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Two of the '70s most famous singer/songwriters, James Taylor and Paul Simon, paid tribute to late jazz great Michael Brecker on Jan. 20 in New York City with performances and kind words at a cancer benefit for their friend who died in 2007. Taylor, who Brecker's widow said had the flu, performed "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" -- the first song he played with the jazz saxophonist -- while Simon performed "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "The Boxer," songs he said he "closely associates" with Brecker. "I miss him all the time," Taylor said after the performance. "Michael saved my life and probably a lot of other people. He led me to freedom, really from addiction, and showed a number of us the way." Taylor joined forces with Simon, Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin to close the 90-minute show with "Shower the People." Brecker, who died of a form of bone marrow cancer at age 57, won more than a dozen Grammy Awards and played with a number of iconic artists, including Simon, Taylor, Elton John and Joni Mitchell. - AP, 1/21/15...... Jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, who last toured together 37 years ago when Pres. Jimmy Carter was in the White House, have announced a 19-city world tour of duo piano concerts that will launch in Seattle on Mar. 14. Corea and Hancock, who both were members of Miles Davis' bands of the 1960s and contributed to his groundbreaking jazz-fusion albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew, will also hit such cities as Vancouver, Denver, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago before wrapping the North American leg in Carmel, Indiana, on Apr. 18. After a break, the duo will perform in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. - AP, 1/23/15...... Bob Dylan is making headlines for being featured on the cover of the Feb./Mar. issue of AARP magazine, and in the interview the 73-year-old rock legend revealed that "if I had to do it all over again, I'd be a schoolteacher," and adding that he "probably" would have taught Roman history or theology. On Feb. 3, the musician will release Shadows in the Night, an all-Frank Sinatra covers album of songs from the 1920s to the 1960s, including standards like "Autumn Leaves," "That Lucky Old Sun" and "Stay With Me." The new album was hinted at as early as last May, when Dylan released album artwork and a cover of another Sinatra favorite, "Full Moon And Empty Arms." Dylan is giving 50,000 AARP magazine readers a free copy of his album, and his "Stay With Me" cover is currently streaming for free via NPR.com. In February, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter will present Dylan with the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year honor next month in Los Angeles. - AP/Billboard, 1/22/15...... Lawyers representing Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson argued before a panel of appellate justices on Jan. 22 that a new trial against concert promoter AEG Live LLC should be allowed, but the justices instead focused on the relationship between Jackson, AEG and Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol. Katherine Jackson's lawyers contend that the trial court judge incorrectly dismissed negligence and employment claims before the original 2013 trial, and jurors were given an improper verdict form and instructions. The panel noted that Dr. Murray treated Jackson before the concerts were planned and questioned whether the doctor's fee would be reimbursed by Jackson after the shows, and two of the justices questioned how AEG could have known that Murray was giving Jackson treatments of propofol. The justices did not state when they would issue a ruling for a possible new trial, and two of them must agree on the decision. - AP, 1/22/2015...... Upcoming Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Jett was among the friends and family of Kim Fowley paying their respects to the late music impressario at his funeral at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles on Jan. 22. Jett, whose early band The Runaways Fowley is credited with discovering in the late 1970s, delivered a heartfelt speech, while Fowley's longtime friend, musician Michael Des Barres, delivered the eulogy and later tweeted that the ceremony was "transcendent." Fowley, a colorful and sometimes controversial character, died Jan. 15 of bladder cancer at age 75. It was reported that he had expressed a dying wish to be featured on the cover of Girls and Corpses magazine, but publication's publisher reportedly passed on the request. A photo of Fowley's grave, however, was posted on Twitter soon after the funeral wrapped. - Billboard, 1/22/15...... Another famous music impressario, former Arista Records president Clive Davis, has been tapped to receive the famous Harvard Hasty Pudding Award at a gala in New York City on Apr. 13. The Order of the Golden Sphinx, which recognized extraordinary contributions to the performing arts, is the highest honor awarded by Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770. A five-time Grammy winner and a 2000 inductee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Non-Performer category, Davis has worked with a wide range of artists, from Janis Joplin and Billy Joel to Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. - AP, 1/22/15...... The BBC is now streaming for free a new The Clash documentary featuring previously unseen footage. The Clash: New Year's Day '77 is both an excellently raw portrait of a band on the brink of fame and a wide-lens look at the political and cultural chaos that birthed them. - Entertainment Weekly, 1/23/15...... Rush announced a 34-city 40th Anniversary tour on Jan. 23 that will probably be the last of its kind for some time. "This will most likely be their last major tour of this magnitude," Rush's press release noted about the tour, which will kick off May 8 in Tulsa, Okla., and wrap on Aug. 1 in Los Angeles. The Toronto-based rockers will visit a mix of large and medium-sized markets, including Lincoln, Neb.; St. Paul, Minn., St. Louis, Mo.; Dallas, Tex.; New Orleans, La.; and Bristow, Va. Rush formed in 1968, so the 40th anniversary technically commemorates drummer Neil Peart joining the band (which actually happened in 1974). For the upcoming tour, the band is expected to play much more of their '70s material, which was mostly avoided when they toured behind 2012's Clockwork Angels. - Billboard, 1/23/15...... Elton John's New Year's Eve performance at Brooklyn's Barclays Center before 16,470 fans sold over $3 million worth of tickets, earning the Rocket Man the top slot in Billboard's weekly Hot Tours chart for the week of Jan. 14-20. John's show, his first ever in New York City on New Year's Eve, closed out a year of touring in North America and Europe in support of the 40th-anniversary reissue of his 1973 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. Following its launch last March, the tour hit 21 markets in the U.S. and Canada in two legs and also played 42 cities in 16 European countries during treks in the summer and fall. Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac's show at Houston's Toyota Center on Dec. 15, with ticket sales of $1,837,886, was good for the No. 2 spot. Ranking at No. 9 and 10 were shows by Gregg Allman and Foreigner. - Billboard, 1/22/15...... Speaking of Fleetwood Mac, the band was forced to cut a Nebraska concert about an hour short on Jan. 17 after drummer Mick Fleetwood became ill. Stevie Nicks told the crowd of roughly 14,000 at Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena that Fleetwood was throwing up backstage before the end of the 90-minute show. The band continued its itinerary on Jan. 20 in Grand Rapids, Mich. - AP, 1/18/15...... Late '70s comedian Richard Prior's widow Jennifer Lee Pryor has filed a lawsuit against T-shirt designer FretShirt.com over a design that depicts an image of Pryor superimposed with the word "swag." Jennifer Pryor's suit alleges FretShirt has infringed her rights to the likeness of her late husband, who "created a general acceptance and good will for his name and likeness among the public," and that the shirt violates a California civil code statute that requires consent from the rightsholder of a deceased person's likeness for the commercial use of the likeness. She is seeking $5 million that she claims represents FretShirt's profits from the shirt in addition to $1 million in compensatory damages, as well as an injunction against the sale of the shirt. Jennifer Pryor previously executive produced a documentary on his life, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, and is executive producing a Weinstein Co. biopic in the works. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/21/15...... Barbra Streisand has set another music industry record after her latest album Partners was certified platinum, giving the diva the most platinum album certifications for a woman in RIAA history. Partners is Streisand's 31st album to ship more than 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. Her closest competition, Reba McEntire, has 19 platinum-certified albums. Partners debuted at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 200 in Sept. 2014. It was her 10th album to top that chart, making her the only act to notch a No. 1 album in each of the last six decades. - Billboard, 1/20/15...... Mick Jagger is honoring his late girlfriend, fashion designer L'Wren Scott, by establishing a scholarship for fashion students in her name. The Rolling Stones frontman's grant will be given to one masters student annually (through the 2017 school term) at the prestigious Central Saint Martins design college in London; it will cover that pupil's entire tuition, plus some living expenses. Scott, a self-taught designer, did not attend the school but had a close friendship with the university's longtime M.A. course director, Louise Wilson. Scott (born Laura Bambrough in Salt Lake City, Utah) was a celebrated clothing designer whose sophisticated, red carpet-ready dresses outfitted many A-list stars, including Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker. After her death, Jagger released a statement saying that he was "still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way" and that "I will never forget her." - Billboard, 1/18/15...... After controversial rocker Ted Nugent uploaded a photograph of Kid Rock to his Facebook page which shows Rock posing with a dead couger, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is criticizing Rock for apparently taking part in a hunting expedition. "Hail my MotorCity boy Kid Rock for saving all those muledeer elk and livestock by whacking this magnificent mountain lion," Nugent said in an accompanying caption. "I can hear the braindead squawkers already with their obscene denial that killing lions is wrong. It's legal, it's necessary, it's good, it's beneficial, it's a damn riot!" PETA's U.S. Senior International Media Director, Ben Williamson, said that "only the very smallest percentage of people find it acceptable in any way to support blood sports like trophy hunting." - WENN.com, 1/20/15...... Former Crosby, Stills & Nash drummer Dallas Taylor died on Jan. 18 of as yet undisclosed causes, according to his wife Patti McGovern-Taylor. He was 66. A native of Denver, Col., Taylor cut his teeth as a session musician in the early 1960s, soon joining the psychedelic rock band Clear Light. After the group achieved modest fame with the single "Black Roses" in 1967, he was recruited into Crosby, Stills and Nash. He performed on CSN's breakthrough self-titled debut album, released in 1969, and their following album, Déjà Vu (with another new member, Neil Young, in 1970). Taylor performed with CSN&Y at Woodstock in 1969 and with Van Morrison at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival. After leaving music, he worked as a drug and alcohol interventionist in Los Angeles. "(Dallas) came into my life almost 18 years ago and saved me as much as I may have saved him. To me he was just a good man, a good friend, a good father, a good grandfather or Pop Pop, a great drummer and much beloved by many," his wife posted on her Facebook page. - Billboard, 1/18/15...... Stan Irwin, a Las Vegas producer and manager who persuaded the Beatles and several other top artists to play Vegas in the 1960s, died on Jan. 21 of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 94. Mr. Irwin guided the careers of such celebs as Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett and Pearl Bailey, and served as executive producer of The Tonight Show in 1962, which was the first year of Carson's tenure. He also voiced the Lou Costello character in Hanna-Barbera's The Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show in the 1960s. - AP, 1/23/15.
An investigation by the UK Department of Transport's Air Accidents agency has found that the pilot of a helicopter carrying Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell missed two urgent warnings that their aircraft was seconds from crashing as the couple were being transported to their home in East Sussex in May 2012 after attending a book launch by Paul's eldest daughter, Mary McCartney, in London. The chartered Sikorsky S-76C avoided hitting treetops near the couple's home by just 2 feet, according to the investigation, and the pilot, who had become "spatially disorientated," dramatically swung the helicopter to safety with seconds to spare. In treacherous weather, the pilot was attempting a night landing on a helipad encircled by woodland, and the AAIB found that neither the pilot or the co-pilot heard two audio warnings. The report also revealed the terror in the cockpit before the second of two aborted landings, and that the co-pilot was convinced they'd crash and "momentarily" lost ability to speak. - The Daily Mail UK, 1/17/15...... Bruce Springsteen made a "surprise" appearance at the 15th anniversary of the Light of Day 2015 Winterfest at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, N.J., on Jan. 17. The party was The Boss's 11th appearance at the Light of Day show, a birthday benefit supporting artist manager and LOD Foundation organizer Bob Benjamin. Benjamin, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1996, was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the 2014 Billboard Touring Conference and Awards in November. "(Having all of) these musicians in a room like this is a wonderful thing," the 65-year-old Springsteen told the sold-out crowd of 1,600 music fans as he stood alongside Benjamin. "Bobby, it's a gift you give us every year." His appearance was an open secret, as the New Jersey rock star showed up for an early sound check with Pittsburgh rocker Joe Grushecky about two-and-a-half-hours before the show began at 7 p.m. Highlights included a fierce version of "Adam Raised a Cain" (from Darkness on the Edge of Town) "From Small Things (Big Things Come One Day," a potent "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Frankie Fell in Love," and a dramatic and gut-wrenching "Because the Night." Springsteen closed the evening with an introspective version of "Thunder Road," but in what looked like an onstage audible, decided to go out on an energetic note, leading the ensemble with "The Promised Land." - Billboard, 1/18/15...... Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler unveiled his latest song, "Beryl," via his official Twitter account on Jan. 17. Knopfler says the track was inspired by British novelist Beryl Bainbridge, and the song will be featured on the musician's forthcoming eighth studio album, Tracker, which is due on Mar. 16. "The album title 'Tracker' arrived out of me trying to find my way over the decades," said Knopfler in a statement. "Out of me tracking time -- looking at people, places and things from my past, and out of the process of tracking as in recording tracks in the studio." Tracker will arrive on CD, double vinyl, and deluxe CD editions, as well as a lush box that features the record on both CD and vinyl with a bonus disc of six extra tracks, and a DVD featuring an exclusive short film directed by Henrik Hansen. - New Musical Express, 1/18/15...... Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters are among the bands confirmed for the 11th annual Mountain Jam festival in Hunter Mountain, N.Y., which is set for June 4-7. Also on the bill are the Black Keys, Gov't Mule, Alabama Shakes, The Wailers, Grace Potter and Nocturnals and moe. - Billboard, 1/14/15...... In other Led Zeppelin-related news, guitarist Jimmy Page has reportedly tried to block his West London neighbor, singer Robbie Williams, from renovating his home. According to The Daily Telegraph, Page has written to borough planning chiefs voicing concerns that Williams' plans could damage his own house, and that Williams' property will overlook his when proposed work is complete. "I am extremely concerned that this work will cause vibrations and possible structural damage with my house," Page wrote. "It appears the proposed new window is at a height that will overlook the side of my house as well as the garden at the rear of my property, thus having a significant impact on the amenity of the house and its garden." Page has resided in his mansion since 1972, and Williams bought his own £17 million mansion, previously owned by late director Michael Winner, in 2013. - NME, 1/15/15...... U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brought along a fellow Bay Stater, James Taylor, to help him pay respect on Jan. 16 to the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris in a show of American solidarity with the French people. At a ceremony at the Hotel de Ville, the city hall of Paris, Kerry called the attacks a "living nightmare" but one that would unite rather than divide the people of France and the world. "I represent a nation grateful each day that France is our oldest ally," he said before introducing his friend James Taylor, who performed his hit "You've Got a Friend," starting with several bars of the French national anthem. The event was called an "Homage de John Kerry a Paris." Kerry's visit came amid lingering criticism in the United States of the Obama administration's failure to send a Cabinet-level official to Paris for the Jan. 11 unity march that attracted some 40 world leaders and more than a million demonstrators. - AP, 1/16/15...... An album of Latin music versions of Michael Jackson biggest hits called Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson is set for release on Universal Music Classics in April. Unity's tracks include hits from throughout the King of Pop's career, with "Billie Jean," "I Want You Back" and "Man in the Mirror" among them. Well-known tropical artists including Tito Nieves, Obie Bermudez, India and Michael Stuart perform on the LP, supported by an old-school Latin big band. "Smooth Criminal," the first single from the project, is now out with vocals by Puerto Rican singer Jean Rodriguez. The Unity project started in 2011 as a (successful) $10,000 Kickstarter campaign by Tony Succar, a young Peruvian-American percussionist (and major Jackson fan) from Miami. - Billboard, 1/15/15...... In a new interview with GQ magazine, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd says he is annoyed that Apple got away "scot free" following the controversial release of U2's latest album, Songs of Innocence, on iTunes. The album was automatically downloaded onto all Apple subscribers' iTunes accounts when it was released last September, and Mason says that it has "made everyone think again about how they want their music delivered, given or sold." "It highlights a vital aspect to the whole idea of music in the 21st century," Mason said. 'What's also interesting is that Apple seem to have got off scot-free. No-one's blaming them. Apple has done great things, but it has also contributed to the devaluation process." Mason also has reservations about Spotify and streaming services in general. "iTunes is already beginning to look rather pass, and instead it's Spotify that looks like the future. What we need is another two or three billion people using it, then it would make more sense for musicians. At the moment, the pay-out, particularly for unknowns and only slightly-knowns is pathetic," he added. - NME, 1/15/15...... Billboard is reporting that the four living original members of the Grateful Dead will perform three farewell 50th anniversary shows on July 3-5, 2015, at Soldier Field in Chicago, with Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio accompanying them. The Grateful Dead's last performance with Jerry Garcia, who died in Aug. 1995, was at the same 55,000-seat capacity venue on July 9, 1995. The show will likely be the finale for the "core four," as the surviving members are now known: Bob Weir, 67; Phil Lesh, 74; Mickey Hart, 71; and Bill Kreutzmann, 68. "These will be the last shows with the four of us together," Weir says. The four, along with Anastasio, are set to take the stage, along with keyboardist Bruce Hornsby, a frequent player with the Dead during the '80s and into the '90s, and Jeff Chimenti, who plays keys with Weir's side project, RatDog. Tickets for the shows -- named "Fare Thee Well" for a lyric in the Garcia/Robert Hunter song "Brokedown Palace" -- will be available to fan club members on a first-come, first-served basis from Feb. 9 to 11. A local public presale will occur Feb. 12-13; a general public on-sale starts Feb. 14. In 2014, it was announced that the Dead are planning a Martin Scorsese-produced documentary film this year to mark their 50th anniversary. - Billboard, 1/16/15...... Australian pop singer Rick Springfield, who released his debut album in 1974 before rising to fame in the early 1980s, has been cleared in an injury lawsuit brought by a 45-year-old New York woman who claims she suffered serious injuries when Springfield fell into her during a 2004 concert in suburban Syracuse. Vicki Calcagno of Liverpool, N.Y., says Springfield's buttocks hit her head, causing lasting injuries. The "Jessie's Girl" singer testified he didn't fall on Calcagno, and his lawyer said in closing arguments before the New York State Supreme Court that there were no witnesses, photos or video to support Calcagno's claim. Calcagno sued in 2007 and there was an earlier mistrial in 2013. Springfield said he is relieved by the verdict. - AP, 1/16/15...... NBC Entertainment announced on Jan. 16 that the network just closed a deal to develop a series of TV movies based on Dolly Parton's songs, stories and life. Parton will produce. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt noted that Parton could have an on-screen role and the movies will likely stand on their own and not be a series of films. "We're going to try and create uplifting movies the entire family can enjoy together," Greenblatt told reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "We want to create projects for NBC that are both fun and inspirational with a family audience in mind," Dolly Parton said in a statement. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/16/15.
Record producer/manager/impresario Kim Fowley, best known for his work with the '70s all-female teen band the Runaways, died on Jan. 15 after a long battle with bladder cancer. He was 75. Throughout his career, Fowley stepped in and out of popular music's limelight, yet remains best known for his work with the Runaways, whose Fowley-engineered aggressive sexuality and sound were unprecedented in the mid-'70s, and which spawned the careers of Joan Jett, Lita Ford and Cherie Currie. The group's history has been documented in biographies and the 2010 biopic The Runaways, directed by Floria Sigismondi and starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as Jett and Currie. Michael Shannon, later of Boardwalk Empire fame, portrayed Fowley in the film. Tall, gaunt and wraithlike, with piercing blue eyes, Fowley was a widely recognized figure on the Los Angeles rock scene for decades. He began his music business career in the late 1950s, working in various capacities with Motown founder Berry Gordy and legendary, ultimately disgraced DJ Alan Freed, and crossed paths with luminaries-to-be like Phil Spector and Beach Boys producer Nik Venet. Fowley made a name for himself in the early 1960s as a co-producer/co-publisher on a string of successful records, such as the chart-topping novelty song "Alley Oop" and Paul Revere & the Raiders' instrumental "Like, Long Hair." He went on to work in various capacities with acts including The Murmaids, Gene Vincent, KISS, Alice Cooper, Leon Russell and Kris Kristofferson, and released a series of solo albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s that met with limited success. In 1975, Fowley helped form the Runaways, with whom he worked until 1977 when the group severed ties, due in large part to his rough work methods, mistreatment and verbal assaults. The group garnered scads of press, influenced countless female rockers, however were underrated as band. He later tried a similar template with an all-girl group called the Orchids, to lesser success. Fowley released solo albums into the 1980s, but gradually faded from the limelight. "I am so blessed that I got to get to know you again Kim.. really get to know you on a personal level and that we became friends. Mostly that you spent time here at my home. It's a time I will never forget," Cherie Currie posted on her Facebook page after learning of Fowley's death. - Billboard, 1/15/15.
An attorney for filmmaker Hillary Schwartz, who is among those charged with crimes in a fatal train collision during shooting of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, filed court documents on Jan. 12 asking a judge to dismiss the charges against her. Schwartz's lawyers say prosecutors got her to talk by assuring her she was a witness, not a suspect. Less than two months after she gave authorities an interview, Schwartz was indicted. Schwartz was working as an assistant director on the ill-fated Midnight Rider movie on Feb. 20, 2014, when a freight train plowed into the crew on a railroad bridge spanning the Altamaha River in rural Wayne County. The crash killed Sarah Elizabeth Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant from Atlanta, and injured six other crewmembers. A March 9 trial has been scheduled for Schwartz; the movie's director, Randall Miller; his wife and business partner, Jody Savin; and executive producer Jay Sedrish. CSX Transportation, which owns the railroad trestle, has said in previous court filings that it twice denied the filmmakers permission to shoot on its tracks, each time in writing. Sheriff's investigators have said the crew had permission to be on property surrounding the tracks that is owned by forest products company Rayonier. Production on the movie was halted after the accident. - AP, 1/14/15...... Jimmy Page is reportedly dating an actress who is 46 years his junior. According to a story in the British tabloid The Sun, the 71-year-old Led Zeppelin mastermind has been spotted out for dinner with Scarlett Sabet, 25, twice in January, and the couple were pictured holding hands. A source close to Page, who divorced his second wife in 2008, says the guitarist is "leading a very conventional life by the looks of things, not very rock 'n' roll... His new girlfriend seems a very normal kind of girl." - WENN.com, 1/12/15...... John Lennon's inspirational 1971 song "Imagine" was sang at a Unity rally in Paris at the Place de la Nation (Nation square) on Jan. 11 in tribute to the victims of a three-day killing spree by Islamist extremists. The rallies of national unity were organized to honor the 17 victims of two terrorist attacks, one on the weekly satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. The Paris rally saw up to two million people taking to the streets, as well as more than 40 world leaders. In total, 3.7 million people joined public demonstrations across France. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/13/15...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney's latest single, "Hope for the Future," was released on vinyl on Jan. 13. The song, which originally appeared in the first-person shooter video game Destiny, has been pressed as a 12-inch on 180-gram vinyl and features four new remixes, including a "Jaded Mix" and "Thrash Mix," which has been reworked by Madonna producer Mirwais. A download card is also included. The Activision game was released in Sept. 2014 and features a mostly orchestral soundtrack composed by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson and others, with contributions from McCartney. - New Musical Express, 1/10/15...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, McCartney is reportedly very keen to get the Beatles' catalog on the new Pono music store, which is sponsored by Neil Young and was launched earlier in January with a library of 2 million-plus songs from the three major labels. Pono used the high-quality FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format as its standard, and musician/producer will.i.am says that the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album "will blow your mind" after hearing the 1967 album in that format. - Billboard, 1/12/15...... Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson has lent vocals to a new track by the L.A. band Mini Mansions. Bassist Zach Dawes of the band says that "as they got into harmonies Brian's name came up kind of as a pie-in-the-sky idea. I followed up with him and sent him a rough cut of the song. Then that rare moment occurred where the idealised version of something becomes a reality." The song will be featured on the band's forthcoming album, The Great Pretender, which is due Mar. 23 through T Bone Burnett's Electromagnetic Recordings label. Meanwhile, the Beach Boys are set to launch a UK tour in May and June, playing dates in Manchester (5/27), London (5/31), Brighton (6/3) and Cardiff (6/4). The band last toured the UK in 2012, during which Mike Love issued a statement effectively sacking founding members Brian Wilson and Al Jardine. - New Musical Express, 1/13/15...... Billy Joel will be among the headliners at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., this June, organizers announced on Jan. 12. Other big names set to appear at the 13th annual Bonnaroo fest include Robert Plant and his band Sensational Space Shifters, My Morning Jacket, Mumford & Suns, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, Slayer, Spoon, Ben Folds and Earth, Wind & Fire. A total lineup of 98 acts are scheduled to perform at the event, which in 2014 hosted such artists as Elton John, Kanye West, Skrillex and Jack White. - Billboard, 1/13/15...... Attorneys representing both parties in a lawsuit involving Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen's ex-wife Kelly Van Halen have settled the case in which Kelly Van Halen was accused of diluting the band's name. On Jan. 5, the attorneys informed a judge that a lawsuit filed in Oct. 2013 should be dismissed, after three years of fighting at the U.S. Trademark Office and another 15 months in a California federal courtroom. After divorcing from Alex, Kelly Van Halen named her construction and interior design company after herself and attempted to register a trademark on her own name for products like chairs, children's blankets, bathing suits, building construction, interior design services and more. The band claimed that Kelly's trademarks were confusingly similar to their own and that she was diluting Van Halen, passing off Van Halen and committing unfair competition for Van Halen. But now the case won't get to jury after being "amicably resolved," and Kelly will be allowed to use her full name for her businesses, but has agreed to stay away from any music-related services that might tread upon the band's ground. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/9/15...... Former U.F.O. and Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker will release a new studio album entitled Spirit On A Mission in the UK on Mar. 23, and a day later in the US. The 12-track album of all-new materal features Schenker's Temple of Rock band including ex-Scorpions Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass), ex-Rainbow's Doogie White (vocals) and Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards). The album will be released on CD, Deluxe Edition (CD+DVD), Deluxe 180 gram vinyl (special DMM-Cut), and digital download. The first single from the album, "Vigilante Man," will be available on Jan. 19. - Noble PR, 1/12/15...... Disgraced '70s glam-rocker Gary Glitter appeared in a London court on Jan. 12 to face 10 charges relating to historic sex abuse crimes committed in the '70s and early '80s. However the case against the 70-year-old Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was adjourned. Glitter is accused of four counts of indecent assault involving one complainant between Jan. 31 and May 31, 1977. The complainant was aged 12 or 13 at the time. The former pop star is also accused of "administering a drug or other thing in order to facilitate sexual intercourse" and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 between the same dates. Glitter was convicted in 1999 of possession of child pornography and served four months in prison. After his release he relocated to Vietnam, where he was subsequently convicted of a string of child sexual abuse offenses. Glitter rose to prominence in the '70s with a string of UK No. 1 hits including "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)," "I Love You Love Me Love," and "Always Yours." In the US, he charted two Top 40 hits, "Rock and Roll Part 2" (No. 7), and "I Didn't Know I Love You (Till I Saw You Rock and Roll)" (No. 35). - NME, 1/13/15...... Former Neil Young and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bassist Tim Drummond died of unspecified causes on Jan. 10 in St. Louis County, Mo. He was 74. Known for an understated, restrained style of playing, Drummond performed and recorded with country and R&B stars, including Conway Twitty and James Brown, in the 1960s in South Carolina, Illinois and, later in the decade, Cincinnati, Ohio. Drummond contributed to Neil Young's classic 1972 set Harvest, and recorded and toured with Young and concerts that did not involve his primary backing band Crazy Horse. He also toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young as well as record and tour with CSN and the duo of Crosby and Nash. Moving to California led to Drummond becoming one of the most in-demand session bassists, often paired with drummer Jim Keltner. Together they were the rhythm section on CSNY's 1974 tour, during which time Drummond met Bob Dylan. Drummond later joined Dylan's band during the singer's "Christian gospel" phase, and co-wrote "Saved" with Dylan. He also appears on multiple albums by J.J. Cale, Ry Cooder and Graham Nash, and played on hit records by Don Henley, Bette Midler, Paula Abdul and Jewel. - Billboard, 1/12/15...... Longtime Kool & the Gang trombonist Clifford Adams died on Jan. 12 in Trenton, N.J., after a battle with liver cancer. He was 62. Adams reportedly had no heath insurance to cover medical expenses during his year-long cancer struggle, and his fellow musicians, family and friends attempted to raise money through fundraisers in Trenton for a liver transplant prior to his death. "Clifford was powered by family values and he was one of the baddest trombone players in all the planet," said his longtime friend and fellow Kool & the Gang musician Michael Ray. - Billboard, 1/12/15...... Actress Anita Ekberg, a striking blonde Swedish beauty best known for playing opposite Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita" (The Sweet Life), died on Jan. 11 in a Rome clinic after a two-year illness. She was 83. Ms. Ekberg's career began after she was crowned Miss Sweden in the early 1950s, and she shot to global fame after playing the capricious actress Sylvia in La Dolce Vita. Her scene wading into a foutain ina strapless black dress, calling to Mastroianni in English, "Marcello! Come here. Hurry up," is one of the most famous in the history of cinema, and made her a sex symbol for a generation. A funeral has been planned in Rome the following week, her body will be cremated, and her ashes sent to Sweden, according to her lawyer.
An acetate recording of "My Happiness," the first song Elvis Presley ever recorded, sold at auction for $300,000 on Jan. 8, what would have been the late singer's 80th birthday. An 18-year-old Presley recorded the song for a $4 fee in 1953 at Sun Records, the Memphis studio operated by Sam Phillips. According to legend, Presley then left the studio and went to the home of friend Ed Leek to listen to it as his family didn't have a record player. Presley ended up leaving the record behind, and it remained in Leek's and later his niece's possession until she contacted Graceland -- Presley's former home and now a museum and tourist attraction -- and it was offered for auction, with the bidding starting at $50,000. Other items on sale at the Graceland auction included an autographed copy of "That's All Right," a custom designed watch, Presley's first driver's license, and the jacket he wore in his iconic 1964 film Viva Las Vegas. To mark Presley's 80th birthday, hundreds of fans joined the Presley family in Memphis, Tennessee, to slice an eight-tier cake in celebration. Sony/Legacy Recordings have also planned a yearlong celebration of Presley's music, which includes releasing the singer's The Complete '60s Albums Collection Vol. 1 onto iTunes. Also, a new website called ElvisTheMusic.com was launched the same day, featuring a comprehensive online database of the singer. In December, the largest Elvis retrospective ever mounted in Europe, "Elvis At The O2: The Exhibition Of His Life," opened in London. It showcases over 300 artifacts from the Presley family's treasured Graceland Archives, and is open for nine months. Meanwhile, Julien's auctions has announced two jets formerly owned by Elvis are going on their auction block. The company that operates the Graceland has told the current owners of the plane "Lisa Marie," and another plane called the "Hound Dog II," that it wants the planes removed from Graceland by late Apr. 2015, or shortly afterward. Although the planes are not airworthy, their interiors have been preserved and were on display at Graceland until recently. Julien's is accepting bids on the planes until Feb. 2. - NME/Billboard, 1/9/15.
Led Zeppelin announced on Jan. 8 that they will release a Super Deluxe Edition of their 1975 double-LP Physical Graffiti on Feb. 23, one day before the 40th anniversary of the album's Feb. 24, 1975, release. Remastered by Jimmy Page and featuring a companion disc of seven previously unreleased tracks (including rough mixes of the songs "In My Time Of Dying" and "Houses Of The Holy"), the reissue also features different takes on classic hits, including an early mix of "Trampled Under Foot" called "Brandy & Coke," and the Sunset Sound mix of "Boogie With Stu" and "Driving Through Kashmir." The deluxe album will be available from Feb. 23 via Atlantic/Swan Song in CD, Vinyl and digital formats. Zeppelin reissued their first five albums in 2014, making the Top 10 charts in several countries around the world. - New Musical Express, 1/8/15...... The unlikely pairing of hip-hop star Kayne West and rock legend Paul McCartney on West's new single "Only One" has bowed at No. 35 in the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, giving the former Beatle his first appearance in the Top 40 after a 25-year break. The touching ballad, a tribute to West's late mother, Dr. Donda West, sold 125,000 downloads in the week ending Jan. 4, according to Nielsen Music, and bowed at No. 10 on Digital Songs. It serves as the first single from West's upcoming studio album, and, according to Def Jam Records, is the first of further West/McCartney collaboarations. Sir Paul last reached the Top 40 more than 25 years ago, when "My Brave Face" rose to No. 25 in July 1989. The song is also McCartney's second to reach a Billboard chart in the past month. His "Hope for the Future" spent a week at No. 44 on the Hot Rock Songs chart dated Dec. 27. The song accompanies the online first-person shooter game Destiny. - Billboard, 1/9/15...... The Recording Academy has announced that former U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter will present Bob Dylan with the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year honor during a pre-Grammy ceremony on Feb. 6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Dylan's accolade was announced in Sept. 2014, with MusiCares Foundation CEO Neil Portnow saying "Dylan's body of creative work has contributed to America's culture, as well as that of the entire world, in genuinely deep and lasting ways." Performing at the show will be Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones and John Mellencamp, among others. Proceeds from the event, which is in its 25th year, will support MusiCares, which provides financial and medical help to musicians in need. - AP/Billboard, 1/6/15...... The copyright infringement trial brought by the family of Marvin Gaye against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over the controversial creation of the mega-hit song, "Blurred Lines," is scheduled to get underway in federal court in California on Feb. 10. In trial that will surely be an historic one for the music industry, both sides have submitted memos that outline their key arguments and evidence over whether "Blurred Lines" is or isn't a copyright infringement of Gaye's 1977 chart-topper "Got to Give It Up." As the Gaye family seeks compensation from Williams and Thicke's profits from "Blurred Lines" as well as statutory damages, Williams and Thicke hope to limit potential damages to the value of the license fee they would have paid for the Gaye songs. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/6/15...... In related news, Daryl Hall has sued the Rural Media Group, which broadcasts his web show Live From Daryl's House, for expenses related to his appearance in last year's Rose Parade that he was allegedly promised would be reimbursed. The Hall & Oates singer appeared in a float called "You Make My Dreams Come True" in the 2014 New Year's Day parade in Pasadena, racking up more than $87,000 he claims to be owed. According to TMZ.com, Rural Media Group has been selling a Rose Parade DVD for $29.99 that includes Hall's photo on the cover and features his songs. - Billboard, 1/6/15...... Neil Young has revealed to Rolling Stone magazine that he's working on a new album with Willie Nelson's sons, Lukas and Micah Nelson. "I'm working on another album now that I'm going to be doing with Willie Nelson's sons. It's an upbeat review of the situation," Young said, adding that the working title is The Monsanto Years. Monsanto is the agriculture company Young has been publicly battling for years. The singer boycotted Starbucks last year over the coffee company's involvement with Monsanto in a lawsuit against the state of Vermont's new requirements to label genetically modified ingredients. Meanwhile, on Jan. 7 Young launched his much-hyped Pono music player. The device, which according to Young offers high-quality audio and will be capable of storing 1-2,000 high resolution songs, is now available for order online for a price of $260 and will be delivered to customers in February. "This is all about making music sound as good as it can," Young said of the Pono player. "Music is about having a good time feeling in your soul, whether it makes you laugh or it makes you cry. The mission of Pono is to make you feel as much as you can." - NME, 1/9/15...... AC/DC will be among the headliners at the Coachella 2015 festival, which is set for Indio, Calif., this spring. The Aussie head-bangers will perform on Apr. 10 & 17 during the two-weekend fest. Other headliners include Jack White, Drake, Steely Dan, Florence + the Machine and Tame Impala. - Billboard, 1/6/15...... The producers behing the Sting-penned Broadway musical "The Last Ship" announced on Jan. 6 that the production will close on Jan. 24 due to poor attendance. The show reportedly cost $15 million to produce with $625,000 or more weekly running costs, and producers said in the end they couldn't make the numbers work. News of the closure comes despite Sting joining the cast in Dec. 2014 in a late effort to boost flagging ticket sales and drum up much needed publicity. The musical was Sting's first to hit Broadway, and the early reviews were mixed at best, with the former Police frontman's score garnering critical praise and the book receiving less positive notices upon the show opening in October. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/6/15...... The first ever academic conference on German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk will take place in the UK at Aston University in Birmingham on Jan. 20-21. "Volksmusik for the Twenty-First Century: Kraftwerk And The Birth Of Electronic Music In Germany" will feature former Kraftwerk member Wolfgang Flur will also read extracts from his memoir Kraftwerk: I Was A Robot and take part in a Q&A session. Kraftwerk, along with the Beatles, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Grammy Awards, set for Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in L.A. - New Musical Express, 1/8/15...... British Classic Rockers Status Quo have spent a landmark 500 weeks in the UK charts, after their latest album Aquostic (Stripped Bare) currently at Number 34, has been in the charts for 11 weeks. Status Quo joins the likes of only 50 other artists, including Queen, the Beatles and Elvis Presley, who have been in the album charts for 500 weeks over their career. Queen, who have spent 1,457 weeks in the album charts, have spent the most weeks in the UK chart, which is compiled by the Official Charts Company. Status Quo will launch a 7-city UK tour at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall on Apr. 20. - NME, 1/5/15...... Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler's daughter, actress Liv Tyler, has sparked speculation she is engaged to David Beckham's close pal Dave Gardner by sporting a ring on her left hand. In September, Tyler confirmed she is pregnant with her second child, one month after going public with her romance with sports agent Gardner amid rumours they had been dating for months. Tyler has a 10-year-old son, Milo, from a previous relationship with British musician Royston Langdon. - WENN.com 1/5/15...... Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood already chronicled his band's notorious, coke-fueled Seventies excesses in his first memoir, 1990's Fleetwood. But his new book, Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac, brings his and the band's story up to date, breezes over the same material (with fewer lurid stories) and adds behind-the-curtain tidbits about the Mac's later years. But only Mac die-hards will want to read about the collapse of Fleetwood's third marriage. - Rolling Stone, 1/15/15...... Olivia Newton-John and actress Didi Conn, who played memorable best friends and cousins Sandy and Frenchy in the 1978 classic movie Grease, reunited for a performance of the film's song "Summer Nights" at Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel & Casino on Jan. 3 during Newton-John's show. Wearing black and pink jackets in tribute to their high school greaser girl and Pink Ladies roles, the two sang the famous "Summer Nights" track for the audience. "The Olivia Newton-John: Summer Nights" show features an eight-piece band and includes numerous Grease throwbacks, including "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "You're the One That I Want," as well as Newton-John's 1980 single "Physical." - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/5/15...... Author David Ritz's new Aretha Franklin biography Respect delves into the Queen of Soul's dark side: her early drinking problems, her "gentleman pimp" first husband, her testy working relationships with producers like Luther Vandross and Jerry Wexler, and her deeply competitive streak, which she once unleashed on Whitney Houston while recording a duet. Ritz's writing can be choppy and indulgent, but his research is solid, and he vividly expresses what made her voice and albums so monumental in the Sixties. - Rolling Stone, 1/15/15...... Classic rockers Toto will release Toto XIV, their first studio album in ten years, on Mar. 24 in the US and a day earlier in the UK. Toto XIV is the band's first album of new material since 2006's Falling In Between. However, the band personally considers the new album to be the true follow-up to Toto IV, which made the band global superstars. "This is opposite of going through the motions," says keyboardist Steve Porcaro. "We just want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Be true to ourselves and make the best music we can. Entertain people which is what we were put on this earth for." Configurations include CD, with a Deluxe Edition available featuring a "Making of" Documentary on DVD. Additionally Toto XIV will be available as a 2LP vinyl set, and a Super Deluxe limited edition which includes the Deluxe CD/DVD edition, 2LP vinyl, an exclusive poster, t-shirt, and lithograph. Toto will kick off a world tour behind the album in Glasgow on May 21, 2015. - Noble PR, 1/8/15...... Iconic band Spain, featuring singer/bassist Josh Haden, have announced a 6-week tour from Jan. 28 - Mar. 11. Kicking off in Boston, Mass., the band then plays Lincoln Center in NYC, before club shows in Philly, D.C. and Brooklyn. The brief Northeast swing will see the band perform as a trio (bass, guitar, drums) and will mark the band's first East coast shows in 15 years. The multi-continent tour, which includes thirty shows in Europe, will support Spain's latest release, 2014's Sargent Place, which achieved glowing 4-star reviews from several music mags and newspapers. - 1888 Media, 1/7/15...... Ray McFall, a former owner of the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool where the Beatles played almost 300 times over a two-and-a-half year period, has died at the age of 88. Mr. McFall owned the club in the 1960s, changing it from a jazz venue to a rock 'n' roll club and booking Merseybeat bands like the Beatles. The Fab Four went on to play at the legendary basement venue 292 times. "It was Ray who opened it up to those early Merseybeat sessions, which led to the whole Merseybeat explosion," said Jon Keats, a director of the Cavern. "It was completely his vision that moved the club forward, with what turned into the huge Merseybeat explosion and the Beatles' success and Gerry and the Pacemakers and all the main bands." The venue also hosted gigs by the Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf. But in 1966, McFall was declared bankrupt and the Cavern Club was forced to close. In 1973, the cellar was filled in but the club was rebuilt near the original site and opened again in 1984. - The BBC, 1/8/15..... Famed rock concert promoter and music impresario Bill Graham will get his first ever museum retrospective when a "Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution" exhibit opens at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles starting May 7. The exhibit will feature never before seen photos and artifacts on loan from the Graham family, including the original artwork of several iconic Fillmore concert posters, along with archival concert footage, historical and new video interviews and psychedelic art related to Graham, who was godfather of the San Francisco concert scene and one ofthe most influential concert promoters in history. The Berlin-born Graham, who died in a helicopter crash in 1991 at the age of 60, was known for working with such major rock acts as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, among many others. The exhibition, which will run through Oct. 11, coincides with two 50th anniversaries: Graham's first concert and the Grateful Dead's live debut. - Billboard, 1/9/15...... Acclaimed gospel artist Andra Crouch, a seven-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and pastor, died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 3 after suffering a heart attack. He was 72. Crouch, who penned several popular gospel songs such as "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power," also directed the choirs that sang on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and Madonna's "Like a Prayer." He was often praised for bridging the gap between popular music and gospel, bringing a contemporary pop and R&B sensibility to his music. He also served as a pastor alongside his sister at the New Christ Memorial Church in San Fernando, Calif. - Billboard, 1/8/15...... Actor Rod Taylor, known for his leading roles in such films as The Birds and The Time Machine, died on Jan. 8 at his home in Los Angeles. He was two days shy of turning 85. Mr. Taylor big breakthrough came with his starring turn in The Time Machine, director George Pal's 1960 adaptation of the H. G. Wells 1895 sci-fi classic. He also played the heroic Mitch Brenner in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic The Birds, coming to the aid of Tippi Hedren. His dozens of other movie credits include Giant (1956), The V.I.Ps (1963), Sunday in New York (1963), Do Not Disturb (1965) and The Glass Bottom Boat (1966). Most recently, the suave native of Sydney, Australia, played Winston Churchill in director Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (2009). His TV credits include Hong Kong, Bearcats!, The Oregon Trail, Outlaws and Falcon Crest. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/8/2015...... Irwin Steinberg, a co-founder of Mercury Records, passed away at his home in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Dec. 29. He was 94. Before entering the music business, Mr. Steinberg studied at the University of Chicago, gained a Masters from the University of California and served in the AirCorps. After leaving Mercury Records in 1968, he went on to become chairman and CEO of Polygram Records, where he worked for over 30 years. - NME, 1/4/15.
