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Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

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

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021

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

Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

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

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021

Bruce Springsteen has been added to the all-star lineup of musicians who will help celebrate the Jan. 20 inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Sen. Kamala Harris in a 90-minute "Celebrating America" concert set later that evening at 8:30-10:00 p.m. EST which will be aired on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC, as well as on the Biden Inaugural Committee's social media feeds, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Fox's NewsNOW. Springsteen, whose participation was announced in a post on his Twitter page on Jan. 15, will join a list previously announced list of artists that includes Foo Fighters, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato in the Tom Hanks-hosted event. Meanwhile a Jan. 17 "We The People" concert will feature performances and appearances from the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Ben Harper, Will.I.Am and Sophia Bush, among others. Access to that show can be obtained at the website for $5. The two concerts are part of five nights of announced Biden inaugural events that begin on Jan. 16 under the banner of "America United." - Billboard, 1/15/21...... Neil YoungOn Jan. 12 Neil Young shared a statement on his Neil Young Archives site about the Jan. 6 armed insurrection at the US Capitol building, saying he feels "empathy for the people who have been so manipulated." In the post entitled "A Message from Neil," Young mentioned the rioter known as "Elizabeth from Knoxville" who was filmed crying, saying she had been maced. Young said he believed "she was crying because she had been attacked and all she was doing was trying to have her voice heard in the Revolution." Young then continued by blaming Pres. Donald Trump for having "exaggerated and amplified the truth to foment hatred." "We need discussion and solutions. Respect for one another's beliefs. Not hatred," he said. In addition to Trump, Young also blamed "internet news" and social media for "crippling our belief system" and added he was "devastated to see the double standard" in the way the insurrectionists were treated compared to the BLM activists earlier in 2020. "There is no place here for White Supremacy. People need each other to be truly free. Hatred will never find Freedom," he wrote. He also said that social media "is crippling our belief system, turning us against one another. We are not enemies. We must find a way home." In other Neil Young news, the musician has announced a new live album and concert film called Way Down In The Rust Bucket culled from a 1990 show he played with Crazy Horse in Santa Cruz, Calif. shortly after the arrival of his 18th studio album Ragged Glory. Set for release on Feb. 26 via Reprise Records, Way Down In The Rust Bucket captures the debut performances of tracks from that album, which came out in Sept. 1990. The release will come in a 4-LP box set, 2-CD set, and Deluxe Edition Box Set including a DVD, four LPs and two CDs. A trailer for the film has been shared on YouTube, as well as an audio live cut of one of the set's songs, "Country Home". - New Musical Express, 1/16/21...... Speaking on a forthcoming installment of The Harry Redknapp Show podcast to be made available beginning Jan. 19, Rod Stewart says he's ended his longtime feud with Elton John after admitting it didn't seem fair for him to tell his eight children to apologize to people without following his own advice. "I say to my kids, 'A man apologizes, go and apologize to your mother'," Stewart said. "We've just made up as friends again, me and Elton. We've always been fierce enemies, as you know, through the years, but it's always been at a playful level. But we had the worst row, like a married couple. It went on forever," he added. The two rock icons had been at loggerheads since Rod criticized his old friend's plans for a retirement tour, branding it "not rock 'n' roll" and insisting he wouldn't do the same. But now Stewart says he regrets lashing out at Elton for his tour. "I was a bit spiteful when he announced his tour. I regret it, I really do regret it. So we're mates again now. I do love him," Rod said. Meanwhile, Elton also recently said he "bears no grudges" toward Rod, as he confirmed the pair are friends again. "Rod and I have always had this kind of rivalry but it's always been very friendly and it's always been funny and I love him to death," he previously stated. "We've had this rivalry for a long time and it's been very, very funny, and I love him dearly, and if I saw him in the street I'd give him the biggest hug. There's no point in carrying on vendettas in this world. Life's too short. You can't erase all those years of great friendship by just one thing that happened, and I'm not going to do that. As far as I'm concerned he's a brilliant artist who's had a great career, and he's such good fun," John said. - WENN/, 1/16/21...... Mick FleetwoodBMG Music announced on Jan. 14 that it has acquired Fleetwood Mac co-founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood's interest in the band's recordings. The deal gives the company Fleetwood's royalty interest in over 300 recordings, including Fleetwood Mac hits including "Dreams," "The Chain," "Go Your Own Way" and "Landslide." It excludes the band's recorded work from their first two albums. The deal is particularly lucrative following the recent viral success of "Dreams" on TikTok, where the song racked up 2.8 billion views and led to a streaming and sales bonanza for the 40+-year-old hit and its attendant album Rumours. In the wake of the viral TikTok clip, "Dreams" racked up 182 million streams and sold 126,000 downloads, while Rumours moved over 86,000 albums in the U.S. in 2020 and was propelled back into the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. In the process, the band garnered a legion of new, younger fans. In a statement Fleetwood said the deal was "a wonderfully inspiring marriage between two creative partners that understand all aspects of the business." BMG already owns the rights to the theatrical, record and mediabook release of the 2020 all-star concert event "Mick Fleetwood & Friends," which celebrated Fleetwood Mac founding guitarist Peter Green and the band's early years. In December, Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks struck a wide-ranging partnership with Primary Wave that included a joint venture deal and the sale of a majority stake in her publishing copyrights. Earlier in 2021, Lindsey Buckingham sold 100% of his writer's and publisher's share of his 161-song catalog to Hipgnosis. - Billboard, 1/14/21...... Many fans in the Kiss Army know singer/guitarist Paul Stanley is a huge soul and Motown fan; now the musician has shared the first taste of his debut album Now and Then he recorded with his side project, Soul Station. Stanley's cover of the Five Stairsteps' 1970 hit "O-o-h Child" is available for streaming on YouTube, and appears as one of nine Soul covers of such soul greats as The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, The Stylistics and The Spinners on Now and Then, which hits stores on Mar. 5 via UMe. Stanley's Soul Station is a 15-piece ensemble band led by Stanley on vocals. They've been active on the live circuit since 2015 but haven't yet released an album. "Long before I ever heard the great British bands, I grew up listening to Philly Soul, Motown, and so much more," Stanley recently told Rolling Stone. "The great classics of that era are magical medicine for most and I felt myself drawn back to that era for some sorcery I think we could all use," he added. - NME, 1/16/21...... Jimi Hendrix's brother Leon Hendrix and niece Tina Hendrix were found in contempt of court for violating a permanent injunction against infringing on the iconic guitarist's protected trademarks in a Jan. 11 ruling by U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York. Judge Engelmayer ordered Leon and his daughter Tina, along with their tuition-free Hendrix Music Academy, to recall and destroy all apparel and merchandise bearing any Jimi Hendrix name, to change the name of the school to make it clear it is not affiliated with Jimi Hendrix, and to "cease and desist" infringing on the late rocker's trademark. The contempt ruling against Leon and Tina Hendrix follows a lengthy court battle that began in 2017 when Experience Hendrix LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC sued Leon Hendrix and a business associate for trademark infringement, deceptive acts and false advertising, among other claims. Tina Hendrix says that her family is "devastated and disappointed about the judge's decision and I strongly feel that it was incorrect and unjust for several reasons." "I only seek to educate kids about Jimi and use his name for non-profit purposes," Tina told Billboard. "My grandfather gave us that right in 1988. Everything that we received from Jimi's fans went to the students and their families. We have proudly served many needy families in honor of Jimi over the past decade. This work has never interfered with Experience Hendrix's business or profits, it only interfered with their lies. We are desperately seeking pro Bono legal advice at this time and we intend to fight this until the end," she added. - Billboard, 1/12/21...... Willie NelsonHe's "on the road again," this time to receive his first dose of coronavirus vaccine. Willie Nelson was given a jab of the Moderna variety vaccine at a drive-through clinic in Cedar Park, Tex. on Jan. 13, according to his his wife Annie. "We're lucky," Annie says. "We made sure that [he] wasn't cutting anybody -- in fact, the healthcare workers were kind of angry that we had waited so long because he is 87 years old and has COPD." A series of photos posted to Family Hospital Systems' official Facebook page shows a masked Willie being administered the vaccine in his car at the drive-through center. "Getting your COVID vaccine is Willie cool!" an accompanying message reads. "Thank you Willie Nelson for helping Family Hospital Systems slow the spread of COVID-19!" Annie said her octogenarian husband "was bragging yesterday after he got it that he didn't even have a sore arm," adding: "Now, today, of course his arm is sore." Meanwhile Nelson is set to release his second album of Frank Sinatra covers, That's Life, on Feb. 26. - NME, 1/16/21...... Tom Jones has announced a new album of covers entitled Surrounded By Time, the follow-up to his 2015 album Long Lost Suitcase. Jones' Radiohead-style cover of Todd Snider's "Talking Reality Blues" will be the first single from the new LP, which also features reimagined versions of songs written by Cat Stevens/Yusuf, Bob Dylan, Bobby Cole and Tony Jo White, among others. Surrounded By Time will drop on Apr. 23. - NME, 1/15/21...... AC/DC have shared the innovative new video for "Realize," the latest single from their 2020 comeback album Power Up. In the black-and-white video which has been posted on YouTube, directors Clemens Habicht and Josh Cheuse (who serves as the band's creative director) were able to present the impression of the five members of the band performing the song in the same room together despite the fact that each member filmed their part individually in five separate locations, presumably due to the pandemic. The "Realize" video follows on from the band's recently released clips for their songs "Demon Fire" and "Shot In The Dark." Meanwhile AC/DC guitarist Angus Young has confirmed that Axl Rose didn't write any music with the band while serving as Brian Johnson's live stand-in. "Nothing really came out solid," Young recently told Rolling Stone. "I know that he has a lot of things he's involved in. I don't even know if you would say it was music. But he had a lot of things that he was involved in." When asked if they worked on any songs, Young replied: "No, no. That never happened." This clarification comes after Rose seemingly hinted that they were recording together at the time. "I feel protective; I feel I do not want to let this guy down -- more than almost anybody I've ever known -- and I don't know why," he said. - NME, 1/13/21...... Robert FrippKing Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and his wife Toyah Willcox delivered a cover of Metallica's classic "Enter Sandman" during a recent lockdown performance, and posted the performance on YouTube. The couple launched their "Sunday Lockdown Lunch" video series in 2020 via Willcox's official YouTube channel, sharing renditions of tracks by the likes of Nirvana, David Bowie and the Sex Pistols recorded at their home. The Jan. 10 performance of "Enter Sandman" sees Fripp playing the iconic song's riff as Wilcox provides vocals while riding an exercise bike. At the end of the video, Fripp laughs as he wishes his fans a happy new year. "Happy lockdown lunch, everybody!" Willcox shouts. Fripp and Wilcox performed Led Zeppelin's 1971 classic "Black Dog" for the Jan. 3 edition of Sunday Lockdown Lunch. - NME, 1/12/21...... Paul McCartney's photographer/filmmaker daughter Mary McCartney has been tapped to direct If These Walls Could Sing, the first feature-length documentary about London's iconic Abbey Road Studios. Mary speaks of her "personal perspective" in a press release describing the film, set to be produced by John Battsek (Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars). "Some of my earliest memories as a young child come from time spent at Abbey Road," she said. "I've long wanted to tell the story of this historic place and I couldn't be collaborating with a better team than John and Mercury Studios to make this creative ambition a reality." If These Walls Could Sing is set to be part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of Abbey Road Studios, beginning in November 2021. - NME, 1/12/21...... Late guitar god Eddie Van Halen will be honored with a new range of nine guitars made by the company he helped found and hame, EVH. The reimagined "5150" series, set to be released in early 2021, comprises guitars that have been designed for speed and comfort, supporting Eddie's signature "tapping" technique. They'll arrive in a bright set of colors, including neon pink, and at a range of prices. In a statement announcing the new guitars, EVH spoke of Van Halen's influence: "The industry saw record guitar-playing interest in 2020 but also sadly said goodbye to one of the most innovative and influential players of its time. Eddie Van Halen's singularly inventive style inspired an entire generation of players. He innovated not only in how he played but what he played and what he played through by creating some of the greatest guitars and amps the world has seen and heard." The nine guitars have Stratocaster-style basswood bodies with a deeper upper body curve, featuring specifications made by Van Halen himself: bolt-on quarter-sawn carved maple necks, and a 12- to 16-inch compound radius fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets. All are powered by direct-mount EVH Wolfgang bridge and neck humbucking pickups. Two "Wolfgang Special" guitar models and four Wolf WG Standard variants will also be released as part of the 2021 EVH range. - NME, 1/12/21...... The "Page Six" gossip column in The New York Post is reporting that Phil Collins' ex-wife Orianne Cevey is being lined up for a potential reboot of TV's Bravo channel series Real Housewives of Miami. Bravo is reportedly considering bringing back some former cast members for the show which initially ran from 2011-2013, as well as adding some new faces -- with Cevey among those in the running. Cevey has hit headlines in recent months due to her and Collins' split turning increasingly bitter. The former couple originally parted ways in 2006 after seven years of marriage but reconciled in 2015, until parting ways again in 2020. The former Genesis frontman is suing Cevey, his third wife, and her current husband Thomas Bates to try and evict them from the Miami property he claims he still owns. -, 1/14/21...... Betty WhiteAs The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls star Betty White prepares to turn 99 years old on Jan. 17, the actress has revealed her birthday plans involve another one of her iconic shows, The Pet Set. "What am I doing for my birthday? Running a mile each morning has been curtailed by COVID, so I am working on getting The Pet Set re-released," she revealed, referencing the 1970s pet-themed series she hosted. "And feeding the two ducks who come to visit me every day," Betty also shared, adding "The Pet Set is one of my favorite shows. I'm thrilled it's going to be seen again after all these years." The Pet Set focused on White's life long love for animals and included many memorable celebrity guests of the day including legends Mary Tyler Moore, Doris Day, Burt Reynolds and more. While there were plenty of dogs and cats, more exotic animals like tigers, elephants, lions, gorillas, cougars, zebras and bears also would appear in-studio. The Pet Set is being released on streaming platforms and DVD on Feb. 23 to mark its 50th anniversary. The actress regularly posts about her love of animals on her social media accounts -- including a snuggle with a bear in 2018. Betty -- who is a Guinness World Record holder for the longest running career television career for any woman in history -- has previously shared her tips for living into your 90s. While she confessed to still indulging in hot dogs and vodka (her drink of choice is a vodka tonic), she cites a positive attitude as the most important. "I know it sounds corny, but I try to see the funny side and the upside, not the downside," she told Parade magazine in 2017, ahead of turning 96. "I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It's such a waste of time... Accentuate the positive, not the negative," she added. -, 1/14/21...... Rock bassist Tim Bogert, known for his stints in such bands as Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, The Jeff Beck Group and the super-group Beck, Bogert & Appice, passed away on Jan. 13 of what has been described as a "serious illness." He was 76. Bogert's passing was announced on the official Facebook page of Carmine Appice. "Tim was a one of a kind bass player. He inspired many, many bass players worldwide. He was as masterful at shredding as he was holding down a groove, and Tim introduced a new level of virtuosity into rock bass playing," Appice wrote. "No one played like Tim... I loved Tim like a brother. He will be missed very much in my life. I will miss calling him, cracking jokes together, talking music and remembering the great times we had together, and how we created kick-ass music together." At the time of his death, Bogert had been working on a forthcoming live Beck, Bogert & Appice album. He was recognized by the Hollywood Rock Hall of Fame in 1999. - WENN/, 1/14/21...... Sylvain SylvainSylvain Sylvain, the founding guitarist and songwriter with the 1970s punk band New York Dolls, died on Jan. 13 following a battle with cancer. He was 69. The New York Dolls formed in 1971, years before the punk movement and glam-rock set charts alight on both sides of the Atlantic. Born Sylvain Mizrahi in Cairo, Egypt, Sylvain and his family moved to France then settled in New York. It was in the Big Apple where the guitarist would join forces with David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan and Arthur Kane to form the New York Dolls, and set the standard for punk rock swagger and style. The band flirted with mass-scale commercial success, but such albums as The New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon were critically acclaimed, and their influence runs deep, with bands from Sex Pistols to the Ramones, Guns N' Roses, the Damned and the Smiths all said to take inspiration from the NY outfit. Sylvain and the Dolls cut five studio sets, the final Dancing Backward in High Heels dropping in 2011. To this day, they're regarded by rock music aficionados and historians as one of the great snubs of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. A statement at Sylvain's official Facebook page reads, "As most of you know, Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years. Though he fought it valiantly, yesterday he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let's send this beautiful doll on his way." In an Instagram post on Jan. 15, David Johansen who is now the sole surviving member of the original NY Dolls lineup, said: "My best friend for so many years, I can still remember the first time I saw him bop into the rehearsal space/bicycle shop with his carpetbag and guitar straight from the plane after having been deported from Amsterdam, I instantly loved him. I'm gonna miss you old pal. I'll keep the home fires burning." - Billboard, 1/14/21...... TV and stage actor Peter Mark Richman, perhaps best known as the reverend father of Suzanne Somers' character Chrissy Snow on the hit '70s series Three's Company, died on Jan. 14 of natural causes. He was 93. "Comedy is musical," Somers said in an interview with Fox News. "Peter Mark Richman and I understood the music from the very first time we appeared together on Three's Company. He knew his 'stuff.' We lost a good one. Rest In Peace Peter Mark Richman." As well as starring in Three's Company, Mr. Richman appeared in shows such as Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Cain's Hundred, Agent for H.A.R.M. and the film Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan in 1989. In total, he had 159 acting roles on screen. Mr. Richman also appeared on Broadway, in the plays "A Hatful of Rain" and "Masquerade," as well as writing his own play "4 Faces" -- which was adapted for the screen in 1999. He is survived by Helen Richman, his wife of 67 years, five children, and six grandchildren. - WENN/, 1/15/21...... Siegfried And Roy magician, Siegfried Fischbacher, died at his Las Vegas home on Jan. 13 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81. Mr. Fischbacher was suffering from a malignant tumour that was initially removed during a 12-hour operation. However, it was later found that it had already spread through his body. Following the operation and diagnosis, Siegfried left the hospital and returned home where he was cared for by two nurses up until his death. His partner, Roy, died from complications following a COVID-19 battle in 2020. At the time, Siegfried said: "I have lost my best friend. From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried." Siegfried and Roy, real name Uwe Ludwig Horn, met while working on a cruise ship in 1957. - WENN/, 1/14/21.

Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

Former Bee Gees member Barry Gibb is on track for his very first UK No. 1 LP as a solo artist with his latest effort Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1. Gibb's album currently sits atop the UK's Official Albums Chart Update with his collection of country reinterpretations of he and his brothers' classic hits, all of which are collaborations with some of the genre's biggest names such as Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Olivia Newton-John and Brandi Carlile. Gibb's highest-charting UK album as a solo artist until now was 2016's In The Now, which peaked at No. 3 on the chart. As part of Bee Gees, Barry claimed 5 UK No. 1 singles and 16 UK Top 10 albums. Meanwhile, David Bowie's hits collection Legacy has rocketed 21 places to No. 10 on the same chart, with fans revisiting his iconic hits following what would have marked his 74th birthday on Jan. 8. -, 1/11/21...... The Sex PistolsCable channel FX has announced a six-episode limited series on the Sex Pistols based on a memoir from Sex Pistols guitarist, Steve Jones. Pistols will be directed and executive produced by Danny Boyle, who helmed the acclaimed movies Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire. "It's great to be back in business with Danny Boyle, an exceptional artist responsible for so many great feature films and TV series," said Nick Grad, president original programming at FX. "Steve Jones was at the center of the storm that shook the rock establishment and we're thrilled to have Danny and the rest of the creative team tell his story as a member of one of music's most notorious bands -- the Sex Pistols." The movie will center on Sex Pistols co-founder Jones and follow his life from West London's council estates to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's boutique, Sex -- one of the early centers of punk culture in London -- and the band's meteoric rise and fall. Production on the series is slated to begin in March. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/11/21...... David Bowie's son Duncan Jones remembered his late dad and the 5th anniversary of his death on Jan. 10 with a Twitter post. "Today marks 5 years since dad died," writes Jones, a celebrated filmmaker in his own right. "We are all a little sad, coping individually in our own ways. But it's both remarkable & delightful that dad is still so clearly loved by so many. Yes, he's missed... but with so much of "him in the work he made, he's clearly still here," he added. The post also features the artwork from what turned out to be Bowie's final studio album, Blackstar, a gift to his fans which dropped Jan. 10, 2016, just two days after his 69th birthday. Meanwhile, Bowie's legacy was celebrated on Jan. 9 with an evening full of virtual performances of his music by some of his biggest all-star fans. "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" had been set for his Jan. 8, what would've been his 74th birthday, but was delayed 24 hours "due to technical difficulties and COVID-19 restrictions," according to organizers. Duran Duran opened the concert with a spine-tingling cover of "Five Years," the opening track from Bowie's classic 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Dust and the Spiders from Mars. Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins also contributed with an emotional cover of the Bowie classic "Space Oddity," with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, who toured and recorded with Bowie in the mid 1990s, also making an appearance for two dazzling songs, "Fantastic Voyage" and "Fashion." The one-night-only paid event also featured Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti and members of his final touring band, with other stellar covers of Bowie's catalog by the likes of Peter Frampton, Boy George, Adam Lambert, Perry Farrell and Corey Taylor. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to Save the Children, which Bowie supported with ticket sales from his 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden in 1997. Bowie's official Instagram page has also announced some of the artist's biggest hits are now available on TikTok to celebrate his birthday. The popular social media app now features tracks including "Modern Love," "'Heroes'," "Starman," "Rebel Rebel," "Under Pressure" and more. Two previously-unreleased Bowie covers of songs by John Lennon and Bob Dylan have also arrived on streaming services. "Tryin' to Get To Heaven" and "Mother" can be streamed on - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/11/21...... John FogertyJohn Fogerty's new single, "Weeping In the Promised Land," was released on Jan. 6, coincidentally the same day that pro-Donald Trump rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol and temporarily disrupted the peaceful transfer of democratic power. A minimalist recording that finds the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman at the ivories backed by a subdued but strong chorus of female voices, "Weeping In the Promised Land" touches on the pandemic, the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police officers and political divisions fracturing the country in a way not seen since the '60s. "This song, for me, scraped off a lot of barnacles," Fogerty says. Fogerty adds that he wrote the title in a little song book that he started in 1967. "I wrote this title in that book somewhere between 25-30 years ago. It was compelling. I understood that it had a lot of meaning, but I didn't know specifically where it would go. I wrote a song using that title maybe two years ago and actually recorded it with some musicians; it was not this song, it was a different song, and it wasn't focused in its intent like this. It was kind of generic, I would say, therefore I was dissatisfied with it. I thought the title was better than the song, so I shelved it." He adds that he seriously started working on it as a song last July. "The idea that the water in the well has been poisoned with lies -- once I had that as a reference point with obvious cultural ties to the present that would be well understood, that was my beginning, where the song took off. I must say it was by far the most difficult song I've ever written. But I also think it's one of the best. It really made me fight for it." "Weeping In the Promised Land," which has been shared on YouTube, will also be featured on Fogerty's first album of original material since 2007's Revival, which he promises is coming in later in 2021. - Billboard, 1/8/21...... The unlikely pairing of a gay rock star icon, a former Disney Channel star, and a renowned Chinese-American classical cellist is rumoured to be about to happen when Elton John collaborates with Miley Cyrus with a contribution from Yo-Yo Ma on Cyrus' upcoming cover of the Metallica song "Nothing Else Matters." Miley Cyrus teased the upcoming collaboration, which will also feature Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith in a new interview with the UK radio station Capital FM. "I did a Metallica cover of 'Nothing Else Matters' featuring Elton John on piano, I've got Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith; so many all-stars in this band," the pop star said. "I'm so excited about this collaboration." Cyris went on to say she understands that the concept of the song may not make sense to some fans -- which is why she loves it even more. "I mean, having Elton John and Metallica and me ... I love when ingredients don't quite fit," she said. "Or it seems like a concoction that no one would ever put together, and you gotta have someone like [the song's producer Andrew] Watt that will take that risk." Cyrus' full interview can be streamed on YouTube. - Billboard, 1/6/21...... Brian MayQueen guitarist and animal rights activist Brian May has launched a fresh new fragrance called "Save Me" as a fund-raiser for the protection of wildlife. May has joined forces with Sergio Momo, founder and creative manager of Italian luxury goods brand Xerjoff, to launch the new scent. Named after Queen's 1980 hit, the new cologne is said to smell of "sandalwood and badger," an animal that's close to May's heart. "SCENT FROM HEAVEN!!! Wild Animal Rescue never smelled so good!," May posted on his Instagram account brianmayforreal. "This amazing man is doing something wonderful for animal welfare," he wrote of Momo. "This amazing man is doing something wonderful for animal welfare," May wrote of Momo. For superfans, May and Xerjoff are stocking an autographed 50ml bottle priced at £410 ($500), and the standard bottle is priced at £197 ($240). May is a long-time advocate for wild animals and co-founder of the Save Me Trust, which has battled the U.K. government on badger culls, among other issues. - Billboard, 1/11/21...... Speaking to The Irish News, Ringo Starr says whenever he performs with his former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney "it lifts everything, in a joyous way." "I love that, getting up with him," said Ringo, who has shared the stage with Paul twice in the past few years. "We did it at the O2 in England [in 2018]. And then he called me and he said, 'I'm doing Dodger Stadium, if you want to do a few numbers'." Ringo continued: "The audience is like, 'Oh, there's two of them! Wow'. It lifts everything, in a joyous way. So, yeah, I had a great time." Speaking of the pair's current friendship, Starr added: "We're still pals. We don't hang out with each other a lot. But if we're in the same country, and if we're in the same town we always have a dinner, and we say hi or he comes over here or I go over to his house." McCartney is among the contributors to Starr's upcoming EP, "Zoom In", which is set for release in March. Meanwhile in another interview with the UK's Daily Mirror, Ringo said he "has a little guest house here and it's now my studio... It's been my studio for the last 10 years, actually" as he spends his time during the Covid-19 lockdown recording music, painting and keeping fit at the Los Angeles home he shares with his wife, former Bond girl Barbara Bach, 73. "This time it was a little awkward because people were getting tested to come and play. Or, if they had a studio, they could play in their own place. So that took the pressure off the lockdown a little because I was drumming and singing and hanging out with musicians. I do go to the gym quite a lot. And also I took half of the gym, now that's where my paint studio is. So I can make a mess without Barbara getting crazy," Ringo adds. Ringo and his All-Starr Band are due to hit the road in June, though it's uncertain if those gigs will go ahead amid the global coronavirus pandemic. - NME/, 1/9/21...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the bandmates and family of late Rush drummer discussed the death of the famous sticksman on the one year anniversary of his Jan. 7, 2020, death. Rush member Alex Lifeson said that Peart "asked us not to discuss [the illness] with anyone," adding: "He just wanted to be in control of it. The last thing in the world he would want is people sitting on his sidewalk or driveway singing 'Closer to the Heart' or something. That was a great fear of his. He didn't want that attention at all. And it was definitely difficult to lie to people or to sidestep or deflect somehow. It was really difficult." Geddy Lee added that Peart "didn't want to waste his remaining time talking about shit like that... He wanted to have fun with us. And he wanted to talk about real things right up to the very end." Elsewhere in the interview, Lifeson spoke of how Peart spent his final days revisiting Rush's material, and reflecting on his life in music. "It was interesting to see him smile and feel really good about that. And when he still could write to us, he wrote about how he was reviewing some of our older music and how it stood up for him." - NME, 1/8/21...... Michael Fonfara, the longtime keyboardist for Lou Reed, died in a a Toronto hospital on Jan. 8 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 74. A native of Stevensville, Ontario, Fanfara is best known for his decade-long run performing with Lou Reed on the albums Rock and Roll Heart (1976), Street Hassle (1978), Live: Take No Prisoners (1978), The Bells (1979) and 1980's Growing Up in Public, which he co-wrote and co-produced with Reed. In a lengthy, eclectic career that spanned more than 50 years, Fonfara performed with the 1960s rock bands The Electric Flag, Rhinoceros, Blackstone and Rough Trade, as well as adding "keyboard textures" on Foreigner's multi-platinum 1981 album 4 on the No. 4 hit "Urgent" and the track "Girl on the Moon." Fonfara also recorded with the Everly Brothers, Grievous Angels, Cameo Blues Band and many others in a lauded career that included a 2000 Maple Blues Award honor for piano/keyboard player of the year. His final recording was The Downchild Blues Band's Live at the Toronto Jazz Festival 50th anniversary performance in 2019. "He was an incredible musician, a gentle soul and we were honoured to share the stage with him every time we performed," one of his former bandmates in Downchild said in a statement. "He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. There will be a celebration of life once we are all safely able to get together." - Billboard, 1/11/20...... Gene SimmonsGene Simmons has announced he's partnering with Gibson Guitars to launch a series of new electric guitars and basses. Under the name G², the collaboration will introduce new collections of left-handed electric guitars and basses across Gibson's "Gibson", "Epiphone" and "Kramer" brands, as well as develop new entertainment content to be streamed globally. G² will release the first instrument, the new G² Thunderbird Bass later in 2021, which made its worldwide debut on stage with Simmons recently during Kiss' New Year's Eve concert in Dubai. Following that release, Simmons and Gibson have plans to release a Flying V bass and Flying V guitar. "I have been designing and trademarking bass guitars for decades, and when I heard Gibson's vision and learned about their creative process, it just made sense for us to join forces to take things to the next level, Simmons said in a statement. "Gibson is an outstanding company and has earned its place as a leading guitar brand with fans around the world. These guitars and basses will all be handmade, with a sound that is off the charts. The design is so beautiful and collectible that they are simply works of art," he added. Simmons and Gibson exec Mark Agnesi will be discussing the new series on Jan. 18 at 4:00 p.m. GMT on Gibson TV, it can be streamed on Gibson's YouTube channel. - NME, 1/9/21...... Country musician/songwriter/actor Ed Bruce, perhaps best known for co-writing the 1978 Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings hit "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" with his then-wife, Patsy, died of natural causes on Jan. 8. He was 81. The song would go on to become a classic of the country genre, with Nelson and Jennings recording the most notable version of it. The track earned the pair a Grammy in 1978 and the song spent several weeks in the Billboard charts. Bruce later found chart success of his own, scoring six Top 10 hits during the 1980s, including "After All' and "You're The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had." The latter, released in 1981, was the sole No. 1 of Bruce's recording career. Bruce also found success as a film and television actor. At the height of his recording career, he starred as ex-policeman Tom Guthrie in the short-lived Western television series, Bret Maverick, lending his dulcet tones to the series' theme song as well. He was frequently cast as lawmen throughout his acting career, including in the 1997 Steven Seagal film, Fire Down Below, and in the biographical crime film Public Enemies, alongside Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. - NME, 1/9/21...... Actress Marion Ramsey, known for acting in the Police Academy films and gracing the Broadway stage in 1978's "Eubie!," died on Jan. 7 at her home in Los Angeles of as yet undetermined causes. She was 73. Though many may know Ramsey for her role as Officer Laverne Hooks in the Police Academy films, her career began much early. In 1964, she appeared in "Hello, Dolly!," and in the 1970s she established herself as a theatre, film and television talent. On stage, she acted in "Miss Moffat," and on screen she took part in the variety show Keep On Truckin' on ABC and held a regular role on Cos. An active advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness, Ramsey also portrayed one-off roles in Beverly Hills, 90210 and MacGyver,while voicing D.I. Holler in the animated The Addams Family from 1992 to 1993. -, 1/7/21...... William Jellett, a UK music fan who was known for attending music festivals naked during the '70s and '80s, died on Jan. 8 after a bout of poor health in recent years. He was 72. Jellett, who was also known by the nickname "Jesus," attended hundreds of UK festivals and shows, and appeared in a number of concert footage over the years. He can be seen in the Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus and was filmed at Cream's farewell show at the Royal Albert Hall in 1968. Many years later, he would go on to be the inspiration for the artwork for the Chemical Brothers' single "Surrender," which was based on a 1976 photo of him. The music fan was also known for his speeches at Speaker's Corner in London, where he would talk about the importance of music while highlighting the dangers of drugs. He also set up a "Jesus tent" at the Glastonbury festival in 1973 and claimed to be the reincarnation of the biblical figure. "He was at every gig I ever went to in the 70s, doing his groovy dancing and blessing us all with his happy presence," Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet posted on social media. "We'd call his name from the bleachers. He was validation that the artist was worth seeing." - NME, 1/11/21.

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

The new year has rang in a slew of music licensing acquisitions of the catalogs of some of rock music's biggest stars, including Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham and producer Jimmy Iovine. Neil Young, who for years has refused to "sell out" his songs by licensing them for use in commercials, has signed a deal to sell his 50% of his song catalog to Hipgnosis Songs for what is thought to be a record amount according to the standard industry measure. Young's deal, which was announced on Jan. 6, is rumoured to have valued the catalog at between $90 million and $105 million, though terms were not disclosed. His catalog includes some 1,180 songs, according to a statement announcing the deal, which he wrote over the course of a 50-plus year career that in addition to his prolific solo efforts includes stints with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Young acquisition is the second big deal of the new year for Hipgnosis, which has been on an acquisition binge of late, after its Jan. 5 announcement that it bought 100% of the catalog of former Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham, including the songs he wrote or co-wrote for the band, including "Go Your Own Way," "The Chain," "Big Love," "Never Going Back Again" and "Tusk," among others. Fleetwood Mac classics written or co-written by Buckingham include "Go Your Own Way," "The Chain," "Big Love," "Never Going Back Again" and "Tusk," among others. Since 1991, the band's catalog has moved nearly 26 million album consumption units in the U.S., with the vast majority of that number from Buckingham's time in the band, while his solo catalog, which produced songs like "Holiday Road" and "Trouble," has accumulated 550,000 album consumption units. On Jan. 4, Hipgnosis Songs announced that it purchased Jimmy Iovine's royalties as a producer. While Iovine is best known today as a music executive who co-founded Interscope Records and Beats Electronics, he first rose to prominence in the 1970s as a music engineer, working with such icons as Tom Petty, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Stevie Nicks, U2 and Patti Smith. Iovine's deal gives Hipgnosis 100% of his worldwide producer royalties across 259 songs, as well as his film production royalties for two films he co-produced: 8 Mile starring Eminem and Get Rich or Die Tryin' starring 50 Cent. - Billboard, 1/6/21...... ImanDavid BowieAs the fifth anniversary of the 2016 death of David Bowie approaches on Jan. 10, his widow Iman has given an interview to Harper's Bazaar UK magazine about how she keeps his memory alive. "David is in our hearts and minds on a daily basis, for all of us," the 65-year-old model said of herself and her family. "You know, this was my true love. My daughter once asked me if I would ever marry again and I said, 'never'." Bowie and Iman met in 1990, and Iman once said the attraction was "immediate and all-encompassing. I couldn't sleep for the excitement of our first date." The couple were married in 1992, and remained husband and wife until his death from liver cancer 24 years later. Iman says she currently spends her time in lockdown at her upstate New York country home, where she's been hiking, cooking, reading and painting, another tribute to her late love. "David was a painter; my daughter is a painter. I never painted in my life, so I've taken it up. I learnt that I don't have to be good at something to start doing it," she said. Iman added that Bowie is still all around, whether you know it or not. She said the anniversary of his death is always the "saddest time," but she finds hope in the idea that he is "hiding in plain sight... His fans are still around. His music is still relevant." Meanwhile, two big virtual celebrations will occur on what would've been his 74th birthday on Jan. 8. "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" will be streamed globally beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST. Trent Reznor, Billie Corgan, Boy George, Peter Frampton, Rick Wakeman and Perry Farrell will be among the many musicians are participating in the 3-hour concert. More info can be found at On Jan. 8-10, the London production of "Lazarus," which was captured live on stage and starred Michael C. Hall, will stream in celebration of the birthday. the show features music from Bowie's catalog, and is available to stream in multiple time zones. info can be found at - Billboard, 1/5/21...... During a call to his SiriusXM channel "E Street Radio" on Dec. 31, Bruce Springsteen teased that he's working on a "big surprise" that will be revealed later in 2021. While the Boss confirmed that he wouldn't attempt a new tour this year in the light of the Covid pandemic, he said he had some more projects underway that would be shared over the course of 2021. "2022 -- if you want to talk about that -- as far as what I know and if things go as according to what Dr. Fauci is projecting, as soon as we can, we'll be out there," he said. "And that might be 2022, you know, somewhere in the New Year of 2022. "So -- and I'm completely projecting because no one really knows -- that's what I think, according to all the information that's available at this moment, will be able to happen. You know, I have some projects coming up this year that I won't tell cos it's going to be a secret and then a big surprise [laughs]. But I do have things to keep me busy this year that I'll be doing that should give the fans something to bide their time with." Listen to Springsteen speak about his plans for 2021 above." The full interview can be heard on YouTube. - NME, 1/5/21...... The Internal Revenue Service has valued Prince's estate at 50 per cent higher than proposed by the administrator, causing more legal trouble for the estate's settlement. As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the IRS has valued Prince's estate at $163.2 million, significantly higher than the $82.3 million valuation from Commercial Bank & Trust, the estate's administrator. Because of this new valuation, the IRS has claimed the estate owes an additional $32.4 million in taxes, approximately doubling the tax bill. The government agency has also issued a $6.4 million "accuracy-related penalty" on Prince's estate, according to court documents. Prince died in 2016 from an overdose, leaving behind no will. In the years since his death, the exact valuation of the singer's estate remains up for debate. In 2018 the Associated Press reported that while the singer's heirs have yet to benefit from the estate, bankers, consultants and lawyers have earned millions from it. - NME, 1/4/21...... A new documentary about Elton John is reportedly in the works, featuring behind-the-scenes footage that didn't fit in the 2019 Elton biopic Rocketman. According to sources, the follow-up to the film will be titled The Pillars of Hercules (after John's middle name) and would come in a documentary format. According to the UK paper The Sun, it will cover tours across the 1970s, and never-before-seen footage of the singer and John Lennon. The film has been the long-time project of Elton's longtime guitarist Davey Johnstone, who has been working on the project for years. Johnstone reportedly has the blessing of the Rocket Man himself and his husband, David Furnish. Regarding a potential release date for the new film, Johnstone says: "There are two more interviews we are looking to get and we will probably be finished with all the recording by late January and then we will go into editing and we will be ready about Easter." - NME, 1/4/21...... Barry GibbSurviving Bee Gees member Barry Gibb says he's unable to watch the new Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? which recently premiered on premium cable channel HBO because it's subject matter is too painful. Appearing on CBS Sunday Morning on Jan. 3, Gibb says the Frank Marshall-directed film would reignite his grief over the loss of his late brothers Maurice and Robin Gibb, who passed away in 2003 and 2012 respectively. "I can't handle watching the rest of my family. I just can't handle it," Barry said in the interview, which can be viewed on YouTube. He added: "Who would? I think it's perfectly normal to not want to see how each brother was lost, you know? And I don't want to address it. I'm past it." Meanwhile, Gibb says he was "terrified" when he heard his recent collaborator, country music star Keith Urban, would be bringing his actress wife and Aussie native Nicole Kidman to the studio for a new rendition of the Bee Gees' "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" for Gibb's new country duets album, Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1. "He gave us a great gift because he brought Nicole with him, and that was such a thrill," Barry told Billboard. "I'm freaking out, you know." Barry also reteamed with Dolly Parton, who recorded his "Islands in the Stream" song as a duet with Kenny Rogers 40 years ago, revealing he had never met her since. "Dolly was a great thrill, and as incredible as she always is," he added. "She's such a humble person. I just don't understand how people of that stature remain calm and humble and ready to have a laugh, you know?" - New Musical Express/, 1/5/21...... Appearing on a recent episode of "Coffee Talk with AKIKA Live," the YouTube live show hosted by former Rolling Stone writer Corey Levitan and bassist Stefan Adika, Alice Cooper surprised late singer Harry Nilsson's son Zak Nilsson with a sweet new tune in a bid to cheer him up as Zak continues to suffer from end-stage colon cancer. A bright piano melody carries Cooper's croon, as he sings cheery lines like "So Zak, your doc could be a quack, considering all that, tomorrow morning you'll see the sun!" Cooper's performance, which was arranged through his daughter Calico, has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 1/5/21...... Kiss frontman Paul Stanley has lashed out at Pres. Donald Trump after explosive newly-released audio footage revealed the moment the President pressured Georgia's Secretary Of State to "find" votes that would overturn his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Sharing a link to the Washington Post article on Twitter, he wrote: "This is ABHORRENT. A true danger to our democracy. The issue isn't that it WON'T work. It's Mob Boss behavior and politicians putting party over audits, investigations, court rulings & COUNTRY in an effort to overrule the will of American voters". Stanley continued: "Republican politicians who now cower before this president are the same ones that ridiculed & dismissed him in the 2016 primaries. Their silence IS a choice & not sharing their opinion IS a coward's way out. It feeds the mistrust that eats at the core of this country I love." The recording of the Jan. 2 call was obtained by the Post and showed Trump repeating baseless claims of electoral fraud as he criticized Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for refusing to say he won the election. In other Kiss-related news, bassist Gene Simmons has doubled down on previous comments he made back in 2014 about the state of rock music in which he declared the rock music genre to be "finally dead." "Rock is dead. And that's because new bands haven't taken the time to create glamour, excitement and epic stuff," Simmons recently told Gulf News. "I mean, Foo Fighters is a terrific band, but that's a 20-year-old band. So you can go back to 1958 until 1988. That's 30 years. During that time, we had Elvis [Presley], The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, on and on. In disco, you had Madonna, and then you had your hard rock, you had AC/DC, maybe us, a few others. Motown, all that great music. From 1988, until today, that's more than 30 years. Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can't. There are popular bands. BTS is very popular. All kinds of bands are very popular. That doesn't mean iconic and legacy and for all-time. It's different." - NME, 1/4/21...... Joe ElliottDef Leppard has announced an "unlocking date" for a new online collection of the band's artifacts, stories and rarities, curated by band members Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell. The "Def Leppard Vault," which will debut on Jan. 13 at the Def Leppard website., is set to gather the band's history in a digital museum, including special installations covering the band's history from 1977 up to the present day. Fans can sign up at website, after which they will receive a special code to access the various curiosities upon its opening. Def Leppard has described the concept of the vault in a new video on YouTube. - NME, 1/3/21...... Tom Jones has revealed he has been finishing a new record during the Covid-19 lockdown and he is looking forward to releasing it in 2021. Speaking on "Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny" show, the 80-year-old Sir Tom said: "I recorded an album just before the lockdown, at the beginning of the year. During lockdown, we've been mixing it and putting it together. That's what I'll be looking forward to." -, 1/2/21...... Journey guitarist Neal Schon says his band has signed on to headline the Lollapalooza 2021 festival in Chicago. "I'm dying to get on stage again," Schon told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" show on Dec. 30, before going on to seemingly reveal that the festival -- usually held in late July or early August -- would be being held in April. "We have our first date booked for Lollapalooza, and we're headlining in Chicago. And that's supposedly in April. Hopefully that'll not get pushed back, because the vaccine is finally here," Schon added. "And hopefully they start dispersing it very quickly so everybody can get back on their feet and can get out and hear music, 'cause that's what heals the world, I think," he continued. The annual festival is held at Grant Park in Chicago, Ill, and its 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns. - NME, 1/2/21...... Elvis Costello is ringing in 2021 with a new experimental, disconcerting track titled "Farewell, OK 2020" that he shared on YouTube on Jan. 1. Costello first teased something called "Farewell, OK" on Dec. 27 which -- judging by one fan's reaction to the singer's "Farewell, OK 2020" tweet -- sounded markedly different from the finished product. "Wait wtf happened to the original version lol," the person wrote on Twitter. Costello had shared a version of the song on Dec. 31 containing the lyrics: "Farewell, OK/ You'll be on way/ You'll be on your own now/ Much to my dismay" and "I can't go on/ After what you've done." However these lyrics do not appear to feature, or are at least not obviously discernible, on the "Farewell, OK 2020" version shared by Costello on Jan. 1. Judging by broken video links, the original version has now been wiped from record with no explanation as to why. Costello released his 31st studio album, Hey Clockface, in Oct. 2020. - NME, 1/2/21...... It was announced on Jan. 5 that Grammy Award-winning British songwriter Geoff Stephens passed away after a battle with pneumonia on Dec. 24. He was 86. Born in 1934 in London, Stephens kicked off his songwriting career in musical theatre, before eventually moving into pop music. He made his big break in the pop world with his 1964 single for The Applejacks, "Tell Me When," co-written with Les Reed, which landed in the UK Top Ten. One of his most notable successes, however, was when he formed The New Vaudeville Band to record his song "Winchester Cathedral." The song went on to earn him a Grammy Award in 1967 for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording. The track was subsequently covered by Frank Sinatra. Stephens also wrote "There's a Kind of Hush" for The New Vaudeville Band, which was later covered by Herman's Hermits and The Carpenters in later years. In addition to his group, Stephens also wrote or co-wrote successful songs for other high-profile artists including Tom Jones ('Daughter of Darkness'), Elvis Presley ("Heart of Rome") and The Hollies ("Sorry Suzanne"). Upon hearing of his death, fellow lyricist Sir Tim Rice celebrated Stephens' life on Twitter, describing him as a "major talent and lovely chap." - NME, 1/5/21...... Gerry MarsdenEnglish pop singer/composer Gerry Marsden, the frontman of the British '60s Invasion band Gerry and the Pacemakers, died on Jan. 3 after a short illness related to a heart infection. He was 78. Marsden's friend Pete Price announced the news on Instagram after speaking to Marsden's family. "I'm sending all the love in the world to (his wife) Pauline and his family," Price said. "You'll Never Walk Alone," referring to how Marsden turned a song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel" into one of the great anthems of soccer. Marsden was the lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers, who found fame in the Merseybeat scene in the 1960s. Though another Liverpool band -- the Beatles -- reached superstardom, Gerry and the Pacemakers will always have a place in the city's consciousness because of "You'll Never Walk Alone". "I thought what a beautiful song. I'm going to tell my band we're going to play that song," Marsden told the Associated Press in 2018 when recalling the first time he heard the song at the cinema. "So I went back and told my buddies we're doing a ballad called 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'" The Pacemakers' cover version was released in Oct. 1963 and became the band's third No. 1 hit on the British singles chart. It was adopted by fans of the soccer club Liverpool and is sung with spine-tingling passion before each home game of the 19-time English champion -- before coronavirus restrictions have meant that many matches have been played in empty stadiums. In 1962, Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed up the band and their first three releases reached No. 1 in 1963 -- "How Do You Do It?" and "I Like It" as well as "You'll Never Walk Alone." Later hits included "Ferry Cross the Mersey," and "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." The group split in 1967 and Marsden pursued a solo career before reforming the bank a few years later. Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer Holly Johnson, who is from Liverpool and covered "Ferry Across The Mersey" tweeted that Marsden was a "Liverpool legend." The Cavern Club in Liverpool, the music venue which was the venue for many of the Beatles' early gigs, described Marsden as a "legend" and a "very good friend." Beatles legend Paul McCartney tweeted that Gerry was "a mate from our early days in Liverpool." "He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You'll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people's hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music. My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I'll always remember you with a smile," McCartney added. Marsden is survived by his wife Pauline, whom he married in 1965, and two daughters. - AP, 1/3/21...... Former Mott the Hoople keyboardist Mick Bolton passed away in the early hours of Jan. 1 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 72. Bolton pursued his passion for music in the late 1960s, joining his first band, White Myth, in 1969, but left in 1971 to become a member of blues group Blind Eye, a support act for the likes of Slade, Queen, and Supertramp. In 1973, he auditioned to play piano for glam rockers Mott The Hoople, but missed out on the gig when Morgan Fisher was hired. Instead, Bolton was invited to play the Hammond organ, touring the U.S. with support from REO Speedwagon and Joe Walsh, and later hitting the road around the U.K., with Queen as their opening act. Bolton bowed out of the group in late 1973, and later briefly joined pop group Dexys Midnight Runners from 1985 to 1986. He also taught Linda McCartney how to play the keyboard, and co-wrote her song "Endless Days", which featured on her posthumous compilation album Wide Prairie in 1998. "One of the sweetest of men, and a fine musician. Sorry I have no more information yet other than he passed away suddenly in his sleep, earlier today. Our hearts go out to his wife Carol, his son, and all friends and family," Morgan Fisher posted on Facebook. - WENN/, 1/2/21...... Tanya RobertsActress Tanya Roberts, best known for roles in the James Bond film A View to a Kill and the TV series Charlie's Angels and That '70s Show, died on the evening of Jan. 4 in Los Angeles, a day after her publicist mistakenly announced her death. She was 65. Roberts died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized since Christmas Eve after collapsing in her home, her partner Lance O'Brien told The New York Times and Her spokesperson, Mike Pingel, said her death was from "a urinary tract infection, which spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver and then bloodstream." Roberts appeared in various TV pilots, series and cult films before going on to star in the fifth season of ABC's Charlie's Angels. She joined Cheryl Ladd and Jaclyn Smith as Julie Rogers, a character that replaced Shelley Hack's Tiffany Welles. Roberts then starred in the film The Beastmaster and other projects before landing the role as Bond girl Stacey Sutton in 1985's A View to a Kill, opposite Roger Moore's Agent 007. Roberts is also known for playing Midge Pinciotti, the mother of Laura Prepon's Donna, on That 70's Show from 1998 to 2004. Her other TV credits include The Love Boat, Silk Stalkings, Fantasy Island and The Blues Brothers Animated Series. She most recently appeared on television in Showtime's Barbershop: The Series in 2005. The actress, who is survived by her partner Lance O'Brien, was married to Barry Roberts from 1974 until his death in 2006. She had been hosting a series of live chats with fans during the Covid-19 pandemic up until her death. -, 1/3/21.

Friday, Jan. 1, 2021

"My New Year's resolution is to appreciate each moment of life as the treasure it is, to have a more joyful heart each day, and to contribute to a more peaceful world," says Tina Turner, 81, who just released her book Happiness Becomes You: A Guide to Changing Your Life for Good. The legendary singer adds: "During this time when so many of us are facing adversity, let's choose hope over despair, help our human family grow wiser, and change our world by changing ourselves." - Entertainment Weekly, 1/21...... CNN will premiere a new Jimmy Carter documentary, Rock & Roll President, on Jan. 3 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central. The documentary features intimate interviews that reveal how Pres. Carter's friendships with artists like The Allman Brothers Band, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin shaped and propelled the 39th president's life of service. - TV Guide, 12/21/20...... Patti SmithPatti Smith took over London's Piccadilly Circus billboards on New Year's Eve as part of a virtual performance that was streamed around the world on the YouTube channel of digital art platform Circa. The punk poetess paid tribute to Britain's NHS and healthcare workers who have died from COVID-19 in 2020. "It's just so sad when we lose people who work so hard to rebuild our world," Smith told the UK paper The Guardian. She also read a new poem dedicated to the environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg, who will turn 18 in January. Thunberg first came to global prominence in 2018, after her first United Nations address warning of the dangers of global warming. Smith also shared her feelings about outgoing U.S. president Donald Trump and how she felt relieved about the victory of former vice-president Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris. "It's been a terrible atmosphere to live in," Smith said of Trump's tenure. "You try to do your work and not let [politics] permeate your consciousness daily but it does. It's very insidious." Going on to note that she's about the same age as 74-year-old Trump, Smith added: "I have encountered him in New York through the years and found him a horrible, narcissistic person and just a bad businessman. I've seen the debris of his deals." - NME, 12/29/20...... Appearing in a new documentary about Scottish soccer star Denis Law, Rod Stewart revealed he once conned his way out of massive hotel phone bills by convincing staff they must have made a mistake. Stewart recalled one phone bill he was handed as he checked out of a U.S. hotel in late 1973 during his tenure with the Faces. "To get to the 1974 World Cup in Germany, we had to beat Czechoslovakia," Stewart, 75, recalled. "This was another game I didn't see, because I was working with the Faces, but I remember it like it was yesterday... I used to phone up, and my dad would put the phone by the television and I would listen for the whole game," he went on, adding: "Then they would send me a bill for hundreds of quid (pounds)." He continued: "I would say, 'What person in his right mind would be on a phone call for 90-odd minutes?' and they would say, 'Oh, yes, I suppose it is a mistake, Mr. Stewart', and I would get a bill for 10 quid." Stewart proved to be the Scottish team's good luck charm in 1973 -- they beat Czechoslovakia and made it to the 1974 World Cup, but despite only giving up a goal in the first round in a 1-1 draw with Yugoslavia, they didn't move on. -, 12/31/20...... Elton JohnElton John has made an appearance on the first episode of Prince Harry and Megan Markle's new podcast, Archewell Audio. The royal couple launched their streaming service in the final week of 2020, and their first episode sees them reflecting on the events of 2020 alongside "a few friends and a lot of other folks" that the pair "admire," aiming to "get their thoughts on what they learned from 2020." In his segment, Elton alled 2020 "the worst year I've ever known," while hoping that the pandemic means "that we have become better people" and shared a "hope for healing" in the following years. The first episode can be streamed on Meanwhile, in an interview with Record Collector magazine, John complained that he'd "kill [himself]" if he ever has to play his No. 1 1973 hit "Crocodile Rock" again. "I'm lucky to have so many great songs to play every night. But there is a point in time where you think, 'I don't really want to play this anymore'," Sir Elton said. "There are things like 'Original Sin' or '(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket' that I haven't really played before -- not enough anyway. But if I have to go back and play 'Crocodile Rock' again, it's like, 'I'm gonna kill myself. So, after I've finished this tour, I don't want to play some of these songs any more. I'd like to do something like Kate Bush, where I can do a show and play some of these songs that are deep cuts." John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" began the 2020 chart year with 10 shows in North America, however it was derailed in March by the coronavirus pandemic. In September, he announced the tour would go on hiatus until January 2022. - New Musical Express/, 12/30/20...... With his new release McCartney III debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Album Sales Chart dated Jan. 2, Paul McCartney has scored his third chart-topping LP as a solo artist, and the vinyl edition of McCartney III has scored the third-largest sales week for a vinyl album since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began tracking music sales in 1991. McCartney III arrived with 107,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 24 following its Dec. 18 release, according to Nielsen Music. It follows his previous No. 1 albums Memory Almost Full (June 2007) and Egypt Station (Sept. 2018). Billboard's Top Album Sales chart, which was started in 1991, ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. - Billboard, 12/30/20...... In a new interview with, Sammy Hagar opened up about his final phone call with Eddie Van Halen before the guitarist died at age 65 in October 2020 following a long battle with cancer. "Poor Eddie, broke my heart, but thank God we connected before [he died]," said the 73-year-old Hagar. "I heard he was in bad shape and I wanted to reach out; I finally said, 'I'm just calling him.'" Hagar said he called Eddie's brother, manager, and other friends in an attempt to "be his friend [and] bury the hatchet, but they never got it done." Hagar says he was eventually connected to Eddie through their mutual friend, comedian George Lopez. "George is a dear friend and he was Eddie's friend and he said, 'Sammy, Eddie's in bad shape, he loves you brother, you need to reach out.' I said, 'Give me his f---ing number and I'll make sure I call him,'" Hagar said. After finally connecting, the former bandmates instantly restored their bond and had a meaningful conversation. "I said, 'Why don't you respond? I've been reaching out,' and Ed said, 'Why didn't you call me? Don't f---ing call my brother, f---ing call me!'" Hagar recalled. "And I said, 'I love you man,' and it was like, boom, we were good. It was a beautiful thing." Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985, and the band enjoyed its most successful period with multiplatinum hit albums such as 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance. After band tension forced him out, he returned for a brief two-year stint from 2003-2005. - Variety/Billboard, 12/27/20...... Billy JoelElton's former touring co-headliner Billy Joel took to Instagram on Dec. 29 to share a video clip of his 5-year-old daughter Della belting out "Happy Birthday" to her singer sister Alexa Ray Joel in honor of her 35th birthday, proving she, too, has the potential to follow in her family's showbiz footsteps. Joel captioned the video "Happy Birthday to our big sister @alexarayjoel. You have been singing us lullabies since we were born. We are so excited to finally get to sing to you on your birthday. We love you more than words can say!," and the message was signed from Della and her 3-year-old sister Remy, who Joel shares with his wife of five years, Alexis Roderick. Responding to the sweet surprise, the birthday girl replied, "Aww My Little Diva...! love you rosebud, thanks for serenading me." Joel shares Alexa Ray with his second wife, Christie Brinkley, with whom he was married from 1985 to 1994, and before tying the knot with the model, the music icon was wed to Elizabeth Weber from 1973 to 1982. The 71-year-old Piano Man also posted a clip of his young daughters sweetly dancing to Taylor Swift's hit "You Need to Calm Down." "Merry Christmas from the Joels. Billy, Alexis, Della and Remy," he wrote. "Rockin' Out to @taylorswift on Christmas morning." -, 12/31/20...... Alice Cooper and Guns 'N Roses guitarist Slash are among some of the biggest rock stars to appear in the trailer for forthcoming documentary film Rock Camp, which documents the famous "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp" which for more than two decades has given people the chance to jam with and learn from rock stars. Started by producer David Fishof in 1996, the camp sees the rockers teach and inspire campers over the course of four days, concluding with attendees and counsellors performing alongside one another in a huge concert. In the trailer for Rock Camp, former camp counsellor Cooper can be seen giving an interview in which he reflects on the people and the nature of the camp, saying, "You would have a 15-year-old kid playing drums, and a dentist on guitar. If this band were a real band it would be the weirdest band ever, but cool!" The film chronicles the experiences of four campers as they learn to perform from some of rock's greatest artists, and its trailer has been shared on YouTube. It will receive a virtual cinema release on Jan. 15, 2021, before being made available on demand on Feb. 16, 2021. - NME, 12/30/20...... The creators of the rock 'n' roll "mockumentary" This Is Spinal Tap have set up a licensing body to exclusively manage the cult film's rights. Rob Reiner, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean have set up a wholly-owned entity to manage the licensing of the film and all rights related to it that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. It comes after the film's creators settled their rights dispute with French media group Vivendi and its StudioCanal division, in which Harry Shearer alleged in a 2016 suit that despite decades of cult success, the creators had received just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income to show for their work on the iconic 1984 film. In 2019, the creators settled their legal dispute with Universal Music over the film's soundtrack recordings, and the cast of the film reunited for a special screening and live performance to celebrate its 35th anniversary, with Elvis Costello even making a surprise appearance. - NME, 12/29/20...... Petula Clark1960s hitmaker Petula Clark says she's not happy that the man responsible for the Christmas morning explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn., played her No. 1 1964 hit "Downtown" ahead of the detonation, in which 63-year-old local resident Anthony Quinn Warner apparently perished in the blast. "I feel the need to express my shock and disbelief at the Christmas Day explosion in our beloved Music City. I love Nashville and its people. Why this violent act -- leaving behind it such devastation?," Clark said in a Facebook post. The English songstress continued: "A few hours later -- I was told that the music in the background of that strange announcement -- was me -- singing 'Downtown!' Of all the thousands of songs -- why this one?." She added that "millions of people all over the world have been uplifted by this joyful song," the original version of which can be heard on YouTube. The singer cited the opening line of the 1964 hit tune -- "When you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go, downtown" -- before adding: "Perhaps you can read something else into these words -- depending on your state of mind. It's possible." Clark ended her post by saying, "I would like to wrap my arms around Nashville -- give you all a hug -- and wish you Love, a Happy and Health New Year. And, as we say sometimes in the U., steady the Buffs! (Look it up!)." Warner's motive in the bombing, which injured three people, is still unclear and officials have said it is too early for it to be discussed publicly. - NME, 12/30/20...... Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has shared a photo of his band wearing face masks on Twitter and a message urging Kiss fans to do the same. Simmons posted the picture of the band without their conventional face paint before they travelled to Dubai for their Dec. 31 "Kiss Off 2020" livestreamed concert spectacular. "Wear your masks. Even if it's only as a courtesy. If you yawn, or sneeze, you don't think twice about covering your mouth. Do the rest of us a favor! Mask Up!... Besides, it looks cool," he wrote. His post comes after he recently called on people to stop complaining about being in lockdown during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "Right now, the pandemic is not fun," Simmons told Canada's K-97 radio station. "It is devastating for families who've lost loved ones." He also criticized those choosing not to wear a mask during the pandemic: "Be kind to each other... I know the nerves are up, 'cause we're all scared -- what's gonna happen and all that stuff. It's okay... It's all gonna get better. And just be kind to each other. That doesn't take much effort. And wear your goddamn masks. It ain't about you." Meanwhile, former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley shot down rumours that he might be rejoining his former bandmates for their New Year's Eve concert in Dubai. "Contrary to online statements, Ace Frehley was not asked to and will not be appearing with KISS at their New Year's Eve concert in Dubai," a statement posted on Frehley's Facebook page read. "Ace is currently in Nashville, TN recording his new studio album of all original material. Ace wishes all of his fans a happy and prosperous New Year!" Frehley has stated that he might be open to a reunion with Kiss at some point -- if the price was right. "....Everything is delayed at this juncture, so who knows...? Unless they come forward and the price is right, you're not gonna see me anywhere close by," he told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation" with Eddie Trunk. - NME/, 12/29/20...... It has been reported that sales of vinyl LP's had their biggest sales week in history in the US, with a pre-Christmas rush of vinyl albums seeing nearly 2 million LPs sold across the country. 1.842 million vinyl LPs were purchased in the US in the week leading up to Christmas, which ended on Dec. 24, according to Billboard. It broke the record set just one week before (Dec. 10-17), where 1.445 million were sold. The new record is the biggest weekly sales of vinyl in the country since records began in 1991. Meanwhile in the UK, sales of vinyl look set to hit a new three-decade high as fans appear to be using their time in lockdown to beef up their record collections. Sales of vinyl there have gone up almost 10% this year, which puts it on track to break the £100 million mark by the end of 2020, making for the best year since 1990. - NME, 12/29/20...... Alto ReedAlto Reed, the longtime saxophonist for Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, died on Dec. 30 after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 72. Born Thomas Neal Cartmell on May 16, 1948, the gifted Detroit musician began playing with Seger in 1971 before joining the Silver Bullet Band three years later. He's widely recognized for his saxophone solo in "Turn the Page" from the band's Back in '72 album, and "Old Time Rock and Roll" from Stranger in Town, the latter of which became a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979 and soundtracked an iconic scene in Tom Cruise's 1983 film Risky Business. As a member of the Silver Bullet Band, Reed won a 1980 Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for Against the Wind, the group's fourth studio album which topped the album charts for six weeks in the spring of 1980. It was their only No. 1 album. Aside from his work with the Silver Bullet Band, Reed performed alongside Grand Funk Railroad, Ted Nugent, Little Feat, Foghat, Dave Mason, Spencer Davis, the Blues Brothers, George Thorogood, Robin Gibb and the Motor City Horns. He also co-led the Reed & Dickinson Band with Steve Dickinson and the pair released an album together titled Tonight We Ride. "Whether it was 'Turn the Page,' 'Mainstreet,' or 'Old Time Rock and Roll,' audiences roared every time he played his part. In our band, Alto was the rock star," Bob Seger said upon learning of Reed's passing. - Billboard, 12/30/20...... Bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice, regarded as one of the all-time greats of the genre, died suddenly on Christmas day. He was 69. Rice was widely celebrated for his skill as a flatpicker, a fast-paced style of guitar playing, as well as his highly influential style which was itself indebted to jazz. Rice, who grew up in California before moving to Kentucky, released his first album Guitar in 1973, later writing and recording as a band with the Tony Rice Unit and the Bluegrass Album Band. His collaborations over the years ranged from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia to guitarist Norman Blake and mandolin player David Grisman. Rice was diagnosed with dysphonia in 1994, which prevented him from singing for most of the rest of his life. The musician made his last ever public guitar performance at the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Fame. - NME, 12/27/20...... Phyllis McGuire, the lead singer and last remaining member of the 1950s trio known as The McGuire Sisters, died in her Las Vegas home on Dec. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 89. Her path to fame began when she and her two sisters, Christine and Dorothy McGuire, appeared on Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts in 1952, winning the contest. Following their competition success, the three vocalists began to perform on variety shows and travel the country as their records rose in popularity. -, 12/31/20...... Dawn WellsActress Dawn Wells, best known for parlaying her girl-next-door charm and wholesome beauty into enduring TV fame as the sweet-natured desert island castaway Mary Ann on the classic 1960s sitcom Gilligan's Island, died on Dec. 30 after losing a battle with COVID-19. She was 82. Born in Reno, Nev. on Oct. 18, 1938, Wells studied theater at the University of Washington, and headed to Hollywood after her beauty pageant success. Wells beat out several actresses including 1960s bombshell Raquel Welch for her role in Gilligan's Island, in which she played Kansas farm girl Mary Ann Summers, one of seven castaways stranded after their boat, the S.S. Minnow, became battered in a storm during what was supposed to be a three-hour tour from Hawaii. The series ran for three seasons from 1964-1967 and its 98 episodes invariably involved their efforts in vain to get off the island, even as a parade of guest stars dropped in and had no trouble getting out. The show, which also starred Bob Denver as the zany Gilligan, Alan Hale Jr. as "The Skipper," Jim Backus as millionaire Thurston Howell III, Natalie Schafer as his posh wife, Russell Johnson as "The Professor," and Tina Louise as movie star Ginger, drew the wrath of critics but its innocent fun caught on with viewers at a time of tumult in America after the assassination of a president and during the rise of the civil rights movement and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Wells, playing a cheerful brunette Midwestern farm girl, appeared in the series wearing short shorts, midriff tops and pigtails. Louise, playing a buxom red-headed sensation akin to Marilyn Monroe, wore slinky, form-fitting dresses. The two inspired what became an enduring pop culture question for men: "Ginger or Mary Ann?" In an interview with Forbes magazine, Wells said she was paid $750 for her work on the show and "didn't really get a dime" in residuals, adding, "Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone." Like some of her co-stars, she suffered from typecasting in Hollywood in the years after the series ended, appearing in TV guest spots and stage work before taking roles in B-movies. Wells also appeared in three made-for-TV movies based on the Gilligan's Island concept, and lent her voice to the animated Gilligan's Planet (1982) in which the castaways become stranded on a far-away planet. She also capitalized on her fame by writing, Mary Ann's Gilligan's Island Cookbook, and later, for the 50th anniversary of the series in 2014, the book, What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life. Following her death, Tina Louise, who at age 86 is now the sole survivor of the cast members, said in a statement to CNN: "I was sad to learn of Dawn's passing, I will always remember her kindness to me. We shared in creating a cultural landmark that has continued to bring comfort and smiles to people during this difficult time. I hope that people will remember her the way that I do -- always with a smile on her face." - WENN/, 12/30/20.

Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020

Foreigner has announced they will be heading back to the stage in March to perform as part of the first socially-distanced music festival in America, The Frontyard Festival at the outdoor Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, Fla. "We are so happy to be able to perform live again because we and our fans really miss the experience," current lead singer Kelly Hansen shared in a statement. "We saw how the team at Dr. Phillips Center cared about the health of their audiences and innovated socially-distant concerts, and that's why we chose it as our first show for 2021," he added. Kelly continued: "There's nothing like it anywhere else in the country. We are so excited to connect with our fans in a safe manner, and can't wait to play live again at the Frontyard Festival." Foreigner will play both nights of the festival, on Mar. 23 and 24. The specially-designed event is aimed at reigniting the live entertainment scene after the Covid shutdowns and will take place over six months at the spacious, purpose-built Dr Phillips Center. Attendees at the venue will be able to enjoy the shows in hundreds of private, elevated boxes, located six feet apart from one another. Guests will be required to undergo temperature checks to enter the arena and wear face masks whenever they step outside their boxes. -, 12/22/20...... KissA coffee company known as Dead Sled Coffee announced on Instagram on Dec. 24 that it is teaming up with Kiss for a unique Kiss coffee flavor that is set to arrive in 2021. Dead Sled Coffee, which describes itself as "an independent business born from a desire to bridge the gap between coffee elite," did not share much else about the new venture other than to say the coffee is "the Officially Licensed @kissonline coffee... coming in 2021." Dead Sled has previously teamed up with Pennsylvania hardcore band Wisdom In Chains, New York ska group The Toasters, and also a number of TV and film characters for custom coffee products. Meanwhile, Kiss are set to "Kiss 2020 Goodbye" with a special livestreamed gig on New Year's Eve at the Atlantis hotel and resort in Dubai. Promising "the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year," Kiss will take the stage at 5:00 p.m. BST on the last day of the year with tickets ranging from $40 (£30) for a standard ticket, all the way up to $1,000 (£750) for deluxe tickets which includes all manner of Kiss merchandise and memorabilia. "To send off 2020 in their larger-than-life style on New Year's Eve, the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, multi-platinum selling band is reigniting the FIRE and roaring back to life!...The massive stage production and FREE pre-show will be brought directly into your living room at 9 pm LIVE from Atlantis Dubai on December 31st!," a statement announcing the gig said. The statement added: "Filmed with more than 50 cameras and 360-degree views, this show produced by Landmarks Live can be seen globally with ticketing technology and livestream powered by TIXR and experienced like no other virtual concert before. You're invited to spend New Year's Eve with The Demon, The Starchild, The Spaceman, and The Catman as they rock out of 2020 and roll into 2021... all night!" In still more Kiss-related news, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford revealed in a new interview that the best piece of advice he's ever received was from Kiss bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons. "Priest were out on this big tour -- we were invited to open up for Kiss -- and I was just talking to Gene about the music business, and he goes, 'Let me just say this: It doesn't matter what they say about you, as long as they've got your picture and they spell your name right'," Halford told Twisted Sister member Jay Jay French his "The French Connection" podcast. - NME, 12/24/20...... In an interview with Total Guitar magazine, Queen's Brian May has opened up about the time he worked on a sci-fi themed EP called "Star Fleet Project" with the late Eddie Van Halen in 1983. "A couple of days after I heard the news about Eddie, I went back to 'Star Fleet'," May said. "I started revisiting all the feelings I had when we were in the studio doing that, and it sort of healed my soul a bit. I thought, 'Yeah, this is what I should be doing at this time.'" The three-song project, which was released under the Brian May + Friends moniker, features a heavy blues rock sound, with REO Speedwagon drummer Alan Gratzer and session musicians Phil Chen and Fred Mandel. During the recording sessions for the "Star Fleet Project" EP, May and Van Halen switched guitars, but as May explained, "It's basically all in the fingers at the end of the day. No matter what guitar Eddie picked up, it sounded like him." The lead track was a rearranged cover of the theme song to the children's TV show Star Fleet, and the other two songs on the EP, which has been shared on YouTube, were the originals "Blues Breaker" and "Let Me Out." - NME, 12/22/20...... Michael JacksonThe famous and sometimes infamous Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., near Santa Barbara that once belonged to Michael Jackson has sold to a billionaire for $22 million (£16m), which is $78 million (£57m) less than its 2016 asking price. Ronald Burkle, a billionaire businessman specializing in the mergers and acquisitions of American supermarkets, paid $22 million for the 2,700-acre property according to the Wall Street Journal, a significantly less amount than previous asking prices for the ranch which was first put up for sale for $100 million (£73m) in 2016. A year later, its price had dropped to $67 million (£49m), then the following year, the asking price had fallen even further to $31 million (£22m). The buyer reportedly views Neverland as a "land banking opportunity, having chosen not to open up a new branch of the private members club Soho House, of which is is the majority shareholder, near an adjoining lake to the ranch. Jackson purchased the property in 1988 for $19.5 million (£15m), naming it "Neverland" after the magical kingdom in Peter Pan, and turning it into his own private amusement park, building three ailroads on the property, an electric train with 100 feet of track, and a ferris wheel. Other highlights included a pirate ship, a roller coaster, bumper cars and an arcade. When Jackson died in 2009, rides and many of the exotic animals that lived on the ranch were removed. -, 12/25/20...... Speaking in his new The Public Image Is Rotten documentary, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) says during his Sex Pistols days he was terrified of falling asleep and then not being able to remember anything when he woke up the next day after losing his memory after a serious case of meningitis when he was just seven-years-old. "There was just too much temptation. There was a lot of that cocaine floating around which can screw up a lot of things. That was a hard one to walk away from," Lyon said. "For me, it's things that keep me awake which are the things I'm interested in. The longer I'm awake the less chance of waking up from a sleep not knowing who I am. I never, ever want to go through that period of being in the hospital and not knowing who I was again," he added. Lydon has previously shared how he is now a full-time caretaker for his wife who is afficted with dementia. "Nora has Alzheimer' ... I am her full-time carer and I won't let anyone mess up with her head. For me the real person is still there. That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life. It's unfortunate that she forgets things, well, don't we all?," he said. -, 12/23/20...... Seventies New Wave pioneers Talking Heads are among the acts tapped to receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Grammys. The Recording Academy announced its 2021 Special Merit Awards on Dec. 22, with other Lifetime Achievement honorees to include Salt-N-Pepa, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne and Selena. The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards takes place on Jan. 31, 2021, with details on exactly how it will be presented in the coronavirus era to be announced soon. - NME, 12/22/20...... Neil DiamondIn the fourth week of December Neil Diamond shared a new "global singalong" video for his beloved hit "Sweet Caroline" on YouTube. Compiled from footage of thousands of fans who submitted videos of themselves singing along to the karaoke classic, the new video follows Diamond's latest album with the London Symphony Orchestra, Classic Diamonds, which is in the running for the UK's Christmas number one album. In March, the award-winning musician and composer shared a comedic public service announcement to those in lockdown during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, using the lyrics for "Sweet Caroline" to urge people to wash their hands thoroughly. Performing in front of the fire at home along with his dog, Diamond began: "I know we're going through a rough time right now, but I love you, and I think maybe if we sing together we might feel a little bit better." He then sang a version of "Sweet Caroline," which featured the adapted lyrics: "Hands, washing hands, reaching out, don't touch me, I won't touch you." In 2018, Diamond announced "with great reluctance and disappointment" he was retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease although he would "continue his writing, recording and development of new projects." - NME, 12/22/20...... In an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe to promote his new album McCartney III, Paul McCartney said one of his favorite Beatles track was the obscure B-side to "Let It Be," "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)." "[It's] a zany, zany little B-side that nobody knows, but we had so much fun making it," McCartney said. "But there's a lot of songs that I love of the Beatles. I think 'Strawberry Fields' is a great song, I think, 'Hey Jude' worked out great. I've got a lot of favorite songs. 'Blackbird' I love. 'Eleanor Rigby' I love," he added. Sir Paul says that "Let It Be" is probably the Beatles track he's listened to most throughout his life. "It's the most ubiquitous. It sort of got everywhere. Ubiquitous from the Latin, ubi quo, meaning 'everywhere.' Come on, give it up," he said in the interview, which can be viewed in full on YouTube. Meanwhile, a Cort-made acoustic guitar played by Macca and actor Idris Elba during a recent BBC special to mark the release of McCartney III has gone up for auction to benefit the S.T.O.R.M charity, which provides support and shelter to those suffering from domestic abuse especially during the tumultuous coronavirus-enforced lockdown. S.T.O.R.M will receive 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the guitar, which already has bids that well exceed its initial £500 - £1,000 estimate. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/22/20...... In other Beatles-related news, as Ringo Starr prepares for the release of a new EP called "Zoom In" on Mar. 19 featuring contributions from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Dave Grohl and Sheryl Crow among others, a French Ringo and Beatles fan has compiled a database of Starr's many decades of work with his All-Starr Band. Webmaster Victor Baissait's Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band website features info on each All-Starr Band concert from 1989 to present, the personnel on each tour and song, setlists, tour maps, and even bootlegs info. Baissait, who also runs the popular French Paul McCartney site, is asking Ringo fans to contribute any concert video, audio, setlist, review, etc. they might have to help complete his already impressive All-Starr Band database. - 12/23/20.

Leslie WestLeslie West, the singer and guitarist for Mountain who were among the acts to play the legendary Woodstock festival in 1969, died on Dec. 23 after a brief illness. He was 75. West's brother Larry West Weinstein had shared news of his brother's rapidly declining health in a Facebook post on Dec. 20. "I am asking for all your prayers. Jenni [Leslie's wife] is by his side in Florida but it's not looking good. Thanks Jenni, he wouldn't have made it this far without you. His heart gave out and he's on a ventilator. May not make it through the night," Weinstein posted. West reportedly entered cardiac arrest on Dec. 21 and was rushed to a hospital near his home in Daytona, Fla. He reportedly did not regain consciousness. Born Leslie Weinstein in Queens, N.Y., on Oct. 22, 1945, West founded Mountain in 1969, alongside Cream associate and producer Felix Pappalardi, N.D. Smart and Steve Knight. Mountain are perhaps best known for their Southern-rock hit "Mississippi Queen," co-written by West, which appeared on Mountain's 1970 debut album, Climbing!. The song was the group's biggest chart hit in the U.S., peaking at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. More recently "Mississippi Queen" was covered by Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin as part of their "Hanukkah Cover Song Series," which celebrated the religious holiday by paying tribute to Jewish artists. Mountain also had the distinguished honour of performing at Woodstock in 1969. In one of their earliest appearances as a band, the group joined a legendary lineup which featured Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin and more. "Woodstock was just our third job, and it was quite a thrill," West once told Rolling Stone magazine. "Mountain got on the show because our booking agent also handled Jimi Hendrix... I think I had the most amplifiers of anybody there. It was paralyzing because that stage, that setting, was some kind of natural amphitheater. The sound was so loud and shocking that I got scared. But once I started playing, I just kept going because I was afraid to stop." Leslie WestAlthough Mountain's 11-song set went unrepresented in the original film documentary and soundtrack album, it did figure into the Woodstock II album and the extended home-video cut of the movie. Mountain disbanded for the first time in 1972, before reforming periodically in the years that followed. During one of Mountain's hiatuses, West formed a supergroup with Cream bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Corky Laing called West, Bruce and Laing. West was often cited as one of the all-time great rock guitarists, but he downplayed his ability in a 1987 interview with Guitar World magazine. "I'm no great guitarist technically," he said. "I only play with these two fingers [index and ring]. But you wanna know why people remember me? If you take a hundred players and put them in a room, 98 or 99 of 'em are gonna sound the same; the one who plays different, has some of his own, that's the one you're gonna remember." West had appeared almost unrecognizably thin in recent years, after being big enough at the outset of Mountain's career that the band was said to have been named after his hefty size. He even named his second solo album in 1975 The Great Fatsby. In 2011, he had part of his right leg amputated as a result of complications from type II diabetes. "I lost my leg, but at least it wasn't one of my arms," West said in a 2016 interview. "Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation right now." The last studio album under the Mountain name, Masters of War, which consisted of Bob Dylan covers, was released in 2007. West continued doing live shows under his own name as recently as the fall of 2019, and also became known to new generations via his appearances on Howard Stern's radio show. Paul Stanley, Tom Morello, Slash and Twisted Sister's Dee Snider are among those to have paid tribute to West following news of his passing. "So very sad. Leslie's tone could stop a rhino in a full charge. Mountain sound was massive. Leslie was a warm and lovely guy. Sad," Paul Stanley tweeted. -, 12/23/20.

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020

Iggy Pop is kissing off a worldly disastrous 2020 with a track called "Dirty Little Virus," an ode to the rapidly spreading pandemic. The song, which can be streamed on YouTube, features lyrics like "Grandfather's dead/Got Trump instead," and "She's only 19, but she can kill you/ She ain't my type/ But it is what it is." Iggy also explained what motivated him to write "Dirty Little Virus": "I was moved to write a direct lyric, not something too emotional or deep, more like journalism. If there was still a Man of the Year, it would be the virus, so I wrote the lyric," he said. - Billboard, 12/21/20...... In related news, Van Morrison is continuing his campaign against what he feels are harsh Covid restrictions with a new song called "Stand & Deliver," and has recruited Eric Clapton to contribute. "Do you wanna wear these chains/ Until you're lying in the grave?," Morrison and Clapton sing on the track released on Dec. 18. The song supports Morrison's Save Live Music campaign, and all proceeds will benefit the Celtic crooner's Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which aims to assist musicians who are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. Morrison has also shared "Stand And Deliver" on YouTube. - Billboard, 12/18/20...... Frank ZappaA San Diego-based indie brewing company named Duckfoot Brewery Co. has teamed up with the estate of Frank Zappa to create a new tribute beer, hilariously named "Why Does It Hurt When IPA?," a play on the 1979 Zappa Joe's Garage track "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" Described as containing "notes of passion fruit, spice and the rocker's favorite, grapefruit," Why Does It Hurt When IPA? features never-before-published photos of Frank on the cans and was launched on Dec. 21 to mark Zappa's birthday. Duckfoot's co-founder, Matt DelVecchio, says he's a Zappa fan from childhood and also a longtime friend of a member of the Zappa Plays Zappa touring band fronted by Frank's son, Ahmet Zappa. "Stay home, be safe and enjoy Why Does It Hurt When IPA? responsibly," Ahmet said in a press release. "All the Zappa Trust proceeds from this batch will go to support the music community in need. Music is the Best!," he added. U.S. residents can purchase the beer at - Billboard, 12/21/20...... As he embarks on a promotional campaign for his new album McCartney III, Paul McCartney appeared on the CBS show Sunday Morning on Dec. 20 and reminisced about the lasting legacy of the Beatles and whether the Fab Four might've eventually set aside their differences and reunited. "[John Lennon] was showing no signs of slowing up. You know, he was still making great music," McCartney said of Lennon's newly re-energized solo career. "The question is: Would we have ever got back together again? I don't know. We don't know." McCartney also discussed how he recorded McCartney III in isolation at his Sussex studio earlier in 2020. "It's not like working with the band, because I know what I want to hear, and I don't even have to tell anyone," he said. "I just said, 'Let's do some drums.' I'll sit on the drums and I'll think, 'OK, I wanted doo doo doo ... doo doo dah.' So, it's all in my head," he added. The full interview can be viewed on YouTube. Meanwhile, Macca has just shared a video for "Find My Way," a track from McCartney III, on YouTube. Directed by Roman Coppola, the video shows Paul playing every instrument on the song -- including guitar, drums and piano -- in a collage of footage taken by a staggering 46 cameras. Much like 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II, the former Beatle is at the helm of every instrument on every one of McCartney III's songs. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/20/20...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, director Peter Jackson has shared a preview clip of his upcoming documentary The Beatles: Get Back on YouTube. Announced on the Beatles' official Twitter account, the film aims to "take audiences back in time to The Beatles' intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history" and has already had its release date moved from 2020 to August 27, 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Jackson says that he and the producers "wanted to give the fans of The Beatles all over the world a holiday treat, so we put together this five-minute sneak peek at our upcoming theatrical film The Beatles: Get Back... We hope it will bring a smile to everyone's faces and some much-needed joy at this difficult time." - NME, 12/21/20...... Neil Young returned to his hometown of Omemee, Ont. recently for a new performance of his classic "Comes a Time" in an empty theatre. "Coronation Hall in Omemee, Ontario, is a wonderful old theater," Young wrote on his Neil Young Archives website. "It holds memories of my family, all together in that little town. My dad played Coronation Hall once in a local show as my mother, my brother, and I sat in the audience... I know this time of year is going to be hard for a lot of us as we long to be with our loved ones. Our hearts go out to all of you. We send much love and a Coronation Hall quarantine 'Comes a Time'," he added. The "Comes a Time" performance, one of a host of new and archived footage of Young on his website that's free to watch until the end of the year, can be watched on his Archives site. - NME, 12/22/20...... Eddie Van Halen has been posthumously honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.K.'s National GUITAR Museum. "Several of the people we've honoured over the past decade have left us in the years since we presented them with the award," a statement reads from the museum, which has previously honoured the likes of B.B. King, Tony Iommi and Glen Campbell. "In this case, however, the sadness of Eddie Van Halen's passing is somehow harder to accept. Several of the people we've honoured over the past decade have left us in the years since we presented them with the award. In this case, however, the sadness of Eddie Van Halen's passing is somehow harder to accept. Thanks, Eddie. We only wish we could deliver this in person," it added. Meanwhile, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen has said the iconic hard rock VH band will never return without his father, who passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer in October. Replying to a since-deleted Tweet on Dec. 17 from one of many people asking whether he would reform the band, Wolfgang said: "I can confidently say I will NEVER replace my father in Van Halen and tour around the world disrespecting my father's memory. No EVH = No VH. Get the f--- over it, but if you can't, just quit bothering me about it and demanding I do it when I've made it very clear how I feel." -, 12/21/20...... Al GreenSoul singer Al Green has just released his first new recording in a decade, a cover of Freddy Fender's 1975 hit "Before the Next Teardrop Falls". Green recorded the song with Matt Ross-Spang in 2018, a decade after his last LP release, 2008's Lay It Down. "As a lifelong Memphian, I've always been a massive fan of Al Green and his Producer Willie Mitchell," Ross-Spang said at the time. "Together they created some of the most enduring soul music. Sonically speaking, Willie and Al also really invented a distinct sound that separated them from Stax or Motown." The cover was released in 2018 as part of Amazon Music's "Produced By" series, and two years on, is now available on other music platforms. Green's cover of "Teardrop" can be heard at YouTube. Although Green is currently on an extended hiatus, he has kept up an active presence on social media, regularly posting on Twitter and Facebook. - NME, 12/21/20...... Bruce Springsteen has announced on Instagram the details of a mammoth new 24-disc box set from his Darkness on the Edge of Town era. "Eight of the finest performances from Bruce Springsteen's 1978 tour are now available in a limited, collectible box set," the announcement aid of the new release, which is due on Feb. 1, 2021. "This 24-CD set contains all five of the legendary radio broadcasts on the Darkness tour: The Roxy in L.A., The Agora in Cleveland, The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ, Fox Theatre in Atlanta and Winterland in San Francisco. Rounding out the collection are the second shows in Passaic and San Francisco, plus the December 8 show in Houston, Texas. A limited number of empty boxes are also available to hold previously purchased CDs," it added. - NME, 12/19/20...... Bob Dylan has announced a new box set of material recorded in 1970 with George Harrison to celebrate its 50 year anniversary. 1970 (50th Anniversary Collection), a 3-disc set, is due on Feb. 26, 2021 via Columbia/Legacy and features outtakes from Dylan's sessions for studio albums New Morning and Self Portrait, as well as his infamous 1970 studio session with Harrison. Artwork and a full tracklisting can be viewed on Instagram. - NME, 12/19/20...... Appearing on cable news channel CNN on Dec. 17, Cher candidly discussed the difficulty surrounding her son Chaz Bono's transition from female to male in 2009. Cher, 74, remembered the extremely difficult moment when she called his answering machine and heard his old voice. She also looked back on the light-bulb moment when she realised she hadn't "lost" her only child -- previously known as Chastity -- but that he had simply changed "shape." "It was very unlike me to, in the beginning, have a problem with Chaz being gay, and it disappeared like that, Cher said of her initial struggle to accept Chaz's transition. "But it wasn't easy. I remember calling, and the old [voicemail] message was on the phone, and that was very difficult," she added. Chaz, a successful writer and actor, was also the first transgender star to appear on Dancing With The Stars in 2011. He is currently in a relationship with former child star, Shara Blue Mathes, and is "unbelievably happy," according to his mom. Cher is now a staunch supporter of transgender rights and recently spoke out following a report that Pres. Donald Trump's administration is considering implementing a policy which would eliminate the recognition of transgender individuals. -, 12/19/20...... Former Talking Heads frontman has told England's New Musical Express that he is hopeful about an America after the presidency of Donald Trump, though he adds its "too early to celebrate. "For me Trump was not so much a shock; we knew who he is," Byrne told NME. "He was around New York before that, in the reality show [The Apprentice], we knew what kind of character he was. What shocked me was how quickly the Republican party all fell into line behind him, behind this guy who's obviously a racist, misogynist liar and everything else. But it's kind of encouraging -- although it's taken four years and with some it's only with the prospect of him being gone -- that quite a few have been breaking ranks. There are some possibilities of bridge building being held out." Byrne then warned that it is "too early to celebrate" following Trump's loss to former vice-president Joe Biden the election, discussing the current Republican control of the Senate. "[This] is what happened with [Pres.] Obama..." Byrne said. "I want to see real change happen," and added that "climate change absolutely needs to be a priority." - NME, 12/21/20...... Keith RichardsAs Keith Richards celebrated his 77th birthday on Dec. 18, the Rolling Stones frontman has been honoured with a cockroach named after. Officials at the Children's Museum in West Hartford, Conn. have decided to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after the Rolling Stones icon -- and have even given the insect its very own custom miniature guitar to crawl all over. The news was revealed to acknowledge the fact that both Keith Richards and cockroaches have great survival rates, according to the celebrity gossip site TMZ. "Keith the Cockroach" has been adopted by Denver, Colorado's classic rock radio station 103.5 The Fox, although it will permanently remain at the museum's wildlife sanctuary -- not far from the town of Weston, where Richards has a home -- and it will be cared for by staff at the museum, noting that "all of his rider demands will be met" thanks to a generous contribution from 103.5 The Fox. "It is said the only two things to survive a nuclear war would be cockroaches and Keith Richards," the museum wrote in a press release. "Chances are the real Keith will outlive the newly named, oval-shaped invertebrate whose life span is two to five years," it added. The museum said it was inspired to name the nightcrawler after Richards, who himself has notoriously cheated death on several occasions, including when he fell out of a coconut tree in 2006, and in 1978, when someone laced his dope with strychnine, which landed him in a coma. Stones fans can visit Keith the Cockroach by getting tickets on the website of the Children's Museum in West Hartford. Admission is $8 for both adults and children. - The New York Post, 12/18/20...... Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly "about halfway through" his next studio album, according to producer/guitarist Andrew Watt, and it includes contributions from members of Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica. The new band, Watt explained in a new interview, features Ozzy on vocals, himself on guitar, Metallica's Robert Trujillo on bass, and Taylor Hawkins and Chad Smith sharing drumming duties. "There's a bunch of people involved," Watt told Guitar World magazine. "I can't say for sure until the end, but I started doing a bunch of basic tracks with Chad and Robert Trujillo, who used to play in Ozzy's band. Osbourne released his well-received last studio album, Ordinary Man, earlier in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. - NME, 12/18/20...... John Prine has been honoured posthumously with an Artist of the Year prize at the 19th annual Americana Honors and Awards. Prine, a 2003 Americana Lifetime Achievement Award winner, becomes the first artist in Honors & Awards history to be posthumously nominated in this category. There will be no in-person awards ceremony this year due to the COVID crisis and the winners were announced via social media on Dec. 15. Prine lost his battle with the coronavirus in April. - WENN/, 12/15/20...... Actor Jeremy Bulloch, best known for playing Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy, died on Dec. 17 from health complications after living with Parkinson's disease for many years, according to his agent. He was 75. Bulloch played bounty hunter Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and the character has since featured in the second season of Star Wars spin-off series, The Mandalorian. Bulloch also appeared in James Bond film Octopussy in 1983, and the BBC TV series Doctor Who in the 1970s. Born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, Bulloch's first major role was in the musical film Summer Holiday in 1963, aged 17, when he starred alongside pop star Sir Cliff Richard. His death follows the passing of fellow Star Wars actor David Prowse, the actor behind the menacing black mask of Darth Vader, on Nov. 29. -, 12/18/20...... Chad StuartBritish '60s pop singer Chad Stuart, one half of '60s hitmaking folk-pop duo Chad & Jeremy, has died at age 79, according to a post on the duo's Facebook page on Dec. 20. Born David Stuart Chadwick, Stuart met Jeremy Clyde at London's Central School For Speech and Drama, and the pair started performing together as a folk duo in the early '60s. After briefly attempting a side rock band and separating after graduation, they reassembled as Chad & Jeremy -- both members singing and playing guitar -- and released their debut single, the upbeat-but-melancholy "Yesterday's Gone," in 1963. The song became a No. 37 hit in their home country, but was more successful on U.S. shores, where it peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, as part of a growing wave of popular post-Beatles U.K. acts collectively known as the British Invasion. The group would score two more Stateside hits off their eventual 1964 album, also titled Yesterday's Gone: "A Summer Song" (No. 7) and "Willow Weep For Me" (No. 15). Stuart continued to find work in entertainment after Chad & Jeremy's split in 1968, becoming the musical director for The Smothers Brothers' variety TV show, and later working as a staff producer for A&M Records. Chad & Jeremy informally reunited in the late '70s, and eventually began to record and tour again, releasing the Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde album in 1983. They separated again from 1987 to 2002, but resumed touring for much of the 21st century, playing at a number of '60s and British Invasion-themed gigs and on such package tours, before Stuart officially retired to Sun Valley, Idaho in the late '10s. "He just loves being at home and puttering about," Clyde said about Stuart in 2019. "He has a shed and he does all sorts of woodwork, and feeds the birds and watches and identifies them, and has a lovely time." According to the Facebook post, Stuart contracted pneumonia in the fall, after having been admitted to the hospital for non-COVID-related reasons. "The family would like to thank his fans from around the world for the outpouring of birthday wishes and gifts he received every year," his family noted. "Chad took the time to read each and every card. The world has lost a legend today, but his voice will continue to touch our lives through his music," they added. - Billboard, 12/21/20...... Country star K.T. Oslin, a three-time Grammy-winning country singer and songwriter, died on Dec. 21 after battling Parkinson's Disease and being diagnosed with COVID-19 the previous week. She was 78. The Crosssett, Ark., native won a trio of Grammys in the late 1980s for her songs "80s Ladies" and "Hold Me." She took home best country vocal performance by a female for "80s Ladies" in 1988, then won the same award and best country song for "Hold Me" in 1989. The singer-songwriter also topped the charts with her 1990 song "Come Next Monday." At the Country Music Association awards, Oslin was named the 1988 female vocalist of the year, and "80s Ladies" earned the song of the year award. It was the first time a female songwriter took home the prestigious honour. Oslin would go on to influence several of today's songwriters, including Grammy-nominated country music singer Brandy Clark, who remembered her in a Twitter thread as "Larger than life, smart, funny, elegant, beautiful...the list could go on and on." -, 12/21/20.

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band delivered energetic performances of two tracks on Springsteen's latest album Letter To You -- "Ghosts" and "I'll See You In My Dreams" -- as the musical guests on the Dec. 12 episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Available for viewing on YouTube, the performance was the 71-year-old New Jersey rocker and his band's first appearance on the popular late night comedy show since 2015, however two E Street Band members -- bassist Garry Tallent and violinist Soozie Tyrell -- decided not to participate because of COVID-19 precautions." "Garry and his family are fine as is Soozie, but we thank Jack Daley of the Disciples of Soul for sitting in," Springsteen posted on Twitter earlier in the week. Letter To You, Springsteen's 20th studio album, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart in early November and is the follow-up to his 2019 LP Western Stars. - Billboard, 12/13/20...... Bruce SpringsteenIn other Springsteen news, the Boss has recalled his reaction to hearing the finished version of his 1975 iconic album Born To Run as that album marked its 45th anniversary on Aug. 25. Appearing on The Tonight Show, Springsteen told host Jimmy Fallon that he threw the album itself in the pool and not its cover, as Fallon said he had once heard. "No, I threw the album in the pool, that was different," Springsteen replied in the interview that has been shared on YouTube. "When you first start you're not used to hearing yourself, even two, three records in. I just couldn't get used to the sound of my voice and very often it sounds terrible to you. You're making all these choices you end up not comfortable with. I recorded that when I was a 24-year-old kid, you know?" He continued to explain that Jimmy Iovine was working as the engineer on the record and brought the mastered version to Springsteen in Richmond, Va. After finding a record player in a local music store, the pair had their first listen in the shop. "So I'm listening to the mastering of Born To Run, the two of us are standing in the back of the record store down south and Jimmy is trying to get me to say 'It's OK, we can release it'," Springsteen explained. "I'm there and I'm like, '[makes uncertain noises] Into the pool at the hotel it goes!' At any rate, we did release it and it worked out alright." - New Musical Express, 12/13/20...... A filmed version of the David Bowie musical "Lazarus" will be live-streamed on Jan. 8, 2021 -- what would have been Bowie's 74th birthday -- to mark the five-year anniversary of Bowie's death. A second broadcast of "Lazarus" will also take place the following evening (Jan. 9) before a final virtual outing on Jan. 10, which is the fifth anniversary of Bowie's death. The performance will be available for the aforementioned three airings only across the following time zones -- GMT, AEDT, EST, PST, CST -- and tickets for a viewing can be purchased at "Lazarus" made its debut at The New York Theatre Workshop in 2015, arriving in the UK for a sold-out run at London's Kings Cross Theatre the following year. The filmed version of the show was screened at Brooklyn, New York's Kings Theatre in May 2018. Meanwhile, it has been announced that Bowie's covers of John Lennon's "Mother" and Bob Dylan's "Tryin' to Get to Heaven" will be released as a special 7" single to mark the late rock legend's birthday. Two previously unreleased versions of Bowie's covers of the classics will arrive on vinyl on Jan. 8. A cream record (exclusive to Bowie's official store and Dig!) will be limited to just 1000 copies, with the remaining 7,147 numbered vinyl being black. Fans will also be able to listen to the tracks via streaming services. The five-year anniversary of Bowie's passing is also set to be marked with a BBC Radio series titled Bowie Five Years On, which begins on Jan. 8, 2021. The series will explore "the impact of David Bowie on their lives and how he always managed to be ahead of the curve," according to a BBC post on Twitter. - NME, 12/17/20...... Elton John is set to be honored at the upcoming annual Global Citizen Prize ceremony on Dec. 19, which recognizes individuals or groups who use their platforms to promote awareness and positive change. Sir Elton will be recognized for his work with his AIDS Foundation, which he founded in 1993. He is also being honored for his fundraising efforts to help with the response to coronavirus. John shared the news on his Instagram Stories account, reposting the official announcement from the Global Citizen account. Hosted by singer John Legend and featuring appearances by Oprah Winfrey, Nick Jonas and Miley Cyrus, the event will also feature performances from Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood and Common. -, 12/16/20...... Universal has announced a new TV series based on the life of late funk-rock singer Rick James. Superfreak is described as "a funkadelic mix of music biopic and true crime, chronicling James' plans for a comeback in the early 1990's amidst a heated trial that threatened to destroy his legacy." The series will be written and executive produced by Randy McKinnon with James' daughter Ty James also on board as an executive producer. Casting for the show has yet to be announced. - NME, 12/17/20...... Paul McCartneyWith his new album McCartney III set for release on Dec. 18, Paul McCartney has confirmed he will dissect the latest addition to his trilogy of self-titled efforts with a Twitter "Listening Party" series appearance on Dec. 21. "Hey @PaulMcCartney," Tim Burgess tweeted in November. "Just wondering if you fancy doing a [listening party] for 'McCartney III'. Give us a shout if you do." On Dec. 17, Sir Paul McCartney gave Burgess said shout, tweeting him back with a simple thumbs up, indicating that the listening party is on its way. After the run-through of McCartney III, Macca will then host a special encore, talking through his Christmas classic "Wonderful Christmas Time." Launched back in March as the UK went into coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Burgess's "Listening Parties" are listen-and-tweet-along online events that see bands and artists tweeting through a playback of one of their classic albums and interacting with fans. Meanwhile, McCartney has revealed that Taylor Swift moved the release date of her new album Evermore so as not to clash with the Beatle's upcoming album. Talking on Howard Stern's syndicated radio show, McCartney said that he and Swift had a conversation about release dates, and that Swift decided out of courtesy to "keep out of each other's way" and would agree to release her album on Dec. 10 instead of Dec. 18, which happens to be her birthday. Paul's full interview with Stern can be heard on YouTube. In still more McCartney news, the former Beatle has shared a teaser for for his new documentary with producer Rick Rubin on YouTube. On Dec. 16 he posted a 96-second black-and-white preview of the film to his official YouTube channel with a description that reads "Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A forthcoming documentary event. Coming Soon." In the video, we see Macca and the acclaimed producer behind a studio desk as they listen to the Beatles classic track 'Come Together'. "You can actually control the band with the bass," McCartney explains. A release date for the six-part documentary has not yet been confirmed. - NME, 12/17/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr has announced a new EP called "Zoom In" featuring contributions from McCartney, Dave Grohl and Finneas. Starr recorded the five-song collection at his home studio between April and October of 2020. Ringo shared a taste of the forthcoming EP, "Here's to Nights," on YouTube on Dec. 15. Ringo collaborates with LA songwriter Diane Warren on the track. "When Diane presented this song to me I loved the sentiment of it," Starr explained. "This is the kind of song we all want to sing along to, and it was so great how many wonderful musicians joined in. I wanted it out in time for New Years because it feels like a good song to end a tough year on. So here's to the nights we won't remember and the friends we won't forget -- and I am wishing everyone peace and love for 2021," he added. - NME, 12/16/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has shared details of her recent diagnosis of testing positive for COVID-19 and being briefly hospitalized for the disease. "I wanted to share I've tested positive for Covid 19," Osbourne wrote on Twitter. "After a brief hospitalization, I'm now recuperating at a location away from Ozzy (who has tested negative) while 'The Talk' is on scheduled hiatus. Everyone please stay safe and healthy," she added. The Twitter account for The Talk, the talk show Osbourne has co-hosted since 2010, replied to Sharon's tweet saying "Wishing you a speedy recovery, Mrs. O, we love you." - NME, 12/15/20...... On Dec. 14 it was announced that Michael Jackson's estate has won an appeal that allows it to pursue arbitration after claiming the creators of the Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland violated a non-disparagement clause. The estate had sued HBO for $100 million, arguing that its 2019 documentary, which details accounts by Jackson's alleged victims of child sex abuse, breaks a 27-year-old confidentiality clause. By contrast, HBO accuses the Jackson estate of seeking to silence victims of sexual abuse. HBO argued that the non-disparagement clause from a 1992 concert film from Jackson's "Dangerous" tour is irrelevant to the present dispute, and appealed a decision by a lower court that granted he Jackson estate's motion to take the dispute to arbitration, as provided by the contract. HBO appealed, and on Dec. 14 a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the lower court ruling. The judges said the suit may be "frivolous," as HBO has claimed, but concluded that it would be for an arbitrator to decide. Now, HBO is left with the option of appealing the panel's ruling to the full 9th Circuit or bring its case before an arbitrator. - Variety, 12/14/20...... Dionne WarwickAs Dionne Warwick celebrated her milestone 80th birthday on Dec. 12, the Grammy-winning pop singer took to her Twitter page on Dec. 17 to share a video pitch for a new Netflix project based on her life and career, and she singled out rising singer Teyana Taylor as the perfect person to portray her on screen. "This is a case for @netflix," Dionne wrote alongside a video, in which she asked if fans would really want to tune in. "Please don't ask who I would cast to play me as it would obviously be @TEYANATAYLOR." Taylor was quick to share her gratitude for the honor, replying with clapping hand emojis, while Netflix admitted they were "taking notes." "I'll call ya!," Dionne replied to Netflix. Although she recently turned 80, the "I Say a Little Prayer" singer shows no signs of retiring. She's currently working with Chance the Rapper on an initiative to feed homeless people, with The Weeknd joining them too. Warwick's upcoming charity single "Nothing Is Impossible" -- penned by her son Dionne Damon Elliott -- will benefit the non-profit charity Hunger Not Impossible, whose aim is to fight hunger by connecting American families in need with nutritious meals provided by local restaurants. - Music-News/NME, 12/17/20...... In a recent interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Cher shared both her hopes and fears for the end of Pres. Donald Trump's term in January and said she hopes Trump will be prosecuted once he's out of office. Cher argued that Trump had turned US culture "toxic" during his time in office, adding: "People who just disagreed with each other before are now enemies. I hate to even call him a president because all he does is watch TV." She also related her fear that "if Trump can't be in the White House, he's going to burn it down." "He's trying to block [Pres. Elect] Joe [Biden] at every moment," she said. "He's the most vindictive person I've ever witnessed. I think he's fighting so hard because he's going to be prosecuted when he gets out of the White House." Asked if she thinks Trump could end up going to prison in the future, Cher replied: "Oh, I hope so. I'll be dancing around." - NME, 12/14/20...... An official cause of death of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen has been revealed as a copy of the 65-year-old's death certificate was obtained by the celebrity gossip site on Dec. 13. Van Halen's immediate cause of death on Oct. 6 was as a cerebrovascular accident, or a stroke, according to the certificate. He also had several underlying causes, including pneumonia, the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome and lung cancer. The certificate also listed a number of "other significant conditions," including skin cancer on his head and neck and an irregular heart rate. Van Halen's body was cremated 22 days after his death and his ashes have been given to his son, Wolfgang Van Halen. - NME, 12/13/20...... A Slingerland drum kit played by Rush drummer Neil Peart between 1974-1977 has sold at a Bonhams' Music Memorabilia auction for just over $500,000 (£379,000) that ended on Dec. 10. The coveted kit, which features dual blue heads printed with Rush's logo and Neil Peart's name, as well as chrome-wrapped Tom-toms with an original head signed by Peart himself, was expected to fetch somewhere between $104,000 (£77,695) and $157,000 (£117,290). That estimation, however, was shattered as the drummer's hardware was sold for just over half a million dollars -- $500,312, to be exact. As the Bonhams listing explained, the kit was purchased by Peart in 1974 from Toronto's Long & McQuade music store shortly after he joined the iconic band. Peart used the kit for his first performance with the band on Aug. 14, 1974 and it acted as his main drum set until 1977. - NME, 12/12/20...... Charley PrideTrailblazing African-American country musician Charley Pride, the first African-American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, passed away in Dallas, Tex., on Dec. 12 due to COVID-19 complications. He was 86. Born in Sledge, Miss., on Mar. 18, 1934 to a sharecropper, Mr. Pride enlisted in the Army as a young man and later worked at a Missouri smelting plant. Mr. Pride then played for the Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro League before heading in 1963 to Nashville where he made demonstration recordings. Four years later, his recording of "Just Between You and Me" broke into country's Top Ten. He went on to score 52 Top Ten hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'," "Why Baby Why" and "Night Games" were among Mr. Pride's 29 songs to reach No. 1 on that chart, and he also earned four Grammy Awards throughout his career, including three Grammys for his gospel songs "Let Me Live" and" Did You Think to Pray," and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was also a distinguished advocate for African-American rights. "We're not color blind yet, but we've advanced a few paces along the path and I like to think I've contributed something to that process," Mr. Pride wrote in his memoir, 2017's Pride: The Charley Pride Story. Mr. Pride was also a talented baseball player in his youth, earning professional contracts during the 1950s. Mr. Pride gave his final public performance at the Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 11. Following claims that Mr. Pride may have been exposed to COVID-19 at the indoor event, the CMA Awards issued a statement. "Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions," the statement read. "Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville. He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative. After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times," the statement added. Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Billy Ray Cyris are among the musicians to have paid tribute to Pride following his passing. "I'm so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It's even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19," Dolly Parton posted to Twitter. "What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you...Rest in Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans." - NME/Reuters, 12/13/20.

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020

The Rolling Stones have tapped BMG to represent them globally in pursuing collections of master recording performance rights royalties when their songs are played on radio and television, also known as "neighboring rights." The signing gives a big boost to BMG's neighboring rights service, which was launched in June. "If you are in the business of selling services to artists and songwriters, these are the kinds of client you dream of attracting," BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said in a statement. "We are immensely grateful to Sir Mick [Jagger], Keith [Richards], Charlie [Watts] and Ronnie [Wood] for putting their faith in us." According to BMG, the neighboring rights deal covers all of the Stones' music from their first single "Come On," released in 1963, to "Living In A Ghost Town," released in 2020. At the same time BMG announced that the band had reached a deal extending BMG's representation of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' music publishing rights, in a deal first signed back in 2013. Meanwhile, a scripted series about the beginnings of "the world's greatest rock & roll band" has been announced by the FX cable network. FX CEO John Landgraf confirmed the news at Disney's Investor Day on Dec. 11, saying the network is in "advanced talks" for the series. The story would follow the band during their formative years, specifically mapping the 1960s through to 1972. - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, 12/10/20...... Neil YoungNeil Young announced on his Neil Young Archives site on Dec. 12 that he's offering free access to his online archive through the end of 2020. "We are doing well here and feeling good. We hope you are well, too," he posted. "If you are locked down, we are here for you with hours of listening and cruising around through the years in movies. We want you to enjoy what we have to share at NYA... It's my music and our lives. Peace," he added. Fans will have access through Dec. 31 to more than 50 years of Young's music and videos, including the recent Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 boxset. Also included are the Fireside Sessions, which received a staggered release during the summer of 2020. His forthcoming concert film, Timeless Orpheum, will also be streaming for free. Meanwhile, Young has reportedly dropped his lawsuit against Pres. Donald Trump for the Trump campaign's unauthorized use of his music at rallies. New York Times reporter Ben Sisario screenshotted a legal document to his Twitter account which appears to be a notice of dismissal in which Young "voluntarily dismissed all claims against "Donal [sic] J. Trump for President, Inc. with prejudice, with each party to bear its own costs, fees, and expenses." A dismissal with prejudice means that claims cannot be renewed. Both parties' lawyers have not released an official statement regarding the status of Young's lawsuit. Young first announced he was suing Trump in August and was seeking "statutory damages in the maximum amount allowed for willful copyright infringement." - NME, 12/12/20...... John Lennon's former bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with his widow Yoko Ono and sons Sean and Julian Lennon, were among those honoring the late rock legend on the 40th anniversary of his death on Dec. 8. "A sad sad day but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world. I will always be proud and happy to have known and worked with this incredible Scouser! X love Paul," McCartney posted on Twitter on Dec. 8, along with a touching picture of the duo snapped by McCartney's late wife, Linda McCartney. Ringo Starr, meanwhile, took to Twitter to urge radio stations across the globe to play "Strawberry Fields Forever" in honour of his former bandmate: "Tuesday, 8 December 1980 we all had to say goodbye to John peace and love John. I'm asking Every music radio station in the world sometime today to play Strawberry Fields Forever. Peace and love." Yoko Ono, meanwhile, used used the opportunity to campaign against gun violence in the U.S. with her Twitter post. "The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him," she wrote. Sharing the lyrics to John's peace anthem "Imagine," she added: 'Imagine all the people living life in peace," and accompanied the post with a graphic that highlighted the seriousness of gun violence in the U.S. Lennon's eldest son, Julian, shared a picture of his father and wrote, "As time goes by." Lennon, 40, was fatally shot in front of his New York City apartment on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/8/20...... In related news, James Taylor has shared a chilling story about meeting Mark Chapman the day before he fatally shot John Lennon. In an interview with the U.K. paper The Telegraph, Taylor said he encountered Chapman approximately a 25-minute walk away from where Chapman shot John in front of his Dakota apartment building on Dec. 7. According to Taylor, Chapman was "glistening with sweat" and "his eyes were dating all over the place... dilated like crazy," and "seemed either drugged or in a manic break of some sort." He also remembered that Chapman mentioned Lennon in conversation and said he was "going to show him" something. "He was just talking a mile a minute about something he was going to show John Lennon," said Taylor, who was once signed to the Beatles' Apple Records early in his career. "He was just someone who knew me who I didn't know; someone who had an agenda that I knew I couldn't deal with. I just knew that I needed to get away from him," Taylor added. - NME, 12/8/20...... Willie NelsonWillie Nelson has announced he'll release That's Life, his second album of Frank Sinatra covers, on Feb. 26 via Legacy Recordings. Ahead of its release Nelson has shared a cover of "A Cottage For Sale" on YouTube. That's Life follows Nelson's first Sinatra covers album, My Way, released in 2018. He released his 70th studio album, First Rose of Spring, earlier in 2020. - NME, 12/12/20...... In other Country news, Dolly Parton has announced she'll embark on a global stadium tour in 2021 to mark her 75th birthday on Jan. 19. Parton's agent Neil Warnock says the "Dolly Fest" will visit 15 stadiums and will be "very Dolly." Parton has a number of other projects in store for 2021, including the launch of a Broadway show, another book publication, more film features and a new album following signing with 12Tone. In 2020 she released the festive album A Holly Dolly Christmas, the Netflix movie Christmas On The Square, and her book Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life In Lyrics. Meanwhile Parton has said that she's considering selling the rights to her entire back catalogue of songs, in what would be a hugely lucrative deal. "I've owned my own publishing company for years and years," Parton told Music Week magazine. "It's very possible that, for business reasons, estate planning, and family things, I might sell the catalogue I have now. I've often thought about it and I'm sure that I could get a lot of money for it," she added. Parton and Cher are also set to join the star-studded lineup of '80s hitmaker Cyndi Lauper's 10th annual "Cyndi Lauper & Friends" gig, which raises funds for True Colors United, the non-profit organization the singer founded in 2008, which addresses the issue of youth homelessness in the US, particularly among the LGBTQ+ community. The event will be live-streamed on TikTok on Dec. 11, and YouTube and Facebook on Dec. 13. - NME/, 12/12/20...... Alice Cooper has shared a new song called "Our Love Will Change the World" on YouTube which he describes as "one of the oddest songs I've ever done." "It was one that came to us by somebody else, another Detroit writer," Cooper said of the new track, which will appear on Coop's upcoming studio album Detroit Stories. "And it was so strange, because it was happy and what it was saying was anything but happy - it was simply a great juxtaposition. And I got it immediately and said "okay, this is going to be great". The music saying one thing and the lyrics saying something else, I love that song. It is totally different from anything else on the album." Detroit Stories will drop on Feb. 26, 2021. - NME, 12/12/20...... Jimmy BuffettAppearing recently on the NBC morning show Today, Jimmy Buffett said he had to do some homework before recording his new album of old songs, Songs You Don't Know By Heart, because he'd forgotten the lyrics to so many of his lesser known tunes. "There were a lot of them that I had to go back and learn...!," Buffett, 73, mused. "I'm old, and I've been doing this for 40 years!," he added. Buffett said the album was initially an idea for a video performance series online during the coronavirus shutdown, and t's all thanks to his daughter Delaney, and her pal. "Delaney and a friend of hers from high school, who had been working for us for a little while, came up with the idea to go to fans and ask them, 'Hey, he's not doing shows, what songs would you like to hear that he hasn't played in 20 years?' so that became Songs You Don't Know By Heart," he explained. "(Delaney and her friend) got like 10,000 setlists (suggested by fans) in a short period of time, and so we collected 50 of the most voted on songs, and went to 15 which we could do, and that was the video (series). And then we started getting mail back from people saying, 'Why doesn't your dad go in the studio and do an acoustic album?' So as a person who hadn't made an album in seven years, I made two in three months!," he added. -, 12/11/20...... Jimmy Page is joining a growing list of musicians who are calling for fairer payments from streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music. "Having recently viewed the Select Committee for Music Streaming on 24 November 2020 I feel compelled to write this letter," the Led Zeppelin guitarist posted on Instagram." I fully appreciate the dilemma surrounding streaming royalties that should be rightfully paid to all musicians and writers who made the music. The sooner the streaming companies can make fair payments to all musicians whose music is played on or viewed via the internet, and to pay fair royalties to those who give us great pleasure from those who are exploiting it, the better," he added. - NME, 12/10/20...... In related news, David Crosby took to Twitter on Dec. 8 to announce he intends to sell his catalogue of work, saying "streaming stole my record money." "I can't work... and streaming stole my record money... I have a family and a mortgage and I have to take care of them so it's my only option... I'm sure the others feel the same," Crosby posted. Crosby's tweet was responding to a thread regarding the recent news that Bob Dylan has sold his complete catalogue to Universal in a "landmark agreement" with the global publishing group to sell his catalogue of more than 600 songs spanning 60 years. - NME, 12/9/20...... AC/DC have shared a a new video for their second single from their chart-topping album Power Up. "Demon Fire," which can be viewed on YouTube, features a car driving down a dimly lit motorway, with billboards of the band members flashing by periodically. At one point, the car drives under a bridge with graffiti paying tribute to late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young. "This one's for Mal," it reads. AC/DC's Angus Young recently said that Power Up is an album "for Malcolm," adding: "His death was a huge blow to us, but I still think he's there when I'm playing." - NME, 12/9/20...... Elton John has told Record Collector magazine that he's holding off on recording another album because "no one needs another Elton John record out at the moment." "I have no idea what the f--- I'm going to do next, and that feels great," Sir Elton said. "I just don't think this is a time for me to think about recording. I'm a dad and I love being a dad. I will get in the mood to record again -- and I'll get in the mood to write," added John, whose "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. - NME, 12/9/20...... Olivia Newton-JohnOlivia Newton-John has announced she's shifting her new cancer foundation to America for tax reasons after launching it in Australia in Oct. 2020. Newton-John, who is currently battling stage-four metastatic breast cancer, posted on Instagram that she has chosen to voluntarily deregister the NJ Foundation Down Under in Australia and she and husband John Easterling "will now focus on our ONJ Foundation Fund in the USA. We're excited to be supporting plant medicine research, specifically for cancer, through a simple Donor Advised fund with CAF America!." "The ONJ Foundation received significant and positive public support after a soft-launch in October 2020, primarily from USA residents, and Olivia is keen to make sure these donors receive maximum tax benefits and support," according to the singer/actress's publicist, Michael Caprico. -, 12/10/20...... Appearing on the MSNBC show The Beat on Dec. 8, David Byrne said that "reunion tours have become an exercise in nostalgia" when host Ari Melber asked why many fans can't accept that his former band Talking Heads won't make a comeback. "There's a period where music really is essential to you kind of defining who you are and what your place is in the world, and you can never let go of that moment," Byrne said. "But then again, you could never could never recreate and replace that moment either. There's plenty of reunion tours and things like that and it's become an exercise in nostalgia. You can never recreate that moment when people hear things like that for the first time. It has to do with the moment that they heard this music in their life, where they were in their life, when this happened -- more than it was us." Talking Heads broke up in 1991, and have only played together once since, for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002. - NME, 12/8/20...... Aerosmith have added an additional concert at Sheffield Arena on July 2, 2021 to their upcoming European tour. Aerosmith had been due to hit the road this summer, before they were forced to postpone the shows due to the coronavirus crisis. Other U.K. dates include previously announced shows in London and Manchester on June 23 and 29, respectively, and the band will also visit Switzerland, Spain, France, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary before wrapping in Austria on July 15. - NME, 12/8/20...... In an interview with The Oakland Press, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen told fans "not hold their breath" over the release of archived songs of his late father's. "That's not gonna happen for a long time," Wolfgang said. "I have no idea what's in there that would be worth releasing. To a certain extent, my dad released all the good stuff. Even without the intention to release, I want to archive it properly and digitize it, so everything is safe for years to come. It's going to be an incredibly difficult process and a very long process to do properly," he added, noting "you usually see right away the compilations of unreleased music that maybe should have stayed unreleased, and it just seems like a cash grab to take hold of the moment." Eddie Van Halen passed away from cancer on Oct. 6 at age 65. - NME, 12/8/20...... Bruce Springsteen recently teamed up with the rock band Bleachers to perform a song titled "Chinatown" together. Bleachers, led by frontman Jack Antonoff, filmed the performance on the roof of Electric Lady Studios in New York City and have shared it on YouTube. Bleachers and Springsteen released the collaborative single in November. A B-side titled "45," which doesn't feature Springsteen, also arrived at the same time. - NME, 12/8/20...... Chuck YeagerLegendary American airman Gen. Chuck Yeager, the first pilot in history confirmed to break the sound barrier, died on Dec. 7 at age 97, according to a post on his verified Twitter account. A World War II ace, Gen. Yeager's place in history was secured in 1947 when he became the first pilot to blow past the speed of sound. Gen. Yeager's daring and understated swagger personified "The Right Stuff" associated with the test pilots who followed in his footsteps to become the first astronauts in the American space program. While stationed in England during the war, Gen. Yeager flew P-51 mustangs but was shot down over France on his eighth mission. He escaped and returned to the air. On Oct. 12, 1944, Gen. Yeager downed five enemy aircraft in a single mission and finished the war credited with shooting down at least 12 German planes. In all, Gen. Yeager flew 64 combat missions. After the war, he remained in the military and became a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field, now called Edwards Air Force Base. He was selected to fly a rocket-powered Bell XS-1 to research high-speed flight, and broke the sound barrier on Oct. 14, 1947, flying his X-1 plane at 700 miles an hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 45,000 feet. Because of the top-secret nature of the mission, Gen. Yeager's feat was not announced to the public until months later in June, 1948. Now, the X-1 he flew that day is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. His feat put Gen. Yeager in the headlines for a time, but he truly became a national celebrity only after the publication of Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff in 1979, about the early days of the space program, and the release of the movie based on it four years later, in which Gen. Yeager was played by Sam Shepard. He was depicted breaking the sound barrier in the opening scene. Gen. Yeager continued sound barrier-breaking flights well into his life. On Oct. 14, 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight, he broke the sound barrier again, flying an F-15D Eagle. Then as a co-pilot at age 89 on Oct. 14, 2012, on the 65th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier, Gen. Yeager did it again in an McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. His death was announced in a heartfelt statement by his wife of 17 years, Victoria Yeager. "It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET," she wrote on his account. "An incredible life well lived, Americas greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever." - AP, 12/8/20.

