiction, died on Mar. 16 after quietly suffering health issues for many years. He was 81. Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston, Mass. in 1937, and first coming to prominence in the early '60s with his band, The Del-Tones and "Miserlou," Mr. Dale's take on the traditional Greek folk tune featured his furious, signature strum and served as the venerable hit of his 1962 debut LP, Surfer's Choice. The single enjoyed a later renaissance thanks to director Quentin Tarantino, who blasted it during the opening credits of 1994's Pulp Fiction 32 years after the song's release. The Black Eyed Peas notably sampled "Miserlou" in their 2006 hit "Pump It," which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not only did Mr. Dale create an entirely new style of music, he was also credited with creating custom amplifiers for Fender that could handle his often powerful sounds and slides. His distinctive sound was influenced by his Lebanese heritage, and his 1961 hit "Let's Go Trippin'" is credited for sparking a sound that encompassed a budding Southern California surf culture. Among his movie credits were Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party and Back To the Beach with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funacello, and Let's Make Love starring Marilyn Monroe. His music was also featured in such movies as Escape from L.A., Space Jam, Barbed Wire and Jesus's Son, and he made appearances in such TV shows as Beverly Hills 90210, Beavis & Butthead, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The David Letterman Show and the Conan O'Brian Show. In 1996, he was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, and in 1989 the Surfing Hall of Fame. In 1963, he was the first rock guitarist to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, the nation's number one national show. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Mr. Dale, who toured well into his twilight years, was candid about the various health issues he faced -- including renal failure, diabetes and more -- as he continued to travel the country and perform. "Even with my illnesses and diseases," he said, "I'm faster with my hands than I've ever been." MTV original VJ Kurt Loder shared his condolences to Mr. Dale on Twitter, while actor Seth Rogen admitted his affinity for the guitar hero. "Once I drove an hour and half to see Dick Dale perform at a horse track, and it was wonderful. RIP," Rogen wrote. He is survived by his longtime love, Lana, and son Jimmie. - Billboard/The Daily Mail/, 3/17/19.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Movie studio MGM announced on Mar. 9 that its upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect will hit U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2020. In 2018, MGM set the project in motion when it announced Oscar-winning actress/singer Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) had been personally selected by the Queen of Soul to play her in the film. Screenwriter Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise) is writing the script for Respect, which follows the rise of the singer's career -- from a child singing in her father's church choir to a superstar. Meanwhile, the theatrical release of the Franklin documentary Amazing Grace, which was shot in 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles during the recording of Franklin's double-platinum album of the same name, will take place on Apr. 5, following its Oscar-qualifying run in NY and LA at the end of 2018. -, 3/9/19...... Paul McCartneyAfter brisk ticket sales for his June 29 show at the 20,000-capacity T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Paul McCartney has just added a second show at the same venue a day earlier. The concert is the latest addition to the U.S. leg of Sir Paul's "Freshen Up" tour, his first extended stateside run since the "One On One" tour that played to some two million fans around the world between 2016-2017. The tour, with the 76-year-old superstar playing for three hours each night, gets underway on May 23 at New Orleans' Smoothie King Arena, hits mostly medium-sized markets including Raleigh, NC; Greenville, SC; Lexington, KY; Green Bay, WS; and Arlington, TX. It will wrap on July 13 at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium. - Billboard, 3/12/19...... The New York Post's site is reporting there might be a sequel to the hugely successful Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Rudi Dolezal, who directed several Queen videos including "One Vision," told Page Six that he expects the group's legendary manager, Jim Beach, will back a second biopic about the band and its late frontman, Freddie Mercury. Beach produced Bohemian Rhapsody, which won several major film awards earlier in the year including Best Picture at the Golden Globes and numerous Best Actor awards for Rami Malek, who portrayed Mercury in the blockbuster. However the site also noted that Queen nor its management have supported Dolezal's claims. Queen fans will be able to indulge in more of the band's history when a new documentary about Queen and current frontman Adam Lambert airs in the US this spring. The two-hour film, The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, is set to be shown on ABC on Apr. 29. - NME, 3/11/19...... '70s New Wave icon Joe Jackson's "Four Decade" tour hit L.A.'s picturesque Orpheum Theater on Mar. 10, with Jackson delivering a 24-song set that traveled across decades and genres with easy assurance. He cast his set as a scrapbook flipping through the '70s, '80s, '90s and 2000's, bookending the show with "Alchemy" from his new LP, Fool. "Thank you for supporting us for all these years," Jackson said with clear sincerity