The death of British rocker Joe Cocker on Dec. 22 after battle with small cell lung cancer has spurred his fans to celebrate the rock legend's music in droves. Cocker's catalog of albums saw a 2,319 percent sales gain in the week ending Dec. 28, according to Nielsen Music, rising to 22,000 sold (up from 1,000 the week before). His biggest seller for the week was The Best of Joe Cocker: 20th Century Masters the Millennium Collection (released in 2000), which sold 7,000 (up 4,878 percent), good for a No. 75 debut on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. It was the singer's first appearance on the chart since 2007. Meanwhile, Cocker's songs sold a combined 121,000 downloads in the week ending Dec. 28, a 3,630 percent surge. His best-selling tune during the week was his iconic cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," which moved 32,000 downloads (up 5,090 percent). It debuted at No. 6 on Rock Digital Songs, and No. 8 on the overall Hot Rock Songs chart (which measures sales, airplay and streaming). Cocker's 1972 track "Feeling Alright," also bowed on Hot Rock Songs, at No. 22, selling 13,000 downloads for the week (up 2,734 percent). Overall streams of Cocker's songs grew to 3.87 million for the week, a 1,241 percent blast. His top-streamed song in the week ending Dec. 28 was "With a Little Help From My Friends" with 1.3 million (up 1,716 percent). Finally, Cocker debuted at No. 84 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart, which ranks most popular acts across Billboard's most influential charts, including the Hot 100, Top Album Sales and the Social 50. - Billboard, 1/2/15...... In an op-ed published by Wired.com, Peter Gabriel is advocating the use of unbiased video evidence in the United States' legal system. "How is it that despite compelling video evidence, justice can be so elusive for the victims of police brutality?" the former Genesis frontman ask in the piece titled "Tech Can Make Video Evidence a Cornerstone of Justice." Gabriel contends evidence in courtrooms is often based on our "fallible memories, spoken evidence produced long after the event" -- that is proved to be unreliable and often reimagined. "Justice flourishes in the light, in openness and transparency, in which the defense and prosecution are seen to be treated fairly and given equal opportunity," he said, and also encouraged tech companies to create a "proof mode" on video evidence so that investigators, journalists and audiences to know whether a piece of media has been tampered with at all. - Billboard, 12/30/14...... Mega-selling hip-hop star Kayne West has released his latest single, "Only One," online with Paul McCartney on organ. Instead of the rapper's usual bombast, the song boasts a spare arrangement with West tenderly singing from the perspective of his late mother as she looks down from the heavens and addresses him. "Hello my only one, just like the morning sun/ You'll keep on rising till the sky knows your name," the song's chorus goes. It's possible that West and the famous former Beatle will collaborate again, as the New York Post reported in 2014 that the pair were working on a song called "Piss On My Grave." Aside from West's "Only One" track (now available on iTunes), McCartney's most-recent work is the song "Hope For The Future," his song featured on the soundtrack of video game Destiny. - New Musical Express, 1/1/15...... In an interview with the New York Times promoting his new book Sound Man, engineer and record producer Glyn Johns describes the Beatles' original Phil Spector-produced LP Let It Be as "a bunch of garbage." "I was disappointed that Lennon got away with giving it to Spector, and even more disappointed with what Spector did to it," Johns told the paper. "It has nothing to do with the Beatles at all. Let It Be is a bunch of garbage. As I say in the book, he puked all over it. I've never listened to the whole thing, I've only listened to the first few bars of some things and said, 'Oh, forget it.' It was ridiculously, disgustingly syrupy." In the book, Johns also claims that Bob Dylan enquired about the possibility of making an album with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. "He asked me if I would find out whether the others would be interested," Johns says, however Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger brushed off that idea. - NME, 1/2/15...... According to Nielsen Music, vinyl LP sales hit another historic high in 2014. The '70s favorite music format grew by 52 percent in 2014 to 9.2 million copies (up from 6.1 million in 2013). For the seventh straight year, more vinyl albums were sold than in any other year since Nielsen started tracking music sales in 1991. Notably, there were 94 albums that sold at least 10,000 copies on vinyl in 2014 -- up tremendously from 46 titles in 2013. Nielsen says 3.6 percent of all albums sold in 2014 were on vinyl. To compare, 10 years ago in 2004, just 0.2 percent of all albums sold were on vinyl (1.2 million of 681.4 million). - Billboard, 12/31/14...... In a new interview with the PBS television network, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham hints that the band may be entering into their final years together, describing their forthcoming world tour as the "last act" for the group. Discussing the possibility of hearing new music from the band, as well as their live plans, Buckingham said: "We're going to continue working on the new album, and the solo stuff will take a back seat for a year or two. A beautiful way to wrap up this last act." Fleetwood Mac are set to kick off a tour of the UK in 2015 playing multiple shows in London in May, then visiting Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin in June before wrapping with two shows in Leeds on June 30 and July 5. They'll also headline The Isle Of Wight Festival in June, their only UK festival appearance of 2015. - NME, 1/3/15...... Grand Ole Opry cast member Little Jimmy Dickens, known for such humorous country hits as "May The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)" and "A-Sleeping At The Foot Of The Bed," died on Jan. 2 in Nashville due to cardiac arrest. He was 94. Mr. Dickens came to prominence in country music in the late 1940s, during the time of Hank Williams and Eddy Arnold, and became the last man standing from that era -- continuing to entertain fans at the Grand Ole Opry less than two weeks ago. Born Dec. 19, 1920 in Bolt, W.Va., Mr. Dickens became a member of the WSM's Grand Ole Opry Radio show in Aug. 1948, and signed with Columbia the next month. The following year, he scored four Top 10 records on the country chart, and became one of the genre's biggest stars in the early 1950s, thanks to continued success with singles such as "I'm Little But I'm Loud," "Hillbilly Fever," and "Out Behind The Barn." In 1965, the singer recorded his biggest hit with "May The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," which became his only No. 1 country hit. It also marked his lone appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, peaking at No.15. In 1983, Mr. Dickens achieved the pinnacle of his career with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and continued to tour through the years, but became known as one of the symbols of the Opry during his later years. He often introduced many newcomers to the stage, and also extended invitations to many to become members, such as the Oak Ridge Boys and Trace Adkins. Mr. Dickens turned 94 on Dec. 19, and made his final appearance on the Opry stage the next night. He was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Day. - Billboard, 1/2/15...... Tony award-winning stage and screen actor Edward Herrmann, who portrayed Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1976 TV movie Eleanor and Franklin and charmed audiences as the stuffy dad on TV's Gilmore Girls, died on Dec. 31 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital of brain cancer. He was 71. Herrmann also appeared in a 1977 sequel to the Roosevelt biopic, Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years, and in the 1982 movie musical Annie. In 2014, he also provided the voice for FDR in Ken Burns' PBS documentary series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, while his urbane tones were heard on a variety of other documentaries and on hundreds of audio books including Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. He had recently narrated a documentary on cancer, according to his son Rory Herrman. His other major film credits includie "Reds and The Wolf of Wall Street, and he was an acclaimed stage actor whose Tony-winning performance came in 1976 for a revival of "Mrs. Warren's Profession" opposite Lynn Redgrave. - AP, 12/31/14...... Actress Donna Douglas, best known as the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett on the hit 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, died on Jan. 1 in Baton Rouge, La., near her hometown of Zachary, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 82. Chosen for the role of Elly May from more than 500 other actresses, Ms. Douglas said she felt at ease playing the role because, like her character, she grew up a poor Southern tomboy. Her childhood in Pride, Louisiana, came in handy when she was asked during her audition to milk a goat. "I had milked cows before," she recalled in a 2009 interview with AP. "I figured they were equipped the same, so I just went on over and did it." The series, which ran from 1962 to 1971, also starred the late Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan as well as Max Baer Jr., who turned 77 on Jan. 4. Ms. Douglas' career began with beauty pageants -- she was Miss Baton Rouge and named Miss New Orleans in 1957 -- followed by a trip to New York to pursue a career in entertainment. After appearances on The Perry Como Show and The Steve Allen Show, she landed a featured role in the 1959 film Career, starring Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine, and a bit part in the film musical Li'l Abner. She also had small roles as Tony Randall's secretary in the 1961 Doris Day/Rock Hudsonromantic comedy Lover Come Back, and in the memorable Twilight Zone episode "The Eye of the Beholder" in 1962. After The Beverly Hillbillies, Ms. Douglas worked in real estate, recorded country and gospel music albums and wrote a book for children that drew on biblical themes. Ms. Douglas was married twice, to Roland John Bourgeois, Jr. until 1954, and then to Beverly Hillbillies director Robert M. Leeds. They divorced in 1980 after nine years of marriage. Survivors include her son, Danny P. Bourgeois. - AP, 1/2/15...... Jazz guitarist Jeff Golub, who played alongside such artists as Rod Stewart and Billy Squier, died on Jan. 1 of an as yet undisclosed cause, however he had been battling a rare brain disease called Progressive Supranuclear Pals that caused him to inexplicably lose his eyesight in 2011. He was 59. Golub released 12 solo albums and three more as the leader of the instrumental band, Avenue Blue. He played alongside Stewart from 1988-1995, on four albums and five world tours. He also did session work for such pop and jazz acts as Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, Peter Wolf and Bill Evans, releasing a number of his own albums over the years. - Billboard, 1/2/15...... Frankie Randall, a vocalist, pianist, actor and pal of Frank Sinatra who performed the theme song for the 1960s NBC adventure series Flipper, died of lung cancer at JFK Medical Center in Indio, Calif., on Dec. 28. He was 76. Randall toured in nightclubs around the country, was a regular on Dean Martin's 1966 summer variety series for NBC and appeared in the 1973 film The Day of the Wolves. He met Frank Sinatra while playing Jilly's bar in New York and often accompanied him as his pianist. He also served as entertainment director for The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City and later became a vice president at the Bally's casino. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/31/14.
Singer Ashlee Simpson and her husband, actor Evan Ross, have legally changed their names to honor Ross's mother, Motown great Diana Ross. Following their wedding in August, impson took her husband's legal last name -- Naess -- which is his father's. But now that the couple is expecting its first child, together they want to change their last names to Ross-Naess in honor of the Supremes icon. Evan Ross's movie credits include Crazy Sexy Cool: The TLC Story and Jeff, Who Lives at Home, among other film projects. In 2015, he will co-star in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1, the third installment of the blockbuster franchise. Simpson's last album, Bittersweet World, was released in 2008. - Billboard/TMZ.com, 12/29/14...... Ringo Starr announced on his YouTube page on Dec. 28 that he plans on releasing a new album in 2015 and mounting a tour behind it. In the video, the drummer said he's finished his new studio LP, and that it will be released via Universal Records. He also thanked his fans for supporting his many 2014 All Starr Band tour and alluded to more touring in February and March as well. "It's all my pals, really. We just get together," Starr said in an interview this summer. "It's a mixed bag, as my records always are. We have the reggae track and we have the rock track and that's how it is. It's pop, rock, reggae." Ringo added that he was taking the production reins on his own this time after working with Bruce Sugar his last two album's, Ringo 2112 and 2010's Y Not. The new album will feature such musicians as Toto guitarist and current All-Starr Band member Steve Lukather, along with Peter Frampton, Richard Marx, Dave Stewart and Nashville songwriter Gary Nicholson. - Billboard, 12/29/14...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney said in a recent written Q&A with fans that college courses focusing on legendary artists like the Fab Four as a means of learning pop music is "ridiculous." "For me it's ridiculous, and yet very flattering," McCartney wrote in response to one student who is studying for an MA in popular music. "Ridiculous because we never studied anything, we just loved our popular music: Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, etc. And it wasn't a case of 'studying' it. I think for us, we'd have felt it would have ruined it to study it." Sir Paul added however that he's not against learning about popular music -- simply that he doesn't think you can learn to make great music from a college course. "I don't think that by studying popular music you can become a great popular musician; it may be that you use it to teach other people about the history, that's all valuable. But to think that you can go to a college and come out like Bob Dylan? Someone like Bob Dylan, you can't make -- You can't tell [people] how to become a Bob Dylan or a John Lennon, because you know, nobody knows how that happens." - Billboard, 12/29/14...... Kiss announced on Dec. 28 it plans on performing its classic 1975 live album, Alive!, in its entirety during its Kiss Kruise V in 2015. "What better way to celebrate the rise of these rock legends than to watch Kiss perform the very live album that launched them into greatness 40 years ago," the statement on the official Kiss website reads. "Get ready to rock out to Kiss playing their first gold album Alive! in its entirety. You read it right. Kiss is playing Alive! from front to back during The Kiss Kruise V indoor show." Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley & Co. haven't yet announced which other acts will perform during the cruise, but promises they'll be inviting some of their favorite bands for the adventure at sea. The 2014 lineup included Cheap Trick frontman Robin Zander and Pat Travers. The cruise sets sail from Miami to Jamaica beginning Oct. 30 -- Nov. 3, 2015, on the Norwegian Pearl. - Billboard, 12/28/14...... Renowned jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco -- who collaborated with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and other top singers and musicians of his era -- died on Dec. 27 at a Panama City hospital. He was 91. Mr.DeFranco, a member of the American Jazz Hall of Fame, performed at venues around the world for 75 years and recorded with musicians including Sinatra, Holliday, Art Tatum, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett. He conducted the Glenn Miller Orchestra for eight years from 1966 to 1974. Mr. DeFranco was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and later named a Living Jazz Legend in a Kennedy Center ceremony, and also was recognized 16 times with the Playboy All-Star award for top jazz clarinetist in the world. His wife, Joyce, said he had been in declining health in recent years. The couple lived in Panama City. - AP, 12/26/14...... Alberta Adams one of the last of the great post-World War II era blues singers, passed away on early Christmas morning in Detroit after a long period of failing health. She was 97. Ms. Adams, known for decades as Detroit's "Queen of the Blues," recorded with Chicago's Chess Records during the 1950s and was a member of the Bluesettes, a vocal group that performed with Tiny Bradshaw and his big band. She also recorded for New Jersey-based Savoy Records and toured nationally, eventually beginning a long association with the late Detroit guitarist Johnnie Bassett and his band. - Billboard, 12/26/14.
After embracing recent changes in U.K. law and becoming married on Dec. 21, Elton John and his partner David Furnish shared a picture of themselves on Instagram.com as they tied the knot, adding the caption "That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony! Share the love." The couple reportedly celebrated the union with a reception at their estate in Windsor, England with guests including model/actress Elizabeth Hurley, who tweeted a picture of herself on the way to the event. Elton received many well-wishes from his friends, and posted an Instagram shot of all the cards. One of them was a classy handwritten message from multi-platinum selling singer Adele, who apologized for missing the wedding. "Biggest congratulations my loves. Have a wonderful day. I'm sorry we are not there. See you in 2015. Love Adele, Simon and Angelo. x," she wrote. - WENN.com/Billboard, 12/22/14...... Paul McCartney has reacted to the news of the passing of his "good mate" Joe Cocker on Dec. 22, saying it was a "mind-blowing" experience the first time he heard Cocker's rendition of the Beatles' song "With a Little Help From My Friends." "He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people I loved his singing," McCartney said. "I was especially pleased when he decided to cover 'With A Little Help From My Friends' and I remember him and Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Saville Row and playing me what they'd recorded and it was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that." Also in his statement, Sir Paul said that it was "sad to hear that he had been ill" and that Cocker "was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we'll all miss him." Meanwhile, Paul said in a recent interview that he's attempting a song about the controversial police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. "I was thinking recently about all these protests in New York and around the country. I thought it would be great to put something down about that, just to add my voice to the thousands of people walking in the streets," he said. "I thought it through and it just didn't come easily. I'm not giving up on it, but it didn't come easily, whereas some other emotions might come easily to me." - Billboard/AP, 12/23/14...... In other Beatles-related news, a new documentary from Sacred Goose Productions that asks musicians, actors, comedians and an assortment of other celebrities to choose which side of the John Lennon and Paul McCartney songwriting duo they prefer was posted online in early December. Pete Townshend, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, John Lydon and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner are among over 550 famous celebs that were queried over a 10-year period for the 35-minute film. - New Musical Express, 12/22/14...... A new legal group representing around 40 artists including the Eagles, John Lennon, Smokey Robinson, Pharrell Williams and Chris Cornell are demanding that the popular online video site YouTube.com remove around 20,000 videos that are currently streaming online. Eagles manager Irving Azoff, who recently founded Global Music Rights, says that although YouTube may have negotiated deals with the record labels, they didn't do so with the artists themselves. Azoff says that his clients want to pursue YouTube, as opposed to other sharing sites, because they have been "least cooperative and the company and our clients feel are the worst offenders." Google, which is planning to launch Music Key -- its own subscription music service to rival Spotify and Pandora -- in 2015, has maintained that YouTube does have the performance rights due to prior deals, however Global Music counters that the service has not provided details of any prior agreements. "Without providing a shred of documentation, you blithely proffer that YouTube can ignore the Notices because it operates under blanket licenses from performing rights organizations other than Global," a lawyer for the group says. - New Musical Express, 12/23/14...... Former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters says in an op-ed for Britain's Daily Mail newspapaper that there's "no place in the legal system" for the "institutionalized brutality" of Guantanamo Bay and called for a judge-led inquiry into Britain's role in the detention and alleged torture of British prisoner Shaker Aamer. Waters discussed recent revelations about the CIA's torture program and raised concerns about "the mounting evidence that our own [Britain's] intelligence and security agencies may have colluded with the CIA" in the rendition and torture of terror suspects. He focused on the case of Aamer, a 46-year-old Londoner who was seized by the US and rendered to Guantanamo while working in Afghanistan 13 years ago. "During Mr. Aamer's long spell of incarceration, he has never been put on trial or even had any charges leveled against him," Waters wrote. "No human being should be subjected to such monstrous and prolonged treatment " 13 years, with no evidence produced to suggest a crime!" Waters explained that he became involved in the case after it was brought to his attention by Aamer's laywer Clive Stafford Smith, who received a letter from Aamer that included the opening lyrics to Pink Floyd 1979 song "Hey You." In November, Pink Floyd scored their first U.K. No. 1 album since 1995 with their new and purportedlly final LP, The Endless River. - New Musical Express, 12/23/14...... Speaking of YouTube, the Rolling Stones posted a short video to the site on Dec. 21 thanking fans for their support in 2014. "We've had a fabulous time on the '14 On Fire' tour this year," said frontman Mick Jagger in the likely scripted piece that featured a pantomime-esque back and forth with guitarist Keith Richards. "Thanks for coming out to see us and maybe we'll see you in 2015," Jagger added. The Stones performed in 19 countries in 2014 as part of their "14 On Fire" tour which, according to the video, equated to playing to 1,159,882 people. - NME, 12/21/14...... In an interview with New Zealand's One News on Dec. 22, longtime AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, who's been estranged from the band since being hit with charges of threatening to kill a man in Rudd's employ for three years, says that "I want my job back." "I'm going back to work with AC/DC and I don't care who likes it or who doesn't," Rudd said. "I want my job back and I want my reputation back." Rudd pleaded not guilty to charges of threatening to kill one of his bodyguards earlier in December, which also included a charge of drug possession. Rudd drummed for AC/DC from 1975-1983, and then rejoined them in 1994. AC/DC's new album Rock or Bust, which features Rudd's playing, debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 at No. 3. - Billboard, 12/22/14...... Speaking to Japan's Universal Music, Queen guitarist Brian May says their current vocalist, season-eight American Idol star Adam Lambert, can even sing higher than their original frontman, Freddie Mercury. "They're difficult songs to sing, Queen songs. There's too much range," May said. "So many people can't sing them in the original key -- even if they are good singers, Adam comes along, [and] he can do it easy. He can do it in his sleep! He can sing higher than even Freddie could in a live situation. So I think Freddie would look at this guy and think, 'Hmm| Yeah. Okay.' There would be a kind of, 'Hmm ... You bastard. You can do this.'" May also remarked on Lambert's showmanship: "He doesn't have to try. He is a natural, in the same way that Freddie was," he said, adding, "We didn't look for this guy, [but] suddenly he's there, and he can sing all of those lines. ... He doesn't imitate; he just does his own thing." Freddie Mercury died in 1991 of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS. Lambert has collaborated with members May and drummer Roger Taylor since 2011. The Queen + Adam Lambert troupe are set to play a New Year's Eve gig at Central Hall Westminster in London, which will be broadcast on BBC One, before touring other cities in Europe in 2015. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/22/14...... Donny and Marie Osmond have just extended their run at Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel & Casino at least through the end of 2015. The sibling singers are still performing more than six years after they committed to six weeks of shows starting in September 2008, and their 90-minute variety show is scheduled to have performance dates every month in 2015 except in March, July, August and December. - AP, 12/22/14...... After a lengthy legal battle, the body of legendary radio and TV personality Casey Kasem was finally laid to rest on Dec. 16, approximately six months after his death, however questions about the cause of his death remain. According to celebrity gossip site TMZ.com, Kasem's body was buried at Norway's Vestre Gravlund Cemetery. Kasem's own children were not at the ceremony and reportedly did not know it took place until Dec. 22. Kasem died June 15 at the age of 82, his wife, actress Jean Kasem and daughter Kerri Kasem sparred over the burial. Along with fellow siblings Mike and Julie, Kerri filed a police report with the LAPD claiming their stepmother contributed to their father's death. The elder abuse investigation examined whether a multi-state car trip Jean took Kasem on led to his fatal infection. Kasem's cause of death was first reported as "complications from dementia." In the months leading up to Kasem's death, Kerri accused Jean of torturing her father, which included allegedly denying him necessary treatment for his illnesses. Jean maintained she intended to have Kasem interred in Norway, because of her own Norwegian heritage, and because her plans to relocate there would allow her to visit him. - Billboard, 12/22/14...... The son of former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry was involved in a car accident in England near Cressage, Shropshire on Dec. 22. Merlin Ferry was reportedly in "critical condition" following a "head on collision," and he was trapped in the car for an hour following the crash. Another of Ferry's sons, Otis Ferry took to Twitter to thank firefighters from Wellington fire station, after they tweeted an image of wreckage from the crash. Otis wrote: "Thank you for extracting my Brother alive from what looks like a mangled box of tin. We are all continuing to pray." Bryan Ferry released his latest solo album, Avonmore, in November, with the likes of Johnny Marr and Nile Rodgers appearing on the LP. - NME, 12/24/14...... Dirty Harry actor Clint Eastwood is now officially single after a judge in California signed off on his divorce from now-ex-wife Dina. The divorce documents were filed in Monterey County Superior Court on Dec. 22, terminating the marriage. Eastwood and his wife separated in June 2012, and Dina filed for divorce a year ago. Details of the settlement are not yet available. - WENN.com, 12/23/14...... Lynyrd Skynyrd have announced they'll play their first two classic '70s albums -- Pronounced 'Leh-nerd Skin-nerd and Second Helping -- in their entirety in back-to-back shows at the Florida Theatre in their hometown of Jacksonville on Feb. 12 and 13. They will perform their debut on Feb. 12, with the follow-up LP being played the following night. Both shows, which will also feature a selection of other hits, are to be recorded and will be released on DVD. "We've been wanting to go back and recreate these live records for a long time," lead singer Johnny Van Zant told The Florida Times-Union. "We decided to come back to our hometown, Jacksonville, and play at the legendary Florida Theatre. Can't wait to rock it." The two albums are among 15 studio LPs released by the legendary Southern rockers, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. - NME, 12/21/14...... Singer/songwriter Larry Henley, whose raucous falsetto on "Bread and Butter" gave The Newbeats their biggest pop hit in the 1960s and who later co-wrote "Wind Beneath My Wings," died Dec. 18 in Nashville. He was 77. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 2012, announced the death but did not cite a cause. "Bread and Butter," which features with the lyrics "I like bread and butter, I like toast and jam, that's what my baby feeds me, I'm her loving man" -- climbed to No. 2 on the U.S. pop charts. It continued to resonate through commercials, notably for Sunbeam bread, and its use in films as varied as 9 1/2 Weeks (1986) and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004). "The Wind Beneath My Wings," from the soundtrack of the 1988 film Beaches became a No.1 pop hit and won the 1989 Grammy Award for song of the year. Over time, it became a contemporary standard used both at public events and in more intimate settings, often in the context of an apology set to music. After The Newbeats went their separate ways in the '70s, Henley continued a solo career while deepening an interest in songwriting. He co-wrote "Till I Get It Right," which became a No.1 country hit for Tammy Wynette in 1973, and "Lizzie & the Rainman," which Tanya Tucker propelled to No. 1 in 1975....... Producer/engineer and Ardent Records and Ardent Studios founder John Fry died in Memphis, Tenn., on on Dec. 18. He was 69. Ardent Studioes hosted sessions by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, ZZ Top, R.E.M., Stevie Ray Vaughan, Al Green, the Allman Brothers Band, B.B. King, the White Stripes, the Replacements, as well as scores of Stax Records artists and, of course, the acclaimed '70s power pop band Big Star, who Fry mentored and made three albums with. All told, more than 70 gold and platinum singles and albums were recorded at Ardent. Fry, who was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame on Nov. 6, had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and had gone through chemotherapy. - Billboard, 12/18/14...... Udo Juergens, an Austrian-born star who dominated pop music in the German-speaking world and sold more than 100 million records in a career spanning five decades, died on Dec. 21 after collapsing unconscious during a walk in Gottlieben, a town on Lake Constance north of Zurich, Switzerland. He was 80. "Warum nur, warum" became a No. 1 hit for Mr. Juergens in France, and Walk Away," and an English-language version sung by Matt Monroe went to No. 1 in Britain and No. 2 in the United States, selling 1.5 million records. - AP, 12/21/14...... Joseph Sargent, the director of the 1974 film The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and winner of four Emmys and four DGA Awards, died on Dec. 22 at his home in Malibu of complications from heart disease. He was 89. His credits also included Something The Lord Made, Warm Springs, MacArthur, The Incident, Playing For Time, Miss Rose White, Miss Evers' Boys and Love Is Never Silent. - Variety, 12/23/14.
Joe Cocker, a Grammy-winning rock icon best known for his cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends" and for fronting the legendary 1970 Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour which became a hit double-LP, died on Dec. 22 at his home in Crawford, Col., after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. He was 70. Born in Sheffield, Great Britain in May 1944, the gravely voiced soul, blues and rock singer released his eponymous debut album in 1969 which featured covers of songs by Bob Dylan. He performed at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 (as well as the Woodstock '94 anniversary festival) and scored 19 charting hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including 1968's "With a Little Help From My Friends," which later became the theme song for the hit 1980s TV show The Wonder Years. In 1982, he had a No. 1 hit with "Up Where We Belong," a duet with Jennifer Warnes, from the film An Officer and a Gentleman. The song also won him his only Grammy Award, for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal. He also charted Top 40 hits with "You Are So Beautiful" (No. 5), "The Letter" (with Leon Russell and The Shelter People, No. 7), "When the Night Comes" (No. 11) and "Feeling Alright" (No. 33). Another famed Cocker track, the Randy Newman-penned "You Can Leave Your Hat On," became a hit in 1986 after it was used in the film 9 1/2 Weeks. The song reached No. 35 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart. He released 22 solo albums, the last being Fire It Up in 2012. During a recent concert in New York, his friend Billy Joel told the crowd that Cocker was not well, and urged that Cocker be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. A statement released by his record label Sony, reads: "John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22, 2014 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. Mr Cocker was 70 years old. Joe Cocker was born 5/20/1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20's. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen of England. His international success as a blues/rock singer began in 1964 and continues till this day. Joe created nearly 40 albums and toured extensively around the globe." Cocker's agent Barrie Marshall released a statement regarding his death, saying: "it will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts." Although Cocker was reportedly battling lung cancer, Marshall said that he passed away of "an undisclosed illness." Cocker's passing also drew condolences on Twitter.com from such fellow famous musicians as Ringo Starr, Tom Morello, Peter Frampton, Bryan Adams, Steven Tyler, Bette Midler, Arlo Guthrie, Lenny Kravitz and Bootsy Collins.. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/22/14.
Just two seasons in, the Thursday night CBS sitcom Mom has proven itself to be a primetime series that doesn't shy away from often dark subject matter, tackling such controversial issues as alcoholism, gambling, homelessness, cancer, and teen pregnancy. "I didn't see any point in doing another sitcom and not expanding the language a little bit," says cocreator and executive producer Chuck Lorre. "It seemed to me that the genre doesn't really deal with reality." Mom has been compared by critics to producer Norman Lear's 1970s sitcoms, such as All in the Family, Good Times, and Maude, all of which reflected the issues of that era, and Lorre says that while he's not comparing his show to All in the Family, "I thought this was a chance to go back to Lear's work... he saw opportunity in telling stories about what was really happening in people's lives." Coincidentally, Lear recently revealed that he and Sony Pictures are discussing an All in the Family revival for 2015. Lear says that, like the original, the reboot would be about "what you and your family are living through. They're the same problems we had 30 years ago. They're just not being addressed as often." Why does Lear think more shows don't touch the issues, as he did? "The answer lies in what the networks and buyers insist on," Lear says. "They don't want the problems that the sponsors and executives at the networks didn't want all those years ago. There are writers everywhere who would be eager to write about everything they're facing." - TV Guide, 12/21/14.
The Who have been forced to cancel two London dates on Dec. 17 and 18 that would have finished their UK "Who Hits 50" tour as singer Roger Daltrey recovers from a throat infection. The pair of gigs have been rescheduled for March 22 and 23, 2015, as Daltrey rests his voice on doctor's orders. "The band and their management wish to sincerely apologise to all ticket holders for the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused," The Who said in a statement. The UK tour began in November as the band announced they have begun to consider their retirement from music. Following the March gigs, the band is scheduled to headline London's Hyde Park festival in the summer of 2015. - New Musical Express, 12/16/14...... Tickets for AC/DC's upcoming gig at London's Wembley Stadium on July 4 sold out in under 60 minutes after going on sale on Dec. 17. The band will play Wembley as part of three UK dates in London, Glasgow (on 6/28) and Dublin (7/1) in the summer of 2015. - New Musical Express, 12/17/14...... Yusuf (formerly known as Cat Stevens) wrapped a brief U.S. tour in Los Angeles on Dec. 14, his first American trek in 35 years. Dubbed the "Peace Train" tour, a dilapidated train station provided a fitting backdrop for Yusuf's 32-song set at the Nokia Theatre before a sold-out crowd of 7,000. Standing ovations greeted album tracks such as "Where Do the Children Play" and "Miles From Nowhere," with encores including "Gold Digger," "Peace Train," "Sad Lisa" and "Morning Has Broken." Stevens, 66, was backed by his bandmate from his heady '70s days, guitarist Alun Davies, and four young musicians. - Billboard, 12/15/14...... An episode of the Netflix series Lilyhammer featuring acting by Bruce Springsteen began airing on Nov. 21, and the director of the series, Springsteen's longtime E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, says there "was a little bit of anxiety involved." "I know we're friends for 50 years but still it meant a lot to me that he chose me and trusted me enough to direct him when literally everybody on earth's been wanting to do it ," said Van Zandt, who besides making his directoral debut also stars, writes, produces and composes music for the show. Lilyhammer is a fish out of water story about fictional New York gangster Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano (Van Zandt), who is trying to start a new life in the Norwegian city of Lillehammer. Springsteen played Frank's older brother Giuseppe -- a small role that was key to the plot, Van Zandt said. "He's really acting," says Van Zandt. "It's not some cameo. He's not playing himself. It's a real thing." Springsteen also briefly appeared in the 2000 film High Fidelity, but as himself rather than in an acting role. - AP, 12/17/14...... In a recent interview with Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, the wife of John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman said that she and her husband have written letters to Lennon's widow Yoko Ono in a bid to salve Chapman's conscious over the shocking 1980 murder. "If Mark could say anything to John and Yoko now, he would say: 'I'm sorry I caused such pain'. He would say: 'I hope you have forgiven me'...," Gloria Chapman said. "John was a nice person but Mark wasn't thinking about that that day, and put himself first. That was his mistake," she added. She also revealed that she and Chapman have both written letters to Yoko and that she "prays for her to find Jesus Christ in her life and to find forgiveness for Mark." "He isn't angry or upset that (Yoko) has pleaded with judges not to release him. I think he understands," Gloria Chapman added, also saying she thinks that Paul McCartney should visit Chapman in prison because "Mark is a very likeable... and would welcome a visit from Mr. McCartney." Mark David Chapman was sentenced to 20 years-to-life in prison for shooting Lennon outside his home at the Dakota building in New York in December, 1980, and has been refused parole on several occasions. - WENN.com, 12/15/14...... Meanwhile in other Beatles-related news, the Recording Academy announced on Dec. 18 that beloved Fab Four legend George Harrison will be honored with a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award during an invitation-only ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 7, one day before the regular Grammy Awards. Other artists receiving the award include the Bee Gees, Buddy Guy, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and the country duo The Louvin Brothers, among others. The Recording Academy also announced that an all-star Grammys tribute to Stevie Wonder's classic 1976 double-LP Songs in the Key of Life will air on CBS on Feb. 16. Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life -- An All-Star Grammy Salute will feature 25-time Grammy-winner Wonder and contemporary artists covering his songs as well as other archival material. Presenters will also help highlight the historical impact of Wonder's songs on music and culture. - Billboard, 12/18/14...... In other Stevie Wonder news, the R&B icon became a dad for the ninth time on Dec. 17 when his girlfriend Tomeeka Robyn Bracy gave birth to a daughter named Nia. The couple reportedly chose the name because it means "purpose," which is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday observed at the end of December. Wonder has seven other kids from previous relationships, including two sons with his second ex-wife, fashion designer Kai Millard Morris, who he divorced in 2012. - WENN.com, 12/17/14...... The Grammy Hall of Fame added 27 recordings by such diverse acts as the Sex Pistols, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Kraftwerk, The Sex Pistols and Abba on Dec. 16. A selection of both albums and singles have been included, including Kraftwerk's 1974 Autobahn LP, Bob Dylan's 1975 LP Blood On The Tracks, Abba's 1976 single "Dancing Queen," Young's 1972 LP Harvest, Chic's 1978 single "Le Freak," Sex Pistols' 1977 LP Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper's 1972 single "School's Out," Leonard Cohen's 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen, Otis Redding's 1966 single "Try A Little Tenderness" and Reed's 1972 single "Walk On The Wild Side." "These memorable, inspiring and iconic recordings are proudly added to our growing catalogue -- knowing that they have become a part of our musical, social, and cultural history," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. The latest inductions bring the Grammy Hall of Fame's inductions to a total 987 recordings. - New Musical Express, 12/16/14...... The producers of the Carole King Broadway production "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" have announced nationwide casting calls to find actors to portray King and other cast members. Auditions have been set for New York on Jan. 16; Seattle on Jan. 24; Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 7; Pittsburgh on Feb. 21; and Chicago on Feb. 28. The current King, Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller, is leaving the show in March. In addition to the Broadway show, there's a West End production set to begin in February and a U.S. tour kicks off in Rhode Island in September. - AP, 12/17/14...... The performing rights organization BMI announced on Dec. 17 that it has renewed its long-standing partnership with the estate of Michael Jackson for representation of the late pop icon's catalog. "Since 1976, we've had the privilege of licensing his works and we're honored to continue this relationship with his estate," said BMI president Jim O'Neil. The pact, which dates back over 38 years, covers the public performances of Jackson's songs. BMI pegs its membership at over 650,000 songwriters, composers and publishers. - Billboard, 12/17/14...... Surviving members of the '70s hard rock band Iron Butterfly revealed in a recent interview with Classic Rock magazine that they are working on a new LP together and plan to play some shows in the near future. "We just reformed Iron Butterfly with some original members Ron Bushy, the original drummer and founder of the band, and myself, and Doug Ingle Jr.," said Iron Butterfly guitarist Mike Pinera. The band is perhaps best known for their 1968 track 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida', which was taken from the album of the same name. The record has, to date, sold over 30 million copies. - New Musical Express, 12/14/14...... RCA Records announced on Dec. 16 that it has signed Van Morrison to the label, and it will release Morrison's as-yet-untitled 35th studio album in early 2015. "We are thrilled to have Van Morrison, the iconic musical visionary and legend, join the RCA roster," RCA President and COO Tom Corson and CEO Peter Edge said in a joint statement. "He is one of the most prolific and talented songwriters and performers in music today and we are honored to have him join us at the label and work with him on his forthcoming new album." Morrison's new LP will be the follow-up to his 2012 set Born To Sing: No Plan B, which was released via Blue Note and debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 200. Morrison's new album for Sony/BMG will be his first for that company, following long a long stint with Warner Bros. in the 1970s, a 7-year run with Mercury in the 1980s and stints with Polydor, Exile, Virgin/Point Blank and Blue Note. Though he continues to tour extensively through Europe, Morrison hasn't performed in the States since a U.S. tour wrapped in Nov. 2013. - Billboard, 12/16/14...... Soul singer Wendy Rene, whose song "After Laughter, Comes Tears" was sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan on "Tearz," died on Dec. 16 in Memphis, Tenn., following a stroke. She was 67. A rarity for singers at the time, Rene only recorded songs she had written, using Booker T. and the MG's as her backing band. Her dance track "Bar-B-Q" was successful enough that she left high school to make a go of it as a performer though none of her singles ever reached a Billboard chart. Her work was also sampled by such rap/hip hop acts as Ol' Dirty Bastard, Alicia Keys and NastyNasty. - Billboard, 12/18/14...... Millie Kirkham, a backup singer for Elvis Presley whose sky-high iconic soprano helped define Presley's iconic yuletide hit "Blue Christmas," died in Nashville, Tenn., on Dec. 14 after suffering a stroke the previous week. She was 91. Singing as a sort of unofficial fifth member of The Jordanaires, Ms. Kirkham didn't just lead the "whoo-ooh-oohs" on "Blue Christmas," her first session with Elvis in 1957 -- she came up with the part. As the story goes, The King originally didn't want to record the song, but had to, and called on the singers to come up with something silly enough to keep RCA from releasing it. "I started going 'Whoo-oo-oo-oo,' " Ms. Kirkham said in a 2012 interview. "[Elvis] motioned for me to keep doing it, so I did it all the way through the whole song. When we were through, we all laughed and said 'That's one record the record company will never release.' But they did. And if I got royalties, I'd be a rich old woman." Ms. Kirkham became a regular session and stage backup vocalist for Elvis, appearing on hits like "(You're the) Devil in Disguise," gospel cuts like "Milky White Way" and versions of "Polk Salad Annie," "C.C. Rider" and "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." She also sang on classics of the '50s, '60s and '70s by many other artists, including Ferlin Husky, Brenda Lee, Patti Page, Bobby Vinton, Roy Orbison and George Jones.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its class of 2015 inductees on Dec. 16, with Lou Reed, Bill Withers, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Green Day making the cut for next time. In addition, the "5" Royales will receive the Early Influence Award, and Ringo Starr will be honored with the Award for Musical Excellence, which was created in 2000. With that award, Starr becomes the fourth and final former member of the Beatles, who were inducted as a group in 1988, to also be honored as individuals by the hall. Among those finally making the cut after being eligible for many years include the late Reed, who has been eligible since 1997 and appeared on the 2000 and 2001 ballots, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who have been eligible since 1988 and appeared on the ballot in 2006 as well as the 2013 and 2014 ballots, and Withers, who has been eligible since 1996 and made the cut as a first-time nominee. Known for such hits as "Ain't No Sunshine," "Use Me" and "Lean on Me," Withers started recording when he was 33 and left the business 15 years later. Artists also nominated this year but passed over include Chic, who hold the record of nine unsuccessful nominations, Kraftwerk, The Marvelettes, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., The Smiths, The Spinners, Sting and War. A voting body of more than 700 artists, historians and members of the music industry chose the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performer inductees. To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. The 2015 nominees had to release their first recording no later than 1989. The 2015 induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland on Apr. 18. - Billboard, 12/16/14.
Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper is reporting that Elton John will marry his partner of 18 years, David Furnish, on Dec. 21 before a group of close friends and family at their home in Windsor, England. According to a source close to John and Furnish, the couple "have been planning this for months" and that "Elton is flamboyant but, for once, this will be a decidedly low-key affair. Only close friends and family are invited -- it's going to be a small, intimate do... It's important to David and Elton the boys play a special part." Among the invited guests are reportedly David and Victoria Beckham, Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon, and actress Elizabeth Hurley, with the couple's adopted sons Zachary, three, and Elijah, one, serving as ring bearers at the nuptials. On Dec. 10, legislation was passed in the U.K. allowing couples to convert their civil partnerships into marriages. John and Furnish entered into a civil partnership in 2005. - WENN.com/The Daily Mirror, 12/12/14...... Smokey Robinson settled a legal dispute with his ex-wife Claudette Robinson on Dec. 11 over terminated song rights, with the parties telling a judge that they had reached a settlement in principle. The battle involves termination rights under the 1976 Copyright Act. The legendary Motown singer, whose songs include "My Girl" and "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," is in the process of reclaiming rights to his works. But as he was doing this Claudette Robinson, to whom he was married to between 1957 and 1986, says she put a hold on her own singing career to take care of the kids, and asserted that she deserved a 50 percent share of what he recovered. This led Smokey to file a lawsuit for declaratory relief with Claudette filing counterclaims. The dispute was closely-watched in the music community -- especially among artists reps -- with some talk about the conflict between federal copyright law and state family law and the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/14/14...... In other R&B news, Aretha Franklin was honored as Billboard's Women in Music Icon of the Year at the annual Women in Music event in New York on Dec. 11. Introduced by longtime collaborator and friend Clive Davis, who lauded her for topping various Billboard charts a whopping 100 separate times, Franklin took the stage and delivered a brief speech. "I don't get the opportunity to be with industry people as much as I'd like to," she said. "I want to thank Billboard and their staff personnel for this." Stevie Wonder also sent in his regards via video, singing a congratulations to the tune of his own "My Cherie Amour." - Billboard, 12/12/14...... AC/DC have confirmed they will play gigs in the U.K. as part of their European tour in the summer of 2015. The Aussie headbangers will play Glasgow's Hampden Park on June 28 and Aviva Stadium in Dublin on July 1 before headlining London's Wembley Stadium on July 4. The performance in Glasgow will mark the first time AC/DC have played the U.K. and Ireland since their Black Ice world tour in 2009. The band also recently revealed that they would be open to the idea of headlining the Glastonbury festival if asked. Meanwhile, AC/DC has scored their third No. 1 album in the U.S. on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart with their new album Rock or Bust. The LP, which sold 172,000 copies according to Nielsen Music, also debuted at No.1 on the Hard Rock Albums chart and No. 3 on the Hot 200 chart, where it is the group's ninth Top 10 album and their 26th charting title. Rock or Bust is also the band's first new album available for purchase on the ITunes music store, after AC/DC ended its holdout from the popular digital retailer in 2012. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 12/12/14...... In other Billboard chart action, Pink Floyd's seminal 1973 space-rock album The Dark Side of the Moon has returned to the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Dec. 12 thanks to new ultra-cheap pricing in the store (where the classic set was discounted to 99-cents in the tracking week ending Dec. 7). It moved just over 38,000 album equivalent units, comprised mostly of pure album sales (nearly 38,000; up 940 percent), which was good for a No. 13 ranking. That's the album's highest rank since the Oct. 15, 2011-dated chart, when it re-entered at No. 12 following a new deluxe reissue. With 889 weeks on the chart, Dark Side continues to rule as the album with most charted weeks in the history of the tally. Incidentally, the next-closest album, in terms of longevity, is Johnny Mathis' Johnny's Greatest Hits, with 490 weeks. - Billboard, 12/11/14...... In other Pink Floyd-related news, guitarist David Gilmour made a surprise appearance during a concert by the British band Bombay Bicycle Club on Dec. 13 at London's Earls Court Arena, the last ever concert at the venue before it is demolished and the site is redeveloped. Gilmour was introduced onto the stage by Bombay Bicycle Club guitarist Jamie MacColl. "This man gave me my first guitar and was one of the first people to play this venue and by my count has played here more than 27 times," he commented. Pink Floyd first played Earls Court Arena in 1973, on their Dark Side of the Moon tour. Gilmour playing lap steel guitar on the London's band's own song "'Rinse Me Down," before he picked up an acoustic guitar and sang Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" from the 1975 album of the same name, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd. - New Musical Express, 12/14/14...... Billy Joel's sold-out show at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa., on Dec. 5, his first concert at the Penn State arena in 12 years, gave the Piano Man the top ranking in Billboard's Hot Tours list for the week ending Dec. 10. Joel played to a crowd of 12,077, and box office revenue totaled $1.3 million. Joel's last concert at Bryce Jordan Center was on Jan. 16, 2002, during a co-headlining trek with Elton John. That performance drew a sellout crowd of 15,030, generating $1.6 million in sales. The Penn State gig was the first of three events the pop star has scheduled for Dec. 2014. Next on the itinerary is the 12th sold-out performance of his monthly residency at New York City's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 18, and he is set to close out the year at Amway Center in Orlando on New Year's Eve. Other '70s artists ranking in the Top 10 concerts for the week included Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band for a show in Uncasville, Conn. on Dec. 6, James Taylor for a gig also in Uncasville on Dec. 4, and Bob Dylan for a show in Newark, N.J., on Nov. 26. - Billboard, 12/11/14...... Speaking of Bob Dylan, the rock bard has just announced details of his next studio album, a set of Frank Sinatra covers called Shadows in the Night. The 10-track album is due Feb. 3, 2015 via Columbia Records, songs included renditions of "Full Moon And Empty Arms," "Stay With Me" and "What I'll Do." In a press release, Dylan explained his interest in the project as well as his recording process, adding that he doesn't see his renditions as "covers." "It was a real privilege to make this album. I've wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a five-piece band," he said. "I don't see myself as covering these songs in any way," Dylan continued. "They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day." News that the LP would be released in 2015 was originally revealed in a flyer that was inserted into advance copies of Dylan's new Basement Tapes Complete boxset, which dropped in November. - NME, 12/9/14...... Former The Police frontman Sting received a standing ovation on Dec. 9 as he joined the cast of the Broadway musical "The Last Ship," which incorporates several of his songs and is a semi-autobiographical story of his own life. Sting was also presented with a bouquet of white rosts at the Neil Simon Theatre after playing the role of a foreman in the musical. He took no special bow, choosing to stay in line with the ensemble as the clapping grew deafening. "It's a play. It's supposed to be fun and it's great fun," Sting said afterward. "The audience were so with us. They were so buoyant. The cast, too. It was a wonderful experience." Sting joined the cast after the musical, which has no bankable stars until now, struggled at the box office,attributable in part to its challenging topic. Sting hopes he can help raise both awareness and the weekly take to $625,000 a week, which would put it in the black. The previous week it made only $492,000. "I had no intention of going in when I was writing it, but I wanted to help the show out. It's hard to put on a new musical on Broadway, as many shows will tell you," Sting said. "We had a secret weapon and we used it." The $15 million project began as a CD and PBS concert special before it was turned into a stage version for a pre-Broadway stop in Chicago in the summer of 2014. The cast album comes out Dec. 16. - AP, 12/10/14...... Abba co-founder Bjorn Ulvaeus once again repeated his declaration that Abba will never again reunite in a new interview with the Associated Press on Dec. 8. "We took a break in '82, and it was meant to be a break. It's still a break and will remain so," Ulvaeus said. "You'll never see us onstage again." Ulvaeus also discussed the new photo book Abba: The Official Photo Book, which was released earlier in 2014 in Europe, and just recently in the United States. "I'm not a nostalgic person, but looking at these pictures really took me back," he said of the book, which features more than 600 photos from the height of the band's career in the 1970s. - AP, 12/9/14...... Joni Mitchell, who recently released a box set of music culled from her 40-year-plus catalog called Love Has Many Faces, A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced, says that she "don't miss much of anything" these days after retiring from performing due to a battle with the rare skin condition Morgellons Disease. "I've had a very full life," says the 71-year-old singer/songwriter. "I don't miss much of anything. I can't sing anymore -- don't miss it. I can't play anymore -- don't miss it. I've got all these instruments laying around and hopefully one day I'll pick them up. But I do want to start writing my short stories, that's what I want to do after I get this ballet out of the way. If it can happen, great -- if it becomes apparent it's not gonna happen, alright, I've got plenty to do. And I'll still paint." Mitchell says her next project will be a four-part ballet to be danced in early 2015 by the Alberta Ballet -- her first production since 2007's "Shine." - Billboard, 12/9/14...... Pop crooner Tom Jones responded to Welsh rugby officials who are being urged to ban the singing of his classic hit "Delilah" before matches because some claim the lyrics "trivialize the idea of murdering a woman. Speaking at the inaugural BBC Music Awards in London on Dec. 11, Jones said taking the song literally "takes the fun out of it." "If it's going to be taken literally, I think it takes the fun out of it, I think it takes the spirit out of why it's being sung at a Welsh rugby match." Jones added that the song wasn't meant to be a "political statement": "If they're looking into the lyric about a man killing a woman, it's not a political statement, it's something that happens in life. This woman was unfaithful to him and he just loses it... I wasn't thinking that I was the man that was killing the girl when I was singing the song -- I was acting out the part." He add that fans singing the song at matches made him "proud to be Welsh," commenting: "I love to hear it being sung at the Welsh games. It makes me very proud to be Welsh, that they're using one of my songs to sing at a rugby match. That's important to me." It was previously reported that Dafydd Iwan, former president of Plaid Cymru, had asked fans at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to stop singing "Delilah" before matches because of its controversial content. The track currently acts as a second anthem for Wales, with the Rugby Union displaying the lyrics on the big screen before matches. The Welsh Rugby Union are yet to take any action over the song. - New Musical Express, 12/11/14...... Speaking before an audience of about 300 at England's Oxford University on Dec. 8, former Sex Pistols and current PiL frontman John Lydon said that all religion is "vile, poisonous and idiotic" and spoke of his exposure to paedophile priests as a young boy. "They spend all their time trying to make you believe things that can't possibly be true. Sounds a lot like the Tory party," he said. The irreverent punk rock icon, who was making his final public appearnce to promote his 2014 autobiography Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored, also took a swipe at Mick Jagger for the Rolling Stones frontman's "embarrassing" performance at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2013. "It's Mick in ladies' tights and his testicles are frocked and he's running around like a speed freak and then there's the band looking incredibly embarrassed and wearing the awful, I call them Tommy Hilfiger kind of colours, like Cliff Richard-on-holiday wear. And if I turn into that... then you're all welcome," he said. As for his musical future, Lydon said he'd give up music "only if I got bored with it, and as long as there's human being in the world, I'm not going to get bored." He said message of his autobiography is "self pity is for arseholes." - NME, 12/11/14...... Music engineer and Island Records co-founder Graeme Goodall, a pivotal figure in the development of Jamaica's music industry, died of natural causes at his Atlanta home on Dec. 4. He was 82. Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1932, Mr. Goodall worked for several AM radio stations down under as an audio engineer before traveling to London in the mid-'50s where he trained (as an engineer) at the International Broadcasting Company (IBC), then Britain's largest independent recording studio. In the mid-1950's, he relocated to Jamaica after bieng offered a three-year contract to help design and install the first commercial FM service on the island. Shortly after his arrival in the capital, Kingston, Goodall (affectionately known as Mr. Goody) became involved in Jamaica's fledgling recording industry helping to build what is said to be Kingston's first recording studio-in the back of a downtown furniture store-owned by Ken "Papa Khou" Khouri, where some of the earliest recordings of mento (a Jamaican folk music, akin to calypso) were done. Mr. Goodall worked with the top Jamaican producers of the 1960s including Sir Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Arthur "Duke" Reid and Cecil Bustamante Campbell a.k.a. Prince Buster. Mr. Goodall was responsible for the recording sessions of some of the most influential artists to emerge from Jamaica throughout the 1960s including The Skatalites, Bob Andy, Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers. (In the 1980s the family of Bob Marley purchased Federal Studios and it is now home to the world renowned Tuff Gong Studios). Mr. Goodall remained in Jamaica until the 1970s and eventually moved to the US where he worked for Sony's pro-audio division. He is survived by his Jamaica born wife Fay, whom he married in 1961, and their two children. - Billboard, 12/12/14....... Actress/model Mary Ann Mobley, a go-to guest star on many TV series of the '60s, '70s and '80s including The Love Boat, Perry Mason, Fantasy Island and Diff'rent Strokes, died on Dec. 9. She was 77. Mobley won the Miss American crown in 1959, and was married to actor/talk-show host Gary Collins for 45 years. Her big screen credits include one of Elvis Presley's love interests in the 1965 film Girl Happy. - TV Guide, 12/22/14.
Paul McCartney appears as a hologram in a new video for "Hope For The Future," his song written specifically written for the video game Destiny. In the clip, Sir Paul sings to blue and green aliens about building bridges to the sky, as warriors walk around deserts with guns and spaceships fly over barren landscapes, among other sci-fi happenings happen. "Hope For The Future" was released with a variety of different mixes on Dec. 8, and McCartney was reportedly paid nothing for his participation in the Destiny project -- only taking part in it just for the sake of creativity. "I was intrigued by the intricacy of the music because in a game if you go one route a certain piece of the music plays," Macca told New Musical Express. "I know from my kids and my grandkids, they just bury themselves in a game and I don't think they've got time to listen to my music. Their agenda is pretty full with all the other stuff, you know, so I like the idea of infiltrating into their agenda." Asked whether or not he's played the hot first-person shooter game, McCartney responded: "I'm not very good at games. I've got so much else to be getting on with; I can't have my face in a screen, you know, bopping along in a game. I had a go and it was great, but I got mashed almost instantly. The aliens mashed me." After its release earlier in 2014, Destiny is on track to become one of the highest-selling video game franchises of all time. Meanwhile, Dec. 8 marked the 34th anniversary of the tragic loss of Paul's former bandmate John Lennon, and McCartney appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show on that date to reflect on John's death. "It was so horrific and I couldn't take it in...For days, you just couldn't think he was gone," he remembered, adding that he received the bad news via an early morning phone call at his home. He also said he believed Mark David Chapman's act was not politically motivated -- a "total random thing" -- and called Chapman" the jerk of all jerks." In other Beatles-related news, the Fab Four has topped Billboard's Vinyl Albums chart for the fifth time with "Long Tall Sally," a Black Friday Record Store Day exclusive. The limited-edition four-song 7" reissue also starts at No. 22 on Top Rock Albums, selling 6,000 copies (all on vinyl) in the week ending Nov. 30, according to Nielsen Music. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 12/9/14.
Founding Creedence Clearwater Revival members Doug Clifford, Stu Cook and Tom Fogerty's wife Patricia Fogerty have filed a new lawsuit over CCR frontman John Fogerty over the use of the band's name. The long festering dispute stretches back to 1996 when Fogerty was the plaintiff in a lawsuit that alleged Clifford and Cook were the ones misusing trademarks through the "Creedence Clearwater Revisited" tour. According to the trio's new suit, it was John Fogerty who withdrew his objection to Creedence Clearwater Revisited in return for payment for uses of the "Revisited" name. The latest lawsuit points out that after the settlement, Fogerty gave interviews where he continued to slam use of the "Creedence Clearwater Revisited" name. "Using the name is sort of a sacrilege," John Fogerty told one publication. Now with Fogerty said to be threatening litigation again over money, the other Creedence parties are going to court first. They not only allege that Fogerty has breached the settlement agreement by publicly condemning use of "Revisited," but that Fogerty himself is now violating the band's trademarks. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/8/14...... Motown icons The Temptations and The Four Tops, who still tour often and appeared on Broadway in 1986, will renew heir rivalry when they perform on Broadway again this winter for a seven-concert stand between Dec. 29-Jan. 4 at the Palace Theatre. The Four Tops' Abdul "Duke" Fakir and The Temptations' Otis Williams, the only surviving original members of their groups, admit they "still have love for each other" despite the rivalry. "We're very competitive," says Fakir. "That's the way Motown was built. Basically we competed all the while. But we competed in a wonderful way -- brother against brother." Their concerts are part nostalgia and part education, reminding the audience of the Motown sound and celebrating such songwriters as Lamont Dozier and the team of brothers (Brian) Holland and (Eddie) Holland. "I never would have imagined that I'd still be here singing songs that are half my age," says Williams, 73. "Those songs feel fantastic even if it is 60 years later." - AP, 12/9/14...... Jack Utsick, a former music promoter who produced events for top-name acts such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Aerosmith, has been extradited to the U.S. from Brazil to face charges in a $300 million fraud case. Utsick, 72, fled to Brazil in 2006 during investigations by the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission. After a lengthy court battle, Brazil ordered his extradition in August and he was flown to Miami on Dec. 6. Authorities say he operated his Worldwide Entertainment Inc. promotion company as a Ponzi scheme, repaying older investors with money from newer ones. The scheme defrauded an estimated 3,300 investors out of nearly $300 million. He is charged with eight counts of mail fraud, each carrying a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Utsick has not yet entered a plea. - AP, 12/8/14...... David Bowie will face a host of newcomers including Ed Sheeran, Elbow, Jungle, Royal Blood and Sam Smith for the title of "British Artist of the Year" at the inaugural BBC Music Awards on Dec. 11. The BBC Music Awards will take place before an audience of 13,500 at London's Earls Court. Despite his nomination, Bowie has in 2014 only released two new tracks and hits compilation Nothing Has Changed. - New Musical Express, 12/8/14...... The lyrics of two early unrecorded Bob Dylan songs from the early 1960s failed to sell at an auction conducted by Christie's in New York on Dec. 4. The typed lyrics, including handwritten annotations, were of the original 1962 "Talkin Folklore Center," which was expected to fetch $40,000 to $60,000, while Dylan's "Go Away You Bomb" lyrics from 1963 were estimated to bring $30,000 to $50,000. The consignor has yet to announce what he now plans to do with the lyrics. - AP, 12/4/14...... Elton John took an embarrassing tumble out of his chair during he Mylan World Team charity tennis tournament in London on Dec. 7. The Rocket Man was serving as team captain against a group led by his good friend and former women's tennis champion Billie Jean King as his director's chair folded when he climbed into it, causing him to fall backwards towards the ground, taking two more chairs with him. To make matters worse, Sir Elton's team -- comprised of tennis icons Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Martina Hingis and Heather Watson -- lost out to King and her pros, including Tim Henman, Sabine Lisicki and Jamie Murray. Proceeds from the tournament will go towards the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Meanwhile, Elton is among the confirmed performers at the upcoming Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2015, which takes place at New York's Times Square on Dec. 31. John will perform his anthem "I'm Still Standing" on the telecast, which gets underway at 8:00 p.m. on Dec. 31 and broadcast on ABC. - WENN.com/Billboard, 12/8/14...... In a brief one-page "summary of facts," prosecutors in the threatening-to-kill case against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd released details of their case against the musician on Dec. 6. The New Zealand prosecutors say that on Sept. 26, Rudd first called a business associate and talked about "what he wanted done" to the man, before calling the man and making the threats. Prosecutors said the man worked for Rudd under a contract arrangement. According to prosecutors, Rudd told police he didn't make the alleged phone calls and had not threatened to kill anyone. Prosecutors said police on Nov. 6 searched Rudd's home in the small city of Tauranga and found 130 grams (4.6 ounces) of marijuana and 0.7 grams (0.02 ounces) of methamphetamine. They said Rudd did acknowledge possessing a small amount of marijuana. Rudd's future with AC/DC, who on Dec. 2 released their latest album Rock Or Bust, remains uncertain. The LP bowed at No. 1 on the charts in their native Australia, and at No. 3 in the U.K. - AP, 12/7/14......In other news Down Under, the Rolling Stones wrapped the final leg of their 14 On Fire tour through seven cities in Australia and New Zealand with a sold out performance at Auckland's rugby venue, Mt Smart Stadium, on Nov. 22. The tour ended with ticket sales topping $165.1 million from 25 sold-out shows at 22 venues in Europe, Asia and Oceania. From the Feb. 21, 2014, launch in Abu Dhabi through the finale in New Zealand, the final sold ticket count totaled 862,900, and their three shows at the Japan's Tokyo Dome on Feb. 26, March 4 and 6, grossed $27.9 million. It was not only the Stones tour's top gross, but also the highest-grossing concert stand in 2014 by any touring artist. - Billboard, 12/5/14...... Soul great Al Green and former Police frontman Sting were among the five honorees at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7. Pres. Barack Obama saluted the honorees, which also included actors Tom Hanks and Lily Tomlin prima ballerina Patricia McBride, at the gala which was hosted by Stephen Colbert. The event was taped and will be broadcast Dec. 30 on CBS. The Kennedy Center Honors are the nation's highest award for influencing American culture through the arts. - AP, 12/7/14...... Queen guitarist Brian May, also a noted astrophysicist, has joined a group of astronomers, scientists and other artists to raise awareness about the threat of asteroids on our planet. The group warned during a news conference on Dec. 3 that Earth is headed for destruction if global action isn't taken. May and the other members of the group, which also includes former astronaut Ed Lu, ethologist Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye (the science guy), called for the creation of a massive asteroid detection system to "solve humanity's greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future." The group also advocated the adoption of an Asteroid Day to commence on June 30, 2015. The date is a reference to Earth's last major asteroid impact, which flattened 800 square miles near Tunguska, Siberia on June 30, 1908. "The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it becomes that the human race has been living on borrowed time," Dr. May said during a news conference held via satellite in London and Los Angeles. "We are currently aware of less than one percent of objects comparable to the one that impacted at Tunguska, and nobody knows when the next big one will hit. It takes just one." "If [Tunguska] had taken place 6 1/2 hours later, Berlin would have rotated into the object's path, and that would have utterly changed the course of human civilization," said Nye. - Billboard/The London Telegraph, 12/5/14...... Geoffrey "Jake" Commander, a veteran rock guitarist with ties to Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra, was sentenced to ten days in jail on Dec. 5 at U.S. District Court in Virginia for participating in an attack carried out by the Internet hacker group Anonymous on MasterCard's website. Commander was reportedly at his home in New Hampshire on Dec. 10, 2010, when he entered an Anonymous chat room. In what he told the court was a "protest" against banks which had "brought the country to its knees," Commander found himself joining a thousand others in flooding the credit card company's site with traffic, resulting in a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). Commander said he later regretted his "impulsive, spurious and foolish" decision to click on the links, which cost MasterCard over $1 million. The MasterCard attack was part of a larger, months-spanning action by Anonymous called "Operation Payback." His attorney said about 2,000 people took part in the operation. He was one of only 13 people charged. At sentencing, Commander said he was "mortified to have upset the government of this country, which has been my host for many years." His lawyer said that upon his release in mid-December, he will leave the country and never return. Commander replaced Jeff Lynne as guitarist in the rock legend's early band, Andicaps, and later became a tech roadie and occasional background vocalist on several ELO tours. He also sang a bit on Lynne's 1990 solo album Armchair Theatre. - Billboard, 12/8/14...... Former Genesis member Phil Collins was forced to cancel a charity performance at the Fillmore in Miami on Dec. 6 after coming down with an illness. The planned three or four-song set would have been Collins's first solo performance in several years, after he announced his retirement in 2011 to focus on being a father. The show was scheduled at the Fillmore Miami Beach to benefit his Little Dreams Foundation, presented by Collins' ex-wife Orianne Collins Mejjati and music technologist David Frangioni. Collins was on hand to break the bad news to his fundraiser audience, telling them that he had been overcome by a neurological affliction that affects him occasionally. He said he'd been working with doctors over the past two days and that sound checks had gone poorly, apologizing and thanking those in attendance. "Trust me, you wouldn't enjoy it," he said when he was encouraged to sing anyway. - Billboard, 12/7/14...... Songwriter/producer/publisher Bob Montgomery, who masterminded recording sessions for such country music icons as Mel Tillis, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and B.J. Thomas, among many others, died on Dec. 4 at his home in Kansas City, Mo., following a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. He was 77. Born May 12, 1937, in Lampasas, Tex., Montgomery met Buddy Holly when they were both in junior high school in Lubbock. Soon after, the two young enthusiasts formed their own band, Buddy and Bob. With Holly, Montgomery co-wrote the songs "Wishing," "Heartbeat" and "Love's Made a Fool of You." They also recorded a few songs together. In the early 1960s, Montgomery formed the House of Gold music publishing company with Bobby Goldsboro. He went on to produce Goldsboro's worldwide hit, "Honey," which topped the pop, country and adult contemporary charts for weeks in 1968. They sold their publishing company to Warner Bros in 1983. House of Gold also published such high-profile hits as Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors" and Gary Morris' "Wind Beneath My Wings." After selling House of Gold, Montgomery worked with Tree Music and from there moved on to manage A&R for CBS Records, where he signed such future chart-topping acts as Joe Diffie, Doug Stone and Collin Raye.
Saxophonist Bobby Keys, best known for his contributions to such classic Rolling Stones tracks as "Brown Sugar" and "Tumbling Dice" as well as touring and recording with such major rock acts as Eric Clapton, John Lennon and others, died on Dec. 2 at his home in Franklin, Tenn., after a battling cirrhosis of the liver. He was 70. Keys began his career in his teen years on tours with Buddy Holly, Bobby Vee and Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, and in 1961 established himself with his sax solo on Dion's "The Wanderer." This led to more studio work, when he befriended the Stones' Keith Richards and he contributed to his first album by the band in 1969. In 1970, Keys toured with the legendary Mad Dogs & Englishmen entouraged fronted by Joe Cocker, and around that time was also a member of Lennon's Plastic Ono Band. Keys, having become a go-to tenor saxophonist for British rock royalty, played on all of the Stones albums from 1969's Let It Bleed to 1974's It's Only Rock 'n' Roll and performed with band on nearly every tour from 1970 forward including the recent "14 On Fire" tour until quitting the tour in October. Keys released two solo albums, a self-titled instrumental album that featured Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Clapton, and Gimme the Key, which Starr released on his Ring O'Records in 1975. Keys also recorded with the likes of Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon, Sheryl Crow and many others, and in recent years, he led the band the Suffering Bastards with Dan Baird of Georgia Satellites and other rock veterans. In 2012, he published an autobiography, Every Night's a Saturday Night. After hearing the news of Keys' passing, the Rolling Stones tweeted that they "are devastated by the loss of their very dear friend and legendary saxophone player, Bobby Keys... Bobby made a unique musical contribution to the band since the 1960's. He will be greatly missed." Keith Richards also paid his own personal respects, posting a hand-written note which read, "I have lost the largest pal in the world and I can't express the sense of sadness I feel although Bobby would tell me to cheer up." - Billboard, 12/2/14.
Former Small Faces and later Faces keyboardist/songwriter Ian McLagan, who had stints backing Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones and others, died in hospital in his hometown of Austin, Tex., on Dec. 3 after suffering what was described as a "massive stroke" a day earlier. He was 69. Born in 1945 in Middlesex, U.K., McLagan joined the Small Faces in 1965 and continued to play with the band after they changed their name to the Faces in 1969, when Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined. McLagan co-wrote such popular Faces' tracks as "Cindy Incidentally" and "You're So Rude," but his defining moment came on their 1971 hard-charging track "Stay With Me." When the Faces split up, McLagan stayed with Stewart, playing on his first five albums, including his legendary Every Picture Tells a Story and Never a Dull Moment. The Faces split in 1975, and McLagan began work as a session musician, playing with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Bonnie Raitt and Frank Black over the years. He also continued to record with Wood and Lane on their solo projects. McLagan hooked up with the Rolling Stones to record their classic set Some Girls in 1978, and toured with them as well. Other highlights in his career include Chuck Berry's London Sessions, Carly Simon's Spy, Bonnie Raitt's Green Light and Bruce Springsteen's Human Touch and Lucky Town. He also toured with Bob Dylan in 1984. Relocating to Austin in 1994, McLagan also performed regularly with Billy Bragg. The Faces reunited in 2010 with Simply Red's Mick Hucknall on lead vocals in place of Stewart and played a headline set at the Vintage at Goodwood Festival. The band toured in 2011. An active musician through his final years, in 2014 McLagan and his Bump Band released the album United States, he recorded with the Empty Hearts featuring Eliot Easton of the Cars and Clem Burke of Blondie and was about to tour with British pop rocker Nick Lowe on his Quality Holiday Revue. "Ian's artistry, generosity and warmth of spirit touched countless other musicians and music fans around the world. His loss will be felt by so many," his family said in a statement. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/3/14.
Just two days after AC/DCdrummer Phil Rudd's lawyer entered a not-guilty plea to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs on Rudd's behalf, the musician was brought to Tauranga District Court in New Zealand on Dec. 4 after a bizarre scuffle with an unidentified man and Rudd's own bodyguard. Police were called to a cafe in Tauranga after witnesses reported seeing the 60-year-old drummer "following a taller, bigger guy" and "trying to punch him." A third man, believed to be Rudd's bodyguard, then intervened which reportedly caused Rudd to begin to "punch and kick" him also. Appearing in court in handcuffs, Rudd was granted bail on condition he doesn't consume illicit drugs. Rudd's lawyer admitted his client had a "chance meeting" with someone he was barred from contacting under his previous bail conditions. The drummer is said to have "mumbled unintelligible responses" when the waiting media asked questions outside the court. Rudd has been in the headlines since he was charged in November with trying to procure a murder. That charge was soon dropped, but he still faces charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. He has been on bail since his arrest in early November in New Zealand. Judge Tom Ingram said Rudd's charges of threatening to kill and drug possession would likely be heard at a judge-alone trial in 2015. - Billboard, 12/4/14...... Cher is calling out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for what she says is the governor's "torture" of pigs by recently vetoing legislation outlawing pig gestation crates in his state. "IowaFarmers,WHY MUST U TORTURE PREG.PIGS? U PUT THEM IN CRATES & LOCK EM DOWN SO THEY CANT MOVE! C. CHRISTIE,UR DESPICABLE BULLY 4GET POTUS," Cher tweeted on Dec. 2. Although New Jersey has few hogs, some argue that Christie, who has been weighing a run for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, has been influenced by the early voting status of Iowa, a state that raises more than 20 million hogs annually. After Cher's postings on Dec. 2, Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad responded by tweeting, "They know a lot about pig production out there in Hollywood." - AP, 12/3/14...... Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin of Coldplay filled in for U2 frontman Bono during a World AIDS Day concert in New York City's Times Square on Dec. 1. Bono, who is still recovering from a nasty bike accident he suffered in Central Park in November, and the other U2 members personally invited the two rock superstars to, as the band posted on their Facebook page, "save the World AIDS Day event from cancellation." Also donating their talents for the benefit were rapper Kayne West and country star Carrie Underwood. - Billboard, 12/1/14...... Premium cable channel HBO has reportedly picked up a rock 'n' roll drama which is being exec-produced by the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese. Set in the 1970s, the drama -- which remains untitled -- explores the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of a record executive trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. Scorsese directed the pilot and executive produces alongside Jagger, Terrence Winter, Rick Yorn, Victoria Pearman, Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Breaking Bad's George Mastras. The series will star Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie) as a record company president, and Olivia Wilde as his wife. A premiere date has not yet been determined. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/2/14...... According to a new survey by Wealth-X.com, Paul McCartney is the world's second-wealthiest recording artist with a net worth of $660 million, topped only by Madonna and her $800 million. However if the list is opened up to musicians as a whole, composers and theater moguls such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, a man worth around $1.2 billion, would have to be included. Elton John came in at No. 9 in the top 10 wealthiest recording stars, with a worth of $450 million, behind such artists as Dr. Dre, Diddy, Celine Dion, Bono, Mariah Carey and Jay Z. - Billboard, 12/2/14...... After wrapping a critically lauded 17-show tour of Canada on Nov. 29 in Victoria, B.C., John Fogerty says he's now looking forward to bringing the show to the U.S. in 2015. The Canadian tour was designed to commemorate the 45th anniversary of his triumphant 1969 with Creedence Clearwater Revival, a year which saw CCR score four Top 5 singles and even out-sell the Beatles during that 12-month span. The shows included the bit hits, of course -- including "Proud Mary, "Bad Moon Rising, "Green River" and "Down on the Corner"-- and also included some of his more recent solo material. Also on tap for 2015 is the publication of an autobiography that Fogerty started working on in 2013. "It's finished, but it's not done," Fogerty says. "I'm going through it and figuring out what should have more emphasis and what should have less. So right know I'm knee-deep in that process." Fogerty will also be exploring his past with a career-spanning box set that's due out in 2015 and is currently being assembled. And he says some new music is in his crosshairs, too: "Not quite specifically songs yet, but the textures of the sound of the music, and that sort of thing takes shape for me. I do practice a lot or have a guitar in my hands every day, so ideas develop from that." - Billboard,12/2/14...... Also held in New York the previous week was the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Kiss, who appeared in the parade, apparently didn't have a good time amongst the floats and holiday cheer. "Bluntly, We were screwed over & misled by the exec in charge of #MacysThanksgivingDayParade . We ALL deserved better. pic.twitter.com/hUVUN9gTqE," posted Kiss's Paul Stanley on Nov. 28. Stanley didn't elaborate on what he's upset about, but it could be the fact that NBC didn't put Kiss on camera until right before he first chorus of "Rock and Roll All Nite" -- or that the spotlight focused on bassist Gene Simmons during Tommy Thayer's guitar solo. - Billboard, 12/1/14...... The lyrics of two early unrecorded Bob Dylan songs are scheduled to be auctioned in New York in early December. The original 1962 "Talkin Folklore Center" manuscript could fetch $40,000 to $60,000. The "Go Away You Bomb" lyrics from 1963 could bring $30,000 to $50,000. Dylan gave the lyrics to the founder of the legendary Folklore Center in Greenwich Village. Izzy Young produced Dylan's first important concert in New York at the Carnegie Chapter Hall on Nov. 4, 1961, and Dylan wrote "Talkin" after Young asked him to write a song about the Folklore Center store. "Go Away You Bomb" was written for an unpublished book Young was compiling of anti-nuclear songs. Sale proceeds will support Young's current venture, the Folklore Centrum in Stockholm, Sweden. - AP, 12/1/14...... Neil Diamond announced on Dec. 1 that he'll mount a seven-date tour of Australia and New Zealand in October and November 2015. The tour of arenas and wineries kicks off at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, then visits Dunedin, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and wraps-up Nov. 9 at Sydney's Allphones Arena. On the trek, he'll play works from his latest studio album Melody Road, which debuted in the Top 10 in the U.S and Australia after its Oct. 21 release date. The tour has the flexibility to fit in many more shows. - Billboard, 12/1/14...... Former Commodores member and '80s superstar Lionel Richie is the first confirmed headliner at the UK's 2015 Glastonbury Festival. Richie will make his debut U.K. festival appearance in the Sunday teatime slot on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, according to the event's website. This year's festival takes place from June 24-28 and is already sold out. The full lineup will be announced in the spring. "He's got so many amazing songs, to see him perform here on the farm is just going to be wonderful," said Glastonbury organizer Emily Eavis in a statement. Meanwhile, AC/DC's Angus Young said his band would be open to performing at the 2015 Glastonbury fest "if they ask" during a radio interview with BBC 6 on Dec. 1. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/2/14...... The Who's Roger Daltrey reportedly gatecrashed a wedding held at a hotel that he was staying at in Scotland on Nov. 30 and performed a rendition of the Who's "I Can't Explain." "Roger came up and he took the mic and he congratulated the bride and groom," said a member of the wedding band, The Milestone. "Because the groom had served in the parachute regiment he also mentioned them as well. Then he turned to the band and he said, 'I was through next door and I heard the band and they're brilliant, so I had to come through'." Bride Susan Smith wrote on Facebook following the event: "Absolutely overwhelming! The story we will be telling for the rest of our lives. Thank you so much x." Her new husband, Carl added: "Can't believe it happened. Feels so surreal. Thank you so much, you made our perfect day even better, a gent and a legend." In other Who news, Pete Townshend has announced details of a "classical" version of the Who's classic Quadrophenia album. The original LP was released in 1973, with an orchestral re-recording of the album coming out in 2015 to mark the influential band's 50th anniversary. The recording features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London's Oriana Choir, tenor Alfie Boe, conductor Robert Ziegler, singer-songwriter Rachel Fuller, plus Townshend on electric guitar. It was recorded at London's Air Studios last October. Townshend and co will perform the reworked album at the Royal Albert Hall in London on July 5, 2015. - NME, 12/2/14...... Fleetwood Mac will headline the UK's Isle of Wight Festival 2015, it was announced on Dec. 1. The band, who recently announced a string of huge UK tour dates for 2015, will perform on the Main Stage at the festival on Sunday, June 14. Fleetwood Mac signed an exclusive worldwide deal to headline the event, making it their only festival appearance of the year. "With Christine (McVie) now back in the band too, it is going to be a momentous occasion, a moment in music history," founding drummer Mick Fleetwood said in a statement. The Isle Of Wight Festival takes place between June 11-14. - NME, 12/1/14...... Robin Trower will release his latest studio album, Something's About to Change, on Mar. 9, 2015 via Manhaton/V12 Records -- the same day as his 70th birthday. The LP marks his first album since 2013's critically acclaimed Roots And Branches, and dovetails his 17-date UK tour with special guest Joanne Shaw Taylor that kicks off on Mar. 26, 2015. - Noble PR, 12/1/14...... Actor Burt Reynolds is denying reports in the media that he's broke after he announced he was selling off several articles of memorabilia from his career. The Boogie Nights star said an auction in Las Vegas later in December was "a chance to clear out some old memorabilia," including his 1998 Golden Globe and his red jacket from his smash 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit. "I want everyone to know that contrary to what all the news outlets are saying, I am not broke," the actor said in a statement to ET Online. "I have been dealing with a business dispute for many years as well as a divorce settlement. I am simply selling some of my memorabilia that I have enjoyed for so many years but do not have use nor room for them anymore," he said. "Quite frankly, I am sick of so many pictures of myself in my own home," he added. - New York Daily News, 12/3/14...... George Berry, a music wholesaling pioneer, died due to heart failure on Nov. 27 in his home in Lafayette, La. He was 89. Berry -- who is credited with co-founding NARM, the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers now known as the Music Business Assn. -- helped form the Modern Record Service, an early rack-jobber, where he served as a VP. In 1974, he opened Raccoon Records, an independent record store in Lafayette, which closed in 2003. - Billboard, 12/2/14.