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020

Three classic guitars designed and played by Eddie Van Halen sold for $422,000 at a two-day Julien's Auction on Dec. 4 and 5. The instruments include one of Van Halen's famous Kramer "Frankenstrat" models with the signature white and black stripes on a red body, which went for $231,250. Eddie's 2004 Charvel Art Series ax went for $140,800 and the guitar and costume that EVH used in the "Hot For Teacher" video brought in $50,000. The auction was part of Juliens' annual "Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock 'N' Roll" event and also included items from the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Lady Gaga and Kurt Cobain. Meanwhile, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen is criticizing the auction, claiming that the auctioneers are "just taking advantage of my father's passing." "I had nothing to do with this. I don't EVER plan on selling any of my father's iconic guitars," Wolf posted on Twitter on Dec. 3. He added that one of the guitars was a gift from his dad, and called the sale's timing a "little fishy" following his dad's death in October. After learning the auction was not for charity a few hours later, he was a little more blunt, saying, "They're just taking advantage of my father's passing. What a surprise. F--- 'em." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/3/20...... Bob DylanUniversal Music Publishing Group announced on Dec. 7 that it had purchased the entire catalog of over 600 Bob Dylan songs written by the iconic folk rock musician over six decades, including such classics as "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin,'" "Like A Rolling Stone," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," and "Tangled Up in Blue." Said to be one of the biggest deals ever for a single songwriter, the acquisition includes both publishing rights and Dylan's "writer's share," which together would be worth at least $100 million and perhaps several times that, based on the value of other songwriters' catalogs. The publishing rights for Dylan, whose influence in the rock era is rivaled only by the Beatles, is currently administered in the U.S. by the Bob Dylan Music Company and elsewhere by Sony/ATV Music Publishing. "To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time -- whose cultural importance can't be overstated -- is both a privilege and a responsibility," said UMPG chairman & CEO Jody Gerson in a press release. In the early 1960s, Dylan, 79, become one of the first popular artists to consistently write his own material, in the process overturning the dominant music publishing model of the time, which involved professional songwriters composing tunes to pitch to singers. The boom in streaming among the coronavirus pandemic is reportedly fueling the market for publishing deals, as well as the possibility that incoming president Joe Biden may raise the capital gains tax. Another factor, industry sources say, is that the generation of singer-songwriters who came of age in the '60s and '70s is at a point where they're thinking about their legacies, as well as estate planning. On Dec. 4, talent management company Primary Wave Music Publishing announced that it had acquired a majority stake in the catalog of Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. Primary Wave didn't share financial details of the sale, but Nicks reportedly sold an 80% stake in her catalog, valuing the deal at about $100 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Nicks's deal includes several of her biggest hits as a solo artist and member of Fleetwood Mac including "Landslide," "Edge of Seventeen" and "Dreams," the last of which returned the charts for the first time in 40 years this summer after resurfacing on TikTok. - Billboard, 12/7/20...... With a $114.1 million haul in ticket sales, Elton John is finishing 2020 with the year's top-grossing tour, according to the concert trade publication Billboard Boxscore. After performing 47 shows with nearly 800,000 tickets sold despite an abbreviated touring schedule due to the pandemic, the Rocket Man leads the pack including his fellow established superstars and genre-blurring newcomers that came to an abrupt halt on Mar. 12 amid the rapidly rising threat of COVID-19. John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" began the 2020 chart year with 10 shows in North America, kicking off the new decade with $21 million in domestic grosses. He then went to Australia for a 37-show sweep that added $93.1 million before wrapping, as scheduled, on Mar. 7. Ultimately, Sir Elton crowns 2020's Top Tours chart with a $114.1 million haul, after being No. 4 in 2019 ($194.1 million) and No. 22 in 2018 ($55.4 million). In all, his tour has earned $358.6 million and sold 2.63 million tickets in 178 shows, now within $50 million of Billboard's all-time Top 10 tours list. In other Elton news, he and his husband David Furnish have revealed that they have a "one gift rule" for each other at Christmas. Appearing on the British talk show Loose Women on Dec. 1, Furnish said he and Elton have "a one gift rule because we don't need anything, we are very blessed in life. The thing I am most looking forward to is Christmas with our sons, because there is nothing like Christmas with children. All the magic for us with Christmas has just gone off the charts since we had our boys." The couple have raised sons Zachary, nine, and Elijah, seven, to be "grounded" in life, Furnish said. "It is daddy up on stage. They are very proud of him obviously and they love his songs but when he comes home he leaves Elton John behind," he added. - Billboard/, 12/3/20...... John LennonOne of the most tragic anniversaries in rock history will occur on Dec. 8, which will be the 40th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon as he was walking into his residence at the Dakota apartment building with his wife Yoko Ono on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980. Unbelievably, Lennon, who was 40 when he was killed, has now been gone for as long as he lived. "It was a dark day," says British-born, Toronto-based author Piers Hemmingsen, 65, who penned 2016's The Beatles in Canada: The Origins of Beatlemania. "And I just remember the winter of 1980-81 was kind of all about feeling sad about that." Almost everyone remembers where they were when they heard the shocking news that Liverpool-born Lennon had been murdered by Mark David Chapman who waited for police to arrive and arrest him while reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye. "I didn't find out about it until I turned my little Panasonic TV on at 6:30 in the morning (the day after) and I was shocked," said Hemmingsen, who was a computer programmer working overnight at the time. "A vigil was held at Nathan Phillips Square on the evening of Dec. 10. So I felt compelled to go. I felt something. Everybody felt something. We all felt a loss. It had to be 10-15 Celsius below zero. There were 35,000 people. It was jammed." Among those in attendance were musicians Ronnie Hawkins and Long John Baldry, the latter in a fur coat. "They all said things, great things, about John Lennon. But the power of it was that everybody just felt connected," said Hemmingsen. "We needed to be somewhere and we needed to share the emotion." On Dec. 12, 1980, Lennon's ashes were given to Ono, who requested 10 minutes of silence around the world instead of holding a funeral, and two days later over 225,000 converged on Central Park, close to the scene of the shooting. Five years later, New York City dedicated an area of the park, directly across from the Dakota, as Strawberry Fields. - WENN/, 12/6/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has hailed director Peter Jackson's upcoming Fab Four documentary Get Back for providing confirmation in his own mind that he wasn't responsible for splitting up the band. McCartney has previously been accused of orchestrating their split, after he announced his departure from the band in Ap. 1970 and later that year filed a law suit which called for the group's formal dissolution. While he previously said that he undertook the move to protect their music, McCartney explained that seeing footage from Jackson's film confirms that he isn't to blame for their split. "It was so reaffirming for me," McCartney told The Sunday Times on Dec. 6. "Because it proves that my main memory of the Beatles was the joy and the skill." He went on: "The proof is the footage. I bought into the dark side of the Beatles breaking up and thought, 'Oh God, I'm to blame.' I knew I wasn't, but it's easy when the climate is that way to start thinking so. But at the back of my mind there was always this idea that it wasn't like that, but I needed to see proof. There's a great photo [late wife] Linda [McCartney] took, which is my favourite, of me and John working on a song, glowing with joy. This footage is the same. All four of us having a ball." Paul has previously hailed the documentary for providing an authentic portrait of the Beatles' final years together. "I love it, I must say because it's how it was. It just reminds me of -- even though we had arguments, like any family -- we loved each other, you know, and it shows in the film," he said. The Beatles: Get Back covers the making of the band's 1970 album Let It Be and features recut material originally captured in director Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary of the album recording process. - NME, 12/7/20...... David BowieEngland's Royal Mint has announced a series of David Bowie coins will be released as part of its music collection, which has previously honoured such music legends as Queen and Elton John. In true Bowie fashion, one of the coins orbited the Earth's atmosphere for 45 minutes after launch before its eventual return, and it is now being offered as a prize on the Royal Mint's Facebook page. The coin celebrates the music icon's career with a design inspired by his formative years spent living and recording in Berlin, as well as featuring the iconic lightning bolt design from Aladdin Sane. Fans can purchase the coins from the Royal Mint's website, which range from £13 for a uncirculated £5 coin, all the way to an "out of this world" which costs a staggering £72,195 for a kilo gold coin in a denomination of £1,000. Eleven of the gold coins will be minted. The Aladdin Sane lightning bolt design has also employed technology to create a glitter effect, giving the impression that it is sprinkled with stardust. "We are thrilled to unveil the third coin in the Royal Mint's music legends series, honouring the intergalactic legacy and career of David Bowie," said Royal Mint director Clare Maclennan. "We are thrilled to unveil the third coin in the Royal Mint's music legends series, honouring the intergalactic legacy and career of David Bowie," she added. - NME, 12/7/20...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Independent, David Byrne says he thinks it's "surprising" how many Americans still support Pres. Donald Trump. "We've all had our dystopian fantasies of what could go wrong, and there's plenty of books and TV shows that represent that," the former Talking Heads frontman responded when asked if he could imagine the political events of the last five years. "But then to see this happen... Trump was not a surprise. He is what he is. What is surprising is how many people still support him," Byrne said, referring to the amount of support Trump has post-election. He continued: "When you see the coronavirus exploding across the United States, and how many dead there are, and how many people just don't care about that or think it's a conspiracy, you just go, 'Wow, the country I'm living in isn't the country I thought it was.'" Meanwhile, Universal will be releasing the Spike Lee-directed movie version of Byrne's acclaimed stage show "American Utopia" on VOD services and on DVD on Dec. 14, in light of the coronavirus restrictions facing cinemas at the moment. - NME, 12/6/20...... Yusuf/Cat Stevens hosted a virtual event called "CatSong Festival" on Dec. 5, which saw famous fans covering several of his classic tracks. The special live YouTube broadcast celebrated the 50th anniversary of Stevens 1970 albums Tea For The Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon and saw the likes of Jack Johnson, HAIM, Brandon Boyd of Incubus, Passenger and many more performing songs from across Stevens' discography. "It's great to see and hear these covers of my songs given new life," Yusuf said in announcing the event. "There's no better honour for a songwriter than to have his songs performed by talented musicians with such love and sincerity. Thank you," he added. The full CatSong Festival broadcast can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 12/5/20...... In a new interview with Total Guitar magazine, Jimmy Page revealed he's been playing his guitar every day during the COVID-19 lockdown. "Under the circumstances of having a lockdown and isolating, I picked up the guitar and made a point of playing the guitar every day," the Led Zeppelin mastermind said. He continued: "Whereas before the lockdown, it had gotten to the point where I was always complaining that I didn't have enough time to play the guitar because there was all this other stuff that was going on. It's surprising how many things there are, even with Led Zeppelin, so I was not finding enough time to play the guitar as much as I would like. It was there, but not being played. I thought, that's not going to be the case. I'm now going to play it. I don't want to make it sound like I'd locked the guitars away. That wasn't the case. But there were so many things that kept getting in the way of playing -- or playing the way that you need to if you're exploring the instrument still." When asked whether or not people would see him play in public again, Page said: "That was the idea before we locked down. But... there'll be a time when we'll be able to play, so the thing to do is to think how you'd do it if you did do it, and have some surprises up your sleeve, you know?" - NME, 12/5/20...... Joe PerrySteven TylerAerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined comedians Mike Myers and Dana Carvey for a virtual Wayne's World reunion on Dec. 7 as part of actor Josh Gad's "Reunited Apart" YouTube series, which benefits the First Responder's Children's Foundation. "'Sibilance... Sibilance' Surprise... We were 'worthy enough' to reunite with our friends Wayne and Garth!," Aerosmith wrote on Instagram as they announced their participation. The first Wayne's World film, released in 1991, was the second film based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, following The Blues Brothers in 1980. It starred Myers and Carvey as rock music knuckleheads Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar respectively. Although Aerosmith appeared in one of the SNL sketches, they originally opted not to appear in the first movie. However, they joined the cast for Wayne's World 2 in 1993, in which they performed "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Shut Up and Dance" during an onstage appearance. Josh Gad has been hosting virtual reunions for classic films throughout the coronavirus lockdown, previously bringing together the cast of Ferris Bueller's Day Off in June. - NME, 12/6/20...... '70s artists Patti Smith and Nile Rodgers of Chic will be among the participants in the Royal Albert Hall's 150th anniversary celebration which kicks off on Mar. 29, 2021. Smith and Jon Hopkins will put on headline shows, while Rodgers will compose a pop anthem for the anniversary using a full orchestra and singers from across the community. Other performances will come from Brian Wilson, Gregory Porter, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Alfie Boe. The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and was named in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, whose founding vision was for a venue that would both democratise and promote the arts and sciences. - NME, 12/3/20...... Kiss has announced it will play a show at what they described as "the coldest place on Earth" during the "150 shows left" on their farewell tour, which began in Jan. 2019 but forced to go on hiatus earlier in 2020 due to the pandemic. Speaking to Marci Wiser on radio station 95.5 KLOS, frontman Gene Simmons confirmed that the band will return in 2021 with some of their most ambitious shows to date. "We've already booked Europe outdoors. Most of the shows have already sold out. We start in summer," said Simmons. "The vaccines are gonna be out there for everybody, oh, by January, February, March at the latest, but we're gonna be out there a few months after that. And we've literally got a 150 cities booked," he added. Revealing plans to play the icy location, which remains nameless, Simmons revealed: "There's one place that's the coldest place on earth. And if you can imagine us playing there with even larger pyro than you've ever seen, 'cause there's nothing around there. But that's all I'll say about it." The latest update comes after Kiss announced plans for a special livestreamed gig on New Year's Eve. The band will take the virtual stage at the Atlantis hotel in Dubai on Dec. 31 for what they promise will be "the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year." Kiss are also set to co-headline the UK's Download Festival in 2021. - NME, 12/4/20...... Eight-time Grammy-winner Tina Turner reflects on her life in her latest memoir Happiness Becomes You: A Guide To Changing Your Life For Good that reveals her greatest untold life lessons and deepest realizations. Turner, 80, admits to overcoming a lifetime of adversity that includes an unhappy childhood, abandonment by her parents, an abusive marriage, a stalled career and financial ruin as well as the premature death of family members and multiple illnesses. In the book, she details how she overcame her setbacks through her faith in Buddhism and chanting that began five decades ago. Now in her 80s, Turner says she is fulfilling a long-held dream to teach with the writing of her new book and hopes it inspires readers to pursue Buddhism. -, 12/3/20...... Black SabbathIn other heavy metal news, Black Sabbath have announced a reissue of their fourth album Vol. 4 containing 20 previously unreleased tracks. Vol 4: Super Deluxe Edition will be an expanded version of the 1972 classic and will drop on Feb. 12, 2021. The release will feature 20 unreleased studio and live recordings on the 4-CD and 5-LP formats, and both comes with extensive booklets of liner notes with quotes from band members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. The band announced the reissue, which will also include a poster and rare photographs as well as an early, previously unpublished draft of the album artwork, which boasts the working title "Snowblind," on Twitter on Dec. 3. - NME, 12/3/20...... Actor David Lander, best known as Squiggy on the hit '70s ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died on the evening of Dec. 4 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family confirms. He was 73. Lander died of complications related to multiple sclerosis, which he battled for 37 years. Since he went public with his diagnosis in 1999, Lander has worked closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, speaking out about his experience at related conferences. In Laverne & Shirley, Lander starred in opposite Michael McKean, who portrayed Lenny. The characters were developed by the longtime friends and collaborators while they were students at Carnegie Mellon University. Lander also made appearances in several TV shows, including The Bob Newhart Show, Barney Miller, Happy Days, Twin Peaks and The Drew Carey Show, and played smaller yet memorable parts in movies like A League of Their Own and Say It Isn't So. As a voice actor, Lander was the voice behind Smart Ass in the 1988 Disney movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He also voiced Ch'p in the DC Comics animated movie, Green Lantern: First Flight in 2009. He most recently voiced Rumpelstiltskin in Disney's children's show, Goldie & Bear, and Donnie the Shark in an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants in 2016. He is survived by his wife, Kathy Fields Lander, and daughter, Natalie Lander. - Variety, 12/6/20.

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

Van Morrison and Eric Clapton have teamed up for a new anti-lockdown song called "Stand and Deliver." Written by Morrison and performed by Clapton, the will be available for download and streaming on Dec. 4 and support Morrison's ongoing "Save Live Music" campaign. In recent months, Morrison has released three songs -- "Born To Be Free," "As I Walked Out" and "No More Lockdown" -- protesting the U.K. government's lockdown as a result of COVID-19, also campaigning for a re-opening of performance venues at full capacity because he feels that the ongoing lockdown presents an existential threat to the future of live music venues. The U.K. has allowed some socially distanced gigs since Aug. 1, but, as in the U.S., there have been few other shows since the pandemic caused a worldwide lockdown in March. Proceeds from downloads of the song will benefit Morrison's Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which aims to assist musicians who are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. "There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration," Eric Clapton told "We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover," he added. In a tweet dated Nov. 27, Morrison announced that the song would be "Available on @AppleMusic @AmazonMusicUK @Deezer and @Spotify" beginning Dec. 4. - Billboard, 11/28/20...... Nancy WilsonAnn WilsonIn a new interview with the SiriusXM show Volume West Heart's Ann Wilson revealed that a Heart biopic is in development with Carrie Brownstein of the band Sleater-Kinney writing the project. "Yeah, there's one in the works," Wilson told host Lyndsey Parker, with her sister and bandmate Nancy Wilson weighing in, "I saw the first draft of the script, it's really cool... The script started in childhood and ended up in the '90s." Ann added that she doesn't have any particular actresses in mind to portray herself and Nancy in the Amazon Studios produced project, but she said she thought the one actress who's expressed interest in playing her in the film, Anne Hathaway, "isn't exactly right for it." Wilson said the search for the lead roles is ongoing and it's not known yet if whoever gets cast will sing Heart's hits themselves or lip synch. - Billboard, 11/30/20...... Co-founding Van Halen singer David Lee Roth has seemingly attacked his fellow former VH singer Sammy Hagar in a new cartoon posted on his Twitter page. Roth has regularly been posting illustrations that depict a fictional newspaper called "The Daily Catastrophe," with the latest appearing to attack Hagar, who replaced Roth as Van Halen frontman beginning in 1985 for 11 years. In the new cartoon, a figure pilots a worn-out airplane, surrounded by quotes including "Sam the man will be giving his life for rock and roll, but plans to be buried in his recently acquired jet," and "Red Rocker refuses to fly 55 in afterlife." As well as Hagar's track "I Can't Drive 55," the quotes appear to reference an interview he gave in June, where he said that he was willing to "get sick and die" to return to touring amid the coronavirus pandemic. Roth and Hagar's relationship following their respective tenures in VH has long been acrimonious. They did both front Van Halen on the same tour in the early 2000s, taking turns to headline the show, but reportedly squabbled throughout. - New Musical Express, 12/1/20...... In other Van Halen-related news, a newly unearthed cover of Jimi Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9" by the late Eddie Van Halen has been remastered by keyboardist David Garfield, and appears on Garfield's new EP "Guitar Heros OTB, Vol. 1." According to Garfield, he and Eddie met at a cigar bar and Garfield asked the late guitarist if he wanted to contribute to a tribute he was putting together for Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, with Van Halen responding with a "resounding yes." Eddie's cover of "If 6 Was 9" can be streamed on the website. Speaking of Van Halen's death, Garfield added: "I'm sure sorry we lost him way too soon; I was hoping to collaborate with him again. Rest in peace, my brother Ed." - NME, 11/28/20...... Yusuf/Cat Stevens has announced a virtual event called "CatSong Festival" set to take place on Dec. 5. Posting on Twitter, Yusuf said the special live YouTube broadcast will feature "over 40 fantastic musical artists" covering his songs and celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 1970 albums Tea For The Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon. Artists participating include HAIM, Brandon Boyd of Incubus, Jack Johnson, James Morrison, Passenger and many more and will perform songs from across the Yusuf/Stevens discography. Yusuf says he sincerely hopes that this event "will give the participating artists a chance to share their talents with his and each other's audiences." "At all levels of the industry, it is imperative that we find ways to allow musicians to connect with new audiences to keep the flame of live music burning," according to a press release. To watch the Yusuf/Cat Stevens "Catsong Festival," tune into the singer's YouTube channel on Dec. 5 at 8:00 pm GMT/12:00 pm PT. - NME, 11/30/20...... Kiss member Paul Stanley has criticized members of the Republican party for not speaking out against Pres. Donald Trump, branding them as "cowards." Stanley's comments come after the president continued to make unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November election. "Republican politicians who now cower before this president are the same ones that ridiculed & dismissed him in the 2016 primaries," Stanley wrote on his Twitter account. "Their silence IS a choice & not sharing their opinion IS a coward's way out. It feeds the mistrust that eats at the core of this country I love," he added. Trump recently said he'll "certainly" leave the White House when the Electoral College confirms President Elect Joe Biden's election win, though called on Biden to substantiate that a "ridiculous 80,000,000 votes were not fraudulently or illegally obtained." - NME, 11/30/20...... CherCher traveled to Pakistan on the fourth weekend of November to celebrate the departure of Kaavan, dubbed the "world's loneliest elephant," who will soon leave a Pakistani zoo for better conditions after years of lobbying by animal rights groups and activists. The 36-year-old bull elephant has languished in the zoo for 35 years, and lost his partner in 2012. He was diagnosed by veterinarians as both overweight and malnourished earlier in 2020, and also suffers behavioral issues. He was set to leave for a sanctuary in Cambodia on Nov. 29. Cher took up Kaavan's cause and has been a loud voice advocating for his resettlement. Animal rescue organization Four Paws has provided the medical treatment needed before Kaavan can travel. The battle for his relocation began in 2016. Free the Wild, an international charity co-founded by Cher, worked in collaboration with Four Paws and others to orchestrate Kaavan's move, which cost roughly $400,000 in total. Cher traveled to Pakistan to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and visit Kaavan's exhibit to provide moral support. "My wishes have finally come true," Cher told The Guardian paper. "We have been counting down to this moment and dreaming of it for so long and to finally see Kaavan transported out of [the Islamabad] zoo will remain with us forever. And while I know everyone's first day can be nerve-wracking, I think Kaavan will make lots of new friends where he's going. What wholesome news to come out of this trash fire of a year," she added. - AP, 11/27/20...... Dolly Parton has revealed she "cried all night long" after turning down Elvis Presley's request to record a cover of her song "I Will Always Love You." Parton released the song in 1974, before it received a famous 1992 cover by Whitney Houston for the romantic thriller flick The Bodyguard. Parton revealed that Elvis also wanted to record a version of her hit, but she turned him down over the money. Writing in The Big Issue's "Letter To My Younger Self," she explained: "I'd been invited down to the studio to meet Elvis and be there when he sang my song. That was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. Who doesn't love Elvis? But then Colonel (Tom Parker, Presley's manager) called me the afternoon before the session and said 'You do know we have to have at least half the publishing on any song that Elvis records?' And I said 'No, I did not know that'. He said 'Well, it's just a rule'. So I said 'Well, it's not my rule'." Dolly said she then "cried all night long, 'cause I was so disappointed." "It wasn't Elvis, I loved Elvis. And I'm sure he was as disappointed as I was because he had it all worked up and ready to go. I know he loved the song," she said. Speaking about Presley's wife of six years, Priscilla Presley, Parton said: "Priscilla told me later that he sang that song to her when they were coming down the steps of the courthouse after they divorced. That really touched me and I thought 'Oh well, I can only imagine'. But it wasn't his fault." - NME, 11/30/20...... Details of the accompanying soundtrack album to the new Frank Zappa biopic Zappa have been announced. The 3CD/5LP release of Zappa - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack spans 68 tracks, ranging from the Mothers of Invention's "Freak Out" to the musician's final orchestral work "The Yellow Shark." The deluxe version of the soundtrack also includes offerings from Zappa's Bizarre Records, as well as pieces by Edgard Varese and Igor Stravinsky and 26 original Zappa score cues by John Frizzell. Zappa had been due to premiere at the since-cancelled South By Southwest Festival earlier in 2020, and its official trailer was shared in October. The 5-LP version of the soundtrack, available on both 180-gram black vinyl as well as limited edition 180-gram smoke vinyl, is due out May 7, 2021, with the 3-CD version expected Jan. 19, 2021. A 2-LP edition on 180-gram clear vinyl will also be available. - NME, 11/29/20...... In a new interview with Goldmine magazine, Elton John says he owns more than 120,000 CDs and 15,000 vinyl records and that the entirety of his vast collection of music remains in his house, rather than in storage, so that he can maintain regular access to it at all times. "I have over 120,000 CDs and 15,000 pieces of vinyl," Elton said. "They are stored in my home shelves so I can access whatever I want, whenever I want." When asked about his music format of choice, John said he "definitely prefer[s] LPs." Elton also touched on the move from a lifetime of touring to spending more time with his family, saying he felt "lucky to have had the opportunity to continue doing what I love so much for the last 50 years." "But looking at my life now, it is without a doubt one of the very best times of my life and really, it all changed when [his husband] David [Furnish] and I had our boys," John continued. "With children, you can't help but look retrospectively at how we got here today and the beauty of where my life is now. They have helped me focus on the present and surely make me appreciate my past." - NME, 11/29/20...... George HarrisonThe estate of George Harrison has marked the 50th anniversary of his seminal album All Things Must Pass by sharing a new stereo mix of the stunning title track on YouTube. The new mix of the 1970 track was led by Grammy-winning producer Paul Hicks, who previously worked on recent reissues of the Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup and John Lennon's Gimme Some Truth. "The new stereo mix of the album's title track is just a taste of more things to come in 2021 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of my father's legendary All Things Must Pass album," said George's son, Dhani Harrison. "We've been digging through mountains of tapes, and they just kept coming -- boxes and boxes of them. Making this album sound clearer was always one of my dad's greatest wishes and it was something we were working on together right up until he passed. But with the help of new technology and the work of Paul Hicks on this project, we are now able to make that happen. We can't wait for you all to hear everything we've been working on and your patience will be rewarded next year," Dhani added. Originally released on Nov. 27, 1970, the triple LP was produced by Phil Spector and went on to become one of the most influential rock albums of all time. As well as the new stereo mix of "All Things Must Pass," the Harrisons are also set to release George's "My Sweet Lord" on a 7" Milky Clear Single, individually numbered, exclusive to Record Store Day. - NME, 11/27/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has revealed that he has his own yoga group with movie actor Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Sir Paul also says he's adopted Baldwin's "polite but firm" response whenever someone approaches him for a photo in public, because the rocker's always hated posing for pictures when he's not working. "I don't like to take pictures," he shared on the Smartless podcast with actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes. "When people say, 'Can I have a picture?' 'cause everyone's got a camera (on their phone)..., I say, 'I'm sorry, I don't do pictures.' It's a line I got from watching Alec Baldwin once." - WENN/, 11/26/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's childhood home at 14 Lodge Road in Aston, Birmingham, UK, is now available to rent for a night. In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Ozzy revealed the person currently occupying his pre-fame family home is charging people to sleep in his old room. "He charges £400 a night," Osbourne said when asked about the alleged for-rent room. "The f---ing house weren't worth £300! They must be doing an expensive extension on the bathroom." He continued: "I tell you what was really weird: I went back to that house many years after I left. When you're little everything seems massive. But that house was me, my mum and dad and my five sisters and brothers -- eight of us in this house. It's so tiny, I'm going, 'How the hell did we do this?'" - NME, 11/29/20...... Actor Johnny Flynn says some David Bowie fans may think the idea of the new Bowie biopic in which he stars is "offensive" and will "potentially going to get a lot of flak." "It's pretty much as I as I expected. I mean, there's the Bowie fans, who don't want you to f--- with their idea of David," Flynn says. "But there's also generally -- rather unhelpfully, in this day and age, as you know -- there's such a kind of cancel culture on the internet, and the safety of tiny nine-inch devices, whatever they are, brings out the worst in people .I feel like there's an energy that people can't help but be swept up and in terms of condemning things or being offended by things. It provokes interesting dialogue around ideas, but also I think it's kind of sad that people would condemn something without seeing it." Flynn added: "Most of the the shit that we've been getting has been from people seeing the trailers, just the idea of the film that's offensive to them. When people see the film, they seem to really like it. And we get great reviews. But I think, if anything, it will provoke some interesting debate. And I don't mind there being a backlash to the film, because I know what our intention was, which was certainly not to be disrespectful." Stardust was released in the US on Nov. 25, and will be released in UK theaters by the end of 2020. - NME, 11/28/20...... David ProwseDavid Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, died on Nov. 29 following a battle with COVID-19. He was 85. Mr. Prowse passed away following a bout of the killer virus, after previously being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, according to his daughter Rachel. She revealed that Mr. Prowse spent two weeks in hospital before his death, and amid the pandemic, the family were unfortunately unable to see him in his final days and his funeral will only be a small gathering. "He died of coronavirus. It's horrible to have not got to see him on the ward and say goodbye, it makes it even harder," she said. "We would have had a big celebration of his life, but now we are not going to be able to do the send off we would have wanted for him." Rachel, 50, paid tribute to her father, confessing that although he was known for mainly portraying villains on the big screen, in real life he was a gentle giant. "He was a really nice, kind, gentle man," she explained of the former bodybuilder. "He might have looked quite scary and was known for playing villains and lots of different monsters in films, but as a person he was a sweet, kind and generous man. He would have loved all this -- people tweeting and commenting about him," she added of the outpouring of tributes following his death over the weekend. "He would have loved to see himself trending on Twitter. It's lovely to see how much he was loved and what an impact he had on people's lives." Among those honouring Prowse was Star Wars creator George Lucas, who remembered him as being "up for anything," noting he "contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure" in his role as the iconic Sith Lord. "He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen," Lucas wrote in a tribute on Twitter, which concluded with the words: "May he rest in peace." - WENN/, 11/30/20.

Friday, Nov. 27, 2020

After becoming perched atop the UK's top album chart, AC/DC's new album Power Up has debuted at No. 1 in the US on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart and Hard Rock Albums chart for the week ending Nov. 28. In its debut tracking week (Nov. 13-19), the set earned 117,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Of that sum, 111,000 are from album sales. The band now has a total of four No. 1 albums on the Top Rock Albums chart, which began in 2006, also including Black Ice (2008); Iron Man 2 soundtrack (2010), and Rock or Bust (2014-2015). AC/DC has the same amount of No. 1's on the Hard Rock Albums chart, which began in 2007. - Billboard, 11/25/20...... In a new interview with GQ magazine, Ozzy Osbourne said that catching COVID-19 would be particularly risky for him because his respiratory health is weak . "I've got emphysema, so if I get this virus, I'm f---ed," the 71-year-old heavy metal legend says. He added that being older does not help things. "Once you're 70, the floodgates open and everything goes downhill. Mind you, I've got away with it for a long time." To protect himself during the pandemic, Osbourne said he is trying his "hardest" to stay shielded. "If I go out, I wear a mask, but I don't like wearing a mask, so I don't go out much," he said. - NME, 11/27/20...... Bobby ColombyDavid Clayton-ThomasEver wonder what the hell happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears, the band with David Clayton-Thomas' soulful vocals and a boisterous horn section behind such hits as "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "Spinning Wheel" and "And When I Die"? So does award-winning director John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary and 2020's Herb Alpert Is...) who will write, produce and direct a BS&T documentary called What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? that could premiere as early as the end of 2021. The rockdoc will feature highlights from the more than 65 hours' worth of found footage, including a 1970 U.S. State Department-sponsored tour behind the communist-controlled Iron Curtain, including Yugoslavia, Romania and Poland. A crew chronicled that tour with the intent of releasing a live film, but the footage allegedly disappeared and the movie was never released. Although BS&T continued recording, they eventually faded away from the charts. What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? will examine the politics surrounding the tour, the story of a band caught as a tool between the political Right and Left, a corrupt U.S. president, and even the intrigue that ultimately involved the FBI and CIA. "John Scheinfeld is a unique combination of filmmaker, historian and detective," says BS&T's Bobby Colomby, who went on to a career as a Columbia Records A&R executive. "He asked me a simple question: 'What the hell happened to Blood Sweat & Tears?' My convoluted answer somehow ignited an engine inside of John that was the beginning of an unexpected adventure: creating a documentary film to reveal the answer to this decades old question. This won't be your typical music doc, in any way, shape or form." Producers are looking for photos and memorabilia of the band from 1968 through 1971. To submit, go to - Billboard, 11/23/20...... Actor Idris Elba will sit down with Paul McCartney for a new one-off BBC One special, it was announced on McCartney's Twitter account on Nov. 27. "This December, @BBCOne and @BBCRadio2 will air a world exclusive special featuring Paul in conversation with @IdrisElba. Find out more: #IdrisMeetsPaul," the post states. The special will see the Beatles legend discussing his writing process, while Idris will seek to understand what continues to inspire the singer some 50 years into his career. "I am a massive fan of Paul s! His work has inspired and driven me as a musician, and once I get through the shock of sharing the stage with him, I m excited to talk about his music and craft. What an honour! Looking forward to sitting with you Paul," Elba posted, with Sir Paul responding "I'm looking forward to sitting down to a chat with the mighty Idris!" Also in the works is a release of Paul's "secret" 2018 show at Liverpool's Cavern Club, where Macca performed a 28-song set to 250 lucky gig-goers. The release date is to be confirmed. Meanwhile, McCartney has revealed he uses a teleprompter at his live shows in case he forgets the lyrics to the Beatles' songs. In an interview on a recent edition of the SmartLess podcast, the 78-year-old said: "Sometimes I'll be doing a song, like 'Eleanor Rigby' [released in 1966] or something, and I'm on autopilot. And I'm starting to think, 'Oh, what am I gonna have for dinner? Maybe you won't have the soup but maybe you'll just go for the main course'. Then I go, 'Stop!' because I'm singing 'Eleanor Rigby'! I've separated myself not only from Paul and fame, but a couple of bits in my head are going in different places. Sometimes that breaks down and I forget the song. I have a teleprompter." McCartney has also reflected on the 80th anniversary of the birth of his former bandmate John Lennon on Oct. 9 in an interview with Uncut magazine. McCartney explained how Lennon's birthday had sparked a mixture of emotions from him. "That was happy sad. It reminds me he was murdered -- but it also reminds me of the fantastic times we had. I tend to think back to early times," he said. He added that he still mentally consults Lennon while writing. "We collaborated for so long, I think, 'OK, what would he think of this? What would be say now?' We'd both agree that this new song I'm taking about is going nowhere," he explained. "So instead of sitting around, we'd destroy it and remake it. I started that process yesterday in the studio. I took the vocal off it and decided to write a new vocal. I think it's heading in a better direction now." - NME, 11/27/20...... QueenThanks to a $15 sale on all vinyl albums at Walmart, Queen's 1981 Greatest Hits LP has finally entered the Top 10 in the US, ranking at No. 8 on Billboard's Hot 200 Album Chart for the week ending Nov. 28. Greatest Hits was first released in Oct. 1981 and has been reissued multiple times over the ensuing decades, however until now a 1992 edition of the album came closest to the Top 10, peaking at No. 11 on Oct. 10, 1992. In the week ending Nov. 19, Greatest Hits sold 24,000 copies across all formats, with vinyl LPs accounting for 23,000 of that sum. Other artists who took more than 10 years to reach the Hot 200's Top 10 include greatest hits albums by Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Prince, Phil Collins and David Bowie. - Billboard, 11/25/20...... In other Queen news, guitarist Brian May has paid an emotional tribute to Freddie Mercury on the 29th anniversary of the legendary singer's 1991 death. Posting on Instagram, May shared two mirrored images of Mercury relaxing in a dressing room before a performance with the caption "Missing you Freddie, on this day. Rest in Peace. Rock in Eternity. Bri." Mercury passed away at his home in Kensington, UK on Nov. 24, 1991, only 24 hours after he had confirmed his battle with HIV/AIDS. Tributes also came from an official Twitter account run by Mercury s management, which shared a photo of the singer in full flight during a Queen performance. - New Musical Express, 11/24/20...... Keith Richards says he's taken up gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic after finding some unexpected downtime. "I spent the whole summer actually admiring the garden and also doing a bit of gardening myself -- watering the veggies and the stuff. I got into a more normal way of life, which is un-normal," the Rolling Stones guitarist recently told Goldmine magazine. Richards, who recently quit cigarettes and alcohol, explained how he sheltered from the virus at his home in America with his wife Patti. When asked if he feared contracting the virus, he said: "Oh yeah. In this particular area, New York and Connecticut, it was very heavy at the beginning. It's been pretty well controlled since but this is about the only place in the whole country where it is... I've been in hiding, basically. Hunkering down with the family and a few friends because we have to stay in a bubble you know. I've been out to a restaurant with outdoor seating a couple times but now it's getting a bit chilly so we're eating in. Thank God the wife's a good cook, bless her heart!" - NME, 11/26/20...... In other Rolling Stones news, the band has just launched a new global e-commerce shop following the opening of their London flagship store, RS No.9 Carnaby. Complete with a fully immersive, 360-degree virtual shopping experience, the online version of their Soho store allows customers to step inside the shop from anywhere in the world. Situated at 9 Carnaby Street in London, the shop stocks a wide range of Stones records and memorabilia, including "an exclusive mix of collections and collaborations for fans of all ages" and a bespoke T-shirt customisation station. Fans can visit the new e-shop at the RS No.9 Carnaby's official website. - NME, 11/26/20...... Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Elton John are among the musical guests who have been confirmed to appear on NBC's Saturday Night Live during the month of December. Springsteen and his band, who previously appeared on the late night comedy show in 2015, will appear in an episode airing Dec. 12 hosted by Timothe Chalamet. - NME, 11/25/20...... Helen ReddyAn all-star lineup of Australian artists performed a tribute to late pop singer Helen Reddy at the 2020 ARIA Awards. Tones and I, Amy Shark, Marcia Hines, Christine Anu, Montaigne, the McClymonts and host Delta Goodrem were among those who covered Reddy's iconic feminist anthem "I Am Woman" live from the ceremony at The Star in Sydney. Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced the performance, honouring the legendary singer-songwriter's continued dedication to her activism throughout her life. "I was carried away by her power and potential," Gillard said, reflecting on first hearing Reddy sing "I Am Woman" as a child. The powerful tribute has been shared on YouTube. Reddy passed away in September, aged 78, following a lengthy battle with dementia. Her life was immortalised in 2019 in the biopic I Am Woman, directed by Unjoo Moon and starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey. - NME, 11/25/20...... It has been announced that a documentary of Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood's live tribute to the late Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green will be shown in UK cinemas on Mar. 23 and 28, 2021. In February, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, a concert was held at the London Palladium to celebrate the music of Green, who passed away at age 73 in July, and the original incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. A physical copy of the accomanying album will also arrive on Apr. 30 and will include event photos and quotes from each artist who performed on the night as well as photographs of the concert, rehearsals and behind the scenes shots. A Blu-Ray of the concert film and the full recording on double CD and quadruple vinyl will also be released. - NME, 11/24/20...... As the new Frank Zappa documentary Zappa was released for sale and rent on Nov. 27, director Alex Winter has shared his thoughts on the influential late musician. "He was much more than this groovy, mustachioed rock guitar guy," said Winter. "He was a political satirist and he was an artist and a filmmaker. ... I really wanted to just tell what I considered to be an extraordinary life story of somebody engaged in a very interesting period of American history." Winter says much of the material comes from Zappa himself. "He would hang out with his friends in his basement and he would slap on a film camera or a video camera, and they would talk for hours about all the things that interested them. "From a documentary standpoint, it's like dying and going to heaven but it's also a curse, right?" Winter said. "I looked at it and I thought, 'There's the next six years of my life,' and it was." Asked what he thought Zappa would make of the documentary, Winter quipped that he would likely loathe it. "If you're Frank Zappa, the last thing you'd want is your whole life put together and tied with a neat little bow... He'd be like 'please, please don't do this for me." - WENN/, 11/25/20...... Neil PeartA drum kit played by late Rush drummer Neil Peart between 1974 and 1977 is expected to fetch more than $100,000 (£75,000) at Bonhams' Music Memorabilia auction set for Nov. 23-Dec. 9. The coveted Slingerland kit features dual blue heads printed with Rush's logo and Neil Peart's name, as well as chrome-wrapped Tom-toms with an original head signed by Peart himself. Bonhams says it expects the drum kit, which Peart used for his first performance with Rush on Aug. 12, 1974 and used as his main drum set until 1977, will sell for approximately $104,000 (£77,695) to $157,000 (£117,290). Peart, who was widely considered to be one of the greatest drummers of all time, passed away in January 2020 after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. - NME, 11/23/20...... In related news, the silver trousers that Iggy Pop wore during The Stooges Raw Power era are going up for auction. The metallic, studded trousers were worn by the frontman on the sleeve of the 1973 album, as well as at several performances at the time. The item will go up for auction on Dec. 2 at 10:00 am PT ia Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills as part of the auction house's "Icons & Idols: Trilogy Rock 'N' Roll"' sale. An online catalog lists the guide price for the trousers as $800-$1,200 (£602-£904). - NME, 11/22/20...... Dena Dietrich, a veteran actress who gained pop-culture renown for her turn as a hoodwinked Mother Nature in a decade-long series of margarine commercials, died on Nov. 21 at a health-care facility in Los Angeles. She was 91. From 1971 until about 1981, the lanky Ms. Dietrich appeared as Mother Nature in commercials for Chiffon margarine, a substitute for butter that came in a soft tub and was made out of hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Her pleasant character would taste the product and think it was real butter, only to be informed by the narrator that it wasn't. "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature," she would say with a scowl before unleashing Zeus-like thunder and lightning. The commercials closed with the melodic line, "If you think it's butter but it's not, it's Chiffon." Ms. Dietrich also starred opposite Peter Falk and Lee Grant in the original 1971-73 Broadway production of "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" and played the sister of Bea Arthur's Dorothy on a 1991 episode of NBC's The Golden Girls. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/24/20.

Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020

The first trailer for the upcoming Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart has been shared on YouTube. The first feature-length film about the three famous siblings from Oz, Broken Heart will chronicle the stratospheric rise of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb and screen in UK cinemas for one night only on Dec. 3. Meanwhile, a narrative biopic based on the life and career of the Bee Gees is also in the works, courtesy of Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. Bradley Cooper is reportedly in line to play Barry Gibb in the film, which will be produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Paramount Pictures. - NME, 11/20/20...... In related news, rapper Nelly has been cast as the late Chuck Berry in a forthcoming biopic about rock & roll pioneer Buddy Holly named Clear Lake. Nelly will portray Berry, who died in 2017, in the film, with Ruairi O'Connor cast as Holly. The film will "tell the story of how Holly and other famous musicians of the late 1950s gave birth to rock & roll while changing the trajectory of civil rights in America," according to - NME, 11/19/20...... Dolly PartonA recently published article in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed that country superstar Dolly Parton played a key role in funding the research that aided the development of a major vaccine for Covid-19. Parton reportedly chipped in $1 million of her own money to aid research by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville since the start of the pandemic. The Vanderbilt research has subsequently played a key role in the development of a vaccine from U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna, which was announced on Nov. 16. The Moderna vaccine boasts nearly 95% protection against the disease, and follows the announcement of a separate immunization from pharmaceutical firm Pfizer a week earlier. In the footnotes of the medicine journal, it is confirmed that the funding came from the "Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund." Announcing the gesture back in April, the Grammy-winning singer wrote on Instagram: "My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who's been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards that research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations." It's believed that Dolly and Dr. Abumrad became friends after the singer was involved in a car accident and underwent treatment at Vanderbilt in 2014. Parton can currently be seen in Netflix's latest yuletide offering, Christmas on the Square, which features 14 of her original songs and will make its worldwide debut on Nov. 22. - New Musical Express, 11/17/20...... "Distance," a tribute to late guitar god Eddie Van Halen by his 29-year-old son Wolfgang Van Halen, is on track to debut in the Top 5 of Billboard's Rock Digital Song Sales chart for the week ending Nov. 28. In a press release, Wolfgang said "As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I'd miss him. While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life." Wolfgang says he finished the song before Eddie's death, and the track became a "favorite" of his dad's. "Distance," which has been shared on YouTube, is also garnering immediate airplay across mainstream rock radio and could debut on the next Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart after drawing spins on 30 reporting stations to the ranking in its first two days of release. Meanwhile, Wolfgang is pushing back at rumours he'll "replace his dad" in Van Halen. During a Nov. 16 interview on Howard Stern's Sirius XM radio show (which can be viewed on YouTube), Wolfgang said those rumors were "f---ing stupid." "You can't have Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen. I'm not my dad. I'm not going to replace him... I've spent my life making sure I'm not like him and I'm my own person.... outside of maybe a tribute show at some point down the line and archival releases further down the line, it's done." Wolfgang continued: "I don't have a dad anymore and I'm coming to terms with that. So, I think fans can come to the terms with the fact that we're not going to have Van Halen anymore. The music is going to live on forever but you can't continue without Eddie Van Halen." - NME, 11/18/20...... Bob DylanAn anonymous buyer paid $495,000 at auction on Nov. 19 for a trove of Bob Dylan documents including the rock icon's musings about anti-Semitism and unpublished song lyrics. Boston-based R.R. Auction says the collection was privately held by the late American blues artist Tony Glover, a longtime Dylan friend and confidante. A majority of the key pieces went to a bidder whose identity was not made public. The collection included transcripts of Glover's 1971 interviews with Dylan and letters the pair exchanged, revealing that Dylan had anti-Semitism on his mind when he changed his name from Robert Zimmerman, and that he wrote "Lay Lady Lay" for Barbra Streisand. Glover, who died in 2019 and whose widow Cynthia Nadler put the items up for auction, and Dylan broke into music in the same Minneapolis coffeehouse scene and remained close throughout the years. Meanwhile, former president Barack Obama called Bob Dylan "one of the greatest examples" of social consciousness in music during a surprise appearance on YouTubers Fred and Tim Williams' TwinsthenewTrend channel. The 44th president recalled how Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" earned its place on the playlist for both his presidency and his best-selling new memoir, A Promised Land. "I've been a Bob Dylan fan for a long time, partly 'cause I'm just older," Obama told the Williams twins. "He was part of that kind of social conscience that was in rock music, and then later in hip-hop music. Look, I'm like everybody else, I like music about girls and cars and, you know, rock and roll and hip-hop. But whenever you can find some musicians that really have a message about how America might be, how the world might be, that always is something that I pay attention to. And he's one of the greatest examples of that." - AP/Billboard, 11/21/20...... Bruce Springsteen performed three acoustic tracks at the 2020 "Stand Up For Heroes" virtual benefit concert on Nov. 19. The Boss, accompanied by his wife and E Street Band bandmate Patti Scialfa, performed "House Of A Thousand Guitars" from his new Letter To You album in an empty New Jersey bar. The New Jersey rocker also played a solo-acoustic version of "Long Walk Home" from his 2007 album Magic before teaming up with Scialfa again for a rendition of "I'll See You In My Dreams" from his new album. The performance, along with songs by the likes of Sheryl Crow and Brad Paisley has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 11/20/20...... AC/DC's new album Power Up has become the Aussie rockers' fourth No. 1 album in the UK according to, selling 62,000 copies and becoming the fastest-selling album in the UK to date. AC/DC's Angus Young thanked fans for their support. "A very big thank you to everyone who put in their time, effort and creativity to get PWR/UP to Number 1! Also a big shoutout to all our fans, old and new. You are, and always have been, our guiding inspiration," he told Power Up is AC/DC's first No. 1 album in the UK since 2010's Iron Man 2 soundtrack. - NME, 11/20/20...... John LennonWhat is probably the most infamous souvenir of the tragic assassination of John Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980 in front of his New York City apartment building is being put up for auction. The copy of John and Yoko Ono's then new LP Double Fantasy signed by John at the request of Mark Chapman five hours before he was slain by Chapman is being put up for sale by Goldin Auctions, with bidding opening on Nov. 23 at 2:00 am EST (5:00 am GMT). Police markings from the investigation appear on both the front and back of the record sleeve. The album will have an opening bid of $400,000 (£301k). Earlier this year, Chapman apologized to Yoko "for the pain that I caused to her." "I think about it all of the time," he said at a hearing in New York, where the 65-year-old inmate was denied parole for the 11th time. - NME, 11/21/20...... In other Beatles-related news, the release of Paul McCartney's forthcoming album McCartney III has been delayed one week to Dec. 18 due to what Sir Paul describes as "unforeseeable production delays." A post on Macca's Facebook on Nov. 19 says that "Unforeseeable production delays have forced the release date of Paul's all-new all-Paul album 'McCartney III' to be moved back one week to December 18, 2020. Thank you to everyone for your patience, support and excitement for the album. We can't wait for you to hear it!" McCartney III is the long-awaited final part of his McCartney solo album trilogy, following 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II. - NME, 11/20/20...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the 19-year-old grandson of Ringo Starr and Gene Gallagher, the 19-year-old son of Oasis member Liam Gallagher, have pleaded guilty after being charged with attacking an Indian security guard in a convenience store in May 2019. The pair, along with model Noah Ponte, 20, pleaded not guilty on Nov. 20 to an assortment of charges stemming from a fight at a Tesco Express shop in north London. Gallagher allegedly stole a can of beer at around midnight after the shop had stopped selling alcohol. Officials at Wood Green Magistrates Court heard he then told a South Asian worker: "You bloody Indians. Go back to where you came from. You're not wanted here." The trio is then claimed to have attacked members of staff before leaving the store. Gallagher and Ponte are also accused of racially aggravated assault, while Sonny is facing two charges of assault by beating two Tesco workers. All three only spoke to plead not guilty to the charges. - WENN/, 11/22/20...... Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne's eldest daughter Aimée Osbourne has confirmed that casting is set to begin on the forthcoming Ozzy and Sharon biopic. "Yes, it's still happening, and I've been helping them with that as well," Aimée said of the film that was first announced in the summer. "I think we're getting ready to start casting too, which is really exciting. Finding the right kind of actors to portray them is going to be challenging, but we're looking forward to finding some newcomers," she said. "I think authenticity, vulnerability, charisma, all those kinds of things will needed to play them, because they're just both so unique. It's definitely going to be challenging, and as excited as I am, it's going to be intense to find someone who can embody a challenging mix of characteristics for both of them. But I have faith we will find the right people," she added. The film is said to skip Ozzy's original tenure in Black Sabbath and fast forward to when he left the band in the late 1970s and began dating Sharon. Sharon previously discussed how she doesn't want the film to be "squeaky, shiny clean" like Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Sharon also recently announced she is self-quarantining again after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. "We're all on lockdown," Sharon said from home at the top of her daytime talk show The Talk, and that one of her assistants who she works with at home had tested positive for the disease. "She's (my assistant) doing OK, but can you believe it? This is my second lockdown." - NME/, 11/20/20...... KissKiss are set to close out 2020 with a "Kiss 2020 Goodbye" virtual special on Dec. 31 at the Atlantis in Dubai. Kiss is promising "the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year" when they take the stage at 5:00 p.m. BST, with tickets ranging from $40 (£30) for a standard ticket, all the way up to $1,000 (£750) for deluxe tickets which includes all manner of Kiss merchandise and memorabilia. "In true KISS fashion, they are bringing the biggest & baddest concert event and pyrotechnics show of the year, proving once again, that KISS never does anything small," according to a press release. "The massive stage production and FREE pre-show will be brought directly into your living room at 9 pm LIVE from Atlantis Dubai on December 31st!" - NME, 11/21/20...... The music of Queen is now officially available on the popular social media app TikTok. Up to 10 of the band's classic hits -- including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites The Dust," "Don't Stop Me Now" and "We Will Rock You" -- have been made available on the app for fans worldwide to use in their video creations. Other hits from their back catalog on TikTok include "Under Pressure," "We Are The Champions," "I Want To Break Free," "Somebody To Love," "Killer Queen" and 'Radio Ga Ga." The account was launched in partnership with the band and its label partners Universal Music Group and Hollywood Records. To commemorate the band's music arriving on TikTok, a hashtag challenge has been launched globally, encouraging fans to #SingWithQueen. The Queen TikTok page can be viewed at - NME, 11/19/20...... In a new interview with BBC News, Keith Richards joked that he "might get a new wheelchair" to celebrate the Rolling Stones' 60th anniversary two years from now. "I don't know [how I plan to celebrate]. I might get a new wheelchair," he said, then reflected wistfully that "this particular life" has "been pretty exceptional." "I'm really at a loss sometimes to sort of figure out how the hell I got here," he admitted. "But the music is the thing that keeps you going, so that's what I try and concentrate on." The Rolling Stones, who formed in 1962, are set to celebrate 60 years together in 2022. - NME, 11/19/20...... The Who's Roger Daltrey has branded Elton John "arsey" as he reignited the row between the two over Elton's alleged snub of the Daltrey-organised Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) gigs in 2018. Daltrey said at the time that John "should answer his bloody emails" in regards to the annual charity gigs, claiming that he had played at events organised by John's charity "three times," but a rep for Elton says that they were "slightly perplexed by his claims" because "each time prior commitments meant Elton was unfortunately unable to take part." "No one here has any recollection of Roger performing at any Elton John AIDS Foundation events 'three times' either, which makes it all the stranger," the rep added. In a recent inteview with the UK's Daily Mirror paper, Daltrey recalled the incident by claiming that he "wasn't making a big deal out of it, but then Elton got arsey about it." Daltrey also claimed that Elton remains hard to get hold of. "I've had the same number 40 years. But when you get to Elton's status as a monstrous, massive star... it's not easy to get hold of these guys." Daltrey did add that he was still holding out hope that John would one day join the line-up for his TCT gigs, adding: "I've done a couple for his AIDS charities and foundation." Daltrey is among the artists who will perform at the Nordoff Robbins-organised charity livestream event "The Stars Come Out To Sing At Christmas" on Dec. 15. - NME, 11/18/20...... Jimi HendrixGibson Guitars has recreated two classic guitars based on instruments once played by Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix's 1969 Flying V and 1967 SG Custom are being made available for fans to buy, with both models looking and sounding like the guitars Hendrix actually played. Both also come with official photos of the late guitar legend and a collection of anecdotes and personal images from the archives of Eddie Kramer, his renowned engineer, producer, and collaborator. Hendrix played the Flying V throughout the Band of Gypsys era and during his legendary set at the Isle of Wight Festival on Aug. 31, 1970. He was seen performing with the 1967 SG Custom on his national television debut on The Dick Cavett Show on July 7, 1969. The guitars, which will retail for $9,999 (£7,548) each, can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 11/19/20...... Bruce Swedien, the longtime engineer for Michael Jackson and who has also worked with the likes of Paul McCartney, Jennifer Lopez and Donna Summer, passed away on Nov. 16, according to his daughter Roberta Swedien. "My dad, Bruce Swedien, passed away peacefully last night, November 16th. He was 86," Roberta posted on Facebook on Nov. 17. "A legend in the music industry for over 65 years and 5-time Grammy winner, he was known for his work with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and many more. He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and beautiful marriage. We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone. Rest in peace dear sweet Daddy-ji. We will love you forever, Bea and Roberta." Mr. Swedien worked with Quincy Jones on Jackson's 1979 album Off The Wall, along with his classic albums Thriller and Bad. Over the years, he also worked with Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan and Barbra Streisand. - NME, 11/17/20...... British football agent and music publicist Eric Hall, who organized the Sex Pistols' infamous 1976 expletive-filled interview on The Today Show with Bill Grundy, has died at age 73. The flamboyant Hall, known for his trademark catchphrase "Monster Monster," first cut his teeth as a publicist for EMI Records in the 1970s. It was at EMI that Hall first met Queen's Freddie Mercury, claiming in later years that the band's 1974 hit "Killer Queen" was written about him. Hall, who was born in Bethnal Green in 1947, also worked as Elton John's tea boy in his formative years and went on to promote the likes of Frank Sinatra, Queen and T. Rex. - NME, 11/17/20.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

