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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.
In a new interview with Billboard magazine, Keith Richards hints that he may be releasing a new solo album next summer. Stating that the record is already "finished," Richards goes on to say that he "doesn't want to put it out while the [Rolling] Stones are still working" and said it's tentatively slated for a June 2015 release. Richards also talked about plans for the Stones, who will tour Australia and New Zealand throughout October and November. "They've got South America lined up in February, Buenos Aires, Peru. And after that, I know what the Stones tours are like, they tend to get extended," he said. Richards is also promoting his new children's book, Gus & Me: The Story Of My Granddad And My First Guitar, which was released on Sept. 9. The book is the follow-up to his best-selling 2010 memoir Life, and he says "the initial idea did come from the publishers." "You know, 'Maybe Keith can sell a few more books,'" he says. "That's their business after all. Nine times out of 10 I would have said forget about it. I'm not going there. But because of the circumstances and having another grandchild, everything was sort of falling into place. I said, 'Damn it. Go for it.'" - New Musical Express, 9/9/14...... David Bowie has announced he'll release a new single, "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)," which will be featured on his upcoming career spanning CD release Nothing Has Changed (The Definitive Collection). "Sue" was recorded especially for the retrospective with Bowie's long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, and will be released as a limited edition 10" single and digital download. Both the album and new single will be released via Parlophone in the U.K. on Nov. 17, and the album, in 1CD, 2CD, 3CD and vinyl formats, and accompanying digital download will drop the following day in the U.S. through Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings. The physical single will be released In the U.S. on "Black Friday," Nov. 28, and the set will arrive in Australia on Nov. 21. "Sue" will be the first new Bowie material since the Thin White Duke released The Next Day in early 2013. Another retrospective Bowie four-CD box set Sound+Vision, spanning four decades and 21 albums from 1969's Space Oddity through to 1993 soundtrack The Buddha Of Suburbia, will be released Sept. 22. - Billboard, 9/10/14...... Paul McCartney's theme tune for the new computer game "Destiny" has been released online. McCartney worked with a 120 piece orchestra at London's Abbey Road Studios on the theme, which is set to be released as a single. The orchestra was conducted by Beatles producer George Martin's son Giles Martin and produced by Mark "Spike" Stent. Macca joined forces with the games company Bungie's in-house composer Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori for the score of "Destiny," a first-person shooter now available for Playstation and Xbox. In July Sir Paul resumed his Out There tour, after taking almost two months off following a virus. - New Musical Express...... The Kinks have announced a new box set marking their 50th anniversary, The Anthology 1964-1971, will be released on Nov. 3. Featuring over 100 songs from the band's classic '60s and '70s material, as well as rare demos, session outtakes and alternate mixes, The Anthology will also include 25 previously unavailable tracks, interviews with the group, and a seven-inch single. Earlier in 2014, the band revealed that they had put their animosity behind them and were now working on new material. Frontman Ray Davies said that he and his brother, Dave Davies, had finally met in person to talk about the possibility of playing together again. - NME, 9/10/14...... Three of late soul singer Marvin Gaye's children filed a summary judgment papers in their lawsuit over Gaye's song "Got to Give It Up," in which they claim singer Robin Thicke and his producer Pharrell Williams used Gaye's instrumental track in their hit single "Blurred Lines." Nona Gaye, Frankie Gaye and Marvin Gaye III are pointing the judge to recorded depositions and media interviews given by Williams and Thicke, and have also submitted an audio mash-up that's intended to serve as "concrete musical illustrations of the substantial similarities" between the huge 2013 hit and Gaye's "Got to Give it Up." Williams and Thicke filed their preemptive lawsuit in August 2013 seeking a declaration of non-infringement. In July 2014, the plaintiffs suggested in their own summary judgment papers that the Gayes "smelled money" when asserting a copyright infringement. The Gaye children indeed fired counterclaims in October 2013, but they want it noted who sued first. A jury trial has been scheduled for Feb. 10, 2015. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/8/14...... Cher has postponed the second leg of her Dressed to Kill tour due to an "acute viral infection," a representative for the singer announced on Sept. 8. What was supposed to be the opening show in Albany, N.Y., on Sept. 11, will now take place on Oct. 6, according to spokesperson, and the Manchester, N.H., show that was to follow on Sept. 13 will now take place on Oct. 7. Cher has been ordered to be on full bed rest for several days since seeing doctors over the first weekend in September, necessitating the change in dates. The remainder of the tour is expected to stay the same. Ticket holders unable to attend the rescheduled dates will have refunds available. Cher's Dressed to Kill tour opened March 22 in Phoenix, Ariz. The diva's sell-out tour had grossed a reported $54.9 million through the end of its first leg on July 11. The tour is set to wrap on Nov. 19 in South Charleston, S.C. - Billboard, 9/8/14...... The Carole King Broadway musical "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" is set to begin a run on London's West End in 2015 with previews beginning on Feb. 10 at the Aldwych Theatre. "Beautiful" will later kick off a U.S. tour in September 2015 at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island, followed by a 12-week run at Chicago's Oriental Theatre as well as dates at the Pantages in Hollywood and in Durham, N.C., and Charlotte, N.C. Other engagements are also planned. The musical, which stars Jessie Mueller who won the Tony for her portrayal of the iconic singer-songwriter, depicts the emergence in the 1960s of King and her late husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin as a legendary pop songwriting team alongside their best friends and fellow tunesmiths, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/8/14...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters premiered his new documentary Roger Waters: The Wall at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 6. Waters told the audience he began working with co-director Sean Evans five years ago to update the show with a more ecumenical and anti-war approach. Since it kicked off four years ago in Toronto, the tour has grossed nearly $500 million. Waters also celebrated his 71st birthday on the same day, and fans began an an impromptu chorus of "Happy Birthday" as he walked out on stage to introduce the film. After the screening, Waters came back out for a post-film Q&A session to a standing ovation. A release date for the 133-minute documentary, which includes all 26 songs from Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall, is still seeking a distributor and a release date has not been set. - AP, 9/7/14...... During a recent online chat with fans on Facebook to promote new solo album, lullabye... and the Ceaseless Roar, Robert Plant said he would be "happy" to collaborate with former White Stripes mastermind Jack White on a new single. "I love Jack White's buccaneer spirit and the way he dodges through the musical horizons. I'd be happy to make a single with him," said Plant, who added that he'd "like to do a track called 'Love Me' which was originally recorded by The Phantom." Plant even noted he was going to Nashville, Tenn., where White owns and operates a recording studio, on Sept. 15, however he must have been unaware that White is scheduled to give a concert in Cleveland, Oh., on that date. Plant launched Lullaby... with a show at the iTunes Festival at London's Roundhouse on Sept. 8 that also featured five classics by his former band Led Zeppelin. The 85-minute, 12-song set featured four songs from Lullaby... as well as "Fixin' To Die Blues' from his 2002 album Dreamland and a cover of Willie Dixon's blues standard "Spoonful." - NME, 9/10/14...... Members of the Eagles and Cheap Trick will guest on a new album by alternative rock faves Foo Fighters. Joe Walsh of the Eagles and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick contribute to the band's eight studio album, Sonic Highways, which is due Nov. 10. - NME, 9/10/14...... A classic animated Tom Waits music video called "Tom Waits For No One" is set to be restored for its 35th anniversary. Produced in 1979, "Tom Waits For No One" featured rotoscoping technology to capture the singer's movements before they were animated. In the video, Waits performs his song "The One That Got Away," a track from his 1976 album Small Change, and in the cartoon he is seduced on a Hollywood street by a female dancer. A Kickstarter.com campaign will launch later in September in order to help raise funds for the restoration of the video for an exhibition in Los Angeles in March 2015. Waits, who rarely performs live, played his first show in five years as part of Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit in October 2013. - NME, 9/9/14...... Chic featuring Nile Rodgers have announced a one-off performance at London's Indigo at The O2 on Oct. 9. On Sept. 7, Chic closed out the UK's Bestival by breaking the record for the world's largest disco ball. "We are so happy to be here, you have no idea," Rodgers said at the start of the set, "and we're ready to break the world record." Once it was announced that the huge mirrorball hoisted from a crane in the center of the stage had fulfilled the requirements of being over ten meters in diameter and able to spin on its own, Chic took to the stage with Rodgers paying tribute to his guitar technician Terry Brauer, who died shortly before the event, by shouting "Terry! Terry!" Chic then played a set filled with such disco classics as "Everybody Dance," "Dance Dance Dance" and "'I Want Your Love." - NME, 9/8/14.