A MusiCares Person of the Year tribute concert honoring Bruce Springsteen that was taped in Feb. 2013 and featuring artists such as Elton John, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and Tim McGraw as well as the Boss himself will premiere on PBS stations around the country on Dec. 5 at 9:00 p.m. EST. The star-studded "Tribute to Bruce Springsteen," which was held at Los Angeles' Convention Center and hosted by Jon Stewart, will be part of the network's Arts Fall Festival 2014. The concert was released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download earlier in 2014. The MusiCares Person of the Year Award is given out annually to a musician whose career success is matched by exemplary charitable endeavors. - Billboard, 11/26/14...... In a new interview with the London Sunday Times, Joni Mitchell says she scrapped the idea of current pop sensation Taylor Swift portraying her in a movie adaptation of Girls Like Us, a book that focuses on the impact of Mitchell and two of her fellow famous female singers -- Carole King and Carly Simon. "I squelched that," Mitchell says. "I said to the producer, 'All you've got is a girl with high cheekbones.' It's just a lot of gossip, you don't have the great scenes." She also noted of the source material, "There's a lot of nonsense about me in books ... assumptions, assumptions, assumptions." - Billboard, 11/25/14...... AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, who is facing charges of threatening to kill and drug possession in New Zealand, showed up late for his second court appearance on Nov. 26 and clowned around by jumping on the back of one of his security guards outside the courthouse. According to a local newspaper, the 60-year-old musician winked at reporters, drummed a rhythm on the dock and then sped away from the courthouse in a black sports car. Rudd did not enter a plea during his brief appearance, and he remains free on bail with his next court appearance scheduled for Dec. 2, which also happens to be the date AC/DC's new album Rock or Bust will drop. Rudd's future with the band is said to be uncertain, with guitarist Angus Young only saying that the band will definitely be touring behind the new LP, and "we'll have a good drummer in there." - AP, 11/25/14...... Bob Dylan and his band performed a concert for just one fan on Nov. 23 as part of a Swedish film series called Experiment Ensam. The lucky person, Swedish TV personality Fredrik Wikingsson, was told Dylan would play for him, but given the empty room, he was expecting "some asshole would walk onstage and just laugh" instead. But Wikingsson was pleasantly surprised when the legendary rock star took the stage with his band and played covers of old tracks from Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Chuck Willis. Experiment Ensam aims to take activities that normally occur in a large-group setting and reduce them to single-person events. The director of Experiment Ensam is Wikingsson's pal, which is how he managed to get the gig. The show, and the others that will be part of the Experiment Ensam project, will be available to view in their entirety on YouTube.com beginning on Aug. 15, 2015. - Billboard, 11/25/14...... As the controversial court verdict in Ferguson, Mo., that let police officer Darren Wilson walk scot-free after shooting and killing unarmed civilian Michael Brown dominates the news in the United States and other countries around the world, it was inevitable that classic-rocker-turned-conservative-pundit Ted Nugent would weigh in on the case, and on Nov. 24 The Nuge did just that on his Facebook page. "Here's the lessons from Ferguson America -- Don't let your kids growup to be thugs who think they can steal, assault & attack cops as a way of life & badge of black (dis)honor. Don't preach your racist bullsh*t no justice no peace? as blabbered by Obama's racist Czar Al Not So Sharpton & their black klansmen," Nugent wrote. But he wasn't finished with his rant yet: "When a cop tells you to get out of the middle of the street, obey him & don't attack him as brainwashed by the gangsta assholes you hang with & look up to. It's that simple unless you have no brains, no soul, no sense of decency whatsoever. And don't claim that "black lives matter" when you ignore the millions you abort & slaughter each & every day by other blacks. Those of us with a soul do indeed believe black lives matter, as all lives matter. So quit killin each other you f---in idiots. Drive safely." The Ferguson decision has also drawn outrage from pop stars usually silent on political matters -- including Rihanna and Katy Perry -- who by and large have a completely opposite view on the matter from Nugent's. - Billboard, 11/25/14...... Foreigner has made the opening track of their new album The Best of 4 & More available as an instant download when fans pre-order the album digitally. The song, "Night Life," was recorded live at the Borgata Hotel's Music Box theatre in Atlantic City in October 2014. Foreigner's 4 album spent more weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts than any artist in the history of Atlantic Records, including AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and went on to sell more than 9 million albums worldwide, propelled by such hits as "Juke Box Hero," "Urgent" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You." The Best of 4 & More will be released in the UK on Dec. 8, and on Dec. 16 in the US. - Noble PR, 11/25/14...... Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, Ray Davies of the Kinks revealed that he has recorded new material with his brother and former bandmate Dave Davies. Ray says he and Dave had been working on demos as long ago as last year, calling his sibling "a good writer." "We actually put down a few demos last Christmas," said Davies. "He came to see me, and he played me a couple of new songs." The two have not performed together since 1996 when the Kinks split acrimoniously, and earlier in 2014 Dave nixed the chances of a reunion show, saying said he didn't want it to be "a Ray Davies show where he lets his little brother stand in the corner." Ray responded to those comments by saying that he "didn't understand what that's about...If we do a Kinks show, were the Kinks...Ray stands on the right of the stage and Dave stands on the left." Ray also said a chance of a new Kinks tour "might be difficult" and that he "can't think that far forward." - NME, 11/29/14...... Former U.F.O. and Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker will kick off a UK tour on Dec. 10 at the Newcastle O2 Academy. Schenker, with openers Western Sand, will also visit Glasgow (12/11), Nottingham (12/12), Manchester (12/13), Leeds (12/15), Bilston (12/16), Norwich (12/17) and Bristol (12/19) before wrapping with a show in London at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on Dec. 20. The final show will feature Michael's son Tyson Schenker and his band, State Villains. - Noble PR, 11/26/14...... Cable TV's CNN announced on Nov. 20 that they plan on following up their successful documentary series The Sixties with an eight-part series devoted to the 1970s. The Seventies, which like The Sixties is being executive produced by Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog, is expected to debut in the summer of 2015, according to the newtork. The network said The Seventies would launch with a one-hour episode examining the era's television programming and how it reflected new social currents. The episode will also chronicle the establishment of two big TV franchises: ABC's Monday Night Football (now on ESPN) and NBC's Saturday Night Live. Subsequent one-hour episodes will delve into everything from the Vietnam War to Watergate to the sexual revolution to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Archival and rarely-seen film, video and photographs will provide additional documentation of the era. - Variety, 11/20/14.
Police in San Antonio, Tex., are investigating the theft of about $4,000 worth of instruments from Leon Russell's tour bus on Nov. 23, before the 2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was set to play the city's Aztec Theatre. The instruments were reportedly stolen earlier that day from the vehicle's cargo hold as the band slept on the bus, which was parked in front of the theater. Russell and his band played the show that night nevertheless, using borrowed instruments. - AP, 11/25/14...... AC/DC is currently streaming "Play Ball," the first single from their new album Rock Or Bust, at iTunesRadio.com. The LP is due on Nov. 28 in the hard rockers' native Australia, and on Dec. 2 in North America. AC/DC has vowed that they'll launch a tour behind the new record in 2015, despite the recent arrest of founding drummer Phill Rudd in New Zealand for allegedly threatening murder and drug possession. - Billboard, 11/24/14...... Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band kicked off their latest tour behind their new LP Ride Out at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Mich., on Nov. 19 before a packed house of partisan home state fans. The fans braved a bitter chill and the season's first significant snowfall to see the Detroit rocker belt out a 23-song, two-hour and 10-minute show with a generous selection from the new album. Seger was reportedly in fine voice and the band sounded tight after extensive rehearsals dating back to September, when it was preparing for TV appearances around Ride Out's mid-October launch. The Ride Out tour continues into at least February 2015, with the first of 16 shows featuring the J. Geils Band as openers. More dates are expected to be announced. - Billboard, 11/20/14...... Yoko Ono has covered her slain husband John Lennon's famous yuletide song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" on a new Amazon.com exclusive holiday release, All Is Bright. Yoko collaborated with the Flaming Lips on the track, who in turn just devoted an entire album covering the Beatles' 1967 classic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. - Billboard, 11/20/14...... In other Beatles news, unused photos from the band's photo shoot for their 1969 Abbey Road album sold for £180,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions in London on Nov. 23. The shots were taken on Aug. 8, 1969 by photographer Iain Macmillan, who had only 10 minutes to complete the entire shoot. Six photos were taken in all, including the photo that eventually made the final cut, as well as a scenery shot of the Abbey Road sign. The buyer, calling from overseas, made his winning bid by phone for the collection of photos, which was originally given a sales estimate of £50,000-£70,000. One professor at a UK College of Communication noted that the photos "encapsulate a significant cultural moment (with) an image that launched a notorious conspiracy theory, and clearly still provide a touchstone for fans." - New Musical Express, 11/24/14...... Meanwhile, the Beatles and Paul McCartney's former band Wings will be among the bands releasing exclusive new UK vinyl releases to independent retailers in the country during Universal's "12 Days of Christmas" promotion, which kicks off on Dec. 1. The Beatles will issue a seven-inch of "Long Tall Sally" on Dec. 2, while Wings will release a seven-inch of "Letting Go" on Dec. 11. Over 120 independent record stores will be taking part in the initiative. - NME, 11/20/14...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach have just put their swanky estate in Surrey, which features an 18,332 square foot mansion with 8 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms, up for sale for a reported asking price of around £15 million. The Starrs purchased the 201-acre spread, dubbed Rydinghurst, in 1999 for around £2 million. The couple recently told London's Sunday Times that they don't spend much time at the estate anymore and plan to make another house they own in Malibu, Calif., which they purchased in May 1991 for $3.2 million, their primary home. The couple also own a 3,200-square-foot cabin-style home near Aspen, Col., which they also picked up in 1991 for $1.164 million. They have unsuccessfuly tried to sell that home three times. - Variety, 11/21/14...... On Nov. 23 Sting confirmed rumors that he'll be joining the cast of "The Last Ship," a new Broadway musical that incorporates some of his songs and is set in his Northern English hometown. The former The Police frontman reportedly hopes his participation will help the struggling box office receipts of the $15 million production. Sting will join the production starting Dec. 9 and appearing through Jan. 10, traditionally the busiest period of the year for Broadway theatergoing. He steps into the role of shipyard foreman Jackie White, currently being played by British singer-songwriter Jimmy Nail. Audience capacity for the musical, which centers on a young man named Gideon who comes from a long line of shipbuilders, has hovered around the 60 percent mark during November. Sting last appeared on Broadway as Macheath in a 1989 production of "The Threepenny Opera." - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/23/14...... It appears the beleaguered planned Janis Joplin biopic, which has seen several directors come and go over the years, is back on track now with Hollywood A-lister Amy Adams in talks to portray the legendary female rock singer from Port Arthur, Texas. Also apparently on board are the creative team behind the recent acclaimed movie Dallas Buyers Club, which includes director Jean-Marc Vallee and screenwriters Craig Borton and Melisa Wallack. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/21/14...... Fleetwood Mac have added a fifth London gig to their forthcoming 2015 UK and Ireland tour. The Mac are now set to play London on June 26, before their previously announced London dates of May 27 and 28, and June 22 and 24. The band will also visit Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin before wrapping in Leeds on June 30. - NME, 11/20/14...... Lionel Richie was honored with a Legend of Live Award at the 11th annual Billboard Touring Awards on Nov. 20 at New York's Edison Ballroom. "Very few people get to be in the business for 35, 40 years and still be doing this and alive. I'm thinking back how simple it seems now, but I know people from before it all started, and that's what I want to celebrate tonight," the former The Commodores member said, adding that he has no plans to slow his roll at the age of 65. "Stay with me for the next 400 years, I promise I won't let you down." - Billboard, 11/20/14...... Cher cancelled the remaining dates on her 2014 Dressed to Kill concert tour while she recovers from an infection, according to a statement from her publicist on Nov. 20. Cher, 68, completed 49 dates since her tour began in March before taking a scheduled break in July. Shortly before returning in September, she was struck by an infection that affected kidney function. Her doctors have recommended she take more time to rest for a complete recovery, the statement said. The affected shows were scheduled through Feb. 4 in 22 cities, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Toronto and Chicago. Cher was quoted in the statement as being "totally devastated" at the cancellations, and said that she "cannot apologize enough to all the fans who bought tickets." - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/20/14...... Aretha Franklin released a statement on Nov. 24 condemning a new authorized biography about her, Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz. "As many of you are aware, there is a very trashy book out there full of lies and more lies about me. ... [The writer's] actions are obviously vindictive because I edited out some crazy statements he had the gall to try and put in my book written 15 years ago," Franklin said. "Evidently, he has been carrying this hatred ever since." Ritz's book delves into the Queen of Soul's background as a teenage parent, her own parents' separation, her battle with alcohol and more. Ritz has written a number of biographies, including books on Etta James, Rick James and Ray Charles, and worked with Franklin previously on 1999's Aretha: From These Roots. Franklin's latest album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, was released on Oct. 21 and debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. - AP, 11/24/14...... Southern rock legend Charlie Daniels played his annual holiday benefit concert "Christmas 4 Kids" at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 24. Proceeds will be used to give more than 400 underprivileged children in Middle Tennessee a chance to go Christmas shopping. "It's a concert with a heart," Daniels told Billboard. "It's a very special thing. People are basically pretty doggone good and pretty charitable. Still, sometimes, people like kids are so below our radar, and we would like to do something for them at special times like Christmas, but we don't know where or how to go about it. The wonderful thing about this concert is that it gives us all a chance to do something for people that we should be glad to do something for at this time of year. We don't have to go out to search for that opportunity; it gets brought to us." Daniels noted that the Ryman, which is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, is a venue that has a special meaning to him. "When I was in my teens, I came out to the Grand Ole Opry -- I believe it was in 1954 -- and sat out front. I never thought I would ever see the crowd from the stage myself. It seemed like a dream that was beyond my reach. Every time you walk on that stage, if you have any heart about you at all, you have to stop and think about what a legendary stage you're playing. This is the Mother Church of Country Music. It has to mean something to you." - Billboard, 11/20/14.
Mike Nichols, the award-winning director and pioneering comedian known for directing such hit groundbreaking movies as The Graduate, Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood and The Birdcage, died on the evening of Nov. 19 at the age of 83. During a career spanning more than 50 years, Mr. Nichols occupied that rare air in the industry of those who have won the "EGOT" -- an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. Born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin in 1931, Mr. Nichols immigrated to the United States in 1939 to flee Nazi Germany. The family changed its last name to Nichols after settling in New York City, where the family patriarch established a medical practice. Mr. Nichols attended college in Chicago and later headed back to New York, where he studied acting under famed teacher Lee Strasberg. Returning to Chicago, Mr. Nichols started up a comedy troupe and met Elaine May. The pair would go on to form a partnership that would later take Broadway by storm, taking comedy into places it had seldom gone before, bringing an improvisational swagger and intellectual edge to a field that had been dominated by joke-telling standups. Although he was probably best known for his movies, Mr. Nichols was also an outstanding theater director, and at one point in 1967 he had four plays running on Broadway, including Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" and "The Odd Couple." He was a go-to guy for stage works until the end of his life, helming Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" (1984), "Monty Python's Spamalot" (2005) and a 2012 revival of "Death of a Salesman" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. More acclaim would follow for his work on the big screen. His first film, 1966's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and was nominated for 13 Oscars and won five, including a best actress trophy for Taylor. But his next film, 1967's The Graduate, was in many ways more impressive, making innovative use of pop music (thanks to Simon and Garfunkel's songs), and featuring a terrific script by Buck Henry and Calder Willlingham. The movie became a blockbuster sign of the New Hollywood -- one led by youthful moviegoers and antihero protagonists, and Mr. Nichols won a best director Oscar for his work. Mr. Nichols, who was married to ABC News's Diane Sawyer, managed to be both an insider and outsider, an occasional White House guest and friend to countless celebrities who was as likely to satirize the elite as he was to mingle with them. He met Sawyer later in life (he was 54 at the time) and she became his fourth wife. The couple was married for 26 years. His last film as director was 2007's Charlie Wilson's War. In addition to Sawyer, Mr. Nichols is survived by his three children -- Daisy, Max and Jenny -- and four grandchildren. ABC News President James Goldston announced that the family will hold a private service in the days ahead, and a memorial will be held at a later date. - AP/CNN, 11/20/14.
Motown artist Jimmy Ruffin, known for such hits as "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and "Hold on to My Love," died on Nov. 17 in a Las Vegas hospital of undisclosed reasons. He was 78. Born on May 7, 1936, Collinsville, Miss., Ruffin was signed to Berry Gordy's Motown Records, doing back-up work for the label, and had a string of hits in the 1960s, including "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," which became a Top 10 pop hit in September 1966. He had continued success with songs such as "I've Passed This Way Before" and "Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got," but had a big comeback in the spring of 1980 with his second Top 10 hit, "Hold on to My Love," which was produced by late Bee Gees member Robin Gibb. Ruffin was also the older brother of The Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, who died in 1991 at age 50, and worked with him in the 1970s on the album I Am My Brother's Keeper. Ruffin, who lived in England for many years, was described as "a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry" in a statement by his daughter, Philicia Ruffin. "My family in its entirety is extremely upset over his death. He will truly be missed. We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we all have of him," she added. - AP, 11/19/14.
Pink Floyd have scored their first UK No. 1 album since 1995 with their latest effort, The Endless River. The LP sold over 139,000 copies in its first week of release according to the country's Official Chart Company and was Britain's third fastest album of the year, behind albums by Coldplay and Ed Sheeran. "[Pink Floyd] are both thrilled and surprised at the level of international interest in this their final album. They want to thank the fans for their support and hope that in some small way, The Endless River has reminded them of the old fashioned joy of listening to an album in its entirety," a spokesperson for the band said. Meanwhile, Queen's new album Queen Forever, featuring never before released material and a collaboration between Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson, has bowed at number five in the UK. - New Musical Express, 11/17/14...... A colorful wall dedicated to the memory of John Lennon in the Czechoslovakian capital of Prague was painted over apparently by a group of art students on Nov. 17. The wall, which was painted with Lennon's images and related graffiti related to his assassination in 1980, became a symbol of freedom under the old Czech communist regime with young people meeting there to light candles and lay flowers. The students who claimed responsibility for painting the wall white left the message "Wall is over!," an apparent play on word of the Lennon hit "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," and a huge billboard sponsered by John and his wife Yoko Ono simply saying "War Is Over" that was once on display in New York's TImes Square. The student group, known as Prague Service, said in a statement that it was done to mark Monday's 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in Czechoslovakia and "to provide free space for new messages of the current generation." However new messages, including "The wall is never over" immediately began to appear on the wall, which was previously painted over several times by communist authorites to stop unwelcome adoration of a Western musician and activities considered dangerous to the totalitarian regime. - AP, 11/18/14...... In more Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney and Elton John will be among the performers featured in an upcoming Thanksgiving TV special on cable's VH1 showcasing taped live performances at the famous Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn. A Very Bonnaroo Thanksgiving, which also features such acts as Arcade Fire, Metallica, Pearl Jam and Jack White, among others, airs on Nov. 27 beginning at 9:00 p.m. EST. Pre-sales for the 2015 Bonnaroo fest are set to begin the next day, Nov. 28, at noon EST. - Billboard, 11/18/14...... Publisher Blue Rider, an imprint of Penguin Random House, announced on Nov. 19 that it has inked a deal with founding Beach Boys member Mike Love for a memoir to be published in 2016. Titled Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, Blue Rider says that Love, 73, will open up about the band and his "complex" relationship with Brian Wilson, his cousin and mastermind of the legendary American pop group during their peak years in the 1960s. Love and Wilson have fought over songwriting credits and creative control of the group. Good Vibrations will be published, appropriately, during the summer. - AP, 11/19/14...... The family ofBob Marley and a Seattle-based private equity firm have teamed up to market a "premium brand of cannabis rooted in the life and legacy" of the late reggae legend, it was announced on Nov. 18. A New York City-based company will offer "Marley Natural" as "loose packed" buds, oils or concentrate, and it will packaged by Heckler Associates, the agency that branded New Balance and Starbucks Coffee. While Marley's family has recently licensed a variety of lifestyle products in reference to the musician's affinity for marijuana, this marks their first move into the selling of the actual herb. "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations," Marley's son Rohan Marley said. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/18/14...... Patti Smith is calling critics of her upcoming performance at the 2014 Vatican Christmas Concert at Rome's Auditorium Conciliazione on Dec. 13 "fools." Smith received a personal invitation from Pope Francis to perform at the event, a decision that has been slammed as "blasphemous" by the Catholic organisation Portosalvo after the punk poetess's 1975 song "Gloria" notoriously featured the lines: "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine." "I'm not playing to the Pope," Smith said in an interview with the UK's The Guardian paper. "He may not even be there! But I expect there'll be a bunch of cardinals... It's a Christmas concert for the people, and it's being televised. I like Pope Francis and I'm happy to sing for him. Anyone who would confine me to a line from 20 years ago is a fool!" Smith and Pope Francis previously met in April 2013 at St Peter's Square, where the two shook hands. The Vatican Christmas Concert will also feature a performance from "singing nun" Sister Christina Scuccia, who recently won Italy's version of The Voice and covered another singer with a background which is controversial to Catholics, Madonna. - New Musical Express, 11/19/14...... Bruce Springsteen has just launched an online store -- Live Bruce Springsteen -- where fans of the Boss can relive the magic of a certain show or those who got shut out of tickets. The site features recordings from more than 30 recent gigs, including a 2014 gig in New Zealand during which he performed Born to Run in its entirety, and the March 9, 2012, performance with the E Street Band at New York City's Apollo Theatre. Thirty shows from the recent High Hopes tour will also be covered. Springsteen was reportedly inspired to release his own shows after viewing fan-shot videos on YouTube, saying "We can do better than this! We own the masters." For the privilege of reliving the old concerts, fans can expect to plunk down $19.95 for 24-bit HD downloads; $9.95 for MP3s; $12.95 for lossless CD-quality FLAC and ALAC; and $23 for CDs, which will be available Dec. 1. - Billboard, 11/18/14...... '70s artists Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and Joan Baez were among the honorees at the ASCAP Centennial Awards Gala in New York City on Nov. 17. Among those paying tribute to Wonder was Motown founder Berry Gordy, who instead of saying positive things about the icon -- because he said he has done it repeatedly at other events -- told the crowd about some of Wonder's flaws, joking that the R&B legend was a "lousy driver" and that his "golf game sucks." He also said Wonder was consistently late, explaining that his seminal 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life, came two years behind schedule. Sting stunned the audience with a performance of Billy Joel's "Big Man on Mulberry Street" -- ending with a high note that even left Joel impressed, before Joel performed "New York State of Mind." Also honored during the evening were Garth Brooks and Stephen Sondheim - AP, 11/18/14...... Speaking of Stevie Wonder, '70s teen idol Donny Osmond covers Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," with Wonder accompanying him on harmonica, on his upcoming album The Soundtrack of My Life. Osmond will release the LP, on Jan. 13, 2015, to celebrate 50 years in show business. The album finds Osmond paying homage to Wonder and other artists who have influenced him, and will be his 60th LP. "'My Cherie Amour' was the first record I ever purchased," Osmond told Billboard, "When I started working on the song, I thought, 'It would be so cool if Stevie would be willing to play harmonica on my version.' He agreed to do it. It truly is an honor to have him on my 60th album." - Billboard, 11/17/14...... In a recent post on his official website, Neil Young is urging his fans to boycott the Starbucks retail coffee chain, which recently joined up with the Monsanto corporation in a lawsuit against the state of Vermont over the issue of labeling genetically-modified food ingredients. "Starbucks is supporting a lawsuit that's aiming to block a landmark law that requires genetically-modified ingredients be labeled," writes Young. "Amazingly, [Starbucks] claims that the law is an assault on corporations' right to free speech. Monsanto might not care what we think -- but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does. If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same." The Canadian-born folk-rocker adds that he's a longtime Starbucks latte drinker, and that he has been impressed with the company's progressive stances "on LGBT and labor issues in the past," however he says that Vermont is the very first state in the U.S. to require labeling... Dozens of other states have said that they will follow this path -- in order to encourage this, we need to ensure that Vermont's law stands strong." - Billboard, 11/17/14...... Kiss has been confirmed as the third headline act for the UK's Download Festival 2015. The shock-rockers will co-headline the third and final night of the event with Motley Crue on Sunday, June 14. It will be Kiss's first appearance at the fest since 2008. "To all our fans -- our intention is to get on that stage, blow the heavens to smithereens and take no prisoners," Kiss principal Gene Simmons said in a statement. Also confirmed to play the 2015 Download are Judas Priest, Faith No More, Slash and Marilyn Manson - NME, 11/19/14...... The Who have announced they will play London's Hyde Park in June 2015 as part of net year's British Summer Time festival. Their headlining set will be the final performance of the band's "The Who Hits 50" UK tour, and opening acts will include Paul Weller, Kaiser Chef and Johnny Marr. "It's a good gig. You draw from all over the country but a London crowd is always a good crowd. It's a Royal Park so thank you your majesty, you can't play it without her permission," Who guitarist Pete Townshend said in a statement. The Who will kick off their 9-city UK 50th anniversary tour on Nov. 30 in Glasgow. Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac has added an extra night in Manchester on July 1 to their 2015 UK and Irish tour. The band had previously announced a Manchester date on June 12 as part of their 2015 UK tour, which gets underway with a two-night stand at the London O2 Arena beginning on May 27. - NME, 11/17/14...... Legendary producer/songwriter Giorgio Moroder, who helped invent disco in the 1970s with Donna Summer before conjuring the '80s synth sound of film soundtracks, will release his first solo album in more than 30 years in spring 2015. The long-awaited album from the 74-year-old producer will feature collaborations with the likes of Britney Spears, Sia, Charli XCX, Kylie Minogue, Mikky Ekko, Foxes, Matthew Koma and others. He has signed a worldwide deal with Sony Music International for the release of the set, which will be released on RCA Records in the US. To celebrate the announcement of his new album, Moroder released the first music video from the set, appropriately titled "74 Is the New 24." In addition to recently remixing Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" and Coldplay's "Midnight," Moroder has also been DJ'ing at music festivals around the globe. - Billboard, 11/17/14...... TV producer Glen Larson, the writer and producer behind well-loved TV series such as the original Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, Magnum, P.I. and Quincy, M.E., died at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Nov. 14 of complications from esophageal cancer. He was 77. Larson, also an accomplished singer and composer, was a powerhouse in the television landscape in the 1970s and 1980s, when he churned out hits that became staples in millions of living rooms every night. He also co-composed the theme songs for some of his hits, including the frequently sampled tune from Knight Rider and the orchestral music behind Battlestar Galactica, his son said. "He was sort of an icon," James Larson said. "There are a lot of interesting things like that." Larson's first writing credit came in 1966 on an episode of The Fugitive, and by 1968 he had worked his way up to an associate producer on the series It Takes a Thief and quickly rose through the ranks to produce some of the biggest TV shows of the time. At one point, he had five shows airing at once, his son said. A list of nearly four dozen TV credits also includes The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B.J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy and the TV movie The Six Million Dollar Man. He is survived by his wife, Jeannie Pledger, a brother, and nine children from two different marriages. - AP, 11/15/14.
The Rolling Stones have settled their legal battle over the death of Mick Jagger's late girlfriend L'Wen Scott that recently brought insurance underwriters to Utah looking for evidence about the mental health of Scott before she took her life in March in New York City. A spokeswoman for the band, Fran Curtis, declined to elaborate on the details of the settlement, but she said the $12.7 million claim had been resolved before details were reported earlier in November, and added that it was "upsetting that private information was made public in court." A federal judge allowed underwriters to gather information about fashion designer and Utah native Scott from her brother in October, but he told a local Utah paper that the brother wasn't contacted. The band cancelled a number of shows in Australia and New Zealand after Scott's death, and they have now returned to the region to play the postponed gigs. Scott's family recently criticized Jagger in a recent interview with the UK's The Daily Mail paper: "The guy is just unbelievable," says Scott's brother in law Rob Shane, who says his wife Jan is still trying to put it all behind her and now Jagger is in a legal battle with insurers. "(Jagger) doesn't need the money... I read that he's claiming $12.7 million due to the cancellation of the tour and I can't understand that. L'Wren left her entire estate to him and that was valued around the same amount." - AP/WENN.com, 11/14/14.
The Doobie Brothers have earned their highest charting album on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart since 1980 with their new LP Southbound. The release, which sees the classic rock band covering its hits with the help of some of country music's biggest current stars, sold 16,000 copies for the week ending Nov. 9. It's the Doobies' highest chardting album since 1980's One Step Closer. Meanwhile, Bette Midler has scored her fifth consecutive Billboard Top 10 album with It's the Girls, which debuted at No. 3 for the week. It is the diva's highest debut ever, her second-highest charting album, and her sixth Top 10 LP overall. Midler is now only behind Barbra Streisand in charting Top 10 albums from the 1970s through the 2010's). Also heading for the Billbaord Top 10 is Pink Floyd, which is on course to chart its 10th Top 10 album with Pink Floyd's latest album The Endless River, which may sell around 150,000. - Billboard, 11/14/14...... In his just-published memoir The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light, Carlos Santana reveals that he "doesn't want to be attached to this figure thing called Santana." "I like Carlos," the Grammy-winning musician writes. "Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the performer and the person. I want to be like Harry Belafonte or Wayne Shorter or [John] Coltrane and be a person who is nice to be around." Besides detailed memories of his upbringing and musical achievements, the 544-page book also dives unapologetically deep into the 67-year-old guitar legend's philosophies and spirituality. I take special joy in dismantling cynical people," he adds. "Cynical people are like cement -- nothing grows in there. We have the capacity to make the correct choices every day, so every day can be the best day of your life, no matter what." - Billboard, 11/14/14...... Also coming out with a new biography is Fleetwood Mac founding drummer Mick Fleetwood, who reveals that he once urinated on the White House lawn just feet away from a newly elected Pres. Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton back in 1993. "I was dying to pee and I didn't have time to go back to the house before we appeared. I was saying to my manager, 'What the f--- am I going to do?'," he recounts in Play On: Now, Then, And Fleetwood Mac. "I was dressed like Mr Rumours, in knickerbockers, with my wooden balls hanging out. The security guys must have heard because suddenly this fella with an earpiece said something like 'permission granted to urinate on the lawn'. One of our musicians took a picture of me doing it. I don't think Bill and Hillary knew about it, but they'd forgive me." Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac has just added two extra dates to their 2015 UK and Irish tour, which gets underway on May 27 with a two-night stand at London's O2 Arena. Now the band will play two extra shows in London in June, on the 22nd and 24th. The band will also hit Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Leeds during the trek. - New Musical Express, 11/13/14...... AC/DC lead guitarist Angus Young is promising "there'll be a good drummer there" when the group hits the road in 2015 in support of its new album, Rock Or Bust, but he won't say whether that will be current drummer Phil Rudd, who made headlines after he was charged with threatening murder and drug possession in New Zealand. "That's sad when you see him in that space, it's sad to look at," Young says. "But we've committed to going on, going forward. That's our main thing. And also, the guy's got to be in condition to do this run. We don't want to be in this position of canceling things, 'cause if you put together a lot of stuff you don't want somebody saying, 'Oh, yeah, maybe I'll be there, maybe I won't." Cliff Williams, AC/DC's bassist, added that "It's for (Rudd) to sort himself out. We can't do it for him. We can only do so much accommodation. It's in his hands." Rock or Bust is due the first week in December, and the band is still deciding dates and routing for their tour. Meanwhile, the band's 1976 single "Dirty Deeds Done Cheap" has benefited from a sales boost following the news of Rudd's arrest. The song sold just under 2,000 downloads in the week ending Nov. 9 -- up 21 percent from the previous week. It marked the hard-rocking tune's biggest sales week since April 2014. - Billboard, 11/14/14...... Rare instrumental studio recordings by Jimi Hendrix are set to be released on vinyl in the US as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday event (Nov. 28). The new Hendrix "official bootleg," titled Hear My Music, will contain two LPs' worth of the guitar god's "creative explorations." According to Rolling Stone, Hendrix recorded the music in the first half of 1969, both as solo demos and as free-form group jams with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Among the 11 tracks are two versions of "Valleys Of Neptune" -- one featuring a Hendrix solo on electric guitar and the other a piano version. Unedited versions of the tracks "Drone Blue" and "Jimi," both of which appeared on the now out-of-print 1980 album Nine To The Universe, also appear. - NME, 11/13/14...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne revealed on the Nov. 11 episode of CBS's The Talk morning show that the Osbourne family's iconic reality show will be returning to television soon. Sharon says The Osbournes will return to the air for a "mini-season" of "six to eight episodes at most." "It's not as much coming back as a proper series, (but) as an update," she added, noting that Ozzy said that he "wishes we could've done The Osbournes now where I'm clean and sober." The original series, a runaway hit, ran on MTV from 2002 to 2005, and there is no word yet exactly when it will return or what channel it will air on. In other Ozzy news, scientists have named a new species of bat frog which sounds like a bat after the Black Sabbath frontman. The new breed of frog was discovered in the Amazon in 2009, bearing an unusual bat-like call. "As soon as I heard its call, I knew it was a new species. I had never heard anything like it," scientist Pedro Peloso told National Geographic. "We kept talking about the 'bat frog,' which led to us talking about being fans of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath." The frog was named "Dendropsophus ozzyi," referring to the infamous incident that saw Ozzy bite the head off a bat in 1982. - Billboard/NME, 11/12/14...... The Doors drummer John Densmore says he's planning on writing a new book that recalls his "meetings with remarkable musicians." "I'm playing around with Meetings With Remarkable Musicians, Densmore said during an interview at the recent Classic Rock Honours Awards in Los Angeles. "Each chapter is someone I met -- George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Patti Smith. I'm playing around with that and writing is getting me off," Densmore says, adding that he has just began work on the book and hopes to have it out "within a year or two." Densmore peviously authored the books Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison And The Doors and The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison's Legacy Goes On Trial. - Billboard, 11/11/14...... In related news, legendary British rock producer Glyn Johns has just published Sound Man, a memoir that reveals the behind-the scenes dirt from throughout his career. Among the revelations are that Bob Dylan once wanted to make a record with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. "We would pool the best material from Mick & Keith, Paul & John, Bob, and George and then select the best rhythm selection from the two bands to suit whichever song we were cutting," Johns writes. But sadly, both Jagger and McCartney flatly declined. Johns also writes that he was glad when the Eagles fired him after 1973's Desperado album because the were seeking a harder-rock sound for the follow-up, On the Border. "There is no way I could have stayed involved with what followed," writes Johns. "Fairly heavy substance abuse with hundreds of hours in the studio with the band being at each other's throats, disappearing up their own arses." - Rolling Stone, 11/20/14...... Bruce Springsteen, along with Dave Grohl and Zac Brown, delivered a controversial performace of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" at The Concert for Valor on Veteran's Day (Nov. 11) at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Many took to Twitter to complain that the song was an "anti-patriotic" and "inappropriate" song choice, and some conservative outlets such as The Weekly Standard questioned why the singers decided to perform an anti-war protest song at a concert "largely organized to honour those who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq." Other Twitter posters, however, defended the song, calling its detractors "culturally clueless." The concert was staged to raise awareness of veterans' support groups, raise funds for veterans' charities and salute American troops. Jennifer Hudson opened the concert with a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," after which Pres. Barack Obama addressed the crowd in a video message. - New Musical Express, 11/12/14...... Disgraced '70s glam rocker Gary Glitter appeared in court in London on Nov. 11 to face charges relating to 10 sex offenses against three young girls. Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London to deny all of the alleged offenses, reports the BBC. He is accused of four counts of indecent assault involving one complainant between Jan. 31 and May 31, 1977. The complainant was aged 12 or 13 at the time. The former pop star, 70, is also accused of "administering a drug or other thing in order to facilitate sexual intercourse" and one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 between the same dates. The charges also include counts of indecent assault between October 1979 and December 1980 made by an additional complainant, who was 13-14 in during that period. Glitter, who is accused of plying alcohol to "stupefy or overpower" one of the alleged victims, is currently free on bail. - NME, 11/11/14...... Elton John spoke out against Russia's views of homosexuality during a concert in St. Petersburg on Nov. 8. John offered his views in the middle of the show on the recent decision to remove a statue of Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs after the company's current CEO, Tim Cook, came out as gay. "How dignified that St. Petersburg should erect a memorial to Steve Jobs, the remarkable founder of Apple," John is reported to have told fans. "But last week it was labeled homosexual propaganda and taken down!" Elton continued: "Steve's memory is re-written because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay! Does that also make iPads gay propaganda? Is Tchaikovsky's beautiful music sexually perverting? As a gay man, I've always felt so welcome here in Russia. Stories of Russian fans -- men and women who fell in love dancing to 'Nikita' or their kids who sing along to 'Circle of Life' -- mean the world to me. If I'm not honest about who I am, I couldn't write this music. It's not gay propaganda. It's how I express life. If we start punishing people for that, the world will lose its humanity." - NME, 11/11/14...... Gary Lane, the bassist in the '60s garage band The Standells, died on Nov. 6 after battling lung cancer. He was 75. Lane, whose real name was Gary McMillan, left The Standells in 1966 but rejoined the group in 2000. In 1965, the band signed with Capitol Records and recorded "Dirty Water," which would become their only major hit in 1966 going to number 11. The single continues to be in regular rotation on classic hits radio and is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll." Lane is the second member of The Standells to pass in the last year, with drummer Dick Dodd passing away in November 2013. - VintageVinylNews.com, 11/10/14...... Rapper Big Bank Hank, one of hip-hop's first pioneers as one third of the Sugarhill Gang, died on Nov. 11 after an apparent battle with cancer. He was 57. The Sugarhill Gang's international hit "Rapper's Delight" became the first rap single to crack the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 in 1979. It was also one of the first rap singles, period, and as such had an immense influence on the nascent genre. The Sugarhill Gang also released four LPs in the 1980's and a children's album, Jump on It!, in 1999. - NME, 11/11/14...... Veteran British actor Warren Clarke, who shot to fame in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange, passed away in his sleep on Nov. 11 after a "short illness," according to his representatives. He was 67. Clark went on to work with Clockwork star Malcolm McDowell on two more projects, the 1973 film O Lucky Man! and the 1985 TV movie Gulag. He also appeared in Charlton Heston's epic Antony and Cleopatra in 1972, Enigma with Martin Sheen, 1984 war spoof Top Secret!, and Clint Eastwood's 1982 action movie Firefox. - WENN.com, 11/12/14.
The Who launched a new 3D immersive app on Nov. 10, developed in collaboration with their management company Trinifold, U.K. tech company Immersive, and Universal Music. "The Who Immersive App" is centered on a 3D virtual world that features key events and landmarks from the Who's 50-year history, including some of the iconic visuals conjured by Pete Townshend's songs, such as a pinball and a magic bus. The app's 16-strong staff includes Jamie Daltrey (son of Who frontman Roger Daltrey), who has been closely involved in the app's development, gathering rare band artifacts from his father and from Trinifold. The app links both to download and streaming services, and subsequent updates will celebrate not just the band's past but its future, offering a "relationship" with The Who via virtual access to the group's upcoming tour. British dates begin Nov. 30, with two sets of North American runs starting in April and September 2015. The app (which coincides with Universal's just-released The Who Hits 50! compilation) is now available free, with a premium version for Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headsets planned for the new year. The Who Hits 50! recently debuted at No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. - Billboard, 11/10/14.