A joint interview with Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine reveals that the former Beatle had planned to jam with the pop sensation on her massive hit "Shake It Off" at the ill-fated 2020 Glastonbury Festival in the UK. The two were set to headline the Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage, before the festival was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Wow, it would've been so fun to play Glastonbury for the 50th anniversary together," Swift said, to which McCartney replied: "It would've been great, wouldn't it? And I was going to be asking you to play with me." "Were you going to invite me?" Swift said. "I was hoping that you would. I was going to ask you." "I would've done 'Shake It Off'," McCartney revealed, which Swift then said "would have been amazing." The interview took place in McCartney's London office in October, and opens with Swift describing the 78-year-old music legend dancing around and singing to Motown hits during the shoot and indulging her request that he hand-write her favorite lyric of his and sign it, which she promises to "cherish forever." The pair then fall into easy conversation about recording their recent albums, their shared love of numerology, performing under pseudonyms, and their reluctance to jump up and perform at celeb-packed parties. McCartney and Swift may get the chance to perform together at Glastobury 2021, which is currently set to go ahead. "The plan would be to rebook the 2020 bill, it will move everything, including our 50th-anniversary celebration to 2021," according to the festival's lawyer Ben Challis. - Billboard/New Musical Expess, 11/13/20...... The Grateful DeadA deluxe 50th anniversary reissue of the Grateful Dead's classic 1970 album American Beauty has debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Album Sales Chart for the week ending Nov. 5, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The Grateful Dead/Warner/Rhino release sold 21,000 copies in the U.S. and marks the band's biggest sales week for any album in nearly 25 years. American Beauty also sold particularly well on vinyl, with 9,000 copies sold and debuted at No. 1 on the Vinyl Albums Chart. The release is one rung ahead of another debuting Grateful Dead title, the live from-the-vaults album Dave's Picks Vol. 36: Hartford Civic Center, Hartford CT - 3/26 & 3/37/87, which bowed at No. 4 with 20,000 copies sold. The reissue of American Beauty is the second Dead album in 2020 to get a 50th anniversary reissue from Rhino, following Workingman's Dead. "We are incredibly proud of the Grateful Dead's chart success this week," says Rhino/Warner exec Mark Pinku. (American Beauty) remains my personal favorite and continues to serve as a perfect entry to the Dead's unparalleled catalog to many new fans as it did for me back in 1983." - Billboard, 11/12/20...... A 30-minute, 8 song soundboard recording of Van Halen in 1975 before they shot to fame three years later with their eponymous debut album has resurfaced and been shared on YouTube. Featuring founding members Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony, the gig saw Roth engaging in some of his patented stage patter in between VH covers of ZZ Top ("Chevrolet"), Deep Purple ("Maybe I'm a Leo"), the Edgar Winter Group ("And We All Had a Real Good Time"), the Rolling Stones ("Brown Sugar"), the James Gang ("Walk Away"), Johnny Winter ("Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo") and Sugarloaf ("Don't Call Us, We'll Call You"). The set also includes an early version of VH's Women and Children First album track "Fools," then called "I Live With Fools." - Billbaord, 11/13/20...... In related news, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen recently told Howard Stern during an interview on his Sirius XM radio show that towards the end of 2017, his dad was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. "The doctors were like, 'You have six weeks'," Wolfgang told Stern, adding that his father went to Germany to receive treatment and "whatever the f--- they do over there, it's amazing, because I got three more years with him." He goes on to say that things took a turn for the worse for his father in early 2019, when Eddie was involved in a motorcycle accident. Eddie was later diagnosed with a brain tumour, and received gamma knife radiosurgery to treat the illness. "But as time went on, shit kept stacking up and stacking up. It just never let up," Wolfgang added. He also confirmed that his dad was serious about embarking on a Van Halen "classic line-up" reunion tour before he became too ill to perform. "That's important, to let people know, that yeah, that was real, and we were so excited about it," Van Halen told Stern. "It just didn't pan out." Wolfgang's interview with Stern can be streamed on YouTube. - NME, 11/17/20...... The contemporary rock band Bleachers has shared a new collaboration with Bruce Springsteen on YouTube called "Chinatown" which sees Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff and The Boss taking turns to sing the song's chorus. Speaking about "Chinatown," Antonoff said: "It starts in NYC and travels to New Jersey. That pull back to the place I am from mixed with terror of falling in love again. Having to show your cards to someone and the shock when you see them for yourself. Thinking you know yourself and where you are from.... Having to see yourself through somebody who you want to stay..." Antonoff added that "it's the honour of a lifetime to be joined by him." "He is the artist who showed me that the sound of the place I am from has value and that there is a spirit here that needs to be taken all over the world," he said. - NME, 11/16/20...... A newly remastered video of alternative fave Morrisey and David Bowie performing T. Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" has been shared on YouTube. Filmed at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 1991, the "Cosmic Dancer" cover was officially released on streaming services on Nov. 13. A 7" double A-side single featuring this version of "Cosmic Dancer," as well as Morrissey's 2020-recorded cover of The Jam's "That's Entertainment," will be released on Feb. 19, 2021. The front and back of the sleeve for the single features photographs of Bowie with Morrissey that were taken in New York City by Linder Sterling. Meanwhile, a new Bowie live album called called No Trendy Rchauff hits stores on Nov. 20. - NME, 11/16/20...... Jimmy PageIn the December issue of Britain's GQ magazine, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page says that the coronavirus pandemic made him think about making a return to performing live. Page said that being in lockdown inspired him to think about getting back out on the road. "When we first went into lockdown I thought, 'Right, now's the time to start thinking about coming back at some point and being able to perform'," adding that the cancellation of concerts all over the world in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 has strengthened his belief that "music means nothing" without live shows. Page added that he's "worried" about the future of the arts and the lack of opportunities for new artists on the rise to perform live. "It's such a very sad and desperate time and what this virus has done internationally to families, to the arts, and everything we love and hold dear and the whole concert situation, it does worry me," he said. "I will never be one of those people who'll record alone and send someone a file. I never went into music in the first place to do that, it was for playing together and this is what it means. We need to play with people, we need gigs and we need community. Because without that, music means nothing." - NME, 11/14/20...... Alice Cooper has shared a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll" from his upcoming album Detroit Stories on YouTube. In 1971, the band Detroit recorded their own version of "Rock & Roll," which was produced by Cooper's longtime producer Bob Ezrin. Cooper's bright, raw take on "Rock & Roll" was -- like the rest of Detroit Stories -- also produced by Ezrin and features Detroit's Steve Hunter on guitar and Johnny "Bee" Badanjek on drums. Cooper will release the 15-track Detroit Stories on Feb. 26, 2021, via earMUSIC. - NME, 11/13/20...... In a new interview with Eon Music, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler says there "definitely" won't be any more Sabbath shows, and that his Deadland Ritual "supergroup" may also be finished. "There will definitely be no more Sabbath -- it's done," he said. Butler added that Deadland Ritual "had an album worth of songs to record, then COVID struck, which put an end to recording, so I'm not sure if Deadland Ritual will ever carry on." Black Sabbath performed their farewell concert in 2017 with a string of arena concerts, which concluded with a two-night homecoming in Birmingham, however fans have hoped of a potential reunion ever since. - NME, 11/12/20...... Jack Furnish, the father of Elton John's husband David Furnish, has died at age 90. Elton and David Furnish announced the passing in an emotional post on Instagram on Nov. 15, alongside two old pictures of his dad when he was younger, and two of Jack holding his grandchildren -- Elton and David's sons Zachary, nine, and Elijah, seven -- when they were newborn babies. "My father passed away peacefully last night at the age of 90. Dad overcame the traumas of his own family being torn apart by both World Wars," David wrote in the accompanying caption. "He sought solace and comfort in the loving arms of my mother, and built a platform of solid and loving familial stability in which we could all flourish... Thank you for all that did for me Dad. You encouraged me to be independent and strong. To believe that I could achieve my goals in life through hard work and kindness. Lessons that I pass on to my own sons every day." -, 11/16/20...... Des O'ConnorDes O'Connor, a beloved British entertainer, TV presenter and singer died on Nov. 14 after a fall at his home in Buckinghamshire a few days prior. He was 88. Mr. O'Connor was known for his decades-long prime-time TV career, including shows such as Des O'Connor Tonight and Today With Des And Mel. He was also a successful pop singer, having recorded 36 albums and achieved four top 10 singles across a career spanning several decades. In 2008, Mr. O'Connor was made a CBE for his services to entertainment and broadcasting in the Queen's birthday honours. "Des, who was 88, was so well-loved by absolutely everyone. He was a joy to work with -- he was talented, fun, positive, enthusiastic, kind and a total professional," his longtime agent and family friend Pat Lake-Smith said in a statement. "He loved life, and considered enthusiasm almost as important as oxygen. He adored his family -- they were everything to him. He is survived by his wife, Jodie, their son, Adam, and his four daughters, Karin, TJ, Samantha and Kristina." Kim Wilde also paid tribute to Mr. O'Connor on Twitter, recalling "gorgeous memories of singing 'Something Stupid' with Des O'Connor" and an accompanying picture of the pair performing. "Thanks for the memories you lovely man," she added. - NME, 11/15/20.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020

Bruce Springsteen, his wife Pattie Scialfa, Sheryl Crow and country star Brad Paisley will be among the performers at the "Stand Up For Heroes" night to honor the nation's veterans and their families on Nov. 18. The annual event, which is going virtual for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, will highlight inspiring moments, surprises and stories of resilience from those who have served in the United States military. Hosted by Jon Stewart, the 14th annual "Stand Up for Heroes" event airs on Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC News Live, TikTok, Facebook Watch, Cheddar, Twitch and Armed Forces Network. - Billboard, 11/10/20...... Ringo StarrMarc BolanRingo Starr inducted his late friend and fellow musician Marc Bolan of T. Rex into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 7. "People knew him as a great musician, a songwriter, a guitarist, but he was also a poet," Starr said of his glam rock friend, who died in a car crash in 1977. "And he was really proud of that. He was always telling me that he was the Number One selling poet in Britain. In fact, his poetry was as important to him as his music. He had great style and was really unlike anyone else I have ever met." Ringo added: "He was a great performer, just incredible. And that's why I called the film we did together Born to Boogie, because he really was. I told Marc, I'll bring the camera and everything else, you just bring yourself. We had a lot of fun together. I remember lots of laughter. We lost him way too young, but in his short life, he made over 12 albums that are as far out and ahead of their time as he was. With the help of [producer] Tony Visconti and his band T. Rex, Marc's style started a lot of trends. They called it glam rock with singles such as 'Get It On', 'Children of the Revolution', and, of course, 'Born to Boogie'." Starr's speech concluded: "But it was always just great music to me. And that's why people are still listening to T. Rex today. There's no doubt they believe in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- finally. And I'm very proud to welcome them in right now. Peace and love to [T. Rex members] Marc, Mickey, Steve, and Bill, and peace and love to all the fans from me and T. Rex. Peace and Love." Alongside Bolan, Nine Inch Nails were also inducted, with Iggy Pop giving a speech to welcome Trent Reznor and co., while Depeche Mode also joined the revered list. The Doobie Brothers and Whitney Houston were also among the 2020 inductees. - New Musical Express, 11/8/20...... In other Rock and Roll Hall of Fame news, president and CEO Joel Peresman has announced the annual event is permanently changing its ceremony schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. The news comes after it was announced earlier in 2019 that the 2020 ceremony, which was originally set to take place in May, would move to November and take place in virtual form following the global crisis. For years, the people behind the Hall Of Fame would announce in the autumn the nominations for the next year's inclusions. At the beginning of the year they would then unveil the list of artists being inducted before the grand all-star induction ceremony. However, Peresman has now announced that the Hall Of Fame's whole schedule has permanently changed. "We moved the timing of the ceremony," he said of this year's event. "We're going to move the ceremony permanently so it's in the fall of each year because of COVID." He continued: "We're also moving the nomination process. Normally, the nomination process starts in September, we announce the nominees in October, and then we announce the inductees in January. This time the nomination meetings will happen in January, so we'll announce the nominees in February and start that voting process then." While it's not clear whether next year's ceremony will be held in person, Peresman said it is "hopeful by next fall in some form that we'll be able to get together again." - NME, 11/3/20...... Alice CooperOn Nov. 11 Alice Cooper announced that his next album will spotlight his early roots in his hometown of Detroit. Cooper says Detroit Stories will drop in Feb. 2021 and explore how the Motor City helped to popularize "angry hard rock" in the US. "Los Angeles had its sound with The Doors, Love and Buffalo Springfield," said Cooper. "San Francisco had the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. New York had The Rascals and The Velvet Underground. But Detroit was the epicentre for angry hard rock. After not fitting in anywhere in the US (musically or image-wise) Detroit was the only place that recognized the Alice Cooper guitar-driven, hard rock sound." Produced by his longtime producer Bob Ezrin, Detroit Stories will also be available in vinyl and digital formats and feature a number of veteran musicians from the Detroit scene, including MC5's Wayne Kramer, Detroit Wheels drummer Johnny 'Bee' Badanjek and bassist Paul Randolph. Cooper will release the first single from his 21st solo LP, a cover of Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll," on Nov. 13. - NME, 11/11/20...... AC/DC shared the raucous track "Realize," the second single from their upcoming 17th studio album Power Up, on on Nov. 11. Written by guitarist Angus Young and late brother rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, "Realize" features singer Brian Johnson singing typically unsubtle AC/DC lyrics "Those moments just pass you by/ Gonna take you to paradise/ Move it/ Make you prove it, yeah/ Breakin' out/ Break it down/ Feel the chill, feel the chill/ Movin' down your spine." Due out on Nov. 13, the Brendan O'Brien-produced Power Up is the veteran Aussie rockers' first new music since 2014. Brian Johnson recently teased that they have more than enough new material in their archives to record another album after Power Up. "Most of Power Up came from ideas before [2008's] Black Ice, when Malcolm and Angus would sit together for five days a week and run through ideas," Johnson explained. "Malcolm was meticulous, he'd write down everything and when exactly they'd done it; categorise it. There's more than enough for another album, probably two." In other AC/DC-related news, a YouTuber named Lars von Retriever has shared a clip that mashes up the band's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" with various speeches by US Pres. Donald Trump. The upload fuses the title track of AC/DC's 1976 album with some of Trump's recent rants -- including his recent accusations of "voter fraud" in regards to Pres. Elect Joe Biden's election victory. Earlier in 2020, Lars von Retriever shared a video in which Trump delivered the lyrics to Iron Maiden's "Run To The Hills." His latest video has registered over 22,600 views and almost 3,000 "likes" on the site so far. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 11/11/20...... In a new interview with the UK music mag Uncut, Paul McCartney shared his admiration for fellow legendary rock veteran Bob Dylan, and says that he "wishes he could be a bit more like him." When asked about his reaction to Dylan's latest acclaimed LP Rough and Rowdy Ways, Sir Paul said: "I always like what he does. Sometimes I wish I was a bit more like Bob. He's legendary... and doesn't give a shit! But I'm not like that. His new album? I thought it was really good. He writes really well. I love his singing -- he came through the standards albums like a total crooner. But, yeah, I like his new stuff. People ask me who I'm a fan of and Bob Dylan and Neil Young always make the list." McCartney is currently giving interviews promoting his upcoming album McCartney III, which drops on Dec. 11. - NME, 11/11/20...... In other Beatles-related news, crowds of New Yorkers came together to sing John Lennon's "Imagine" to celebrate former Vice President Joe Biden being formally called the winner of the 2020 US Presidential election on Nov. 7. In videos posted to social media, crowds at the city's Washington Square Park are seen singing "Imagine" in the park to toast Biden's victory. The footage was then retweeted by Lennon's official Twitter account, along with the hashtag: "#IMAGINE". The song also became an unofficial anthem in the global struggle against the coronavirus earlier in 2020. - NME, 11/7/20...... In related news, the relatives of late rocker Tom Petty say they were "touched" after Petty's "I Won't Back Down" was featured during a celebration of the Biden victory at a rally held at his home base of Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 8. During the event, Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris walked out to "Work That" by Mary J. Bliges, while Biden chose Bruce Springsteens track "We Take Care Of Our Own" as his entry song. Then, together, they marked the historic occasion by joining hands as Petty's "I Won't Back Down" was blasted through the speakers and confetti released into the air. A representative for Petty's family has since taken to Twitter to share their elation at the politicians' choice of music for the victory event. "We were all so touched to see Tom included on such an important night in America," they posted. "Congratulations @joebiden and @kamalaharris." In June, Petty's estate issued a cease and desist order to the Trump campaign after the same song was played at a Trump rally in Oklahoma. "Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind," Petty's loved ones wrote. -, 11/8/20...... Meanwhile, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger celebrated the Joe Biden victory with a post on his Twitter account on Nov. 7. "I'm so looking forward to coming back to an America free of harsh words and name calling and be amongst people who I know have common ground and harmony," Jagger wrote to his 2.2 million followers. "It's a challenge but it can be done!" Like the Tom Petty estate, Jagger has previously objected to the Trump campaign playing his band's songs at their rallies, specifially "You Can't Always Get What You Want." - Billboard, 11/7/20...... Keith RichardsIn other Rolling Stones news, guitarist Keith Richards has spoken about the band's upcoming 60th anniversary in 2022, saying that "the plans are to still actually all be alive" by the time the milestone comes around. In an interview with GQ magazine, the 76-year-old Richards said "Well, the plans are to still actually all be alive" when asked about their 60th anniversary. Apart from that, at our age, I don't know. I haven't heard of any plans, but I'm sure there are things being made. First off, I'm going to get through this year and see how we handle next year. Because I think at the moment, there are more problems than a Rolling Stones celebration. Although I'm very glad that we're all here, but I'll leave it at that if I can." Richards further confirmed that the Stones have been working on a new album, which he says was "halfway in the works before [the] shit hit the fan" -- a reference to the coronavirus pandemic. "I was trying to progress a few things along, but there's not a lot one can really do except wait for the vaccine," the guitarist said. Richards also reflected on his own mortality in the interview, saying that "every day is a pleasure." "I mean, I don't wish to defy anybody's predictions and I'm really not interested in them," he added in reference to the interviewer's observation that "people have been wondering in interviews when you're going to die for the last 50 years." "But I'll croak when I croak and everybody will know," Richards added. - NME, 11/10/20...... In an interview with the website on Nov. 10, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed how Queen initially thought their Live Aid performance was "kind of ok," failing to realize that they had delivered one of the most iconic performances of all time. "It was so strange kind of reliving it for the movie," May said, referring to the smash 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. "They recreated it so incredibly faithfully, and to be there on that set was really spine chilling; it brought it all back. And at the time, we weren't aware of what an epoch-making thing it was, really. We came off [thinking], 'Well, that went kind of OK.' But we didn't realise that it had made such a lasting impression on the ether... It sort of lives on, doesn't it?" Hailing the talents of the late Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, he added: "He had a great spatial awareness, and that's something very important. "If you're working with people on a stage, you need to have musical contact, but you also need the kind of physical chemistry going on -- the awareness of where you are and where you're aiming your energy. Freddie was wonderful for that, and we just clicked from the very beginning." - NME, 11/11/20...... Genesis member Phil Collins is disputing his ex-wife Orianne Cevey's "scurrilous" and "grossly exaggerated" claims that he refused to shower and lived in squalor after becoming a recluse after the former couple split for the second time earlier in 2020. In the latest development in a court battle over Cevey and her new husband Thomas Bates being evicted by Collins from a beachfront Miami compoind she once shared with Collins, Cevey claimed Collins became a recluse in 2019, refusing to socialize, turning his back on music and reportedly abusing painkillers, all while also failing to take care of his personal hygiene for months as he allegedly started living in squalor. "Philip's stench became so pervasive that he became a hermit, refusing to interact personally with any people," Cevey declared in the legal documents. However, Collins has disputed his ex's version of events in a response filed to court by his lawyers, calling her allegations "immaterial and impertinent" to the case and even going as far as likening her claims to a means of "extortion." "They are scandalous, scurrilous, unethical and, for the most part, patently false or grossly exaggerated," Collins' attorneys wrote. "These false and scandalous allegations are again included only so that they can be delivered by defendants to the media to try to damage Phil Collins' reputation in an effort to extort money." -, 11/10/20...... On Nov. 10 a new David Bowie album called No Trendy Rchauff was announced on the Bowie Instagram page. The album will arrive via Parlophone on Nov. 20 as part of the rock icon's posthumous "Brilliant Live Adventures" series, which comprises six previously unreleased live Bowie recordings from between 1995 and 1999. No Trendy Rchauff, the second release in the series, was recorded at the Birmingham NEC in Dec. 1995, and follows Ouvrez Le Chien, which dropped on Oct. 30. The 15-track No Trendy Rchauff features rare live performances of "Jump They Say" and "Strangers When We Meet" as well as two versions of "Hallo Spaceboy." The third installment in the "Brilliant Live Adventures"' series is due to arrive by the end of 2020, with the remaining three records set for release at some point in early 2021. Meanwhile, distributors of the new Bowie biopic Stardust have confirmed it will be released in UK theaters by the end of 2020. British distributor Vertigo Releasing has secured the rights to the film in the UK, which is set for release in the US on Nov. 25. The first screening recently took place at a socially-distanced opening night gala in London, with the film's director Gabriel Range in attendance. Stardust stars actor/musician Johnny Flynn as Bowie as he travels across the US in 1971, shortly before he saw widespread acclaim by reinventing himself as Ziggy Stardust. - NME, 11/10/20...... Alex TrebekAlex Trebek, the beloved longtime host of the TV game show Jeopardy!, died at home on Nov. 8 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. Mr. Trebek, who started out in radio and on shows in his native Canada before becoming a fixture of American TV for 36 years as the steady hand of the juggernaut Jeopardy!, reportedly passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Born George Alexander Trebek on July 22, 1940 and growing up in Sudbury, Ontario, Mr. Trebek's father immigrated from Ukraine; his mother was French Canadian. Mr. Trebek grew up working class with his sister Barbara in the nickel-mining town, and after working his way through college and graduating with a degree in philosophy, he worked in radio and TV for 12 years in his native Canada. He made the move to Los Angeles in 1973 for The Wizard of Odds, and hosted many game shows, including High Rollers and Double Dare, before landing Jeopardy! in 1984. For 36 years, Mr. Trebek, with his wit, pronunciation panache and steady hand, and the quiz show became "part of the fabric of American life," with him hosting nearly 8,000 episodes and the show winning 35 Emmys. Mr. Trebek announced that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019 and fans showered him with support. Mr. Trebek is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jean Currivan, and their two children, Matthew and Emily, and Nicky, his first wife Elaine Callei's daughter. Among those paying tribute to Mr. Trebek after learning of his passing was "American Pie" hitmaker Don McLean, who was requested to attend a 2019 Christmas party hosted by Mr. Trebek. "There was not the slightest hint of self-pity or weakness in this man. He was elegant and dignified as you saw him on television," said McClean of Trebek's demeanor at the Dec. 18 party for 150 in Studio City, Calif., where Trebek said having the singer perform would be the realization of a "longtime dream" of his. "Old school for sure and someone who we all can learn from," McLean added. "I thought of him often afterward and I'll think of him in the future and maybe try to be a little more like him." -, 11/8/20.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020

With his Oct. 23 release Letter To You, Bruce Springsteen has tied John Mayer for the most No. 1 albums ever on Billboard's Top Rock Albums Chart. Debuting atop the tally for the week ending Nov. 7, Letter To You sold 97,000 equivalent album units according to Nielsen Music/MRC, with 92,000 units comprised of album sales. The album becomes Springsteen's seventh No. 1 album on the Top Rock Albums survey, which was started in 2006. Meanwhile, the album has shot to the No. 2 position on the Americana/Folk Album Chart, and its lead single and title track is spending its second week at No. 2 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart. Should it top the list, which appears likely, it will mark Springsteen's first Adult Alternative Songs No. 1 since 2002's "The Rising." Following Springsteen and Mayer on the list are Tom Petty and Dave Matthews, both with six No. 1's each on the chart. - Billboard, 11/6/20...... James TaylorJames Taylor shared a special performance of "America the Beautiful" on Election Day (Nov. 3) on YouTube to mark the 2020 election. The singer-songwriter performed the patriotic track, which was written and composed in the late 1800s, from his home, strumming his acoustic guitar in front of a fireplace. Sharing the performance on Twitter, Taylor wrote: "Inspiration for an important day." Previously an active supporter of Pres. Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, Taylor previously performed "America The Beautiful" at Obama's second inauguration in 2013. More recently, Taylor has shown his support for former Vice President Joe Biden's Democratic ticket with Kamala Harris, sending emails and asking for donations while posting content on social media. "Joe Biden knows that, as President, he has to fight for every American, not just the ones who voted for him," Taylor wrote in a recent email. "He'll work with scientific and medical experts to forge a fact-based plan to approach this virus, and then he'll get to work building our country back better than it was before," he added. - NME, 11/3/20...... In other election news, Patti Smith and her guitarist friend Lenny Kaye delivered an impromptu performance of "People Have The Power" on Nov. 3 for voters heading to the polls in New York City. The pair performed a low-key version of the 1988 track on the streets, and were joined at one point by a selection of fans who started singing the track's chorus. "Don't forget it, use your voice! Vote!," Smith told the assembled fans. The clip was posted on Instagram by election organization Joy To The Polls, who wrote: "Singing to voters in the streets is so punk!... We love @thisispattismith bringing people power to the polls with this impromptu performance in NYC earlier this week. You don't have to be the Godmother of Punk to surprise and delight voters in long voting lines!" - NME, 11/3/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert have shared a stunning live performance of their 1976 track "Somebody to Love" on YouTube. The performance, which is included on Queen's new live album Live Around the World, is from Queen and Lambert's first UK festival appearance together at the Isle of Wight in 2016, a milestone Lambert has called "a really special night." Queen + Adam Lambert, whose planned summer 2020 UK and European tour was rescheduled to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, decided to compile Live Around the World after overwhelming fan response to their hour-long online "Queen + Adam Lambert Watch Party," which highlighted live highlights from previous tours. - New Musical Express, 11/7/20...... AC/DC have teamed up with US clothing company DCShoes for a new collection of T-shirts, footwear and accessories that pays tribute to classic albums such as Highway to Hell and Back in Black. The line, which can be purchased at the DCShoes website, includes a longsleeved sweater and T-shirt boasting the cover art to Highway To Hell, a pair of black skater shoes adorned with the iconic AC/DC logo, and a pair of loafers. The Back In Black collection, meanwhile, consists of a snapback cap, an "Access All Areas" T-shirt, and black sneakers. AC/DC will release its latest album, Power Up, on Nov. 13. - NME, 11/7/20...... Daryl HallHall & Oates principal Daryl Hall has shared his thoughts on the 1980 H&O hit "You Make My Dreams" recemt;u passing the landmark of one billion total streams. "The song is certainly an antidote to the uncertainty of the world we live in now," Hall told the UK paper The Sun. "It still feels very current to me because I've been playing the song for all these years. Time really doesn't play a big factor in the way I look at anything really, but especially music," says Hall, who adds the song "wrote itself." "I remember writing the song, sitting in my apartment in New York City. I had a Yamaha CP 30 piano, which is a very distinctive sounding electric piano. And I started playing that riff, it just spoke to me... I wondered if it was too happy? Could I think of something a little more complicated? And I tried but it is what it is. It really just wrote itself." -, 11/6/20...... In an episode of Oprah Winfrey's new Apple TV+ series The Oprah Conversation, Stevie Wonder said he thinks America is "so close" to not being "the land of the free." Winfrey asked the Motown legend if he thought America was in a "fragile decade" right now. "Without question," Wonder replied. "Most importantly, we are so close to not being the nation that people talk about. We can talk about being the land of the free and the home of the brave, 'give me your tired' and all of that. And then there are people who hate." He continued: "I don't care what ethnicity you are, what color you are. The great thing about being blind, for me, is that I don't see color but I do see the spirit. If your spirit's not right, I can just feel it." - NME, 11/6/20...... Jimmy Page confirmed on his Facebook page on Nov. 5 that his former wife Patricia Ecker passed away in October. "It is with great sadness that I learned of the tragic death of Patricia," the Led Zeppelin guitarist wrote in a short statement. "My thoughts are with her family through this difficult time." Page was married to Ecker, who was born in Louisiana in May 1962 and worked as a model and waitress, between 1986 and 1995. Ecker gave birth to their only son, James Patrick Page III, in Apr. 1988. "My son James is a strong, brave, intelligent man and he has all my love," Page added about the couple's son. "I ask that you respect us all at this incredibly hard time." A cause of death for Ecker has yet to be revealed. - NME, 11/6/20...... Pop sensation Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks have teamed up for a new track which mashes up Cyrus' "Midnight Sky" with Nick's seminal track "Edge of Seventeen." The new collaboration from the pair, which has been shared on YouTube, comes after Cyrus sampled Nicks' classic on "Midnight Sky" when it arrived in August. It sees Cyrus delivering the track's verse, before she's joined by Nicks on the powerful chorus -- which heavily samples her own offering. Cyrus previously explained how she sought approval from one of her biggest musical influences to provide a new spin on "Edge of Seventeen." "I sent her the song and I said, 'I have an alternate melody, if you don't want me to kind of like pay tribute to you and your greatness and how much you've inspired me,'" Miley recalled. "And she said, 'You can borrow from me anytime.'" "Midnight Sky" is the lead single from Cyrus' upcoming album Plastic Hearts, which drops on Nov. 27. - NME, 11/6/20...... In other Fleetwood Mac-related news, music publishing company Hipgnosis Song Fund has just purchased the catalog of Kobalt Music Copyrights, which includes the rights to such Fleetwood Mac hits as "Go Your Own Way" and "The Chain." Hipgnosis Song Fund paid a reported $322.9 million for the catalog, which also includes songs by Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, 50 Cent, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and many others. The Kobalt catalog follows other acquisitions by Hipgnosis which includes catalogs by Blondie, L.A. Reid and RZA, among others. - NME, 11/3/20...... London's Daily Mirror newspaper is reporting that the Beatles' company Apple Corps Limited earned over $50 million in 2019, the equivalent of $137,657 a day, despite the group having gone their separate ways more than 50 years ago. Of the total, surviving members Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr, along with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison, received $6.1 million each. A large chunk of the money comes from Las Vegas stage show "Love," a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil. The figures are a huge growth on the previous year, when turnover was $36.5 million with a pre-tax profit of $5.5 million -- about $3 million less than 2019 -- and shares to Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia were $3,685,000. -, 11/6/20...... Elton JohnBernie TaupinIn a new interview with Rolling Stone, Elton John's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin says he "continually encourages" Sir Elton to work on a new album. Taupin says John was planning on working on some of the songs he had sent him during his downtime in Australia when he was due to be touring there. "I did send him probably close to 16 or 18 things when he was in Australia. The original plan was that he was going to write when he was in Australia because he had so much free time down there because he was going to stay there for the duration of the Australian and New Zealand tour." However, Taupin added that: "(Elton) felt that he wanted to write... (but) that didn't happen." Taupin says that when Elton finally does "put digits to piano" he believes the tunes he sent him will turn out to be "very special": "I think we might come up with something very special. Being that he's not going to hit the road potentially until the end of next year, that gives him plenty of time. I would love to see him start to do some work. As I say, I continually encourage him to do so. How we would do it, I'm not sure. I've got some ideas in my head that he might be interested in. But I really, really would love to get back on track and back in the game." John's last studio LP was 2016's Wonderful Crazy Night. -, 11/5/20...... The new David Byrne film American Utopia, which is based on Byrne's smash Broadway hit of the same name and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before screening at the London Film Festival in October, has been given a UK release date. Universal announced it will be releasing the Spike Lee-directed American Utopia on VOD services and on DVD from Dec.14, in light of the coronavirus restrictions facing UK cinemas at the moment. The Broadway show played at New York City's Hudson Theatre from Oct. 2019 to Feb. 2020, and also toured the UK between Oct. and Nov. 2018. Byrne is joined by 11 musicians from around the world onstage, while Lee films the production with 11 camera operators. The show performs a number of songs from Byrne's album of the same name, but also features a number of hits by Byrne's former band Talking Heads including "Burning Down The House" and "This Must Be The Place." - NME, 11/5/20...... A new 2021 charity calendar being marketed to fans of The Clash will help raise funds for The Joe Strummer Foundation, an organization set up in the singer's memory to develop new music talent in the U.K. and overseas. The calendar allows Clash fans to delve into iconic imagery from Strummer's solo career, and features around 123 record sleeves from Strummer's solo career. Fans looking to spread a bit of holiday cheer can also purchase a set of Joe Strummer Christmas cards too, with a new design created for 2021. Both items can be purchased on the Joe Strummer Foundation website. - NME, 11/4/20...... In a bizarre rant during an appearance on the UK talk show Good Morning Britain from his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 4, former The Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) doubled down on his support for US Pres. Donald Trump. "I'm working-class English, it makes complete sense to me to vote for a person who actually talks about my kind of people," Lydon said. "Trump's not a politician. He's never claimed to be. How unusually, exceptionally wonderful is that for people like me? We're bored with your intellectual left-wing ideas. We can't take more of ya. You talk twaddle. Everything you do, you just miss the point of who the general population are... they now support him so loyally because he is the only hope." Lydon's comments came shortly after the president claimed he had won the 2020 election and confirmed he would seek Supreme Court action to prevent the further counting of votes. - NME, 11/4/20...... Wolfgang Van HalenIn an emotional post on Twitter, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen has blasted the celebrity gossip mag US Weekly for turning his dad's death into "entertainment." Wolfgang, 29, has used social media only sporadically since Eddie passed away from cancer on Oct. 6 at age 65, however he took exception to the magazine's recent cover story which features his mother and Eddie's ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli alongside the headline, "Love, Loss & Staying Strong." "F--- this, and f--- you US Weekly," Wolfgang wrote. "The only thing printed in this piece of toilet paper that's true is that we all loved my father. This is not a new interview. My mother did not speak to them for this. That is all." His post continues: "I know what a lot of you are going to say. 'Just ignore it, bro!' I'm not going to stand by and let people publish lies and make my family's tragedy someone else's entertainment." Wolfgang, who has been a member of Van Halen since replacing founding bassist Michael Anthony, also made a heartbreaking post to Instagram on Nov. 6, writing: "1 month. Not a second goes by where you're not on my mind. I miss talking with you. I miss laughing with you. I miss listening to music with you. I miss making music with you. I just miss everything. I love you so much, Pop. It's really hard being here without you." - Billboard, 11/6/20...... In other Van Halen-related news, former lead vocalist David Lee Roth has dedicated a previously-unreleased song to his late friend and bandmate. Roth has posted the audio for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill" on YouTube, accompanied by an illustration of the sun and clouds, and features the message, "Hey Ed I'm gonna miss ya (sic). See you on the other side." The tune was reportedly intended for an album Roth had planned to release years ago with guitarist John 5, but it has yet to come to fruition. Meanwhile according to several published reports, Eddie Van Halen will be the object of a special salute during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020 induction ceremony on Nov. 7. - WENN/, 11/3/20...... In a new interview with Iowa radio station Lazer 103.3, Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford updated fans on the status of the band's upcoming 19th studio album. "We've already started work on it," Halford said of the follow up to the band's 2018 set Firepower. "We had some great writing sessions in the early part of this year until the world came to a stop in late March. I came back here [home] to Phoenix just to chill and relax for a bit and get ready for another writing session. 'Cause that's what we need to do as a band. You make a bunch of work and then you walk away from it and then you go back to it later and re-analyse it and continue the growth of the record," Halford said. He continued: "That's what we were doing then, and we're still doing it now -- we're still putting bits and pieces together. It's an unusual way of making a record, but we're not the only band that's going through this situation in terms of creativity. You can't let this pandemic stop you; you've gotta try and still get as much out of life as you can." Halford has also recently confirmed he's currently working on a solo blues album. - NME, 11/3/20...... On Nov. 3 Neil Young shared a previously unreleased version of "Powderfinger" from his 1979 album Rust Never Sleeeps on Instagram. Although the song was released in the late '70s, the version Young has since shared was recorded on June 12, 1975 in Point Dume, Calif. Produced by Young and David Briggs, the song -- one of Young's most popular -- has been covered by the likes of Cowboy Junkies, Drive-by Truckers and more, and features Frank "Poncho" Sampedro on guitar, Billy Talbot on bass, and Ralph Molina on drums. Subscribers to the Neil Young Archives can also listen to the entire track or through the site's mobile app. Young recently announced he'll release a special 50th anniversary reissue of his 1970 album After the Goldrush on Dec. 11. - NME, 11/3/20...... The planned Bob Dylan biopic Going Electric has officially been put on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Director of photography Phedon Papamichael revealed that while he doesn't believe the drama centered on the 12-time Grammy winner is "dead," but rather is "a tough one to pull off in a COVID era because it's all in small clubs with lots of extras in period costumes, so you've got lots of hair and makeup." Despite this, however, Papamichael hasn't confirmed whether talks are ongoing to outright cancel the project. Going Electric will chronicle Dylan's rise in folk music and sudden transition to rock 'n' roll. The film will also see the rock icon's interaction with 1960s' music legends which include Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. The Fox Searchlight-produced film includes the rights to the singer/songwriter's music rights and to author Elijah Wald's book titled Dylan Goes Electric. -, 10/27/20...... Ken HensleySongwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ken Hensley, a former member of the '70s hard rock band Uriah Heep, died on Nov. 5. He was 75. "I received devastating news this morning from Ken's manager Steve Weltman that Ken Hensley has passed away," Hensley's former bandmate Mick Box posted to Twitter on Nov. 5. "My sincere condolences go to his family and wife Monica and may he rest in peace." Box added he was in "deep shock" and hailed his "musical legacy that will be in people's hearts forever." During his time with the band, Hensley played a major role in popularizing the role of keyboards in heavy rock, as well as masterminding one of the band's biggest hits -- the folk-rock epic "Lady In Black." Hensley also composed "Easy Livin"" from the band's 1972 album Demons and Wizards, which became a major European hit in 1972, and a string of other hits for the band. Born in the UK on Aug. 24, 1945, Hensley began his career with the group in 1969 when they were known as Spice, before renaming themselves Uriah Heep, taking the name from a character in Charles Dickens' seminal novel David Copperfield. Hensley recorded 13 albums with the band, before leaving in 1980. Their biggest album in the UK was 1975's Return to Fantasy, which reached No 7 in the UK album charts. Hensley departed the group after growing unhappy with the band's direction, before doing stints in such heavy rock bands as Blackfoot and Cinderella. While occasional live reunions with Uriah Heep followed, he focused on solo work in the decades that followed, including 2007's Blood on the Highway, an autobiographical rock opera. Hensley recently finished a new album, My Book of Answers, which was due for release in February. His death comes only two months after that of Lee Kerslake, the band's long-time drummer, who died at age 73 after a long battle with prostate cancer. - NME, 11/5/20.

Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

There's no all-star jam that concludes the 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions at Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of fame museum this year. Rather than the traditional live ceremony, where presenters give speeches and perform with (or in honor of) inductees, the taped special on cable's HBO on Nov. 7 at 8:00 p.m. EDT/7:00 Central plays more like a fascinating two-hour VH1 Behind the Music. We see deper into the artists' rise and influence with archival interview and performance clips, and get even more testimonials from famous fans. Among the highlights: Ringo Starr leads a colorful tribute to his late good friend Marc Bolan, the English glam rockers T. Rex's trailblazing frontman. "You see [clips of] David Bowie talking about how he and Marc were coming up at the same time, and Marc did what he wanted to do first," says special producer and Hall of Fame CEO Joel Peresman. "He influenced Bowie... it's crazy!" Also, country star Luke Bryan kicks off a lovefest to the Doobie Brothers, which features member Michael McDonald discussing the group's 50-year run as one of the most recognizable sounds of the '70s California rock scene. Other class of 2020 inductees featured include Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and Whitney Houston. - TV Guide, 10/26/20...... The EaglesThe Eagles have soared to their best Billboard chart sales week in over a decade with their new concert LP, Live From The Forum MMXVIII. Debuting with 24,000 copies sold in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 22, Live From The Forum MMXVIII's arrival markes the largest sales week for any album by the California folk-rock group since its studio set Long Road Out of Eden sold 38,000 copies in the week ending Feb. 17, 2008. Live From The Forum MMXVIII also scores the Eagles their highest charting effort on the Hot 200 album sales chart since former No. 1 Eden placed at No. 4 in its eighth week on the list (on the Jan. 5, 2008-dated chart). Live From The Forum MMXVII is the group's first new album release since the 2016 death of co-founder Glenn Frey (and which features his son Deacon Frey and country star Vince Gill). It was available in a variety of deluxe formats, including a set with four vinyl LPs, two CDs and a blu-ray disc for $149.98. Featuring many of their favorites, the album was recorded over three nights at The Forum in Los Angeles in Sept. of 2018. - Billboard, 10/29/20...... Bruce Springsteen has set a new Billboard chart record with his new album Letter To You -- the first act with new Top 5-charting albums in each of the last six decades (1970s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s and the '20s). Bowing with 96,000 equivalent album units, Letter To You also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album sales chart for the week ending Oct. 29 for the Boss's biggest sales week for any album since 2014. All told, Letter to You is the New Jersey rocker's 21st Top 10 and Top 5-charting album on the Billboard 200. Letter to You sold well on vinyl, with 18,000 of its sales coming from the format -- the second-largest sales week for a vinyl album in 2020. Meanwhile, Springsteen has lent his voice to a campaign commercial for Democratic presidential contenter Joe Biden. "Scranton, Pennsylvania. Here, success isn't handed down. It's forged in sweat, grit and determination," Springsteen says in the ad which has been shared on YouTube. "This is his hometown. In Scranton, good times aren't promised. But here, and in towns across America, times are harder than they ought to be. Lives are on pause, dreams on hold, futures in doubt." Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. track "My Hometown" also appears in the minute-long ad, which premiered on Oct. 30 on YouTube and aired on network TV the following night during the Penn State/Ohio State football game. On Oct. 28, Springsteen took to Twitter to call on his fellow Americans to vote Pres. Donald Trump out of office on Nov. 3. "We are lost. We've lost so much in so short a time. On November 3rd, vote them out," he captioned an audio clip explaining the damage he thinks Trump has done during his four years in office. He continued: "Where did that country go? Where did all the fun, the joy and expression of love and happiness go? We used to have a president who calmed and soothed the nation instead of dividing it. We are rudderless and joyless." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 11/2/20...... Also taking aim at Pres. Trump -- this time for his constant use of Twitter -- is Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. In a Twitter clip titled "Pride Before a Fall" and performed in a studio, the rock icon sings: "I see the preening, it's overweening, over eating, too much tweeting, and when my back is turned somebody will Push you off the wall. And just remember that pride, it comes before a fall." Jagger's jab at Trump comes after the Stones warned the president several times in 2020 to stop using their music at his rallies and events or face a lawsuit, having already served his campaign with multiple cease and desist directives after he began playing their songs including "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at events on his 2016 campaign. It was subsequently claimed that Trump adhered to the order, instead choosing to close his rallies with The Village People's "Y.M.C.A.", whose leader Victor Willis recently told the BBC News that his group has also asked Trump to quit playing their songs at political rallies. "I don't endorse Trump, I've never endorsed Trump, nor has the Village People," Willis said. "Donald Trump does what Donald Trump does. I've never seen him actually put his hands up and make the Y.M.C.A. He's changed it to M-A-G-A or something." The footage of Trump entering his rally to "Y.M.C.A." has become so widely ridiculed, it was recently lampooned by NBC's Saturday Night Live during a "Weekend Update" segment in which cast member Keenan Thompson played Willis, singing a version of "Y.M.C.A." that demanded he stops playing the song. - New Musical Express/WENN/, 10/30/20...... Stevie Wonder came out in support of the Joe Biden and Kamal Harris presidential ticket with a short set at a Biden campaign rally in Detroit on Oct. 31. The R&B icon kicked off his four-song set with "Higher Ground'," before heading straight into new tracks "Can't Put It In The Hands of Fate" and "Where Is Our Love Song," which were both released in late October and his first new songs in 15 years. "The only way we're going to win this fight, a fight against injustice, is by voting," Wonder told the crowd. "We must vote justice in and injustice out." Stevie went on to describe the Nov. 3 election as "the most important one of my lifetime." "When I'm in California hearing about a group of people that are trying to kidnap and murder the governor of this state, excuse my language, but that's some bullshit. Unacceptable," he said, referring to the foiled plans from a right-wing militia who are accused of attempting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. A clip of the rally, which also featured former president Barack Obama, has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 11/2/20...... David BowieA live cover of the T. Rex classic "Cosmic Dancer" by David Bowie and alternative rocker Morrissey is set to be released as a digital download and streaming on Nov. 13. A vinyl version of the single will then be released on Feb.19, 2021. On the other side of the single will be a cover of The Jam's "That's Entertainment," though as Morrissey's official website points out, it is not the same version of the track as the 1993 version available on the internet. Bowie and Morrissey paired up for the cover during a Morrissey concert at The Forum in Los Angeles in 1991, and it has been widely circulated online in the two decades since. A clip of the "Cosmic Dancer" collaboration has been shared on YouTube. In other Bowie news, the first official trailer for the upcoming Bowie biopic Stardust has been made available on YouTube. The film, which premiered on Oct. 28 at Raindance Film Festival, stars actor and musician Johnny Flynn, follows the musical chameleon as he travels across the US in 1971, shortly before he saw widespread acclaim by reinventing himself as Ziggy Stardust. With the film not containing any original Bowie songs, Flynn recently told the UK paper The Guardian that "we're potentially going to get a lot of flak from the Bowie army." Bowie's family have also previously distanced themselves entirely from the upcoming project. His son and Moon director Duncan Jones has confirmed that Stardust is unauthorised and won't feature any of his father's music in it. After seeing the film several Bowie fans took to Twitter to share their less than enthusiastic reactions, with one fan posting: "You can't have an accent that bad, a film that looks like an American soap opera and you certainly can't have a Bowie film without his music. Probs shouldn't have bothered guys." - NME, 11/1/20...... The Rolling Stones' former label ABCKO Records has shared archival footage of the band's 1968 classic "Sympathy for the Devil" for the first time. Landing on ABCKO's YouTube channel in late October, the video is a previously unreleased cut from the band's 1996 Rock and Roll Circus concert film that didn't make it into the final version. The footage features the outfit's original lineup as it was when the performance was initially filmed in 1968, comprising Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart and Brian Jones. There's also a brief cameo from John Lennon at the 4:54 mark, having also performed as part of The Dirty Mac supergroup along with Eric Clapton, Richards and Mitch Mitchell during the show. The concert film was initially conceived as a BBC special and directed by Michael Lindsey-Hogg. In addition to the Stones and Dirty Mac performances, there were also sets from Yoko Ono, Marianne Faithfull, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal and The Who. - NME, 11/1/20...... Jimmy Page has told Rolling Stone magazine that he has only seen "a handful" of people since Britain's Covid-19 lockdown began in March as he is "very cautious" about his health. Page, 76, lives in an historic home in west London with his partner, poet and performer Scarlett Sabet. Page said he and Sabet have been following the UK's restrictions issued to prevent the spread of the virus and shelter elderly people and they take their risk extremely seriously. "The place has a garden, and you don't feel quite so under home arrest," he said. "But we've been very, very, very cautious about who we see and who we don't see, and it's been just a handful of people in the last six, seven months," he added. Instead, Page said he has kept busy by working on a new edition of his Anthology book, organising his record collection, and playing the guitar each morning. "The minute I'd locked down, I knew I didn't want to look back on my period and say, 'Oh, I wish I'd done this or that,'" he mused of his routine, adding: "I wanted to make sure I did it all." One project the star hasn't been working on is XYZ, the abortive supergroup he formed with former Yes members Chris Squire and Alan White in 1980 -- despite rumours recordings are being prepared for release. "Unfortunately, we've lost Chris now," Jimmy reflected, revealing Squire's passing in 2015 has made a release unlikely. "It was something that I always hoped to do, as some sort of project, to get hold of him and Alan. It's not even worth talking about, because it's all speculation," he added. -, 10/31/20...... Neil YoungNeil Young has shared details of the upcoming 50th anniversary reissue of his classic 1970 set After the Goldrush, which was originally released on Sept. 19, 1970. Due on Dec. 11 via Reprise Records, After the Goldrush - 50th Anniversary Edition will also be released as a deluxe vinyl box set edition on Mar. 19, 2021. Ahead of the new reissue, Young has shared a previously unreleased version of "Wonderin'" on YouTube. Meanwhile, the Canadian born singer/songwriter is set to release a new live album on Nov. 6 called Return to Greendale alongside an accompanying concert film. The project chronicles the tour behind Young and Crazy Horse's 2003 rock opera, "Greendale." Following on Nov. 20 will be his long-awaited Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 box set, which features 12 previously unreleased songs, alongside 50 new versions of old tracks. In other Neil Young-related news, the musician's 78-year-old brother Bob Young has just released his debut single "Hey America." Bob, the older sibling of Neil, says he felt inspired to release the track after watching Donald Trump on TV several years ago and "wrote down a few lines." "It took a while to be able to play and sing the song from start to finish. When I could finally accomplish that, it was a victory. The recording process all happened at once," Bob explained in a press release. A clip of "Hey America" can be viewed on YouTube. - NME, 10/31/20...... Tom Petty has returned to the top of Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart with his recent reissue Wildflowers and All the Rest. Debuting on Oct. 16, Wildflowers and All the Rest has re-entered the rock albums chart at No. 1 with 44,000 equivalent album units (38,000 via album sales) earned in the week ending Oct. 22, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Initially intended as a double album, Petty released Wildflowers in 1994 with a 15-song tracklist. The album debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 200 dated Nov. 19, 1994. With six Top Rock Albums Chart rulers, Petty is tied for the second-most No. 1's in the chart's history. The original Wildflowers album has also re-entered the Hot 200 at No. 5, its highest rank ever, following its No. 8 debut and prior peak in 1994. - Billboard, 10/28/20...... Actors Ethan and Maya Hawke will both star in a film entitled Revolver in which Maya will portray a teen who's determined to lose her virginity to Beatles legend George Harrison. Revolver, which is being helmed by Finding Nemo co-director Andrew Stanton, will see Ethan and Maya portray father and daughter in the '60s-set romantic comedy. Maya will play Jane, a teenager resident of Anchorage, Alaska. The film is set in 1966 when a flight to Japan carrying the Beatles is forced to make an unexpected stop at the city. Jane then dreams up a plan to lose her virginity to the Fab Four guitarist. Revolver will make its world premiere in November at the American Film Market festival - NME, 10/30/20...... The Bee GeesA U.K. release date for the upcoming Bee Gees documentary How Can You Mend A Broken Heart has been announced. The first feature-length documentary about the band is set to screen in UK cinemas for one night only on Dec. 3. Directed by Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), the rockdoc promises an intimate look at the lives and careers of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb. "Like so many people around the world, I've loved the Bee Gees' music all my life," Marshall said in a statement. "But it wasn't until I did my first interview with Barry, almost 3 years ago, that I began to discover their uncanny creative instincts, their musical gifts, their humor, and the brotherhood and family that made them so unique." He added: "It's been such an honor to be involved in this movie and celebrate the massive impact The Bee Gee's have had on popular music." Meanwhile, it was recently announced a narrative biopic based on the life and career of the Bee Gees is also in the works, courtesy of Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. - NME, 10/29/20...... Appearing on her chat show The Talk, Ozzy Osbourne wife Sharon Osbourne revealed that her and Ozzy's credit cards were recently "maxed out" by a fraudster. Sharon said she was first made aware of the crime when attempting to buy a birthday present for daughter Kelly Osbourne. "I give my credit card and they come back and say, 'Do you have another credit card? It didn't go through.' I say, 'Just try it again'... still didn't go through.... I hand them Ozzy's." She added: "Then, they come back and go, 'Do you have another one? It didn't go through.' Someone rang up charges and maxed out Ozzy's card and my card. I called through to the credit card company and they go, 'No, no, no, you're maxed out, so is Ozzy.' I'm like, 'I don't go to that store, or to that store.'" When asked if it was fraud, Sharon confirmed the crime, before adding that all of the fraudulent transactions on her card are currently being processed. - NME, 10/29/20...... Phil Collins will take back control of his beachfront Miami mansion from ex-wife Orianne Cevey in January, 2021, according to his attorney. The former Genesis frontman has been fighting for the property which Cevey is allegedly occupying with her new husband, according to a Miami newspaper. According to attorney Collins' attorney Jeffrey D. Fisher, Cevey and her new husband have now agreed to leave by mid-January 2021, claiming in a statement to the New York Post's gossip column "Page Six" that: "Mr. and Mrs. Bates' plan to hold Phil Collins' house as hostage to leverage a settlement during a protracted court case was upended by the new judge's bold decision to complete the injunction hearing next week." Fisher also said Collins' memorabilia, such as Collins' extensive The Alamo artefacts and music collection, will be removed from the residence, and she will maintain a 50% interest in the mansion, according to the Post. The warring ex-couple, who have two teenage sons, were married for nine years before splitting in 2008, a divorce that cost the rocker more than $46 million (£35 million). However, they reconciled in 2016 before separating again earlier this year, after which Cevey married businessman Bates in August. -, 11/1/20...... Frank ZappaThe official trailer for the forthcoming Frank Zappa documentary Zappa has been shared on YouTube. Due on Nov. 27 via Magnolia Films, the Alex Winter-directed doc showcases the life and work of the inimitable composer and guitar icon using never-before-seen home films, live footage and interviews from the Zappa archives. The trailer opens with Zappa introducing a song at a live show, embodying the nature of the eccentric musician. "This is a number we always play when people ask us to play more, because we know that after we play this they couldn't possibly ever want to hear us again," he says. - NME, 10/29/20...... Country music singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, whom Willie Nelson once called "the greatest living songwriter," died on Oct. 28 in his native Texas. He was 81. Mr. Shaver is reported to suffered a massive stroke at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco, Tex. Mr. Shaver rose to acclaim in 1973 with his debut album, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, and was often referred to as part of the "outlaw country" movement of the 1970s along with figures like Nelson and Waylon Jennings, both of whom recorded his songs. Jennings, in fact, recorded 10 songs of Shaver's on one album alone, Honky Tonk Heroes, released the same year as Mr. Shaver's debut. His own recording career encompassed 17 studio albums, the last of which was 2014's Long in the Tooth. "Shaver's always been a tough guy making trouble on the edges of a Nashville that values slickness," Q magazine wrote at the time. Mr. Shaver made an appearance in Robert Duvall's 1996 film The Apostle. In 2004, a documentary about Shaver, A Portrait of Billy Joe, was released. His personal live was the stuff of lore and legend. He wed and divorced the same woman, Brenda Tindell, three times, and once had a heart attack on stage. In 2007, he was involved in a news-making shooting incident outside a bar in Lorena, Tex. He was acquitted after claiming self-defense and later said of the incident, "Hit him right between the mother and the f-er. Fixed him right up." Mr. Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006. The following year he received his lone Grammy nomination, in the best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album category for Everybody's Brother. - Reuters/Variety, 10/28/20.