Actor Richard Keil, best known as the iconic James Bond villian "Jaws," passed away on Sept. 10 at a hospital in Fresno, Calif., after being admitted there a week ago with a broken leg. He was 74. A cause of death has not been released, and it is not known if the injury is connected to his death. The 7-foot-2-inch Kiel, who was born in Detroit in 1939, won over audiences worldwide in the 1970s as the steel-toothed character Jaws in the Roger Moore Bond classics The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Kiel also appeared in a handful of B-movies and of TV shows -- including four episodes of The Wild Wild West in 1965 -- in supporting, henchman roles that took advantage of his intimidating height. He first appeared as a metal-mouthed bad guy in Silver Streak, the 1976 Gene Wilder-Richard Pryor train caper, but it was the Bond movies that made him most familiar to moviegoers. Kiel first encountered Moore's James Bond in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, where his silent hitman Jaws repeatedly menaced Bond with his sharp metal teeth. Although repeatedly thwarted by the British spy, Jaws proved resilient and even sort of likable: Near the movie's end he survived a brush with a killer shark by biting the creature. Jaws was such a popular character that the producers of the Bond series brought him back two years later for Moonraker, which was set partly in space. He and Bond battled each other in a opening skydiving sequence and in a memorable scene atop an aerial tram in Rio de Janeiro. Later, Jaws switched allegiances to Bond upon learning that his employer, the villain Drax, planned to exterminate him. In later years, Kiel turned his hand to writing and producing as well as acting, including in the 1991 movie The Giant of Thunder Mountain, and he also had a small role in the 1996 Adam Sandler golf comedy Happy Gilmore. "Richard Kiel was one of the nicest, funniest guys I've ever met. I'll never forget hanging out with him & how good he was to everyone," Adam Sandler tweeted after learning of his death. - CNN, 9/11/14...... Gerald Wilson, a dynamic jazz musician and big band leader whose career spanned more than 75 years, died on Sept. 8 at his Los Angeles home from pnuemonia. He was 96. Mr. Wilson, native of Shelby, Miss., began his career in the 1930s as a trumpeter for Jimmy Lunceford's band before forming his own group in 1944. He played and composed music with the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, and he arranged music for Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan and Bobby Darin. Mr. Wilson, a constant presence at events such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, received six Grammy nominations throughout his career, including nods in 1999 and 2004 for best large jazz ensemble for "Theme For Monterey" and "New York, New Sound." He later taught jazz at California State University, Northridge; California State University, Los Angeles; and University of California, Los Angeles. - AP, 9/9/14.
Not since Queen recorded the soundtrack to Flash Gordon in the early Eighties has a sci-fi movie been as full of pop music as Guardians of the Galaxy. As a child in the Eighties, Peter "Star-Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt) gets a mixtape from his mom, who's dying of cancer. The cassette becomes the soundtrack to his adult life -- and the film. "The tape is really the character of Quill's mother," says director James Gunn. So Gunn picked tunes she would have liked: "David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream," the Runaways' "Cherry Bomb" and the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," as well as ear candy by acts like the Raspberries and Blue Swede. A week after its release in late July, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 topped the Billboard Hot 200 album charts, the first-ever soundtrack without any new songs to hit Number One. Gunn's song choices weren't met warmly by everyone. "One of the Marvel folks kept saying we were crazy to put Seventies songs in the movie, that it was going to alienate kids," he says. I guess he thought Quill should have downloaded Beyoncé and Kesha off iTunes. Now I see kids singing 'Hooked on a Feeling.'" - Rolling Stone, 9/11/14.
A celebrity photographer who took the image of the back of Rod Stewart's head that adorned the rocker's 1989 greatest hits album has filed a lawsuit against Stewart for using that same image as the centerpiece of his 2014 comeback tour. According to photographer Bonnie Schiffman's suit which was filed in California federal court on Sept. 4, the image was created by her in 1981 and it featured the back of Rod Stewart's head and shoulders. Stewart's "signature bouffant hair style" made it memorable and the choice for Stewart's Storyteller album, released by Warner Bros. Records, the suit goes on to say. The photo was licensed non-exclusively back then, and now a "replicate image, an unmistakable copy" of that image is impermissible as the "centerpiece" of Stewart's new Las Vegas show without her authorization. Schiffman is seeking injunctive relief and not less than $2.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Stewart's reps haven't yet responded to a request for comment about the lawsuit. Meanwhile, Stewart has announced his "The Hits Tour" will be heading to Australia and New Zealand in 2015. Stewart will play arenas and wineries on his trek, which includes his first-ever show in Dunedin, a student town in NZ's South Island. According to promoters Frontier Touring, the 9-date tour will kick off March 21 in Perth, also visiting Melbourne (3/24), Macedon (3/28), Adelaide (3/29), Sydney (4/1), Hunter Valley in Hope Estate (4/5), Brisbane (4/7), and Dunedin (4/11) before wrapping in Auckland on April 13. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 9/5/14.
Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has declared rock music to be "finally dead" due to record labels failing to adequately support rock artists. In an interview published by Esquire magazine and conducted by his son Nick Simmons, Simmons was robust in his criticism of the music industry, asserting that rock artists don't receive the same support from record companies that they did in the sixties and seventies. When asked what he would say to young musicians and songwriters today, Simmons affirmed, "Don't quit your day job is a good piece of advice. When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain. Once you had a record company on your side, they would fund you, and that also meant when you toured they would give you tour support. There was an entire industry to help the next Beatles, Stones, Prince, Hendrix, to prop them up and support them every step of the way. There are still record companies, and it does apply to pop, rap, and country to an extent. But for performers who are also songwriters -- the creators -- for rock music, for soul, for the blues -- it's finally dead. Rock is finally dead." Simmons also attributed part of rock's demise to illegal file-sharing and artists struggling to make money from their work. "The masses do not recognise file-sharing and downloading as stealing because there's a copy left behind for you -- it's not that copy that's the problem, it's the other one that someone received but didn't pay for," he said. "The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it." Back in 2010, Simmons accused the music industry of being "asleep at the wheel," saying "they didn't have the balls to sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded material. And so now we're left with hundreds of thousands of people without jobs. There's no industry." - Esquire/New Musical Express, 9/5/14.