Authorities in New Zealand announced on Nov. 10 that they were dropping the most serious charge of attempting to procure a murder against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd. Rudd was arrested on Nov. 5 on that charge, as well as threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamines and cannabis, but now Rudd's legal counsel Paul Mabey says that following consultation with the Tauranga crown solicitor and senior police on Nov. 7, he is no longer facing a charge of hiring a hitman to carry out two killings. Rudd still faces charges of threatening to kill and the more minor drug possession charges. "Mr. Rudd has suffered unnecessary and extremely damaging publicity as a result of widespread and sensational reporting of a very serious allegation, which on any basis was never justified," Mabey said in a press release. He added that Rudd is considering any possible remedies he may have. Rudd remains out on bail until his next court appearance on Nov. 27. On Nov. 7, AC/DC released a statement saying that "Phil's absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year." Rock or Bust is due to drop Dec. 2 in the U.S. Although sources close to the band say a replacement drummer could easily be found for their upcoming tour, finding a replacement for Rudd for future recordings, as well as a replacement for guitarist Malcolm Young who is suffering from dementia, could be more problematic. - Billboard, 11/6/14...... Stevie Wonder will be among a group of recipents receiving the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom from Pres. Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 24. The medal is the highest honor granted to civilians in the U.S. and honors contributions to U.S. security, world peace and cultural achievement. Other recipients include composer Stephen Sondheim, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, actress Marlo Thomas, and author Isabel Allende. Wonder kicked off a U.S. "Songs in the Key of Life" performance tour on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, featuring music from his groundbreaking 1976 double LP. "I challenge America, I challenge the world, to let hatred go, to let racism go," Wonder told the sold-out audience. "That is the only way we will win as a nation and the world." Wonder's tour, which includes Grammy-winning singer India.arie, wraps in December in the Los Angeles area. Wonder has also revealed that he has two new projects on the way -- a set of orchestral remakes of his songs with producer David Foster titled When the World Began, and Through the Eyes of Wonder, a more conventional studio album that will be his first since A Time to Love in 2005. - AP/Billboard, 11/10/14...... In other Soul music news, the former chauffeur of James Brown recently told the UK paper The Guardian that the iconic "Godfather of Soul"'s body has never been buried. The driver, William Murrell says that the body of Brown, who died in 2006, is still being kept at Brown's daughter's house in a mummified state so it would never decompose, and at a cost of $140,000. Why? "When you got almost 20 kids and six wives it's hard to get you in the ground," Murrell said. Brown, who married only three times and actually fathered nine legitimate children, died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia. In 2010, his reported love child LaRhonda Pettit claimed that his body had been stolen from a crypt in order to prevent an autopsy being carried out. However, both a funeral director and another of Brown's children, Deanna Brown Thomas, subsequently denied her allegations. A James Brown biopic titled Get On Up and co-produced by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger recently premiered on the premium cable channel HBO and is set to be released in the UK on Nov. 21. - New Musical Express, 11/6/14...... Speaking of the Rolling Stones, insurance underwriters involved in a legal battle with the band over a $12.7 million claim have won permission to seek evidence in Utah about the mental health of Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott before she took her life in March. In October, a federal judge in Utah allowed the 12 underwriters to gather testimony and documents from Randall Bambrough of Ogden, the brother of Scott. Jagger was "diagnosed as suffering from acute traumatic stress disorder" after Scott's death and was advised by doctors not to perform for at least 30 days, according to documents filed in the court case in Utah. Before the tour, the group took out a $23.9 million policy to be paid in the event shows were canceled due to the death of family members or others, including Scott. Scott was a fashion designer and Utah native whose suicide prompted the rock group to postpone a concert tour of Australia and New Zealand and then file a $12.7 claim for losses due to its postponement. An autopsy completed on the body of 49-year-old Scott found she died of hanging in her New York City apartment. Meanwhile, the Stones have announced that their concert in Sydney, Australia will go ahead as planned on Nov. 12, following the cancellation of a gig in Victoria over the previous weekend. It was reported that Mick Jagger was suffering from a sore throat that would prevent the band from playing at Hanging Rock in Victoria on Nov. 8. "[The] remaining shows are proceeding as scheduled, we've had no update outside of this," the promoter of the shows said in a statement. - AP/NME, 11/10/14...... As Pink Floyd's latest album The Endless River hits stores on Nov. 10, drummer Nick Mason has hinted the band's archives could release more unreleased material in the future. "There's always a sort of discussion going on about what we could do," Mason recently told Billboard. "And it tends to be one of those things that I think is probably more driven by the record company than us... But we're always open to their ideas." Mason added that the 1977 album Animals "technically is perhaps one of our less well-recorded records" and that he would like to see that album have a sonic overhaul. "I think we'd just probably clean up some of the tapes and just sort of review it and see whether it can be enhanced. And if one was doing that, one might have a look at whether there's anything else to be done on it. But no one's got that down on their work schedule at the moment," Mason said. He also revealed that he has "spent a lot of time over the last few years putting together an archive of [Pink Floyd] video and film footage, and I think it'd be an interesting thing to [release] at some time." Mason says he and David Gilmour are planning to release some videos to support The Endless River, including material from the 1993-94 recording sessions for The Division Bell, where most of the new album's material started. - Billboard, 11/10/14...... An accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian at the intersection in London made famous on the Beatles's 1969 album Abbey Road has renewed concerns by local authorities that a crossing guard at the location is necessary. According to the London Examiner, on Nov. 7 a woman darted into traffic and was struck by a Volkswagen, the force of which sent her airborne. She was taken to a local hospital, and the severity of her injuries was unknown, although she was expected to recover. The Westminster Council reportedly had already been looking into the possibility of hiring a crossing guard for the intersection, given the high number of tourists that visit the site and the number of pedestrians who frequently come close to getting hit by cars there. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/10/14...... Fleetwood Mac announced on Nov. 10 that they will launch a tour of the U.K. and Ireland in 2015. The recently-reunited band will kick things off with back-to-back shows at London's 02 Arena on May 27 and 28, before travelling to Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Leeds during June. The shows will feature Christine McVie, who recently rejoined the group and performed with the band for the first time since 1997. - NME, 11/10/14...... Country/pop songstress Emmylou Harris will be honored at an upcoming concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 10. "The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris: An All-Star Concert Celebration" will feature the 13-time Grammy winner herself, along with such artists and friends as Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mavis Staples, Martina McBride, John Hiatt and Lucinda Williams, among others. - AP, 11/7/14...... A spokesman for former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant is denying the singer has reportedly turned down a $500 million offer from billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson to reform the legendary group for a series of 35 live dates to take place in only three cities. "Jimmy [Page], John [Paul Jones] and Jason [Bonham] signed up immediately," a source close to Branson is quoted as saying in a British paper. "It was a no-brainer for them but Robert asked for 48 hours to think about it. When he said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given, there was an enormous sense of shock... His mind is made up and that's that." Branson is a lifelong fan of the group and was allegedly very interested in funding the tour, offering to fly the band between venues, but Plant's rep says the claim that the Led Zep frontman turned down such an offer is "rubbish." The band last reunited in 2007 for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena in London. The band recently reissued versions of both "IV" and Houses Of The Holy remastered by Jimmy Page. - New Musical Express, 11/10/14...... School officials in Waukesha, Wisc., the hometown of Les Paul, have renamed the city's Waukesha Junior High "Les Paul Junior High" after the legendary guitar player and inventor. Paul, who died in 2009 at the age of 94, discovered his penchant for science and electronics at Waukesha Junior High, asking his teachers never-ending questions like how electricity got to light switches or why windows vibrated. Now school officials hope Paul's inspiration and innovative spirit rub off on current students. "You can kind of see that 'ah ha' moment for them of, 'It could be me, I could be that next person.' So I think that is pretty powerful," Bennett said ahead of a dedication ceremony on Nov. 8. Les Paul built his first crystal radio at age 9, around the time he first picked up a guitar. He went on to develop tape echo, multitrack recording and overdubs. He was even working on improving hearing aid technology when he died. - AP, 11/8/14...... David Bowie has released his second new song in two months to celebrate 50 years since his first recording. "'Tis a Pity She Was a Whore" gets its title from a 17th century English play of the same name, according to Bowie's Facebook page. He also says it was inspired by the destruction of World War I. "If Vorticists [abstract artists inspired by the war] wrote Rock Music it might have sounded like this," Bowie posted. It will be released in the U.S. on 10" vinyl and as a digital download as the backside of "Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)," which Bowie began streaming in October. "Sue" comes from the new career-spanning Bowie compilation Nothing Has Changed, due out the same day as the single. - Billboard, 11/10/14...... Queen's Brian May reportedly recently spent $10,000 on an extra first-class airplane seat for his cherished guitar, known as The Red Special. According to the UK's Daily Mirror, May chose to travel with his guitar next to him on a British Airways flight to Los Angeles as he was reluctant to place it in a hold with the luggage of other passengers in case it became damaged. The Red Special was built by May at his father's workshop 40 years ago and has been a constant feature of Queen's music ever since. "There is no way he would have allowed it to be treated like any other piece of luggage," a source close to May said. "A member of staff and the guitar were bumped up to first class where he had to purchase a seat for it as it couldn't go in the overhead locker." In September, Queen announced a series of UK shows to take place in 2015 with singer Adam Lambert and Queen released their new album, Queen Forever, on Nov. 10. The album features three previously unreleased tracks with Freddie Mercury on vocals, including a collaboration with Michael Jackson. - NME, 11/7/14...... A 13th show on Jan. 9 has just been added to Billy Joel's upcoming residency at New York's Madison Square Garden, which breaks the Piano Man's own record of 12 shows in a series at the venue from 2006. The show extends Joel's residency into 2015, with tickets to go on sale on Friday, Nov. 14. Each show to date has sold out quickly, with the 10 shows that have been reported so far grossing more than $20 million and moving 186,373 tickets, according to Billboard Boxscore. The Jan. 9 show will be Joel's 59th overall performance at the Garden; the current record for shows at the famed arena is held by Elton John at 64 performances. To celebrate the franchise, MSG Network will debut Billy Joel Home at The Garden, a half-hour special capturing the first year of Joel's groundbreaking franchise run at MSG with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from his performances on Nov. 10, immediately following the Knicks home game against the Atlanta Hawks. - Billboard, 11/7/14...... Bruce Springsteen auctioned off one of his guitars, an hour lesson on how to play it, a lasagna dinner at his house and a ride in the side car of his motorcycle, for a whopping $300,000 on Nov. 5 on behalf of Stand Up For Heroes, a mashup of comedy and music involving the New York Comedy Festival and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps military service members and their families after they return home. The foundation is named for the ABC news anchor injured while working in Iraq in 2006. Also on Nov. 5, the Boss played a five-song solo acoustic set that included "Growin' Up," ''Dancing in the Dark" and "Born in the U.S.A" to a crowd of fans, military leaders, service men and women and corporate executives at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The night raised more than $1 million, with Springsteen's packages making up more than half of the contributions. - AP, 11/6/14...... Ozzy Osbourne was honored with a Global Icon award at the MTV EMA awards show at Glasgow's SSE Hydro on Nov. 10. "For four decades, the Prince of Darkness has rocked anyone who's dared to listen. He scares the hell out of most people -- and all bats. But to me he's a gentleman, a killer performer, a collaborator and a rock 'n' roll legend," said presenter Slash of Guns 'n' Roses fame. Arriving onstage, the Black Sabbath frontman seemed slightly taken aback by the crowd's enthusastic welcome, the biggest of the night, saying simply, "I don't know about this icon shit but it's good to be here tonight. I just wanna thank MTV and all you people here tonight. God bless you all." - NME, 11/10/14...... Eric Clapton was amongst the mourners at the funeral of his former Cream bandmate, bassist Jack Bruce, on Nov. 5 at Golders Green Crematorium in London. Cream drummer Ginger Baker was also in attendance, as were Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker and Nitin Sawhney. The songs "Morning Has Broken," "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Bruce's "Theme For An Imaginary Western" were played at the service as was a musical tribute written by Clapton. Bruce passed away of liver failure on Oct. 25 at age 71. - AP, 11/6/14...... Character actor Dick Schaal, who appeared on numerous TV shows including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, died on Nov. 4 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 86. Mr. Schaal was a familiar face on sitcoms of the 1960s and 70s including The Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoffs Rhoda and Phyllis. He also guest starred on The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, I Dream of Jeannie and Love, American Style as well as dramas such as The Rockford Files. Working into the 1980s, he had recurring roles on Trapper John and Just Our Luck. A veteran of Chicago's Second City comedy troupe, Mr. Schaal was known at Second City for his command of physical comedy, mime and improvisation. In New York City, he worked in improvisational theater and met Valerie Harper, who became his second wife. He also appeared in several films including The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Slaughterhouse-Five and Steelyard Blues. - Variety.com, 11/5/14...... Rick Rosas, a longtime bassist in Neil Young's touring band Crazy Horse, has passed away at age 65, according to several sources. Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina first posted the news on his Facebook page, followed by Young's unofficial fan page Thrasher's Wheat. Rosas' cause of death is not yet known. Rosas was part of Young's short-lived backing group the Bluenotes, and he continued working with Young on several latter day classics: Freedom, Living With War and Chrome Dreams II. He also played bass on the farewell tour of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Buffalo Springfield's reunion tour. - Billboard, 11/7/14.
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was arrested on Nov. 5 in New Zealand and charged with attempting to have two men killed. Rudd, 60, was taken into custody after police raided his waterfront home in Matua, NZ. Rudd, who was also charged with possession of meth and cannabis, was arraigned and released on bail after a brief court appearance. It is unclear exactly who he was trying to have killed as the judge suppressed identifying information until trial, and warned Rudd not to communicate with the alleged hitman. Rudd entered no plea to the charges, and was ordered to appear again on Nov. 27. The Australian-born drummer was part of the original AC/DC lineup, but moved to New Zealand when the band kicked him out in 1983. Although he ended up rejoining the group in 1994 and participated in the recording of AC/DC's upcoming album Rock Or Bust, he was conspicuously absent from a recent video shoot and wasn't pictured in a recent promotional photo released by the band. In a statement on Nov. 6, the band said Rudd's absence wouldn't affect the album's release, which is set for Dec. 2, or a tour scheduled for 2015. "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking," the statement said. "We have no further comment." - CNN/Gawker.com, 11/6/14.
The U.K.'s Classic Rock magazine brought their Classic Rock Honours awards to the U.S. for the first time on Nov. 4, at the Avalon Ballroom in Hollywood. The Doors were honored with an Inspiration Award, presented by Henry Rollins, while the 2014 Classic Rock Award was presented to Ozzy Osbourne's debut solo album, Blizzard of Oz, by Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot. Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne was also honored with a Classic Rock VIP award. Gregg Allman took home the highest honor, the Living Legend Award, a fitting tribute just days after the Allman Brothers Band said farewell with a closing stand at New York's Beacon Theater. Taking the honor for Best Classic Rock Band, Queen's Brian May, who accepted the award with their current frontman Adam Lambert, said, "For Roger [Taylor] and myself it's like a new beginning, and it's all thanks to Adam." At the close of the Sammy Hagar-hosted event, an all-star jam brought together Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top for the first time. Electric Light Orchestra mastermind Jeff Lynne, on hand to accept an Outstanding Contribution to Music award, revealed to reporters that he is working on new music under the ELO banner. "I'm working on a new album and that'll be involved in the new times when we play," said Lynne, who recently revived many of ELO's biggest hits at a concert at London's Hyde Park. Lynne's manager said the new ELO material could come as soon as 2015. - Billboard, 11/5/14...... Paul Simon has revealed he has agreed to cooperate with music journalist Robert Hilburn on a new biography. In a press release issued through book publisher Simon & Schuster, the 73-year-old Simon said that he had "thought seriously about writing my own memoir, but I'd rather devote my time to making music, which continues to hold my full attention... I'm confident Robert Hilburn will write an insightful book. I enjoyed and admired his biography of Johnny Cash and I think he'll tell my story well." Simon & Schuster did not announce a title or a release date for the book, and financial terms were not disclosed. In addition to the Johnny Cash biography, Hilburn has also previously authored Corn Flakes With John Lennon and Other Tales from a Rock 'n' Roll Life. - AP, 11/4/14...... Dionne Warwick's latest LP, Feels So Good, was released on Oct. 27 and is a duets album curated by some of her fellow famous musician friends, including Cyndi Lauper ("A Message to Michael"), Gladys Knight ("I'll Never Love This Way Again") and "youngsters" like Ne-Yo ("A House Is Not a Home") and Cee Lo Green (on the title cut, the album's sole original). Warwick said the idea came from her son Damon, who also acted as engineer and producer for the new album. - Billboard, 11/4/14...... A representative for Stevie Wonder said on Nov. 4 that the "Superstition" singer will welcome his ninth child in December. Rumours suggesting the 64-year-old's partner, Tomeeka Robyn Bracy, is pregnant with triplets surfaced in October, but the rep says she will only welcome one child, a daughter, and that the couple plans on naming her Nia. Bracy quietly gave birth to Wonder's latest baby in 2013. - WENN.com, 11/5/14...... Bette Midler has announced she will embark on a 22-date tour of the U.S. on May 8, 2015, at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, her first tour in more than 10 years. Midler's tour, which hits most major American cities and wraps on June 25 at New York's Madison Square Garden, will support her new album, It's The Girls!, which hit stores on Nov. 4 and is her first album since 2006. It's The Girls! sees the diva covering tracks from several girl groups, including the Supremes, the Shirelles and TLC. Midler's version of TLC's "Waterfalls" recently hit No. 5 on Billboard's Trending 140 chart. - Billboard, 11/3/14...... A radio station in Denver, Colorado, is pleading for the safe return of a bronze bust of John Denver that was pried off its base at the 1st Bank Center in the Denver suburb of Broomfield during a Halloween party sponsored by the station on Oct. 28. KBPI-FM is asking whoever took the bust, which belongs to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, to return it undamaged to its studios, no questions asked. It was donated by Denver's family when he became its first inductee in 2011. Police said they have to leads as of Oct. 30. - AP, 11/1/14...... A long-lost track recorded by Paul McCartney that the former Beatle recorded for his band Wings for the 1974 documentary One Hand Clapping has recently surfaced online. The track, titled "Love My Baby," was unveiled via Buzzfeed.com to coincide with the reissue of classic Wings albums Venus And Mars and Wings At The Speed Of Sound, which dropped on Nov. 3. Previously, McCartney shared another previously unreleased track from his archives: an alternate take of "Beware My Love," which features Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham on drums. - New Musical Express, 11/5/14...... As Bruce Springsteen releases his first ever children's book, Outlaw Pete, in early November, the "Born to Run" singer has revealed a list of his 28 favorite books through the website Brainpickings.org. Among the books that have had the most profound effect on Boss's life are Frank L. Baum's The Wizard of Oz, which he says is the first book he ever read, and tomes by such authors as Philip Roth and Leo Tolsty, who he says that he'd like to invite to an imaginary dinner party, along with Life author Keith Richards and Chronicles writer Bob Dylan. Books by Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Bertrand Russell, Richard Ford, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Saul Bellow also made the list. - NME, 11/4/14...... In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music revealed that the band are officially broken up after a three-and-a-half year period of inactivity. Manzanera says he and multi-instrumentalist Andy Mackay agreed to go their separate ways after the last Roxy Music tour ended. "I don't think we're going to do any more shows," said Manzanera. "I think our job is done. When we stopped touring in 2011, Andy and I looked at each other and said, 'Our job is done here.'" Having recorded eight studio albums over a 10- year period, Roxy Music dissolved in 1983 only to reunite 13 years ago. Despite not releasing any new music as a group since their 1982 album Avalon, they continued to tour sporadically, and new box sets of their first two albums are due out in 2015. Meanwhile in other Roxy Music news, former frontman Bryan Ferry has just collaborated with Johnny Marr and Nile Rodgers for a track from his new solo album Avonmore. Titled "Driving Me Wild," the track is now streaming at NPR.org. Avonmore is produced by Ferry and Rhett Davies and hits stores on Nov. 17. It features contributions from such artists as Flea, Ronnie Spector and Mark Knopfler. - NME, 11/3/14...... "Let Me In Your Heart Again," a new song from Queen featuring vocals by the late Freddie Mercury, has been released for the first time as part of a campaign to raise awareness of AIDS. The William Orbit-mixed track is being released to mark the first day of a month-long global AIDS awareness campaign, which also features music from OneRepublic, Aloe Blacc, Wyclef Jean and Avicii. "The programme which runs through to World AIDS Day on December 1st, 2014, shares a message of hope and unity to empower today's youth to understand they can be the generation to end the AIDS crisis," sponsors Coca-Cola and (RED) said in a statement. - NME, 11/3/14...... Amazon.com has confirmed that Pink Floyd's new album The Endless River has become their most pre-ordered album of all time, taking the title from previous holders One Direction. The boy band's 2013 effort, Midnight Memories, had been the online retailer's most pre-ordered album of all time prior to Pink Floyd's latest and apparently final LP, which drops on Nov. 10. - NME, 11/3/14...... The largest Elvis Presley exhibition ever mounted in Europe, "Elvis At The O2: The Exhibition Of His Life," will open at London's O2 Arena on Dec. 12. Boasting over 300 artifacts from the Presley family's treasured Graceland Archives, some of which have never before been exhibited outside the Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn., the exhibit chronicles the iconic singer's rise from his early days and also included material from his record-breaking concert tours, his military service and Hollywood film career. It also showcases his life at Graceland, including automobiles, personal items, historical documents, iconic stage costumes and guitars on display. "We are more than happy to allow these treasured memories to leave Graceland, if only for a short time, so that his fans and the curious can learn about who he was as an artist, and understand what he was really like at home, by seeing the things that he surrounded himself with," Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley said in a statement. - NME, 11/4/14...... Iconic jazz clarinetist Acker Bilk, best known for his 1961 instrumental smash "Stranger on the Shore," died on Nov. 2 after a short illness. He was 85. Mr. Bilk, who was born in Somerset UK and known for his goatee, bowler hat and colorful apparel, was regarded as one of most important figures in trad jazz revival, was appointed an MBE for his services to the music industry in 2001. Pamela Frances Sutton, Mr. Bilk's personal manager for 45 years, said he was "a wonder of a man." "He lived for music... he had a special tone to his clarinet playing, he was fun-loving and very much a Somerset guy. His last concert was simply brilliant. He could really charm an audience," she said. "Stranger on the Shore" was the UK's biggest selling single of 1962 and made Mr. Bilk the first UK act to top the US charts in the 1960s. His last concert was in August 2013 at the Brecon jazz festival in Wales. - NME, 11/2/14..... California lawyer Tom Sneddon, the former district attorney who sought twice to try Michael Jackson on child molestation charges, died on Nov. 1 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after a battle against cancer. He was 73. Sneddon investigated Jackson on child sexual abuse allegations in 1993 and again a decade later. The first case fell apart after a young boy's family accepted a multimillion dollar settlement from Jackson and declined to testify against him. The probe closed with no charges, and Jackson shot back in a thinly disguised swipe at Sneddon in a song called "D.S." on the HIStory album. The song contains the lyrics, "Dom Sheldon is a cold man." A second set of allegations against Jackson made by a young cancer survivor resulted in a televised trial in 2005 which ended with Jackson being acquitted, with his defense attorney Thomas Mesereau painting Sneddon as an overzealous prosecutor who had a "personal vendetta" against Jackson after the first case fell apart. Sneddon, who continued to insist that he believed Jakcson could be a danger to children, retired in 2006.
On Oct. 30, lawyers for the family of Sarah Jones dropped Gregg Allman and Michael Lehman, the exec producer of the ill-fated Allman biopic Midnight Rider, from their civil lawsuit stemming from Jones' on-set death. The Jones family attorney, Jeff Harris of Harris Penn Lowry LLP, that the two defendants, as well as the unfinished film's distributor Open Road Films, would be dismissed as defendants from a wide-reaching civil suit. The news comes two days after a procedural hearing in Savannah, Ga., in which Chatham County Judge Gregory Sapp postponed the motions hearing to Nov. 13. The civil suit against the other defendants remains active. Currently, the family is suing the film producers and director Randall Miller and his production company, Unclaimed Freight, as well as several other writers, producers, and directors involved with the film. Meanwhile in other Allman Brothers Band related news, the ABB put the focus on legendary band guitarist Duane Allman during their final performances ever at New York's Beacon Theatre during the fourth week of October. Two Gibson Les Pauls that belonged to Duane Allman, the band's late leader, arrived from the Rock and Roll of Fame for the Oct. 24 show and apparently animated the band, which was described as playing its best show in five years. The final show was Oct. 29, when the band concluded its long-running rock opera at a venue that has become hallowed Allman Brothers ground (the band has sold out 238 shows there since 1989). - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard,. 10/30/14.
Hal Leonard Books is releasing a softcover edition of the acclaimed guitar book 108 Rock Star Guitars by photographer/author Lisa S. Johnson on Nov. 11. The exquisite book, originally issued as an embossed, red leatherette-bound hardcover in limited quantity that USA Today called, "a monster of a coffee table book," will now be available to a much wider audience at a more affordable retail price. Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, Nancy Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Slash, Carlos Santana, Jack White, Lou Reed, Ace Frehley, Billy Gibbons, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, Willie Nelson and Les Paul, who also wrote the foreword, are among the rock stars whose instruments are featured. Hailed as "impressive" and "jaw-dropping" by media and artists alike when the original hardcover version was released in Oct. 2013, 108 Rock Star Guitars received widespread accolades for its overall design and the artistry of the images -- up-close portraits of the cherished guitars belonging to some of the world's most iconic players. American Photo magazine named it one of the "Best Photo Books of the Year" for 2013, while Brian Setzer called it, "The classiest guitar book I have ever seen." Additionally, Johnson provides personal anecdotes describing her 17-year quest to photograph these guitars and documents her travels from the backstage hallways of some of the world's most famous venues to the artists' private homes. Johnson commented, "Even at a lower price, it was essential that this version maintained the style and beautiful quality of the hardcover edition, and I think anyone who sees this book will appreciate the care and detail that went into the new presentation." - Miles High Productions, 10/31/14.
The Spotify streaming music service has named Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as the most popular Halloween song of all time as it is the most featured track in more than 600,000 of its Halloween playlists. The survey also found that interest in Halloween was up 117%, with the more Halloween-themed playlists being created this year than ever before. Coming in behind "Thriller" on the list were the Bobby "Boris" Pickett classic "Monster Mash," and Ray Parker, Jr.'s "Ghostbusters." Also making the Top 10 were Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (No. 6) and Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark at the Moon" (No. 8). - New Musical Express, 10/31/14...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour revealed that he's working on a new solo album for release in 2015, the follow-up to his 2006 solo set On an Island. "There are some sketches that aren't finished, and some of them will be started again. There's a few months' work in it yet. I'm hoping to get it out this following year," said Gilmour, who added that he plans on supporting the LP with an "old man's tour... not a 200-date sort of thing." Meanwhile, Pink Floyd's final album, The Endless River, will be released on Nov. 10. Gilmour says the idea of continuing with Pink Floyd beyond the new album "makes me break out in a cold sweat." "I'm really enjoying my life and my music. There's no room for Pink Floyd," he said. - New Musical Express, 10/30/14...... Also talking new solo material is Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, who says he's planning to return to his solo career and sees his new Memoirs of a Madman solo compilation as a bridge between the final Black Sabbath album and his solo work. "I'm going to do one more Black Sabbath tour, one more album with Black Sabbath, and it'll take about two or three years before I release solo stuff again. So Memoirs of a Madman is just to say to the fans that I haven't stopped." Ozzy added he's "in the process of collecting stuff that I'm writing" for his next solo project and has "about three songs" he's been working on, primarily with Billy Idol guitarist Billy Morrison. "The songs that are written are not completed," says Osbourne, who will headline the OZZFiesta May 27-31 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. "They're ideas now, but there's a good possibility that some of them will end up songs." Osbourne says he isn't sure when work on a new Sabbath album will begin. "I can't really say how long it's gonna take. Once we get going it won't take that long, I don't think, 'cause Rick Rubin -- I assume he's going to (produce) it again -- is very quick," he said. Hitting stores on Oct. 14, his Memoirs of a Madman package features a 17-song best-of disc as well as two DVDs featuring performance footage, videos and interviews. - Billboard, 10/31/14...... In still more soloing news, Queen drummer Roger Taylor will release two collections of his solo work this fall. Best, due out Oct. 27, features 18 selected tracks ranging from his 1977 rendition of Parliament's "I Wanna Testify" to his 2013 album Fun On Earth, as well as material from his side band The Cross that included guest appearances by Queen mates Freddie Mercury and Brian May. That will be followed on Nov. 11 by The Lot, a boxed set of all of Taylor's solo material on 12 CDs and one DVD, including a 64-page hardbound book. - Billboard, 10/27/14...... With her new album Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics hitting stores on Oct. 21, Aretha Franklin has earned her highest-charting LP since 1985. Great Diva Classics debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 200. Selling 23,000 units in its first week, it is Franklin's highest-charting debut ever on the Hot 200, surpassing the No. 30 bow of 1998's A Rose Is Still a Rose. - Billboard, 10/31/14...... Bob Dylan is reportedly planning on releasing a covers album of Frank Sinatra songs entitled Shadows in the Night in 2015. The news is confirmed by a note included in Dylan's new The Basement Tapes Complete: Bootleg Series Vol. 11 release that reads, "Bob Dylan, Shadows In The Night, new album coming in 2015." Earlier in 2014, Dylan unveiled a cover of Sinatra's "Full Moon and Empty Arms." - Billboard, 10/31/14...... Bruce Springsteen surprised fans at a listening party previewing his upcoming box set The Album Collection Vol 1 1973-1984 at Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank, N.J., on Sept. 24 when he appeared unannounced in the back of the room. "All of a sudden there he was," said SiriusXM Springsteen channel host Kevin Farrell, who moderated the event. "He was listening without us being aware of it... It was a shocking surprise, it added to the magic of the whole day," added Farrell, who said Springsteen disappeared as quickly as he appeared. The Album Collection Vol 1 is due Nov. 17 on both CD and vinyl on Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings. - Billboard, 10/29/14...... Deep Purple have announced plans for a one-off show at London's O2 Arena on Dec. 3, 2015. There are currently no other UK dates scheduled for the band. The classic riff from the hard rockers' "Smoke on the Water" was recently voted the fourth best riff of all time by BBC Radio 2 listeners in a list of the greatest guitar riffs. The band's latest album, Now What?!, was released in April 2013. - NME, 10/28/14...... Hitting bookstores on Oct. 28, author Fred Schruers's new Billy Joel biography Billy Joel is based on more than 100 hours of conversation with Joel and interviews with dozens of friends and family members. The two main threads in Schruers' biography are Joel's music and women. Schruers' account of Joel's 1970s rise is fantastic, rich in anecdotes about the origins of different songs. The business side of his career is a cautionary tale for aspiring musicians, with its assortment of greedy managers and unfair contracts. The private Joel comes across as a brilliant musician but a lonely and self-destructive, though not entirely unlikable, man. There's also plenty of embarrassing material presented, from Joel's suicide attempts to his struggles with alcohol to his three failed marriages and longtime financial problems. - Billboard, 10/29/14...... Meanwhile, Billy Joel's sometime touring coheadliner Elton John hosted his An Enduring Vision AIDS benefit show in New York City on Oct. 28 where he not only raised money for his AIDS Foundation, but also celebrated marriage equality. Wearing a sequined black blazer and sitting down often since he was recovering from knee surgery, John noted the growing acceptance of gay marriage throughout the U.S., and applauded Pope Francis for embracing tolerance and compassion, as shown when he asked about gay marriage. "'Who am I to judge?' What are we waiting for? Make him a saint now. He did more with those five words than the last five popes," he said from the stage. "He is my hero." The evening was hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and also in attendance were Matt Lauer of the Today show and actor Neil Patrick Harris. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/29/14...... Barry Manilow released his new LP My Dream Duets, featuring the crooner singing duets with late singers including Whitney Houston, John denver, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., Dusty Springfield and Mama Cass, on Oct. 27. Appearing on The View talk show on Oct. 27, Manilow covered Houston's "I Believe in You and Me" with vocals from the late singer and visuals of a shadowy Whitney Houston impersonator. - Billboard, 10/28/14...... Taschen Publishers announced on Oct. 27 that it will release an autographed Rolling Stones coffee table book featuring hundreds of famous and little-known photographs on Dec. 15. Selling for the tidy sum of $5,000, The Rolling Stones is autographed by band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts and has a limited edition run of 1,150 copies. A regular edition, unsigned and slightly smaller in dimension, goes for slightly under $100. Taschen says its 500-page plus book offers "unprecedented access to the Rolling Stones' own archives in New York and London adds an equally extraordinary, more private side to their story." The Stones are currently on tour Down Under, playing dates that were initially rescheduled when Jagger's partner L'Wren Scott died earlier this year. - AP, 10/27/14...... Eric Clapton posted an instrumental track dedicated to his late friend and fellow Cream member Jack Bruce on Oct. 26 following the passing of Bruce at age 71 the previous day. Accompanied by a photo of Bruce, the song is a melancholy musing on a gentle theme with Clapton humming behind his guitar. Clapton also posted to his Facebook page that Bruce was "a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me." Bruce died of liver disease on Oct. 25 at his home in Suffolk, England. - Billboard, 10/28/14...... Appearing on the Fox News channel on Oct. 27 to support his new book Me, Inc: Build An Army Of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win In Life And Busines, Gene Simmons of Kiss offered his own unique advice to women around the world, telling reporters that women should "stop depending on men." Asked if he had any advice for the female population, Simmons said: "This is a very complex and difficult question to answer so I'm going to put it as simply as possible. Women: Stop depending on men. It's as simple as that. Imagine there are no men in life." The singer added: "Find out that thing that you're good for that makes the money and then get married and or have children from a position of strength." In August, Simmons issued an apology after causing controversy with comments about depression and suicide. He has claimed that people who "complain" about depression should "kill themselves." "To the extent my comments reported by the media speak of depression, I was wrong and in the spur of the moment made remarks that in hindsight were made without regard for those who truly suffer the struggles of depression," he wrote on Facebook. - New Musical Express, 10/27/14...... Actress Marcia Strassman, best known for her role as frequently exasperated wife Julie Kotter in the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, died on Oct. 24 in her Sherman Oaks, Calif., home, after a seven-year fight with breast cancer. She was 66. Born Apr. 28, 1948 in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Strassman relocated to Los Angeles when she was just 18 and was initially a singer in the late 1960s with some modest local success, most notably with "The Groovy World of Jack and Jill" and "The Flower Children." She also had a few TV roles, including three episodes of The Patty Duke Show. She left show business for a time before returning as an actress in a recurring role as nurse Margie Cutler in M*A*S*H In 1975, she had a breakout role opposite comedian Gabe Kaplan in the TV hit Welcome Back Kotter, which ran through 1979. Strassman worked steadily thereafter, most notably in major roles on several mostly short-lived TV shows, including Booker, Tremors, Third Watch, Providence, and Noah Knows Best and as a voice-over artist on the children's animated show Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and elsewhere. Her biggest film success came playing the wife and mother opposite Rick Moranis in Disney's hit comedy Honey I Shrunk The Kids and its equally successful sequel, Honey I Blew Up The Kids. She also appeared in 1985's The Aviator with Christopher Reeve and Roseanna Arquette. Strassman also served on the national board of the Screen Actors Guild. "She was the funniest, smartest person I ever met," said her sister Julie Strassman. "And talented. She knew everything. Now I won't be able to call her and ask her questions." - Deadline.com, 10/26/14...... Famed TV and film composer Ian Fraser, who earned 11 Emmy Awards and 32 nominations, died of cancer on Oct. 31 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81. The British native, who was known for his long association with singer-actress Julie Andrews, was the most honored composer/conductor in the history of television, and became Andrews' musical director in 1973 when they recorded the first of their two Christmas albums, and his 1995 and 1997 Broadway albums with Andrews were Grammy Award nominees. Mr. Fraser received an Academy Award nomination for the musical film Scrooge (1970), and worked on such films as Hopscotch (1980), First Monday in October (1981) and Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981). Mr. Fraser also contributed to the iconic "The Little Drummer Boy/"Peace on Earth" duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie in 1977 on Crosby's last Christmas TV special. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/31/14.
Jack Bruce, an acclaimed British bass musician best known as a member of Cream, died of liver disease on Oct. 25 at his home in Suffolk, England. He was 71. Born to musical parents in Glasgow, Scotland, on May 14, 1943, Bruce attended 14 different schools and finished his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition. He left Scotland at the age of 16 and in 1962 joined his first important band, the influential Alexis Korner's Blues Inc., which also included future Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, in London. Cream, which also included guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, was the prototypical blues-rock power trio, and in a three-year period sold 15 million records, played to SRO crowds throughout the U.S. and Europe, and redefined the instrumentalist's role in rock. It was formed in 1966 when Baker left Graham Bond's Organisation, Bruce (who had also played in Bond's band) left Manfred Mann, and Clapton, already a famous guitarist in the U.K., left John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Bruce wrote and sang most of Cream's songs, including "I Feel Free", "White Room," "Politician" and "Sunshine Of Your Love." But tension in the band led to a quick breakup, and the band gave its farewell concert, which was filmed as Goodbye Cream, on Nov. 26, 1968, at London's Royal Albert Hall. Clapton and Baker subsequently formed Blind Faith, and Bruce went solo. After a string of solo LP's, Bruce put together another power trio with Mountain's Leslie West and Corky Laing, and West, Bruce and Laing released albums in 1972, '73, and '74. He appeared on Frank Zappa's Apostrophe in 1974, and in 1975 he fronted the Jack Bruce Band, which mounted a tour of Europe, but did not record. Bruce continued to release solo albums through 1994, and he returned to the studio around 2000 to record his Shadows in the Air, which hit number five on the British jazz and blues chart. His most recent release in 2014, titled Silver Rails. In 1993, Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the three members reuniting to perform three songs at the ceremonies. A statement released by Bruce's family on Oct. 25 said "the world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts." "It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend," the statement said. "He was a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me," Eric Clapton said on his Facebook page. Clapton also shared a lengthy biographical piece about Bruce on his website. - AP/Billboard/Rolling Stone, 10/26/14.