Sean ConnerySean Connery, the Scottish-born actor who rocketed to fame as James Bond and became one of the franchise's most popular and enduring international stars, died in his sleep while in the Bahamas on Oct. 31. He was 90 years old. Born of Irish ancestry in the slums of Edinburgh on Aug. 25, 1930, Thomas Sean Connery was robbed of an education by poverty, and and by his teens he'd left school and was working as an unskilled laborer. At 17, he was drafted into the Royal Navy, but he was discharged three years later due to a serious case of ulcers. He returned to Edinburgh and worked a variety of jobs, including as a lifeguard. He took up bodybuilding and placed third in the 1950 Mr. Universe competition. After moving to London, Mr. Connery learned of an opening in the chorus of "South Pacific." He took a crash dancing and singing course and, surprisingly, landed the role, in which he stayed for 18 months. He was "hooked," he said, but spent several years paying his dues in small repertory companies in and around London before anyone else became hooked on him .In his early career, his physique was his main asset as he modeled and picked up acting jobs where he could. In 1956, he landed the role of a battered prizefighter in the BBC production of Requiem for a Heavyweight. Mr. Connery was a bodybuilder, model, and milkman before he found fame as an actor, making his movie debut in 1954's Lilacs in the Spring. He went on to appear in a series of British TV roles and films until his big break in the Disney musical Darby O' Gill & the Little People in 1959. Good notices brought him to the attention of the entertainment community, and his first film was No Road Back, a B crime movie in 1956. He seemed doomed to play the hunk to ageing leading ladies, as he did opposite Lana Turner in Another Time, Another Place, or roles that stressed his looks such as Tarzan's Great Adventure in 1959. Sean ConneryIn 1962, Mr. Connery made his debut in the first Bond film, Dr. No. His stature grew with the ever more popular Bond sequels From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball, which arrived over the next four years. Bond gave Mr. Connery a license to earn; he was paid only $30,000 for Dr. No but $400,000 for Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie and was soon getting $750,000 a film. His initial efforts to break out of the Bond mold, however, proved fruitless. Films like A Fine Madness, Shalako and The Molly Maguires were well-intentioned attempts that did nothing to shake Mr. Connery as Bond from the public consciousness. After 1967's You Only Live Twice, he left the Bond franchise, but he was coaxed back for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever. He looked old for the role, and the series seemed tired, so with that, he left Bond behind -- though money would tempt him back once last time in 1983 for Never Say Never Again. He took a major misstep with sci-fi film Zardoz, and his career seemed to be foundering, but he bounced back in 1974 with a supporting role in Murder on the Orient Express and the following year with The Wind and the Lion and The Man Who Would Be King, two bold adventures featuring a mature, salt-and-pepper-bearded Mr. Connery. In 1987, his turn as a tough Irish cop in Depression-era Chicago in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables brought him a Best Supporting actor Oscar. Pairing Mr. Connery and Harrison Ford as father and son in the third Indiana Jones film was an inspired move, and the film grossed almost half a billion dollars worldwide. Meanwhile, The Hunt for Red October, in which Mr. Connery played a defecting Soviet sub captain, was also a major hit in 1990. By the 1990s, he was so popular that his uncredited cameo as King Richard in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves became one of the film's highlights. An audience favorite for more than 40 years and one of the screen's most reliable and distinctive leading men, Mr. Connery was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and was recently voted the best James Bond actor in an August 2020 Radio Times poll in the U.K. More than 14,000 voted and Connery claimed 56% of the vote. Global tributes poured in for Mr. Connery following news of his death, including current 007 Daniel Craig, who posted: "Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course." Mr. Connery, who was married to actress Diane Cilento from 1962-73, is survived by his second wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975; his son by Cilento, actor Jason Connery; and a grandson from Jason's marriage to actress Mia Sara. -, 10/31/20.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020

The Addams Family of rock music goes ghostbusting in the new two-hour Travel Channel documentary The Osbournes: Night of Terror, which sends Jack and Kelly Osbourne off to explore paranormal activity at an allegedly haunted spot in Los Angeles while parents Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne monitor the investigation remotely. "None of us realized how insane and freaky this was going to be," says Jack, who has had the most experience working with the weird as cohost of Portals to Hell, "but [everyone] certainly held their own." Night of Terror premieres on the Travel Channel on Oct. 30 at 9:00 p.m. EDT, 8:00 Central. - TV Guide, 10/26/20...... In related news, Alice Cooper announced his new Halloween-themed party game called "HorrorBox" on YouTube on Oct. 27. HorrorBox sees players mix and match question and answer cards, scoring points for funny combinations. The base game comes with 420 cards but several expansion packs have already been released, including a "Slasher Pack," "Monsters Pack," "Aliens Pack" and "R-Rated Pack." "Minions, you know me. I've never played games with you, until now. This is a horror-themed card game with questions, answers and dares," Alice said in the launch video, while a press release warns that "player discretion is advised" and "all wimps easily scared, beware." - New Musical Express, 10/28/20...... Eddie Van HalenEddie Van Halen's hometown of Pasadena, Calif., has announced plans to memorialize the late guitar legend, but the City Council hasn't yet decided what form the tribute would take. On Oct. 26, the council directed officials to come up with ideas and report back on how to best remember Van Halen, who died of cancer Oct. 6 at age 65. According to a local paper, one idea could be renaming a street or alley near one of Van Halen's 1970s rehearsal spaces, while building a statue, installing a plaque or rechristening a city building also could be considered. Meanwhile, a memorial has grown outside Eddie and brother Alex Van Halen's boyhood home northeast of Los Angeles, where some fans are lobbying to make the house designated as a historic landmark. The Van Halen family moved to Pasadena after emigrating to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1962. Eddie and Alex formed Van Halen about a decade later with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony, who all grew up in the Pasadena area. - AP,...... In other Van Halen-related news, Eddie's son Wolfgang Van Halen is pushing back on rumours that he's replacing his father as the guitarist in a new incarnation of Van Halen, calling the speculation "a shitty lie." Wolfgang took to social media on Oct. 26 to refute claims being made in a Wolfgang Van Halen Fan Page on Facebook, which were shared to Twitter by user @MetalSludge. The Facebook post claimed that "there is a good strong possibility" that Wolfgang would be swapping his current role as Van Halen's bassist for his late father's position of lead guitarist, with "Van Hagar" era vocalist Sammy Hagar handling vocals and former VH bassist Michael Anthony handling duties on bass. Drummer Alex Van Halen would continue his position as drummer in the imagined lineup. The post claimed that the information came from "the VH camp", with Eddie Van Halen allegedly telling "his son and his brother, I give you my blessing." But Wolfgang says the rumour just isn't true. "This is just a shitty lie attempting to capitalize on these awful times," he tweeted in response to @MetalSludge sharing the post. "Please stop with this. Anyone peddling this shit is not only hurting the fans, but hurting me and my family." - NME, 10/26/20...... In related news, KISS bassist Gene Simmons said that he was "scared to death" one time after getting a lift with Eddie after a Metallica gig in Long Beach in the 1980s. Talking with Dennis Miller on his Options podcast, Simmons said Eddie offered him a ride in his Jeep... "this old jalopy thing with no doors" as seen in the M*A*S*H TV series. "And Edward's smoking away like a chimney and driving what I thought was a hundred miles an hour up the 405 [freeway]," Simmons recalled. "And I'm holding on for dear life and trying to pretend that I'm a guy without fear and all that. [I was] scared to death. And I said, 'Eddie, Eddie, slow down.' And a cigarette was hanging out of his mouth, and he said, 'Why?' I didn't quite know what to answer," he added. Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne revealed on his Sirius XM radio show Ozzy's Boneyard that Eddie once asked him to join Van Halen. Although Osbourne didn't specify an exact year when Eddie extended the invite, he did say it was "way after Sammy [Hagar]" was in the line-up. The guitarist left the band in 1996. Ozzy added that he thought Eddie might have been "a bit drunk" when he made the phone call. "We've all done one of them calls at four o'clock in the morning... I've got a great idea!," he said. - NME, 10/26/20...... On Oct. 23, Elton John unveiled a new Barbie doll modelled on the rock superstar. Part of a collaboration with Mattel, the doll, costing $50 (£38), will be available in Walmart in the US, and can be ordered through the Walmart website. Speaking to Rolling Stone about the new doll, John said: "Barbie is an icon in her own right, so having her pay tribute to my work and personal style is a real honour. I hope that she inspires fans everywhere to fearlessly pursue their own dreams and limitless potential." - NME, 10/23/20...... Jimmy PageOn Oct. 20 Jimmy Page released his new book The Anthology, which documents hundreds of items from the Led Zeppelin guitarist's personal collection of instruments, outfits and memorabilia from throughout his career. In a trailer for The Anthology, which has been posted on YouTube, the musician explains: "The reason for doing this book and behind the detail of everything is just basically because I did have the material to be able to do it, I actually had the idea to be able to do it and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the book really fascinating so people could just really get right into what is being shown. With the guitars, I really wanted to get close up and personal with them, with the angles that were taken." In The Anthology, Page guides the reader through hundreds of rare items, many of which are previously unseen, and others of mythic status, such as his Gibson double-neck guitar, dragon-emblazoned suit, white embroidered poppy suit, and the outfit worn in the concert film The Song Remains The Same. The Anthology also features hand-written diaries, rare vinyl pressings, previously unpublished photographs and more. - NME, 10/23/20...... In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning on Oct. 25, Stevie Nicks said she couldn't be happier about the newfound popularity of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 classic "Dreams" after the song was featured in a viral TikTok video. "This TikTok thing has kind of blown my mind," Nicks said. "I'm happy about it because it seems to have made so many people happy." "Dreams" has surged thanks to the viral TikTok video featuring the track, in which Idaho native Nathan Apodaca rides his longboard while drinking a large bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice. Nicks and Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood has since created their own tributes to Apodaca's viral hit. Nicks is currently promoting her new song "Show Them the Way," a call for action ahead of the November presidential election. The track features Dave Grohl on drums and Dave Stewart on guitar. Nicks said she's also excited about her new concert film, 24 Karat Gold, which recently hit select theaters, drive-ins and exhibition spaces. The film features a set of fan favorites from Nicks' solo career and as a member of Fleetwood Mac. "It's as close to a really big rock 'n' roll concert in a big venue as you're gonna get," she said. The companion album of the concert will arrive Oct. 30. Her full CBS Sunday Morning can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 10/25/20...... Alternative rock musicians Trent Reznor and Billy Corgan are among those who will mark what would have been David Bowie's 74th birthday on Jan. 8 with a special tribute livestream. "A Bowie Celebration: Just For One Day!" has been organized by long-time Bowie pianist Mike Garson, and is set to see Bowie's collaborators from across his career cover and interpret his songs. Garson said of the event: "What we're planning is an amazing show with the most talented musicians from every period of David's career, as well as phenomenal artists from many different genres. Also set to star in the livestream are Bowie's producer Tony Visconti and his final touring band, along with such stars as Gary Oldman, Macy Gray and Perry Farrell. - NME, 10/27/20...... AC/DC have shared the official video for "Shot in the Dark," the first single from their new album Power Up, on YouTube. The clip features the band performing live and was shot by longtime AC/DC video director David Mallet. Describing "Shot In The Dark," AC/DC guitarist Angus Young said: "It's a strong single from a powerful rock album. You'll be able to hear it and know straight away that it's AC/DC. That's what we've always strived for." Power Up will drop on Nov. 13. It sees frontman Brian Johnson returning to the group after Axl Rose's stint as singer, with drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams also returning to the fold. Williams has warned fans he won't be with the band for long, because he isn't healthy enough for a gruelling world tour. "For my health (I'll do a few shows)," Williams recently said on the band's "Let Their Be Talk" podcast. "I definitely have some physical issues... it's tough. I'm very grateful for everything. It's been fantastic. But I just don't wanna do that (tour) anymore." Williams said he'll only be around for a few gigs after recording the new album with his bandmates. He recently revealed that a bout with vertigo contributed to his decision to leave the band in 2016. - NME/WENN/, 10/26/20...... GenesisA recently reunited Genesis have begun rehearsals in London for their massive 2021 UK reunion tour. Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks will head out on "The Last Domino? Tour" in April 2021, with dates having been pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. The trio, playing together for the first time since 2017, are set to be joined on the tour by Collins' son Nic Collins on drums, and guitarist/bassist Daryl Stuermer. Genesis recently announced the 19-date UK tour will kick off on Apr. 1 in Glasgow and wrap over three nights at London's O2 arena on Apr. 27, 29 and 30. Meanwhile, Phil Collins has issued a second cease and desist letter to Pres. Donald Trump's re-election campaign over the use of his hit "In the Air Tonight" at Trump rallies. Trump's campaign apparently ignored a previous legal letter over the use of the song, and again blasted the 1981 hit over the speakers at a gathering in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 14. At the time, Collins' representatives noted that Trump's aides had already been warned against violating the musician's copyright, and now his lawyers at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP are demanding an assurance it won't happen again, because Collins, 69, says he doesn't support Trump at all. Collins' lawyers state in the letter than their client takes particular offense that the song "was apparently intended as a satirical reference to COVID-19." "That reference was made at a time when Iowa was suffering from an acceleration of COVID-19 infection. Mr. Collins does not condone the apparent trivialization of COVID-19," the missive states. In other Phil Collins news, the singer may have to wait up to three years to have his ex-wife Orianne Cevey evicted from his mansion because of a backlog of trials due to COVID-19. Collins recently sought an injunction to have Cevey and her husband kicked out of his palatial waterfront home in Miami Beach, Fla., but suffered a major setback when Cevey made a counterclaim for $20 million. A county judge decided the explosive case should be heard in circuit court because of the huge sums at stake. It puts Collins' filling at the back of a long line of pending cases with court closures and pandemic restrictions expected to delay trials by a year or longer. Collins -- worth an estimated $300 million -- will now have to choose between paying his ex-wife off for the second time or facing off in court. - NME/WENN/, 10/27/20...... Music publishers Primary Wave announced on Oct. 23 that they've struck a 10-year strategic partnership with The Four Seasons. The marketing and administration deal is with the band's lead singer Frankie Valli and keyboardist Bob Gaudio, the two surviving members of the band's founding four; which also included bassist Nick Massi, who died of cancer in 2000, and guitarist Tommy DeVito, who died in Sept. 2020 from the coronavirus. Under the agreement, Primary Wave will work Valli and Gaudio to market the band's name and likeness, manage all daily digital marketing activities and administer their iconic catalog, which includes hits like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "December 1963 (O What A Night)", "Workin' My Way Back To You" and "Can't Take Me Eyes Off Of You," the oft-covered track that made Valli a solo superstar. The deal also gives Primary Wave an option to acquire a partnership interest in the band's works. The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and their story is chronicled in Tony-winning Broadway musical favorite "Jersey Boys," which opened in 2005 and was later made into a feature film. - Billboard, 10/23/20...... Joni MitchellSpeaking to the UK paper The Guardian, Joni Mitchell says she's "still struggling to walk" following her 2015 brain aneurysm in a rare new interview. "I haven't been writing recently. I haven't been playing my guitar or the piano or anything," said Mitchell. Instead, she's "just concentrating on getting my health back... You know what? I came back from polio, so here I am again, and struggling back." Mitchell was hospitalised in Los Angeles in March 2015, after being found unconscious at her home. Later that year she was said to be "making good progress." Mitchell also described to the paper that the five years since her aneurysm as "inching my way along," adding: "I'm showing slow improvement but moving forward." "Once again I couldn't walk. I had to learn how again. I couldn't talk," she added. "Polio didn't grab me like that, but the aneurysm took away a lot more, really. Took away my speech and my ability to walk. And, you know, I got my speech back quickly, but the walking I'm still struggling with. But I mean, I'm a fighter. I've got Irish blood! So you know, I knew, 'Here I go again, another battle.'" Mitchell is set to release a new archival album, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967), on Oct. 30. - NME, 10/27/20...... In an interview on the UK talk show Good Morning Britain, Queen guitarist Brian May said he feels "grateful to be alive" after a number of health issues including a heart attack and exploding stomach. "I had a wonderful, wonderful surgeon, and I'm so grateful to be alive. I had three stents in me, which are working just fine, and I feel good," May said. In May 2020, Brian revealed that he had been "very near death" when he was hospitalised after doctors discovered that three arteries in his heart "were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood" to his heart. In September, he also revealed that the drugs he was on to aid his recovery had caused "a stomach explosion that nearly killed me." Calling the stomach explosion "shocking," he added: "That was the point where I nearly lost my life, not the heart attack, strangely enough. You have to be so careful with the medication that they give you, because it's great for the stents, it's great for the heart, but it's not very good for the rest of your body and you can really go down. It's a tightrope." In other Queen-related news, the art-rockers' classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been voted "the best song of all time" in a poll completed by 2,000 Brits to mark the launch of the new Sony Walkman player. The 1975 hit was named as the nation's favourite song by 43%, followed closely behind in second place by Queen's 1978 hit "Don't Stop Me Now" (37%). Behind those two songs were the Beatles' "Hey Jude" (31%), John Lennon's "Imagine" (30%), Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" (28%), and Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" (27%). - NME/, 10/28/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards hit out at the use of synths in rock music, calling them "cheap and corny." "There's great musicians and some great singers and stuff. Unfortunately, to me, in music, it's been synthesised to death. Once you start synthesising things, you're not getting the real thing," said Richards, who complained that "there is no new rock 'n' roll. It's pointless." He added: "I don't want to go into a long discourse on what's wrong with synthesisers and music these days, except to say they're cheap and corny." Keith also backed the recent Black Lives Matter protests and said "it's about bloody time" and that "black music is the reason I'm here." The Stones are now believed to be back in the studio recording their next album. - NME, 10/28/20...... Debbie HarryBlondie frontwoman Debbie Harry is labelling Van Morrison "insane" for his stance on the COVID-19 crisis. While Harry says she thinks Morrison, who has recently slammed safety measures designed to stop the spread of the virus at concerts and other venues, is a "creative genius," but also noted he is "completely mad." "I mean, he has a history of very strange behaviour so it doesn't really surprise me. And after all, everyone's entitled to their own opinion," Harry recently told New Musical Express. "As far as conspiracy goes... huh! If this is a conspiracy, then the biggest f---ing genius in the world has created it! I mean, that is insane. Totally insane!," Harry exclaimed. She then went on to attack Pres. Donald Trump, insisting: "When it comes to our president, white supremacists respect him not necessarily for himself but because he's achieved the presidency. There's a lot of kudos that hangs on the word 'president'... A lot of people fall for him, but this is not a good guy." -, 10/25/20...... Paul McCartney recently told the BBC that his new album McCartney III is "just me having fun during lockdown." The rock icon explained that most of the LP is "new stuff" that he worked on during lockdown, but some of the tracks had been set aside because they "just didn't cut it" in their original form. "I thought 'OK, wait a minute, what about that one?'," he pondered. "So I'd get it out and think, 'Ugh, oh dear.' And you'd try to figure out what was wrong with it, or why you didn't like it," he went on. Sir Paul said his creative process sometimes involved rebuilding a track entirely. "In some cases the vocal or the words just didn't cut it, so you'd strip it all down and go 'OK, let's just make it completely different'," he recalled. McCartney III, slated for release on Dec. 11, comes 50 years after the debut of his self-titled first solo venture, and 40 years after the follow-up. Meanwhile, Macca says that director Peter Jackson's upcoming Beatles documentary Get Back is an authentic portrait of the band's final years together. "I love it," he said of the new film from the Lord of the Rings director which captures the making of the band's final album, 1970's Let It Be. Get Back is set to challenge the popular narrative that the group constantly clashed during their later years. "Even though we had arguments, like any family -- we loved each other, you know, and it shows in the film," McCartney said. "It's a very warm feeling, And it's amazing just being backstage with these people, making this music that turned out to be good." -, 10/27/20...... '70s musicians Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor and Lionel Richie will be among the headliners for the 2021 UK Lytham Festival, which will take place at Lytham Green on the Lancashire Coast from June 30 - July 4, 2021. The five-day event, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, was cancelled in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets are on sale now and day tickets will go on sale on Oct. 30. - NME, 10/26/20...... Olivia Newton-John recently told the UK paper The Guardian that she sees cancer as a "gift" rather than a disease she has to fight. Newton-John, 72, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and has twice received the news the disease has metastasised to other organs in her body, most recently in 2017. However, the Grease star, who has used plant-based remedies including medicinal cannabis alongside traditional treatments like surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy, to keep her cancer at bay, views her illness as an experience that his improved her as a person. "I don't know what I would be without it now. I see it as my life's journey. It gave me purpose and intention and taught me a lot about compassion. It has been a gift. I don't wish it on anyone else. But for me, it's been important in my life," she explained. The "Physical" singer also says she resists talking about fighting her cancer, as she's averse to combative metaphors. "I don't think of myself as sick with cancer. I choose not to see it as a fight either because I don't like war. I don't like fighting wherever it is -- whether it's outside or an actual war inside my body," she elaborated. Olivia added she doesn't want to know if doctors believe the cancer is terminal: "I don't believe them anyway. I mean, no one can tell you that." -, 10/27/20...... Don McLeanIn a new interview with the Irish Times, Don McLean branded his ex-wife of 30 years Patrisha McLean "the worst person I ever know" despite pleading guilty to domestic violence against his spouse. The 75-year-old "American Pie" singer, who is now based in Palm Desert, Calif., said it took him four years to get over his relationship with Patrisha, who he was married to for 29 years and shares two children with. McLean that the love letters she sent every month for 30 years "immediately turned to salt" when their relationship crumbled, following the accusations of domestic violence made against him. Having divorced in 2016, McLean said he hasn't met anyone who compares to Patrisha, and added: "I can truly say that my ex-wife is the worst person I ever knew." He added it's only now that their 2016 split is sinking in, despite the fact he moved on with Playboy model Paris Dylan, 25, months after his divorce finalized. Since the breakdown of their marriage, Patrisha has spoken about her relationship with Don in a travelling exhibit called "Finding Our Voices," and has established a domestic violence non-profit organization of the same name. She filed for divorce two months after Don was arrested for domestic violence on the grounds of "adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences." She filed for a protection order after her husband's arrest, but withdrew the request only days later. In a statement supporting her request for the restraining order, she alleged that her husband had "terrorized" her "for four hours" on the night before he was arrested. His relationship with Paris Dylan quickly flourished when she was hired to manage his social media accounts in 2016. He revealed that he doesn't read any media coverage about him regardless if it's good or bad, describing it as "all a bunch of bull---." McLean said he plans to auction most of his possessions before he dies -- including song lyrics, weapons and guitars -- because he doesn't want to leave them for someone else to "figure out what to do" with them. McLean is set to mark the anniversary of his hit song with new documentary The Day the Music Died, and a Broadway show has also been planned for 2022, alongside a children's book. He describes "American Pie" as "a fusion of folk, rock 'n' roll and old-fashioned popular music," and refuses to elaborate on the mysteries of the 1972 song. "I've never said that to anybody in 50 years," he said. -, 10/27/20...... Lawyers representing both parties in Rod Stewart's 2019 New Year's Eve assault case have told the court that the case is unlikely to go to trial. The incident took place at the on New Year's Eve in Dec. 2019, with Stewart charged with simple battery after allegedly punching security guard Jesse Dixon in the chest. Stewart's son Sean faces the same charge for his involvement in the confrontation at the Breaker's Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. Both have pleaded not guilty. Dixon brought a civil suit against them in January, however a pre-trial hearing has only just taken place via Zoom, having been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Neither Stewart or his son were present. Stewart's lawyer Guy Fronstin, who is representing both defendants, told Judge August Bonavita at the hearing that he has been in touch with prosecutors and the case is likely to be resolved before it reaches the trial stage. "We have been in communication with the state. We are asking for one more rollover for pre-trial," he said. "All indications are this is going to resolve without a trial but there's still some work to be done on it." A second pre-trial hearing is now scheduled for Dec. 4. - NME, 10/23/20...... Jerry Jeff WalkerCountry singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, best known for penning the 1971 hit "Mr. Bojangles" for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 78. Growing up and beginning his music career in New York in the 1960s, Walker moved to Austin, Tex. the following decade and is considered to be a pivotal figure in the development of the now-world-famous music scene in the city. In addition to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, his 1968 composition "Mr. Bojangles" has been covered by some of the biggest artists on earth, including Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Nina Simone, King Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr. and more. Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017 and released his final album, About Time, the following year. A host of musicians have taken to social media to pay tribute to Walker following news of his death including Jason Isbell, who wrote: "One day I'd like to be an old man who dances onstage like John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker." Prine, another country legend, died in April from coronavirus complications. American showrunner Brian Koppelman added: "I know that 90% of the people reading this never heard of Guy Clark or Jerry Jeff Walker. Go listen to JJW's version of LA Freeway to get why they matter so much to the other 10%. Then dive deep into their cataloged. Rip JJW." Walker is survived by his wife Susan Streit and their two children. - NME, 10/24/20.

Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Lindsey Buckingham may no longer be a member of Fleetwood Mac, but he has followed current Mac members Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks with his own video of "Dreams" after a video by a TikTok user soundtracked with the song went viral in late September. "Made this with my girls this weekend," Buckingham posted to Twitter on Oct. 21 alongside a video of himself taking part in the challenge. In the clip, the camera focuses on a close-up of his hand holding a small bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail before panning out to reveal him riding a horse as the band's iconic 1977 hit plays in the background. The video by skateboarder Nathan Apodaca sparked a remarkable chart resurgence of "Dreams" in October, with the song experiencing its largest streaming week ever. "Dreams"' parent album Rumours has even climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, some 42 years after it hit No. 1 on the chart in late 1977 and early 1978. - Billboard, 10/22/20...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen made his latest album Letter To You available for streaming on on Oct. 23. With 12 tracks and a healthy, almost one-hour running time, Letter To You is Springsteen's 20th studio album and his first reunion with the E Street Band since their 2016 "The River" tour. The LP, the follow-up to his 2019 release Western Stars, features nine songs written recently by The Boss, plus new versions of previously-unreleased compositions from the 1970s, "Janey Needs a Shooter," "If I Was the Priest," and "Song for Orphans," a video for the latter which has been shared on YouTube. Letter to You was co-produced by Springsteen and Ron Aniello at Springteen's home studio in New Jersey, and features the previously-released songs "Ghosts" and the LP's title track. The album is accompanied by a Thom Zimny-directed documentary, titled Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You, an exclusive through Apple TV+. - Billboard, 10/23/20...... Ozzy Osbourne announced newly rescheduled UK and European dates of his "No More Tours 2" jaunt on Instagram on Oct. 22. The gigs in question, which were originally announced back in Sept. 2018, have already been postponed a number of times due to Osbourne's ill health and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. Ozzy now says the UK and European legs will kick off in early 2022, beginning with a Jan. 22 date in Berlin and hitting several other cities in Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Finland and the UK through Mar. 14, 2022. "I really want to thank my fans for their loyalty and for waiting for me. Believe me, I can't wait to see you all again," Osbourne said in a statement. "Please stay safe in these uncertain times. God Bless you All! Love Ozzy." Judas Priest will open for Ozzy on all dates, except in Budapest, Hungary. - New Musical Express, 10/22/20...... On Oct. 21 a lawsuit filed against one of Michael Jackson's companies by one of the men who accused the King of Pop of sexual abuse was dismissed by a California judge. James Safechuck, now 42, who featured in the 2019 Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, sought damages from MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, who he accused of "facilitating" the singer's alleged sexual abuse of children. Safechuck filed his suit against the two companies in 2014, claiming that both companies "were created to, and did, facilitate Jackson's sexual abuse of children." In his ruling, Judge Mark Young said that Jackson controlled the companies and their employees, meaning that they were not able to control the star's alleged actions. Safechuck, who along with Wade Robinson says he was molested as a child in the early 1990s by Jackson, reportedly plans to appeal the decision. Dan Reed, who directed the 2019 documentary, is said to be filming a sequel to Leaving Neverland which will focus on the fallout from the first film and the intense backlash it attracted from some of Jackson's biggest fans. He has reportedly faced legal challenges over the sequel from both MJJ productions and MJJ Ventures. - NME, 10/22/20...... Elton John, who is featured in a new promo video by rising R&B singer Teyana Taylor for her song "Lose Each Other," says he's fond of the "classy" video and called for less "racy" and more "empowering" music videos. In an Instagram chat with Teyana, Sir Elton said: "What you did in the video was so beautiful and empowering. Normal videos have people shaking their booties and this was a piece of art. You weren't shaking anything. It means a lot. There really aren't many classy videos out there. They are what they are. This one is the Rolls-Royce of videos." John, 73, also said he isn't a fan of songs made on the computer. ""There's plenty of people that do but a lot of them don't get played on the radio because they're too sophisticated and we get songs made by a computer all the time and I'm not interested in that," he said. - Music-News, 10/22/20...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney announced on Oct. 21 that he will release the third album in his 50-year-spanning "McCartney" series, McCartney III, on Dec. 11. In a statement, Sir Paul said he hadn't intended to release a new album in 2020, but during the "isolation of 'Rockdown', he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones." The COVID-19 quarantine resulted in what Macca described as a "stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade." Paul says he recorded McCartney III earlier in 2020 at his home in Sussex, England, and like it's predecessors McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980), it's built from mostly live takes of himself on vocals, guitar and piano, with overdubbed bass and drumming. The session found him revisiting an unreleased track from the 1990s, "When Winter Comes," which was transformed into album opener "Long Tailed Winter Bird." In addition to CD and digital releases, McCartney III will be issued on vinyl, limited edition (3,000) hand-numbered red vinyl manufactured by Third Man Pressing, as well as standard 180g and a "333" Edition available only at the Third Man Records online store in a limited run of 333 copies on yellow-with-black-dots vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II; a 4,000-run, hand-numbered white vinyl version will be available at U.S. indie record stores. Paul has shared a preview video of the new album on Instagram. - Billboard, 10/21/20...... In other Beatles-related news, a letter written by the Fab Four's manager Brian Epstein following the sacking of the band's drummer Pete Best is going up for sale at auction. A letter written by Epstein to the "secret Beatle" Joe Flannery, who served as the Beatles' booking manager between 1962 and 1963, has been put up for sale by the latter's family following his death in 2019. Written and sent on Sept. 8, 1962, Epstein wrote to Flannery: "I read from the Mersey Beat Pete Best has now joined THE ALL STARS and I though [sic] I'd let you know that I have sent today, to him a certificate of release from his obligations under contract to myself. I would like to add, incidentally, our sincere wishes for Pete's and the group's continued success." The letter had been kept by Flannery's family in the years since but is now being sold via Omega Auctions. The sale will be conducted on Oct. 27, and it is estimated that the lot will reach between £650 and £1000. Pete Best was originally signed with the three long-standing members of The Fab Four -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison -- but he was let go by Epstein and replaced by Ringo Starr in Aug. 1962. - NME, 10/19/20...... Director Todd Haynes, known for such theatrical dramas as Far From Heaven (2003) and the music documentaries Velvet Goldmine (1998) and I'm Not There (2007), will helm a new documentary about the acclaimed late '60s/early '70s band The Velvet Underground. Directed and co-produced by Haynes, The Velvet Underground will premiere on Apple TV+ and, according to a press release, contain conversations with "key players" who were around Lou Reed and co. at the time, while offering up "a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art." Haynes, who first revealed the project in 2017, told Variety at the time that the VU documentary would be "an intensely visual experience." - NME, 10/21/20...... Julien's Auctions announced on Oct. 19 that two guitars belonging to the late Eddie Van Halen -- including his legendary 2004 EVH Charvel Art Series instrument with the red, white and black stripes on the body and headstock -- will be going on the auction block in early December as part of its two-day "Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock 'N' Roll" live auction event in Beverly Hills and online. The auction will also spotlight another custom-designed electric guitar built by Van Halen with his guitar tech Matt Bruck at the guitarist's 5150 home studio, according to a release announcing the event. The auction, which takes place on Dec. 4 and 5, will also feature artifacts and memorabilia owned and used by Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Aerosmith and more. - Billboard, 10/19/20...... Christopher CrossGrammy-winning pop singer/songwriter Christopher Cross is seeing huge gains with his song sales after being featured on the CBS morning show CBS Sunday Morning in a segment entitled "Christopher Cross on Surviving COVID." Cross, who was diagnosed with the novel Coronavirus in April, said he had just as he began to feel like he had recovered from COVID when he learned that he had also contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, likely brought on by his COVID sickness. "It was the worst 10 days of my life," Cross said in the segment. "I couldn't walk, could barely move." Cross, who says he's now recovering from the illness albeit with some lingering after-effects, is enjoying a combined 6,000 downloads of his catalog of songs on Oct. 18-19 in the U.S. after the appearance, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That's up 979% compared to their sales of just over 500 on Oct. 16-17. Cross' best selling songs for the period include his No. 1 hit "Sailing," (2,000; up 823%), his No. 2 single "Ride Like the Wind" (1,000; up 757%), the No. 1 "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" (1,000; up 1,309%), the No. 15 hit "Never Be the Same" (a little under 1,000; up 1,386%) and the No. 9 hit "Think of Laura" (nearly 500 sold; up 3,238%). After his illness forced him to scrap a planned 2020 tour, Cross said that he does expect to return to the stage following his recovery. "I don't know whether I'll walk out with my cane and I'll sit down on a stool," he explained. "But I've gotta tell you -- and it's hard to, you know, keep it together here -- but, you know my fans, I know them. And they love me. I really feel in my heart, at least, that the fans are gonna be with me." - Billboard, 10/21/20...... On Oct. 19 Neil Young announced more details about his long-awaited Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 box set. Young says the set will feature 131 tracks, including 12 that have never been released before, and also contain 49 previously unheard versions of classics from the rock icon's archives, as well as a 252-page hardbound book. The sequel to 2009's massive The Archives Volume 1: 1963-1972, Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 will cover the years when Young released some of his most beloved albums, including Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, Zuma, Long May You Run and the recently issued "lost" 1975 album Homegrown. A deluxe 10-CD edition (only 3,000 available) of the set includes hundreds of previously unseen photos, a tape database, a full-length archives poster, detailed descriptions of the songs and a fold-out timeline of Young's activity during that period. Young also released a teaser video for the album on YouTube as well as a 1972 recording of "Come Along and Say You Will", recorded with his side band The Stray Gators. - Billboard, 10/19/20...... To help promote their new album Power Up, AC/DC have launched a new online program which allows users to display their initials in the style of the band's iconic lightning bolt logo. Users of the generator, which can be found at you/, are asked to enter their name. Their initials are then displayed as neon signs in the band's famous font either side of a lightning bolt, matching the cover of Power Up. The classic logo was first used on AC/DC's 1977 album Let There Be Rock and has appeared on every one of the band's albums since, apart from the following year's Powerage. - NME, 10/19/20...... In other heavy metal news, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page recently revealed to Classic Rock magazine that Zeppelin originally planned a whole tour after reuniting for a one-off show in 2007, but they never came to fruition. After lauding late LZ drummer John Bonham's son Jason Bonham as a "damn good drummer" [who] "should be sitting in that seat" and not just because he was John's son, Page said: "It had been said that there was going to be a tour. There weren't any dates put in, but obviously we had honed ourselves to the point where we were ready." But after the dates failed to materialize, Page says he has put the idea of a reunion firmly to bed. "But then there has not been any discussion about any tour ever since -- nor will there be. So there you go. It's just one of those weird, odd things in the world of Led Zeppelin, really, another part of the Led Zeppelin phenomenon," he said. - NME, 10/19/20...... Brian WilsonAl JardineMike LoveFormer Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Al Jardine are denying involvement in a presidential fundraiser for Pres. Donald Trump on Oct. 18 in Orange County, Calif., that was headlined by a band fronted by BB Mike Love, Mike Love's Beach Boys. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fundraiser was attended by various Republican supporters in the area and headlined by Love with his touring band. But Wilson and Jardine say they had "absolutely nothing to do with the Trump benefit today in Newport Beach, zero.... We didn't even know about it and were very surprised to read about it in the Los Angeles Times." Mike Love won the rights to continue performing under the group's moniker in 1998, after a series of lawsuits. Wilson and Jardine have toured together under Wilson's name, often performing Beach Boys material. This isn't the first time the duo have opposed Love -- earlier in 2020 the pair joined a petition supporting a boycott of a Beach Boys concert at the Safari Club International Convention, where Donald Trump Jr. was the keynote speaker. Wilson openly denounced the event, saying, "this organization supports trophy hunting, which Both Al [Jardine] and I are emphatically opposed to." Love defended the decision to play the show at the time by responding, "We look forward to a night of great music in Reno and, as always, support freedom of thought and expression as a fundamental tenet of our rights as Americans." - NME, 10/19/20...... Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry is praising pop sensation Miley Cyrus for making Blondie's huge 1978 hit "Heart of Glass" "uniquely hers." Cyrus delivered a raw live rendition of the 1978 hit during a performance at the virtual iHeartRadio Festival 2020 in September, which was then uploaded to Spotify. "We think Miley Cyrus nailed it. Check it out:," Harry posted to Twitter on Oct. 21 with a link to the video. Harry also complemented Cyrus' "Heart of Glass" in a recent interview with New Musical Express: "I thought she did a great job and I liked the way the performance looked and she's a force to be reckoned with. I'm really proud of the fact she did our song and made it uniquely hers." Meanwhile, Blondie have announced a run of UK arena shows with alternative band Garbage opening. The band's "Against The Odds" tour is due to begin in Liverpool on Nov. 6, then visit Birmingham, Manchester, Hull, Nottingham, Brighton, Cardiff, London and Glasgow before wrapping in Leeds on Nov. 21. Blondie will release their 12th studio album to coincide with the tour in 2021. "The tour is called Against All Odds because really it is -- we're trying to stay optimistic that it will happen," Blondie drummer Clem Burke recently told the UK's The Sun paper. - NME, 10/21/20...... A clip from the new Harry Chapin documentary Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something has been shared on The documentary is the inspiring story of the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/activist who sold over 16 million albums and spent his fame and fortune trying to end world hunger before his tragic passing. Featuring such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Pete Seeger, Bob Geldof, Kenny Rogers, Graham Nash and Pat Benatar, the documentary opened in theaters and virtual cinemas on Oct.16, World Food Day. A portion of the proceeds goes to both WhyHunger and The Harry Chapin Foundation. -, 10/14/20...... It has been revealed that a new TV series based on the hit 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit is in early development. The road action comedy will be a modern take on the Southern-set classic, according to writer/director Gordon Green. "Growing up in the south, Smokey and the Bandit was an iconic franchise for me. The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I'm excited to dig into," Green, who was born in Little Rock, Ak., and raised in Texas, said in a statement. In addition to penning the script, Green is set to step behind the camera and direct the potential pilot, which currently has no network attached to the series. Released in 1977, the Burt Reynolds and Sally Field-starring film became a major hit for Universal Studios, grossing over $300 million on its $4.3 million budget, becoming the second-largest domestic grossing film of the year behind Star Wars and spawned a franchise that included two feature-length sequels and made-for-TV spinoff films. -, 10/22/20...... Former King Crimson bassist and singer Gordon Haskell died on Oct. 15 following a year-long battle with lung cancer. He was 74. Though Haskell never performed live with the long-running prog rock band, his short tenure included playing on the band's third studio album, 1970's Lizard, as well as on the song "Cadence and Cascade" from their second album, that same year's In the Wake of Poseidon. The multi-talented musician was recruited to join Crimson by his former grammar school classmate and band founder/guitarist Robert Fripp; the two formerly played together in a band called The League of Gentlemen. Haskell went on to join the psychedelic British bands The Quotations, Rupert's People, Cupid's Inspiration and The Fleur de Lys, the latter best known for their Jimmy Page-produced 1965 cover of Norman Petty's "Moondreams." He also released a couple of solo singles, "Boat Trip" and "Oh-La-Di-Doo-Da-Day," and the album, Sail on My Boat, in 1969. Haskell released 13 solo albums between 1969-2020, with his most recent effort, The Cat Who's Got the Cream, dropping in January of 2020. - Billboard, 10/19/20...... Spencer DavisLegendary "British Invasion" musician Spencer Davis of The Spencer Davis Group, which had hits with "Gimme Some Lovin'," "I'm a Man" and "Keep on Running," died in hospital on Oct. 19 while being treated for pneumonia, his agent Bob Birk confirmed. He was 81. Born on July 17, 1939, in Swansea, Wales, Mr. Davis formed The Spencer Davis Group in Birmingham in 1963 with Steve Winwood (organ/vocals), Muff Winwood (bass) and Pete York (drums). The band, who originally went by the name The Rhythm & Blues Quartet, became renowned for such hits as "Keep On Running" (a cover of a song written by Jackie Edwards), "Gimme Some Lovin" and "I'm A Man." The band was part of the "British Invasion" of the 1960s in the US, and toured with the likes of The Who and The Rolling Stones. The Winwood brothers left the group in 1967 -- Steve to form Traffic; Muff to become a successful record executive -- and they disbanded in July 1969 (although they briefly reformed from 1973-74) with Mr. Davis moving to the US the following year to pursue a solo career. Mr. Davis also worked as an executive at Island Records in the 1970s, with his official website stating that the Welsh musician helped "further the profiles of artists like Robert Palmer and Bob Marley" through his work at Island. Mr. Davis was a prolific touring musician, and he played under The Spencer Davis Group banner without the Winwoods during the 90s, 2000s and 2010s. The band last played together in 2017, with two touring line-ups -- one for Europe and one for the US -- in operation and Mr. Davis still at the helm. Tributes to Davis have been pouring in after news of his passing, with Steve Winwood remembering his former bandmate as "definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the 'British Invasion' of America in the '60s. I never went to the US with Spencer, but he later embraced America and America embraced him. I feel that he was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that." - NME, 10/20/20...... James Redford, the filmmaker son of Hollywood legend Robert Redford, passed away at his home in Marin County, Calif., on Oct. 16 after losing his battle with liver cancer. He was 58. James Redford was revered for his documentaries, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia and 2020's Playing for Keeps, which explored the health benefits of play time for children and adults. "He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many," his widow, Kyle, wrote on social media. "He will be deeply missed." - WENN/, 10/19/20.

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020

On Oct. 17 Elvis Costello shared a chilling new song from his upcoming studio album Hey Clockface. "Newspaper Pane," accompanied by an animated lyric video that has been shared on YouTube, tells the story of a woman cooped up in a room where the windows are covered with old newspapers, which she put up to allow herself to immerse herself in the details of an unattainable life. Hey Clockface, due Oct. 30, was recorded by the iconic New Wave musician after he was separated from his regular collaborators by the coronavirus pandemic earlier in 2020. Meanwhile, a new box set collection of Costello's classic 1979 set Armed Forces is being reissued on Nov. 6. - New Musical Express, 10/17/20...... Tom PettyRod Stewart"Leave Virginia Alone," a new Tom Petty single culled from his newly released Wildflowers and All the Rest box set, has debuted at No. 23 on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart for the week ending Oct. 23. "Leave Virginia Alone" also has the distinction of being covered by Rod Stewart in 1995 for his A Spanner in the Works LP and rose to No. 10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary airplay chart and No. 34 on the Pop Songs chart that July. At the time, Stewart explained that the song "was for Tom Petty's album, and he took it off because it was too close lyrically to something that was a hit beforehand, and his manager couldn't persuade him to put it on the album. So his manager, who's a friend of my manager, said, 'Would Rod listen to the song?'" Stewart, who confessed that he "wasn't really a Tom Petty fan" but he thought Petter was "a good performer though," also revealed that "Leave Virginia Alone" "absolutely went by me" the first time he heard it. "It took me two or three good listens. I had to be persuaded to do it, in other words. But now I'm glad we did," Stewart noted. Petty's version of "Leave Virginia Alone," which he solely wrote and didn't make the final Wildflowers album, can be streamed on YouTube. 1994's Wildflowers was the second solo album from Petty, who died at age 66 in 2017. - Billboard, 10/16/20...... Speaking of Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks recently told Forbes magazine that listening to the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has helped her through the grief of losing her rocker pal. "He spent a lot of time on [Petty's Sirius XM] radio station to the point where the rest of the Heartbreakers were like, 'So you missed your calling. You just really wanted to be a disc jockey'," mused Nicks, who enjoyed a longstanding personal and professional relationship with Petty, and the pair duetted at London's Hyde Park just months before his Oct. 2017. "He did so much work on it they've been able to totally keep the Tom Petty radio station alive and I'm so happy about that because to me I hear him and it's like I'm talking to him while he's talking to us... I forget that he's gone because of that station," she added. Nicks also lamented the loss of several other of her rocker friends in the past few years, including Prince, Glenn Frey and Eddie Van Halen. "In the last couple of years of [my dad's] life, at one point he said to me, 'All my friends are dead'," she remembered. "The people that live to be really old, like hopefully me, there will be a time where a lot of people will be gone. And I certainly never expected for Prince and Tom Petty to be gone in 2020." -, 10/17/20...... A new action figure of late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister has been unveiled for the 40th anniversary of Motörhead's classic Ace of Spades album. The 3.753 "Lemmy ReAction figurine" is designed by Super7, who announced the news on Instagram on Oct. 17. "To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Ace Of Spades album, Super7 is proud to present the man, the myth, the legend," reads the caption. Led by designer Brian Flynn, the San Francisco-based company have previously released Iron Maiden and Misfits paraphernalia, as well as covering Star Wars, Alien and Planet Of The Apes. The 40th anniversary Ace Of Spades reissue box set drops on Oct. 30 with 42 previously unreleased tracks. - NME, 10/17/20...... Ray DaviesThe Kinks are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their classic 1970 album Lola Versus Powerman and The Moneygoround, Part One with a special set of reissues, including a limited edition deluxe 10 slipcased book pack (containing a 60-page book, 3 CDs, 2 7" singles and four color prints), digital exclusives, and a 2xCD hardback book. Commonly abbreviated to either Lola Versus Powerman or Lola, the band's eighth studio album was released in Nov. 1970 and included such songs as "Lola" and "Apeman." Speaking about the album, Kinks frontman Ray Davies said: "The album is a celebration of artistic freedom (including my own) and the right for anyone to be gender free if one wishes. The secret is to be a good and trusting person and friend. A brand new Davies-helmed remix/medley of the Kinks track "Any Time" titled "The Follower/Any Time 20202" was released on Oct. 14 and can be streamed on YouTube. - NME, 10/15/20...... Fleetwood Mac's 1977 No. 1 single "Dreams" has re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for the week of Oct. 17 sparked by a viral TikTok video featuring the song. Landing at No. 21, it's the first time the song has landed on the Hot 100 since its original run No. 1. "Dreams" garnered 13.4 million streams (up 54%) and 22,000 downloads sold (up 197%) in the tracking week ending Oct. 8, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. In the TikTok clip, Idahoan Nathan Apodaca rides his longboard while drinking a large bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice, backed by "Dreams." The video became so popular that the band's own Mick Fleetwood recreated the clip. Ocean Spray even gifted Apodaca a red pickup truck (filled with bottles of Ocean Spray juice). "Dreams" originally debuted on the Hot 100 dated Apr. 16, 1977, and spent a week at No. 1 (June 18). Fleetwood Mac last appeared in the Hot 100's Top 40 on May 19, 1990, with "Save Me." Stevie Nicks has also just posted her own "Dreams" response to Apodaca's TikTok clip on Twitter, tagging Apodaca's TikTok account alongside the caption "Afternoon vibe. Lace 'em up!". - Billboard/NME, 10/13/20...... AC/DC's lead single "Shot in the Dark" from the band's upcoming album Power Up has debuted at No. 5 on Billboard Best Mainstream Rock Songs chart for the week of Oct. 17. "Shot in the Dark" is the most popular Mainstream Rock Songs song in over 12 years, since Disturbed's "Inside the Fire" also ignited at No. 5 on the ranking dated Apr.12, 2008. In other AC/DC news, a former bassist for the group who briefly played with the Aussie headbangers in 1975 has died. Paul Matters joined AC/DC after the release of 1975's High Voltage, replacing original bassist Larry Van Kriedt. Matters was fired only weeks later, reportedly by then AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott, with Mark Evans taking his place in the band. Matters' passing was announced on Facebook by friend Rod Wescombe, who said he had led a "reclusive life" after his dismissal from the band. - Billboard/NME, 10/15/20...... Van Halen songs are dominating Billboard's Hot Hard Rock Songs chart in mid-October following the death of founding guitarist Eddie Van Halen on Oct. 6 after his lengthy battle with throat cancer. In the tracking week running Oct. 2-8, Van Halen's discography earned 49.3 million U.S. on-demand streams, a jump of 463%, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Additionally, the band's album sales spiked 1,442% to 27,000 in sales, while its digital song sales rose 2,522% to 88,000. Multiple classic albums and songs by the band have also reached the Oct. 17-dated charts. Leading the way, "Jump" becomes the first catalog song in the streaming/airplay/sales-based Hot Hard Rock Songs chart's four-month history to reach No. 1, debuting atop the list, ahead of five other Van Halen songs. - Billboard, 10/14/20...... Bob DylanBob Dylan's Grey Water Park Productions is teaming up with George Clooney for a movie adaptation of John Grisham's baseball-themed novel Calico Joe. The story is set in the world of Major League Baseball and tells a tale about fathers and sons, and forgiveness and redemption. The film is being directed by Clooney's Smokehouse Pictures partner Grant Heslov, who with Clooney said in a joint statment that "John has written a beautiful story and the chance to collaborate with Bob to bring it to the screen is just fantastic." Bob Dylan added: "George and Grant see in this book what I see in it -- a powerful story that will resonate with young and old alike. People in all walks of life will be able relate to it." -, 10/16/20...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Peter Frampton revealed that The Who's Pete Townsend once asked him to join The Who as his replacement. Frampton says that during a creative and financial low point in his career, Townshend contacted him to say he was leaving the band and wanted the "Baby, I Love Your Way" singer to fill in on guitar and vocals for him. "It was the most bizarre thing I ever heard... Three men couldn't fill his shoes!," Frampton recalled. Frampton says he declined the offer initially, but says he called back a few days later due to his own financial struggles -- only to discover that Townshend appeared to have no recollection of the conversation. Frampton, 70, also spoke about firing his manager Dee Anthony, who died in 2009, with Frampton claiming that he was shielded from financial issues. "I was kept away from those things," he said. "I was kept high. If I needed weed, he made sure I had weed. If I needed cocaine, he made sure I had cocaine. He didn't want me thinking about what was going on," Frampton added. "It was criminal. I could have put him in jail." - NME, 10/17/20....... Elton John has shared another song from his upcoming career retrospective box set Jewel Box, due Nov. 13 from UMC/EMI. "Here's to the Next Time," which has been shared on YouTube, was recorded at London's DJM Studio in late 1967 when John was still known as Reg Dwight, with the complete version appearing in 1968 as the B-side to John's first single, "I've Been Loving You." "Here's to the Next Time" follows two other rare Elton songs, "Regimental Sgt. Zippo" and "Sing Me Sad Song," which will also feature on Jewel Box. The 50th anniversary box set is split into four parts -- "Deep Cuts," "Rarities," "B-sides," "And This Is Me" -- and will be released in 4xLP, 8xCD, 3xLP and 2xLP formats. - NME, 10/17/20...... In other Elton John news, the Rocket Man has just settled a £3million court dispute with his ex-wife, Renate Blauel. The settlement comes after Blauel sought compensation from John over the summer after he mentioned her in several sections in his autobiography Me, allegedly breaking the terms of an agreement the couple made when they divorced 32 years ago. In papers filed in his defense at the time, the Elton's legal team denied breaching the agreement, arguing the details in the book were public knowledge and that the contract "applies only to private and confidential matters." Now, according to Sky News, a rep for Blauel says "the couple are happy to announce that they have resolved this case, in a way that acknowledges Renate's need for privacy." "For her part, Renate acknowledges that Elton has acted in a dignified and respectful way towards her in the last 30 years and has been always happy to help her," according to the rep. John has also reacted to his his fallout with Rod Stewart in a new chapter of Me, which has been recently published. In 2018, Rod criticized Elton's decision to head out on his extensive "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" farewell tour, branding it "money-grabbing." John now writes that Stewart had a "f---ing cheek" lecturing him about "rock and roll." He wrote: "I certainly didn't feel like I needed a lecture on the feral spirit of rock and roll from someone who'd spent most of the last decade crooning his way through the Great American Songbook and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." - NME, 10/14/20...... Phil CollinsPhil Collins has issued a ceast and desist order to the Pres. Donald Trump re-election campaign over the use of Collins' iconic 1981 single "In The Air Tonight" at a Trump campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 14. Collins' reps confirmed in a statement to the Consequence of Sound website that have issued the order, following the likes of the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Linkin Park, the estate of Tom Petty and more in objecting to their music being used at Trump events. "Yes we are well aware of the Trump campaign's use of this song and we have already issued a 'cease and desist' letter via our lawyers who continue to monitor the situation," a rep for Collins said. Meanwhile, John Fogerty says he's issuing his own cease and desist order to the Trump campaign over use of the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival hit "Fortunate Son" at Trump rallies. Posting on Twitter on Oct. 16, Fogerty said: "He is using my words and my voice to portray a message that I do not endorse." Sharing the statement along with a photograph of himself in uniform, Fogerty explained that "Fortunate Son"' came about "because, as a veteran, I was disgusted that some people were allowed to be excluded from serving our country because they had access to political and financial privilege... I also wrote about wealthy people not paying their fair share of taxes. Mr. Trump is a prime example of both of these issues. "The fact that Mr. Trump also fans the flames of hatred, racism, and fear while rewriting ancient history, is even more reason to be troubled by his use of my song," he added. - NME, 10/17/20...... In related news, Bruce Springsteen told Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Oct. 15 that he's considering moving down under should Pres. Trump win a second term in the Nov. 3 election. "If Trump is re-elected -- which he will not be; I'm predicting right now he's gonna lose -- if by some happenstance he should be, I'll see you on the next plane [to Australia]," Springsteen told the paper. The New Jersey rocker has a long history of speaking out against Trump, having previously labelled him "a threat to our democracy" and criticizing his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, telling him to "put on a f---ing mask." Meanwhile, the first full trailer of Springsteen's new documentary, Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You, has been shared on YouTube. The Apple Original Films documentary is set to arrive on Apple TV+ on Oct. 23, coinciding with the release of Springsteen's new album with the E Street Band, also called Letter To You. Written by Springsteen and directed by his frequent collaborator Thom Zimny (Western Stars, The Gift: The Journey Of Johnny Cash, Springsteen On Broadway), the film is described as "a tribute to the E Street Band, to rock music itself and to the role it has played in Springsteen's life." - NME, 10/17/20...... Stevie WonderOn Oct. 13, Stevie Wonder shared two new songs, "Where Is Our Love Song" and "Can't Put It in The Hands Of Fate" on YouTube, and announced he was leaving Motown Records after nearly 60 years to start his own label, So What The Fuss Music to be distributed by Republic Records. "I had a great conversation with Monte Lipman, the (Republic) president, and I spoke with India.Arie, who had signed with Republic," said Wonder, who had been on the Motown roster for his entire career, first signing with them as an 11-year-old prodigy in 1961. "Even though I have left Motown, I never leave Motown. That's Detroit," Wonder said. "So I'm sure that we can figure out how we can do some things at Motown. Maybe I'll do my 'Gospel Inspired by Lula' with Motown. We'll work it out," he added, referring to a gospel project named after his late mother he announced in 2013. Of the two new tracks, he said of "Where Is Our Love Song": "It is a song that really I started working on when I was 18, not even knowing what the song was going to be about, but I had the melody. Then this year came all the confusion and all the hate and all the east versus west, left versus right... I'm watching all this and say, 'Hold up, how can you be talking about God and there be hate in your spirit?'." Of the latter track, 'Can't Put It In The Hands Of Fate', Wonder added: "I was thinking about where we are in the world. And I was thinking about how this is most crucial time. Not just Black people or people of color but young people everywhere are going, 'This is not acceptable.' Change is right now. We can't put it in the hands of fate. Ain't nobody got time to wait." - NME, 10/13/20...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has told the UK paper The Guardian that he hasn't read his former bandmate Chris Frantz new memoir Remain in Love. "Noooo," Byrne said when asked about the book, before adding: "I knew that if I read it I would get asked about it. So I've avoided it." In the memoir, Frantz documented the band's final meeting and said Byrne was so exasperated that the other members kept their cool when he announced their split, that he yelled: "You should be calling me an asshole." Byrne has dampened speculation about a Talking Heads reunion on many occasions -- in 2017, he said that the prospect of getting the band back together would "probably be [taking] quite a number of steps backwards." Meanwhile, it has been announced that Byrne's acclaimed "American Utopia" live show is set to return to Broadway in New York City in Sept. 2021. Byrne's stage show/rock spectacle is a live adaptation of the artist's 2018 solo album American Utopia, which one critic called "the best musical experience on the planet." A Spike Lee-directed HBO film release of American Utopia premiered on the premium cable channel in October after opening the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 10. - NME, 10/15/20...... Alice Cooper has shared a new video for his 1972 single "Elected" on YouTube. Cooper has also revamped his official website in time for Halloween, with slogans including: "I can do nothing as well as they can do nothing" and "I have absolutely no idea what to do." Alice is also offering up a host of new presidential merchandise including T-shirts, stickers, and pins that show the shock-rocker holding his own severed head, emblazoned with phrases such as, "A Sickman for a Sick Nation / Wild Party Forever." Cooper previously confirmed he has partnered with AirBnB for a new event where he will read scary stories to fans ahead of this year's Halloween. Spooky Story Time with Alice Cooper will take place on Oct. 21 at 4:00 pm PT (12:00 am BST). Cooper says that 100% of proceeds from the event, which costs around £80 per person, will go to childrens' charity North Star Reach. - NME, 10/15/20...... Rhonda FlemingActress Rhonda Fleming, whose long career embraced filmdom's Golden Age and the early days of television, died on Oct. 14 in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 97. No cause was given, but her death was confirmed by her secretary. Ms. Fleming was known as the "Queen of Technicolor" for her stunning red hair and green eyes, which lit up appearances in such films as Out of the Past and Spellbound. Overall, she appeared in more than 40 films, working with directors Alfed Hitchcock, Jacques Tourneur and Robert Siodmak, among other film greats. Her best-known films included the 1948 musical fantasy A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court with Bing Crosby, the 1957 Western Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and the noir Slightly Scarlet, alongside John Payne. The Hollywood-born actress was also the costar to some of Hollywood's biggest names, including four films with Ronald Reagan before he entered politics. She also worked with Glenn Ford, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, and Rock Hudson, among others. In television, Ms. Fleming guest-starred in Wagon Train, Police Woman, The Love Boat, was in a special of McMillan & Wife. Later in life, Ms. Fleming became a philanthropist, supporting Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., where she established the Rhonda Fleming Carlson Inspiration Garden in 2014. Ms. Fleming is survived by her son, Kent Lane, two granddaughters, and five great-grandchildren. -, 10/16/20.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

Bruce Springsteen will be among the artists appearing in a 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame special, which premieres on Nov. 7 on HBO and HBO Max. The 2020 RRHOF ceremony was originally set to go ahead in May, though it was pushed back to November due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, as a way to make sure the event could go ahead, the ceremony will be pre-recorded and air the same date as the induction. Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G. and T. Rex will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Other artists set to feature at the event are Miley Cyrus, St. Vincent, Dave Grohl, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Ringo Starr, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and more. - NME, 10/9/20...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper has partnered with home rental website Airbnb for a new event where he will read scary stories to fans ahead of Halloween 2020. Spooky Story Time with Alice Cooper will take place on Oct. 21 at 4:00 pm PT (12:00 am BST). Speaking of the new event on Twitter, Cooper says he will "take my penchant for terror to the scariest place I know -- the internet." Inviting fans to "join me for a kid-friendly spooky story hour," Cooper added that "100% of proceeds from the event, which costs around £80 per person, will go to childrens' charity North Star Reach." Cooper added that the event will be "suitable for children ages 6+ with an appetite for fright." - NME, 10/10/20...... Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood participated in a Zoom interview with TikTok user Nathan Apodaca (@420doggface208) on Oct. 8 to thank him for making the Fleetwood Mac song "Dreams" a viral hit. "One, we owe you," Fleetwood told Apodaca, whose serene video of himself lip-syncing to the 1977 hit while while riding a skateboard and drinking straight from a bottle of cranberry juice has been viewed on TikTok over 34 million times. "It's such a great story, and it's so needed," Fleetwood continued. "In days that are really challenging... it makes people smile, and I'm so happy to be part of it. Congratulations on a wild, wild skateboard journey that has led us to talking today," Fleetwood concluded, before adding, "I hope Stevie [Nicks]'s watching. She's going to be overjoyed." Fleetwood also revealed how his own recreation of Apodaca's viral video came together, saying, "I was just led right into it. People around me were going like, 'Dad, you've got to do this, it's so cool.' So we did it, and now here we are, talking." In other Fleetwood Mac news, Stevie Nicks has shared her new single, "Show Them the Way," on YouTube. Nicks recently told the Associated Press that the song was inspired by a dream she had in 2008 where she played at a political benefit attended by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, John Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy. "Everything was timeless, even me/ I wasn't old, I wasn't young, I was just part of their dream/ A shadow walked with me down the hall, it was Martin Luther King," Nicks sings on the track, which features Dave Grohl on drums. A music video of "Show Them the Way" directed by Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe will be released soon. Nicks will release a live album and concert film, 24 Karat Gold - Songs from the Vault, on vinyl, CD and to stream from Oct. 30 through BMG. The film will be screened in select cinemas for two nights only, on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/9/20...... Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes, a new John Lennon hits collection produced in collaboration with Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and John and Yoko's son Sean Lennon, could surpass Scottish group Travis's new LP 10 Songs to become the top selling album in the UK, according to the Official U.K. Singles and Albums Charts survey. On Oct. 12, Gimme Some Truth had risen to No. 3 on the midweek chart, just 364 combined sales behind the Travis album. Lennon has three No. 1's as a solo artist on the chart, and a whopping 16 with the Beatles, more than any act in Official Chart history. Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes was executive produced by Yoko and produced by Sean, and contains 36 of Lennon's best-loved songs from his solo career. Sean Lennon recently told interviewer George Stroumboulopoulos on his Apple Music Hits show "STROMBO" that his dad returning his MBE to Queen Elizabeth II in 1966 was "maybe more punk than anything the punks did." "It was a big deal to return the Member of the British Empire thingamajig that he was given. To the Queen, that was very irreverent," Sean said. All four Beatles were given the honour in 1965, but Lennon returned his award a year later in protest against the Vietnam War and Britain's involvement in the conflict in Biafra. - Billboard/NME, 10/12/20...... Willie NelsonMeanwhile, country-pop music icon Willie Nelson and the band Promise of the Real lead by his sons Lukas and Micah Nelson, have paid tribute Lennon on what would have been his 80th birthday on Oct. 9 with a cover of Lennon's 1981 posthumous hit "Watching the Wheels." In the video tribute, which has been shared on YouTube, Lukas and Micah can be seen trading off lines in the first verse, while Willie takes the second: "Well they shake their heads and they look at me/ As if I've lost my mind/ I tell them there's no hurry/ I'm just sitting here doing time." - NME, 10/10/20...... In other Lennon news, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life author Kenneth Womack says that if Lennon was still alive "he'd be giving Pres. Donald Trump hell." "I think in a lot of ways he would have been like David Bowie, very moved by the internet," Womack told the U.K. paper The Mirror. "He would be an influencer in that way... he'd be right there on Twitter giving Trump hell." Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Liverpool's Cavern Club where the Beatles famously gigged before rising to international fame in the early 1960s, is among the venues which have received a lifeline from the U.K. government to survive the financial impact of coronavirus. The Cavern has been given £525,000 to fund the recording of performances from local musicians. They will be streamed online to provide employment opportunities for technical staff and artists from across Merseyside. - NME, 10/12/20...... Eddie Van Halen's brother and bandmate Alex Van Halen paid tribute to his younger brother Eddie, who died on Oct. 6 following a lengthy battle with cancer, with a touching message posted on Twitter on Oct. 8. "Hey Ed. Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother, Al," Alex posted, and accompanied the message with a cute black and white photo of the pair as young boys. Following Eddie's death, at the age of 65, Alex, 67, is the only member who has been with the band throughout its existence, and played on all 12 studio albums. Meanwhile, former VH frontman Sammy Hagar and former VH bassist Mike Anthony recorded a video tribute to Eddie during a recent public rehearsal of their band Sammy Hagar and the Circle on Catalina Island, Calif. During the show, Hagar invited the audience to take a moment of silence to remember Eddie, after which they launched into the anthemic "Right Now," a single from the 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. "I'll tell you, a Van Halen song never felt so hard to sing and play in my life," Hagar says in the clip, which has been shared on YouTube. "After the unfortunate thing that happened yesterday with Eddie Van Halen, for Mike and I, it was just like getting hit by a freaking Mack truck," Hagar shared. "Kind of took the wind out of the sails." The video is captioned by a comment from the two former VH rockers: "We love you Eddie. The music will live forever." - Billboard, 10/9/20...... David CrosbyIn related news, David Crosby is explaining a comment he made about Eddie Van Halen after the guitar god's death. On Oct. 10, a fan tweeted to Crosby asking his opinion of Eddie, to which Crosby replied with a one-word answer: "Meh & . ." Crosby's curt post drew backlash from Tracii Guns of the U.S. rock band L.A. Guns who called the remark "very disrespectful" and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister who said he "always hated [Crosby] AND his mustache." But Crosby doubled down on his comments when fans began to voice their ire. "Sorry & just meant he does not move me much," Crosby wrote in another tweet. On Oct. 12, Crosby added that "[Jimi] Hendrix changed the world of guitar. Nobody else really & look I get it ..many of you loved Van Halen & .and the one time I met he was nice & .and he was talented & meh to me means I don't care that much & .and I don't & doesn't mean he wasn't good, he was but not for me." - NME, 10/12/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne has confirmed that Ozzy's twice-postponed tour has been rebooked for 2022. Osbourne's 'No More Tours II' tour was first announced in Nov. 2017, and a number of dates throughout 2018 were completed. However, a run of U.K. dates have been delayed twice. The first postponement was due to Ozzy's ill health, and second due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ozzy and Sharon appeared on Planet Rock Radio on Oct. 11 and were asked about the difficulties of booking venues for shows after the pandemic has subsided. "Everybody's booking their tours again for like 2022, and to find availabilities right now, it's crazy," Sharon said. "Agents and facilities are going nuts, trying to get everybody back. It will be exciting. I think it will be a very exciting time when bands do go back and it'll be joyous." She then confirmed: "Ozzy's tour has been rebooked. The British tour, he'll be back in '22. You know, we just carry on as normal. We've been doing loads of TV shows here and you've got to just keep going until Ozzy can go back live." - NME, 10/12/20...... Elton John unveiled a previously unreleased song, "Regimental Sgt. Zippo," on YouTube on Oct. 12. John recorded the psychedelic track back in 1968, with lyrics from his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin. Posting on Twitter, Elton said the song was originally intended "to be the title track of his unreleased debut album in 1969" and "can be found on my upcoming 'Jewel Box'!" Jewel Box, due Nov. 13 from UMC/EMI, will feature 60 unreleased tracks, including rarities and B-sides. "To delve back through every period of my career in such detail for 'Jewel Box' has been an absolute pleasure," Elton said in September as he announced the release. "Hearing these long lost tracks again, I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie [Taupin] and I were during the early days." - NME, 10/12/20...... John LydonFormer The Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) has told the U.K.'s The Observer paper that he plans on voting for Pres. Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election because he feels Trump's Democratic challenger, former Vice-President Joe Biden, is "incapable" of leading America. Lydon, who previously backed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, said he supports Trump because of the economy. "I'd be daft as a brush not to," Lydon said. "He's the only sensible choice now that Biden is up -- he's incapable of being the man at the helm." According to the article, Lydon started supporting the US president after Trump was accused of racism. "I've been accused of the very same thing, so I'm offended for anybody who's called that," he explained. In 2008, Lydon and his entourage were involved in a backstage altercation with Kele Okereke, after the Bloc Party frontman asked Lydon at Spain's Summercase festival if he would ever consider reforming Public Image Ltd. It was alleged that Lydon responded with a racist tirade including the statement, "Your problem is your black attitude," followed by what Okereke called an "unprovoked racist attack" that resulted in him suffering severe facial bruising, cuts to his face and body and a split lip. He later referred to Lydon as "the devil in my eyes." - NME, 10/11/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert recently landed their first U.K. No. 1 album together after their new live collection Live Around the World was released on Oct. 2. Live Around the World secured the top spot on the Official Albums Chart with the most CD and download sales for the first week of October following a late challenge from K-pop girl group, Blackpink. Live Around The World is Queen's 10th No. 1 album in the U.K., and first for almost 25 years since Made in Heaven in Nov. 1995, the group's final studio album featuring the last recorded vocals from Freddie Mercury. It also marks nearly 45 years since the band's very first No. 1 album A Night at the Opera in Dec. 1975. "Thank you folks for making us Number 1 after all these years. So Queen + Adam Lambert's very first release is Number 1... amazing. God bless you all," Queen guitarist Brian May said in a video shared on YouTube. -, 10/9/20...... A new remix of David Bowie's 1970 song "The Man Who Sold the World" has been shared on by longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti. Visconti's "2020 remix" is lifted from the forthcoming Man Who Sold the World 50th anniversary reissue Metrobolist (the album's original title) which drops on Nov. 6. Visconti has remixed the entire album, which will also be released as a limited edition, numbered gold and white vinyl LP, for the new project. - NME, 10/9/10...... MotorheadMotörhead have announced they're launching a new podcast to mark the 40th anniversary of their 1980 LP, Ace of Spades. "The Motörcast" lands on streaming platforms in mid-October, detailing the "warts and all stories of life on the road, behind the scenes, in the studio and more importantly, down the pub," according to a preview posted on Subsequent instalments of "The Motörcast" will arrive every two weeks. Motörhead's forthcoming Ace Of Spades reissue, meanwhile, hits stores on Oct. 30 and will boast a previously unheard show from the "Ace Up Your Sleeve" tour, the story of the album, previously unseen photos and 42 unreleased tracks. - NME, 10/8/20...... Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Whitey Ford, who finished his career with a record of 236-106, setting the franchise mark for most-ever wins by a New York Yankee, died on Oct. 9 at the age of 91, the team has announced. During his tenure as a Yankee, Mr. Ford helped lead New York to 11 American League pennants and six World Series titles. His 10 World Series victories still stand as a Major League Baseball record, and his .690 career winning percentage is the highest among pitchers with at least 300 career decisions. Mr. Ford earned his "Chairman of the Board" nickname in part for his role as a reliable ace for one of the most successful teams of its time. A left-handed hurler who pitched from 1950 through 1967, Mr. Ford captured the 1961 Cy Young Award, and was a 10-time All-Star and 1974 MLB Hall of Fame inductee. "Whitey loved the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown and the legacy that he and his teammates built during the game's golden era," said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Jane Forbes Clark in a statement. "We extend our deepest condolences to his family and we will celebrate his life in Cooperstown forever." -, 10/9/20...... Tom Kennedy, best known for hosting such TV game shows as You Don't Say! and Name That Tune, died on Oct. 7 in Oxnard, Calif. He was 93. Born in Louisville, Ky., on Feb. 26, 1927, Mr. Kennedy began hosting game shows as they rose to popularity in the '50s. He went on to host various game shows for nearly three decades, with his biggest successes being You Don't Say!" on NBC from 1963 to 1969, Split Second from 1972 to 1975, Name That Tune from 1974 to 1981 and Password Plus from 1980 to 1982. His other hosting credits include The Big Game, Dr. I.Q., It's Your Bet, Break the Bank, 50 Grand Slam, To Say the Least, Whew! and Body Language (1984-86). Mr. Kennedy also hosted a nighttime, syndicated edition of The Price Is Right from 1985 to 1986, and briefly had his own talk show, The Real Tom Kennedy Show. Mr. Kennedy retired in 1989. In 2005, Mr. Kennedy and his brother, Narz, both received the Game Show Congress' Bill Cullen award for lifetime achievement. He is survived by his three children and a daughter-in-law. -, 10/8/20.