near the end of the evening. - Billboard, 3/11/19...... While airplay of Michael Jackson songs after the premiere of the new HBO Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland has dipped, there has been a bump in streams and sales of the King of Pop's catalog of music in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. Jackson's combined album and song sales -- including his work with the Jackson 5 and The Jacksons -- increased 10 percent in the shadow of the Neverland premiere. His combined sales on March 3-5 totaled nearly 9,000, up from the little over 8,000 on the previous Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 24-26). The first part of Leaving Neverland premiered on HBO on Mar. 3., and the second two hours bowed on the network a day later. Viewing Jackson's radio airplay picture, spins of his songs fell by 13 percent to 5,200 plays across all monitored U.S. terrestrial and satellite radio stations on March 3-5 (down from 6,000 on Feb. 24-26). Notably, there was a marked decline in plays for Jackson's songs on Tuesday, March 5 (the day after the second part of Neverland's airing) versus Sunday, March 3 (the day of the premiere of Neverland). It's unclear if any of Jackson's albums or songs will see any major impact on the Billboard charts (dated March 16, reflecting the sales and streaming week ending March 7). - Billboard, 3/8/19...... In a recent interview with the UK music mag Metal Hammer, Ozzy Osbourne revealed that he "died twice on the way to hospital" at one point during his chemically-fuelled younger years. Osbourne was hospitalized in February after suffering complications from the flu. In a later update, he said that he had developed pneumonia and was forced to cancel his planned tour to recover at home. Now, the former Black Sabbath frontman has discussed sobriety while recalling his earlier days of rock 'n' roll debauchery. Ozzy says that he thought he would die young as a result of his addictions and lifestyle. "If you'd said to me years ago, 'How long do you think you'll last?' I would've said, 'I'll be dead by 40!'" he explained. "Luck has shadowed me all the way," the 70-year-old rocker added. "If you'd read a news story that said, 'Ozzy Osbourne has been found dead in his hotel room!', you wouldn't go, 'Oh, really?' would you? You'd say, 'Well, obviously!'" Reeling off his previous lucky escapes, Ozzy remembered: "I've fallen out of lift shafts and windows. I broke my neck on a quad bike. There was one time when I died twice on the way to hospital. I might be unsinkable!" - New Musical Express, 3/12/19...... Surviving The Monkees members Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith are paying tribute to both late Monkees members Davy Jones, who died on Feb. 29, 2012 after suffering a heart attack, as well as Peter Tork, who died more recently on Feb. 21 at age 77 after a battle with adenoid cystic carcinoma. "We went through (mourning Tork) last year," Dolenz says, noting that when Tork told him and Nesmith that he could not be part of shows with them during 2018, his death on Feb. 21 at the age of 77 "did not come as a surprise, not like David's (Jones) did... Peter acknowledged a few years ago, in fact, that he had some health issues. So Mike and I sorta went through (the mourning) last year, 'cause we had an idea what was coming." Dolenz and Nesmith will be playing their "The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show" shows through Mar. 16, including makeup dates for the four postponed last year when Nesmith needed heart bypass surgery. Dolenz says the duo has recorded, though not fully filmed, The Mike & Micky Show for release on CD, and while some sort of live document is possible, he says a follow-up to 2016's successful Good Times! album and 2018 Christmas Party set is not in the offing. "Not at this point -- not yet, anyway," Dolenz says. "After the success of Good Times! there was talk about following it up, and the general consensus was, 'How the hell are we going to top that?!'" - Billboard, 3/8/19...... The Charlie Daniels Band are hitting the road with country superstar Travis Tritt this spring for a joint co-headlining tour dubbed the "Outlaws & Renegades Tour." The trek kicked off on Mar. 8 in St. Augustine, Fla., and will run through Aug. 25 in Tuscon, Ariz. The Cadillac Three will serve as special guests throughout the tour with additional support from the Marshall Tucker Band and Love & Theft on select shows. - Billboard, 3/8/19...... Joni MitchellA private gift of art and lyrics sent by Joni Mitchell will be released in book form on Oct. 22, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced on Mar. 11. Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings collects materials the singer-songwriter assembled in the early 1970s and sent to friends -- just 100 copies, all signed. The forthcoming release will include a new introduction by Mitchell and additional paintings not included in the original edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will also publish a signed, limited edition of Morning Glory on the Vine. The book announcement follows the one-night only screening of the Joni 75th birthday tribute concert Joni 75 on Feb. 7, and its companion album on Mar. 8. - AP, 3/11/19...... Posting on his official Twitter account on Mar. 8, Elton John said he plans on releasing his "first and only autobiography later in 2019. "My life has been one helluva roller coaster ride and I m now ready to tell you my story, in my own words," John captioned a video in which he announced the news. In the clip, Elton added: "Here I am in my favourite bookshop, John Sandoe in Chelsea, in London. I just wanted to tell you I have a book coming out, which is my first