The Hollywood Music in Media Awards, an event created in 2009 to highlight the best music in film, TV and video games, has announced it will honor singer Glen Campbell at its fifth annual gala on Nov. 4 at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. Campbell, whose slew of accolades includes five Grammys, three Grammy Hall of Fame honors, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and two CMA Awards, recently released his final recording, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," for the documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, which chronicles the music legend's struggles with Alzheimer's. Campbell recently notched his highest rank on Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 25 years with "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," which zoomed from No. 50 to No. 21. He last charted higher with "She's Gone, Gone, Gone," which reached No. 6 in late 1989. The Country Music Hall of Famer, 78, entered a long-term care facility earlier this year. "Sadly, Glen's condition has progressed enough that we were no longer able to keep him at home," Campbell's family said in a statement to Rolling Stone. "He is getting fantastic care and we get to see him every day. Our family wants to thank everyone for their continued prayers, love and support." - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 10/24/14...... John Denver was honored with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 24, 17 years after his tragic death in a 1997 plane crash at age 53. The unveiling of the star, the 2,531st on the venerable sidewalk, coincided with the opening of a Hollywood exhibition of photos called "Sweet Sweet Life: The Photographic Works of John Denver." The photos will be on display at Hollywood's Substrate Gallery for the next month. On hand for the unveiling of the star were were Denver's son, Zak Deutschendorf, and daughter, Jesse Belle Denver. - AP, 10/25/14...... 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee Joan Jett was honored as Rocker of the Year at the annual Little Kids Rock charity benefit on Oct. 23 at Manhattan's Hammerstein Ballroom. Among those performing her songs were Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Tommy James, Steven van Zandt and Billie Joe Armstrong. Cooper came out to trade verses on his slinkly "Be My Lover," a song Jett covered in 1990, while Cheap Trick tore through "I Hate Myself for Loving You," a Jett hit that the band says reminds them of their own material. The event ended up raising $1.5 million to provide free music education (and instruments) to more than 135,000 low-income public school children. - Billboard, 10/24/14...... Led Zeppelin has treated fans to an online preview of an alternate version of "Stairway to Heaven," which is featured on the upcoming deluxe version reissue of their fourth album, Led Zeppelin "IV." Recorded at LA's Sunset Sound in 1971, Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones spoke about the freshly unearthed mix to Rolling Stone, saying: "It's always interesting to hear stuff that you know really well and hear it differently, but the same. It does give a different perspective on it. You hear different things. I did read somewhere that the end of 'Stairway to Heaven' contained one of the best rock bass parts ever recorded. Unfortunately it comes underneath one of the greatest rock guitars so... But 'Stairway' is a favorite still. It's just got everything that we are about." Guitarist Jimmy Page added: "The Sunset Sound mix of 'Stairway To Heaven' was actually mixed at Sunset Sound in LA in advance of the version that everybody knows. I think it's a really good embodiment of everything that's on there. It's a guitar mix, really." Led Zeppelin "IV," along with a deluxe reissue of 1973's Houses of the Holy, drop on Oct. 27. The band has also released new animated video for 1971"s iconic hit "Rock and Roll" in conjunction with the releases. - New Musical Express, 10/25/14...... The Beatles' iconic song "All You Need Is Love" has returned to the Billboard Top 10 for the first time since 1967, this time as a remake by jazz musician Dave Koz. Dave Koz & Friends' version, which features an all-star lineup of contributors including Stevie Wonder, Richard Marx, Eric Benoit and Gloria Estefan, has risen to No. 10 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Songs radio airplay chart. The Fab Four's original "All You Need Is Love" topped the Billboard Hot 100 on Aug. 19, 1967. Four weeks later (Sept. 16, 1967), it dipped to No. 8, marking the last time any recording of the song would claim a top 10 spot for 47 years..... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney's Out There Tour is the No. 1 tour on Billboard's Hot Tours list for third week of October, grossing $165 million (and counting) in box office revenue from five of the final U.S. performances on his world tour. Now in its home stretch, Macca's tour will close its final trek through North America on Oct. 30 after concerts in 21 cities. - Billboard, 10/24/14...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, George Harrison's childhood home in Liverpool has sold for just over $250,000 at an auction held at the legendary Cavern Club in the English city. Harrison's former house, located at 25 Upton Green, in the Speke area of Liverpool went to a Beatles fan who had tried and failed to buy John Lennon's home last year. George lived there from the age of six, and along with Lennon and Paul McCartney, the trio held rehearsals at the three bedroom house years before they joined up with Ringo Starr and go on to worldwide success with the Beatles. The winning bidder was Beatles fanatic Jackie Holmes from London who reportedly held off competition from an American telephone bidder and a reserve bidder from Liechtenstein. "I'm absolutely thrilled. This was the house where the Beatles rehearsed and now I own it. I missed out on John Lennon's house last year, so this is just a dream come true," Holmes told the Liverpool Echo. Holmes added she may well move to Liverpool after buying the house and also said she intended to put one of the rooms back to the way it was in the 1960s. The sale of Harrison's childhood home comes after Lennon's former childhood home at 9 Newcastle Road, in Wavertree, sold at auction for $770,000 in October. Meanwhile, a letter handwritten by John Lennon to television host Joe Franklin has sold at auction via Boston-based RR Auction for more than $28,000. The letter was penned on Apple Records stationary in 1971, with Lennon encouraging talk show host Franklin to listen to his wife Yoko Ono's latest album Fly. "Of course Yoko can explain her music better in person, this is a kind of introduction. For something rather more 'straight,' a track called 'Mrs Lennon' on 'Fly' is an example of her more conservative side," Lennon writes. "She was trained as a classical musician, and took music composition in Sarah Lawrence College as her major. It's far out, but don't let it frighten you." - The Hollywood Reporter/Rolling Stone, 10/26/14...... Legendary jazz/rock keyboardist Herbie Hancock released his long-awaited memoir, Herbie Hancock: Possibilities on Oct. 23, and among its revelations are the night Hancock's wife and daughter staged an intervention for his crack cocaine abuse in the 1990's. "Ever since I'd first smoked crack cocaine, I had been trying without success to stop. I managed to keep it under control for several years, sometimes going months without smoking it," Hancock writes. "But then [my wife] Gigi would go out of town and I'd think, 'I have a few days, I'll just do it one more time.' Toward the end of 1999 things were getting out of control. I was smoking a lot now, and acting in ways I'd never acted before. One day in November Gigi had an asthma attack, but instead of taking care of her or taking her to the doctor, I left the house. I couldn't handle it.... She'd been calling my cellphone, but I was so high, and so paranoid, that of course I didn't answer. I didn't want to speak to her until I could come down enough to talk normally. Finally, I picked up. Gigi told me that she'd called the police -- so I'd better get out now. She hadn't, but I didn't know that." - Billboard, 10/24/14...... Bob Seger's latest LP Ride Out has hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart, the Detroit rocker's first No. 1 on that chart since its 2006 inception, and Seger's highest-ever debut (No. 3) on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. Notably, Seger's 17th studio album is his only one available for sale in the iTunes Store. Seger is still shunning streaming services, such as Spotify, where none of his current or back catalog is available. Non-traditional retailers, like amazon.com, account for 29 percent of Ride Out's first-week sales. - Billboard, 10/24/14...... The Grateful Dead, who will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2015, have announced plans for a career-spanning retrospective documentary executive produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Amir Bar-Lev. The currently untitled project will combine previously unreleased footage of the jam band, vintage interviews and various candid moments captured on film over the half century, as well as new conversations with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, and other Deadheads from around their unique universe. - Billboard, 10/23/14...... In a new interview with The New Yorker magazine, Billy Joel says that he has no plan to hit the "treadmill," that grind of a continuous album release cycle and its near-inescapable law of diminishing creative returns. "Over the years, Elton [John] would say, "Why don"t you make more albums?" And I'd say, "Why don"t you make less?" -- Some people think it's because I'm lazy or I'm just being contrary. But, no, I think it's just -- I've had my say." He goes on to add, "If I put out an album now, it would probably sell pretty well, because of who I am, but that's no reason to do it. I'd want it to be good. And I've seen artists on that treadmill, putting out albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and it"s, like, maybe you should stop." - The New Yorker/Billboard, 10/22/14...... Neil Young is set to stage his very first art exhibition when he debuts a selection of his watercolours at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif., on Nov. 3 until the end of the month. Young will be present at the opening event. The exhibition will include the cover art for Young's new solo album, Storytone, which is also released on Nov. 3. The LP is his second of the year following A Letter Home, which was recorded in the vintage vinyl booth at Jack White's Third Man Records store in Nashville. - NME, 10/23/14...... Ambient music legend Brian Eno has announced he will re-release a series of albums dating back to the early-to-mid 1990's. Eno will reissue Nerve Net (1992), The Shutov Assembly (1992), Neroli (1993) and The Drop (1997) via All Saint Records on Dec. 2. Each album will come with a bonus selection of unreleased material. - NME, 10/24/14...... Foreigner are set to release a new high-definition live recording from their most successful album of all time, Foreigner 4. The Best of Foreigner 4 & More will be released on Dec. 5 on CD and vinyl, accompanied by limited edition posters and remake t-shirts from their 1981-1982 tour. Foreigner recorded live high-definition versions of their most enduring anthems on Foreigner 4 at the Borgata Hotel's Music Box theatre in Atlantic City on Oct. 3 4, 2014. The album includes some of rock's best-known hits including "Feels Like The First Time," "Cold As Ice," "Hot Blooded" and Foreigner's iconic ballad, "I Want To Know What Love Is." Foreigner 4 spent more weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts than any artist in the history of Atlantic Records, including AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, and went on to sell more than 9 million albums worldwide. "Our music has touched a lot of people worldwide" says Foreigner founder, lead guitarist, Mick Jones, who also serves serves as executive producer of the new album. - Noble PR, 10/22/14...... In other live release news, the Rolling Stones have announced details of their upcoming concert DVD L.A. Forum Live in 1975. Hitting stores on Nov. 17, the release is the second from the band's "From the Vaults" series of archive footage. The band's trip to America in 1975 was their first with then new recruit Ronnie Wood. The footage on the DVD was captured during their five night stint at the Los Angeles venue in July of that year. - New Musical Express, 10/25/14...... In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, Ozzy Osbourne said that he wants his fellow cofounding Black Sabbath member Bill Ward to rejoin Sabbath for the band's next, and supposedly final, album. "I hope Bill Ward can get his stuff together to do this," Osbourne said. "One of the biggest things I"m proud of in my life was that Black Sabbath wasn't a band that was created by some business mogul in London or New York. We were four guys who had a great idea." Earlier in 2014, before the band's headline set in London's Hyde Park, Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi had stated that the gig could be the band's last outing due to his ongoing health problems. However, the band will now reunite for what is expected to be their last ever record. Black Sabbath have released 13 studio albums since forming in 1968. The current line up of the band sees Iommi and Osbourne joined by third original member Geezer Butler on bass. - NME, 10/24/14...... Speaking to Mojo magazine, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason compared his former bandmate Roger Waters to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, and claimed that the singer's departure from the band was like when the USSR lost their notorious autocratic leader. "It must have been the same when Stalin died. It took quite a while [to recover], it was a three or four year period," he said. "Roger thought we were all going to call it day, and David [Gilmour] and I thought Roger was going to call it a day and we were going to carry on," he added. "[But] the thing is, these slightly unbalanced people make great musicians. If we hadn't had the mad Syd [Barrett] and the mad Roger, we might have been doing 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep'." Waters, who left the prog-rock band in 1985, recently issued an angry statement about his lack of involvement in the upcoming Pink Floyd release The Endless River, which the band says will be their final LP. The album is on course to become Amazon's most pre-ordered album of all-time. - NME, 10/24/14...... British glam rocker Alvin Stardust, one of the biggest pop stars of his era in his native UK, died on Oct. 23 after battling metastatic prostate cancer. He was 72. Stardust, born Bernard Jewry on Sept. 27, 1942 in London, enjoyed a long line of top 10 hits in the '70s and early '80s, and topped the chart in his homeland with "Jealous Mind." He was once described by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards as "the Godfather of British Rock 'n' Roll," and will be remembered for his tough-guy persona and rockabilly quiff. Stardust also helmed shows on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 5, and at one stage hosted a Sunday morning children's TV series It's Stardust on Britain's free-to-air ITV. He appeared in various U.K. TV series, including Hollyoaks. Before his death, Alvin completed his first studio album in 30 years, which is scheduled for release on Nov. 3 through Conehead Records. - Billboard, 10/24/14...... Alfred Wertheimer, the photographer whose portraits of Elvis Presley documented the birth of a music legend, died of natural causes on Oct. 19 at his New York apartment. He was 85. Mr. Wertheimer was 26 when he was assigned to photograph the then unknown 21-year-old singer Presley. He traveled with Elvis from New York to Memphis by train and produced a series of now famous black and white portraits that were the subject of exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution and the Grammy Museum. Among the most famous shots: "The Kiss," a photo of Elvis nuzzling a woman fan backstage. "There has been no other photographer that Elvis ever allowed to get as up close and personal in his life through photos as he did with Alfred," Presley's ex-wife Priscilla Presley said on Oct. 21. "I'm deeply saddened by the death of Alfred Wertheimer. He was a dear friend and special soul. I feel he was a gift for all who knew him especially, Elvis Presley." - AP, 10/22/14.
Ben Bradlee, the charismatic former Washington Post editor who oversaw the paper during the Watergate scandal and Pentagon Papers controversy and was immortalized in the 1976 film All the President's Men, died on Oct. 21 at his home in Washington, D.C., of natural causes. He was 93. Born Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 26, 1921, Mr. Bradlee survived a childhood battle with polio. He served on a destroyer in the Navy during World War II and was a veteran of more than a dozen battles, including the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. After the war, he helped start the New Hampshire Sunday News, a small paper in Manchester, which folded after two years. He was hired as a reporter for the Washinton Post in 1948 but left after three years to become assistant press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. In 1954, he became a European correspondent for Newsweek magazine and returned to Washington with it in 1957, becoming bureau chief after the Post bought the magazine in 1961. As a reporter in the 1950s, Mr. Bradlee became friends with John F. Kennedy, who had moved into a house on the same block after winning his first election to Congress. Mr. Bradlee later wrote two books about his onetime neighbor and future president, the first in 1964, just after Kennedy's assassination. In 1965 he became managing editor of the Post and, three years later, executive editor as the paper joined with the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. Pres. Richard Nixon's administration had issued a temporary restraining order against publication of the leaked report, a history of the Vietnam War commissioned by former secretary of defense Robert McNamara, and both papers were vindicated when the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, to lift the ban against publishing. Later in the decade, the Post won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its investigation of the 1974 Watergate scandal which brought down Pres. Nixon, and All the President's Men, Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's book about breaking the story, was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the two reporters and Jason Robards memorably portraying Mr. Bradlee. He met his third wife, reporter Sally Quinn, during his tenure the paper, and the two married in 1978 and had a son, Quinn. He also has three other children by his first two marriages, including son Ben Bradlee, Jr., a longtime Boston Globe reporter and editor. His memoir, A Good Life, was published in 1995, and in November 2013 he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Pres. Barack Obama. Mr. Bradlee began end-of-life hospice care at his home in September after suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia for several years. "Ben was a true friend and genius leader in journalism," Woodward and Bernstein said in a statement. "He forever altered our business. His one unbending principle was the quest for the truth and the necessity of that pursuit." - CNN, 10/22/14.
Led Zeppelin has lost the first round of a "Stairway to Heaven" plagarism lawsuit brought by the heirs of co-founding Spirit member Randy Craig Wolf. The heirs sued Led Zep's Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and their music companies in June 2014, claiming that the story Page has told over the years about holing himself up in a remote cottage in Wales in 1970 and creating the iconic Classic Rock staple is false. The plaintiffs allege hat the music really came from Spirit, which once toured with Led Zeppelin in the late 1960s. On Oct. 19, U.S. District Court Judge Juan Snchez denied a motion to dismiss or transfer without prejudice after the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the suit, saying "the individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here." The judge's ruling means that the plaintiffs can still try to sue Page and Plant again. Meanwhile, Jimmy Page said in a recent interview that "My master plan is to be playing live next year." "I haven't got another 20-30 years left in me, so I really need to get out there and present myself the way that I like to present myself and to be seen and be heard," he said, adding that he "will definitely play Led Zeppelin music because I'm really proud of the music that I did and the instrumental side of it -- things like "Black Mountain Side," "White Summer" and "Dazed and Confused," which only has two verses when you play as an instrumental -- you can take into another sort of feel. So I would do all that stuff, but I would do it well. I wouldn't go out and make it look like a tribute band." - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 10/20/14.
During a recent podcast, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer said he's feeling great after a health scare that forced Aerosmith to cancel a California concert in August. As TMZ.com reported at the time that Kramer was facing "heart complications," the drummer clarified the gossip website's report that he "had heart issues in the past." "The likes of TMZ and some other [media outlets] out there said that I had previous problems, that I had existing heart problems from the past and it was something that I always had, which was just completely not true," Kramer said. "I've never had any problems in the past. It's just strictly a hereditary thing. There's a family history, and I was the victim. But no more." Kramer said he had gone to see his doctor after experiencing what he had thought was acid reflux but turned out to be more serious. He said he wound up needing an angioplasty with two stents inserted to fix the blockage. "It wasn't my time. It wasn't time for my ticket to be punched." he said on the Eddie Trunk Podcast. "And so I got fixed, and I'm back 150 percent, and everything is as good as it can possibly be." Meanwhile, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler addressed eleven Maui Drug Court graduates and their families in Hawaii on Oct. 16 in 2nd Circuit Court. "I'm nervous here because I'm telling you all my truth," Tyler said. "I am also a drug addict and alcoholic and fighting it every day." As a guest speaker at the 49th Maui/Moloka'i Drug Court program graduation, Tyler encouraged graduates to continue in their recovery, in part by attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other support group meetings, as he does. "If you stop going to AA meetings, you're going to wind up using again," he said. "They're all over the island and they're all over the world. I express my joy all because of AA." - Billboard/Associated Press, 10/19/14.
During a Q&A session on Twitter on Oct. 20 to promote the reissue of the Wings albums Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound which come out in November, Paul McCartney shared a rare track which will appear on the Speed of Sound reissue -- a previously unreleased take of "Beware My Love" featuring late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham on drums. "...here's the world premiere of it featuring John Bonham on drums," Sir Paul said, as he shared it via Twitter's new audio card. "Beware My Love" wasn't the only time McCartney and Bonham's paths crossed -- the LedZep drummer played on two tracks from Wings' final album, 1979's Back to the Egg. During the Twitter chat, fans also learned that Macca has no tattoos ("Not even on my ass"), he sings in the shower ("Singing in the Rain," "It's Raining Men" or "Waterfalls!") and he's loving the new Foo Fighters track "Something From Nothing" and Sia's "Chandelier." - Billboard, 10/21/14...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr is set to star in a new global marketing campaign for Skechers footwear starting in spring 2015. Starr will appear in comedic new television spots for Skechers' "Relaxed Fit" line that will be part of a campaign that has previously included such sports celebrities as Joe Montana, Mark Cuban, Joe Namath and Pete Rose. "As we move from the sports world to the music world with this campaign, Ringo is the perfect ambassador to illustrate how our comfortable footwear helps keep you relaxed in any situation," said Skechers president Michael Greenberg. - Billboard, 10/21/14...... Appearing on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Oct. 20, Neil Diamond said he once considered changing his name to "Ice Charry" or possibly "Noah Kaminsky" before the release of his debut album, The Feel of Neil Diamond, in 1966. "The names were brilliant and perfect," Diamond told host Jimmy Fallon. Kaminsky "was Biblical. It had depth, it had character." Diamond was unable to say why he though Ice Charry would have been a good option, only saying "something from Elvis or something?" Diamond, who also revealed he always wanted to play the accordion in a recent chat on Reddit, is promoting his latest album, Melody Road, which hit stores on Oct. 21. - Billboard, 10/21/14...... As Bob Seger's latest LP Ride Out hit stores on Oct. 14, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says that the album's title isn't meant to suggest a farewell. "People have said, 'Ride Out; that sounds a little final there,' and I'm like, 'No, that's not really what I meant,'" the 69-year-old musician tells Billboard. "It's to ride out, clear your head from all the stuff that's making you crazy. But it could serve as a final title. So if I decide, when I turn 70 in May, that enough's enough, it is kind of like summing up. The deciding factor for whether I leave or not is my voice, whether it holds up. I want to be graceful about it. I don't want to overstay my welcome." Seger added that he "probably cut 25 songs for the new album...and then there were another five or six that I came real close to cutting because maybe were a little too esoteric -- or a little too one way or another." "I just try to keep the quality up as high as I can. It's an ongoing thing and I play them for everyone who's close to me and figure out which ones work the best together," he said. - Billboard, 10/20/14...... Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, is streaming his first album in five years in its entirety now on the NPR website. The album, Tell 'Em I'm Gone, will drop via Sony Legacy on Oct. 27 and was co-produced by Rick Rubin and recorded in L.A., London, Dubai and Brussels. Stevens will mount a 6-date tour behind the new LP beginning in December, his first string of North American dates in 35 years. He'll also play a small handful of European shows. - Billboard, 10/20/14...... In other streaming news, a previously-unreleased Bob Dylan track entitled "Dress It Up, Better Have It All" is now available to listen online. The track is part of Dylan's upcoming six-disc The Basement Tapes Complete: Bootleg Series Vol. 11 release, which hits on Nov. 11. "Dress It Up, Better Have It All" is one of 30 tracks previously thought to have been lost from the 138-track collection. The set includes all known recordings from the songwriter's sessions for his Basement Tapes album, which was initially released in 1975. - New Musical Express, 10/16/14...... Jackson Browne's new album Standing in the Breach debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at No. 15 for the second week of October, giving the California folk-rocker his second-highest debut ever on the chart. Browne's best-ever launch came in 1980 with Hold Out, which debuted at No. 10 (later climbing to No. 1). A new John Lennon collection, Power to the People: The Hits, bowed at No. 133 on the Hot 200. The set was sale priced and promoted by various digital retailers, including Amazon MP3 and the iTunes Store. On the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, Glen Campbell made his first appearance in 21 years, as his song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" debuted at No. 50. As Campbell enters the final stages of Alzheimer's disease, the track is his final recording. "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" is from a soundtrack EP accompanying the documentary Glen Campbell - I'll Be Me, which includes The Band Perry's cover of Campbell's 1967 hit "Gentle on My Mind." - Billboard, 10/17/14...... Singer Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company fame played a sold-out performance and participated in a Q&A session at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Oct. 15. Rodgers told the Foundation that he's always been a soul singer at heart -- particularly on his new album covering R&B classics, The Royal Sessions. Recorded at the iconic Memphis Royal Studios with some of the original session musicians, The Royal Sessions was produced by Perry Margoulef, who appeared with Rodgers for the event. Following the Q&A, the night ended with Rodgers performing three songs from the new album, starting with a stellar "That's How Strong My Love Is," followed by "I Can't Stand The Rain" and "Born Under A Bad Sign." - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/16/14...... Queen guitarist Brian May is currently exhibiting his collection of Victorian-era 3D photographs at London's Tate Britain. May has been collecting stereoscopic images since his band's early years and his collection includes over 100,000 pictures. The most expensive item in the collection -- an image of Queen Victoria -- cost the musician £36,000. 3D pictures were popular during the 19th century, with two images displayed through a special viewer to create the illusion of depth. May has even devised his very own apparatus to use in examining the pieces. "This is a very big thrill, being able to share my own excitement in these photographs," May told The Guardian newspaper. "In the 19th century somebody called them 'the poor man's art gallery' " but that was a derogatory term " they usually haven't been taken seriously as art or photography." "A Poor Man's Picture Gallery" will run at Tate Britain until Apr. 12, 2015, after opening there in mid-October. - New Musical Express, 10/21/14...... Barbra Streisand reportedly sent out an email on Oct. 18 asking her fellow Democrats to donate money immediately to candidates facing stiff opposition in the November midterm elections. "Have you seen Congress lately? It's a mess," the diva wrote. "And it's only going to get worse if people like Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers continue to treat corporations better than people." Streisand, who teamed up with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in sending out the email, urged donors to contributed at least $5 immediately. "We have to act now," Streisand wrote. "We're running out of time and money." The singer, whose latest album Great Diva Classics, arrives in stores on Oct. 21, also blasted a recent Supreme Court decision allowing Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. "Just this week in Texas, voting rights were dismantled, essentially blocking minorities and many students and seniors from voting," she wrote. "There is still so much more we can do," she added in closing. "And that can only be achieved with an active Congress, not an obstructive one. That is why it is so important to support Democratic candidates." - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/19/14...... More artists have been added to the upcoming star-studded tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd, which is set for Atlanta's Fox Theatre on Nov. 12. Randy Houser, O.A.R. and Al Kooper, who discovered Skynyrd and produced many of their hits, are the newest additions to "One More For the Fans! - Celebrating the Songs & Music of Lynyrd Skynyrd," organizers announced on Oct. 17. They join a previously set lineup of rock and country acts that includes Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trace Adkins, Alabama, Gregg Allman, Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson, Aaron Lewis, moe., Gov't Mule, Robert Randolph, Blackberry Smoke, Cheap Trick and Donnie Van Zant. Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded a live album, One More From the Road, at the Fox Theatre in 1976 as part of a campaign to save the historic venue from the wrecking ball. For the Nov. 12 concert, producer Don Was will serve as the music director and house band leader. - Billboard, 10/17/14...... Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who had designed dresses for every first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy died on Oct. 20. He was 82. The cause of his death, announced by close family friends and industry colleagues, was not immediately clear. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but said last year he was "totally clean." Often described as the "sultan of suave," Mr. de la Renta also dressed such female musicians as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Lee Ann Womack, while movie stars Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Kristen Stewart were among the Dominican Republic-born designer's great fans. "He was a true, true gentlemen, in the truest sense of the word -- a real bright light -- and this is just a terrible, terrible loss for the fashion world," said Alina Cho, fashion journalist and editor at large at Random House. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/20/14...... Saxophone player Raphael Ravenscroft, the man behind the sax hook on Gerry Rafferty's 1978 smash "Baker Street" which is considered the most recognizable sax riff in pop music history, passed away due to an apparent heart attack on Oct. 20. He was 60. Ravenscroft was reportedly paid for his "Baker Street" sessions work with a check that bounced, while Rafferty earned thousands in royalties on the song over the years. "Baker Street" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978 and the riff continues to be one of the most celebrated sax hooks in history. Some music historians claim Ravenscroft's "Baker Street" sax solo is strongly inspired by a similar solo in jazz-rock fusion player Steve Marcus' 1968 track "Half a Heart." Ravenscroft also played tenor sax on Pink Floyd's The Final Cut and worked with a diverse roster of artists that included Robert Plant, America, Bonnie Tyler, Daft Punk and more. - Billboard, 10/21/14...... Tim Hauser, the founder and singer of the Grammy-winning vocal troupe The Manhattan Transfer, died on Oct. 16 from cardiac arrest. He was 72. Hauser founded Manhattan Transfer, who released their debut album in the early 1970s and released hits such as "Operator" and "The Boy from New York City." They went on to win multiple pop and jazz Grammy Awards. Their critically acclaimed album, 1985's Vocalese, earned a whopping 12 Grammy nominations. "Tim was the visionary behind The Manhattan Transfer," members of the group said in a statement. "It's incomprehensible to think of this world without him." Manhattan Transfer will continue their upcoming tour despite Hauser's death. Their next show is Oct. 23 in Manchester, N.H. - AP, 10/18/14...... Songwriter Paul Craft, who penned hits for such artists as the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Ray Stevens, Mark Chesnutt and Alison Krauss, died in a hospital in Nashville, Tenn., after years of deteriorating health. He was 76. Earlier in October, Craft was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame after being nominated numerous times over the years. Craft was also a member of American Mensa, a group for people whose IQ is in the top 2 percent of the population. Among his most well-known songs were "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," '"Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)," "Brother Jukebox," and "It's Me Again, Margaret," one of Ray Stevens' signature songs. - AP, 10/19/14.
Appearing on the Comedy Network series The Colbert Report on Oct. 14, Neil Young said that Pres. Barack Obama should "be impeached" because of his apparent support for "fracking," the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. "I think we should impeach him for fracking," said Young when asked by host Stephen Colbert if he thought Obama should be impeached over Iraq. "It's not in the interest of the American people... I am part of the free world, and he is the leader of the free world!" Young is making the media rounds to promote his new solo album Storytone, which hits stores on Nov. 3. Storytone is a double album with a second disc of the same songs backed by a 92-piece orchestra. Young is also hyping his new Pono music player and its updated website, which now has a preview of how the service's music store will function when launched. The PonoMusic.com store is comprised of a simple search bar and a selection of current albums by Prince, Ryan Adams and others, though there are currently no prices and you can't purchase anything yet. Young officially launched PonoMusic at the Salesforce Dreamforce conference on Thursday, Oct. 16 in San Francisco. Pono says it expects to have the complete catalogs of the three major labels (Sony, Universal and Warner) in the store, with a total of over 2 million tracks. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 10/15/14.
The Doobie Brothers will release Southbound, an album of collaborations featuring contributions from the likes of country music stars Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and others, on Nov. 4. The 12-track LP consists of reinterpretations of some of the Doobies' biggest hits, including "Black Water" (with Zac Brown Band), "China Grove" (with Chris Young), "Jesus Is Just Alright" (with Casey James), "Listen to the Music" (with Shelton) and "Long Train Running" (with Keith). Southbound also marks the first release in almost forty years to feature Doobie leads Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons. In other country music-related news, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn., has announced a new rock exhibit will be opening at the venue in March 2015. The "Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City" exhibit refers to such seminal country-influenced rock albums of the late 1960's and early 1970's recorded in the Music City, including Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline, The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo and Neil Young's Harvest. Michael Gray, museum editor and co-curator of the exhibit, said the exhibit is not only about the music made in Nashville during this period, but also the cultural changes the city experienced. "It was sort of thought of as a conservative town, maybe not as hip as the music circles in New York, San Francisco, L.A. or London," he said. Dylan's decision to record multiple albums in Nashville opened the floodgates for folk and rock musicians, he said. "It really did change perceptions about the city," he said. Johnny Cash also had a big role in welcoming these new musicians to town through his television program The Johnny Cash Show, which aired on ABC from 1969 to 1971 and featured both country and folk artists, including Dylan, Young, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and Eric Clapton. - AP/Billboard, 10/15/14
Led Zeppelin has leaked another rare track from their upcoming reissues of 1971's Led Zeppelin IV and 1973's Houses of the Holy. An alternate take of "Rock and Roll" on Oct. 15 follows a different version of "The Rain Song" from the reissues, which drop Oct. 27 via Atlantic/Swan Song sporting a bounty of unreleased bonus tracks (on both CD and vinyl, regular and deluxe). Both will also be included in a box set, which also contains a coffee table book and a print of the cover art. Meanwhile, on Oct. 14 Led Zep's Jimmy Page released a widely-distributed version of a "photographic autobiography" featuring over 600 photos from the musician's archive as well as his own words telling the story of the mighty Zeppelin's rise. The book, simply titled Jimmy Page, was originally released in 2010 but limited to just 2,500 copies. "I've been asked on a number of occasions to do a written book and I thought of the other side of the coin," Page said at the book's original release. "I thought it would be unique to have an autobiography in photographs, charting my whole musical journey." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/16/14...... Country-pop icon Glen Campbell, who has been fighting the debilitating, destructive Alzheimer's brain disease, has released a powerful video for his final song, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." Directed by James Keach, the clip is a portrait of Campbell's great career and his life away from music. But it's tempered by images of the treatment he's undergone for Alzheimer's. There's an emotional impact to the words and vision of "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" that recalls one of Johnny Cash's final recordings, "Hurt." "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," which Campbell recorded in Jan. 2013 for the soundtrack of the documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, opens with the lyric, "I'm still here but yet I'm gone. I don't play guitar or sing my song. It never defined who I am, the man who loves you till the end." Such famous musicians as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift appeared in the documentary to pay tribute to the "Rhinestone Cowboy singer. Campbell, 78, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011 and he was moved into a long-term care facility earlier this year. he was named both CMA Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1968, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. The veteran performer has sold more than 45 million albums over the course of his career. - Billboard, 10/13/14....... Billy Joel has reportedly sold one of his beachfront mansions on Long Island. The 5,500-square-foot, four bedroom home that sits on 145 feet of beach front was sold earlier in October, and the buyer and price have not been disclosed. Sagaponack, a village in the Town of Southampton in Suffolk County, was been listed as the most expensive small village in the U.S in 2009. Joel has other homes on Long Island. - AP, 10/16/14...... Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon have announced plans for an inaugural "Ozzfiesta" at a Hard Rock hotel in Mexico for May 27-31, 2015. The five-day event is described as "an all-inclusive getaway with live music, meet and greets and more." The couple have put up a website devoted to the event, and Ozzy confirms he'll be playing a headlining set, and a dinner party will be hosted by Sharon. The first 500 rooms sold will also include a meet and greet with the singer. Osbourne has previously held a series of annual Ozzfest events in America; however, this is the first time the singer has taken the festival to Mexico. Meanwhile, Ozzy took to Twitter on Oct. 13 for a Q&A session with fans after beginning an #askOzzy hashtag on the site. The 65-year-old rocker revealed that he has "no vices" but "loves beans on toast." In still more Ozzy news, the musician is set to be receive the Global Icon award at the 2014 MTV EMAs, which are set for the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Nov. 9. Osbourne will receive the MTV Global Icon award in recognition of his work as both a member of Black Sabbath and a solo artist. - New Musical Express, 10/16/14...... In more award show news, '70s artists Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Cat Stevens, Steve Miller, Steve Winwood, Harry Wayne "K.C." Casey and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart are among the 12 nominees for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. The selected songwriters will be inducted next June at a New York gala. Meanwhile, Nile Rodgers of Chic picked up a Song of the Year award at the 2014 BMI London awards at the citiy's Dorchester Hotel on Oct. 13. Rodgers accepted the award for "Get Lucky," which he co-wrote with Daft Punk and Pharrel Williams. Legendary lyricist Tim Rice, whose credits include Jesus Christ Superstar and The Lion King, was also honored with a BMI Icon award for his body of work. In BMI's always-interesting Million-Air Awards category, which honor's a song's combined radio plays in the U.S., awards went to Sting's "Every Breath You Take" (12 million), Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" (11 million), Eric Clapton's "Layla" (9 million), Free's "All Right Now" (5 million), and Eagle-Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" (4 million). Attendees included Rice, Rodgers, Morrison, Cherry, Ray Davies, Don Black and BMI president Mike O'Neill. - AP/Billboard, 10/16/14...... A massive remastered collection of Joni Mitchell's greatest hits, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced, will drop Nov. 15 and feature 53 songs from the Canadian folk-rock legend's successful career. Songs for the 4-disc box set were hand-picked by Mitchell herself and have been re-arranged into "themes" that reflect the quartet and ballet mentioned in the title. "Instead of it being an emotional roller coaster ride as it was before -- crammed into one disc -- themes began to develop... Moods sustained," Mitchell explained in a press release. "When this long editorial process [two years] finally came to rest, I had four ballets or a four-act ballet -- a quartet. I also had a box set." Mitchell says the new remastered tracks will be "familiar but fresh," with "a lot of sonic adjustment," which has all been crafted by herself. Mitchell's last studio album, Shine, was released in 2007 and saw her collaborating with members of the Alberta Ballet. - New Musical Express, 10/15/14...... In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham said the band are recording some "profound" new material for their next album, which they announced earlier in 2014. Buckingham says Fleetwood Mac is "exploring new turf" on the record, and also hailed the influence of returning member Christine McVie, who announced she was rejoining the band in January. Fleetwood Mac's last new release of new material was an EP entitled Extended Play in 2013. - NME, 10/16/14...... Six unused photos from the photo shoot for the Beatles' famous Abbey Road album cover are set to go on sale at auction in London on Nov. 21. The shots were taken on Aug. 8, 1969, photographer Iain Macmillan, who had only ten minutes to complete the entire shoot. Six photos were taken in all, including the photo that eventually made the final cut, as well as a scenery shot of the Abbey Road sign. "[The photos] are incredibly rare," said Sarah Wheeler of Bloomsbury Auctions. "I've spoken to other music dealers and no one has been able to find a complete set on the market for at least 10 years." Released in September 1969, Abbey Road's beloved iconic cover is one of the most parodied LP sleeves in history. The artwork is also the focus of several conspiracy theories, including one that Paul McCartney is in fact dead and was replaced on the sleeve by an imposter. - New Musical Express, 10/15/14...... Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Leonard Cohen has announced he'll release a new live album called Live in Dublin on Dec. 1, along with an accompanying concert film of the same name. The release's recordings date back to last September at Dublin's O2 Arena. Live in Dublin will be released as a 3-CD and DVD collection, and will be Cohen's first high-definition release.Cohen released his latest album, Popular Problems, in September 2014 to mark his 80th birthday. - NME, 10/15/14...... Bob Seger was the musical guest on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on Oct. 14 and treated viewers to a cover of the John Hiatt-penned song "Detroit Made," which appears on the Detroit rocker's latest album, Ride Out. Seger was backed by a massive band, including five horn players and three backup singers, and Ride Out is his first release since 2006's Face the Promise. Seger, 69, was cheerful and enthusiastic throughout the performance, periodically pointing to various members of his band to highlight whatever they happened to be playing at the time. He begins a 23-city tour with his Silver Bullet Band this November. - Billboard, 10/15/14...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne will collaborate with contemporary singing sensation Alicia Keys at a live charity gig in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Oct. 30. The pair will perform together at the annual Black Ball fundraiser, a venture organized by Keys herself. Proceeds from the show will go to the Keep A Child Alive foundation. "I've always been inspired by David Byrne and his ability to combine music and art," Keys says. "[We] have been talking about his new music and what we're going to perform and just the thought of it is amazing!" Previous Black Ball events have featured performances from Bono, Jay Z, Sade and others. - NME, 10/14/14...... Speaking at the UK's Cheltenham Literature Festival on Oct. 11, former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) said that he feels "a bit responsible" for the death of bandmate Sid Vicious, who died of a heroin overdose in 1979. "He didn't stand a chance," Lydon said "His mother was a heroin addict. I feel bad [that] I brought him into the band. He couldn't cope. I feel a bit responsible for his death... There you are, I have confessed my demons," said Lydon, who is promoting his new autobiography Anger Is an Energy. - NME, 10/13/14.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their 2015 nominees on Oct. 9, with Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, The Marvelettes, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A, Lou Reed, The Smiths, The Spinners, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan, War and Bill Withers making the cut for possible induction into the Cleveland-based hall and museum this time. First-time nominees include the Smiths, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bill Withers. (Sting is already in the Rock Hall with the Police, but this is for his solo work.) Industry insiders say Green Day, Joan Jett, Nine Inch Nails, Lou Reed, Sting and Steve Ray Vaughan are likely locks for induction in 2015. For the third year, fans also have the opportunity to vote online, on Rolling Stone magazine's website, until Dec. 9. The induction ceremony will take place April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The 2014 inductees included Nirvana, Kiss, Linda Ronstadt, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel and Cat Stevens. - Billboard, 10/9/14.
Wisconsin-based clothing manufacturer Duluth Trading Company is being sued by Eagles principal Don Henley over the company's use of it's new marketing slogan, "Don a Henley and Take It Easy," a reference to the band's 1972 breakthrough single co-written by Jackson Browne and Eagles' member Glenn Frey. Attorneys representing Henley, who is known for being quite protective of his intellectual property, filed a suit in California district court on Oct. 10 claiming unauthorized use of the musician's name, trademarks and publicity rights. The suit charges Duluth Trading Company takes advantage of Henley's celebrity and is likely to cause confusion among consumers about the source of sponsorship. "This kind of thing happens with some degree of frequency and the members of the Eagles always defend their rights, often at great expense," a rep for Henley told The Hollywood Reporter. "One would think that the people in charge of marketing for these corporations would have learned by now that U.S. law forbids trading on the name of a celebrity without permission from that celebrity... Both Mr. Henley and the Eagles'... names are their trademarks and, therefore, they take offense when an individual or a business tries to piggyback and capitalize on their art, their hard work and their goodwill in the public arena." - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/10/14.
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has signed a new management deal with Larry Rudolph's ReignDeer Entertainment, the same firm that represents such acts as Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus. "At this exciting new time in my career, there was need for a big change," Tyler told Billbaord. "After meeting and getting to know Larry and (his partner) Rebecca Lambrecht and seeing that we all share the same vision, I knew it was the perfect time for me to work with people who truly have my best interest and well-being in mind. I look forward to making incredible history together and having FUN while we take over the world, work and travel on the most adventurous journey you could ever imagine." Tyler, who just wrapped Aerosmith's "Let Rock Rule" tour with the band, is currently working on a solo album. Meanwhile, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry says that their will be "stuff that (Tyler) is going to take exception to" in his just-released memoir, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith. Co-written with David Ritz, Perry says the memoir is "not your typical sex, drugs and rock'n'roll autobiography," with the musician writing about his love of nature (he wanted to be a marine biologist when he was a kid) and candidly confronts the human costs of his booze-and-drugs period instead of glorifying them. Perry says he couldn't predict how Tyler would react to his new book. "One thing I've learned about Steven is that I've never been able to figure him out," he says. "I think there's going to be stuff he's going to take exception to, (but) it will probably be just the opposite of the stuff that I think it is." - Billboard, 10/10/14.