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

AC/DC released their comeback single "Shot In The Dark" on Oct. 7 after teasing new material for the past few weeks. Previewed last week in the form of a short video clip, the track is taken from the recently reunited band's upcoming new album POWER UP, which will be released on Nov. 13. Describing "Shot In The Dark," guitarist Angus Young said, "It's a strong single from a powerful rock album. You'll be able to hear it and know straight away that it's AC/DC. That's what we've always strived for." On AC/DC's return, Young added: "We got together in 2018 and we worked on a lot of ideas that Malcolm [Young] and me had done through the years." Power Up welcomes the return of British singer Brian Johnson, who stepped aside in 2016 on doctor's orders due to hearing-loss issues, and sees drummer Phil Rudd reunite with the group after a stint in rehab. The band has shared their "Shot In The Dark" single for streaming on YouTube. - NME, 10/7/20...... Eddie Van HalenReaction continues to the untimely death of iconic rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen on Oct. 6 at age 65. Van Halen's widow, Janie Liszewski, shared an emotional tribute to her late husband on Instagram on Oct. 7, writing "My husband, my love, my Peep, my heat and soul have been shattered into a million pieces... Our journey together has not always been an easy one but in the end and always we have a connection and love that will always be.... I will see you again soon in a place with no pain or sorrow. Please watch over Kody and I. We love you and miss you so very much." Eddie's brother Alex Van Halen, who cofounded with Eddie the band that bears their names, posted a brief but heartfelt tribute to his younger brother on the morning of Oct. 8. "Hey Ed. Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother, Al," reads the simple post, accompanied by a touching black and white photo of the pair as young boys. On Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show on Oct. 7, Stern read a statement from former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar who said that he and Eddie had quietly reconciled earlier in 2020, just months before the legendary guitarist's death. "I would love you to share that Eddie and I had been texting and it's been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year," Hagar said in the statement. "We both agreed not to tell anyone because of all the rumors it would stir up about a reunion, et cetera, and we both knew that wasn't going to happen. He also didn't want anyone to know about his health. He stopped responding to me a month ago and I figured it wasn't good. I reached out to him one more time last week and, when he didn't respond, I figured it was a matter of time. But it came way too soon." Howard Stern's Eddie Van Halen tribute can be viewed on YouTube. Meanwhile, the sales of the Van Halen band's albums and songs have spiked by 6,198% after Eddie's death. Van Halen's collected albums and songs sold 40,000 copies on Oct. 6 -- up 6,198% compared to just under 1,000 sold on Oct. 5, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The act's album catalog sold 9,000 copies on Oct. 6 (up by 5,835% compared to a negligible sum on Oct. 5). The act's top-selling album on Oct. 6 was its self-titled 1978 debut, with 2,000 sold. Van Halen's top 10 biggest-selling songs on Oct. 6 were: "Jump" (3,000) (the band's only No. 1 of its 16 Top 40 hits), "Panama" (2,000), "Eruption" (2,000), "Runnin' With the Devil" (2,000), "You Really Got Me" (2,000), "Dance the Night Away" (1,000), "Why Can't This Be Love" (1,000), "Hot for Teacher" (1,000), "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" (1,000) and "Jamie's Cryin'" (1,000). - New Musical Express/, 9/8/20...... John LennonBeatles legend Paul McCartney and actor Alec Baldwin have announced they'll be taking over SiriusXM radio's The Beatles Channel on Oct. 9 to celebrate the life of John Lennon, who would've turned 80 that day. Macca and Balwin's exclusive programming will begin airing at 11:00 a.m. EDT and run throughout the weekend and next week, featuring Sir Paul reflecting on his bandmate and friend in conversation with Baldwin and John's son Sean Ono Lennon guest deejaying with his favorite songs by his dad (both from his solo discography and with the Beatles) while remembering his favorite childhood memories. Snippets of McCartney and Baldwin's conversation have been shared on YouTube. Other musical guests include Peter Asher, host of The Beatles Channel's show Peter Asher: From Me to You who will explore the connection between Lennon and iconic author Lewis Carroll, and Laura Cantrell, the host of the George Harrison-dedicated show Dark Horse Radio, who will explore the relationship between Harrison and Lennon. Lennon's 80th birthday special will air Friday at 11 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET on channel 18 on SiriusXM radio and on the SiriusXM app. The program will re-run multiple times throughout the weekend and next week and be available On Demand from the SiriusXM app. Meanwhile, a new pop-up TV channel is being launched in the U.K. to mark what would have been Lennon's 80th birthday. Sky, Virgin and Freeview will broadcast LENNON80 on Oct. 9 in honour of John, which will include a mix of old footage and new content. Among the programmes airing on the channel will be the famous documentary Bed Peace, which follows Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous "Bed-In for Peace" protest in 1969, as well as appearances on Parkinson in 1971 and The Dick Cavett Show in 1971 and 1972. LENNON80 will be available until Oct. 15. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/7/20...... In other Lennon-related news, the estate of late 1980s pop superstar George Michael have loaned John's "Imagine" piano to the Strawberry Field exhibition in Liverpool so it can go on public display. John's Steinway piano, which he wrote and recorded his 1971 song "Imagine" on, was bought by Michael at auction for £1.45 million back Oct. 2000. Michael later toured the piano around the world "as a symbol of peace" and used it during the recording of his song "Patience." Speaking to reporters at the time of the auction purchase, Michael said that "it's not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people." In a statement, the Michael estate said, "We know that the piano will be a source of hope and inspiration to all who come to see it... not only during these difficult times but for many years to come, in the same way that it inspired George [after] he bought it some 20 years ago." All funds raised by paying visitors to the exhibition will be used to help The Salvation Army change the lives of young people with learning difficulties. Meanwhile, leading Beatles scholar Kenneth Womack who has just released his new book John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life says he believes he has discovered the baseball film that inspired John's beautiful song "Grow Old With Me." The song was released a month before the legendary artist was shot dead in December 1980, and it was known to have been influenced by a film about baseball that Lennon saw during a visit to Bermuda earlier that year. In an interview with The Observer, Womack said he had watched dozens of films before realising that the key inspiration was A Love Affair: The Eleanor And Lou Gehrig Story, a 1978 movie about a baseball player who died after battling a rare nervous system disorder. "I wanted to know what film had inspired him to compose such a beautiful song," Womack explained. "For John, the use of such 'found objects' in life and art was essential to his composition practices." After watching dozens in search of the mysterious film in question, I began to study TV guides from that period. John was a regular subscriber." Upon realising A Love Affair had been screened at the time Lennon was staying in Bermuda, Womack made the connection, concluding: "The mystery, quite suddenly, was solved." - NME, 10/7/20...... Led Zeppelin have defeated the copyright challenge against their 1971 song "Stairway to Heaven" for the third time after the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case on Oct. 6. The decision of the US Supreme Court upholds a March 2020 ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. This is the last option for legal appeal in its current form in the US Courts system. Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the estate of Spirit guitarist Randy California, first filed a lawsuit against the legendary British rock band in 2014, claiming "Stairway To Heaven" had violated the copyright of Spirit's 1968 track "Taurus." However, a judge ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin in July 2016. A new trial was later ordered by the US appeals court in Sept. 2018. Skidmore relaunched his legal campaign in August via a new petition on Law360, claiming "Our circuit is the most hostile to copyright owners of all the circuits." In other Zeppelin news, the band announced a special, limited edition Japanese version vinyl reissue of their 1970 single "Immigrant Song" to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of their album Led Zeppelin III. The single will also include the non-album track "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do" and will be presented in a sleeve that replicates the original artwork. The reissue is limited to just 19,700 copies. Set for release on Jan. 15, 2021, the single can be pre-ordered now. - NME, 10/6/20...... Rod StewartAppearing on Chris Evans' "How to Wow" podcast, Rod Stewart said he fears that "we've spoiled the Earth" and that "it's too late to turn back now." While discussing the coronavirus pandemic with Evans, Stewart said that he thinks "the good Lord is intent on wiping us all out, because we've spoiled the Earth." "We've spoiled it. I think it's too late to turn back now. I think global warming is going to spoil the Earth. We're literally... I believe we're too late." Rod also criticized U.S. Pres. Donald Trump -- calling him "that prick in the White House" -- for withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement in 2017, branding the decision as "terrible." Elsewhere in the interview, Stewart spoke about his ongoing feud with Elton John by claiming that the latter had turned down his offer to end their row. "We don't talk to each other anymore. Big falling out," Stewart explained. "Last time I emailed him I said, 'I've got this football pitch, would you like the boys to come up?' You know, 'cause they both love football." His invite included Elton's two sons -- Zachary and Elijah -- who he shares with husband David Furnish, but he alleges John didn't reply to his email. The two singers fell out in 2019 after Stewart criticized John's decision to head out on an extensive farewell world tour, as well as poking fun at his Rocketman biopic by saying that it wasn't "very flattering." - NME, 10/7/20...... Bruce Springsteen has announced he will premiere his new documentary, Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You, on Oct. 23 on Apple TV+. The Apple Original Films documentary will coincide with the release of Springsteen's new album with The E Street Band, Letter to You. According to a press release, "fans around the world will get a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic artist's creative process." The documentary captures the New Jersey rocker recording Letter To You live with the full E Street Band, and includes final take performances of 10 originals from the new record. A teaser trailer for Letter To You has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 10/5/20...... Van Morrison announced a string of new UK dates on Oct. 5. The Irish crooner, who has recently attracted criticism for his opinions on the coronavirus crisis, has already held gigs at Camden's Electric Ballroom in September. With four shows at London's Palladium venue already scheduled for mid-November, Morrison will now play two more gigs at London's PowerHaus (formerly known as Dingwalls) on Nov. 7 and 8. 150 tickets are set to be sold for each date, with strict social distancing rules in place. - NME, 10/5/20...... In a new interview with the Canadian radio station K-97, KISS singer/bassist Gene Simmons said he wants people to stop complaining about being in lockdown during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic .Simmons said he doesn't think it's that hard to just stay at home, especially in comparison to a time that saw his mother live through World War II. "Right now, the pandemic is not fun," Simmons said. "It is devastating for families who've lost loved ones. A million people are dead around the world -- two hundred thousand dead in America, and many, many fewer -- thank God -- in Canada, because you're more sane and more, sort of, non-political about it. But as you can tell, in America, there are areas where certain segments of the population see health and wearing a mask, or not wearing a mask, as political, and that's a shame. It just makes sense." He continued: "In either case, the perspective is my mother lived through World War II. My mother was a victim of the concentration camps of Nazi Germany when she was 14 years old. My mother survived. The rest of our family were wiped out, and you don't wanna get into that." Elsewhere in the interview, Simmons criticized those choosing not to wear a mask during the pandemic. "Wear a goddamn mask. It's not about you; it's about the rest of us," he said. - NME, 10/3/20...... Elvis CostelloElvis Costello and The Attractions will release a new box set of their classic 1979 album Armed Forces on Nov. 6. The release will include demos, B-sides and seven notebooks with new linear notes from Costello. It also includes handwritten lyrics, rare photos and nine pieces of vinyl. The demos and B-sides collection included in the collection is called "Sketches for Emotional Fascism." The band has shared a new video about the collection on YouTube. - NME, 10/3/20...... Mick Jagger has been named the fifth most dangerous celebrity to search for online. According to cyber-security firm McAfee, the Rolling Stones frontman joins the likes of actor Idris Elba and comic Ricky Gervais as the most likely names to send you down an online rabbit hole that could put you at risk of malware and viruses. TV host Graham Norton came top in this year's poll, closely followed by Gervais and actor Tom Hardy. Jagger took the fifth spot, with the rest of the list featuring the likes of Elba, Ruth Jones, Margot Robbie, Kate Moss, Bella Hadid and Mary Berry. "It's no/ surprise that/ we've seen one of the UK's most-loved national treasures topping the list, with hackers exploiting his popularity," said Raj Samani of McAffee. "Consumers are searching the web for free online entertainment now more than ever." - NME, 10/6/20...... In other Rolling Stones-related news, guitarist Ronnie Wood has told the "Tea with Twiggy" podcast that he's ditched drugs and booze in favor of coffee and knitting. To keep himself occupied between tours, Wood said he keeps up his long-term hobby of painting and he's also taken up knitting as it reminds him of his mum, who passed away back in 2005. "I do knit. I used to hold the spool of wool for my mum. She taught me the plain stitch and I still do it today. I knit endless scarves now," he said. Although he's embraced clean living, the music legend does allow himself one stimulant -- regular cups of coffee. "I'm an espresso man but that is an old leftover habit from rehab. I couldn't do anything else so coffee was the thing. I hope I am a living, walking example of coffee being good for you because I drink enough of the stuff," he added. - WENN/, 10/6/20...... Legendary reggae producer Bunny Lee has died at the age of 79, it has been confirmed. The producer, whose real name was Edward O'Sullivan Lee, played an integral role in the introduction of the genre to the UK in the 1970s after securing a licensing deal with Trojan Records. Announcing Lee's passing, Jamaican broadcaster Clinton Lindsay said that the producer had been "battling kidney problems" for several months. His exact cause of death has yet to be confirmed. He also played an instrumental role in producing early dub music, working with close friend King Tubby in the early 1970s. Paying tribute, journalist Nadine White wrote: "Bunny 'Striker' Lee has died. He was one of the most influential producers in the history of reggae music. The original Don 'Gorgon'. This is such sad news! The world owes this man a great deal." - NME, 10/7/20.

Johnny NashAmerican reggae-pop musician and actor Johnny Nash, best known for his 1972 No. 1 reggae-influenced hit "I Can See Clearly Now", died on Oct 6 of natural causes, his son John Nash II confirmed to celebrity website TMZ and a Los Angeles TV station. He was 80. "He was a wonderful father and family man. He loved people and the world. He will be missed within his community. Family was his everything," Nash's son told Nash also told the CBSLA television station that his father died at his home. Born John Lester "Johnny" Nash, Jr. in Houston, Tex., on Aug. 19, 1940, Mr. Nash began releasing music in the late '50s, making his major label debut with the 1957 song "A Teenager Sings the Blues." He appeared on local TV from age 13, and was with Arthur Godfrey's TV/radio show from 1956-63. In 1959, he was cast in the film Take a Giant Step. He moved to Jamaica in the mid-1960s where he was influenced by reggae music, and began his recording career. Mr. Nash also scored hits with "Hold Me Tight" in 1968 (#5) and with his version of Bob Marley's "Stir It Up" and "There are More Questions Than Answers." Johnny NashAccording to his official website, Mr. Nash helped the late Marley sign a recording contract, and was also notably the first non-Jamaican to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica. Mr. Nash also sang the theme song for the Canadian-American animated series The Mighty Hercules, which ran from 1963-66. Upon the release of "I Can See Clearly Now" -- largely called a comeback song at the time -- the infectious hit sat at Number One for four weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and became a hit in Canada, the U.K. and South Africa. The song made a return to the Billboard charts in 1993, when it was recorded by Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff for the soundtrack for the film Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team. Mr. Nash's last studio album, Here Again, was released in 1986. More recently, Mr. Nash had begun working on the transfer of old analogue tapes of his music from the 1970s and 1980s into a new digital format. As well as his son, Mr. Nash is survived by his wife, Carli. - Reuters/New Musical Express, 10/7/20.

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

Eddie Van HalenGuitar legend and Van Halen leader Eddie Van Halen, whose hard-rocking band emerged from L.A.'s Sunset Strip music scene in the early Seventies to reign as one of the top rock acts for over four decades, died on Oct. 6 after a battle with throat cancer at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., with his current wife, Janie, by his side. He was 65. "I can't believe I'm having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning," Eddie and his former wife Valerie Bertinelli's son Wolfgang Van Halen posted on Twitter. "He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I've shared with him on and off stage was a gift," Wolfgang added. Eddie's death comes just months after Wolfgang offered hope that his dad may one day tour again with the band, and before original VH vocalist David Lee Roth claimed earlier in 2020 that Eddie "was not doing very well." The health of the hospitalized Van Halen, who had been battling cancer over the past decade and had been in and out of the hospital over the past year, reportedly went quickly downhill in the final 72 hours after doctors discovered that his throat cancer had spread to his brain and other organs. In previous interviews, Eddie had said he believed he developed throat cancer from frequent holding a metal guitar pick in his mouth more than 20 years ago, however he was also a heavy smoker. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Jan. 26, 1955, Eddie studied classical piano after moving to the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena with his family in the 1960s. After switching to guitar, he and his older brother, Alex Van Halen, who took up the drums, formed bands that would eventually become Van Halen in 1972, with lead singer Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. Eddie Van HalenFeaturing Eddie's explosive riffs and solos, VH quickly became a staple of Sunset Strip clubs such as Gazzari's and the Whisky a Go Go before releasing their eponymous debut album in 1978. Van Halen climbed to No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and became one of the most successful rock debuts of the decade, followed by a string of top-selling albums that would make VH one of the biggest rock acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Known for his two-handed tapping technique on the strings, Van Halen earned a place along such guitar virtuosos as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page as one of rock's most celebrated guitarists. Roth, who often clashed with the Van Halen brothers, split from the band in the mid-Eighties and was replaced for a decade by Sammy Hagar, who once sang lead with the '70s hard rock band Montrose, an influence on Eddie's group. Wolfgang Van Halen became the band's bassist in 2006 and the original VH lineup, with Wolfgang replacing Michael Anthony on bass, reunited in 2007 for a tour and, four years later, an album. VH's run included a dozen studio albums during their on-and-off reunions, and they added synthesizers to the mix for hits such as "Jump" and "I'll Wait." Eddie also played the solo on Michael Jackson's 1982 hit "Beat It" and made guest contributions to albums by Hagar, Queen's Brian May, Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, LL Cool J and David Garfield. Eddie Van HalenA perpetual winner of guitar polls -- he was voted the No. 1 guitarist of all time by readers of Guitar World magazine in 2012 -- Eddie and Van Halen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, though Eddie did not attend the ceremony. VH also won a Grammy Award for "Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal" in 1992. The group has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide -- the last of which, A Different Kind of Truth, came out in 2012, with Tokyo Dome Live in Concert following three years later. Eddie was married twice -- to actress Valerie Bertinelli from 1981 to 2007, and married current wife Jane Liszewski in 2008. Eddie's fellow superstar musicians and fans were quick to salute his memory on social media, including Sammy Hagar, who shared a photo of himself and the late guitarist on Instagram and added the caption: "Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family." Others paying tribute include Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Lenny Kravitz, Nikki Sixx, Brian Wilson, Joe Elliott, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Billy Idol, Kenny Chesney and Pete Townshend. Valerie Bertinelli, who was married to Eddie from 1981 to 2007, has yet to directly comment on the guitar great's death, but she did repost Wolfgang's tribute to his father, which confirmed his passing, on her social media pages, and added a string of broken heart emojis. Memorial arrangements for Van Halen are pending. - Reuters/Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/6/20.

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020

Eric Clapton has come out in support of Van Morrison's campaign to dispute the way the British government has handled the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on the music industry. In September, Morrison played three concerts at The London Palladium to show how they can proceed safely, and he also released the first of three new anti-lockdown songs, "Born To Be Free," to be followed by "As I Walked Out" on Oct. 9 and "No More Lockdown" on Oct. 23. Now Morrison has received the support of not only his fans but the 75-year-old "Layla" hitmaker, who is concerned that unless the UK government acts quickly enough and supports the industry, "live music might never recover." "It is deeply upsetting to see how few gigs are going ahead because of the lockdown restrictions," Clapton says. "There are many of us who support Van and his endeavours to save live music, he is an inspiration! We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover." Live music was banned in the UK when lockdown was introduced in March, although it has been possible for indoor live music performances to take place with socially distanced audiences since Aug. 1. -, 9/30/20...... Fleetwood MacFleetwood Mac's 1977 chart-topper "Dreams" has nearly doubled in streams and experienced another spike in sales and streams thanks to a viral video posted in the last week of September. The TikTok video posted by user @420doggface208 and soundtracked with "Dreams," which can also be viewed on YouTube, shows a middle-aged man in a hoodie seemingly being pulled on a skateboard, as he swigs from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice and occasionally sings along with Stevie Nicks' lead vocal. The clip's vibe of melancholy chill seemed to capture hearts across the Internet, and inspired a massive hike in "Dreams" consumption in the days following its spread. For the three-day period of Sept. 25 - Sept. 27, "Dreams" racked up 2.9 million on-demand U.S. streams and 3000 in digital download sales -- numbers up 88.7% and 374%, respectively, from their totals in the prior three-day periods, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. "Dreams," the band's only No. 1 US hit, previously enjoyed gains in 2018 when a meme of Alcorn State University's Golden Girls dance team grooving to "Dreams" took off on Twitter. "Dreams" has also been a regular presence on the Billboard charts in recent years and remains one of the most consumed rock songs in America on a regular basis. - Billboard, 9/30/20...... In other Fleetwood Mac-related news, Stevie Nicks has revealed she contacted her former bandmate and ex-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham after he suffered a heart attack in 2019. Nicks, who released a new solo song on Oct. 9 called "Show Them The Way," told the Los Angeles Times she urged Buckingham to look after himself with a message in the year following Buckingham's firing from the legendary folk/blues rock group. "You better take care of yourself. You better take it easy and you better do everything they tell you and get your voice back and feel the grace that you have made it through this," she recalled. Nicks added that she "never planned for Buckingham to leave the band and was disappointed when it happened." "Any time we re-formed to do a tour or a record, I always walked in with hope in my heart. And I just was so disappointed. I felt like all the wind had gone out of my sails," she said. "Show Them The Way," meanwhile, has arrived a few weeks before Nicks' previously announced 24 Karat Gold - Songs from the Vault live album and concert film, which drops on Oct. 9. The film is set to play in select cinemas on Oct. 21 and Oct. 25, and is to be followed by a recorded version on Oct. 30. Nicks says the new single was inspired by a dream she had about late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King. Meanwhile, Nicks has finally inked a deal to bring her long-awaited Rhiannon mini-series to screens, and she would like pop singer Harry Styles for a starring role. The mini-series, she says, will feature 10 unreleased songs written by her, with One Direction star Styles "definitely in the running" to star in the show. "I'm going, 'Harry, you cannot age one day. You have to stay exactly as you are. I've already sold him on it," she laughed. Nicks and Styles are close pals -- he invited the rocker and a group of her pals to his home for a playback of his second album Fine Line ahead of its release, and she later joined him onstage at The Forum in Los Angeles for his Fine Line album release show. Nicks has had hopes of making a movie about the Celtic deity Rhiannon ever since a fan sent her four novels on the folklore following the release of her 1975 classic hit, "Rhiannon." - New Musical Express/, 9/30/20...... AC DCAfter many weeks of teasing a comeback with "PWR UP" teasers on their social media channels, in newspaper ads and on posters, AC/DC confirmed with an announcement on Twitter on Sept. 30 that they're officially reuniting. "ARE YOU READY? #PWRUP," the band tweeted, revealing its line-up consisting of lead guitarist Angus Young, vocalist Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd, bassist Cliff Williams and rhythm guitarist Stevie Young. Brian Johnson gave up touring with the veteran rock outfit back in 2016 due to hearing loss, and was replaced by Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose. Phil Rudd, meanwhile, exited the band's 2015 "Rock or Bust World Tour" after being found guilty of drug possession and threatening to kill in a New Zealand murder plot case. The band's last studio LP, Rock or Bust, was released in Nov. 2014 and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200. The Aussie rockers have also shared a new teaser of their comeback single, "Shot in the Dark" on Twitter. The 30-second clip is accompanied by images of each member of the band bathed in red light and is soundtracked by the new song, which contains the lyrics: "A shot in the dark / Make it feel alright." - Billboard/NME, 9/30/20...... The estate of Jimi Hendrix has released a new preview for the forthcoming Hendrix documentary Music, Money, Madness & Jimi Hendrix in Maui. The film is set to include footage of the late guitar god's outdoor concert at foot of the Haleakala volcano in Maui, including a performance of "Foxey Lady," which has been shared on YouTube. As seen in the clip, Hendrix forgets some of the words to the song, compensating with some of his signature tricks like playing with his teeth. Technical difficulties during the performance meant drummer Mitch Mitchell had to overdub his tracks in 1971 at Electric Lady Studios, the year after Hendrix death. Music, Money, Madness & Jimi Hendrix in Maui is a new insight into the making of Hendrix's semi-fictional Rainbow Bridge film and his 1970 show in Hawaii. Rainbow Bridge,, which was panned by most critics, focused on the travels of a model from New York to Hawaii. Clips from Hendrix's show at Haleakala appeared in the film, but most of the footage is previously unreleased. The film and a 3-disc soundtrack will be released on Nov. 20. - NME, 10/3/20...... Joni Mitchell has shared a second sample off her forthcoming archival album Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967), her first original demo, "Day After Day," on YouTube. Mitchell made the demo tape on Aug. 24, 1965 for Elektra Records co-founder Jac Holzman during a session that also produced "Let It Be Me," "Like the Lonely Swallow," "The Student Song" and "What Will You Give Me." "I didn't know whether it was a good song or a bad song. It was just the first one that came out," Mitchell said in a press release. "Day After Day" follows the release of Mitchell's earliest known recording, a cover of "House of the Rising Sun" recorded in 1963 at the Saskatoon radio station CFQC AM. Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967) will drop on Oct. 30. The compilation is comprised of recordings prior to the release of her 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull. - NME, 10/2/20...... The British virtual cartoon band Gorillaz released the latest episode in their "Song Machine" series on Oct. 1, a collaboration with Elton John and 6lack. Ahead of releasing their Song Machine: Season One album on Oct. 23, Gorillaz have shared "The Pink Phantom" on YouTube, featuring a fetching cartoon version of Elton. John has said Gorillaz member Damon Albarn "reached out and asked me to do something and the way the song has turned out is just great. "I was in the studio in London and he was at the other end in Devon, but even remotely it was such an engaging and creative process... I've always been a Gorillaz fan anyway, so when he asked me to do a Gorillaz track, it was a no brainer. I'm so very, very happy that that's come about," he added. - NME, 10/1/20...... Streaming giant Netflix announced on Sept. 29 that they are planning a new holiday film starring Dolly Parton titled Christmas on the Square. Parton will contribute 14 original songs to the project, which will also star Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis, Treat Williams, Jeanine Mason and Josh Segarra. The film is set for a worldwide release on Nov. 22. The official synopsis for Christmas on the Square reads: "Regina Fuller (Baranski), a wealthy and unpleasant woman, returns to her small hometown in the wake of her father's death to evict everyone right before the holiday season. Following an encounter with an angel (Parton), a rekindling of an old romance and stories from the local community, she has a change of heart." The title song of the film has been shared on YouTube. - NME, 9/30/20...... Spinal TapA virtual reunion of the legendary heavy metal "mockumentary" band Spinal Tap will take place in October, with This Is Spinal Tap stars Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest reprising their roles and director Rob Reiner also participating. Hosted by comedian Patton Oswalt, the event will act as a fundraiser for Pennysylvania Democrats ahead of November's presidential election." Every dollar raised goes directly towards ending Trumpism by winning Pennsylvania," an official invite posted on Reiner's Twitter page states. Citing one of the film's most memorable scenes, Democratic Party operative Jason Henry told The Hollywood Reporter that "Democratic enthusiasm in Pennsylvania is already 'turned up to eleven' -- we're the Keystone State and the key to winning this election. We're excited to partner with the Spinal Tap team to bring even more energy to power Democratic wins from the State House to the White House." The virtual Spinal Tap Dem fundraiser will take place on Oct. 14. - NME, 10/2/20...... Yoko Ono filed a copyright infringement suit against her late husband John Lennon's former aide Fred Seaman on Oct. 1, alleging Seaman violated a court order by sitting down for a 23-minute interview on Sept. 10 to discuss topics which are legally prohibited, like his work with John and Yoko, the Beatles star's assassination, and Seaman's 1991 book, The Last Days of John Lennon. Yoko says that during the interview Seaman discussed his intention to revise the book and reissue an extended version of it, which she says would "willfully and intentionally violate" the injunction she got against him in 2002. Ono, 87, also took issue with the fact that Seaman was "flanked by Lennon memorabilia" for the interview. In 2002, a court ordered Seaman to stop using John and Yoko's family photos to profit from his legacy and he even apologized to her in open court. Yoko is asking for at least $150,000 (£116,000) and other damages, as well as an order stopping Seaman from talking about her and her family. -, 10/2/20...... In other Lennon-related news, Elton John revealed to John and Yoko's son Sean Ono Lennon during Sean's new BBC Radio 2 series that his dad was "physically sick from nerves" before performing with him at a 1974 show in New York s Madison Square Garden after the Beatle lost a bet with John. "He was terrified," Elton told Sean. "I can tell you that he was physically sick before the show, absolutely physically sick." Elton, who provided backing vocals and piano on John's No. 1 1974 hit "Whatever Gets You Through The Night," convinced Lennon, who was not particularly fond of the song, to release the track and wagered that they would have to perform the number together if it topped the Billboard Hot 100. When the song did become a chart-topper in the US, the pair performed it during an Elton's Thanksgiving 1974 Madison Square Garden concert. But Elton noted that Lennon "wasn't nervous during the show [and] he just played the same brilliantly once he arrived on stage." In another episode of Sean's new radio show, Paul McCartney reflected on reconciling with his former bandmate Lennon shortly before John was shot dead in 1980. "I always say to people, one of the great things for me was that after all The Beatles rubbish and all the arguing and the business, you know, business differences really... that even after all of that, I'm so happy that I got it back together with your dad," McCartney told Sean. "It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn't have reunited. It was so lovely too that we did, and it really gives me sort of strength to know that," he added. - NME, 9/30/20...... QueenQueen + Adam Lambert released their first live album, Live Around the World, on Oct. 2 in CD, CD+DVD, CD+Blu-ray and vinyl formats. It is the first live offering from the legendary '70s prog-rock band to feature former American Idol contestant Lambert, who tours with the band as a replacement for flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991. Live Around The World includes their entire 22-minute set from the Fire Fight Australia charity concert in Sydney in February, where they performed Queen's original 1985 Live Aid set in full including "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We are the Champions" and the show-stopping "Radio Ga Ga." The band have played to 4 million people since Lambert came onboard. Although 2021 will mark 50 years since Queen played their first show with their classic line-up, founding guitarist Brian May says no "big noise" will be made about the anniversary. "We kind of came to the conclusion we didn't want to make a big noise about having been around for 50 years. It is more important that we are still here," said May in a recent interview. - WENN/, 10/1/20...... Speaking of 50th anniversaries, Black Sabbath have partnered with shoe manufacturer Dr. Martens for a new shoe collection to celebrate the golden anniversary of Sabbath's first two album. Two new pairs of shoes are being released for the first collection, with the "1460 Sabbath boot" depicting album cover designer Keith McMillan's artwork from the band's eponymous 1970 debut. Kitted out with purple popped eyelets, flat braided laces and core Docs markings, a "Henry badge" -- the flying devil/angel that's become synonymous with Black Sabbath over the years -- is also visible behind the laces. The "1461 Sabbath shoe," meanwhile, is built with the same eyelets, "Henry motif and heel loop, but pays tribute to Paranoid. The album artwork has been digitally printed on the ankle, and the three-eye shoe is finished with embossed Black Sabbath lettering on the vamp. The "Black Sabbath x Dr. Martens" collection went on sale on Oct. 1, and more info on the shoes can be found on Instagram. - NME, 9/29/20...... A new week-long YouTube festival has been announced to stream vintage performances by a host of the huge rock acts who have played shows for Teenage Cancer Trust at London's Royal Albert Hall over the years. Starting on Oct. 8, "Teenage Cancer Trust Unseen" will be broadcast nightly on YouTube and feature performances from Ed Sheeran (Oct. 8), Muse (Oct. 9), Paul McCartney (Oct. 11), Pulp (Oct. 14), Them Crooked Vultures (Oct. 16), The Who (Oct. 17), and The Cure (Oct. 18 & 31). Organised by The Who frontman Roger Daltrey, the week of concerts each March are an annual highlight in London's gig calendar. This year marks the event's 20th anniversary, with 2020's roster originally set to include performances by The Who, Paul Weller, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Mumford And Sons, Stereophonics and Groove Armada. The shows usually raise £1m a year, but Teenage Cancer Trust faces lost funds of £5 million in 2020 due to events cancelled by coronavirus. A trailer for this year's virtual Teenage Cancer Trust program can be viewed on YouTube. Daltrey says the Rolling Stones are still on his wishlist to perform at the annual TCT event. "They're a fabulous band, but they don't do charity shows, so it is just a dream," Daltrey says. "I don't know why, it's just not their bag to do charity shows. Although Mick [Jagger] did do Live Aid, and maybe after this pandemic they'll step up," he added. - NME, 9/28/20...... Cliff RichardCliff Richard will mark his upcoming milestone 80th birthday on Oct. 14 with a new album, Music... The Air That I Breathe featuring two new songs he's recorded, "Falling For You" and "PS Please." Set for release on Oct. 30, Music... The Air That I Breathe will also feature his duets with Bonnie Tyler, The Bellamy Brothers, Sheila Walsh, The Piano Guys and Albert Hammond, as well as covers including the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun." "Looking back, I remember thinking that I wouldn't make it to 50 and here I am at 80, and what's even better than that is I have a new album!," Sir Cliff says. "It features not just me, but friends I admire who duetted with me on some of the tracks. I loved recording it and hope you will enjoy listening to it," he adds. Richard had announced a UK tour to celebrate his 80th, dubbed "The Great 80 Tour," which was due to kick off in Gateshead on Sept. 23. However, it's been postponed due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Although Richard, who has been making records since the 1950s, has slowed down and reduced his touring schedule in recent times, he vows to never retire from the music industry. "The word 'retire'... I don't think that's in my vocabulary," he has said in past interviews. -, 9/30/20...... Benjamin Keogh, the grandson of Elvis Presley and son of Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley, was laid to rest in Meditation Garden at Presley's Graceland mansion on Oct. 1. "Benjamin Storm Presley Keough was laid to rest in the Meditation Garden at Graceland with his family including his grandfather, Elvis Presley, great-grandmother, Gladys Presley, great-grandfather, Vernon Presley and great-great-grandmother, Minnie Mae Presley," a statement on the Graceland website reads. Keogh died at age 27 in mid-July, and the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's Office ruled on July 14 that his official cause of death was a shotgun wound and the manner of death was ruled suicide. A rep for Lisa Marie told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, "She is completely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins and her oldest daughter, Riley. She adored that boy. He was the love of her life." - Billboard, 10/2/20.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Helen ReddyGrammy-winning singer Helen Reddy, who scored three No. 1 singles in the US during the 1970s including "Delta Dawn", "Angie Baby", and the iconic feminist anthem "I Am Woman", died in Los Angeles on Sept. 29, according to a statement on her Facebook fan page. Reddy, who suffered from Addison's disease and dementia in her later years, was 78. Born in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 25, 1941, Reddy started her entertainment career at age four at the Tivoli Theatre in Perth, and toured much of the country with her show business parents. After leaving boarding school at age 15 to tour with a road show where she sang as well as acted, Reddy eventually landed her own Aussie TV show, Helen Reddy Sings. At age 20, Reddy married Kenneth Claude Weate, an older musician and family friend whom she says she wed to defy her parents, who wished her to follow them into show business. The couple separated not long after the birth of their daughter, Traci. In 1966, Reddy won a trip to New York City in an Australian American Bandstand contest, sponsored by Philips-Mercury Records. Although she found little success there, she met her future second husband, Jeff Wald, an agent with the William Morris agency. She married the Bronx native a year later, and in 1972 they had a son, Jordan. In 1970, Wald arranged for her to perform on NBC's The Tonight Show, and within a year she had her first hit, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" (#13, 1971) from the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. She followed up with a string of Top 40 singles from 1972-77, including "I Am Woman," which was released in 1971, but didn't make it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 until December of the next year. Helen ReddyThe song earned the singer her first Grammy the following year ("I would like to thank God, because She makes everything possible," she said in her short acceptance speech). Further hits include "Peaceful" (#12), "Delta Dawn" (#1), "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)" (#3), "You and Me Against the World" (#9), "Angie Baby" (#1), and "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady" (#8). In 1973, Reddy's popularity earned her a summer-replacement TV variety show on NBC, and for most of the rest of the decade she was a hostess on NBC's Friday night rock-variety show, The Midnight Special. Reddy also served as commissioner of parks and recreation for her adapted home state of California during that period. Her singing career on the wane, Reddy turned to acting, appearing in Airport 1975 (1974), the Disney children's film Pete's Dragon (1977), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (1978), Disorderlies (1987), and The Perfect Host (2010). Reddy's relationship with Wald, who had developed a cocaine addiction, became increasingly volatile by the mid-'70s, and after divorcing him in the early Eighties, she married Milton Ruth, a drummer in her band, in 1983. They divorced in 1995. In 1983, she released what would become her final LP, Imagination. A biopic of Reddy's rise from single mother in New York City to hit artist -- titled I Am Woman -- premiered in August. The film stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Reddy and features a new song by Reddy's granddaughter, Lily Donat. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy, on the afternoon of September 29th 2020 in Los Angeles," her children Traci and Jordan said in a statement. "She was a wonderful Mother, Grandmother and a truly formidable woman." - CNN/Rolling Stone/, 9/30/20.

Mac DavisCountry-pop singer/songwriter Mac Davis, who penned hits for the likes of Elvis Presley and as a solo artist topped the Billboard chart in 1972 with "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me", died during heart surgery on Sept. 29, according to his manager Jim Morey. He was 78. "It's with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Mac Davis. He was surrounded by the love of his life and wife of 38 years, Lise, and his sons Scott, Noah and Cody. Mac has been my client for over 40 years, and more importantly.. my best friend," Morey posted on Facebook on Sept. 30. Born Jan. 21, 1942 in Lubbock, Tex., Davis was presented with his first guitar by his father at age nine, and after attending Emory University and working in Atlanta's probation department, formed his first rock band. In the early 1960s, Davis became Vee Jay Records' Southern reginal sales manager, later employed by Liberty Records in Hollywood to work in its music publishing division. There he sold several of the tunes he'd written to Elvis ("In the Ghetto," "Memories," "Don't Cry, Daddy"), O.C. Smith ("Friend, Lover, Wife"), Bobby Goldsboro ("Watching Scotty Grow"), and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition ("Something's Burning"). Mac DavisHis composition "I Believe In Music," which he recorded in 1972, has sold millions of copies in cover versions by over 50 artists, and that same year "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me" became his biggest hit, followed by "Rock and Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)" (#15, 1975), "One Hell of a Woman" (#11, 1974), and "Stop and Smell the Roses" (#9, 1974). In Dec. 1974, Davis began hosting his own TV variety progam, The Mac Davis Show, but further single releases ("Burnin' Thing," "Forever Lovers," "It's Hard to Be Humble" and "Texas in My Rear View Mirror") were less successful. In 1979, Davis made his film debut in the football-themed movie North Dallas Forty, starring Nick Nolte, and later appeared in the romantic comedy Cheaper to Keep Her. Davis then performed in Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel in the early '80s, and in the second half of the decade put recording on hold as he became a fixture on TV talk shows, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Davis later starred in movies including Angel's Dance, The Wendell Baker Story and Deck the Halls, and several TV series -- including a stint on the sitcom Rodney between 2004 and 2006. He also starred in the titular role of American humorist Will Rogers in the Broadway production of "The Will Rogers Follies." Tributes to Davis have flooded in for the prolific songwriter and entertainer, including tweets from Kenny Chesney, Richard Marx and Dolly Parton, who Davis worked with, and remembered him as having "a giant heart." - Stone, 9/30/20.