Bob Marley and the Wailers' 30-year-old greatest hits album Legend is on course to make the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart for the first time for the first week of September due to a discounting of the album in the Google Play store to 99 cents. Normally, the album sells for around $8. Industry sources forecast the album to sell between 20,000 to 24,000 copies in the week ending Sept. 7 -- with the bulk of those sales coming from Google. The album, which was released in 1984, has been a steady seller for years, but has never visited the top 10. Upon its release in 1984, Legend initially reached No. 54 on the Billboard 200 chart that year, but went on to chart a lengthy run on the list and continued to sell well as the years -- and decades -- went by. The album regularly sells between 3,000 and 5,000 a week, and reached a peak of No. 18 in 2012. On the Sept. 13 chart, the album ranked at No. 100 with 3,000 in sales for the week ending Aug. 31, according to SoundScan. If Legend does make the top 10, it will mark Marley's second top 10 album, following 1976's Rastaman Vibration. It peaked at No. 8 on the July 4, 1976-dated chart. - Billboard, 9/5/14...... Bruce Springsteen is set to make his acting debut on the next season of Netflix's original series Lilyhammer. The show, which is headed into its third season, stars Springsteen's E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt as a former mobster relocated to Norway by the Federal Witness Protection Program after testifying against his mafia cohorts. According to DeadlineHollywood.com, Springsteen will join the show for a guest appearance as a mortuary owner. Also, Van Zandt's Sopranos co-star Tony Sirico is said to be joining on with a recurring role as a priest. The Lilyhammer gig will marke Springsteen's true acting debut. Though he appeared in the film High Fidelity, he played himself. - Billboard, 9/5/14...... In other Springsteen-related news, Rutgers University will be offering a college course on The Boss beginning this fall. In the "Bruce Springsteen Theology Course," students will be able to explore 40 years of the singer's iconic lyrics. Other artist-specific courses available at American institutions of higher learning this fall include courses on the Beatles (UCLA), David Bowie (University of Southern Maine), and Michael Jackson (Clark Atlanta University). - Billboard, 9/2/14
George Harrison will be honored with an all-star tribute concert at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 28. Featuring performances by Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, Ann Wilson of Heart, "Weird Al" Yankovic," and key members of the bands the Flaming Lips and the Killers, the event will benefit professional musicians in need of medical care or financial assistance. Dhani Harrison, George Harrison's son, will also perform. It will be hosted by the Best Fest, which previously produced similar events in honor of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones. - Billboard, 9/4/14...... In other Beatles-related news, Ringo Starr is speaking out over the use of the Beatles' name being used as nicknames for British jihadis in Syria involved in the recent ghastly executions of American journalists. Ringo says he is "saddened" that the fanatics -- led by a man dubbed "Jihadi John" who is suspected of beheading two American journalists -- had been labelled with the names of the Fab Four. "It's bullshit," Ringo told the London Evening Standard. "What they are doing out there is against everything the Beatles stood for." Starr added that he was powerless to prevent the names of the band or his bandmates being attached to the fanatics. "If we stood for anything we never stood for that. The four of us absolutely stood for peace and love. But we are not in control," he said. "Jihadi John" is currently being hunted by US forces after also threatening on video to behead British hostage David Haines. - The Evening Standard...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, a 29-minute jam session of Paul McCartney performing with actor Johnny Depp and a group of blues guitarists has been made available on McCartney's YouTube channel. It is Depp's third appearance in a Macca music video (after "My Valentine" and "Queenie Eye"). In the clip, Roy Gaines, Al Williams, Dale Atkins, Henree Harris, Motown Maurice and Lil Poochie, trade licks and sharie lead vocals with each other and the former Beatle. Depp doesn't do any singing, but McCartney takes on Carl Perkins' "Matchbox" (a song the Beatles covered) during the session. - Billboard, 9/5/14
'70s disco legend Sylvester is being remembered with a new off-Broadway musical in New York and newly-unveiled space on the Rainbow Honor Walk in San Francisco's Castro District. On Sept. 5, the curtains opened on "Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, created by Anthony Wayne and Kendrell Bowman. "I think we live in an era now where it's all about being free and being yourself, and Sylvester was a trailblazer for that," says Wayne. "Before there was RuPaul, before there was Adam Lambert, there was Sylvester. And so we're really excited to bring this forward because the moral of this show is to know that you can leave up out of this theater being yourself and to know that yourself is more than enough, just like Sylvester did. The time period is now for this story to really be out there." "From the music standpoint, I think people are getting tired of the same type of music that's in our generation right now," adds Bowman. "People are not making music that really makes you feel good, that when you turn on the song it really makes you want to dance and feel good about life. So now, with all the social issues that are going on with the world, this is [bringing back] an era that made people feel good and without any problems in life." Sylvester is the only musician to be a part of the Rainbow Walk in San Francisco, a hall of fame type series of plaques honoring gay icons such as Oscar Wilde and Frida Kahlo, and his tribute has been in the making for three years. The L.A.-born Sylvester (James) moved to San Francisco in 1967, and appeared in the 1979 film The Rose. His three Billboard Top 40 hits include "Dance (Disco Heat)" (#19, 1978), "You Make Me Feel (Mighty High)" (#36, 1979) and "I (Who Have Nothing)" (#40, 1979). He died of AIDS-related complications at age 40 in 1988. - Billboard, 9/5/14.
A collection of outlaw country singer Waylon Jennings' belongings will go on public auction this fall, including a rare 1958 motorcycle originally owned by Buddy Holly and locks of Willie Nelson's braided hair. New York City-based auction house Guernsey's will hold the auction of over 2,000 items Oct. 5 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Jennings' widow, Jessi Colter, said she was first approached by the auction house about selling the motorcycle, a red Ariel Cyclone, which was given to Jennings as a birthday gift and he kept the prized possession in his living room. Jennings later teamed up with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Nelson in The Highwaymen. The original contract forming the country supergroup, signed by all four members, is also up for sale. The braids were a gift from Nelson who cut them off as a sign of support for Jennings' sobriety. Jennings, who died in 2002 at age 64, started his career playing in Holly's band, and almost became a passenger in the doomed plane that killed Holly in 1959. - AP, 9/4/14...... Former The Police frontman Sting and R&B legend Al Green are among five artists receiving this year's prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, the national awards for influencing American culture through the arts. Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin and ballerina Patricia McBride will also receive the honor during the ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7. The show will be broadcast Dec. 30 on CBS. - AP, 9/4/14...... Seventies heartthrob David Cassidy pleaded guilty on Sept. 4 to a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated in upstate New York. Cassidy, 64, made the plea in exchange for a tentative sentence of a conditional discharge that includes 50 hours of community service in Florida, his home state. Sentencing was set for Nov. 5 and depends on a pre-sentence report. If the judge approves the sentencing recommendations, Cassidy would be required instead to complete 50 hours of community service and to have an interlock ignition system installed on vehicles he owns in both New York and Florida. In March, a judge in Los Angeles sentenced the former The Partridge Family actor and singer to three months in rehab and five years of probation in a drunken-driving case stemming from a January 2014 arrest for an illegal turn. Cassidy was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Florida in 2011. His license was suspended and he served one year of probation in that case. Cassidy spends time in New York during the summer at Saratoga Race Course, 40 miles north of Schodack. - AP, 9/4/14....... British fashion designer Paul Smith is developing a range of scarves inspired by Led Zeppelin album covers. Each of the scarves will enjoy a limited edition run of 50 and will be available at PaulSmith.co.uk and Paul Smith's Covent Garden outlet in central London. In other fashion news, the 1970s are a big inspiration for next spring's collections, according to Lizzy Bowring of WGSN, the official trend sponsor for the New York Fashion week which runs from Sept. 4 to 11. "The idea is to get back into yesteryear but add a