Almost exactly 35 years after his 1979 single "Rise" topped the U.S. pop charts, the legendary Herb Alpert has returned to the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the first time in 27 years with his new LP In the Mood. In the Mood debuted at No. 147 for the week ending Oct. 10, selling 2,000 copies in its first week and rising to No. 2 on the Traditional Jazz chart. Alpert last appeared on the Hot 200 with 1987's Keep Your Eye on Me, which peaked at No. 18. - Billboard, 10/10/14...... On Oct. 10 The Who announced itineraries for two North American "The Who Hits 50!" tour legs in 2015, with a 20-date spring trek kicking off Apr. 15 in Tampa, Fla., and running through May 30 in Forest Hills, N.Y. The tour then resumes in the fall on Sept. 14 in San Diego for 24 more shows and runs through Nov. 4 in Philadelphia. The tour will feature exclusive VIP packages, including reserved tickets for premium seats, access to a VIP pre-show soundcheck, pre-show VIP parties and autographed limited edition memorabilia. Tour details can be found on the band's official site, and additionally, $1 from each ticket sold on "The Who Hits 50!" tour will benefit the Roger Daltrey co-founded charity, Teen Cancer America. "This is the beginning of the long goodbye," Daltrey has said in a statement. A new Who greatest hits package of the same name will be released in conjunction with the tour this Oct. 27 via Geffen/Universal, spanning the band's first recordings as The High Numbers to its greatest Who hits to a brand-new track, titled "Be Lucky." - Billboard, 10/10/14...... In other tour news, Fleetwood Mac has just added 28 more dates to their in progress "On With The Show" tour, which had been set to wrap Dec. 20 in Tampa, Fla. The tour will now run into the spring of 2015 and conclude Mar. 31 in Witchita, Kansas. The band played back-to-back shows at Madison Square Garden in New York earlier in October, after kicking off the tour Sept. 30 in Minneapolis. - Billboard, 10/10/14...... Neil Young has announced his new LP Storytone will drop Nov. 4 in the U.S. via Reprise and feature 10 new tracks. The first track, "Who's Gonna Stand Up?," was originally performed at Young and Crazy Horse shows in the U.K. this summer and, more recently, as part of his solo acoustic set at Farm Aid. An EP with four unique versions of the ecologically-conscious song is currently available for download. Young "took a different approach with this record," according to a press release, "first recording the songs on his own in a solo-setting, then creating compelling versions of the songs in a new light with an orchestra and big band, resulting in a deeply-personal emotional listening experience throughout the new record." Configurations of the album, Young's 35th, release include a deluxe 180 gram double vinyl pressing, which will be released on Dec. 19 and will feature both the regular and 2-disc deluxe orchestral versions of the album. The album will also be available via Young's crowd-sourced music player Pono. Meanwhile, Young declared that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young will "never, ever tour again" during a solo gig at Philadelphia's Academy of Music on Oct. 8. Young reportedly began talking about CSNY as he picked up a guitar that was "given to me by my good friend Stephen Stills." Then, responding to a fan's unheard question, he added: "CSNY will never tour again, ever... but I love those guys." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 10/10/14...... In an interview with the BBC on Oct. 9, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour said the band's upcoming LP The Endless River will be their final official album. "Well, Rick [Wright] is gone. This is the last thing that'll be out from us," Gilmour said, referring to the band's cofounding keyboardist who died in 2008 at the age of 65. "I didn't necessarily always give him his proper due," Gilmour says of Wright. "People have very different attitudes to the way they work and we can become very judgmental and think someone is not quite pulling his weight enough, without realizing that theirs is a different weight to pull." Hitting stores on Nov. 10, The Endless River will feature a cameo by theoretical physicist Steven Hawking, who contributes vocals to a new song entitled "Talkin' Hawkin'." It will mark Hawking's second collaboration with Pink Floyd, having previously appeared on their 1994 album The Division Bell. - Billboard, 10/9/14...... Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry will be among the headliners of a John Lennon charity tribute concert set for New York City's Symphony Space on Dec. 5. The nonprofit Theatre Within made the announcement on Oct. 8, a day before what would have been Lennon's 74th birthday. Other performers set to perform include Kate Pierson of the B-52s, Joan Osborne, Marshall Crenshaw and Ben E. King. Commenting on the event, Lennon's widow Yoko Ono said in a statement: "I share Theatre Within's belief that music and the performing arts have a special power to bring people together and inspire us to make a positive difference. It's beautiful that the Tribute continues to have such a powerful impact in John's memory." Proceeds will benefit Lennon and Ono's Spirit Foundation. Meanwhile, the full back catalog of John's solo work was made available on the popular streaming service Spotify on Oct. 7. From 1970's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band to 1984's posthumous Milk and Honey, Spotify now offers listeners Lennon's eight proper solo albums and three official compilations. Not included are Lennon's trio of avant garde albums with Yoko (1968's Two Virgins and 1969's Life With the Lions and Wedding Album). Lennon now joins bandmates Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to Spotify as solo artists. The Beatles, who have an exclusive arrangement with iTunes, are currently not available through Spotify. - AP/Billboard, 10/8/14...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has offered his support to save St Luke's Church, an arts venue in his hometown of Liverpool. Posting on his official site, Sir Paul wrote: "The people of Liverpool should do everything possible to keep this venue open for the use of the people and run by the people. It is a place that is regularly staffed by students from LIPA and every-day people of all ages, religions and backgrounds. It would be a terrible shame if we lost this cultural icon." Representatives from the church, better known as "The Bombed-Out Church," have raised over £20,000 to help running costs of the iconic Leece Street building. The church was built in 1832 and has served as a concert hall before and since the 1941 Liverpool Blitz, which left the venue as a roofless shell. St Luke's curator Ambrose Reynolds said it "means the world for us to have the support of this international legend." McCartney joins the likes of Yoko Ono in lending his support to the cause. - New Musical Express, 10/8/14...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, George Harrison's childhood home will be auctioned off later in October in his hometown of Liverpool, England. Harrison was six years old when he and his family moved in to the house in 1950, and they remained there until 1962. The late musician, who died in 2001, was living there when he met Paul McCartney, and he, McCartney, John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe formed the Beatles in 1960. The Harrisons were offered the home as government-owned public housing, and the house today has been completely renovated. The property features three bedrooms, a sitting room and a garden, and the auction will begin bidding at roughly $160,600. John Lennon's former home sold for $772,000 in Oct. 2013. "Taking into consideration the location, the property itself and the background, we expect a lot of interest locally and internationally," said Stephen Giddins of Realtor Entwistle Green. - UPI, 10/8/14...... With her remake of Adele's 2011 No. 1 smash "Rolling in the Deep" debuting on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart at No. 47, Aretha Franklin has become the first female, and just the fourth artist overall, to place 100 career titles on that chart. Franklin's interpretation the song incorporates a choral arrangement of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," made famous in 1967 by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. "Rolling" is the first cut from Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, due Oct. 21 on RCA Records. - Billboard, 10/8/14...... AC/DC has revealed the tracklist for their upcoming album Rock or Bust, their first new recording in six years. Its first single, "Play Ball," is their first new recording in six years and has already debuted in their native Australia. Recorded earlier in 2014 in Vancouver, Canada with producer Brendan O'Brien, Rock Or Bust is AC/DC's first album of new material since 2008's Black Ice, which debuted at No. 1 in 31 countries and has sold nearly 8 million copies worldwide, according to their label Sony. The band has also shared the so-called "three-dimensional lenticular cover" artwork for the album, which is posted on the official AC/DC website and will be available in the CD and vinyl versions of the album. - New Musical Express, 10/10/14...... Patti Smith has announced she will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of her acclaimed 1975 album Horses with a world tour in 2015. Next year on Nov. 10, the album's release date, Smith says she hopes to celebrate Horses in New York "in a special way," as well as hosting celebrations in Paris and London and "everywhere, because it's a true milestone." "I'm going to be happy to celebrate it, to perform the album with happiness, not with any kind of cynicism or a cashing-in thing. It will be a true, proud celebration," Smith says. She added that she is finishing her new book, a follow-up to 2010's Just Kids that won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, chronicling her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. - Rolling Stone, 10/7/14...... Former Journey singer Steve Perry led a sing-along of the band's ubiquitous hit "Don't Stop Believin'" on Oct. 6 during his beloved San Francisco Giants' MLB playoff game with the Washington Nationals. Perry lead the crowd in a spirited sing-along of "Don't Stop Believin'," but unfortunately for him and other Giants fans, the team ended up losing the game. - Billboard, 10/7/14...... Willie Nelson's signature braids sold for $37,000 at an auction in Phoenix on Oct. 5 as part of an estate sale conducted by Jesse Colter, the widow of late country music star Waylon Jennings. Nelson famously cut off his braids in 1983 to support Jennings in his sobriety, and presented them to his friend that year at a party thrown by Johnny Cash. Other items up for auction included Buddy Holly's motorcycle, which Jennings kept in his living room, and the contract between Jennings, Nelson, Cash and Kris Kristofferson when they agreed to form their super group The Highwaymen. - Billboard, 10/7/14...... David Bowie's new single "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)" received its first play on the UK's BBC 6 over the second weekend in October. The song features on the forthcoming Bowie compilation Nothing Has Changed, which will drop on Nov. 17. - NME, 10/9/14...... '70s funnyman Steve Martin will be honored with the American Film Institute's prestigious Life Achievement Award in 2015. The 69-year-old comedian/actor joins past recipients including Jane Fonda, Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Barbara Streisand, Harrison Ford, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg in receiving the award, which is presented to those "whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art, whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers, and the general public and whose work has stood the test of time," according to the AFI. Martin will be honored with the 43rd Life Achievement Award on June 4, 2015 at a gala tribute in Los Angeles, and the tribute special will air on TNT and TCM in June 2015. - Entertainment Tonight, 10/5/14...... Geoffrey Holder, a Tony Award-winning director, actor, painter, dancer and choreographer who during an eclectic show business career led the groundbreaking show "The Wiz" to Broadway, famously pitched 7-Up soda on TV during the 1970s and played a scary villain in a James Bond film, died on Oct. 5 of complications of pneumonia at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York. He was 84. The 6-foot-6, Trinidad-born Holder won Tonys in 1975 for directing and designing the costumes for his all-black retelling of "The Wizard of Oz." In 1978, he directed and choreographed the lavish Broadway musical "Timbuktu!" starring Eartha Kitt and earned another Tony nomination for best costumes. On TV, Holder played roles on TV's Tarzan, voiced the leader on the PBS Kids animated show Cyberchase and pitched 7-Up as "the un-cola" in a commercial in which he wore a white suit and hat, purring "maaarvelous" as he drank the soda. His film roles include playing Punjab in the 1982 film version of Annie, a role in 1967's Doctor Dolittle with Rex Harrison, opposite Eddie Murphy in Boomerang, narrating Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and playing the top-hatted voodoo villain Baron Samedi in 1973's Live and Let Die -- the first of the 007 movies to star Roger Moore. He is survived by his wife, the dancer Carmen de Lavallade, and their son, Leo. - AP/Huffington Post UK, 6/10/14.
Paul Revere, the longtime leader and organist of the popular mid '60s/early '70s pop group Paul Revere & the Raiders, died at his home in Idaho on Oct. 4 of undisclosed causes. He was 76. The news was revealed in a lengthy on the band's official website and no cause of death was given, however Revere had been battling cancer over the past year and posted about his health issues on his Facebook page this past July. Revere, born Paul Revere Dick in Harvard, Nebr., on Jan. 7, 1938, was known for his Revolutionary War-style clothing that helped earn him the title of "the madman of rock n' roll" and refused to slow down despite his illness. "Even though I've had some health issues, nothing can stop the old man. I'm like the Energizer Bunny! I jump on my tour bus and go from city to city, packing a trunk full of great Raider songs, tight pants and bad jokes -- all against doctor's orders, by the way!" he posted on Facebook. Formed in 1960 in Portland, Ore., Paul Revere & the Raiders began their career a year earlier as The Downbeats, a raunchy rock & roll band. They emerged from the Northwest to become a national pop success with ponytailed Mark Lindsay, who worked as a delivery boy at Revere's drive-in restaurant, fronting the band and having enormous teenybopper appeal. In mid-1962, they changed their name and started wearing pseudo-Revolutionary War costumes. Columbia signed the group after hearing an unsolicited tape, and in mid-1963 their cover of Richard Berry's "Louie, Louie" was released. Although popular in the Northwest, their version was beaten out across America by The Kingsmen's hit. In early 1965 they relocated to California and began to focus on a cleaner, more pop-oriented sound, and went on to release four Top 10 singles in the 1960s with with "Kicks," "Hungry," "Good Thing" and "Him or Me, What's It Gonna Be." The group had their biggest hit in 1971 with their No. 1 U.S. smash "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)." In 1976, they capitalized on America's bicentennial with a tour and album. While Lindsay forged a successful career singing commercials, Paul Revere and his band toured some 250 nights a year, until Revere announced his retirement in Aug. 2014 due to a serious health issue, which was rumored to be brain cancer. - Billboard/Rollings Stone, 10/5/14.
Roger Waters posted an angry message on his Facebook page on Oct. 1 concerning his lack of involvement in the new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River. "Some people have been asking Laurie, my wife, about a new album I have coming out in November. Errhh? I don't have an album coming out, they are probably confused. David Gilmour and Nick Mason have an album coming out. It's called 'Endless River'. David and Nick constitute the group Pink Floyd. I on the other hand, am not part of Pink Floyd. I left Pink Floyd in 1985, that's 29 years ago. I had nothing to do with either of the Pink Floyd studio albums, Momentary Lapse Of Reason and The Division Bell, nor the Pink Floyd tours of 1987 and 1994, and I have nothing to do with Endless River. Phew! This is not rocket science people, get a grip." The Endless River, which will include music recorded with late Pink Floyd multi-instrumentalist Richard Wright, is due on Nov. 10. Mason said in 2013 that he would be interested in a full band reunion with Waters, but doubted it would ever happen. - New Musical Express, 10/2/14...... A deluxe 45th anniversary release of the Velvet Underground' third, self-titled 1969 album will drop on Nov. 24. The release will include a previously unreleased LP, which was recorded with the intention of getting the band free from their MGM contract. The first disc will feature an album stereo mix of the record, the second a 1969 pressing called the "The Closet Mix" and the third is a promotional mono mix. The entire release will be made up of 65 songs and feature liner notes written by Rolling Stone's David Fricke. - New Musical Express, 10/1/14.
A post by Ted Nugent on the conservative website WorldNetDaily.com on Oct. 1 contained a lengthy diatribe by the controversial Classic Rocker in which he slammed "Ferguson thugs" and the "plague of Black violence." "Our national propaganda ministry reported ad nauseum the detailed description and race of Michael Brown and that of the police officer who killed him," Nugent wrote. "Based on crime stats in Ferguson and elsewhere, it would be a safe bet to assume the two thugs the police are looking for are black males between the age of 15 and 25... a safe bet the two thugs being searched for were raised by a single parent, have criminal records, are high school dropouts, don't have jobs and are very likely to be members of a gang," he added. Nugent then turned to liberalism as the culprit behind the struggles that have "decimated and destroyed so many black families and their communities." "It is deaf, dumb and blind liberalism that has shoveled over $20 trillion into Fedzilla's welfare crack programs over the past 50 years," he added, closing with "The road to peace and prosperity in America is to reject the big liberal lie and all those who endorse it. Liberalism is a lie. Liberalism is a scam. Liberalism is a killer." Nugent made headlines earlier in 2014 with another rant in which he referred to Pres. Barack Obama as a "subhuman mongrel." - The Huffington Post, 10/2/14.
Blues guitar legend B.B. King has canceled the remaining eight shows on his current tour after falling ill on Oct. 3 during a performance at the House of Blues in Chicago. King, 89, was evaluated by a doctor and diagnosed with dehydration and exhaustion. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who has released over 50 albums, King had shows scheduled at his own B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in New York in mid-October. Earlier in 2014, King issued a public apology to fans after an erratic performance in St. Louis led to audience catcalls and early departures. His publicists called it "a bad night for one of America's living blues legends." - AP, 10/5/14...... Director John Landis, who helmed the original 14-minute music video of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," has announed that the video will be getting the 3D treatment in 2015. "It is going to reappear in a highly polished and three-dimensional way that is very exciting on the big screen," Landis told New York Daily News. Landis says his lengthy legal battle with Jackson's estate kept the idea of a revamped "Thriller" in limbo for years, but now that the dispute is over, he wants to bring it to theaters and Blu-ray in the near future. There are also hopes that a short 3D Francis Ford Coppola-directed film that Jackson starred in back in 1986, Captain EO, will also be coming to Blu-ray soon as well. - Billboard, 10/3/14...... Fleetwood Mac played their first full show with original band member Christine McVie since 1997 on Sept. 30 when they kicked off their "On With The Show" tour at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The career-spanning, 24-song set included the Stevie Nicks-penned hits "The Chain" and "Gold Dust Woman," and McVie was introduced by the band who said "our songbird has returned," after which she performed such hits as "You Make Loving Fun" and "Songbird." The band previously reunited without McVie, who left in 1998, for a large-scale tour including several dates at London O2 Arena in Sept. 2013. At one O2 performance, however, McVie joined the band on stage for a rendition of "Don't Stop." The tour will continue across North America thorughout the remainder of 2014, and their are rumours they could headline the UK's Glastonbury Festival in 2015. - New Musical Express, 10/2/14...... A Gretsch 6120 guitar that John Lennon used to co-write and record the Beatles' hit "Paperback Writer" is expected to fetch around £600,000 at auction conducted in at the Le Meridien Hotel in London later in October. Lennon gave the guitar to his cousin David Birch in 1967, and according to Birch he asked Lennon for "one of his spare guitars" during a visit to his Weybridge, Surrey, home after he told his famous relative that he was looking to start a band of his own. "I had my eye on a blue Fender Stratocaster that was lying in the studio but John suggested the Gretsch and gave it to me as we were talking," says Birch, whose mother Harriet was the younger sister of Lennon's mother Julia. Lennon most notably used the Gretsch 6120 on "Paperback Writer," which was recorded in April 1966 at Abbey Road Studios for the album Revolver. Meanwhile, a rare vinyl LP of the Beatles' 1963 debut Please Please Me signed by all four members of the band recently fetched $36,655 at auction on eBay. The item received 39 bids throughout the auction and was eventually sold to an undisclosed bidder in the U.S. - New Musical Express, 10/6/14...... In related news, thousands of items from late country music star Wayon Jennings' estate went on the auction block on Oct. 5 online and at the Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz. Among the items for sale are a red Ariel Cyclone motorcycle given to him as a birthday gift by members of Buddy Holly's band The Crickets. Jennings, who was a close friend of Holly's and was supposed to have been in the same plane that claimed Holly's life in 1959, kept the motorcycle in his living room until he died in 2002. Also included in the sale is a pair of Willie Nelson's braids, which where snipped off and presented in 1983 as a gift to celebrate Jennings' sobriety at a party thrown by Johnny Cash. Jennings died in 2002 at age 64 of diabetes-related health problems, and some auction proceeds will benefit Phoenix Children's Hospital per the wishes of Jennings' widow, Jessi Colter. - AP, 10/4/14...... Todd Rundgren is the latest musical contributor to the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim show Squidbillies. Squidbillies has a history of getting well-known artists to lend their voices to the animated show's theme song, which follows the Cuyler family of squids living in Georgia. Previous seasons benefitted from contributions by George Jones, Alabama Shakes, Dwight Yoakum, Lucinda Williams and Billy Joe Shaver. Squidbillies, featuring a demented, glitched-up treatment of its theme song by Rundgren, airs Sundays at 11:45 pm. - Billboard, 10/3/14...... Convicted child-sex offender Gary Glitter's '70s hit "Rock and Roll Part 2" is quietly fading from play at sports arenas across the U.S. after Glitter's fall from grace in the late 1990s, the most recent example being the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators. Previously, each time the team scored a goal, Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2," a.k.a. "The Hey Song," was played, but fan complaints led to the team's management to decide to stop playing the song. Glitter's version of the song was banned by the National Football League after his conviction in 2006 of sex offenses with girls aged 10 and 11, but a cover version was widely aired and even adopted as the New England Patriots' touchdown anthem. The league asked teams to avoid the song in 2012, however "Rock and Roll Part 2" -- which Glitter co-wrote with producer Mike Leander -- still generates about $250,000 in annual performance royalties. Fred Traub, founder of Pro Sports Marketing, says Glitter's play has dropped noticeably since the NFL ban, but added that newer songs like The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" are pushing aside many decades-old favorites. "Music moves on and people try to capture the zeitgiest," he says. - Billboard, 10/3/14...... Actor Barry Williams, who played eldest son Greg Brady on the iconic '70s sitcom The Brady Bunch, will star in the Great American Country TV network's new original series A Very Barry Branson. The six-episode, half-hour series, which will premiere in early 2015, will follow Williams as trades Hollywood for America's heartland in Branson, Mo., as he launches his own '70s-era musical variety show. The series, which will premiere in early 2015, will follow Williams as he works to create and promote his stage show, gets to know the locals and attempts to make Branson his home. Along the way, he'll take cues from other Branson entertainers, including family band The Haygoods, host former Brady Bunch co-stars, and do anything he can to build an audience. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/2/14.
During a listening event for the new Led Zeppelin remasters of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy at Olympic Studios in London on Sept. 30, Jimmy Page ruled out any chance of the band playing together ever again and said he is planning to start his own, career-spanning band. "I don't think it looks as though that's a possibility or on the cards, so there's not much more I can say about that," Page told the New Musical Express. "I'm not going to give a detail-by-detail account of what one person says or another person says. All I can say is it doesn't look likely, does it?" When pressed on whether this was down to frontman Robert Plant, Page added: "I've just said it doesn't look very likely." His comments come after Plant recently said that he felt "disappointed and baffled" after Page dropped repeated hints about wanting to play with the band again. The guitarist also said that he was "fed up" with his bandmate for delaying his plans. Led Zeppelin last played together in 2007 for a one-off tribute to Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun at London's O2 Arena. Page went on to confirm that he is likely to form his own band and play live material right across his whole career, including his Zeppelin work, in the near future. "If I was to play again it would be with musicians that would be some of the names might be new to you. I haven't put them together yet but I'm going to do that next year. If I went out to play, I would play material that spanned everything from my recording career right back to my very, very early days with The Yardbirds. There would certainly be some new material in there as well." Page previewed tracks from the latest Zep reissues in a theatre against a backdrop of old tour posters and photos of the band in its prime. The two reissues are due on Oct. 27 and follow a reissue campaign earlier in 2014 of the band's first three albums. - New Musical Express, 9/30/14.
A restored one-room schoolhouse in Tennessee where Tina Turner once attended classes opened on Sept. 26 as a museum honoring the singer's career and recalling her childhood in the small West Tennessee town of Brownsville. More than 100 people attended an opening ceremony, ribbon cutting and tour of the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School, located on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. The museum features gold-and-platinum records and glittering outfits and dresses worn during performances by Turner, whose Grammy-winning singing career includes hit songs "Nutbush City Limits," ''Proud Mary" and "What's Love Got To Do With it." Turner, who lives in Zurich, Switzerland, did not attend the ceremony, but she recorded a video that was played for those in attendance. Turner said she did not attend because she has problems with flying long distances ."My spirit is with you," Turner said in the video as she thanked those involved with the project. "Have a wonderful day. Ciao." Turner, whose given name is Anna Mae Bullock, attended the Flagg Grove School while growing up in nearby Nutbush, located about 50 miles northeast of Memphis. Local officials hope that travelers interested in cultural and music tourism who fly into Memphis, known for its blues and rock and roll bloodlines, will make the 50-minute car ride eastbound on Interstate 40 and spend money in their hamlet. - AP, 9/26/14.
Music producer Phil Spector, who has been imprisoned since 2009, has reportedly not spoken in nine months as he battles illness in prison, where he is serving a 19-year sentence for the murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson. Spector's lawyer Chuck Sevilla described Spector's situation as "very dangerous" and that Spector can't speak "due to polyps in his throat which they keep telling him they're going to perform surgery on, which they have not done." Sevilla, who communicates with his client through handwritten letters, expressed his concern for Spector's safety in his current condition: "The prison won't give information about his medical condition. We are trying to get his needs attended to. I will be writing the warden today to try and get that done. Can you imagine being in a prison and you need help and you can't speak? It's very dangerous." A spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had no comment when approached for a statement. Spector made his name with his "wall of sound" production technique and produced the Beatles album Let It Be in 1970. - New Musical Express, 9/28/14.
Earth, Wind & Fire will release its first ever Christmas album, Holiday, on Oct. 21 via Sony Legacy. The 13-track set, EWF's 21st studio album and second for Legacy, is comprised of such seasonal fare as "Winter Wonderland," "Sleigh Ride," "Joy to the World" and "Jingle Bell Rock," as well as "December," a song inspired by their 1978 hit "September" and featuring EWF lead singer/co-founder Philip Bailey dueting with the original master vocals of fellow co-founder Maurice White. Holiday is the followup to 2013's Then & Forever, the group's first LP of new music since 2005. In related news, Kenny Rogers has announced a Christmas-themed 25-date tour of North America that will launch on Nov. 12 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. "The Gambler" singer's trek will visit mostly mid-sized markets and wrap Dec. 23 at Westbury, N.Y. Special guest Linda Davis will join the country legend on his "Christmas & Hits Through The Years" trek, his 33rd Christmas tour. Rogers, who has sold more than one hundred million records worldwide, was formally inducted as a new member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville in October 2013 and has received three Grammys, 11 People's Choice Awards, 18 American Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music awards and six CMA awards. - Billboard, 10/1/14...... A South Carolina man named Stephen Coronel who was a contributor to several KISS songs and a former guitarist in the pre-KISS band Wicked Lester was arrested on Sept. 26 and charged with uploading child pornograpy. Coronel, 63, was charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor following a police search of his apartment. When officers entered his apartment with a warrant, Coronel was reportedly found to have four videos playing or uploading depicting children between 3-12 engaged in sexual acts. In 1970 and 1971, Coronel was a member of the New York-based rock band Wicked Lester with KISS principals Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley that was signed to Epic Records but never released a record. He later co-wrote KISS' "Goin' Blind" from 1974's Hotter Than Hell and "She" from 1975's Dressed to Kill with Simmons. - Billboard, 9/29/14...... Judas Priest kicked off a major U.S. 40th anniversary tour on Oct. 1, after having described its Epitaph World Tour in 2010 as a "farewell" run. Lead singer Rob Halford says the group was so energized by the sessions for its latest album Redeemer of Souls -- especially after the departure of group co-founder K.K. Downing in 2011 -- that he's already "ready to jump into the next Judas Priest record." "Maybe we're chasing the elusive finale, but right now I feel like it's amazing to think what might come next from Priest," Halford says. With a catalog of 17 studio albums that have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, and such heavy metal anthems as "Living After Midnight," "Breaking the Law," "Screaming for Vengeance" and "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," Priest also enjoys a legacy as one of heavy metal's most influential groups. 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the band's debut album, Rocka Rolla, which was released five years after the group formed in Birmingham, England. - Billboard, 9/29/14...... Ozzy Osbourne stated in a new interview that Black Sabbath will begin working on a new studio album -- which Ozzy says will be Sabbath's last -- in early 2015 with producer Rick Rubin. "The whole Sabbath experience this time around was great. We all made friends, we didn't f--- around, we all knew that we had a job to do, and we did it. It was a lot of fun. So we're going to do one more album, and a final tour," Ozzy told the publication Metal Hammer. As for when the album and tour will materialize, Osbourne says it will be "sooner rather than later" and hinge on the health of guitarist Tony Iommi. "(Tony)'s obviously got his cancer treatment, but we'll get onto it next year. I don't know if we'll be writing in England or L.A., but I'll fly to the f---ing moon for it if I have to!," Ozzy said. The 2013 Black Sabbath reunion album 13 earned the band its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 155,000 copies in its first week of release. - Billboard, 9/29/14...... On Sept. 30 the family of AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young confirmed to People magazine that Young is suffering from dementia. "Malcolm is suffering from dementia and the family thanks you for respecting their privacy," Young's relatives said in a statement to the magazine, confirming rumours that the illness caused the band to announce his departure the previous week. Malcolm is currently beaing cared for in a Sydney nursing home, and Stevie Young, Malcolm and Angus Young's nephew, played guitar on the band's last album and will join them on next year's world tour. The band will release its next album, Rock or Bust, on Dec. 2. - Billboard, 9/30/14...... Neil Diamond returned to his old high school on Sept. 29 for his first-ever show in his native Brooklyn. Diamond, 73, took the stage to loud applause and noted that the setting, Erasmus Hall, had an enormous impact on his life, recalling that it was in this very room that, during an hour-long stint in detention, he heard a classmate practicing the piano, and decided to take up the instrument. "This is a meaningful places," he said. "My mind changed in this place." After performing such hits as "Kentucky Woman," "Brooklyn Roads," "Forever in Blue Jeans," Cracklin' Rosie" and "Sweet Caroline," the 73-year-old Diamond thanked the audience and the school for a special night, and invited everyone to come back and see him on his upcoming Melody Road Tour in the spring of 2015 at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center. Diamond will release Melody Road on Oct. 21 via Capitol Records. - Billboard, 9/30/14...... A trial date of March 9, 2015 has been set for the "Midnight Rider" trial for filmmakers of the beleaguered Gregg Allman biopic, almost one year after a camera assistant on the project, Sarah Jones, was stuck and killed by a train in Feb. 2014 on the set of the film. On Sept. 30, the film's first assistant director Hillary Schwartz, director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish were re-indicted, with Schwartz, who was just charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass earlier this month, added to the indictment. All four defendants pleaded not guilty. Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison under Georgia law; criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of 12 months. Several civil suits have also been filed against Miller, Savin, Sedrish and other individuals and entities associated with the film, the production of which has since been suspended, with star William Hurt, who was on set when Jones was killed, pulling out of the project. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/30/14...... A film production company named The Record Company filed a lawsuit against Glen Campbell on Sept. 29, claiming Campbell's upcoming documentary I'll Be Me violates an agreement it made in June 2011 to develop a project about the country music icon with him and director/producer James Keach, whose credits include producing the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. The studio is suing Campbell and Glen Campbell Enterprises for breach of contract, claiming Campbell is excluding it from any credit, ownership and revenue for the I'll Be Me documentary. The company is also claiming breach of fiduciary duty and demanding an accounting of Campbell's earnings from the film. Campbell, who has won five Grammys and a Lifetime Achievement Award, and is an inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame, announced his diagnosis with early stage Alzheimer's in 2011. The 78-year-old singer was moved into an assisted care facility earlier in 2014 as his health deteriorated. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/30/14...... Aretha Franklin performed the Adele hit "Rolling in the Deep," the lead single from her upcoming diva covers album Great Diva Classics, on CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman on Sept. 29. Franklin's new 10-song LP, which arrives on Oct. 21, also features such classic and contemporary hits as Barbra Streisand's "People," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," Alicia Keys' "No One," Etta James' "At Last" and Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U." Great Diva Classics, co-produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds and Andre 3000, among others, reunites the 72-year-old "Queen of Soul" with longtime collaborator Clive Davis. "I mean, it is great," Davis said in an interview. "For her to do all these songs, it's very exciting." - Billboard, 9/30/14...... A host of musicians including Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys paid tribute to the late George Harrison at a special tribute concert at L.A.'s El Rey Theatre on Sept. 28. "George Fest: A Night To Honour The Music of George Harrison" also featured cover versions of the former Beatle's hits from the likes of Weird Al Yankovic and TV host Conan O'Brien. O'Brien hosted a week of tribute performances on his TV show Conan in late September, with artists including Norah Jones, Beck, and Harrison's son Dhani Harrison. A comprehensive box-set compiling Harrison's first six records entitled The Apple Years 1968-75. also has been released. - New Musical Express, 9/29/14...... She took "selfies" before selfies were cool. As Stevie Nicks prepares the release her new LP 24 Karat Gold - Songs From the Vault on Oct. 7, a number of her own self-portraits taken with a Polaroid camera from 1975-1987 will be displayed in an exhibition titled "24 Karat Gold" at New York City's Morrison Hotel Gallery at 201 Mulberry Street on Oct. 10 and 11. "I used to stay up half the night when I was on tour, because I wanted to learn to be a great photographer," Nicks recalls. But because of her schedule, she was usually the subject of her pictures. "I couldn't find anyone to model for me, because I worked so late at night," she adds. "I was a ridiculous, obsessive photographer." On the day of her album's release, Nicks will play New York's Madison Square Garden with Fleetwood Mac, the fifth date of the band's On With the Show North American concerts, which continues through December -- the first leg of a planned world trek. - Billboard, 9/29/14...... A 62-year-old divorced dad named Paul Anton has revealed he is the NYC subway-riding Rod Stewart look-a-like in photos that have appeared all over the Internet in recent weeks, but he insists he has never attempted to dupe anyone into believing he is the British rocker. "I have never pretended to be Rod Stewart," Anton told the New York Post on Sept. 29. "I am a respected businessman with children, I have never asked for free drinks. I pay my own way. People do mistake me for Rod, but I always say I'm not him. I would like to shake Rod's hand and say I am not an imposter. I love his music, but I wouldn't pretend to be him." Stewart's manager Arnold Steifel also confirmed that Anton is not the "Maggie Mae" singer. "That's not Rod, he's in California... The real Rod has seen the picture, and he thought it was funny, but he said, 'Please let people know it isn't me'... This has been going on for years," Steifel said. - WENN.com, 9/30/14...... Outkast's Andre 3000, who stars as Jimi Hendrix in the new Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side, as revealed concerns that he was "too old" to play the legendary axman. "I didn't know if I was too old to play the part. But John [Ridley, writer/director] was really persistent, and he kept at it. So I just kind of said, 'All right, let's do it,'" says Andre, whose real name is Andr Benjamin. Covering a defining year in the life of Hendrix, All Is By My Side follows the young musician as he lands in London in 1966. The film, however, will not feature any songs recorded or composed by Hendrix himself, as the late guitarist's estate refused to give filmmakers the necessary permission. Instead, songs by the Beatles and Muddy Waters, that Hendrix himself covered in the '60s, will be featured. Andre played guitar for six hours a day in preparation for the Hendrix role. While Benjamin prepared to perform as Hendrix on-screen, guitarist Waddy Wachtel took on the job of re-recording songs for the film's soundtrack. All Is By My Side is in current release in the U.S., and hits screens in the U.K. on Oct. 24. - New Musical Express, 9/26/14...... Queen have revealed a slowed down version of the Freddie Mercury single "Love Kills," recorded before the frontman's death, which will appear on the band's upcoming November release Queen Forever. The album features three previously unreleased tracks with Mercury on vocals, including a collaboration with Michael Jackson and this new version of "Love Kills." Meanwhile, Queen are set to tour the UK with American vocalist Adam Lambert in Jan. 2015 as part of a wider European tour. The 7-date tour gets underway on Jan. 13 in Newcastle and wraps Jan. 24 in Nottingham. - NME, 9/30/14...... StarVista Entertainment/Time Life released Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, a deluxe box set of the iconic 1983 Motown TV special, on Sept. 30. The formats include in a single-disc package, a 3-DVD set and a deluxe 6-DVD set, the latter two featuring several hours of bonus, unreleased performances and documentary features from the making of the special. The Motown 25 DVDs also offer insights into the show via interviews with its production principals, including director/producer Don Mischer and head writer Buz Kohan, as well as Motown artists and executives. - Billboard, 9/26/14...... Family and famous industry friends of the late Robin Williams' gathered to celebrate his legendary life on Sept. 28 in San Francisco. The private tribute -- held at the Curran Theatre -- drew hundreds of guests and included music and video tributes as well as emotional speeches from Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Bobcat Goldthwait, Bonnie Hunt, Eric Idle, and Williams' three children, Cody, Zelda and Zak and his wife, Susan. Williams was found dead inside his home in Tiburon, Calif., on Aug. 11 as a result of suicide. He was 63. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/28/14.
AC/DC issued a statement on Sept. 24 announcing that guitarist Malcolm Young "will not be returning to the band" due to "the nature of his condition." No further details were provide, however Young is reportedly in full-time care in a nursing home facility in Sydney, Australia specializing in dementia. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, a source connected to the Young family says the 61-year-old is receiving care in a residential home specializing in the treatment of dementia, believed to be Lulworth House in Sydney's Elizabeth Bay. In April, the band announced that Young, a co-founding member of AC/DC, was "taking a break to focus on his health." AC/DC, which includes lead guitarist Angus Young, vocalist Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams, will release their new album Rock or Bust on Dec. 2, and will launch a world tour behind the new LP in 2015. Stevie Young, nephew of founding members Malcolm and Angus Young and who played guitar on the band's new album, will join them on the tour. The 11-track Rock or Bust is the group's first new album in six years, following 2008's Black Ice. It was recorded in Spring 2014 at Warehouse Studio in Vancouver with producer Brendan O'Brien and mixed by Mike Fraser. "Play Ball," the first single from the album, will be heard as part of Turner Sports' Major League Baseball Postseason coverage from Sept. 27. - AP/New Musical Express, 9/24/14.
Bob Seger first full-length LP in eight years, Ride Out, drops on Oct. 14 and features rockers like "Detroit Made," about the auto industry. Ride Out's 10 tracks include covers of John Hiatt's "Detroit Made" and the Wilco/Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie collaboration "California Stars," Steve Earle's "The Devil's Right Hand" and "Adam and Eve" by Australian singer/songwriters Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. The 10-song standard edition will be filled out with the Seger originals "Hey Gypsy," "Ride Out," "It's Your World," "All of the Roads," "You Take Me In" and "Gates of Eden," while the deluxe edition will include "Listen" with guest Vince Gill, "The Fireman's Talkin'" and "Let the Rivers Run." Seger and his Silver Bullet Band have announced they'll kick off their Ride Out Tour 2014/2015 on Nov. 19 in Saginaw, Mich., also playing Bangor, Me. (11/22), Halifax, N.S. (11/24), St. John, N.B. (11/26) and Boston (11/29) in November. Future dates on the the 22-city North American leg include Cleveland, Oh. (12/4), Chicago (12/11), St. Louis (12/13), New York City (12/19), Toronto (1/24), Atlanta (1/31), Tampa (2/5), Dallas (2/12), Houston (2/14) and Phoenix (2/19) before wrapping in Los Angeles on Feb. 27. While on the road during 2013, Seger -- who turns 70 in May 2015 -- has said this may be his final album and tour. - Billboard, 9/25/14.
Barbra Streisand has become the only recording artist to release No. 1 albums in six consecutive decades as her latest album Partners debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart in the third week of September. The Columbia Records effort sold 196,000 copies in the week ending Sept. 21 according to Nielsen SoundScan, and also marks Streisand's 10th No. 1 album. The larger-than-expected sales launch of Partners can be attributed to publicity Streisand generated during its first week of release (which included rare TV appearances by the diva on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America and The View) , an attractive $7.99 price for the set at iTunes and Amazon MP3, and the album's all-star guest list, which includes Josh Groban, Blake Shelton, Michael Buble and Billy Joel. With a 10th No. 1, she ties for the fourth-most No. 1's in history with Elvis Presley (who is also featured on Partners), behind the Beatles (19), Jay Z (13) and Bruce Springsteen (11). Streisand's first No. 1 album came almost exactly 50 years ago when People hit No. 1 on the chart dated Oct. 31, 1964. She last hit the top with 2009's Love Is the Answer. - Billboard, 9/24/14.