Monday, September 28, 2020

On Sept. 23 Elton John announced the rescheduled dates for his North American "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" which had been postponed earlier in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kicking off on Jan. 19, 2022, in New Orleans, John will play two nights in Houston (1/21, 22), two nights in Dallas (1/25, 26), also making stops in Chicago (2/4, 5), Toronto (2/14, 15), and New York (2/22, 23), before wrapping the 43-date trek in Miami on Apr. 28. Posting on social media, Elton said he'd been "enjoying my time at home with the family while the world navigates its way through the COVID pandemic" and that "while the scientists are making great progress, we are making big plans for a return to touring that will allow us to ensure the health and safety of everyone." John also encouraged fans "Don't worry about me... I'm using my downtime to keep myself fighting fit and healthier than ever. I'm raring to go! As always, thank you so much for your loyal support." John previously announced he'd be launching a European tour in the fall of 2021, in Berlin on Sept. 1. - Billboard, 9/23/20...... The Doobie BrothersAfter an attorney representing The Doobie Brothers wrote a humorous letter to comedian/actor Bill Murray's golf company requesting for damages for an alleged breach of copyright for using the 1972 Doobies hit "Listen to the Music" in a TV ad for a new shirt without their permission, Murray's company William Murray Golf has responded with a glib letter of its own. The letter from the Doobies' attorney Peter T. Paterno gained attention both for its claims and the humorous style in which it was written. "The Doobie Brothers perform and recorded the song Listen to the Music, which Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers wrote," Paterno wrote. "It's a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts. However, given that you haven't paid to use it, maybe you should change the name to "Zero Bucks Given." Now, Murray's lawyer has responded in kind with their own glib letter. Alexander Yoffe of the Yoffe & Cooper law firm began by complimenting Paterno on "finding levity in the law at a time when the world and this country certainly could use a laugh." He continued to confirm that both those working at the law firm and at William Murray Golf were fans of the Doobie Brothers, noting that was why "we appreciate your firm's choice of 'Takin' It To The Streets', rather than to the courts, which are already overburdened "Minute By Minute" with real problems." Yoffe ended his letter by offering to send William Murray Golf shirts to the band -- a gesture he hoped would "win each of you over as new fans of the brand... At least that's "what this fool believes." - New Musical Express, 9/26/20...... Appearing on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Sept. 27, Sting revealed that he's planning on releasing a new duets album, possibly in time for the Christmas season. "Over the years, I've recorded many, many duets with some amazing people -- Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton -- so we just put them all together and said, 'You know, we should put this out'," he told Fallon in the interview, which has been posted on YouTube. "They sound pretty good, so it's gonna be a Christmas surprise," he added. Also during the show, Sting performed "Mama," his recent collaborative single with Brooklyn rapper Gashi, which can also be viewed on YouTube. Sting noted he agreed to guest on the song, "but we haven't actually met as yet." Meanwhile, the former Police frontman was honored for his environmental activism by Prince Albert II of Monaco at a star-studded gala event on Sept. 24. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation's 4th annual Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health was also attended by such stars as Johnny Depp, Helen Mirren, Kate Beckinsale and Sienna Miller. "Our health depends on the health of the environment in which we live," Prince Albert II told the audience before honoring Sting with the award. "That is why more than ever before we need to continue our efforts and actions to protect our planet for future generations," he added. - NME/, 9/27/20...... Pink FloydPink Floyd announced on Sept. 27 that they'll be releasing a remastered deluxe edition of their 1988 live album and concert film, Delicate Sound of Thunder. The restored film and soundtrack was made available in 2019 only as part of the band's The Later Years box set but has now been made available separately across all major physical formats, each to feature new bonus material. Dropping on Nov. 30, the reissue of the film has been restored and reworked from the original 35mm film and into 5:1 surround sound and will be available on both Blu-ray and DVD. The live album will be available in sets of two CDs, three LPs, vinyls or four-disc set, all with bonus tracks. Delicate Sound of Thunder supported the group's Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour in 1987 and marked the end of a significant period for Pink Floyd, after guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason had won a legal battle to the band's name after a fight with Roger Waters who'd departed some years prior. Rick Wright had also returned following his sacking after the making of The Wall, and they penned A Momentary Lapse of Reason, which propelled them to chart success and solidified their reputation as an arena act. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd will release The Wall... And What Came Next, a documentary uncovering how The Wall emerged, the hidden stories surrounding its preparation, recording, delayed release and reception, on Nov. 6. - NME, 9/27/20...... Fleetwood Mac founding drummer Mick Fleetwood has shared a new version of the Fleetwood Mac song "These Strange Times." Released as part of his Da*da*ism project, the re-worked version was re-recorded by Fleetwood and includes the addition of a sample from "Albatross" from Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac. The new version also comes with a new, eight-minute long video which has been shared on YouTube and explores a range of contemporary issues including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, poverty and racial inequality. In a statement about the new release, Fleetwood said the new single and it's accompanying artwork were inspired by a painting from the 18th century, and that "it's about how you read things, which is very important today." "Everyone needs to be carefully paying attention to the information coming our way. There is subtext to everything and we need to be aware of that. When I first encountered the painting that inspired the photoshoot, it was a soul-searching exercise that I was driven to do but I didn't know when would be the time to release it. Now I know why: the when is now." - NME, 9/27/20...... Ray DaviesIn an interview with the new edition of MOJO magazine, The Kinks frontman Ray Davies said he never wanted to release the classic Kinks song "Waterloo Sunset" as a single in May 1967 and went on to feature on their album Something Else later that year. Davies now says that he had originally wanted to keep the song private. "I got my family together -- my sister was over from Australia and there was Jackie my niece and a couple of my nephews -- and I played them the acetate of it about 20 times. I said, 'That's for us and I don't want it to come out'. It was so important to me I didn't want it to come out. Shows I'm not a very good businessman. I just wanted it to be ours," Davis told the magazine. He added that he didn't begrudge the track being released, but was "pleased that people connected to it in the right way." "And regardless of the nationality thing, it's two young lovers looking at the sunset seeing their future," Davis added. Elsewhere in the interview, the 76-year-old Sir Davies also revealed that he was almost killed by a World War II bomb when he was just two days old. "When I was two days old -- [my older sister Gwen] would have been about five or six -- she suddenly decided to pick me up and take me out of the kitchen where my cot was. And she heard a V-2 bomb come over. The V-2 landed just up the road from Fortis Green and all the glass in the kitchen, where I'd been lying, was shattered all over the room and I would have been killed. Talk about being intuitive..." Davies, who was knighted in 2017 for his services to the arts, admitted that the one good thing to come out of Hilter's attempt to destroy London was that he "unwittingly gave us kids somewhere to play" on the bomb sites. "No. It must have been one of the last V-2s because I was born in 1944. Hitler's last attempt to destroy London," he said. - NME/, 9/26/20...... In a new interview with the London Sunday Times, Queen guitarist Brian May opened up about his ongoing recovery from a heart attack he suffered earlier in 2020. In May, May told fans that he had been "very near death" when he was hospitalised after doctors discovered that three arteries in his heart "were congested and in danger of blocking the supply of blood to his heart." Now May says his recovery still feels like "a long climb back." "I've had complications due to the drugs I'm on, one of which was a stomach explosion that nearly killed me. The heart attack was a symbol of an arterial disease, but I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't have high cholesterol and I was exercising through the tour, so why did it happen? At least I now have a heart that is working far better than it was." Queen had been planning to head out on a huge UK and European tour in the summer of 2020, but it has been rescheduled to 2021 due to coronavirus. - NME, 9/26/20...... In a new interview with, Ozzy Osbourne revealed that he's started working on a new album that will be the follow-up to his Ordinary Man LP which was released in Feb. 2020. "I'm doing another record right now. I just started to work with Andrew [Watt] again. It's what gets me up in the morning, and it's what I'm here to do," Ozzy says. He continued: "It saved my life, doing that last album. [It's better than] sitting on my ass all day waiting for the f---ing pandemic to be over. And then you go, 'Oh, yeah, I am a rock and roller. I'd better do an album.' You've got all the f---ing time in the world to make the best album possible," he added. - NME, 9/26/20...... The Bee GeesA new Bee Gees documentary titled How Can You Mend a Broken Heart after the Aussie hitmaking trio's No. 1 1971 hit has been acquired by HBO which plans to premiere it later in 2020 and then make it available for streaming on its HBO Max subchannel. The film, which was set to premiere at the 2020 Telluride Film Festival, is directed by Frank Marshall and is described by him as "an intimate look at the three brothers, Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, who made up the legendary 1970s pop group." "Like so many people, I've loved the Bee Gees' music all my life," Marshall told "But discovering their uncanny creative instincts and the treasure trove of music, their humour, and loyalty was a great two-year journey. We are very happy and proud to be with HBO, and it has been an honor to work on this project," he adds. Meanwhile, a narrative biopic based on the life and career of the Bee Gees is also in the works, courtesy of Bohemian Rhapsody producer Graham King and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. - NME, 9/25/20...... Bruce Springsteen has shared a powerful new song called "Ghosts" that will be featured on his upcoming studio album Letter to You. "'Ghosts' is about the beauty and joy of being in a band and the pain of losing one another to illness and time," Springsteen said of the new song that mourns lost loved ones, adding that it "tries to speak to the spirit of the music itself, something none of us owns but can only discover and share together. In the E Street Band it resides in our collective soul, powered by the heart." A lyric video for "Ghosts" has been shared on YouTube. Letter to You, which hits stores on Oct. 23, will be the first Springsteen album to feature his legendary E Street Band since 2014's High Hopes. Springsteen recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he has "a lot of really good music left" that he plans on releasing, including multiple full-length "lost albums." - NME, 9/24/20...... Van Morrison has announced he'll be donating all the profits from three new tracks he recently recorded protesting lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic to musicians who are struggling during the crisis. Earlier in September, Morrison revealed he is releasing the three protest songs which accuse U.K. officials of "taking our freedom" -- a gesture that drew criticism from officials in his native Northern Ireland. The "Brown Eyed Girl singer" has slammed safety measures designed to stop the spread of the virus, which have been put in place by governments across the world, due to the subsequent effects on the live music industry. The musician's views on COVID-19 have sparked controversy beyond his homeland, with Country music star Jason Isbell criticizing him for endangering others with his anti-lockdown stance. - WENN/, 9/23/20.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Bob Dylan has previewed his first "Theme Time Radio Hour" episode in 11 years in three new clips. Re-introducing the show in one clip, Dylan said: "I'm your host, Bob Dylan. To paraphrase Alexandre Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo, I'm so delighted to see you again, it makes me forget for the moment that all happiness is fleeting." In two other clips, he shared some history about Charlie Poole's 1920s song "If The River Was Whiskey" and spoke about the Great Molasses Flood that occurred in Boston in 1919. Dylan's began hosting the show on SiriusXM in 2006, with it running for 100 shows until April 2009. - New Musical Express, 9/20/20...... Marvin GayeMarvin Gaye's landmark 1971 album What's Going On has dethroned the Beatles' 1967 LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All-Time" list. The Beatles classic, which led the countdown when it was last published in 2003, was moved from number one to 26. Announcing their pick, the RS editors called What's Going On, which was a respectable No. 6 on the 2003 countdown, "one of the most important and influential LPs ever made." "After What's Going On, black musicians... felt a new freedom to push the musical and political boundaries of their art," they added. The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds comes in at two on the new list, ahead of Joni Mitchell's Blue, Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life and the Beatles' Abbey Road. Nirvana's Nevermind, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Prince's Purple Rain, Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, and Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill complete the new "500 Greatest Albums" top 10. - WENN/, 9/22/20...... According to newly released transcripts of John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman's August parole hearing, Chapman said in the interview that he was seeking glory and deserved the death penalty for a "despicable" act. In the transcripts, which were made available after an open records request, the now 65-year-old inmate expressed remorse for gunning down the former Beatle outside the musician's Dakota apartment building in Manhattan in December 1980. "I assassinated him... because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory. Very selfish," Chapman is quoted as saying. Chapman said that in retrospect his actions were "creepy" and "despicable," and that he thinks all the time about the pain he inflicted on Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono. "I just want her to know that she knows her husband like no one else and knows the kind of man he was. I didn't," he said. In denying him parole for an 11th time, the board said Chapman committed an "evil act" and said they found his statement that "infamy brings you glory" disturbing. Chapman, serving a 20-years-to-life sentence at Wende Correctional Facility, east of Buffalo, will be up for parole again in Aug. 2022. He told the board he would have "no complaint whatsoever" if they chose to leave him in prison for the rest of his life. - AP, 9/22/20...... In other Lennon-related news, a pair of John's famous round Windsor glasses that he gifted to his housekeeper in the 1960s and are thought to predate his first public outing of the eyewear are expected to fetch anywhere between £30,000 -- £40,000 during a new auction of Beatles memorabilia conducted by Sotheby's beginning Sept. 23. Also up for sale during the auction, which marks 50 years since the iconic band broke up, will be a detention sheet from John's Quarry Bank Grammar School teachers in the 1950s (they criticize his "complete idleness" and "continuous silly behaviour in class"), and one of his report cards, which is estimated to be worth between £3,000 -- £5,000. A copy of the Beatles's debut single, "Love Me Do," signed by all four members the day after it was released, is expected to fetch between £15,000 -- £20,000. The auction runs from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1 on the Sotheby's website. Meanwhile, John's son Sean Lennon is set to interview Paul McCartney for a new special two-part radio show for the BBC to mark what would have been his late father's 80th birthday. McCartney reflects on his earliest days of making music with Lennon -- admitting that "there were a few songs that weren't very good." He said: "Eventually, we started to write slightly better songs and then enjoyed the process of learning together so much that it really took off. When asked on their final meeting, he revealed: "I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy Boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!" Other interviewees for the new show include Lennon's oldest son, Julian Lennon, and Elton John -- who was a close friend of John's. And speaking of Julian Lennon, the musician was named a UNESCO Center for Peace 2020 Cross-Cultural and Peace Crafter Award Laureate on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, to recognize Julian's "efforts towards the promotion of culture and peace everywhere." His contribution to peace includes his continued work through The White Feather Foundation, which aims to raise funds for "the betterment of all life." In a statement posted to the foundation's website,, Lennon expressed his "deepest gratitude upon receiving the award." "To be recognised for charity efforts on the International Day of Peace means the world to me," he said. - New Musical Express, 9/23/20...... YusufAppearing on the UK early morning talk sow Lorraine on Sept. 22, Yusuf/Cat Stevens says although he's enjoyed performing for his fans from the comfort of his home amid the coronavirus pandemic, he's looking forward to 2021 when he hopes to put on some "scaled-back" gigs to coincide with the release of his upcoming autobiography. "Lockdown changed everything. But I'm getting used to Zooming, to be honest, it's very comfortable to sit in your own kitchen or living room and put on a concert," the 72-year-old singer/songwriter legend said. "We will probably go out and do something when everything is clear and perhaps it will be scaled-down a little bit. But I've also got a few projects in the pipeline, like my autobiography. It might be a combination of 'Tillerman' and my autobiography," he added. Yusuf re-recorded his 1970 classic Tea for the Tillerman earlier in 2020 to mark its 50th anniversary, and on Sept. 21 he and his son Jesse Royal contributed to Peace One Day's Live Global Digital Experience, which is also the UN International Day of Peace. The event, produced by Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley and was broadcast live across the world. It marked Yusuf's third contribution to Peace One Day, having previously performed in 2007 and 2011. Yusuf's Tea For The Tillerman 2 is currently at the No. 3 spot on the UK's Official Albums Chart Update. -, 9/22/20...... Jimmy Buffett, the late B.B. King, and Mac McAnally are among the latest inductees into the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame, in was announced during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 17. Pascagoula, Miss., Mayor Steve Demetropoulos congratulated the Parrothead-In-Chief, noting: "It's been said that Mississippi is the birth place of America's music. Well, Jimmy Buffett is America's music." In a recorded message, Buffett said: "It's a long way from the Pascagoula run and my early days growing up in Mississippi certainly had an impact on the way I wrote songs and what I wrote about. So, thank you Mississippi for that." The Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance. - AP, 9/22/20...... On Sept. 21 Neil Young announced a massive new The Archives Vol. II: 1972-1976 box set will drop on Nov. 20. The sequel to his 8-disc 2009 The Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972, the new 10-disc collection will include a vintage live album recorded in London and Japan with all previously unheard versions of classic songs. Arranged chronologically, it will stretch from songs tracked after the 1972 release of landmark album Harvest, stretching through an early 1976 European/Japanese tour with his longtime band Crazy Horse. According to the Neil Young Archives site, the set -- with 12 previously unreleased songs and 50 unreleased versions of songs -- will be available only on the NYA site, with pre-orders beginning on Oct. 16. The full track listing for Archives Vol. II can be viewed on the NYA site. - Billboard, 9/21/20...... Speaking of archives, Bruce Springsteen has told Rolling Stone magazine that his upcoming projects includes a follow-up to his 1998 box set Tracks that will feature full-length pieces from his own archives, and that he has full-length "lost albums" which he plans to release in the future. Springsteen, who will release a new 12-song album called Letter to You on Oct. 23, says he has "a lot of projects that are in the planning," including recording songs that were written long ago. "There's a lot of really good music left. You just go back there. It's not that hard. If I pull out something from 1980, or 1985, or 1970, it's amazing how you can slip into that voice. It's just sort of a headspace. All of those voices remain available to me, if I want to go to them," he said. Meanwhile, Springsteen has shared an official video for Letter to You's title track on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 9/21/20...... Elvis Costello says his upcoming studio album Hey Clockface has songs that alternate between withering and whimsical. "It's much closer to the approach of a jazz ensemble, playing like that without scoring every note," says the 66-year-old musician. In Feb. 2020, after recording three songs by himself in Helsinki, he immediately traveled to Paris to record a dozen more with a small ensemble of musicians who "came recommended as people who liked adventure," Costello says. Hey Clockface also explores a comforting past (the title track sounds like something out of the American Songbook) and the disturbing present. On "Hetty O'Hara Confidential," Costello -- who sang about the creepiness of mass media on songs like "Radio Radio" and "Watching the Detectives" -- now turns on new media. In it, he tells the story of a vindictive gossip columnist undone by a mistake and a world in which everyone has the power she did. "It's one of the great dangers of the speed of communication, being faster than the ability to reason," says Costello. Even before the release of Hey Clockface on Oct. 30, Costello says he's already preparing to reissue some of his previous albums with bonus material. - Billboard, 9/18/20...... Daryl HallJohn OatesHall & Oates are celebrating one billion streams of their 1980 hit "You Make My Dreams," which has become of the most one of their most recognizable songs, ubiquitous in films such as 500 Days of Summer, The Wedding Singer, Dumb & Dumberer and Despicable Me 2. "It's amazing, right?," says John Oates. "What really gets me about this is when 'You Make My Dreams' was released as a single in 1981, it wasn't a massive Number One hit -- it reached Number Five in the US. We couldn't have predicted the impact it would have. Over the years, it's taken on a life of its own. It's become this anthemic feel-good thing. A lot of it started with its use in the movie 500 Days of Summer and the dance sequence they created around that song. From there on, it took on this life of its own. It's the gift that keeps on giving. It's an amazing feel-good groove and it has a great timeless appeal." Oates adds that "Daryl [Hall] and I were set to do some recording [in 2020] and when everything broke down, we had exchanged ideas... sending each other tracks and we were starting to formulate [a record]. But when COVID broke everything down, it put the brakes on it. So I think he and I will probably do our best work when we're physically together and because we're not, we'll just put it on hold for a while and see what happens." To add to "You Make My Dreams"' massive streaming count, fans can head to YouTube. - NME, 9/23/20...... Patti Smith, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and many other artists have teamed up for a group rendition of Smith's 1988 song "People Have The Power." The video of the performance was released by climate action non-profit Pathway to Paris -- co-founded by Patti Smith's daughter, Jesse Paris Smith -- on its sixth anniversary. The video's release also coincides with Climate Week NYC, which takes place between September 21-27. The video, which can be viewed on, was released by climate action non-profit Pathway to Paris -- co-founded by Patti Smith's daughter, Jesse Paris Smith -- on its sixth anniversary. It has been performed at every Pathway To Paris event since 2014. The video's release also coincides with Climate Week NYC, which takes place between Sept. 21-27. The clip also encourages Americans to vote in the upcoming November election. "Vote to choose something, vote to reject something," a statement from PTP read. - NME, 9/23/20...... Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford says he thinks his band deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and feels it needs more heavy metal acts. "I've always admired it," Halford said of the Cleveland-based hall and museum. "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame isn't any different from those other institutions they have in America, like the one for football, where you'll always get some people complaining one player deserves to be there over another." He continued: "Emotions always run high whenever these awards take place. But I've always supported it -- only because of the company we'd be in. I think if any metal band deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it's Priest and beyond that, there needs to be more metal there because there's not enough." Elsewhere in the interview, Halford commented on the band's iconic song "Breaking The Law" being played over stolen police radios during protests in New York earlier in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's death. "It's mad over here in America right now and that was a horrible thing that happened to that guy [George Floyd] and I can understand the anger and why that [song] was chosen," he said. "When we wrote that song in the "80s in the UK, there was a lot of unrest, rioting and pushback to the Margaret] Thatcher government. There was a lot of divisiveness going on, much like is happening in many parts of the world now. History tends to repeat itself unfortunately." - NME, 9/22/20...... In other heavy metal news, AC/DC have seemingly confirmed their return with singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd in a series of photos which were posted online. According to a Brazilian AC/DC fansite, photos showing the band's returning line-up were briefly posted on the AC/DC website earlier in September before quickly being removed. They appear to have been taken during a video shoot and show Rudd playing with guitarist Stevie Young for the first time -- with the fan site claiming that the footage was shot in the Netherlands earlier in 2020. But the most interesting detail for fans is the return of Johnson, after he departed the group in 2016 following extensive hearing loss. He was subsequently replaced on the band's "Rock or Bust" tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. The new look at the band comes after it was claimed that they have already recorded their next album. - NME, 9/21/20...... Noddy HolderFormer Slade frontman Noddy Holder says he's been "playing guitar again" and is thinking about a big comeback. Holder, 74, told the UK's Daily Star's "Wired" column that while he has been working on new material "over the years," he wouldn't want to go back to a full time schedule. "I have a stockpile written over the years. I didn't just stop, bang, and that was the end of the story. I still have moments when I get the inspiration. But I couldn't do it night after night, year after year," he says. Holder, who quit Slade in 1992, hasn't made a solo record or hit the road since, but isn't ruling out a return to the stage. "Well, never say never -- I might do it now. If they ever let me out of the house. I'm brushing up on my guitar technique, going back to my roots." In 2019, Holder said he meets with some of his former Slade bandmates, including Don Powell and Dave Hill, occasionally, but played down the idea of ever reuniting with his old mates. "When I left the band, we weren't getting on. We did get together in the same room about 10 years ago but we were arguing again within five minutes," he says. -, 9/23/20...... ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyndstad have reportedly reunited at Ealing Studios in West London to resume working on their avatar show after facing technical delays and then the coronavirus pandemic halting their plans. The Swedish quartet are said to be now looking to 2022 to launch the tour as part of their 50th anniversary. "ABBA have kept everything about their reunion shrouded in mystery but this has really been a long time coming," a friend of the group told The Sun paper. "They announced the tour in 2016 and although it's been a slog to get to this point, it is now full steam ahead and the show is taking shape. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Frida have all recorded bits and pieces and they have enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with it all. They are all getting a nice cheque out of it, so it will be worthwhile, but they've got more than enough money from their music, so it's not about that. All four of them just wanted to give back to their fans, so they have done everything in their power to fly into London for the filming, despite the travel restrictions," the source added. ABBA, who parted ways in 1982, performed together for the first time in decades in 2016 at a private event, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between songwriters Bjorn and Benny. -, 9/22/20...... A new David Bowie photography exhibition is set to open on Oct. 17 at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. "Rock "n' Roll with Me Bowie/MacCormack 1973-76" features images captured by Geoff MacCormack, a childhood friend of Bowie who, in the early 19070s, was asked to join the expanding lineup of his band, the Spiders From Mars. MacCormack's exhibit will feature 60 shots he took as he travelled with Bowie around the world, including some taken on the Trans-Siberian Express. "Those holiday snaps, as I call them, are sometimes even better than the one where he looks wonderful and heroic, which in a lot of them he does. They're holiday snaps really," MacCormack told The Guardian. The exhibit is set to run through June 6. - NME, 9/20/20...... Steve Miller has unearthed his tribute to Jimi Hendrix -- a rendition of his band's "Peppa Sauce" recorded live on Sept. 18, 1970, the day the legendary guitarist died, and shared it on YouTube to mark the 50th anniversary of Hendrix's death. The tribute was recorded at San Rafael, California's Pepperland. "The next song is in memory of Jimi Hendrix," Miller told the crowd before before launching into an epic seven-minute long rendition of "Peppa Sauce" filled with guitar licks inspired by the late guitar god. Miller and Hendrix were friends for years who would occasionally jam together. However, after sharing the bill at 1967's Monterey Pop -- where Hendrix famously burned his Fender Stratocaster onstage -- Miller admitted to not being a fan of the stunt. "I thought that was pathetic," Miller told the Washington Post in 2019. "When I saw Jimi Hendrix stop playing the music he was playing and get down on his knees and pull out a can of lighter fluid and squirt it on the thing and light it, I went, "Boy, this really f---ing sucks." - NME, 9/19/20...... Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has criticised Van Morrison's recent decision to release three anti-lockdown protest songs in a new op-ed. "There's a real feeling of disappointment -- we expected better from him," Swann said in a guest op-editorial for Rolling Stone magazine. "It's entirely right and proper to debate and question policies. It's legitimate to ask if the right balance is being found in what is being done; if the right steps are being taken. None of this is easy or straightforward," Swann said. "But Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions. He is singing about "fascist bullies' and claiming governments are deceiving people and wanting to 'enslave'." Swann also pointed out a 2017 interview with Morrison, during which the Celtic crooner said he was apolitical. "He's changed his tune big time since then. He could have chosen to sing about how we all can help save lives. He could have written a tribute to our health and social care workers on the frontline," Swann said. - NME, 9/22/20...... Pamela HutchinsonPamela Hutchinson, a member of influential '70s R&B group The Emotions, passed away on Sept. 18 at the age of 61. "In loving memory, we are saddened to announce the passing of our sister, Pamela Rose Hutchinson, on Friday, September 18, 2020," the group confirmed on their Facebook page. "Pam succumbed to health challenges that she'd been battling for several years. Now our beautiful sister will sing amongst the angels in heaven in perfect peace," the statement added. The group signed off the post by writing "Thank you and as always, You Got The Best of Our Love," referencing the band's massive 1977 hit "Best Of My Love". Along with "Best Of My Love," The Emotions are also remembered for their collaboration with Earth, Wind & Fire on "Boogie Wonderland." - NME, 9/21/20...... Drummer Lee Kerslake, a former member of Uriah Heep who also played with Ozzy Osbourne, has died at 73 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Uriah Heep announced the sad news on their Facebook page, with Heep member Bernie Shaw describing him as "one of the most revered yet under rated drummers in the world... Lee was also one of the main voices in Uriah Heep. Never dropped a note in all the years I worked with him." Kerslake served two stints in Uriah Heep from 1971-1979 and then again from 1981-2007, drumming and singing backing vocals on the albums Demons and Wizards (1972), The Magician's Birthday (1972), Sweet Freedom (1973), Wonderworld (1974), Return to Fantasy (1975), High and Mighty (1976), Firefly (1977), Innocent Victim (1977) and Fallen Angel (1978). He rejoined Uriah Heep for their 14th studio album, Abominog, playing on six more studio efforts before leaving again in 2007 due to health issues. - Billboard, 9/21/20...... Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, died at a hospital in Las Vegas on Sept. 18 after he contracted COVID-19. He was 92. Mr. DeVito joined forces with bandmate Frankie Valli in 1956, before they formed the Four Seasons in 1960 alongside Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. They went on to become one of America's most popular doo-wop groups of the 1960s -- with hits such as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)". The band's story was later immortalised in the Tony award-winning musical "Jersey Boys," which was adapted for the big screen by Clint Eastwood in 2014. Confirming DeVito's passing, Gaudio and Valli wrote: "It is with great sadness that we report that Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, has passed. We send our love to his family during this most difficult time. He will be missed by all who loved him." DeVito was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, along with the rest of the Four Seasons. - NME, 9/23/20...... Gale SayersPro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers died on Sept. 23 at the age of 77. David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, issued a statement on Sayers' death: "All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers. He was the very essence of a team player -- quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a teammate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life." Sayers spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1971. He was named to the All-Pro first team in each of his first five seasons, won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award in 1965 and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection. A knee injury suffered during the 1968 season limited Sayers to just nine games. He led the NFL in rushing yards (1,032) and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 1969, but knee problems plagued him for the subsequent two years before he was forced to retire during the preseason in 1972. Sayers was portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in the acclaimed 1970 made for TV movie Brian's Song, which told the story of Sayers' relationship with fellow Bears player and cancer victim Brian Piccolo. - AP, 9/23/20...... Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died on Sept. 18. She was 87. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ms. Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Stevie Nicks posted a heartfelt tribute to the late Supreme Court icon on her social media page on Sept. 20, calling Ms. Ginsberg "my hero." "She fought for me, and all women," the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman penned. "I feel today very much like I felt on the night my own mother died. I feel like someone punched me in the stomach. I so believed that she would live for a few more years... As with all legends, you think they will live forever, so you will get there in time." Cher also tweeted praise to Ms. Ginsberg, calling her "1 OF GREATEST WOMEN IN (American) HISTORY." -, 9/18/20.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The BBC is reporting that Van Morrison has recorded three new songs in which he lashes out at what he calls "crooked facts" told by the UK government concerning the coronavirus lockdown. On one track, Morrison sings, "The new normal, is not normal. We were born to be free," however the BBC says his anger reaches a peak on "No More Lockdown" -- which sees him likening the government to "fascist bullies." "No more lockdown/ No more government overreach," Morrison reportedly sings in the track's chorus. Another track is said to reference a widely-shared Facebook post which states that "Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK." While Covid-19 is not classed as a "HCID" -- which typically boasts a high fatality rate -- the disease is still considered highly infectious with cases rising across the UK. Morrison, who has yet to announce a release date for the new songs, posted an open letter to fans on his official website in late August, criticizing the "pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs. - New Musical Express, 9/18/20...... Nick MasonSyd BarrettPink Floyd drummer Nick Mason says his side project Saucerful of Secrets, in which he has spent the last few years reinventing early Floyd material on stage, gives a needed edge to late Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett's music. "Syd had a strange way of writing, which made it sound like a 'normal' pop song, and then it would lurch into something else," says Mason of Barrett, the band's original singer whose mental health struggles led to his departure during their second album, 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets. "The best review was our first review," adds SOS guitarist Gary Kemp (formerly of Spandau Ballet). "[Critic] Neil McCormick called it 'Punk Floyd', which I loved, because there is that energy Floyd had before they became posh. When we got the band together, it wasn't like, 'Well, let's try and emulate those records.' Also, we're not trying to be a tribute band. Nick is the genuine article, so we agreed, 'Let's make this band as fresh as we possibly can.'" Earlier in 2020, Mason and SOS released Live at the Roundhouse, live album and concert film that captures a 2019 show at London's fabled Roundhouse, where the Syd Barrett-era Floyd also performed around the time of their 1967 debut, Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Mason, 76, says SOS is his sole focus now, and he's having "the time of his life" with no plans to hang up his drumsticks soon. "...If at some point somebody brought in new music to work on, great. That, I think, would be the greatest tribute we could pay to Syd, in a way," he says. - Billboard, 9/17/20...... David Byrne announced a new edition of his online magazine Reasons to be Cheerful, which focuses on tackling division within society, on his Twitter page on Sept. 17. "This series is hopeful at a time when that is in short supply," Byrne said. "I realise the title might come as a shock. Not divided? Are you kidding me? What world are you living in?," he adds. Running through Nov. 2, the latest Reasons to be Cheerful edition is titled "We Are Not Divided" and tells the stories of places and institutions that are succeeding in overcoming division via a multimedia presentation of dozens of written features, infographics, video content and interactive storytelling. It also features a collection of original illustrations hand-drawn by Byrne. "I am more than a little aware of what's happening, but the truth is there is evidence that we can find ways to come together -- I have to believe that or I would sink into despair," the former Talking Heads frontman says. "Luckily, there are people and initiatives out there that we can look to for inspiration, and boy do we need it." - New Musical Express, 9/17/20...... Movie studio Trafalgar Releasing announced on Sept. 16 that Stevie Nicks will debut her new concert film 24 Karat Gold for two nights only on Oct. 21 & 25 at select cinemas, drive-ins and exhibition spaces around the world. Directed and produced by Joe Thomas during the singer/songwriter's fabled 67-city sold out "24 Karat Gold Tour," the filming and recording took place in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in 2017. "The 24 Karat Gold Tour was my all-time favorite tour," Nicks said in a statement. "I not only got to sing my songs but I was able to tell their stories for the first time. I love having the opportunity to share this concert with my fans. From me to you - 24 Karat Gold." 24 Karat Gold features a set of fan favorites from Nicks' solo career and as a member of Fleetwood Mac, including "Rhiannon," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Edge of Seventeen," "Landslide," and more as well as rare gems from her platinum-selling catalog. The film also features intimate storytelling and inspirations for some of the artist's most famous and timeless songs and lyrics. Tickets go on-sale beginning Sept. 23 at, where fans can find the most up-to-date information regarding participating theaters and event alerts. Also, a 2-CD & digital/streaming release will be available on Oct. 30 via BMG, featuring 17 tracks of Stevie's greatest hits live; including "Stand Back," "Gypsy," and "Edge of Seventeen," as well as the first ever live recording of "Crying In The Night," and other live rarities. Also, a 2-CD & digital/streaming release will be available on Oct. 30 via BMG, featuring 17 tracks of Stevie's greatest hits live. The release will be available exclusively at Target stores on Oct. 30, and the digital release will be available everywhere on the same day. A limited-edition 2-LP 180-gram version will be available on crystal clear vinyl exclusively at Barnes & Noble, while a 180-gram black vinyl version will be available everywhere. - Billboard, 9/16/20...... The BeatlesThe Beatles' Apple Corps. announced on Instagram on Sept. 16 that an expansive coffee table book, The Beatles: Get Back, will be released on Aug. 31, 2021, as a companion to director Peter Jackson's upcoming 2021 Beatles documentary The Beatles: Get Back. The 240-page hardcover book with "hundreds of previously unpublished images" from the 1969 studio sessions for the Let It Be album will hit stores just days after the rescheduled release of the film, which was postponed earlier in 2020 until Aug. 27, 2021, due to the coronavirus. In a press release, the book is described as the "definitive volume" of the Let It Be sessions and will "present an exclusive, in-their-own-words account" of the recordings, "illustrated with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney." The book, according to the statement, "will feature transcribed conversations between the four Beatles culled from more than 120 recorded hours of the studio sessions over three weeks... (an) intimate, riveting book invites us to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of the Beatles' last year as a band." Meanwhile, Jackson's anticipated film will look back at the sessions for Let It Be using more than 55 hours of unreleased original 16-mm footage filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969. A video announcement for the book, which retails for $60, can be viewed on YouTube. - Billboard, 9/16/20...... In other Beatles-related news, a new John Lennon documentary, Lennon's Last Weekend, is coming to BritBox in December. Directed by Brian Grant ("Video Killed the Radio Star"), the film will focus on the musician's final interview with the BBC Radio's Andy Peebles before his death in Dec. 1980. John discusses the break-up of the Beatles, his new Double Fantasy LP with wife Yoko Ono, his relationship with Paul McCartney, and his own solo albums. Lennon's Last Weekend will premiere in December to honour the 40th anniversary of John's death, and will include a number of new interviews about the iconic musician. - New Musical Express, 9/16/20...... Speaking of 40th anniversary releases, Ozzy Osbourne released an expanded edition of his solo debut Blizzard of Ozz on Sept. 18. Originally released on Sept. 20, 1980, Blizzard of Ozz marked the metal icon's first foray on his own after splitting with Black Sabbath, and launched him into the stratosphere with the hit "Crazy Train." That classic, as well as "Mr Crowley," feature late guitarist Randy Rhoads. The extended version will hit streaming platforms with a number of rare bonus tracks and 7 live songs recorded during his "Blizzard" tour that are currently unavailable digitally, according to a press release announcing the set. Also being released digitally are two of Osbourne's beloved live DVD's, Live at Budokan and Live & Loud, the latter containing guest appearances from Ozzy's former Black Sabbath bandmates Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Tony Iommi. Ozzy is continuing the celebration on with a trove of "Blizzard" merch on his official store, including puzzles, vintage tour t-shirts, pins and a track jacket. - Billboard, 9/16/20...... Meanwhile, Osbourne has addressed allegations in a 1986 lawsuit brought by the parents of a 19-year-old suicide victim, John McCallum, who alleged Ozzy's song "Suicide Solution" was responsible for their son's death. Osbourne told SiriusXM radio's Billy Morrison in a YouTube clip previewing his forthcoming Blizzard of Ozz anniversary special that the song's lyric, "Where to hide, suicide is the way out/ Don't you know what it's really about?" was wrongly read into. "Well, that was all taken out of perspective," he explained. "We were all doing some serious pounding of the booze back then. I'd been drinking heavily for a long, long time. And it's, like, 'Suicide Solution' means solution being liquid -- not a way out. People get the f---ing thing wrong." A California court dismissed the McCollums' lawsuit in 1988, ruling that their son's suicide was not a foreseeable result of "Suicide Solution." 40 Years Of Ozzy Osbourne's 'Blizzard Of Ozz' premieres on Sept. 18 at 5:00 pm ET and 11:00 pm ET on SiriusXF in the US, and will be rebroadcast throughout the weekend. - NME, 9/17/20...... Elton JohnOn Sept. 17 Elton John announced a special 50th-anniversary boxset titled Jewel Box on YouTube containing over 60 previously unreleased tracks. Set for release on Nov. 13 via UMC/EMI, Jewel Box will be split into four parts -- "Deep Cuts," "Rarities," "B-sides," "And This Is Me" -- and will be available across a range of formats, with 81 songs coming to digital platforms for the first time. John has provided a track-by-track commentary for the "Deep Cuts" discs, which he personally curated. Elsewhere in the collection is a hardback book featuring new interviews and archival graphics. "To delve back through every period of my career in such detail for Jewel Box has been an absolute pleasure," John explained in the announcement. "Hearing these long lost tracks again, I find it hard to comprehend just how prolific Bernie [Taupin] and I were during the early days." Vinyl editions of the "Deep Cuts," "Rarities," "B-sides," and "And This Is Me" parts will also be available. - NME, 9/17/20...... In other Elton news, the Rocket Man and his ex-wife Renate Blauel have reportedly halted their bitter divorce battle amid ongoing peace talks. On Sept. 16, Britain's The Sun newspaper reported that the legal fight is currently on hold, as lawyers for the singer and his former spouse have been given until Oct. 13 to reach a deal. If the pair agree on a settlement, it will mean they will avoid an ugly court fight in which further details about their relationship would likely emerge. In July, Blauel announced she was suing Elton after he wrote about their four-year marriage in his memoir Me, which she alleged breached their 1988 divorce deal. Blauel claimed that the details he wrote about in the book, and the references in 2019 biopic Rocketman, had seriously damaged her health, and sued the pop superstar for a reported $3.8 million. John is presently married to movie producer David Furnish and has two sons; Zachary, nine and seven-year-old Elijah. -, 9/16/20...... Iggy Pop has gifted his song "Free" to help the non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to spread the message about the horrors monkeys that used in lab experiments face. "Anyone can see the pain and terror in these monkeys' eyes," Pop told Billboard on Sept. 14. "No one should have to suffer like this." The song, the title track off Pop's 18th studio album, soundtracks a new PETA video that shows terrified monkeys caged, being held down for experiments and more. In the haunting tune, Pop repeats the simple lyric "I want to be free" twice. The PETA video, which contains disturbing imagery and may not be suitable for all viewers, has been shared on YouTube. - Billboard, 9/14/20...... The music of late country icon Johnny Cash has been reimagined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for an upcoming album set to arrive on Nov. 13. The RPO recorded their own take on 12 legendary hits by Cash for Johnny Cash and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which sees Cash's original vocals being complimented by the orchestra in sessions recorded at London's legendary Abbey Road Studio 2. As well as new takes on hits such as "Man In Black' and "Ring of Fire, the album also features lesser-known tracks such as "Farther Along," "Flesh and Blood' and "Girl From The North Country," his beloved collaboration with Bob Dylan. Don Reedman, who produced the album alongside Nick Patrick, said: "I believe we have captured the emotion, sensitivity and genuine honesty of Johnny Cash through his story telling and his touching and captivating vocal performances." - NME, 9/14/20...... Bill WymanA bass guitar once belonging to former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman sold at auction for a record-breaking $384,000 over the second weekend of September. The 1969 Fender Mustang Bass, with a competition orange finish, was used by Wyman for Stones concerts and recordings in 1969 and 1970, and was one of over 1,000 items from his archive that went under the hammer, including musical instruments, amplifiers, stage-worn ensembles, awards and personal items. The collection contained pieces from Wyman's three-decade stint in the Stones as well as from his solo career, and was sold at a Julien's Auctions event in Beverly Hills. The top-selling item was a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Standard Model Gold Top guitar and case used by late Stones co-founder Brian Jones in the band's Rock And Roll Circus concert in 1968, which sold for $704,000 -- more than three times its pre-auction estimate. Wyman, 83, who played with the band from 1962 to 1993, said he will donate some of the proceeds to a group of his favourite charities. Speaking about the sale, Wyman said: 'Collecting and archiving has been one of the great pleasures of my life and will undoubtedly be one of my legacies. It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world and I hope people will get as much joy from my collections as I have. It is easier to let these items go knowing that a portion of the proceeds from this sale will support three causes that are close to my heart." A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Prince's Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute). -, 9/15/20.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

John Fogerty has taken to Facebook to question why Pres. Donald Trump would want to use the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Fortunate Son" during a recent campaign rally on Sept. 10 in Freeland, Mich. In a video posted on Sept. 11, Fogerty, 75, says he wrote the song in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War to express his frustration about wealthy people using their power and influence to avoid being drafted. "It's a song I could've written now, so I find it confusing, I would say, that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the 'Fortunate Son,'" said Fogerty, who was drafted and served in the military. Fogerty also recited the opening lines from the song in reference to Pres. Trump using federal troops in early June to clear protestors at Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Park for a photo-op at St. John's Church. "That's exactly what happened recently in Lafayette Park when the president decided to take a walk across the park," Fogerty said. "He cleared out the area using federal troops so that he could stand in front of St. John's church with a Bible." - Billboard, 9/12/20...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen made a surprise release of a heartbreaking rocker titled "Letter to You" on YouTube on Sept. 10 which will be the title track to his upcoming 12-song album with the E Street Band. Hitting stores on Oct. 23, Letter to You is described in a press release as a "rock album fueled by the band's heart-stopping, house-rocking signature sound." "I love the emotional nature of Letter To You," Springsteen said in the statement. "And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we've never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I've ever had." The album, recorded in Springsteen's home studio, includes nine songs recently written by the musicians and three new versions of previously unreleased tracks from the 1970s: "Janey Needs a Shooter," "If I Was the Priest" and and "Song for Orphans." It will be the follow-up to his July release of a live 1999 Streets of Philadelphia album and 2019's solo album/movie Western Stars. - Billboard, 9/10/20...... The estate of Jimi Hendrix and Legacy Recordings announced on Sept. 10 that a new Hendrix documentary titled Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui and an accompanying live album called Jimi Hendrix - Live in Maui is being prepared for release. Jimi Hendrix in Maui will spotlight the Hendrix and his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience's famous visit to the Hawaiian city in 1970, and the ill-fated Rainbow Bridge film about the visit. As Hendrix was working on the follow-up to his Electric Ladyland LP and building his Electric Lady Studios in New York City's Greenwich Village, the completion of the recording facility proved to be quite expensive, so Hendrix's controversial manager Michael Jeffery procured a $500,000 advance from Warner Bros. to fund the remaining construction, and to finance the Rainbow Bridge film in exchange for rights to its soundtrack. However, the shoot began diminishing to an unorganized assemblage of hippie life, and when Jeffrey grew concerned that his investment was in jeopardy, he became desperate to feature Hendrix in the film. The Experience were already booked to perform a concert in Honolulu at the H.I.C. Arena on Aug. 1, 1970 and Wein came up with a plan to film a free "color/sound vibratory experiment" on the lower slope of the dormant Haleakala volcano. A few hundred Maui locals gathered for a successful performance, and Hendrix soon returned to New York and his work at Electric Lady Studios before he tragically died in London on Sept. 18, 1970. Jeffery prepared Rainbow Bridge and its accompanying soundtrack to follow up to acclaimed posthumous The Cry of Love. The film was a commercial flop as moviegoers were under the impression they were going to see a Jimi Hendrix concert film, but only 17 minutes of heavily edited Hendrix concert footage was used in the final cut. The Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui Blu-ray will include the full documentary as well as bonus features featuring all of the existing 16mm color film shot of the two performances that afternoon mixed in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. - Billboard, 9/10/20...... Robert Plant says one of his fondest memories from his recent tour with Willie Nelson was watching the 87-year-old country music icon giving away free weed from his touring bus. "We were invited to play with Willie Nelson a couple of months ago and he was travelling through his tour with his big bus giving away weed to everybody," Plant, 72, said in an interview with the "Digging Deep" podcast. "The most cherished moment of my career was staying up for a couple of days. Not going home, just going to the next place. Finding that I was in transit forever," he added. Asked how Willie goes about giving weed to other bands, the former Led Zeppelin frontman said: "He just gives it away. It's a truckload from here to the... mirrorball and beyond. Free. With doors to go in, get your little hit and go out the other side." -, 9/13/20...... Joni MitchellJoni Mitchell has announced a new series of archival releases from across her 50+ year career that will feature 29 songs that have never been released with the legendary singer/songwriter's vocal. The first edition, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967) will drop on Oct. 30 and feature recordings prior to the release of Joni's 1968 debut album, Song to a Seagull. It will be a five-disc set containing over six hours of unreleased material, and come with 40-page liner notes, comprised of Mitchell's conversations with former Rolling Stone journalist Cameron Crowe discussing the archives. Crowe has interviewed Mitchell throughout her career, and will purportedly continue to contribute to subsequent entries into the series. Ahead of Archives Vol. 1's release, the first known recording by Mitchell as a 19-year-old performing a cover of the Animals' hit "House of the Rising Son" has been shared on YouTube. Joni performed the song at the Saskatoon radio station CFQC AM. Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 -- 1967) is now available to pre-order on Mitchell's official website in a variety of editions. - NME, 9/11/20...... The Rolling Stones officially opened their first flagship shop at 9 Carnaby Street in Soho in central London on Sept. 9. The shop stocks a wide range of Stones records and memorabilia, including "an exclusive mix of collections and collaborations for fans of all ages" and a bespoke T-shirt customization station. Inside the shop, fans will find many of the band's lyrics daubed on the glass floor, while the fitting rooms are adorned with the artwork from several of the band's iconic albums including Exile on Main Street (1972) and Some Girls (1978). While the band acknowledges that, given the current social distancing climate, it's " bold time to launch a permanent retail space in London," they still hope that RS No.9 Carnaby Street will "provide a major long-term boost to music tourism in London." "We are confident this exciting project that our friends at Bravado have created will be an unrivalled experience for everyone to come to London and enjoy," their statement added. In addition to the opening of the physical retail outlent, the band also has an online version that has gone live at the same time. Meanwhile, the Stones have broken a UK chart record and beaten rising singer Declan McKenna to the Number One spot on the UK charts. The band was in a tight race for the top with McKenna's new album Zeros after their 1973 album Goats Head Soup was reissued on Sept. 4. Goats Head Soup rise to the top of the charts means the band has now set a new record as the first band in UK chart history to hit the top of the charts with an album across six different decades. They are also now tied with Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams for most Number One albums, with only the Beatles having achieved more with 15. - NME, 9/11/20...... Speaking of Elvis, the new Baz Luhrmann-directed Presley biopic will soon resume filming in Australia after production was halted back in March after star Tom Hanks, who portrays Presley's manager Col. Tom Parker in the film, and his wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for coronavirus. Production on Elvis is now set to resume in Queensland, Australia on Sept. 23. In a statement, Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby) confirmed his excitement about returning to work on the movie. "We're back to, as Elvis liked to say, "taking care of business!," the filmmaker said. "It is a real privilege in this unprecedented global moment that Tom Hanks has been able to return to Australia to join Austin Butler (who plays Elvis in the film) and all of our extraordinary cast and crew to commence production on Elvis.," he added. - NME, 9/10/20...... Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joan Jett stopped by CBS' The Late Late Show with James Corden on Sept. 10 to perform a cover of the T. Rex classic "Jeepster." Jett's reworking of the song, which was also featured on the recent Marc Bolan/T. Rex tribute album AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs Of Marc Bolan And T-Rex, can be viewed on YouTube. - New Musical Express, 9/12/20...... Ace FrehleyFormer KISS guitarist Ace Frehley hailed US Pres. Donald Trump as "the strongest leader that we've got" in a new interview on Cassius Morris' radio show in support of his forthcoming new covers album, Origins Vol. 2. "I don"t think politics and rock 'n' roll mix - in my opinion," said Frehley when one of his covers, Cream's 1967 track "Politician," came up in conversation. "And I try to stay away from [politics] as much as I can. I mean, once in a while, I'll make a crack. I will say I'm a Trump supporter. All the politicians have had skeletons in the closet. But I think Trump is the strongest leader that we've got on the table," he added. Frehley's comments, which can be viewed on YouTube, come after KISS frontman Paul Stanley hit out at the president in August for suggesting his opponents may rig November"s election to secure victory. - NME, 9/10/20...... Elton John will feature on a song on the cartoon band Gorillaz' upcoming album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Times. John features on the track "The Pink Phantom" with rapper 6LACK. Posting on Instagram, Elton said: "I am so excited to be a part of @gorillaz Song Machine Season One. The Pink Phantom, coming soon..." The album, also featuring contributions from St. Vincent and Beck, hits stores on Oct. 23. -, 9/10/20...... Pop sensation Miley Cyrus said during a recent appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she reached out to one of her biggest musical heroes, Stevie Nicks, to ask permission to sample Nicks' 1981 solo hit "Edge of Seventeen" in her new single "Midnight Sky," and received a lot more than she bargained for with the rock icon's reply. "I sent her the song and I said, 'I have an alternate melody, if you don't want me to kind of like pay tribute to you and your greatness and how much you've inspired me,'" Cyrus recalled, adding that Nicks responded: "You can borrow from me anytime." Cyrus has previously saluted Nicks and Fleetwood Mac at the 2018 MusiCares' Person of the Year ceremony, where she performed a cover of their classic hit "Landslide." -, 9/12/20...... A previously unreleased Tom Petty song called "Confusion Wheel" has been shared on Spotify and other streaming services ahead of the release of a new deluxe box set edition of Petty's 1994 solo album Wildflowers. Petty recorded "Confusion Wheel" in 1994 during the sessions for Wildflowers, and follows the release of three other unreleased songs from the same sessions earlier in 2020: "There Goes Angela (Dream Away)", "You Don"t Know How It Feels" and "Wildflowers." Set for release on Oct. 16, Wildflowers and All the Rest will also feature a 15-track disc comprised purely of home recordings. Many of these were precursors to tracks that ended up on Wildflowers, including "A Higher Place" "To Find A Friend" and "Wake Up Time." - NME, 9/11/20...... German electro-pop pioneers Kraftwerk have announced that Parlophone Records will be reissuing their 2009-released 12345678 remasters catalogue on colour vinyl for the first time this fall. Set for limited release on Oct. 9, each remaster in the 2009 catalogue will be made available as an individual and limited-edition heavyweight LP -- most of which have never been pressed on coloured vinyl before. The UK LPs to be reissued include are Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, The Man-Machine, Computer World, Techno Pop, The Mix and Tour De France. Six German Kraftwerk LPs -- five of which are the German language versions, with the other being "Radio-Activt" (which features German song titles on the artwork but the same audio as the UK pressing) -- are also being reissued. - NME, 9/8/20...... Ronald BellRonald "Khalis" Bell, a founding member of Kool & The Gang who produced some of the group's biggest hits including "Celebration" and "Jungle Boogie," died of as yet undisclosed causes at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 9. He was 68. Born on Nov. 1, 1951, Bell formed a band in 1964 initially called the Jazziacs, with his brother Robert "Kool" Bell and friends Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith. They settled on the name Kool & The Gang in 1969. Ronald Bell was a driving force behind the band's distinct blend of funk, soul and R&B, and was co-writer for much of their material, including the classic hits "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," "Cherish," "Summer Madness" and "Open Sesame." In 1979, Bell and Kool & The Gang achieved international success with their disco crossover smash "Ladies Night," with the group going on to rack up seven Top 10 and 18 Top 40 singles in the UK alone. Bell is survived by his wife Tian Sinclair Bell who was at his side when he passed, 10 children, grandchildren, two brothers including Robert "Kool" Bell, and a sister. - NME, 9/10/20...... Toots and the Maytals leader Toots Hibbert has died from complications of the coronavirus at age 77, the band confirmed on Sept. 12. "It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel "Toots" Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica," the band posted to Twitter. "The family and management would like to thank the medical teams and professionals for their care and diligence, and ask that you respect their privacy during their time of grief," the statement added. Hibbert grew up singing in church, and formed the Maytals in the 1960s. He was a contemporary of his Island Records labelmate Bob Marley, and would go on to appear on stage with the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Earlier in September, Hibbert was hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus. Tributes pouring in online following the news of his death include those from Ziggy Marley, who wrote: "He was a father figure to me his spirit is w/us his music fills us w/his energy i will never forget him," as well as Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Willie Nelson, Debbie Harry, The Who and Echo & the Bunnymen. - NME, 9/12/20...... Actor Kevin Dobson who starred as Telly Savalas' eager young partner Bobby Crocker on the '70s series Kojak and as Michele Lee's husband, Mack MacKenzie, on Knots Landing, died on Sept. 6 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 77. The curly-haired Dobson burst to stardom in 1973 with his turn as Crocker opposite Savalas on the CBS crime show Kojak, working on the New York-set series for five seasons before it was canceled. He then returned for the 1990 TV movie, Kojak: It's Always Something, his character having graduated to assistant district attorney. Dobson appeared on such TV shows as The Mod Squad, Emergency!, Ironside and Police Story before auditioning three times for Kojak. He also starred on the shortlived 1981-82 CBS series Shannon and on the Canadian series F/X: The Series in 1996-97. Dobson joined CBS' Knots Landing at the start of its fourth season as federal prosecutor/detective MacKenzie, who eventually elopes with Lee's Karen Fairgate. He remained with the primetime soap opera until the end of the 14th season in May 1993. He also worked on the daytime soaps Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful and One Life to Live. On the big screen, he appeared in the 1976 war movie Midway opposite Henry Fonda and played Barbra Streisand's husband in All Night Long (1981). A veteran and former military policeman, Dobson was a onetime chairman of the nonprofit organization United Veterans Council of San Joaquin County, which announced his death on Facebook. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/7/20...... Diana RiggEnglish actress Dame Diana Rigg, best known as the indomitable Mrs. Peel in the 1961 cult British spy-fi television series The Avengers, died on Sept. 10 following a short battle with cancer. She was 82. Dame Diana, who had a long career both in film and on stage, died peacefully at home with her family, her agent confirmed. Her daughter, Tipping the Velvet actress Rachael Stirling, said she died of cancer that was diagnosed in March. Born in Doncaster on July 20, 1938, Ms. Rigg trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1959, and the British beauty has been described as an actress who "swept all before her." In 1969, the Yorkshire-born actress became only the second Bond girl to marry 007 in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and more recently starred as the cutthroat matriarch Lady Olenna Tyrell in HBO's Game of Thrones. In 2019, Ms. Rigg, who was made a dame in 1994 for services to drama, revealed that she "suffered a #MeToo moment" early in her career at the hands of a "powerful" film director. Speaking on the UK program Newsnight, the actress said she welcomed the rise of the #MeToo movement, following her own experience as a young actress and revealed she felt like a "lone voice" after she discovered she was being paid less than her male co-stars. Her film roles also included 2006 romantic drama The Painted Veil and Andy Serkis' 2017 romance Breathe, and she also played a role in Edgar Wright's upcoming feature Last Night In Soho, which is scheduled for release on Apr. 23, 2021. Posting on Twitter, Wright said it was "beyond a thrill to work with her on her final film." Ms. Rigg was a regular recipient of award nominations for her work both on stage and on screen. In 1994 she won the "Best Actress in a Play" Tony for "Medea," while she was Golden Globe nominated for The Hospital in 1972, won an Emmy for Rebecca in 1997, a BAFTA TV award in 1990, and received several Olivier award nominations. She was married twice, to the Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen from 1973-1976, and to theater producer Archibald Stirling 1982-1990. With the latter she had a daughter, Rachael Stirling, the two-time Olivier Award nominated actress. - DailyMailUK/, 9/10/20.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Billy Joel announced on Sept. 4 that he is pushing his postponed Madison Square Garden monthly shows to start again in the fall of 2021. Joel had initially postponed his spring MSG residency dates to start in the fall of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, however with the pandemic still making indoor concerts impossible the Piano Man has pushed the dates 14 months into the future. The first postponed gig, Mar. 19, 2020, which was initially moved to Sept. 26, 2020, will now take place Nov. 5, 2021; while the Apr. 2020 gig is now Dec. 20, 2021; the May 2020 concert arrives on Jan. 14, 2022; other 2022 dates will be Mar. 24 and Apr. 8. "Tickets for the original show dates and initial rescheduled show dates will be valid for the corresponding new rescheduled dates in 2021 and 2022," Joel's site says. "Ticketholders can request a refund over the next 30 days, beginning today, if they cannot commit to the new rescheduled show date." It's unclear whether Joel plans on resuming his MSG residency prior to November 2021 with new dates, or if those rescheduled dates mark the return of his monthly MSG gigs. - Rolling Stone, 9/5/20...... Eric BurdonThe Animals' lurid No. 1 1964 hit "House of the Rising Sun" might have been a curious selection for Pres. Donald Trump to play over the loudspeakers as he arrived at an airport in Wilmington, N.C., for a rally on Sept. 2, but former Animals frontman Eric Burdon says he didn't appreciate his former band's signature song being used without his permission nonetheless. "Even though nobody asked my permission, I wasn't surprised to learn that #Trump #864511320 used #Houseof theRisingSun for his rally the other day," Burdon captioned a photo of himself on Twitter wearing a black face mask with the word "vote" printed across the mouth. "A tale of sin and misery set in a brothel suits him so perfectly!," the one time Eric Burdon and War frontman explained. "Far more appropriate for this time in our history might be." Burdon also made his support for the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket apparent, adding "This is my answer #vote #saveourdemocracy #bidenharris2020." Burdon follows the likes of Tom Petty's estate, Neil Young, Steven Tyler, R.E.M., Rihanna and Guns N' Roses in calling out the president for using their songs without permission. - Billboard, 9/7/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the Rolling Stones say they have no plans to retire anytime soon and are planning a huge gig to celebrate their 60th anniversary in 2022. "You might call it a habit. I mean, that's what we do," guitarist Keith Richards told the magazine. "And also there's that thing between us, like, 'Who's going to be first to get off the bus?' You have to be kicked off or drop off, right? So it's like that. I really can't imagine doing anything else... I hope we're all there, man. It's something to look forward to," he added. The Stones, who were forced to axe their most recent tour due to the Covid-19 pandemic, say they hope to return to touring in the future. "Even though we might have sold tickets, we might not be able to play to them all at once [due to social distancing measures]," frontman Mick Jagger said, adding "I don't know when we're gonna get together at the moment. We don't know when we're going to get together and record. It's got to be in safe circumstances and all that stuff." Richards says he's staying safe at his home in Connecticut during the pandemic, revealing that he even wears a mask to bed. "Oh yeah, I'm a masked man. I mean, it's what you have to do. I wear mine in bed," he said. The Stones are promoting the recent release of an expanded edition of their 1973 LP, Goats Head Soup. -, 9/6/20...... Steve HoweA new live set from prog-rock icons Yes, The Royal Affair Tour: Live from Las Vegas, will drop Oct. 30. Recorded July 26, 2019 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, the set is billed as "an unforgettable and historic night of British rock" and mixes the band's own classics such as "I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout" with their famous covers of songs by the likes of Simon & Garfunkel ("America"), Richie Havens ("No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed") and John Lennon ("Imagine"). In a press release Yes guitarist Steve Howe said: "Having the opportunity to bring together the band members in the development of a well-refined set of songs that captures the band's true potential is simply an honour for me." Yes's 2019 Royal Affair tour united Yes with fellow prog acts Asia, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy and John Lodge of the Moody Blues. Howe, Palmer and Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes pulled double duty every night by performing in their own bands along with Asia, the prog-rock supergroup they founded in 1982. - Rolling Stone, 9/2/20...... Pattie LaBelle released a new digital EP on Sept. 4 featuring an unreleased track produced by the Brooklyn production unit Full Force, "Ain't Nuthin' But a Feelin." The track was recorded during LaBelle's studio sessions for her 1989 LP Be Yourself, and the EP features both the radio edit and extended versions of the unearthed title track, as well as the "Cleaning House Mix" and "The Ozone Layer Mix" by DJ Geenius. LaBelle has shared several mixes of "Ain't Nuthin' But a Feelin'" on - Rolling Stone, 9/3/20...... Rhino Records has announced a box set of late Americana singer/songwriter John Prine's first seven albums will be released this fall. Crooked Piece of Time collects Prine's albums recorded between 1971 and 1980 and hits stores on Oct. 23. - Rolling Stone, 9/3/20...... The latest installment in Bob Marley's Legacy series, which celebrates 2020 being what would have been the late reggae legend's 75th birthday, spotlights his influence on surfing and skateboarding. The latest episode, "Ride Natty Ride," sees a number of Jamaicans discuss how they started surfing and skateboarding, as well as the reggae icon's musical ties to the pastimes. The episode, which has been shared on YouTube, features interviews with Shama "Superman" Beckford, Ivah Wilmot, and skateboarders Froggboss WellRaggedy and Kaya Wheeler. "Ride Natty Ride" is one of 12 episodes that will explore Marley's impact on music and pop culture. - New Musical Express, 9/6/20...... David BowieTo commemorate its 50th anniversary, David Bowie's third studio album The Man Who Sold the World is set to be reissued on Nov. 5 via Parlophone Records with new artwork and a new title, Metrobolist. The Man Who Sold the World was released by Bowie in 1970 and includes the title track, "All The Madmen" and "Running Gun Blues." Bowie initially wanted to release the album under the name Metrobolist as a tribute to the 1927 film of the same name by Fritz Lang. However, Mercury Records changed the name of the record at the last minute without seeking Bowie's approval first. Metrobolist has been re-mixed by Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti. - NME, 9/4/20...... Rob Halford of Judas Priest has revealed during a new interview with Darren Paltrowitz in his podcast Paltrocast that he's currently working on a blues album. Halford says the album will be recorded with the same team he collaborated with for his 2019 Christmas LP Celestial, including his brother Nigel Halford and the son of bassist Ian Hill. "I've been working on this blues album with my brother and my nephew and friends that I worked with together on the Celestial album," Halford says. "We had such a great time, and they're so talented. And that blues thing has never left me -- it's just part of rock and roll." Meanwhile, the metal icon will release his autobiography, Confess, on Sept. 29 via Hachette Books. - NME, 9/6/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ozzy Osbourne says he's ruled out any further shows with his former band Black Sabbath. "Not for me. It's done," Osbourne said when asked about a reunion, however he admits he regrets not getting to play one last time with Sabbath drummer Bill Ward. "The only thing I do regret is not doing the last farewell show in Birmingham with Bill Ward. I felt really bad about that. It would have been so nice. I don't know what the circumstances behind it were, but it would have been nice. I've talked to him a few times, but I don't have any of the slightest interest in [doing another gig]," Ozzy said. Ward was set to reunite with Sabbath in 2015, but opted out of the reunion over what he called an "unsignable" contract. -, 9/7/20...... Publisher Omnibus Books has announced a new John Lennon biography, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days In The Life, will be released on Sept. 15 and delve into what it describes as the "powerful, life affirming story" of the Beatles legend's comeback in 1980 after five years of self-imposed retirement. The book is authored by music historian Kenneth Womack, who says the book is "the result of my effort to tell the story of John's final year as a recording artist in the context of his life and not, pointedly, in terms of how he died." "The former Beatle's last episode of greatness is an inspirational story unto itself -- and I am proud to give it the treatment and fullness it deserves," Womack added. -, 9/5/20...... Marc BolanElton JohnElton John has told the UK's The Guardian newspaper that late T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan was "a great role model" as he was developing his stage persona. "He was the perfect pop star," says Elton, who can been seen banging away at the piano in a vintage video of T. Rex performing their hit "Bang a Gong (Get It On)". "His songs were great, his records rocked, he had attitude, he had performing skills, he looked fabulous, he dressed the part," says Elton, adding "I thought: 'This guy doesn't give a f***, he's just being who he is and he's loving every single minute of it.' And that had a great effect on me." Earlier in 2020, Elton teamed up with U2 on a cover of "Bang a Gong" for a new Bolan/T. Rex tribute album Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex. John says Bolan also had an influence on those that came after himself, including the late Prince who passed away in 2016. "When I met Prince, I thought he was like Marc: ethereal, very androgynous," Elton said. -, 9/5/20...... Bruce Williamson, best known as one of the former frontmen of the legendary soul group The Temptations, died on Sept. 6 at his home in Las Vegas after battling the coronavirus. He was 49. Born on Sept. 28, 1970, in Compton, California, Williamson joined The Tempts in 2006 and performed with the group until 2015, singing lead on their albums Back To The Front and Still Here. Williamson was also a member of the group when former Pres. George W. Bush invited them to perform at the White House for a celebration of Black History Month in Feb. 2008. Williamson's son Bruce paid tribute to his father on Facebook: "There's no words in the world that can express how I feel right now. I love you Daddy thank you for being awesome thank you for being loving thank you for being Who You Are I pray to God and we will meet again. I love you Daddy. R.I.H KING WILLIAMSON." - New Musical Express, 9/7/20.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Elton John has come in at #14 on Forbes magazine's annual "Celebrity 100: The World's Highest Paid Celebrities" list, with $82.5 million in pretax earnings from June 2019 through May 2020 before deducting fees for managers, lawyers and agents. Other '70s artists making the list include the Rolling Stones at #32 with $59 million, the Eagles at #75 with $41 million, Paul McCartney at #91 with $37 million, and KISS at #95 with $36.5 million. Nailing down the top spot on the list was Kylie Jenner with a whopping $560 million, followed by Kayne West ($170 million), Roger Federer ($106.3 million), Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), and Lionel Messi ($104 million). Figures are based on information from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, Pollstar, IMDB, NPD BookScan and ComScore as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the stars themselves. -, 9/1/20...... Jimi HendrixA pink feather boa famously worn by Jimi Hendrix during his legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in California in 1967 is expected to bring up to £15,000 when it's auction during the second week of September. Following the show and his return to London, Hendrix gave the fashion accessory to photographer Karl Ferris, who says he is now selling the boa to mark the 50th anniversary of Hendrix's death on Sept. 18, 1970 at the age of 27. "Jimi called it his 'Magic Boa' because it brought him much luck and as he wore it on [the cover for his debut album] Are You Experienced and at his best ever concert, Monterey Pop," Ferris said. "As a tribute to the great man I thought it would be the right time to offer the 'Magic Boa' along with a selection of the photographs of Jimi I took back in 1967," he added. The boa will be on the auction block in the UK at Merseyside's Omega Auctions on Sept. 8 as part of their music memorabilia sale, with the full catalogue and other info available at In August, Hendrix's Japanese sunburst electric guitar that he used in the early 1960s sold for more than £160,000 at auction. - New Musical Express, 9/2/20...... David Byrne is apologizing for what he describes as a "major mistake in judgement" for making himself up in blackface in a 1984 promo piece for the Talking Heads' concert film Stop Making Sense. Posting to Twitter in a series of tweets, Byrne said: "Recently a journalist pointed out something I did in a promo video skit in 1984 for the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense. In the piece I appear as a number of different characters interviewing myself, and some of the characters portrayed are people of color. I'd just about forgotten about this skit and I'm grateful that it has been brought to my attention. To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brown face, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgement that showed a lack of real understanding. It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else -- you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were. (sic)" Byrne added: "We have huge blind spots about ourselves -- well, I certainly do. I'd like to think I am beyond making mistakes like this, but clearly at the time I was not. Like I say at the end of our Broadway show American Utopia "I need to change too".. and I believe I have changed since then." Ending the thread of tweets by addressing his fans, the 68-year-old singer wrote: "One hopes that folks have the grace and understanding to allow that someone like me, anyone really, can grow and change, and that the past can be examined with honesty and accountability." -, 9/3/20...... Also taking to Twitter in early September is Cher, who is slamming the people behind Britney Spears' controversial conservatorship. Accusing them of treating her fellow pop superstar like a "cash cow," Cher questioned if those in charge of her money actually want her to be well. "She worked hard, was the golden goose, made lots of $$, got sick, now she's the CASH COW. Does anyone who's making (money) off her being sick want her well?," the 74-year-old Cher asked, ending her post with three duck emojis and a question: "Is it a duck?" Following a court hearing in the first week of September, Spears' legal arrangement with her family was formally extended into 2021 after first being ordered back in 2008 when Spears suffered a headline-grabbing meltdown. This is not the first time Cher has questioned the conservatorship -- in January,she wondered why Britney is allowed to work when she is considered legally unfit to run her own finances. "Why is a woman being worked if it's known she's not well enough to care for herself?" she asked. The conservatorship has also proved unpopular among Spears' legion of fans, who have taken to social media with the "Free Britney" campaign, demanding the legal arrangement be scrapped. -, 8/31/20...... Mark MothersbaughIn a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh has shared his experience with coronavirus, saying he nearly died from the disease. Mothersbaugh, 70, said he contracted the virus earlier this summer and spent 10 days on a ventilator in hospital in Los Angeles in June, initially believing his symptoms were from exhaustion, until his temperature registered at 103F. "A nurse came over the next morning and said, 'You should be in ICU'. 'I said, 'That's ridiculous'. She replied that she'd been a nurse for three decades: 'You need an ambulance right now'." Mark said he went from not feeling very good on a Tuesday to being in an ambulance on the way to hospital on Saturday: "It was terrifying." He also recalled suffering from vivid delusions: "I felt blood from being hit. I was handcuffed to a parking deck downtown. I had this whole elaborate story of how these kids sold me to an ambulance company that then got some sort of payment for delivering Covid patients to their ICUs. I totally believed it." Speaking of the world's response to the coronavirus, he said: "Everything's become more devolved than I would have imagined possible. For anybody that's doubting whether the coronavirus and Covid-19 is real, it's really real." It was reported in the last week of August that Mothersbaugh had been one of a number of neighbors to complain about parties held by TikTok stars at the Sway House in Hollywood as he attempts to recover from the disease. - NME, 8/31/20...... While the coronavirus pandemic has been a disastrous event for the live music industry, it's proven to be a boon to the sales of physical music. Online music marketplace Discogs says global sales on its platform in the first half of 2020 have increased dramatically during lockdown, with vinyl, CD and cassette sales seeing a surge. Discogs reports physical sales on their marketplace rose 29.69% -- 4,228,270 orders -- between January and June of 2020, compared to the same period last year. A dramatic spike in sales can be seen from April, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic forced many record stores to shut their physical shopfronts. The most substantial year-over-year improvement came via vinyl record sales, which increased 33.72% with over 5.8 million units sold. CD and cassette sales weren't far behind, demonstrating a 31.03% (1.6 million units sold) and 30.52% (over 137,000 units) increase respectively. Vinyl sales accounted for over 75% of transactions on the Discogs platform in the first half of the year. Overall, more than 7.6 million pieces of physical music were sold by independent sellers around the world throughout the first six months of the year -- an overall 33.83 per cent increase over the same period last year. - NME, 9/1/20...... As Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones continue their press availability to promote the new expanded edition of the 1973 Stones studio album Goats Head Soup, Jagger told the London Sunday Times on Aug. 30 that he initially thought the three previously unreleased band tracks that will feature on the reissue were "terrible." Jagger said when Universal Music Group execs first told him they had discovered the tracks in the band's archives, he admitted he was against the idea. "They said, "We've found these three tracks'. I said, "They're all terrible.' That's always my initial reaction, 'They're all useless!' I mean, actually, I always liked the songs, but they weren't finished." Jagger says he eventually changed his mind when he realized the group could iron out the imperfections and bring the tracks up to scratch. "Sonically they still sound like they were recorded then, even if they weren't perfect. You can make them sound a little better than they did. But I think these three songs are all up there with the rest of the songs on this record," he said. The tracks, including "Criss Cross," "All the Rage" and the Jimmy Page-featuring "Scarlet," were initially recorded during sessions for Goats Head Soup, but never featured on the full release. - NME, 9/1/20...... Employees of Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn., arrived at work on Sept. 1 to find messages supporting Black Lives Matter and defunding the police scrawled across a stone wall outside the mansion. The graffiti also featured references to Breonna Taylor and the phrases "No Justice, No Peace," "Defund MPD" and "F--k Trump." Also tagged with similar messages was Levitt Shell in nearby Overton Park where Presley performed his first paid concert in July 1954. A local paper reported that officials at Levitt Shell have filed a police report, noting that because of the pandemic, the venue run by a nonprofit organization has been shuttered and is looking at a $700,000 shortfall this year. Tennessee Rep. London Lamar tweeted a theory that the vandalism to Graceland and Levitt Shell was not done by Black Lives Matter activists, but by "individuals trying to make this movement look bad." A spokesperson for Graceland has yet to comment on the incident. - Billboard, 9/2/20...... Bette MidlerBette Midler heads a cast of five Americans who team up at a safe distance to star in the new HBO series Coastal Elites. The Paul Rudinick-penned, Jay Roach-directed satire is about a teacher (Midler), an activist, an actor, a nurse, and a meditation guru who are scattered across the country during our politicized pandemic. Issa Rae, Dan Levy, Kaitylin Dever, and Sarah Paulson also star as different people with different goals, all with the same hope to survive these trying, traumatic times. Coastal Elites premieres on HBO on Sept. 12 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. - Entertainment Weekly, 9/20...... In an early draft of the 1966 Beatles' classic "In My Life," John Lennon referred to the Abbey Cinema in Liverpool as one of the song's "places I'll remember all my life." "In the circle of the Abbey, I have seen some happy hours," John wrote, before deciding to scratch that line for the final version. Now that same cinema frequently visited by John and his fellow Beatle George Harrison in their youth is under threat of being rebuilt by the UK supermarket chain Lidl, which says they are "considering all options for the site, which include the potential for a new building of high quality design and that their preference was 'to erect purpose-built food stores' -- but added that they have 'preserved original structures in the past'. Fans concerned about the venue's Beatles heritage have submitted an application for the Abbey Cinema, which hasn't shown a film since 1979, to be listed to Historic England for its preservation. A petition calling for the preservation has attracted over 2500 signatures, while a "Save the Abbey" Twitter account has been set up to support the appeal as well. - New Musical Express, 8/30/20...... Director Spike Lee has shared a new version of the video for Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us" on YouTube to mark what would have been the pop superstar's 62nd birthday on Aug. 29. Lee was behind the camera for the two original videos for the track -- one shot in Brazil and another set in a prison. The new visuals for the HIStory: Past, Present and Future track incorporate footage from 2020's Black Lives Matter protests from locations around the world, including Rio De Janeiro, Helsinki, Atlanta, Cape Town, and more. In between those scenes, it shows clips from the original videos. In a statement, Lee said: "Great protest songs can't get old, stale or non-relevant because the struggle still continues. That's why THEY DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT US is the anthem during this chaotic, pandemic world we are all living in. To celebrate Michael Jackson's born day, we have made the THEY DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT US 2020 short film to continue the struggle for equality for all. That's the truth, Ruth. Be safe." - NME, 8/29/20...... Veteran pop music composer Burt Bacharach, who recently released five-track EP called Blue Umbrella with Nashville singer/songwriter Daniel Tashian, says recording new music during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a "lifesaver" for him. Bacharach, 92, admits getting to work with Tashian felt like "therapy" for him during as he isolated at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., with his wife Jane Hansen. "In these times it's like a lifesaver, while being terrified at what's happening outside. It's a form of therapy," Bacharach told the Texarkana Gazette. Speaking to the same paper, Tashian said: "They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. It's a great thrill. There is a whole world of sound in his head that is so pleasing to be able to collaborate with." Although the two Grammy-winning musicians finished the EP before lockdown started, the duo continued to work on more songs, including one track titled "Quiet Place," as the coronavirus disease spread across the US. -, 9/2/20...... The A&E cable network will debut a new installment in their venerable Biography series focusing on Ozzy Osbourne on Sept. 7 at 9:00 p.m. EDT. Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne references a cat which has, you know, nine lives. Which is an animal the Prince of Darkness has not bitten the head off of. - Entertainment Weekly, 9/20...... Tom SeaverFormer Major League Baseball pitcher Tom Seaver, a baseball legend who became a pop culture icon after helping the New York Mets win the team's first World Series in 1969, died peacefully in his sleep on Aug. 31 of complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. He was 75. Known as "Tom Terrific," Seaver won 311 games and had a 2.86 earned-run average over a 20-year major league career that spanned from 1967-1986. Seaver, a 1992 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was also a three-time Cy Young Award winner and 12-time all-star player. He also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox. "I am deeply saddened by the death of Tom Seaver, one of the greatest pitchers of all-time," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Tom was a gentleman who represented the best of our National Pastime. He was synonymous with the New York Mets and their unforgettable 1969 season. After their improbable World Series Championship, Tom became a household name to baseball fans -- a responsibility he carried out with distinction throughout his life. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my condolences to Tom's family, his admirers throughout our game, Mets fans, and the many people he touched." Lewy body dementia is the same life-changing disease that devasted Robin Williams before the comedian/actor committed suicide. - CNN, 9/3/20...... Ian Mitchell, a bassist for the Scottish '70s pop band the Bay City Rollers, has died of as yet undisclosed causes at age 62. The group confirmed Mitchell's passing via a statement posted on their official Facebook page: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Ian Mitchell's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy, their family and friends. Rest In Peace, Ian." Mitchell replaced bassist Alan Longmuir in 1976 when he was just 17, and was the first non-Scottish member of the group. With Mitchell on bass, the group released their album Dedication and reached No. 12 in the US charts with their cover of Dusty Springfield's hit "I Only Want To Be With You." Mitchell was later replaced by Pat McGlynn, before Longmuir, who died in 2018, made his eventual return in 1978. - NME, 9/2/20.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