contemporary twist with a fresh modern appeal," Bowring says. Pants will take up a slight flare, and just as Diane Keaton notably catapulted menswear into the spotlight in 1977's Annie Hall, so will the fashion-forward in spring 2015. Bowring says one of the big themes will be a "fuss-free approach of androgyny": Think sleek, sophisticated jumpsuits and/or tailored jackets paired with relaxed wide-leg trousers. - Billboard/CNN, 9/1/14...... Comedienne Joan Rivers died in a New York hospital on Sept. 4, following serious complications -- including cardiac arrest -- during a medical procedure the week before. She was 81. Ms. Rivers had been on life support at Manhattan's Mount Sinai hospital, where she was taken after she stopped breathing at the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic on Aug. 28. She was undergoing an apparently minor elective procedure at the clinic when she suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest, according to the New York Fire Department. Paramedics took her by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital, about a mile from the clinic, where she was initially listed in critical condition. Ms. Rivers first came to prominence on the Johnny Carson-hosted The Tonight Show in 1965 and appeared on that show more than 70 times. She became a permanent substitute Tonight Show host until a feud began between her and Carson after Ms. Rivers' began her own late-night talk show on rival network Fox in 1986. She later went on to host a successful daytime show, The Joan Rivers Show from 1989 to 1993, which won her a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. Her out-spoken commentary on celebrities and politics was both praised and criticized as being truthful, yet too personal, too gossipy, and very often abrasive. Ms. Rivers authored 12 best-selling memoir and humor books, and many comedy albums, and most recently co-hosted the E! channel show Fashion Police. She also co-wrote the well-received 1973 TV movie The Girl Most Likely to..., about a plain girl made beautiful by plastic surgery and exacts deadly revenge on everyone who was cruel to her. "She was unapologetic and fiercely dedicated to entertaining all of us and has left an indelible mark on the people that worked with her and on her legions of fans," said E! and NBCUniversal studios in a statement. "She's been a much beloved member of the E! family for over 20 years and the world is less funny without her in it. Today our hearts are heavy knowing Joan will not be bounding through the doors." Ms. Rivers, the subject of a 2010 documentary about her life, titled Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, is survived by her daughter, Melissa Rivers. - CNN, 9/4/14...... The Allman Brothers Band, who have announced that they're calling it quits after 2014, played two of their last gigs ever at their Peach Music Festival in Scranton, Penn., in August. One of the sets included all of 1972's Eat a Peach. "Revisiting that album is always heavy," Gregg Allman says of Peach, their first LP released afer the death of guitarist Duane Allman in 1971. Coming up: six farewell gigs at New York's Beacon Theatre in October. - Rolling Stone...... Longtime Chicago radio and TV personality Roy Leonard, who was well known around the Midwest for his decades of talk radio, celebrity interviews and movie reviews on Chicago's WGN radio and TV stations, died on Sept. 4 at Evanston Hospital, north of Chicago. He was 83. Mr. Leonard's three-decade run at WGN was marked by interviews with an array of entertainers, ranging from the mime Marcel Marceau to Tom Cruise. Mr. Leonard had been in the hospital for several weeks with respiratory and other health problems, according to his son Kelly Leonard. When it became clear he would soon pass away, Leonard's family gathered around him, listening to one of his favorite jazz artists, Dave Brubeck, on an iPad and waiting for a priest to give him last rites. "He always read the book before he saw the movie; he did his research, and then he let a conversation happen. He didn't try to pre-plan everything," Kelly Leonard said. - AP, 9/5/14...... David Anderle, the A&R executive who worked with Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys, Sheryl Crow and Aaron Neville during a 35-year career, died on Sept. 1 of cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 77. In 1964, Anderle became West Coast talent director at MGM, which owned Verve Records at the time. After seeing Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in 1965, Anderle pushed to get the act signed to the label, but met considerable resistance within Verve. Anderle convinced label head Tom Wilson to sign the Mothers and produce their album. As the manager of Van Dyke Parks, Anderle became ensconced in Brian Wilson's world in 1966 at the time of Pet Sounds and helped the Beach Boys create their own record label, Brothers Records, which he ran in its early days. In 1968, he moved to Elektra as West Coast operations director, where he produced David Ackles, worked with Judy Collins on her repertoire, and dealt with the label's rock acts such as the Doors and Love. He also worked as a music supervisor on the films Good Morning, Vietnam, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Scrooged. - Billboard, 9/2/14.
Paul McCartney has signed an open letter calling on Scottish voters to choose to remain part of the United Kingdom in a vote on independence that is set to take place on Sept. 18. Sir Paul, along with such famous fellow Brits as the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, actress Dame Jude Dench and TV producer Simon Cowell, have signed the letter which is part of a campaign to "give a voice to everyone who doesn't have a vote in the decision to break up Britain." Only Scots currently residing in Scotland and at least 16 years of age will be eligible to vote on the referendum, however those Scots living outside the country, nor residents England, Wales and Northern Ireland, can vote. Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years, and the letter says that "the decision will have a huge effect on all of us in the rest of the United Kingdom." McCartney, who owns a farm in Scotland, co-wrote the hit song "Mull of Kintyre" there in 1977 with his post-Beatles band Wings. In an interview with the UK's Evening Standard paper, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, said that "Scotland can get a bit more autonomy and self-control, but complete independence might be a bit much to handle." British Prime Minister David Cameron backed the appeal of the anti-separatists in a speech on Aug. 28 to business leaders in Glasgow. Meanwhile in other Beatles-related news, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono has announced the 2014 recipients of the biennial Lennon Ono Grand for Peace: Jan Wenner, co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine; Jeremy Gilley, founder of the non-profit organization Peace One Day; former Mayor of Reykjavik Jan Gnarr, and Doreen Remen and Yvonne Force Villareal on behalf of the Art Production Fund. The award, which has been presented every two years since 2002, is traditionally awarded to people who Ono feels embody "the work that John and [she] tried to do together." The awards will be presented during a ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland on Oct. 9 -- Lennon's birthday. In 2013, Yoko Ono was made an honorary citizen of Reykjavik for her "outstanding work in pointing the light of peace" to the city. In other Lennon-related news, the transcript of Lennon killer Mark David Chapman's eighth parole hearing on Aug. 20 has been released, and the 59-year-old Chapman admitted that he's "an idiot" for murdering Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980. "I am sorry for causing that type of pain. I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory," Chapman told the three-member parole board. "Many, many people loved him. He was a great and talented man and they are still hurting. I get letters so that's a major factor. It's not a regular crime," said Chapman, who told the board that he would understand if they denied him release based solely on the number of people he hurt. Chapman, who is at the Wende Correctional Facility, east of Buffalo, can try again for release in two years. - CNN/New Musical Express, 8/30/14.
A new graphic novel based on Bruce Springsteen's song "Outlaw Pete" will be released on Nov. 4 and feature words by Springsteen and illustrations by Frank Caruso. "Outlaw Pete," a track on Springsteen's 2009 album Working on a Dream, was itself inspired by the 1950 children's book Brave Cowboy Bill. "Outlaw Pete is based on the celebrated song about a bank-robbing baby whose exploits become a meditation on sin, fate, and free will," according to a press release from the book's publisher, Simon & Shuster. Springsteen has said that the song is "essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins." Illustrator Caruso has said of the project: "When Bruce wrote 'Outlaw Pete' he didn't just write a great song, he created a great character. The first time I heard the song this book played out in my head. Like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Dorothy Gale and, for me, even Popeye, Outlaw Pete cuts deep into the folklore of our country and weaves its way into the fabric of great American literary characters." Springsteen released his 18th LP, High Hopes, in Jan. 2014. It featured a mixture of out-takes, covers and reworked old songs taken from his extensive back catalog. - New Musical Express, 8/28/14.