autobiography." The as-yet-untitled book will be released in October 2019 and will be published by Macmillan's Henry Holt & Co. On their website, the publisher said: "A multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar, Elton is the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time. Fans have been eagerly waiting for him to tell his story. Now the wait is (almost) over." John first revealed he was writing his memoir in 2017. "I'm not prone to being a nostalgic person," he said at the time. "I'm often accused of only looking forward to my next gig or creative project. It's come as quite a surprise how cathartic I am finding the process of writing my memoirs. As I look back, I realise what a crazy life I have had the extreme privilege of living." Elton is currently touring the US as part of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour," which will be his last ever. Meanwhile, a biopic focusing on his breakthrough years is due for release on May 24. Rocketman will star Taron Egerton as John, while Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Madden and Jamie Bell will also appear. - New Musical Express, 3/8/19...... In related news, Olivia Newton-John's new memoir Don't Stop Believin' was released in the US on Mar. 12. In the book, first released in her native Australia in 2017, Newton-John reveals she took on a secret battle against cancer in 2013. "I just decided I wanted to go through it myself," Olivia said on the American show Today on Mar. 7. "It was just a decision to keep it to myself that time." The "Physical" hitmaker also addressed rumours from earlier this year which suggested she was near death. "It was like, they were telling me I was dying and I thought, 'I don't feel like it. I feel pretty good'," she laughs. "Rumours start and then it gets out of control and I decided, 'No, I'm gonna come out and talk about it, because I have many friends and family all around the world and I can't call everyone, so I need to let them know I'm OK'." - WENN/, 3/8/19...... The former residence of imprisoned record producer Phil Spector and his wife in Alhambra, Calif., where actress/model Lana Clarkson was murdered by Spector in 2003 has been put on the market with an asking price of $5.5 million. The turreted mansion, known as the "Pyrenees Castle," has been put on the market just one month after the 16th anniversary of the actress' death. The 8,700 square foot home boasts nine bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, three half bathrooms, two home offices, a hair salon and a butler's pantry. It also comes equipped with a two full kitchens, a games room and an employee quarters, complete with a separate staff entrance. Spector, 79, is currently serving a sentence of 19-years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in the home's foyer in 2003. The 40-year-old actress who starred in the cult film Barbarian Queen was found dead at the property on Feb. 3, 2003. She had suffered a single gun-shot to the mouth and her teeth were found scattered over the floor. Speaking to Esquire magazine in 2003, Spector claimed Clarkson's death was an "accidental suicide" and that she had tried to "kiss the gun" before it inadvertently went off. In an emergency call from Spector's home, the music virtuoso can be heard saying "I think I killed someone." -, 3/10/19...... David BowieA demo that is thought to be among the first recordings of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track "Starman" has sold at auction in the U.K. for £51,000. The recording was made in 1971 by Bowie and his Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, who later handed it to Kevin Hutchinson, a close friend and aspiring musician who wanted to learn the now iconic track. Despite initial estimates that the tape would sell for £10,000, it went under the hammer for £51,000 at Merseyside's Omega Auctions on Mar. 12. "Now I'm 65 and I played it, I just couldn't believe how good it is," Hutchinson told a UK press association. "But at the time, I thought: It's not bad. At 16 you're not totally impressed, nothing impresses you," he noted. Hutchinson says he discovered the tape when he retrieved his old tape recorder out of hisloft and threaded the tape into the machine. On the demo, Bowie can also be heard telling Ronson that he had not finished the song when he tries to end the recording. "You can tell that Mick has never heard the song before because at the end he is just about to turn the tape recorder off and Bowie says: 'Hang on. There's a little bit more'," Hutchinson says. - New Musical Express, 3/13/19......Celebrated musician, award-winning writer, artist and publisher Artie Wayne, who played a major part in the success of such artists as Quincy Jones, Ringo Starr and Olivia Newton-John has died aged 77 in Palm Springs, Calif. As a songwriter he had more than 250 covers recorded by such artists as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Rick Nelson, Paul Anka, Cher and The 5th Dimension. Born in New York City, Wayne began his career on Broadway, working as a songwriter for the publisher Don Kirshner, co-writing and producing his first million selling hit in 1963 Joey Powers' "Midnight Mary." In 1968, Wayne moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as general manager of Warner Brothers Music, helping to develop the careers of artists including Jimmy Webb, Jackson Browne and the Eagles, before running A&M's publishing house, Irving Almo. In his first week at the company Wayne put Olivia Newton-John together with the song "I Honestly Love You," which became the singer's first number-one single in the United States and was Record of the Year in the 1974 Grammys. As well as guiding artists to best-selling