Led Zeppelin fans continue to clamor for a reunion after the band's one-off show in London a few years ago, but it's easy to understand Robert Plant's resistance. Reinventing himself on his 2007 Alison Krauss collab, Raising Sand, and on projects with ex-girlfriend Patty Griffin, the singer made some of his best work ever. His latest, Lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar, returns to the world-music fusion of 2005's Mighty Rearranger with his Strange Sensation band (now reconfigured as the Sensational Space Shifters). It lacks the focused grace of his country experiements, but it's Plant's hardest-rocking set in a decade, and as he comes home to something like progressive rock it's hard not to think of his other band. Keep hope alive, Zep fans. Lullaby dropped via Nonesuch Records on Sept. 9...... The title track on Standing in the Breach, Jackson Browne's first studio album in six years, started as a song about the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti -- but came to encompass much more than that. "It has to do with where our world is broken," Browne says. "It became a song about poverty everywhere. The entire album is about relationships in the light of what's happening in the world right now." Recorded in L.A. with his longtime touring band, the disc takes on everything from our moribund political system to the pollution of our oceans. But it kicks off with a new recording of "The Birds of St. Marks," a tune Jackson wrote in 1967. "I always thought it would work as a Byrds song," he says. "But I got sick of waiting for them to re-form, so I did it myself." Standing in the Breach drops via Inside Recordings on Oct. 7....... Stevie Nicks' new album 24 Karat Gold - Songs From the Vault, also hits stores Oct. 7 and is a labor of love: a journey through her past in tunes dating back to 1969. These are stray songs she wrote over the years bu tnever recorded until now. "I used to give my songs away," Nicks says. "I'd write a new one, put it on a cassettte, than someone would say, 'Hey, can I have a copy?'" Some of the tunes are so personal, not even the rest of Fleetwood Mac have ever heard them. "'Lady' was the first piano song I ever wrote," Nicks says. "It was a song I never played for anybody. Nobody but Lindsey [Buckingham] had ever heard it." She put the album together quickly, with a crew of session players in Nashville. "We had three five-day weeks to get the tracks," Nicks says. "These are union people -- they don't mess around. So I had to get up at 9:00 in the morning, which for me is just ridiculous....... Columbia Records will release Pink Floyd's first official release in two decades , The Endless River, on Nov. 10. It finds David Gilmour pulling together a disc of "mainly ambient and instrumental music" that draws from 20 hours of material recorded during sessions for 1994's The Division Bell. The 18-song double-album features band members Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, who died in 2008. Roger Waters, who left the group in 1985, isn't involved. Gilmour says in the release that the band "added new parts, rerecorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st-century Pink Floyd album," and Mason says it's "a tribute to Rick...it really brought home to me what a special player he was." The LP's lone non-instrumental track, "Louder Than Words," features lyrics written by Gilmour's wife, Polly Samson. - Rolling Stone/AP..... Just in time for Halloween (Oct. 27) comes The Killer's latest effort -- Jerry Lee Lewis's new album Rock & Roll Time is a covers album of such chestnuts as "Little Queenie" and "Folsom Prison Blues" with help from friends like Keith Richards. - Rolling Stone, 9/25/14...... Bob Dylan obsessives have clamored for the complete Basement Tapes ever since word of the sessoins leaked 46 years ago. They're finally getting their wish on Nov. 11 when Columbia releases The Basement Tapes Complete: Bootleg Series Vol. 11, easily the fall's most exciting archival release. It contains 138 songs Dylan and the Band cut in upstate New York in 1968 -- 30 of which have never surfaced, including the Dylan-penned "Wild Wolf." "They were experimenting, fooling around trying to find a new voice," says author Greil Marcus. "It wasn't just a session. This was a whole body of work." Meanwhile, Dylan has just been chosen as the 2015 MusiCares' Person of the Year by the Recording Academy, the sponsor of the Grammy Awards. Dylan will be honored at the 25th annual benefit gala dinner and concert, set to be held Friday, Feb. 6, two days before the 57th Grammy Awards ceremony, which will air live on CBS from L.A.'s Staples Center on Feb. 8. - Rolling Stone/The Hollywood Reporter
Spain's film academy has selected the movie Vivir es Facil con los Ojos Cerrados [Living Is Easy (With Eyes Closed)], about a Spanish man's quest to meet John Lennon, as its entry for best foreign language film at the 2015 Oscars. Directed by David Trueba, the film tells the true story of an English-language teacher from Spain who traveled to the southern province of Almeria in 1966 to try to meet the late Beatles star, who was staying there. The movie takes its name from the lyrics of the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever," which Lennon began writing in Almeria. The U.S. film academy will select finalists for the Oscars in January, with the awards announced a month later. Spain has won four Oscars for best foreign language film. In other Beatles-related news, Paul Simon performed the George Harrison-penned Beatles tune "Here Comes the Sun" on Sept. 23 as part of "George Harrison Week" on the TBS late night talk show Conan. Simon is no stranger to performing the hit, having sung the 1969 classic at various festivals and concerts over the years, most notably on Saturday Night Live in 1976, joined by Harrison himself. Meanwhile, a portion of the famous Ed Sullivan Show set displayed during the Beatles' US television debut is expected to command as much as $337,000 when it goes up for auction during the The Fest for Beatles Fans, which takes place in Los Angeles from Oct. 10-12. The set is signed by all four Beatles and is currently owned by Wayne Johnson, owner of Rockaway Records. Among the other items up for purchase includes a copy of the band's 11th US release Yesterday and Today featuring the rare "Butcher" cover, which is priced at $4,500, and the band's first US contract with Vee Jay Records, on sale for $100,000. The Fest for Beatles Fans was started in 1974 to mark the 10th anniversary of the band's first visit to the US. In its history, the event has accepted donated musical instruments from all four Beatles, which have been auctioned for charity. Earlier in September, a sculpture of Eleanor Rigby made of 1 million pounds' worth of used UK bank notes went on display in Liverpool. Created by Leonard Brown, the five foot two inch statue is made of thousands of shredded 5, 10 and 20 pound notes, which were supplied by the Bank Of England in the form of pellets. - AP/Billboard/New Musical Express, 9/24/14...... The Who have just revealed "Be Lucky," their first new song in eight years. "Be Lucky" references such bands as AC/DC and Daft Punk in its lyrics, with a robot style auto-tune effect used after the line about the French duo. The song appears on the forthcoming compilation album Who Hits 50 and is their first new material since 2006 album Endless Wire. The track was recorded with bassist Pino Pallodino, drummer Zak Starkey and keyboardist Mick Talbot. The Who has announced they'll launch a 9-date UK "Who Hits 50" anniversary tour in Glasgow on Nov. 30, also visiting Leeds (12/2), Nottingham (12/5), Birmingham (12/7), Newcastle (12/9), Liverpool (12/11), Manchester (12/13), Cardiff (12/15) and London (12/17). Pete Townshend says the band will play "hits, picks, mixes and misses" on the tour that date back to the band's early years when they were known as The High Numbers. - New Musical Express, 9/26/14...... Gospel legend Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers will celebrate her recent 75th birthday with a once-in-a-lifetime concert in her hometown of Chicago on Nov. 19. Staples will take the stage at the Chicago Auditorium Theatre for a star-studded concert featuring such diverse acts as Gregg Allman, Ryan Bingham, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Glen Hansard, Taj Mahal, Michael McDonald, Buddy Miller, Aaron Neville, Widespread Panic, Grace Potter and Mary Stuart. Staples will come on stage to collaborate with a number of the guests throughout the evening. The Staple Singers topped the U.S. charts in June 1972 with their inspirational number "I'll Take You There." - Billboard, 9/25/14...... Cat Stevens, who is now known as Yusuf, is canceling his New York performance just weeks after announcing a six-city tour, blaming it on the Big Apple's ticket scalpers. Yusuf posted on his Facebook page on Sept. 24 that he would not keep the NYC engagement because its requirement for paper tickets has led to exorbitant resale prices. Yusuf says he is a longtime supporter of paperless tickets "and avoiding scalpers," and hopes to return to NYC in the future. Yusuf announced earlier in September that he planned a concert tour behind the blues album he's releasing on Oct. 27. The concerts are his first series of shows in North America since 1976. - AP, 9/24/14...... An audience member who suffered a broken nose as a result of being hit in the face by a soccer ball kicked by Rod Stewart during an Oct. 2012 concert at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas filed a lawsuit against Stewart on Sept. 24 in Nevada's Clark County District Court. Mostafa Kashe's civil negligence complaint alleges that he didn't expect to be hit in the face by a ball kicked by the raspy-voiced rocker from the stage, and as a result of lingering injuries the 53-year-old electrical engineer from Diamond Bar, Calif., is seeking unspecified damages of at least $10,000 plus attorney fees. His attorney, Larry Weinsteen, said Kashe and his wife were big Stewart fans who traveled to Las Vegas primarily for the concert. The lawyer said his client was treated by a hotel medic and filed an injury report with Caesars before being left with "substantial" injuries including an impaired sense of smell. Representatives of Stewart, promoter AEG Live and Caesars Entertainment Corp. have yet to respond to the suit. Stewart, 69, is a longtime soccer fan and club league player and frequently kicks autographed balls into the audience at his shows. - AP, 9/24/14...... Bruce Springsteen's first seven albums are being remastered and reissued for a new deluxe box set that's set to drop Nov. 17. Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 starts with Greetings From Asbury Park and continues through Born in the U.S.A. Only Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town have already gotten the remaster treatment, which occurred on CD only. Engineer Bob Ludwig worked with Springsteen and longtime engineer Toby Scott to remaster the albums, which were transferred from the original analogue masters using the Plangent Process playback system. None of the seven albums have been remastered on vinyl before. The set will be available in both CD and vinyl. - Billboard, 9/24/14...... Phil Collins released a statement on Sept. 23 clarifying that he has no plans to return to the concert stage at this time, despite the fact that he will perform three to four songs at a charity event for the Little Dreams Foundation in Miami in December. Collins hasn't performed a show in four years, and the Dec. 6 event, he clarified, will not be a full-on Phil Collins show either. "I will be performing three or four songs semi-acoustically, and maybe one more with my 13 year old son Nicolas on drums, but that's all as I am not ready to return to the full concert stage at this time," Collins said in the statement. - Billboard, 9/23/14...... Whitesnake, featuring former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale, will release Live In '84 - Back To The Bone, a complete celebration of the group's classic line-up, on Nov. 7 in the UK and on Nov. 11 in North America. Culled from audio and video recordings and unheard demos from the private collection of Whitesnake leader and vocalist Coverdale, the release offers an ultra-rare collection of material, performed by the band's acclaimed 83-84 line-ups. Bonus content features legendary keyboardist Jon Lord performing his last show ever with Whitesnake on video and also the bonus CD. - Noble PR, 9/25/14...... Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Blondie with "A Blondie Exhibition." Running though Sept. 29 at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery (222 West 23rd Street), the exhibit is free and open to the public, from 1-8 p.m. daily. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/24/14.
Paul McCartney has posted a video online asking members of the public to skip eating meat one day a week in order to help reduce their carbon footprint. Sir Paul is making the plea in conjunction with with the upcoming United Nations Global Summit, which is set for late September, and has launched a "Meat-Free Mondays" campaign in association with British Prime Minister David Cameron's climate advisor, Gregory Barker. More information can be found at MeatFreeMondays.com. Meanwhile, Macca is set to release an expanded edition of 2013's New. The new deluxe version includes two CDs and a DVD, and is presented as a hardback book. The second disc includes previously unreleased tracks "Hell To Pay" and "Demons Dance" as well as "Struggle," a song previously only available as a bonus track in Japan. Released in October 2013, New was McCartney's 16th solo studio album. In more McCartney news, a massive new McCartney tribute CD will include contributions from the likes of Bob Dylan ("Things We Said Today"), Billy Joel ("Maybe I'm Amazed," "Live and Let Die"), Willie Nelson ("Yesterday") and The Cure ("Hello Goodbye"), organizers announced on Sept. 9. Up to 42 songs will be featured in The Art of McCartney, and the release will be available in various formats including a two-CD package and box set. Due on Nov. 18, the CD is the brainchild of Los Angeles producer Ralph Sall. Sall says he's been working on the project since 2003, and on many of the cuts, the artists are backed by McCartney's current band. - New Musical Express/AP, 9/18/14..... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr tells the UK's New Musical Express that he believes that bands will always be popular in music and that he has "never believed" that rock music is dying out. Starr says that he doesn't think the rock genre will disappear, and that bands will always "come through in the end." Speaking about his own tour, he added: "I'm always touring. I love to play -- that's why I do this. A lot of the bands wanna do it to be famous. But I wanna do it to play. That was all my dream was about, and then we became famous." - NME, 9/17/14.
A new Queen album entitled Queen Forever and featuring three previously unreleased tracks with Freddie Mercury on vocals -- including a collaboration with Michael Jackson -- will be released in November 2014. The Queen and Jackson duet, "There Must Be More To Life Than This," was written by Mercury during sessions for Queen's 1981 album Hot Space and the band recorded a backing track, but the song was never completed. Mercury later visited Jackson in Los Angeles, where Jackson's vocals were recorded but the song remained uncompleted. In 1984, Queen attempted to revive the track during sessions for their The Works album, but again it was not finished and Mercury's own version of the song surfaced on his debut solo album, 1985's Mr Bad Guy. This new production of the ballad uses Queen's original backing track and Mercury and Jackson's vocals, and was produced by William Orbit. Also featured on Queen Forever, which will be released both as a 20-track single CD and an extended 36-track, 2-CD set, will be previously unheard tracks "Let Me In Your Heart Again" and "Love Kills." Queen guitarist Brian May describes the rest of the album as "things that we have collected together that are representative of our growth rather than the big hits." - NME, 9/19/14...... In other Michael Jackson news, a federal judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit against Hologram USA owner Alki David, whose company produced a holographic re-creation of Jackson that was featured at the Billboard Music Awards. In court, David attacked those who had created the spectacle for allegedly infringing his patents rights. And through the media, he hyped the various applications for the projection technology. A day after the May 18 Billboard Music Awards, David gave an interview with CNN that aired with the caption, "Michael Jackson Hologram: How'd They Do It?" Pulse Entertainment then brought a $10 million lawsuit against David, charging that he "falsely claimed credit for creating and developing the visual effects spectacle in a nationally-televised interview on CNN." Now U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson notes that the allegation of misrepresentation is grounded in fraud and means that Pulse has the burden of specifying the statements it claims were false. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/19/14.
Longtime David Bowie producer Tony Visconti confirmed to CNN that David Bowie will be releasing more new music in the future. "There's gonna be another album, definitely soon," Visconti said in an interview on Sept. 19. In July 2014, Bowie put rumors that his 2012 comeback LP The Next Day was just a one-off affair by revealing he was working on another brand new album. But Bowie fans shouldn't hold their breath for the Thin White Duke's return to the stage. "I don't think he's gonna busk in the Tube... on the Underground. As far as a concert is concerned I have no idea," Visconti said. "He clearly didn't promote The Next Day with a concert and whether he does for the next one I don't know and I couldn't predict that -- it's up to him. It's whatever takes his fancy." While there is no word on when the new Bowie album might drop, a Bowie greatest hits compilation called Nothing Has Changed featuring a brand-new song produced by Visconti -- "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)" -- will hit stores on Nov. 17. In other Bowie news, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has declared that Sept. 23 will be David Bowie Day in the Windy City, as the Bowie retrospective exhibition 'David Bowie Is...' begins its run at the Chicago Museum Of Contemporary Art. Emanuel noted that Bowie is hailed as "an undisputed global icon boasting a catalogue of 26 critically acclaimed studio albums," whose "remarkable half-century career has bridged cultures and faiths while both transcending and fortifying the music, art, fashion & design, and theatrical canons." - Billboard/NME, 9/19/14.
Three backup dancers in Cher's "Dressed to Kill" tour have sued the singer, claiming they were wrongfully fired from her current tour and that Cher engaged in racial discrimination. Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Sept. 18, the wrongful termination lawsuit alleges Cher remarked that there were "too many dark-skinned dancers on her tour" and instructed her choreographer to "hire a white dancer over a qualified black performer." The suit states the dancers were fired from the tour after informing managers that another dancer assaulted an unidentified woman in a hotel room while on tour. Two of the plaintiffs, who are black, say their race was a motivating factor in their dismissal. The third dancer cites age discrimination as a factor in her firing. Cher's publicist Liz Rosenberg denies the allegations and says there is no truth to them. - AP, 9/18/14...... Meanwhile another famous diva from the '60s and '70s, Aretha Franklin, is preparing to release a new album on Sept. 30, produced by Arista Records president Clive Davis. Davis has previously produced Franklin and says she has "always held a very special place in my heart...She's universally recognized to be the greatest singer of all time" and that the new LP shows Franklin "in absolutely peak form." Aretha's new album is purely and simply sensational," Davis says. "She's on fire and vocally in absolutely peak form. What a thrill to see this peerless artist still showing the way, still sending shivers up your spine, still demonstrating that all contemporary music needs right now is the voice. What a voice." The album's name has not yet been announced. - Billboard, 9/18/14...... Lawyers representing Led Zeppelin have filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the heirs of founding Spirit member Randy Craig Wolfe alleging that Led Zep used Wolfe's song "Taurus" as inspiration for "Stairway to Heaven." Led Zeppelin's attorneys are basing their request on the simple reason that the members of the band are all British. Wolfe's heirs filed their lawsuit in Pennsylvania, and Led Zep's legal team say that "the individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here. Under established case law, no good faith basis exists to argue the Court has general jurisdiction over them." In a separate motion to dismiss, "Stairway" publisher Warner/Chappell Music also mentions that the plaintiff is relying "on a California Trust and his allegations that its ownership of Taurus is based on the claimed invalidity of Wolfes 1967 songwriter and recording contracts." - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/18/14...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne recently revealed on her daytime television series The Talk that as a 27-year-old young single woman she once cut her wrists in an effort to prove how much she loved (her then-boyfriend, now-husband) Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne. After telling Ozzy, "I'd do anything for you," Sharon said she decided to prove the depth of her commitment to Ozzy by grabbing a steak knife and slashing her wrists. "Unfortunately for me, I kind of went too deep and it wouldn't stop bleeding so I'm saying, 'Dear, I think we'd better call an ambulance.'" Sharon says she now laughs about the whole thing, though it doesn't seem particularly funny -- she was apprently admitted to a psychiatric hospital after the incident. - Billboard, 9/18/14...... Bruce Springsteen will be among the headliners for the eighth edition of Stand Up for Heroes, an annual music and comedy event honors returning service members, veterans and their families. Stand Up for Heroes is one of the centerpiece events of the 11th annual New York Comedy Festival, running Nov. 5-9 at venues throughout New York City with more than 200 comedians performing. The group has raised more than $21 million to help post-9/11 injured service members and their families. This year's event will also feature Louis C.K., John Oliver and Brian Williams. - Billboard, 9/16/14...... A pair of new books about soul legend James Brown by two of his children offer a disturbing look into the world of the Godfather of Soul, with graphic descriptions of abuse and unbelievable tales of family murders going back 40 years. In her new memoir Cold Sweat, Brown's daughter Yamma Brown graphically describes how the legendary singer beat his second wife, Dee Dee, and recounts her own abusive marriage. She writes the abuse from her dad sounded "like thunder rolling through the house" as her mom was thrown against walls. "After that, the house would go completely quiet. The sound of the silence was the worst because that's when Deanna and I would wonder if our mother were alive or dead and if we would be next." Meanwhile a book by Yamma's half-brother Daryl Brown, Inside the Godfather, makes wild claims about Brown's death, suggesting that the singer was murdered and that other family members were also murdered. "My father was murdered," alleges Daryl Brown. He suggests it might have been done by members of Brown's inner circle but offers no concrete evidence. Instead, he asserts, "I just have a gut feeling that he was killed." Yamma Brown's book has been called "a courageous and often unsettling look at the not-so-glamorous consequences of being the offspring of a major celebrity," while Daryl's Brown's work has been dismissed for its hyperbolic claims of murder and its obsession with settling scores with rivals in Brown's inner circle. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/17/14...... Saturday Night Fever and Grease star John Travolta has dismissed allegations suggesting he enjoyed a steamy gay affair with his former pilot, insisting all of his supposed former lovers are simply chasing a big pay day. Travolta is currently fighting legal action from Douglas Gotterba, who is seeking to write a tell-all book about an alleged romance with the actor, which he claims took place while he was working for the star's Alto aircraft company in the 1980s. The 60-year-old actor has long been subjected to speculation over his sexuality, despite being married to actress Kelly Preston since 1991, and he is convinced Gotterba's reasons for going public with his accusations are simply rooted in money -- just like his previous accusers. "This is every celebrity's Achilles heel. It's just about people wanting money. That's all. It happens on many levels," he told the website TheDailyBeast.com. He added that he "let all the media stuff go a long time ago because I can't control it... I think that's why it (gay rumours) persists, to some degree." - WENN.com, 9/17/14.
Grand Ole Opry star George Hamilton IV, best known for such country hits as "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" and "Abiline," passed away at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital on Sept. 17 at the age of 77. Hamilton is also remembered as one of the first Nashville-based artists to blend country with folk, recording many songs by up-and-coming songwriters as Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell. He also recorded many Gospel records which were well received by fans and critics alike. Born in Winston Salem, N.C., on July 19, 1937, Hamilton recorded the John D. Loudermilk-penned "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" for a small regional label named Colonial Records while still attending college, and it climbed to No. 6 on the Bilboard Hot 100 in 1956. The flip side of the single, "If You Dont Know," was very much in the rockabilly fashion. The record was acquired by ABC / Paramount, where Hamilton would remain through 1960. He would place nine more releases on the Billboard pop chart, with the biggest being 1958's "Why Don't They Understand," which hit No. 10. In 1959, Hamilton moved his family to Nashville, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry soon after. His country hits continued throughout the decade, with the biggest being 1963's "Abilene," (also written by Loudermilk) which topped the country charts for four weeks and hit No. 15 on the charts. Hamilton also enjoyed worldwide popularity, and earned the moniker "The International Ambassador of Country Music." He also hosted a weekly syndicated show in Canada, and was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. His last album was 2011's In The Heart of Texas, recorded on the Heart of Texas label. He also recorded many Gospel records which were well received by fans and critics alike. - Billboard, 9/18/14...... Polly Bergen, a versatile Emmy-winning actress perhaps best known as the terrorized wife in the original Cape Fear movie as well as portraying the first woman president in Kisses for My President, died from natural causes in her Southbury, Conn., home on Sept. 20. She was 84. A brunette beauty with a warm, sultry singing voice, Ms. Bergen was a household name from her 20s onward. She made albums and played leading roles in films, stage musicals and TV dramas, including the 1983 epic The Winds of War, and during the 1950s she became a regular on the popular game show To Tell the Truth. She also hosted her own variety series and founded a thriving beauty products company that bore her name. In recent years, she played Felicity Huffman's mother on Desperate Housewives and the past mistress of Tony Soprano's late father on The Sopranos. Ms. Bergen won an Emmy in 1958 portraying the tragic singer Helen Morgan on the famed anthology series Playhouse 90, and was nominated for another Emmy in 1989 for best supporting actress in a miniseries or special for War and Remembrance. She also battled emphysema and other ailments in the late 1990s, a result of 50 years of smoking. She is survived by her children Peter Fields, Kathy Lander and Pamela Fields and three grandchildren. - AP, 9/20/14...... Johnny Rotella, an accomplished instrumentalist and songwriter who wrote the Frank Sinatra standard "Nothing but the Best" and recorded with such artists as Neil Diamond, Frank Zappa, Steely Dan and others, died peacefully in his sleep in Van Nuys, Calif., on Sept. 11. He was 93. Mr. Rotella, a master of the clarinet, saxophone and flute, played with Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman's big bands, was featured on the twin altos with the Billy Vaughn Orchestra and worked in many sessions with top-notch composer/arrangers Jimmie Haskell, Earle Hagen and Buddy Baker. He was a band regular on the 1970s CBS variety series The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and contributed to TVs I Spy and the first two The Godfather films. He also played in the orchestra for Broadway shows and Los Angeles theater productions. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/18/14.
Late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien will pay tribute to late former Beatle George Harrison on O'Brien's Conan show during the week of Sept. 22-25 in conjunction with the release of the new Harrison box set The Apple Years 1968-75. Performing live versions of Harrison songs will be such acts as Beck, Norah Jones as well as Harrison's only child, Dhani Harrison. The Apple Years 1968-75 is a reissue of Harrison's first six solo albums for Apple Records and includes a special DVD with a previously unseen seven-minute film. Conan airs Mondays through Thursdays at 11:00 p.m. ET on TBS. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/12/14...... In other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono visited the East Harlem school on Sept. 15 along with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a mobile studio that's gone around the world since 1998, letting kids learn about songwriting, recording, and music videos, with many getting the opportunity to lay down their own tracks. "Many, many things are happening now in our society, but if you keep smiling, that's going to change the world," Ono, 81, told them. Decked out in a silver jacket, black fedora, and tennis sneakers, Yoko then read what she called an "affirmation" for the children, reminding them how they were "beautiful, intelligent (and) healthy in my body and in my mind." The bus travels 10 months a year and has several staff members living on it, and while in NYC it will stop at schools in all five boroughs, finishing up on Oct. 9, what would have been Lennon's 74th birthday. - Billboard, 9/13/14...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney and his fashion designer daughter Stella caused a stir as they sat down to watch the catwalk show staged in London on Sept. 13 by Hunter Original, squeezing in next to pop star Rita Ora and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The brand, best known for its rubber wellington boots, is headed by Stella McCartney's husband Alasdhair Willis. Sir Paul arrived at the last minute, wearing a pink button-down shirt and a dark sports jacket. The former Beatle appeared cheerful, posing with his daughter and smiling mischievously for the cameras, and said the show was "terrific" at the end being whisked away by his security guards. - Billboard, 9/13/14.
Jeff Lynne fronted his old band Electric Light Orchestra for the first time on a UK stage in 28 years at BBC Radio 2's "Festival In A Day in Hyde Park" in London on Sept. 14. The reclusive Lynne had been talked into performing at the annual event by BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show host Chris Evans, who introduced the band with a specially created VT. Lynne headed a band that included original ELO keyboard player Richard Tandy and the BBC Concert Orchestra, who fleshed out his compositions with record-perfect renditions. After playing some of ELO's biggest singles, including "Evil Woman," "Showdown," "Strange Magic" and "Livin' Thing," Lynne seemed overwhelmed by the crowd's enthusiastic reaction, sticking two thumbs up at the audience. "Wow, fantastic," he said. "It's unbelievable this really. I haven't done anything like this for so long, I can't believe it." Later, Lynne paid tribute to his late bandmates from "the other group I was in," The Traveling Wilburys, dedicating the supergroup's "Handle With Care" to George Harrison and Roy Orbison. After encoring with "Roll Over Beethoven," the Birmingham-born Lynne departed telling the 50,000-strong crowd it was "the best fun we've ever had" and that "I'll do this again." - New Musical Express, 9/15/14.
Now simply using the moniker "Yusuf," Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) has announced he will release his first new music in five years this fall and perform six shows behind the new album in North America in early winter. Tell 'Em I'm Gone will drop via Sony Legacy on Oct. 27 as part of a new deal Yusuf struck with the label that will see future releases of new recordings, existing catalog titles, previously unreleased live material and new videos. Tell 'Em I'm Gone's 10 tracks are divided between new originals and covers of songs such as the blues classic "Big Boss Man," Edgar Winter's "Dying To Live" and Procol Harum's "The Devil Came From Kansas." The LP was recorded in Los Angeles, Dubai, Brussels and London with Rick Rubin co-producing, and guest players include Richard Thompson', blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite, Bonnie Prince Billy', the group Tinariwen' and guitarist Matt Sweeney. Yusuf/ Cat Stevens will begin his first North American tour in 35 years on Dec. 1 at Massey Hall in Toronto, also visiting Boston (12/4), New York City (12/7), Chicago (12/9), San Francisco (12/12) and Los Angeles (12/14). He also has eight dates on his "The Peace Train... Late Again" tour scheduled for November in Europe, beginning in London on Nov. 4. - Billboard, 9/15/14.
A long lost self-produced documentary from The Doors, Feast of Friends, will finally be getting a proper release four decades after it was created in 1968. Feast of Friends was filmed during the Doors' summer tour 46 years ago by director Paul Ferrara and funded by the band itself. But it was never completed after receiving generally negative reviews at film festivals and was eventually shelved due to singer Jim Morrison's legal problems from allegedly exposing himself to an audience in Miami. Previously only available to fans as poor-quality bootlegs (the grainy bootleg version that was until now the only way of seeing the film was purportedly Morrison's own which he left at a friend's house in a brown paper bag just days before his death), the cult fan favorite film has been remastered and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray beginning Nov. 11. The new version has been color-corrected and mastered in high definition by long-time Doors co-producer and engineer Bruce Botnick, who also remixed and remastered the soundtrack. It will also include the 1968 British documentary The Doors Are Open centered around the band's final performance at London's Roundhouse, also remastered and restored. - Rolling Stone, 9/15/14.
The 2014 edition of the Farm Aid benefit concert drew 20,000 fans to Raleigh, North Carolina's Walnut Creek Amphitheatre on Sept. 13 and featured such headliners as guitarist extraordinaire Jack White, bluesman Gary Clark Jr., and singer/songwriter Todd Snider. The event's four guiding stars -- Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews -- also performed and were joined by such returning Farm Aid favorites as Carlene Carter, Jamey Johnson, Jesse Lenat and members of Willie Nelson's extended musical clan, including his sons Lukas and Micah Nelson and Nelson's granddaughter, Raelyn Nelson. Now in its 29th year, Farm Aid is the longest-running concert for a cause in pop-music history. Meanwhile, Neal Young's annual Bridge School Benefit Concert will take place Oct. 25 and 26 at the Bay Area's Shoreline Amphitheatre. Headlined by Young, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Florence + the Machine, Norah Jones and Band of Horses, the show will also feature a set by Young's estranged wife Pegi Young, who will play with her backing band the Survivors. Organized by Neal and Pegi, the Bridge School Benefit Concert was first held in 1986 and has been held every year since, with the exception of 1987. The series raises money for the Bridge School nonprofit organization, which helps children with severe speech and physical impairments. - Billboard, 9/15/14...... Phil Collins will headline his first show in four years this fall when he plays the Miami Benefit Concert at the Fillmore Miami Beach to benefit his Little Dreams Foundation. Collins will headline the Dec. 6 gala fundraiser benefiting its Miami locale, which will also feature performances by two major Latin music acts: Italian singer Laura Pausini and Mexican star Alejandra Guzmn. The show, presented by Collins' ex wife Orianne Collins Mejjati and music technologist David Frangioni, will take place during Art Basel, the international art fair. ollins established the Little Dreams Foundation with Collins Mejjati in 2000 with the objective of helping children and teens with athletic and artistic talent fulfill their dreams. All proceeds will go Little Dreams' efforts in Florida. Last December, the organization opened up a Miami chapter, after Collins Mejjati and her children made the city their new home. Collins' last concert was The Prince's Trust Rock Gala 2010 at London's Royal Albert Hall on Nov. 17, 2010. - Billboard, 9/15/14...... An extinct "water pig with tactile lips" has been named after Mick Jagger by an educator at Wake University. The 19-million-year-old anthracotheres -- a species which has been likened to a kind of "long-legged pig" -- was named by Wake University Associate Professor Ellen Miller, a self-professed "huge Stones fan" who noted that the 19-million-year-old creature's "highly innervated muzzle with mobile and tactile lips" reminded her of Jagger. Recently discovered in Egypt thanks to the finding of pieces of fossilised jaw, it has been named Jaggermeryx naida, which means "Jagger's water nymph." Meanwhile, the real life Mick Jagger is among more than 200 celebrities to sign an open letter urging Scottish voters to keep Scotland as part of the United Kingdom. An independence referendum will be held on Sept. 18 which could see Scotland break away from the rest of the UK. The letter is part of the Let's Stay Together campaign that aims to give a voice to those who are not allowed to vote in the referendum. - New Musical Express, 9/11/14....... Shock-rockers Kiss shed their makeup and pulled out their acoustic guitars on Sept. 14 in Lake Oswego, Ore., to raise money for the renovation of the Oregon Military Museum. The museum is named for 93-year-old Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer, the father of current Kiss lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and a World War II hero who liberated a Nazi death camp. The museum is at the Oregon National Guard's Camp Withycombe in Clackamas. The renovation is expected to cost $15 million, and half has been raised. An auction before the 14-song concert, which closed with an unplugged version of "Rock and Roll All Nite," included one of Kiss guitarist/vocalist Paul Stanley's guitars, fetching $20,000. Meanwhile, Kiss bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons is preparing to launch another reality show -- this one named Coliseum which challenges contestants to form rock bands with a winning musical voice and performance. Simmons, as the Rock Caesar, will ultimately decide with a thumb up or down who goes forward in the competition. "Coliseum is a no-holds-barred competition show between musical gladiators in the arena fighting to survive, fighting to be the champion, fighting to curry the favor of Rock Caesar," said Simmons in a statement. Simmons previously starred in A&E's Gene Simmons' Family Jewels and VH1's Gene Simmons' Rock School. AMC is also airing Simmons' and his bandmate Paul Stanley's reality show 4th and Loud. AP/The Hollywood Reporter, 9/15/14...... David Bowie has written the liner notes for an upcoming release by one of his biggest influences -- the Kinks. In a statement on his website, Bowie has released an excerpt from the sleeve notes of the forthcoming Kinks compilation The Essential Kinks with an image of him with Kinks frontman Ray Davies captioned, "I've never heard a Kinks song that I didn't like." "Of course, from their noisy and brash beginnings, The Kinks have come to stand for some of the most enduring and heart-clutching pop of all time," Bowie wrote. "They are in the gut of every British songwriter who followed them and are indisputably a cornerstone of everything pop and rock. I love 'em. The world loves 'em." The 48-track double album The Essential Kinks will be released on Oct.14 in North America and is a celebration of the band's 50th anniversary. - New Musical Express, 9/15/14...... Former U.F.O. and Scorpions lead guitarist Michael Schenker will kick off a nationwide UK tour at the Newcastle O2 Academy on Dec. 10. Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, "Lord Of The Lost And Lonely," plus all the MSG, UFO and Scorpions rock classics. The Bridge The Gap UK tour will feature Schenker's "Temple of Rock" band, comprising ex-Scorpions Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass), Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards), and ex-Rainbow vocalist Doogie White. Schenker will also play Glasgow, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bilston, Norwich, Bristol and London during the tour, which wraps on Dec. 20. - Noble PR, 9/16/14.
Bob Crewe, the singer, songwriter, producer and label owner who created many of the Four Seasons' hits, discovered Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels and was behind a few disco-era standards -- died on Sept. 11 at his home in Scarborough, Maine. He was 83. As a producer, Mr. Crewe used Frankie Valli's group the Four Lovers as backup singers before having them change their name to the Four Seasons and recording their first single, "Sherry," which hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1962. Mr. Crewe and Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio co-wrote the group's follow-up, "Big Girls Don't Cry," which also went to No. 1. As a writer and producer, Mr. Crewe had a hand in all the Four Seasons' hits, co-writing "Walk Like a Man" and "Rag Doll," as well as Valli's solo hit in 1967 "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," which peaked at No. 2 and was later covered by such artists as The Supremes, Julio Iglesias and Pet Shop Boys. In 1975, Valli's version of the Mr. Crewe-Kenny Nolan song "My Eyes Adored You" hit No. 1 on March 22. A week later, Mr. Crewe and Nolan's "Lady Marmalade," recorded by Labelle, replaced it atop the Billboard Hot 100, making it only the third time a songwriting team had replaced themselves at No. 1. A 2001 version of "Lady Maramalde," recorded by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink, would hit No. 1 in 2001. During the disco era of the mid- to late 1970s, Mr. Crewe formed the group Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes, who had top 40 hits with "Get Dancin'" and "I Wanna Dance Wit' Choo." His last song to reach the Hot 100 was Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack's "You're Looking Like Love to Me," which peaked at No. 58 in 1984. He recorded as a solo singer for MCA in 1961, but that took a backseat after he began working with Gaudio and the Four Seasons. After the Four Seasons had a string of hits, Mr. Crewe launched his own label, DynoVoice Records, and formed a vocal group, The Bob Crewe Generation, which had its biggest hit with "Music to Watch Girls By," which hit No. 15 in 1967. He also discovered Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels and produced their three top 40 hits "Jenny Take a Ride," "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and "Devil With a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly." Mr. Crewe was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, and with his brother founded the Bob Crewe Foundation in 2009, which earlier in 2014 donated $3 million to the Maine College of Art in Portland to establish the Bob Crewe Program for Art and Music. Mr. Crewe had been living in an assisted living facility since sustaining a brain injury in a fall three years ago, one year after moving to Maine from Los Angeles. "He was a great friend and taught me many things, not only about music and the business, but about style and how to live," Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein said of Mr. Crewe, whom he has known for 50 years. "He had amazing talent, but equally amazing taste -- and he was a great painter to boot." - 9/12/14....... Joe Sample, a jazz pianist who had a successful solo career and also performed with numerous high-profile musicians as The Supremes, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell, B.B. King, Miles Davis and Steely Dan, died on Sept. 12 in Houston of undisclosed causes. Sample began his career as a member of music group Jazz Crusaders (which later became The Crusaders), and he remained with the group until its 1991 album. He has also released numerous solo albums through Warner Bros. Sample also co-wrote the song "One Day I'll Fly Away," which Nicole Kidman performed in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/13/14...... Tom Skeeter, a longtime music industry insider and owner of the legendary Sound City Studios, died on Sept. 12 of undisclosed causes. Sound City Studios, located in Van Nuys, Calif., is where a number of iconic acts recorded their music after being founded in 1969. Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Ronnie James Dio, Weezer, Foreigner, The Black Crowes, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash, among others, all went on to record music at the Los Angeles-based studio. In 2013, Sound City became the subject of a documentary, Sound City, directed by former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl. Skeeter also co-managed pop singer Rick Springfield during his 1980s heyday, who tweeted that he was "a southern gentleman" upon hearing the news of his death. - Billboard, 9/13/14.
Neil Young posted live recording of a new song called "Who's Gonna Stand Up" to his official site on Sept. 10. An impassioned protest song in the tradition of his late 1960s and early 1970s work, "Who's Gonna Stand Up" was recorded at Liverpool's Echo Arena on July 13 during a show with his longtime collaborators Crazy Horse. The song, in which Young asks "Who's gonna stand up and save the earth?," was inspired by the recent pro-environment documentary Under the Influence, and the folk-rocker calls out corporations and politicians who he believes to be destroying the environment. Young has a handful of dates planned this fall, beginning with a Sept. 13 performance at the Farm Aid benefit concert in Raleigh, N.C. Meanwhile Young, who filed for divorce from his long-term partner Pegi Young in August after more than 36 years together, was photographed kissing and cuddling actress Daryl Hannah of Splash fame as the pair walked to a restaurant in Westlake, Calif., on Sept. 9. Neil and Pegi Young have a grown-up daughter named Amber Jean, as well as a son from a previous relationship. A divorce hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 12. - Billboard/WENN.com, 9/11/14.
Barbra Streisand will make her first late-night TV show appearance in more than 50 years when she appears on The Tonight Show with host Jimmy Fallon on Sept. 15. On Sept. 10 Fallon announced the legendary singer and Oscar-winning actress will appear on the show in conjunction with the upcoming release of Streisand's new duets album Partners, which hits stores on Sept. 23. The album, co-produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds (Madonna) and Walter Afanasieff, features Streisand's duets with numerous high-profile vocalists, including Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Blake Shelton. In other Streisand-related news, satellite radio giant SiriusXM has announced it is launching an exclusive, limited-run station featuring the works of the diva on Sept. 12 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Fans can tune into The Barbra Streisand Channel on Sirius channel 69, XM channel 73 and the SiriusXM Internet Radio App through Oct. 10. The channel will feature live and studio recordings spanning Streisand's career, from her 1963 debut to Partners, as well as her personal song selections. There will also be a Town Hall special with Streisand in which she'll sit down for an intimate Q&A with SiriusXM listeners in New York. The Town Hall is set to air Sept. 14 at noon and will be available on demand after that. Meanwhile, a one time duet partner of Barbra Streisand's, Neil Diamond, held a listening party for his new LP Melody Road for a small gathering of music industry insiders at Capitol's Studio A in Hollywood on Sept. 8. The tracks previewed included "Something Blue," the most commercial of the songs, which has Diamond's classic mid-tempo lilt, and the ballads "The Art of Love" and "(Ooo) Do I Wanna Be Yours." Diamond says all the songs on the album are love songs in one way or another. "I don't understand (love) and I want to understand why it's so powerful," Diamond said. "I always want to ask that question and give an answer that suits me, whether it's true or not." Melody Road, set for release on Oct. 21, was co-produced by Don Was and Jacknife Lee. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 9/11/14.
As Stevie Wonder prepares to hit the road this fall with a Songs in the Key of Life Performance Tour, the legendary Motown artist says he thinks the mayor of Furguson, Mo. isn't seeing the full picture a month after an unarmed black 18-year-old named Michael Brown was killed by a white police officer in August."I don't know if the mayor has blinders on," Wonder said in an interview announcing the tour at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live on Sept. 10. "But to say that he didn't know that there was a racial or cultural problem in the city is unfortunate." Wonder said he approved of how Pres. Barack Obama has responded to protests in the city following Brown's death last month. As the unrest drew worldwide attention, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told reporters that there was no "racial divide" there. Wonder said his Songs in the Key of Life tour will include performances of new songs culled from the 40 to 50 tunes Wonder wrote for an upcoming album Through the Eyes of Wonder, and that he hopes to release the LP's title track as its first single in Feb. 2015. Wonder's 11-city Live Nation tour kicks off on Nov. 6 at New York's Madison Square Garden on Nov. 6, also visiting Washington, D.C. (11/9), Boston (11/11), Chicago (11/14), Philadelphia (11/16), Auburn Hills, Mich. (11/20), Atlanta (11/22), Toronto (11/25), Las Vegas (11/29), and Seattle (12/3) before wrapping in Oakland, Calif. on Dec. 5. - AP/Billboard, 9/10/14.
A new exhibit showcasing country/pop singer Crystal Gayle has opened at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn., and will run through Nov. 3. Gayle's "When I Dream" exhibit takes it name from the "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" singer's 1979 hit single, and Gayle says looking back at her career gave her a chance to reflect. "It was incredible for me to look back onto my career. I saw all the things I've done, and I told a few people that it made me really tired," she joked. "Did I do all that? We went all over the world, and made so many wonderful friends. It seems like it was just yesterday." The exhibit contains many of Gayle's gold and platinum records, her Grammy for her 1977 chart-topper "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," and even a Mattel Crystal "Eagle" Gayle Air Force Barbie doll, which commemorated both her 1984 flight aboard an F-16 fighter and the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force. Gayle is currently in the studio working on a yet-untitled album of some of her favorite classic country songs of all time. It's a family affair for the singer, who says, "It's a lot of fun being in the studio with my son Chris. He went to Belmont University, and he's really good at engineering. It's been great to work with him." Gayle also reminisced on the recording of her signature tune "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," which she says she nailed on the first try. "That was a first take. I did not re-sing it. It just fell into place beginning with Pig Robbins' opening work on the piano. It was magic in the studio that day." - Billboard, 9/9/14...... Elsewhere on the '70s country/pop scene, Glen Campbell has announced the release date of his final recorded song, titled "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." In a press release announcing the soundtrack for the upcoming documentary Glen Cambell: I'll Be Me, Campbell says that his latest recording for the soundtrack's EP will be his last. "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," was written by Campbell with Julian Raymond and addresses his struggles with Alzheimer's, with which the legendary singer was diagnosed in 2011. The Band Perry and Glen's daughter Ashley Campbell are also featured on the five-song EP, arriving Sept. 30, almost a month before the film's Oct. 24 release date. Such famous artists as Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift will appear in I'll Be Me to pay tribute to the "Rhinestone Cowboy" singer. - Billboard, 9/8/14.
|News items appearing in Super Seventies RockSite!'s "Favorite Seventies Artists In The News" are compiled from numerous online and printed sources, including Yahoo News/AP, Yahoo News/Reuters, USA Today, E! Online, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard.com, Rolling Stone.com, New Musical Express, Undercover.com, Jam! Music, and Noble PR.|
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