Motown legend Smokey Robinson has scored his highest-charting album in 33 years with Smokey & Friends. The all-star collaborations album, featuring duets with such artists as Elton John, Steven Tyler and Mary J. Blige on a dozen of Robinson's own tunes, debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Aug. 29 with 14,000 sold. The LP is also Robinson's highest-charting release since 1981, when Being With You climbed to No. 10 on the chart dated June 6, 1981. Robinson first appeared on a Billboard chart back on Oct. 5, 1959, as part of the R&B group The Miracles, with "Bad Girl." With The Miracles, Robinson enjoyed Hot 100 hits such as "Shop Around" (No. 2 in 1961), "I Second That Emotion" (No. 4 in 1967) and "The Tears of a Clown" (No. 1 in 1970). Meanwhile, former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley has netted his highest-charting album ever on the Billboard Hot 200, and his first top 10, as Space Invader debuted at No. 9 with 19,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Frehley is the first Kiss member to chart a top 10 album on the Billboard 200 as a soloist. The group's Gene Simmons previously held the high-water mark, when his eponymous set reached No. 22 in 1979. Space Invader also bowed at No. 1 on the Hard Rock Albums and the Tastemakers chart, and at No. 2 on Top Rock Albums chart. The new LP is Frehley's first since 2009's Anomaly, which debuted and peaked at No. 27. Frehley, 63, left Kiss in 1982 but rejoined the group from 1996 through 2002. After his 1978 solo set, he formed the band Frehley's Comet and released the group's self-titled debut in 1987 and Trouble Walkin' in 1989. Robinson and Frehley's successes come as weekly album sales in the US have reportedly plummeted to their lowest since Nielson SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, according to Billboard. A total of 3.97 million albums were sold in the US during the last week of August, which is the lowest weekly sum since records began in 1991. It's also the first time weekly sales have dropped below four million. An unnamed record label sales executive attributed the fall to the growth of streaming: "Sales have been going in the wrong direction all year. I guess its overdue, when you look at [the growth of streaming]."- Billboard, 8/29/14.
A federal appeals court has ruled that an Iowa woman who claims rocker Sammy Hagar fathered her baby 25 years ago may sue him for libel, invasion of privacy, and breach of contract. On Aug. 28, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, may sue the former Van Halen frontman for allegations in his 2011 memoir. The lawsuit had been dismissed last year by a federal judge, but the appeals court says the woman has established facts a jury should decide. The woman, a former Playboy bunny, claims she had Hagar's baby, and that infant died shortly after birth in 1989. Hagar has denied he was the father, and questioned whether she even had a baby and has accused her of extortion. - AP...... ZZ Top has cancelled two weeks of dates on their current American summer tour after bassist Dusty Hill fell on the band's bus on Aug. 26 and injured his hip. The mishap occurred as ZZ Top was on its way to Clarkston, Mich. to play at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on a co-headlining stint with Jeff Beck. Tour promoter Live Nation said the 65-year-old Hill required "immediate attention" to his injury after the fall. ZZ Top had 13 more shows with Jeff Beck left to go on the tour they launched Aug. 8. Refunds are being offered for the cancelled shows. - Billboard...... Neil Young is rumoured to be preparing a new studio album entitled Storytone for release in November. Young fans posting on the site foreverneilyoung.tumblr.com note that German composer and producer Chris Walden had updated his "recent projects" to include an "upcoming Neil Young album Storytone (out Nov 4)." Young has expressed an interest in recording an orchestral-based album. "I'd like to make a record with a full-blown orchestra, live -- a mono recording with one mic," he told Billboard earlier in 2014. - NME...... Former Police frontman Sting is reportedly charging fans 200 a day to pick grapes and olives on his Italian estate in Tuscany. Tourists are able to work with laborers at the 900-acre Il Palagio estate, with a charge of 208 lira applicable to anybody wanting to get involved. Sting, who is estimated to be worth $180 million, purchased the property in 1999 and sells produce created there. - NME...... TimeLife.com just released The Midnight Special Collector's Edition on DVD, featuring almost ten hours of performances, 130 songs, plus almost five hours of bonus features including brand-new interviews....... Comedienne Joan Rivers was hospitalized on Aug. 28 after going into cardiac arrest at a New York City doctor's office during a procedure to remove a cyst in her throat and is reportedly being kept alive solely by life support machines. Rivers, 81, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and her daughter Melissa Rivers said in a statement on Aug. 31 that "we are keeping our fingers crossed" and thanked people for expressing their support. - AP...... In a new interview with New York magazine, former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant said that he does not like the fact that Zeppelin albums are available to stream on Spotify, because he feels the sound quality on the streaming service is "a hell of a compromise." When asked whether it bothers him that the original recordings are now being listened to in compressed audio, Plant replied: "I don't champion too many things, but I do champion the sound of music. It's a hell of a compromise. For example, with [his new solo LP] lullabye... and the Ceaseless Roar -- never mind Zeppelin -- I spent a lot of time making sure the vinyl sounds really good, so people have that option. But it is slightly heartbreaking to think that anything can be dismissed sonically and put to the sword by the confines digitalised, computerised sound reproduction. It's hell." Meanwhile in other LedZep news, a new trailer for the upcoming reissue of Led Zeppelin IV has been released that features a rare version of "Black Dog," which will be included on the expanded edition. The clip features archive performance footage, vintage press shots, vintage advertising material and detail from the album's cover. Led Zeppelin IV, along with Houses of the Holy, will be reissued in 2-disc expanded editions on Oct. 27. Earlier in 2014, expanded editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III were released. - NME...... Glenn Cornick, the original bass player in Jethro Tull before the band achieved international success in the early '70s, died of congestive heart failure at his home in Hilo, Hawaii, on Aug. 28. He was 67. Cornick performed with Jethro Tull from its inception in late 1967 until 1970, and according to his son Drew Cornick had been receiving hospice care. "(Glenn) brought bravado to Jethro Tull's early stage performance (and) made considerable contributions to the music scene," Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson posted on the band's website. - AP
Columbia/Legacy announced on Aug. 26 that a six-disc set of Bob Dylan's legendary Basement Tapes he recorded with the Band in 1967 will be the next edition of his Bootleg Series. Dropping on Nov. 4, The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 was compiled from meticulously restored original tapes -- many found only recently -- making the release the definitive chronicle of Dylan's legendary 1967 recording sessions with members of his touring ensemble who would later achieve their own fame as the Band. The set reportedly brings together every salvageable recording from the tapes, including recently discovered songs recorded in the "Red Room" of Dylan's home in upstate New York. The Band's Garth Hudson worked with music archivist and producer Jan Haust to restore the tapes, and the songs run in mostly chronological order based on Hudson's numbering system. Bootleg versions of the collection have varied in size over the last 45 years, a nine-CD version often viewed as the closest to complete. A two-disc version of highlights from the deluxe edition, titled The Basement Tapes Raw and including 12 of the unreleased tracks, will also be released on Nov. 4. This will also be issued as a three LP set on 180-gram vinyl, according to Columbia. - Billboard, 8/26/14.