After a parole hearing on Aug. 26, the convicted murderer of John Lennon was denied parole for the 11th time. Mark David Chapman, 65, will remain in custody in the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo for at least another two years for murdering Lennon outside The Dakota apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side in Dec. 1980. Chapman, who is currently serving a 20-years-to-life sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, was first eligible for parole in 2000. His next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2022. In 2018, the parole board said that Chapman himself was safer in prison than on the outside, where someone may want to kill him for notoriety or to avenge Lennon. During that hearing, Chapman told the parole board that he had "found Jesus" and was ashamed of himself, adding he was willing to be in jail "for as long as it took." Chapman was 25 when he shot the famous former Beatle dead outside the apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980. When police arrived to arrest him, he was flicking through pages of The Catcher in the Rye. He later said he was angry at the time about the immense fame that Lennon had amassed. Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has previously argued against Chapman's release, saying he remains a risk to her and her son with Lennon. It's unclear if she wrote to the parole board this year, as she has done in the past. Details of the latest hearing have not yet emerged, aside from the fact Chapman was turned down for release. -, 8/26/20...... John LennonIn other John Lennon news, what would have been his 80th birthday this October will be commemorated with the release of a new remix album called Gimme Some Truth - The Ultimate Mixes. Executive produced by the late Beatle's widow Yoko Ono and produced by his son Sean Ono Lennon, the special collection will arrive via Capitol/UMe on Oct. 9, the same day he would have turned 80 years old. Gimme Some Truth will be comprised of 36 classic Lennon songs which Capitol says were "completely remixed from scratch, radically upgrading their sonic quality and presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience." One of the remixed tracks from the release, "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)," has been shared on YouTube. Other remixes include "Come Together," "Mind Games," "Jealous Guy," "Dear Yoko" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Gimme Some Truth will be available in the following formats: 1CD, 2CD, 2LP, 4LP and streaming/download. A deluxe edition will include 36 tracks, a Blu-ray audio disc and an exclusive 124-page book. - New Musical Express, 8/26/20...... As Mick Jagger's first film role in 20 years comes to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on Aug. 25, the Rolling Stones frontman has spoken about his part in the neo-noir thriller film The Burnt Orange Heresy. The film follows a washed-up European art critic James Figueras (Claes Bang) and his American tourist lover (Elizabeth Debicki) who travel to the lavish Lake Como, where a greedy art dealer Cassidy (Jagger) requests Figueras to steal a painting from the legendary reclusive artist Jerome Debney (Donald Sutherland). It's Jagger's first acting role since starring in the 2001 drama The Man from Elysian Fields. Jagger says his familiarity with the art world helped him connect to the overall mold of his character. "I thought the Cassidy character kind of suited me, and he was a kind of charming rather malignant person," the 77-year-old rock superstar said with a laugh. "He's quite a bit crooked, he's very invasive of other people." The Burnt Orange Heresy, directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, is based on Charles Willeford's 1971 noir novel and closed the Venice International Film Festival in 2019. - Billboard, 8/24/20...... In an interview with the U.K. paper The Mirror, Ozzy Osbourne has once again stated that he will never retire from music. "You know the time when I will retire? When I can hear them nail a lid on my box. And then I'll f---ing do an encore. I'm the Prince Of Darkness," the 71-year-old heavy metal legend says. "When you feel that audience jumping, it's a better feeling than orgasm. It is the best love affair of my life. The party is on, man. I feel honoured people still want to see me," he adds. Ozzy released his 12th solo album, Ordinary Man, in February 2020. - NME, 8/29/20...... Elton JohnIn a new interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, Elton John has criticized modern pop music, claiming that "proper songs" have become "too sophisticated" for the UK charts. "I like people who write songs," Sir Elton says. "And there's plenty of people that do but a lot of them don't get played on the radio because they're too sophisticated and we get songs made by a computer all the time and I'm not interested in that." John said he was a big fan of Father John Misty and Conan Gray because they write their own songs. "(Misty) reminds me a little bit of me the way he writes songs. Conan's from America and he's the only person in the American Spotify Top 50 to actually write the song without anybody else," said Elton, adding "Everybody else there's four or five writers on (a track). You look at most of the records in the charts -- they're not real songs. They're bits and pieces and it's nice to hear someone write a proper song." John also confirmed that he will resume on his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. "Oh of course I'm going straight out there again. When and where, I don't know. I mean know where -- but I don't know when. I'll definitely be out there, yes," he said. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elton's iconic performance at the Troubadour in L.A. in 1970, limited-edition release of the pop superstar's debut self-titled U.K. album Elton John will be issued as a Record Store Day exclusive on Aug. 29. The 2-LP reissue will be pressed on transparent purple vinyl, with the second disc featuring a selection of bonus tracks off the 2008 Deluxe CD edition, which have never been released on vinyl until now. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his Troubadour performance, Elton has shared footage from the concert on YouTube. - NME, 8/27/20...... Representatives of Leonard Cohen's estate have issued a statement saying they "specifically declined" requests for the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member's song "Hallelujah" to be played at a recent Republican National Convention, and were "surprised and dismayed" when it was played twice at the convention on Aug. 27, during the fireworks that followed Pres. Donald Trump's presidential acceptance speech. "We are surprised and dismayed that the RNC would proceed knowing that the Cohen Estate had specifically declined the RNC's use request, and their rather brazen attempt to politicise and exploit in such an egregious manner 'Hallelujah,' one of the most important songs in the Cohen song catalogue. We are exploring our legal options," says Cohen estate attorney Michelle Rice. Rice also quipped that "Had the RNC requested another song, 'You Want it Darker,' for which Leonard won a posthumous Grammy in 2017, we might have considered approval of that song." Cohen died in 2016 at age 82 after a late-career revival. "Hallelujah," first released in 1984, has become his most-performed song. Meanwhile, Pres. Trump is now using the Village People's 1979 hit "Y.M.C.A." at his rallies after the Rolling Stones threatened legal action against his campaign for using the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." "Now that I have seen it a few times at various events, clearly The Village People's 'YMCA' is now the walk-off song for the president replacing the Rolling Stones' 'You can't always get what you want'," Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News tweeted on Aug 24. However Village People leader Victor Willis has echoed the Stones' feelings about Trump using his band's music. In June, Willis posted a message to the president on his Facebook page: "I ask that you no longer use any of my music at your rallies, especially 'Y.M.C.A.' and 'Macho Man', following the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter marches. Sorry, but I can no longer look the other way." Queen is also saying they are in an "uphill battle" to prevent Pres. Trump from using their songs in his re-election campaign. It comes after Trump recently used their 1977 hit "We Will Rock You" on his new account on social media platform Triller. The band have ordered it to be pulled from the service, which is seen as a rival to TikTok. The clip has gone on to clock up over one million views, according to BBC News. A Queen spokesperson said it's an "uphill battle" and the band have "repeatedly taken issue with the Trump campaign... Queen continues to oppose and try to block usage of their songs." - NME, 8/29/20...... In related news, Paul Stanley of KISS has lashed out at the president for suggesting his opponents may "rig" November's presidential election to secure victory. Posting on Twitter on Aug. 27, Stanley said: "REGARDLESS of who you support, it is incendiary & abhorrent for ANY candidate to say 'If I lose, the election is rigged'. It's an insult to those who have fought for the free, safe elections we have and dangerously implies that citizens who don't share your views are the enemy. Stanley's latest message comes after he previously encouraged KISS fans to vote in November, warning that "we have a responsibility to our past and to our future." In other KISS-related news, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister has taken aim at Stanley and Gene Simmons for letting replacement members of the band use the signature stage makeup worn by co-founding KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Snider, who also donned makeup for Twisted Sister's videos and shows, insists that Stanley and Simmons should have retired the look when they kicked Criss and Frehley out of the band. "I hate what Kiss is doing with the guys with Ace and Peter's makeup on," the singer told the Appetite for Distortion podcast. "I'm not a fan." - NME/WENN/, 8/28/20...... Ian AndersonJethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has shared a post on his official website in which he suggests solutions to the issue of hosting concerts safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. Anderson says that outdoors gigs are by far the better option to pursue. "My personal belief is that outdoor concerts are safe right now at the current level of national infections with minimum 1m lateral seat spacing for single seat positioning and EVERYONE wearing a mask -- at least a 50p 3-layer surgical mask -- not a flimsy single layer home-made cosmetic face covering," he wrote, adding that indoor venues pose a greater risk since it's easier to catch contaminated air droplets in a confined space where there are more hard surfaces. "Any resumption of performances in indoor spaces should include detailed analysis of the venue-specific risk from persistent airborne particles of down to 1 micron size and, very importantly, mandatory real face mask wearing," Anderson says. He continued: "I suggest that environmental health assessments are carried out for theatres and concert halls and they can be granted (or not granted) an interim COVID license to operate with restricted seating and and all the other obvious sanitary and entry/exit/toilet protocols in place. That will take many weeks to carry out but I really think that we have, realistically, until next spring to to do this when, hopefully, infection rates are down to a safer level." Anderson said he sent his proposals to two separate UK government officials and did not receive a response. "Hard to make any progress with this muddled, uninformed and lacklustre UK Government," added Anderson, who revealed earlier this year that he is suffering from incurable, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). - NME, 8/28/20...... Meanwhile, Van Morrison has criticized the "pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs in a new open letter to fans. Posting on his official website, Morrison said: "As you know, we are doing socially distanced gigs at Newcastle Upon Tyne's Gosforth Park, Electric Ballroom and The London Palladium. This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward. I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this." The Celtic crooner went on, calling on fans and musicians to "fight the pseudo-science" of socially distanced gigs, and to "speak up." "Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and myself appear to be the only people in the music business trying to get it back up and running again," he said. "Come forward. "It's not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now." - NME, 8/25/20...... A star-studded trailer for a new documentary about former US Pres. Jimmy Carter's relationship with some of rock's biggest stars, Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President, has been shared on YouTube. The documentary, which highlights Carter's friendships with some of rock'n'roll's biggest names, features the likes of Bob Dylan, Nile Rodgers, Bono, Willie Nelson and others. "The one thing that has held America together is the music we share and love," Pres. Carter says at the start of the new trailer, while revealing that Dylan and Nelson are among his "closest friends." Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President is set to open in US cinemas on Sept. 9. On Oct. 9, it will be available for streaming and will also get a physical release. Carter, who is now 95 years old, served as the 39th President of the US between 1977 and 1981. - NME, 8/28/20...... Rick WakemanRick Wakeman says he's willing to perform his new album The Red Planet on Mars if he has to. Wakeman's new LP is a concept record about the planet and though he's looking forward to performing it at the upcoming Starmus festival hosted by Brian May of Queen and scientist Garik Israelian in June 2021, "we've got a plan if the social-distancing situation gets worse -- we'll do the gig on Mars." "It's a fascinating place -- it even has a rock'n'roll element to it," the 71-year-old Yes rocker says. "It rains, but it rains dry ice. And there's nothing more prog rock than dry ice, is there?" Wakeman addes he isn't impressed by the current possibilities available for live performance because of the coronavirus pandemic. "People in music thrive on bouncing off each other, it's what makes the whole thing tick. And the clock has stopped. And the online concert thing... I'm sorry, no," Wakeman says. "The essence of a live performance is when a performer and an audience become one. Everyone's vibing off everyone else. I mean, A for effort and all that. I know someone who went to one of those drive-in concerts and he said, 'I might as well have put the radio on'," he adds. -, 8/26/20...... Mark Mothersbaugh, leader of the '70s New Wave band Devo, was left fighting for his life in a hospital intensive care unit in June after testing positive for COVID-19, according to his wife Anita. Anita has revealed her husband's health scare while raising concerns about the couple's Hollywood Hills neighbors, TikTok stars Bryce Hall, Noah Beck and Blake Gray, who have come under fire for ignoring coronavirus concerns by throwing huge house parties at their rented mansion. "This virus is no joke," Anita told the UK paper The Daily Mail. "I've experienced it first-hand. There was a week where my daughters thought (Mark) would die," she divulged. Describing scenes from the house, Anita said: "There are people in the pool screaming, they're blasting music and there are cars parked all down the street. They don't seem to care about public health." Anita's comments emerged a week after Los Angeles authorities shut off water and electricity to the trio's home after violating coronavirus restrictions by hosting a massive gathering for Hall's 21st birthday on Aug. 14. -, 8/27/20...... Neil Young has announced that he's set to release a new 7-track EP on Sept. 18. The EP, entitled The Times They Are A-Changin' after the famous Bob Dylan song, features a cover of that song as well as "Lookin' For A Leader 20202" -- a re-working of Young's track "Lookin' For A Leader," in which he takes aim once again at US Pres. Donald Trump. The Times will be released exclusively via Amazon Music, which Young says "delivers better sound to the masses" than any other streaming platform. The tracklist for the EP can be viewed on - NME, 8/28/20...... Richie BlackmoreWilliam ShatnerVeteran Star Trek actor William Shatner has teamed up with Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore for a cover of B.B. King's 1970 blues classic "The Thrill Is Gone." The track is the second single from Shatner's upcoming album The Blues, which hits stores on Oct. 2 via Cleopatra Records, following his take on the Canned Heat hit "Let's Work Together." Shatner's "The Thrill Is Gone" opens in sultry fashion, with Blackmore showcasing the musical dynamism for which he is renowned. Shatner then takes the reigns, repeatedly bemoaning that the thrill has, in fact, gone. "'The Thrill is Gone' is the title of the song, but the thrill is there with Richie Blackmore and his great guitar!," Shatner joked in a press release. The track can be previewed on Comprised almost exclusively of blues and R&B covers, Shatner's 14-track The Blues sees him rip through classics such as "Sweet Home Chicago," "Route 66" and "Sunshine Of Your Love." - NME, 8/27/20...... Joe Ruby, co-creator of the Scooby-Doo animated cartoon character, passed away from natural causes in Westlake Village, Calif., on Aug. 26. He was 87. Mr. Ruby and his partner, Ken Spears, were the brains behind the beloved animated children's series, titled Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, which premiered in the U.S. in 1969. The main characters of Scooby-Doo, Fred, Shaggy, Daphne, and Velma were brought to life onscreen by Iwao Takamoto, and the original show aired until 1976. The franchise continued with a string of spin-offs and movies, all focused on the goofy Great Dane and his four teenage pals as they solved various mysteries. The brand spawned two live-action theatrical releases, 2002's Scooby-Doo and its 2004 sequel, Monsters Unleashed, both starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Isla Fisher and Rowan Atkinson. "He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged," his grandson, Benjamin Ruby, told Other Hanna-Barbera Productions created by Ruby and Spears include Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and Jabberjaw. - WENN/, 8/27/20.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Queen + Adam Lambert announced on Aug. 20 they'll be releasing a live album this fall, their first LP as a unit since Lambert took the stage with co-founding Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor in 2009 while still an American Idol contestant. Live Around the World, dropping on Oct. 2, will arrive in CD, CD+DVD, CD+Blu-ray and vinyl formats, collecting hand-picked concert highlights captured around the world from over 200 shows including the band's 22-minute Fire Fight Australia benefit show from Feb. 16. Fire Fight Australia was one of the band's last live shows before COVID-19 forced them to postpone their UK and European "Rhapsody Tour" until 2021 and recreates Queen's historic 1985 Live Aid set in its entirety. In a statement, Brian May noted that "in a world dominated by a formidable viral enemy, it seemed the perfect time for us to create a collection of hand-picked live highlights from our Queen shows over the last 7 years with our brother Adam Lambert." Lambert adds that Queen "have had a lot of fun putting it together, picking out favorite performances over the past seven years." The band has also shared a trailer for the new release on YouTube. Queen and Lambert's postponed 27-date UK and European Rhapsody Tour has been rescheduled to start on May 23, 2021, in Bologna, Italy, including a 10-day residency at London's The O2 Arena in June and ending on July 7 for a final concert in Madrid, Spain. - Billboard, 8/20/20...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones are planning to launch a flagship store with all the Stones merch you'll ever need on Carnaby Street, the spiritual center of London's fashion world in the swinging '60s. Set to debut on Sept. 9, the Rolling Stones Store will blast non-stop Stones tunes, a glass floor with Stones lyrics, and fitting rooms splashed with some of the band's iconic album covers. Its racks will carry fashion and merchandise lines, exclusive product and music, among other goodies. Just a "stone's throw" from the Oxford Circus Underground station, the new store says Mick Jagger and Co. in a statement is curated by the band in partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group's merchandise and brand management business. "We are confident this exciting project that our friends at Bravado have created will be an unrivaled experience for everyone to come to London and enjoy," the band added. Fans can take a virtual tour of the new RS No. 9 Carnaby store in advance of its opening on Instagram. Meanwhile in other Stones-related news, Ronnie Wood raged about Covid-19 pandemic and governments' failures to take control of it in the UK paper The Times on Aug. 22. "This Covid is not a joke," the guitarist fumed. "It's really p--sing me off. Nobody seems to know about it, nobody seems to be its boss, everyone seems lost. You could go to a restaurant and it was packed and yet you weren't allowed to go to a concert. What's that about? I've lost faith in not having any direction from people who should know. So yes, I'm impatient to get going." Discussing how the pandemic has delayed the Stones' new album, he adds, "It's just on the front burner, it was almost there when lockdown happened," going on to say that the group miss being together in the studio and touring as they do not see much of each other socially. "We are a touring band. And we miss it. We miss being together as a band... but right now, until we can get going again, we are staying in contact and just hanging in there doing our own things." In another interview with Sky News, Wood said although the band is working on new material, he doesn't envisage them touring until next summer after coronavirus halted live music across the globe. "We're not holding our breath, otherwise we'd have collapsed. But we are happily carrying on day by day & chores, and enjoying our families," he said. - Billboard/, 8/20/20...... Liam Gallagher of the popular alternative band Oasis has revealed that John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono once told him she thought it was "silly" of him to name his son "Lennon" in tribute to her late husband. Gallagher says he met with Yoko in New York in 1999, the same year his son was born, and Ono siad, "I've heard you've called your son Lennon... Why? Do you not think it's a bit of a silly name?" "No, it's a bit silly being called Yoko isn't it? So Lennon it is," Gallagher says he said in response, to which Yoko questioned him if his son would "get picked on in school?" "Nah man, he'll be buzzing with that name," Gallagher said he told Ono. Gallagher then remembered that Yoko "made us a nice cup of tea... asked me if I wanted a go on the piano (to which he declined)... and showed us around" her New York apartment. In 2018, Gallagher revealed how listening to Lennon's music helps him to battle his inner demons. "I do not need therapy. John Lennon is my thing," he said. - New Musical Express, 8/24/20...... The DoorsA 2-CD/LP 50th anniversary edition of The Doors' acclaimed 1970 album Morrison Hotel will drop on Oct. 9 with a newly remastered record by the band's longtime engineer and mixer Bruce Botnick. Morrison Hotel - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will also include over 60 minutes of unreleased studio outtakes of the band's fifth studio LP. "There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band and producer Paul Rothchild who was in the control room," Botnick says. "It's like being a fly on the wall." The Doors have shared previously unreleased takes of the Morrison Hotel tracks "Peace Frog" and "Blue Sunday" on YouTube. - NME, 8/22/20...... In a new interview with the UK's Uncut magazine, Patti Smith says she admires the people who can combine "poetic elements" with melodies that find the formula to mainstream pop success, and that she doesn't think she's "that good" at writing songs. "I've written only a couple of songs that have been popular. I'm not a hit maker," says the 73-year-old punk poetess. "I would have loved to be somebody who could do that." Smith also revealed she is a big fan of many popular female chart stars, even though their music is very different to her own. "I love pop music. I like the same songs everybody else likes. I like Adele, I like Rihanna, I like Billie Eilish. I loved R&B songs when I was young. I loved Amy Winehouse. But for myself, I gravitate toward a different kind of expression," Smith added. "Almost all of my records have an homage to an artist, poet or friend. It comes naturally," says Smith, who has written songs in tribute to the likes of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. "I've seen a lot of people die in my life, from a childhood friend to my brother, my husband, my best friend, my pianist, my parents, Sam Shepard. So many people I thought I would know forever. I'm very familiar with having to find a way to walk with people who have passed away." -, 8/23/20...... In the latest episode of his SiriusXM radio channel "From His Home to Yours," Bruce Springsteen called rising singer Lana Del Rey "simply one of the best songwriters in the US." After playing Del Rey's 2012 song "American" in which she sings "Springsteen is the kind, don't you think?/I was like, hell yeah that guy can sing," Springsteen quipped: "She's, uh, name-checking some guy from New Jersey in there. I'm not sure who." He then called her "simply one of the best songwriters in the country, as we speak... She just creates a world of her own and invites you in. So a big favorite of mine, the lovely Lana Del Rey." - New Musical Express, 8/16/20...... CherCher says she has been snubbed on her offer to help the United States Postal Service because her local post office in Malibu, Calif. said she wasn't qualified to be a volunteer. Cher tweeted on Aug. 19 that she felt the need to perform a little community service for her own post office: "NO, IM NO (not) KIDDING...COULD I VOLUNTEER AT MY POST OFFICE (sic)," followed by another tweet imploring: "IS NO ONE GOING TO HELP ME WITH POST OFFICE (sic)." She went on to explain the supervisor said no, as she was told all potential employees need to submit fingerprints ahead of a background check. "I Called & Said Hi This is Cher Do U Accept volunteers. NO, Need Fingerprints & Background Check (sic)," she posted. Cher's offer to help the USPS comes as Pres. Donald Trump has attempted to streamline the agency in the run up to the presidential elections when many voters will rely on the mail service to cast their votes as they shelter from COVID-19. -, 8/20/20...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the normally apolitical Ozzy Osbourne charges U.S. Pres. Donald Trump with "acting like a fool with coronavirus response." "In my lifetime, I've never known anything like this," Osbourne says of Trump's response to the pandemic. "It's getting worse, not better. And this guy's acting like a fool. I don't really like to talk politics that much, but I've got to say what I feel with this guy. There's not much hope left. Maybe he's got a trick up his sleeve and he's going to surprise us all, and I hope he has." Ozzy also questioned why Trump ran for president in 2016: "If I was running for president, I would try and find out a little bit about politics. Because the f---ing guy you've got in there now doesn't know that much about it, I don't think. It's not like anyone could be a fucking heart surgeon and just go in with a scalpel. You have to know what you're fucking doing." Also in the interview Osbourne confirmed that he and wife Sharon Osbourne are set to be the subject of a new biopic. "From what I understand, it's about Sharon and I and our relationship. It's how we met, fell in love, and how we married. She's my other half. She grew up a lot with me, and I grew up a lot with her." - NME, 8/22/20...... Iconic '70s TV comedian Carol Burnett has filed legal documents asking the court to allow her to raise her grandson Dylan Hamilton due to substance abuse issues. According to court documents obtained by The, Carol and her husband Brian Miller have filed a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian. Dylan is the son of Carol's daughter Erin Hamilton. In the brief, the comedian says,"Dylan's living environment has long been unstable, unpredictable, and unhealthy for a child. This culminated in a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation and juvenile dependency proceedings in 2018 and 2019." The document also states that Dylan's mother Erin "has suffered from severe substance abuse and addiction issues throughout her adult life" and "has been in and out of rehabilitation centers and has been institutionalized a total of eight times for a minimum of 30 days each time." -, 8/19/20...... Cameron CroweIt has been revealed by director Cameron Crowe that Neil Young almost made an appearance in Crowe's iconic '70s-themed 2000 movie Almost Famous. Crowe tells Rolling Stone that he had intended Young to appear as Harry Hammond, the estranged father of aspiring rock journalist Russell Hammond (played by Billy Crudup). "Neil was going to come backstage in Cleveland with a young wife," Crowe remembers. "They're complimenting the show, but the young bride is looking at Crudup and he's looking at her; and he realizes that the father is being played and is piggybacking on his [son's] success. It's a heartbreaking moment about what success does to an estranged parent." However Crowe says Young cancelled on the morning of the shoot, although "he went through his archives to find the perfect take (of 'Cortez the Killer', for use in the film), mixed it and gave it to us. So he giveth and he taketh." Almost Famous will mark its 20th anniversary in September. - NME, 8/21/20...... Drummer Frankie Banali, best known for his tenure with the hard rock band Quiet Riot, died on Aug. 20 in Los Angeles following a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 68. Banali's wife, Regina, wrote in a statement that the longtime heavy metal drummer -- who also played with W.A.S.P., Billy Idol and Faster Pussycat, among many others -- had been fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer since Apr. 2019. "He put up an inspiringly brave and courageous 16-month battle to the end and continued playing live as long as he could," she wrote. "He lived for playing live and performed for millions of fans around the world throughout his career. His wish for everyone is that you be your own health advocate for early detection so you may live long and rescue many animals." Upon learning of Banali's death, Billy Idol tweeted: "Sad news about #frankiebanali RIP he played the drums on my first version of Mony Mony recorded in 1981 he did a fantastic job!," while Paul Stanley of KISS posted that Banali "was so open in his reports of his illness and seemed to live through his treatments and setbacks bravely and with grace." - Billboard, 8/23/20.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Bette Midler and trailblazing '70s TV producer Norman Lear are among those speaking out against the Pres. Donald Trump-appointed new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy who many observers feel is doing his best to dismantle the USPS to discourage mail in voting in advance of the Nov. 3 presidential election. "What's Trump's vision for his second term? Revenge, plain and simple. He'll be ramping up his smearing, he'll find a way to jail the disloyal, he will defund #SocialSecurity, #Medicaid; he will sell off the #PostOffice for parts," Bette Midler tweeted, while Norman Lear posted: "In my 98 years, I never thought I would see a president trying to eliminate the U.S. Postal Service. Please watch this beautiful video and join me in taking action to save it." The purported "cost saving" managerial actions of DeJoy, who was also a major Trump fundraiser in the 2016 campaign, is now the object of lawsuits filed by six states in Federal District Court in Manhattan. It asks the court to declare that Pres. Trump and DeJoy have violated voters' rights by seriously dialing back Post Office services and asking that the administration ensures that the U.S.P.S. is adequately funded. - Billboard, 8/18/20...... Bruce SpringsteenSales of Bruce Springsteen's 2002 song "The Rising" have surged after it was used in the first night of the Democratic National Convention to soundtrack a segment of the program that was dubbed "Rise Up." "The Rising," first released in July of 2002, sold 1,000 downloads on Aug. 17 -- up from a negligible sales figure on Aug. 16 -- and has already captured its best sales week since the week ending Sept. 11, 2011, when it sold 2,000 downloads. That week marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and "The Rising" was written as a reaction to 9/11. In 2002, Springsteen's The Rising album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week of Aug. 17. Springsteen, who appears briefly in the new DNC video with his wife Pattie Scialfa, shared the clip on his Twitter and Instagram accounts with the caption "Come on up for #therising" The video, which draws a parallel between the current COVID-19 pandemic and the pain of 9/11, is also on the front page of Springsteen's official website, with the same caption, and a link for his fans to register to vote in the November presidential election. Springsteen was only one of the celebrities with a progressive bent who posted enthusiastic tweets about the DNC convention's opening night, with Cher and Bette Midler also tweeting favorable reviews. "This was an astonishing moment tonight at the Democratic Convention. #Unforgettable...Loved it!," Bette Midler tweeted on Aug. 18. - Billboard, 8/18/20...... In other Bruce Springsteen news, the New Jersey rocker is among such musicians as Josh Homme, Albert Hammond Jr, Tom Morello, Bob Weir and Dhani Harrison who are set to perform on a special live-stream in tribute to late The Clash frontman Joe Strummer, which will also benefit the #SaveOurStages campaign. Billed as "A Song For Joe," the two-hour event will air on YouTube on Aug. 21 at 8:00 p.m. UK time and 2:00 p.m. EST to commemorate what would have been Strummer's 68th birthday. Hosted by Jesse Malin, the event will also reportedly feature "never before seen live Joe Strummer footage." A promo video announcing the full-line up has been shared on YouTube. Strummer's widow Lucinda Tait says that Strummer "was always focused on bringing people together... I cannot think of a better way for us all to feel united. Joe would have loved this." While the stream is free to view, fans are invited to donate to #SaveOurStages -- the NIVA movement aiming to save independent music venues across the US in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. - New Musical Express, 8/18/20...... Drummer Chris Slade, who began touring with AC/DC in 2014 after he replaced Phil Rudd who was arrested for drug possession, says that in his "absolutely honest opinion," he is still the drummer of the band. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Slade says that "to my absolute knowledge... I am the current drummer of AC/DC." He added: "Nobody has ever called me and said, "By the way, you're not the current drummer' or, "By the way, Phil's been in the band for three years'. Nobody has ever said that. As far as I'm concerned... I'm philosophical enough to realise that Phil may well be back in the band. I have no idea. I had no idea last time when they called me before 'Rock Or Bust'. I'm open to all possibilities. That's the way people should be, open-minded." Reports also emerged recently that AC/DC has finished recording a new album, and Slade was spotted behind the drum kit in the studio. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, who has been providing a series of updates on the band's activity in recent months, says the band will be reuniting for one more album. "Because nothing goes on forever. But this is the ultimate 'one more time'," Snider said. - NME, 8/16/20...... Led ZeppelinA trustee representing late Spirit member Randy "California" Wolfe has petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to review the Wolfe estate's legal case against Led Zeppelin for allegedly lifting the opening structure of the Spirit song "Taurus" for their rock classic "Stairway to Heaven". The petitioner, Michael Skidmore, says he believes he lost at trial in 2016 because the jury didn't get to appreciate the true "Taurus." That's because the trial judge held that only what was deposited with the U.S. Copyright Office had the benefit of protection under the 1909 Copyright Act. Skidmore says he thinks this is wrong, and that the scope of copyright isn't defined by any deposited sheet music. In other words, the recording may be good evidence of what was protected, and the jury should have heard the original "Taurus" recording. (Only in the mid-1970s did Congress change the law and allow sound recordings to fall under copyright. That's one of the big reasons this is the sort of precise legal controversy that has mainly come up for older songs including Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up.") Skidmore also believes he lost at trial because the jury wasn't properly instructed about originality. Notes of music can't be protected, and oft-used combination of notes belong to the public domain. But when there's something unique about the selection and arrangement of these notes, that can be copyrighted. Skidmore, who says the jury wasn't told this by the judge before they began deliberating, is hardly being subtle in the opening of his petition: "It is fitting, perhaps, that the future of music copyright law be decided by a case about rock 'n' roll's most iconic song, "Stairway to Heaven.'" - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/17/20...... In a vintage hour-long video tour of his Hog Hill Mill Studios in east Sussex, UK, which is included in the deluxe re-release of his 1997 solo album Flaming Pie, Paul McCartney reveals that he still uses an amplifier that he bought when he was a lad aged 14. Sir Paul showed off his "Little Green Amp" -- the Elpico A55 -- that was seen on stage with The Beatles throughout their trailblazing career and become part of Beatles folklore in its own right. Macca says in the 1997 clip: "This is my very first amp I ever had when I was 14, it was called an Elpico. As you can see it is very 50s, it looks like a piece of 50s furniture. Instead of putting guitars into it, it says Mic1, Mic2, Gramophone, anything but guitars really. In those days amps were used more for putting your records through or microphones, for little PAs. That was the first thing and I have kept it ever since. I have now had it fixed up because it is so old. When you put an electric guitar through it now it sounds a bit like a fuzz guitar so it is quite a funky sound that I use sometimes. It is a dear little thing from many years ago." the Elpico A55 was first manufactured by British company Lee Products around 1956, and went on to become a favourite of rock legends such as The Kinks' Dave Davies. - NME, 8/19/20...... In a new interview with the UK music mag Uncut, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards says the band are considering "working differently" due to coronavirus pandemic. Richards says the Stones may need to scrap the idea of making new albums for the time being and instead focus their attention on just releasing individual tracks. "If this thing goes on much longer we might try and put out another track," he says. "Work differently, instead of making an 'album' album, just release tracks." Stones frontman Mick Jagger also revealed in the interview that the band is already working on more new material. "I was working on this ballad. The reading of it is quite difficult to do. It's not technically difficult, but it's not an easy song to interpret," Jagger noted. "I'm very aware I've got to get it over in the right way. It's got to come out like you mean it." -, 8/17/20...... Brian MayDoes Queen have something new up their sleeve? Queen frontman Brian May teased in a video posted to Instagram on Aug. 19 that the band will make a major announcement soon. While the video, which sees Queen founding members May and Roger Taylor performing alongside current vocalist Adam Lambert before thousands of fans, stopped short of revealing what's in store for Queen fans, it confirmed that the announcement will arrive at 12 a.m. BST on Aug. 21. Responding to the announcement, one fan wrote: "I can't wait!!! I hope it's another US tour!" Queen had been set to head out on a huge UK and European tour this summer, but it was rescheduled to 2021 due to coronavirus. - New Musical Express, 8/19/20...... Bassist Pete Way, who performed with UFO, Ozzy Osbourne, and a number of other bands, died on Aug. 14 after sustaining life threatening injuries in an accident in June. He was 69. According to a post on his official Facebook page, Way "fought hard until finally succumbing to those injuries at 11.35am BST today (Aug. 14). His wife, Jenny, was at his side." Way co-founded UFO with singer Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton and drummer Andy Parker in 1968, remaining in the band until 1982, before rejoining in 1988 for a brief stint, and then properly in 1991. Health issues then forced him to retire from UFO in 2008. Elsewhere in his career, Way, co-founded Waysted and Fastway with former Motörhead guitarist 'Fast' Eddie Clarke, played bass for Michael Schenker Group and Ozzy Osbourne, and started his own band, The Pete Way Band. Osbourne was among those paying tribute to Way on Twitter: "Such sad news about @PeteWayOfficial. Haven't seen him for years but will always have great memories & such unbelievable stories of what we'd get up to. Rest In Peace. Love & Respect to his Family, Friends and Fans." - NME, 8/15/20...... Speaking of Ozzy Osbourne, the 71-year-old music star has told the Daily Star paper that the coronavirus pandemic might stop him from ever performing another gig. "If we do not get this thing under control we ain't ever going to do a gig," says Ozzy, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2019 and is desperate to finish his postponed "No More Tours II" dates. "Even if I could, I cannot work anyway because of the f****** pandemic. Ozzy has been at home in Los Angeles throughout the pandemic, but he's still terrified of getting the disease. "I was sitting in the kitchen and I suddenly broke out into a cold sweat and I thought: 'This is the first sign.' In 30 seconds I was like: 'I have the coronavirus, I'm going to die, my family is going to die and the dogs will end up with everything.'" -, 8/18/20...... Actor Ben Cross, best known for his role as British Olympic athlete Harold Abrahams in the film Chariots of Fire, has died at age 72. Born Harry Bernard Cross in London in 1947, Cross's role in Chariots of Fire earned him a Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Performance of the Year award. He also appeared as Sarak in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, and had notable credits in BBC's The Citadel, the HBO spy film Steal The Sky, TV mini-series Twist Of Fate, and he played the villain, opposite Richard Gere and Sean Connery, in First Knight. Cross had just wrapped his final role, as Cardinal Mathews in the horror film The Devil's Light, earlier in August. - WENN/, 8/18/20...... Frank ZappaThe plot of land that was once the site of Frank Zappa legendary log cabin home on Laurel Canyon Blvd. in the heart of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles is currently up for sale for a cool $999,000 (£755,000). Realtors Redfin, which listed the property in June, describes on its site that the now vacant "Zappawood" as being "rich in history and development potential," while boasting "sprawling park-like grounds and three separate entrances." It's said that the property was the premier gathering place of LA rock 'n' roll legends back in the 1960s and '70s, owing to Zappa's former residence being located there. Zappa, who passed away in 1993 at age 52, is said to have lived in a log cabin on the property with his family for a couple of years in the '60s, however they moved after the house became a hotspot for eccentric gatecrashers. It was destroyed by a fire in the 1980s. Images and further info about Zappawood can be found on the Redfin website. - NME, 8/17/20...... Actress Linda Manz, who as an androgynous teen captivated many with her performances in the films Days of Heaven and Out of the Blue, died on Aug. 14 after a battle with pneumonia and lung cancer. She was 58. Born in NYC on Aug. 20, 1961, Manz was cast at 15 to appear as the narrator of Terrence Malick's period film Days of Heaven, which was released in 1978 after an arduous shoot. Initially received with mixed reviews, the movie has gone on to overwhelming critical acclaim. Manz's improvised narration is widely considered an essential aspect of what makes the film -- which is preserved in the United States Film Registry -- an artistic success. In 1979, Manz had the fondly remembered supporting role of Peewee in the hit film The Wanderers. One of its stars, Ken Wahl, wrote on Facebook that Manz "was great to work with and I'm glad I got to speak with her before she passed." Her last starring role wa in 1980's Out of the Blue, in which she was directed by, and acted alongside, the late Dennis Hopper. The influential film competed at Cannes, and Manz's performance inspired a generation of actresses. In 1997, Manz -- who rarely acted past the '80s, appearing in a small role in that year's Gummo -- told Time Out New York: "There was a whole bunch of new young actors out there, and I was kind of getting lost in the shuffle. So I laid back and had three kids. Now I enjoy just staying home and cooking soup." A GoFundMe has been set up for Manz, who is survived by her husband and their two sons, to help cover final expenses. -, 8/14/20.

Friday, August 14, 2020

On Aug. 13 KISS announced the remaining dates of their "End of The Road" tour, which was delayed until 2021 earlier this year due amid the coronavirus pandemic. The tour will now resume on Aug. 8, 2021, in Mansfield, Mass., then hit 22 cities including Atlantic City, N.J. (8/21), Pittsburgh (8/26), Atlanta (8/29), Milwaukee (9/5), Boise, Ida. (9/21), Phoenix (9/26), Austin, Tex. (9/29), and Ft. Worth, Tex. (10/1). KISS will play what they say will be their final concert ever on Oct. 21, 2021. The End of the Road Tour, which began in Jan. 2019, will feature opening act David Lee Roth on most dates. KISS announced on Instagram that tickets for the postponed 2020 shows will be honored for the 2021 dates, and their KISS Kruise, which was also postponed, will now take place on Oct. 29-Nov. 3, 2021. - Billboard, 8/13/20...... Phil CollinsPhil Collins' 1981 solo hit "In the Air Tonight" has experienced a huge spike in sales after a YouTube video made by Tim and Fred Williams in July went viral earlier in August. The Williams brothers filmed themselves listening to the track for the very first time, causing the song to go viral and nab 6,000 downloads, up 1,516% from the previous three days, and it's now on track to make the top 10 of Billboard's Digital Song Sales. The song has also risen to No. 2 on the iTunes chart, making it the fourth biggest selling song of the week ending Aug. 8 -- up from No. 185 the week before. The video was posted to the YouTube channel "TwinsthenewTrend" on July 27 by 22-year-old twins Tim and Fred Williams, and features their delighted response to hearing Collins' iconic drum fill in the song. Other tracks from Collins' solo catalog also experienced sales and streaming gains, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Collins' solo songs discography drew 11,000 digital downloads for the week ending Aug. 9, a 602% jump over the previous three days prior to the video going viral on Aug. 7. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 8/12/20...... On Aug. 14 Elvis Costello shared a new track entitled "We Are All Cowards Now" from his upcoming album Hey Clockface, which will drop on Oct. 30 via Concord Records. "We Are All Cowards Now" follows the release of two other new songs from the album, "No Flag" and "Hetty O'Hara Confidential," earlier in 2020, which were all recorded by Costello at Suomenlinnan Studio in Helsinki, Finland, in February. Costello then went to Paris and later New York to finish the rest of the record, which he says he wanted to "be vivid, whether the songs demanded playing that was loud and jagged or intimate and beautiful." The 14-track Hey Clockface will also feature such songs as "Revolution #49," "The Last Confession of Vivian Whip," and "What Is It That I Need That I Don't Already Have?" -, 8/14/20......A limited edition vinyl release of David Bowie's 1975 R&B influenced LP Young Americans is set to be released on Sept. 19 in celebration of the album's 45th anniversary. The reissue of Bowie's self-described "plastic soul" album, which went gold in both the US and UK, will be pressed on "brick and mortar gold-coloured vinyl," and is the latest in a string of Bowie archival titles to be released this year. On Aug. 14, Something in the Air (Live Paris 1999), a 15-track LP capturing Bowie's 1999 performance in France as part of his "Hours Tour," was released. David Bowie: Inside 1969-72, a new Bowie DVD featuring footage of himself and his band The Spiders from Mars, will drop on Sept. 22. - NME, 8/13/20...... After posting a similar message to Twitter on July 29, Stevie Nicks took to her Facebook page on Aug. 11 to plead with fans to wear masks amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "A lot of people still aren't taking the wearing of a simple mask seriously... or, just trying to be aware of how close you are to others," the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman said. "Are you aware, everyone, that if you survive this virus... you will be fighting the after effects for the rest of your life. Micro-blood clots... in all your organs; in your brain... neurological problems; a cough that rips your throat apart and keeps coming back," she added. Nicks also pointed out the serious ramifications for her own health to fans, should she contract the virus. "If I get it, I will probably never sing again. Put me on a ventilator and I will be hoarse for the rest of my life... I don't have much time... I am 72 years old...," she added, then compared the current health crisis to an American Horror Story episode from 2013 in which she appeared. "This is like the season of American Horror Story I was in. It had turned into an apocalypse above ground. A serious 'shelter in place'," she shared before concluding, "Call it Armageddon[,] Call it a Pandemic[,] Call it the Apocalypse... This is a real American Horror Story... It is not a mini-series... It is a tragedy." - Billboard, 8/12/20...... Lindsey BuckinghamMeanwhile, Nicks' former flame and Fleetwood Mac bandmate Lindsey Buckingham performed a four-song acoustic set on Aug. 7 for the first time since suffering a heart attack and undergoing emergency open heart surgery in 2019. Appearing via Zoom for tech company Nutanix, Buckingham played the Fleetwood Mac songs "Never Going Back Again" and "Big Love," along with his solo cuts "Trouble" and "Shut Us Down." "This [pandemic] has been like a couple of years previous in which things occurred that I did not see coming," Buckingham said during the Zoom call. "One was my split from Fleetwood Mac. Another one was having a bypass operation, which I did not expect to happen. You could say that this makes it a trifecta of events that were completely off the charts," he added. Buckingham's wife, Kristen, reported in 2019 that the guitarist had suffered "vocal cord damage... following the surgery," which meant he was forced to postpone all of his upcoming tour dates. Lindsey then announced a solo tour in Feb. 2020 set to take place in April and May, but then had to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was reportedly fired from Fleetwood Mac in 2018 after an ongoing battle with Stevie Nicks and replaced with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House. - New Musical Express, 8/10/20...... The estate of Prince has shared the previously unreleased Prince recording "Witness 4 The Prosecution (Version 2)" on, which will feature on the upcoming expanded reissue of Prince's 1987 album Sign o' the Times, set for release on Sept. 25. According to a press release from the estate, Prince decided to rework his song "Witness 4 The Prosecution (Version 2)" when Country artist Debora Allen asked Prince if he could write a song for her. But after being pleased with his new version, he "decided to keep the song" and instead offered Allen his song "Telepathy," which had been recorded and mixed on the same date. - New Musical Express, 8/14/20...... On Aug. 14 Neil Young announced the release of three archival projects later in 2020, the most notable for Young fans being the long-awaited release of Neil Young Archives - Volume 2, which was initially promised after the first volume arrived back in 2009. The new archives set will feature material from around 1973 to 1982, with Young previously claiming that Vol. 2 would be "full of albums that weren't there before -- stuff I did that I never put out." While the exact contents of Vol. 2 are yet to be revealed, Young previously said that records such as 1976's "Chrome Dreams" and 1977's "Oceanside Countryside" would be included. The release will drop on Nov. 6, the same day the folk-rocker will also release Return to Greendale, a live set from his tour with Crazy Horse to support 2003's Greendale. The year of releases will then round off on Dec. 6 with Way Down in the Rust Bucket, a Nov. 1990 concert recorded with Crazy Horse at Santa Cruz's Catalyst Club. Meanwhile, Young is reportedly planning to spend approximately $20,000 to remove the Facebook and Google login functionality on his Neil Young Archives site, citing the conglomerates' policies regarding the forthcoming US presidential election as the reason for the move. "Facebook knowingly allows untruths and lies in its political ads to circulate on the platform, while bots sow discord among users," Young recently posted on the site. "Sowing dissent and chaos in our country via political disinformation is something we cannot condone. Simply put, Facebook is screwing with our election," he added. The statement on the news section of the website continues, in part, to say: "If you use Facebook or Google for login, we are going to ask you to run through a quick process the next time you log in -- it's just a few extra clicks. At the end of the process, your account will be transitioned to use your email address and a password for login. Goodbye Facebook and Google buttons." No explanation was offered as to why Google is also a target and it is unclear why disabling logins using those platforms will cost the reported amount. - NME, 8/14/20...... Eric ClaptonEric Clapton has been busy lately selling off his collection of supercars, with his Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1 up for grabs on the UK digital marketplace Auto Trader website for £89,900 from car dealer GVE of London, and his Lamborghini Superleggera already having been snapped up for a rumoured £125,000. The legendary blues guitarist, who has the ironic stage name of "Slowhand," is rumoured to have a particular penchant for Ferraris and has owned more than 10 of them over the years, with many of them used as inspiration for his songs, and some even gifted to him by his late friend and fellow musician, the Beatles' George Harrison. With a beautiful contrasting black exterior and light brown interior, Clapton's Ferrari 599 F1 is one of his most desirable cars, although he has said in the past he prefers the 612 Ferrari Scagliett (an opinion many Ferrari enthusiasts would disagree with). The car can go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph. "This particular Ferrari 599 is stunning and so well-maintained," says Auto Trader's director of YouTube operations, Rory Reid. "The fact it received Eric Clapton's seal of approval before being sold on makes it that much more special. For a blues lover, who also has the money for it, this is a perfect buy on Auto Trader," he adds -, 8/14/20...... The Rolling Stones have shared a new version of their recent track "Scarlet," remixed by The War on Drugs. Spearheaded by TWOD singer Adam Granduciel, the new version, which has been shared on YouTube, adds tempo to the track alongside a selection of new instrumentation. "Scarlet," which features guitars from Jimmy Page, will be included on the Stones' forthcoming expanded edition of their 1973 studio album Goats Head Soup. - NME, 8/14/20...... Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon Osbourne have announced a new biopic about the couple is in the works, and according to them, "it won't be squeaky clean like the [Queen biopic] Bohemian Rhapsody. The Osbournes tell Rolling Stone magazine that their new film will skip Ozzy's original tenure in Black Sabbath and jump to his solo career in the late 1970's when he began dating Sharon. "We have a writer," Ozzy's son Jack Osbourne said about the progress on the film. "We said to go from 1979 to 1996. I can't say too much, but the film is in active development." "From what I understand, it's about Sharon and I and our relationship" Ozzy added. "It's how we met, fell in love, and how we married. She's my other half. She grew up a lot with me, and I grew up a lot with her." Sharon then said their new movie won't be like Bohemian Rhapsody, which she says she didn't "think was a great movie." "They changed the timing [of the story] and everything in it. That's why it was, like, made 'nice' and that's what made it a Hallmark movie. Our film will be a lot more real. We don't want it to be squeaky, shiny clean and all of that. We're not making it for kids. It's an adult movie for adults," Sharon says. Meanwhile, it was announced earlier in August that another film about Ozzy, a documentary called Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne, is set to premiere on cable channel A&E on Sept. 7. - NME, 8/13/20...... Queen guitarist Brian May is thanking firefighters for combatting a forest fire which threatened his home in Surrey, UK, over the second weekend of August. In a lengthy post on Instagram on Aug. 10, May recounted how he was forced to evacuate his home and studio property after the wildfire broke out and spread through Chobham Common home on Aug. 7. "I never imagined it could happen here in leafy, and normally damp, Surrey, England," May wrote in a caption to accompany a series of images showing the aftermath of the wildfire. "We supported the fight against the immense fires in Australia, and watched sadly as fires ravaged California, but to see this happen in my own home county has been shocking and traumatic... Today my prayers were answered -- the fire is under control, but the danger is not over. While this dry heatwave lasts there is still a massive risk of a flare-up leading to disaster." May went on to thank the firefighters of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire and called for more funding and support for the force. "Just as the Government cuts sent the NHS into battle hideously crippled by lack of funding, the same lack of vision has rendered this country vulnerable to fires - with a fire fighting service criminally cut back in manpower and resources," May wrote. "Something has gone terribly wrong with our leaders' decision-making process. - NME, 8/11/20...... Dolly PartonDolly Parton has expressed her support for the Black Lives Matter anti-racism movement in a new interview. "I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen," Parton said, referring to the recent protests that have taken place worldwide following the death of George Floyd. "And of course, Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!," she added. Parton also discussed the renaming of her "Dixie Stampede" dinner attraction at her Dollywood resort in Tennessee to "Dolly Parton's Stampede" in 2018 after being informed that its title was offensive. "When they said 'Dixie' was an offensive word, I thought, 'Well, I don't want to offend anybody. This is a business. We'll just call it The Stampede. As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don't be a dumbass. That's where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose," the Country legend added. Meanwhile, Parton has announced she'll release her first Christmas album in 30 years, A Holly Dolly Christmas, on Oct. 2, some two months before the holiday season begins. A Holly Dolly Christmas follows her 1990 yuletide LP Home for Christmas and features several well known Christmas songs, as well as five original tracks written solely by the 72-year-old country icon. The album also features guest contributions from some of Dolly's dearest friends, including Willie Nelson, Michael Bubl, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon, plus a special song with her brother, Randy Parton. "I figured since everybody probably wouldn't get to celebrate Christmas as usual this year, I wanted to be creative instead of sitting around at the house this summer," Dolly said in a press release. "So I put on my mask, gloves and practiced social distancing, as well as all of the wonderful musicians and singers, and we proceeded to put together what I think is some of the best work that I've ever done," she added. - Billboard/, 8/13/20...... Guitars signed by the likes of Robert Plant and Carlos Santana are set to be auctioned in September to benefit the musicians charity MusiCares, which provides aid to artists and music community professionals in times of need. Taking place on Sept. 9 live in Beverly Hills and online at, with advance online bidding starting on Aug. 17, some of the items up for grabs include a Gibson SG Standard '61 guitar in vintage cherry signed by Plant and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, and a Paul Reed Smith limited edition Carlos Santana Abraxas SE limited edition guitar signed by Santana himself. Eric Clapton, Joan Jett, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Tom Jones, Rascal Flatts, Bono, and a number of others also have items in the auction, which can be viewed on the site. - NME, 8/10/20...... Ringo Starr is among the collaborators on a new cover of the Bob Marley classic "Three Little Birds" by Toots and the Maytals. Also featuring Marley's son Ziggy Marley, the cover will appear on the forthcoming Toots and the Maytals album Got to Be Tough, their first new record in over a decade. The LP will drop on Aug. 28 via Trojan Jamaica/BMG. Marley's original version of the song was released in 1977 and appeared on his album Exodus. The new version of "Three Little Birds," which has been transformed into into an upbeat, horn-laced track, has been shared on Starr provides percussion on the song, while Ziggy Marley and Frederick "Toots" Hibbert swap vocals. - NME, 8/9/20...... Speaking of Ringo, his former bandmate Paul McCartney has revealed how ELO's Jeff Lynne convinced him to secure Ringo to perform on Paul's 1997 solo album Flaming Pie. "I'd been saying to Ringo for years it'd be great to do something," McCartney explained to the UK paper The Sun. "We'd never really done that much outside the Beatles. One night, Jeff suggested, 'Why don't you get Ringo in?' and I said, 'OK!'" McCartney added the pair were "very comfortable making music together again, joining with Lynne to jam on what would become 'Really Love You'." A remastered deluxe re-release of Flaming Pie was released on June 12. - NME, 8/10/20...... Blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa is set to perform a special livestream pay-per-view concert from the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 20. The concert will feature the songs from Bonamassa's new album Royal Tea before the official release on Oct. 23. Along with Royal Tea he'll perform classic remixes from his 20th anniversary album A New Day Now. The evening will continue with a one hour "After-Party Showcase" featuring several live performances from an array of some of the hottest rising stars in blues-rock music. The livestream tickets and packages for Joe Bonamassa Live in Concert Worldwide are available for purchase at The one-of-a-kind concert is presented by Bonamassa's non-profit, Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, and each ticket purchase will include a $1 donation to Joe's Fueling Musicians Program, which to date has raised over $300,000 and has supported more than 163 musicians in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. - Noble PR, 8/14/20...... Andrew Lloyd WebberJesus Christ Superstar composer Andrew Lloyd Webber says he's set to receive an experimental coronavirus vaccine as part of an Oxford trial as he says he'll "do anything to prove theatres can re-open safely." On Aug. 5, the 72-year-old renowned composer took to social media and talked a about the motives behind his decision to take part in the vaccine trial. "I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial," Webber wrote. "I'll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely." The University of Oxford and the drug company AstraZeneca are working on the development of the experimental vaccine called "ChAdOx1 nCoV-19." Thousands of people the UK, United States, Brazil and South Africa have volunteered to take part in clinical trials. As recently as July 20, researchers announced the initial results of 1,077 people were promising, suggesting that the vaccine is both safe and triggers an immune response, according to the BBC. The next step in the study involves expanding the trial at a higher dose to thousands more people, which is likely where Webber will come into the play. A slew of people took to Twitter to applaud the "Cats" composer's willingness to get involved in finding a cure or treatment for the virus. "Bravo," "Godspeed to you sir" and "Thank you for your dedication" were among the many sentiments from followers and fans. Webber has also been trialling measures at the London Palladium that could allow the theatre business to get back up and running after Webber's "Phantom Of The Opera" continued in South Korea with strict hygiene measures and no social distancing. He hosted a pilot performance by Beverley Knight at the famous London venue, which had strict social distancing measures in place and was at 30 per cent capacity. -, 8/13/20...... Martin Birch, a legendary producer for Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, has died of as yet unnanounced causes at the age of 71. Birch's death was confirmed by former Deep Purple and Whitesnake singer David Coverdale, who tweeted: "It is with a very heavy heart I've just had verified my very dear friend and producer Martin Birch has passed away. Martin was a huge part of my life & helping me from the first time we met through until Slide It In.... My thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and fans." Born in 1948, Birch was known for his lengthy production stints with a number of legnedary bands, having produced the first six Whitesnake albums. also masterminded every Iron Maiden album from 1981's Killers to 1992's Fear of the Dark -- which marked his final work before retriement. Elsewhere, he produced Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell -- which saw Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne on vocals -- and notable efforts from the likes of Rainbow and Deep Purple. Also paying tribute, Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler wrote on Twitter: "Really sad to hear of the passing of Martin Birch. Brilliant producer. Had the pleasure of working with him on the Black Sabbath albums #HeavenandHell and #MobRules. Condolences to Vera and family. #RIPMartin Birch also worked with Fleetwood Mac, engineering and producing five early albums from 1969's Then Play On to 1973's Mystery To Me. - NME, 8/10/20.

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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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