songs, Wayne continued to enjoy success as a songwriter himself. In 1973, with George Clinton, he wrote "Little Christmas Tree" for Michael Jackson, which was featured on the Motown compilation LP A Motown Christmas which hit the top of the Billboard 200 in 1973, as well as co-writing "Touch the One You Love" for the star. In the same year he co-wrote "Sending My Good Thoughts to You" with Patti Dahlstrom, which was dedicated to their late friend, the singer Jim Croce who had recently died in a plane crash. In later life, Wayne retired to Palm Springs for health reasons, where he pursued his interest as a painter, and wrote a blog about his experiences in the music industry that reached an audience of over 2 million. - AP, 2/23/19...... Sidney Sheinberg, a former Universal Studios executive who discovered and nurtured Steven Spielberg, putting Jaws into production and helping to turn Hollywood into a blockbuster-focused business, died on Mar. 7 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 84. His death, following years of Parkinson's disease, was confirmed by his son, Jonathan. - The New York Times, 3/9/19...... Actor Jan-Michael Vincent, the '80s heartthrob best known for his role on TV's Airwolf, died in a North Carolina hospital after suffering cardiac arrest on Feb. 10, it was reported on Mar. 8. His CBS hit, Airwolf, made him into a huge star. At the time, he was reportedly the highest-paid actor at $200k per episode. Vincent played helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke on the show, but the series lasted only a couple seasons largely in part to the star's cocaine abuse. His acting career would ultimately suffer from it. He nearly died in 2012 from an infection that required his right leg to be amputated. Vincent also starred opposite Burt Reynolds in the 1978 film, Hooper, and co-starred with Kim Basinger in the 1981 film, Hard Country. He was a steady working actor in Hollywood for three decades, and appeared in a slew of old TV classics like, Lassie, Bonanza and Gunsmoke, as well as the 1971 TV movie Tribes and the 1974 feature film Buster and Billie. His most recent role was in the 2002 movie, White Boy. -, 3/8/19...... Hal BlaineLegendary session drummer Hal Blaine, a virtual one-man soundtrack of the 1960s and '70s who played on the songs of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys among countless others, died on Mar. 11 of natural causes at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 90. The winner of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award last year, Mr. Blaine's name was known by few outside the music industry, even in his prime. His drumming can be heard on songs that included Presley's "Return to Sender," The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were," the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," dozens of hits produced by Phil Spector, and the theme songs to Batman, The Partridge Family and dozens of other shows. "Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can't put it into words," the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson said in a tweet that included an old photo of him and Blaine sitting at the piano. "Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success -- he was the greatest drummer ever." Ringo Starr also paid his respects to Mr. Blaine, tweeting, "God bless Hal Blaine peace and love to all his family Goodbye Hal an incredible musician." As a member of the Los Angeles-based studio band "The Wrecking Crew," which also featured keyboard player Leon Russell, bassist Carol Kaye and guitarist Tommy Tedesco, Mr. Blaine forged a hard-earned virtuosity and versatility that enabled him to adapt quickly to a wide range of popular music. According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he played on 40 No. 1 hits, 150 top 10 songs. Mr. Blaine also played on eight songs that won Grammys for record of the year, including Sinatra's "Strangers In the Night" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and may be the only drummer to back Presley, Sinatra and John Lennon. Mr. Blaine nicknamed himself and his peers "The Wrecking Crew," because they were seen by their more buttoned-down elders as destructive to the industry -- an assertion that Kaye and others disputed. Many members of The Wrecking Crew worked nonstop for 20 years, sometimes as many as eight sessions a day, a pace that led to several marriages and divorces for Mr. Blaine. As more bands played on their own records and electronic drums arose, business dropped off in the 1980s even as younger musicians, such as Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, cited his influence. His memoir, Hal Blaine & The Wrecking Crew, came out in 1990 and he continued to appear at symposiums and workshops into his 80s. Mr. Blaine also was seen in the 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew and was played by Johnny Sneed in the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. The son of Jewish immigrants, Mr. Blaine was born Harold Simon Belsky in Holyoke, Mass. on Feb. 5, 1929. By age 8, he was already drumming, using a pair of dowels he removed from a seat in the living room. He was a professional by age 20 and within a few years switched from jazz to rock. He is survived by his daughter Michelle Blaine, and seven grandchildren. - AP, 3/11/19.

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News items appearing in Super Seventies RockSite!'s "Favorite Seventies Artists In The News" are compiled from numerous online and printed sources, including, New Musical Express, Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, Rolling,,, Miles High Productions, and Noble PR.

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