As the tenth annual Johnny Ramone tribute took place at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Aug. 24, the respective estates of the deceased members of the seminal punk band the Ramones say that going forward, all Ramones tributes will be about the group as a whole. "That was probably the last Johnny Ramone tribute youre gonna see," says Ramones estate co-manager Jeff Jampol. "We're gonna do something moving forward, but its gonna be Ramones. We're all gonna focus on the Ramones, and its that whole thing of, United we stand, divided we fall. The legacy is the Ramones, the music is the Ramones, it was the four of them -- it was Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy, and everybody is cooperating and moving in one direction together as a team." For years, Johnny's widow Linda Ramone has controlled Johnny's half of the bands estate, while Joey's brother Mickey oversaw the lead singers half. After a long behind the scenes disputes, all sides say they are finally on the same page. Jampol, who also handles estates for the Doors, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, among others, says he has big plans for the Ramones moving forward. "The 40th anniversary of the Ramones is coming up in 2016, that's when the first album came out. So we have a lot of projects leading up to that. We're looking at a documentary on the Ramones, we just secured a ton of footage, much of which has never been seen before," he says. The documentary is just one of several projects in the works, Jampol says. Among the others are a theatrical play, a book and a film, which already has Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese attached. The Ramones will also be reappearing in several other ways, including remastered music, fashion and music placement. - Billboard, 8/27/14.
Pioneering rock 'n' roller Chuck Berry was honored with Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize during a ceremony on Aug. 26 in Stockholm, but the 88-year-old Berry was unable to attend the gala due to health issues. "He's been struggling with his health for a while," noted Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, in the lead up to this year's event. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, in a recorded message played at the gala, said the "My Ding-A-Ling" singer was the source of his inspiration. "He just leapt out of the radio at me," Richards noted. "I ate him basically, I mean I breathed him -- it wasn't just food, he was the air I breathed for many years when I was learning guitar and trying to figure out how you could be such an all-rounder. Such a great voice, such a great player and also such a great showman -- it was all in one package." Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf was again on hand for the 2014 presentation of the prize, which is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician, which this year was opera director Peter Sellars. The annual award, worth one million Swedish Kronor ($158,336), was first presented in 1992 and has gone to pop artists such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, B.B. King, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. The prize was created and funded in 1989 by Stig Andersson, the manager of Abba (sometimes called "Abba's fifth member") and the founder of two music-publishing companies and a record label as well as the composer of over 3,000 songs. Andersson says his aim was to "endow the world's biggest music prize." - Billboard, 8/27/14.
Listeners of the BBC's Radio 2 have named Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" as the "Greatest Guitar Riff of All Time," after a contest was announced in July. "Whole Lotta Love" was selected from list of 100 songs compiled by a panel of music experts. Other top guitar riffs in the top ten included songs by Guns N' Roses ("Sweet Child O' Mine"), AC/DC ("Back in Black"), Deep Purple ("Smoke on the Water"), Derek and the Dominoes ("Layla"), The Smiths ("How Soon Is Now?"), Status Quo ("Down Down"), Dire Straits ("Money For Nothing"), The Kinks ("You Really Got Me"), and Pink Floyd ("Money"). After hearing the news that "Whole Lotta Love" had been voted the top riff song, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page said that he was "knocked out by this, because I didn't expect that to happen." "There's been so many wonderful riffs along the way. I wanted a riff that really moved, that people would really get, and would bring a smile to their faces, but when I played it with the band, it really went into overdrive. There was this intent to have this riff and the movement of it, so it was menacing as well as quite sort of caressing," he said. - New Musical Express, 8/26/14.
Stevie Nicks has revealed a new song entitled "Lady" from her forthcoming double album 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault. Set for release on Oct. 7, 24 Karat Gold is made up of songs that were mostly written between 1969-87 but were recorded recently in Nashville and Los Angeles. The LP was produced by Nicks, Dave Stewart and Waddy Wachtel. Meanwhile, Nicks and Fleetwood Mac say they've almost finished eight songs for a possible new album. The recent recordings feature Christine McVie, who in January announced she had rejoined the band, although Nicks was not present at the sessions owing to other commitments. - New Musical Express...... Neil Young has filed a petition for a dissolution of marriage from his wife Pegi Young, to whom he has been married for 36 years. The petition was filed by Young, who often collaborated and toured with Pegi and duetted with her during a 1990s Academy Awards show, on July 29 in San Mateo, Calif., with a hearing set for Dec. 12. The couple first met when Neil visited a diner near his California home, where Pegi was working as a waitress. Pegi is the inspiration for some of Young's most enduring love songs, including "Such a Woman," "Unknown Legend" and "Once an Angel." She began serving as his background singer in the 1990s, sharing the stage with him at the 1994 Academy Awards and numerous tours over the past 20 years. In 1986, the couple co-founded the Bridge School to provide educational opportunities for students with severe physical impairments, with their son Ben in mind, who suffers from cerebral palsy. Pegi, who released a self-titled debut album in 2007 and frequently tours on her own, was scheduled to perform with Neil at Farm Aid in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 13, though Pegi's name was recently removed from the line-up. - Rolling Stone...... Cliff Richard issued a statement on Aug. 24 saying allegations that he assaulted a boy at a religious rally in Sheffield, northern England, in the 1980s is "completely false." The British pop star said that he was questioned by South Yorkshire Police by appointment, who have not arrested or charged him so far. British authorities do not name suspects unless they are formally charged, and merely say that "a 73-year-old man was interviewed under caution at a police station on Aug. 23." "Under caution" means the interview was recorded and could be used in future prosecutions. Earlier in August, police searched Richard's house near London after receiving what they called "an allegation of a sexual nature at a religious event at the Bramall Lane stadium in Sheffield in 1985." Richard was recently scheduled to be presented with the keys to the Portuguese city of Albufeira -- his adopted home -- but following recent events he chose not to accept the honor. - AP...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood took part in the popular "ice bucket challenge" to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on Aug. 26. Wood had a bucket of ice water thrown over his head before nominating his son, Tyrone, his former Faces bandmate Rod Stewart, and actor Woody Harrelson, to also take the challenge. - NME...... Acclaimed British actor and director Richard Attenborough died on Aug. 24 at age 90 after having been in poor health for some time, according to his son. Mr. Attenborough won an Academy Award for best director with Gandhi in 1982, only one of many highlights of a distinguished 60-year career as actor and director. With his abundant snow-white hair and beard, he appeared in a many major Hollywood films, directed a series of movies and was known for his extensive work as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and other humanitarian causes. As a director, Mr. Attenborough made several successful movies, from Oh What a Lovely War in 1969 to Chaplin and Shadowlands in the 1990s. But his greatest success was Gandhi, a film that was 20 years in the planning and won eight Oscars, including best picture. He also played the failed theme park developer in Jurassic Park and Kriss Kringle in a remake of Miracle on 34th Street. He was knighted in 1976, and 17 years later received a life peerage, becoming Baron Attenborough of Richmond upon Thames. Mr. Attenborough had been in frail health since a fall at his house in 2008, and spent his last years in a nursing home with his wife. - CNN
John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman was denied parole for the eighth time on Aug. 22, New York corrections officials have announced. Chapman, 59, was denied parole by a three-member board after a hearing on Aug. 20. He shot Lennon, 40, outside the former Beatle's Manhattan apartment building in Dec. 1980. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. - AP...... In other Beatles-related news, the third leg of Paul McCartney's Out There tour of North America, which began in May, has become the summer's hottest tour with ticket sales totaling $38.7 million from concerts at eight arenas and four stadiums. It bring's Macca's overall gross to $150 million from 40 reported shows during the tour's 15-month span. Coming in at No. 3, behind Motley Crue, is Billy Joel, with the last of four performances at major league ballparks during the Piano Man's summer tour through North American cities. He wrapped his stadium run on Aug. 2 at Citizens Bank Park, the home ballpark of Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies. - Billboard...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, rare 50-year-old photos of the Beatles meeting youngsters from a children's home while filming A Hard Day's Night in 1964 have been discovered by a children's charity in the United Kingdom. Staff at The Children's Society discovered the photographs in an archive which contained a copy of the charity's supporters' magazine from 1964. It featured an article on children from the Society's now-defunct Roehampton home, Hambro House, meeting the band while they were filming at London's Scala Theatre. - New Musical Express
'70s artists Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Joan Baez will be among the musicians honored with an ASCAP Centennial Award during a gala at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City on Nov. 17. It will be the first fundraiser for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation, as well as celebrate ASCAP's 100th anniversary. The five honorees, which also include Garth Brooks and Stephen Sondheim, will attend the gala, where other artists will perform in tribute. - AP...... Phil Collins has announced his first gig in four years will take place on Dec. 6 when he headlines the Dreaming On The Beach Concert at the Fillmore Miami Beach in Florida. Earlier in 2014, Collins made a surprise appearance at his sons' Miami school, performing "In The Air Tonight" and "Land Of Confusion" for pupils. He reportedly told the crowd that he was nervous playing his first show since retiring in 2011. The Dreaming On The Beach gig will benefit the Little Dreams Foundation, the charity Collins co-founded with his ex-wife Orianne Collins-Mejjati. In January, Collins revealed that he is working on new music with Adele for her next album. He claimed to have not really heard of the singer but that he was writing new music with her having been impressed with her voice and level of success. - New Musical Express...... Tickets for an upcoming concert headlined by Wilie Nelson and Neil Young to protest the Keystone XL pipeline have been selling fast, with more than 6,500 of the 7,000 $50 tickets for the Sept. 27 gig already purchased the day after they were made available on Aug. 20. The controversial TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast, and te concert will be held on a farm near Neligh, Nebraska, that's in the proposed path. Pipeline critics, including concert organizer Bold Nebraska, worry it could contribute to pollution and contaminate groundwater. Young and Nelson have said they agreed to perform to highlight concerns. - AP...... A new musical focusing on the mid-'70s years of reggae legend Bob Marley is set to open in Baltimore's Center Stage theater in 2015. "Marley" will include the assassination attempt and a self-imposed isolation in England when he recorded Exodus and Kaya. The musical will include crowd-pleasers for Marley's band The Wailers such as "I Shot the Sheriff" and "No Woman, No Cry" as well as the songs that appear on Exodus, Kaya and the other album he made in the show's time frame Rastaman Vibration. Members of Marley's family, including Cedella Marley, are involved in the development and writing of the show. - Billboard...... The executive producer of the beleaguered Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider waived his right for an arraignment on Aug. 19 and asked the court to enter a not guilty plea to criminal charges in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Jay Sedrish, along with director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in Jones' death. Sedrish's lawyer, John Ossick, confirmed that Sedrish waived his right for an arraignment and asked the court to enter a not guilty plea by mail. Miller and Savin pleaded not guilty last month, claiming Jones' death "was not a crime." Sedrish also turned himself in to the police in July. - The Hollywood Reporter...... Two out-of-print Jimi Hendrix albums -- The Cry of Love and Rainbow Bridge -- are set to be re-released on Sept. 15 o CD, vinyl and digital formats. The LPs were Hendrix's first and second posthumous releases, with both records originally released in 1971 after the legendary guitarist and singer passed away in 1970 at the age of 27. The songs that make up The Cry Of Love were recorded from December 1969 into the summer of 1970 at Electric Lady Studios in New York. They were set to be included on a double LP with the working title First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. Rainbow Bridge is made up of tracks from the same sessions. Meanwhile, a documentary of Henrix's early career Jimi: All Is By My Side, is set for release in the fall, with OutKast's André 3000 in the lead role. - New Musical Express...... Leonard Cohen will release his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, on Sept. 22, the day after he reaches his milestone 80th birthday. The album was co-written and produced by Patrick Leonard, who worked with Cohen on his last album, 2012's Old Ideas. Cohen, who returned to the stage in 2008 after a 15-year absence, is not expected to tour behind the new LP. - NME...... The creamated ashes of Robin Williams were reportedly scattered at sea near his home in San Francisco, Calif., the day after his death by apparent suicide on Aug. 11. On Aug. 17, a memorial for the beloved 63-year-old funnyman was conducted at Glide Memorial Church. Willams' death certificate does not list an official cause of death, as the results of toxicology tests will not be available for a few weeks. - WENN.com
Don Pardo, the announcer whose velvety baritone voice introduced NBC's Saturday Night Live hosts for decades, died on Aug. 19. He was 96. Mr. Pardo, who was the SNL announcer for all but one season during the program's 39-year-run, was born in Westfield, Mass., on Feb. 22, 1918, and began his career in theater in his native New England, but switched to announcing after being offered a job by a Providence, R.I., radio station. While visiting NBC in New York in 1944, Mr. Pardo was offered a job with NBC and became a familiar voice to generations of radio listeners and, later, TV watchers. He was among the first to tell the nation about the news of Pres. John F. Kennedy's assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, and the following year he became the announcer for the long-running Art Fleming-hosted game show Jeopardy!, which ran from 1964 to 1975. He could regularly be heard telling viewers that the show's questions came from the Grolier encyclopedia and promising contestants some nice parting gifts, including a supply of Rice-a-Roni, "the San Francisco treat." He also handled the announcing duties on such programs as the old Price Is Right, and appeared in the movie Radio Days and on an episode of 30 Rock, among other credits. "RIP Don Pardo. A voice that meant so much," tweeted former SNL cast member Seth Meyers. - CNN...... Rock journalist Charles M. Young, a former contributor to Rolling Stone magazine who championed New York's CBGB punk scene at its inception, died on Aug. 18 in a Bronx, N.Y., hospice after an 18-month battle with a stage four brain tumor. He was 63. At Rolling Stone, Young wrote its first major pieces on The Ramones, Patti Smith and Television, among others, bringing an individual sense of humor to its pages. Writing under the byline "The Rev. Charles M. Young," a reference to his Wisconsin Presbyterian-minister father, Young contributed memorable cover stories on the likes of Carly Simon, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Emerson Lake and Palmer and, for Rolling Stone's first punk rock cover story, the Sex Pistols. Young left Rolling Stone in 1980, later joining the staff of Musician magazine in the early 1990s and writing regular record reviews for Playboy. Later on, he contributed stories on Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky to Rolling Stone, as well as profiles on Beavis and Butt-head and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 2010, he co-founded the website This Can't Be Happening!, where he excitedly covered the Occupy Wall Street movement. - Rolling Stone...... Michael A. Hoey, who wrote the screenplays for the Elvis Presley movies Stay Away, Joe and Live a Little, Love a Little, died of cancer on Aug. 17 at his home in San Clemente, Calif. He was 79. He also produced, wrote, directed and edited several episodes of the 1980s music drama series Fame, based on the Alan Parker box-office hit, and was the architect behind the 1966 cult science-fiction move The Navy vs. the Night Monsters. Hoey later directed episodes of Dallas, Falcon Crest, and Murder, She Wrote, and wrote for the shows The Rat Patrol, Get Christie Love! and McCloud. He earned two Emmy Award nominations for his work on Fame and wrote a behind-the-scenes book about the series that was published in 2010. He also served two four-year terms as a governor on the board of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and the WGA honored him with its prestigious Morgan Cox Award in 1997, and taught editing as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. - The Hollywood Reporter
Paul McCartney played the last-ever concert in San Francisco's Candlestick Park on Aug. 14, some 48 years after his former band the Beatles played their last-ever concert anywhere at the same venue. Home for decades to the baseball Giants and the football 49ers, the open-air venue now faces imminent demolition, and Sir Paul -- dressed like a dandyish undertaker in a maroon topcoat with floral kimono-print trim at the cuffs -- promised the audience that he and his band were going to "close it down in style." Before McCartney emerged, around 9:00 p.m., a nostalgia-steeped photo collage -- Paul working a mixing console with Ringo, Paul horsing around on his Scottish farm, portraits of other rock stars like John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger -- scrolled upward on enormous screens as the speakers pumped out unlikely covers and remixes of Beatles tunes. During his set, the 72-year-old McCartney prefaced "Blackbird" with a few words about the "civil rights troubles, particularly in the South," that inspired the song and attended the Beatles' 1966 tour (in September of 1966, just one month after the Beatles played Candlestick, police shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Bayview-Hunters Point). McCartney is touring, nominally, in support of his strong 2013 solo album, New, but his Candlestick set went heavy on Beatles and Wings cuts, from "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Maybe I'm Amazed" to "Lovely Rita" and "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five." - Rolling Stone, 8/15/14.
Fans of Elvis Presley marked the 37th anniversary of his 1977 death on Aug. 16 by strolling quietly through the Mediation Garden at Graceland, Presley's longtime Memphis, Tenn., home. People began arriving early in the day to get a spot in line outside Graceland's gates. Tourists also watched Elvis tribute artists sing and dance, and visited gift shops and Elvis-related exhibits across the street from the home. Presley's grave is in the garden, and his mother, father and grandmother are buried there. The home is now a museum and a centerpiece of the Graceland tourist attraction that draws about 500,000 fans each year from around the world. The vigil is a highlight of Elvis Week, an annual celebration of Presley's career and his life. This year, other Elvis Week events have included an auction of authenticated Presley artifacts -- which included a 1977 Cadillac Seville used by Presley -- and the groundbreaking of a planned 450-room hotel at the Graceland tourist attraction. In other Presley-related news, the granddaughter of the King of Rock & Roll is engaged to be married. Riley Keough, the actress daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and musician Danny Keough, will tie the knot with Ben Smith-Petersen, an Australian stuntman who worked on the upcoming franchise reboot Mad Max: Road Fury, a film starring Riley Keough. It has been speculated the two met on the set. Riley Keough was previously engaged to Alex Pettyfer, whom she worked with in Magic Mike. In 2013, she had a steamy make-out session with Justin Timberlake for his "TKO" music video. - AP/Billboard, 8/16/14.
Following the success of his first-ever all Spanish-language album Corazon, Carlos Santana will release a live CD/DVD package titled Corazon, Live From Mexico: Live It to Believe It on Sept. 9 that includes a live CD and DVD plus a documentary film shot in different Mexican locales. While the track listing of Corazon Live From Mexico includes many of the artists featured in the original Corazon, including such famous hispanic singers as Gloria Estefan, Miguel, Romeo Santos and Lila Downs, it has expanded considerably to include new versions of Santana standards like "Black Magic Woman" and "Smooth" and collaborations like "Corazon Espinado," featuring Fher Olvera (lead singer of Mana) and Santana's wife, Cindy Blackman Santana. With sponsorship from Mexico's Tourism Board, the live show was taped in Dec. 2013 in Santana's home state of Gaudalajara, a documentary was filmed in different locales and a special aired on HBO Latino both in the U.S. and Latin America in the spring. Meanwhile, Santana is reflecting on his band's participation in the 1969 Woodstock festival, as the legendary event celebrates its 45th anniversary in August. "It was very memorable and monumental," Santana told Billboard. "We didn't know that there were so many people in the '60s that wanted to stop the war. People got involved in the '60s, with the Black Panthers and the students. We wanted to change the world, like Jim Morrison, from The Doors, said: 'We want the world and we want it now.'" - Billboard, 8/14/14.
Gene Simmons of Kiss is apologizing for some comments he made about depression as well as drug and alcohol addiction in a recent interview. "I don't get along with anybody who's a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim," Simmons said in an interview with SongFacts.com. "Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: 'The world is a harsh place.' My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don't want to hear f--- all about 'the world as a harsh place.' She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, 'I'm depressed, I live in Seattle.' F--- you, then kill yourself." Simmons went on to suggest people threatening to jump from high rise buildings "should just have some dignity and jump." On Aug. 15, the fire-breathing rock star issued an apology on Facebook: "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. I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments. I recognize that depression is very serious and very sad when it happens to anyone, especially loved ones. I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease, especially depression. I have never sugarcoated my feelings regarding drug use and alcoholics. Somewhere along the line, my intention of speaking in very directly and perhaps politically incorrectly about drug use and alcoholics has been misconstrued as vile commentary on depression. Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention. Fully, you will know that and I do not intend to defend myself here and now, by listing the myriad charities and self-help organizations I am involved with. Rather, I simply want to be clear that my heart goes out to anyone suffering from depression and I deeply regret any offhand remarks in the heat of an interview that might have suggested otherwise." - Billboard, 8/15/14.
English pop music legend Cliff Richard is denying allegations of a historical sex offense against him as "completely false." Earlier in August, a house belonging to the 73-year-old singer in Berkshire had been searched by police in relation to claims involving a boy under 16, dating back to the 1980s in the South Yorkshire area. Eight plain-clothed police officers arrived in five unmarked cars to conduct the search and a number of items were removed from the property in the Sunningdale area for further investigation, according to the BBC. But now Richard, who is out of the country, has issued a statement: "For many months I have been aware of allegations against me of historic impropriety which have been circulating online. The allegations are completely false. Up until now I have chosen not to dignify the false allegations with a response, as it would just give them more oxygen. However, the police attended my apartment in Berkshire today without notice, except it would appear to the press. I am not presently in the UK, but it goes without saying that I will cooperate fully should the police wish to speak to me. Beyond stating that today's allegation is completely false it would not be appropriate to say anything further until the police investigation has concluded." With more than 22 million singles sold in Britain, Richard is "the most successful British male singles artist of all-time and second only to Elvis Presley overall," according to the Official Charts Company, which tracks U.K. music sales. His worldwide record sales are estimated to amount to around 250 million. Richard plans to expand his catalog with the release this November of his 100th album. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 8/14/14.
Federal safety officials have cited the production company formed to make a film about Gregg Allman for exposing its workers to grave risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Film Allman LLC, the film's production company, for two safety violations in connection with the February 2014 accident, in which camera assistant Sarah Jones, 27, was killed and eight other crew members were injured when an oncoming train tore through the set of Midnight Rider during the filming of a scene on a Georgia railroad trestle. "It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels said in a statement. In July, Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and others were indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter. They've pleaded not guilty. - Billboard, 8/15/14...... Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer is denying he has heart problems after an unspecified illness forced the band to cancel a concert in Concord, Calif., on Aug. 13. That same day, it was reported he had to "undergo a minor medical procedure," and another report said he had to undergo heart surgery. But Kramer released a statement on Aug. 16 saying that he "has no history of a heart condition" and that he is "feeling better than ever and I'll be back sitting in the best seat in the house, hitting it harder than ever for our amazing fans," referring to the band's show that evening at the Gorge in George, Wash., which went on as scheduled. There are 10 more dates slated on the band's Let Rock Rule tour, which wraps up on Sept. 12 in Canada. - Billboard, 8/16/14....... Eric Clapton will release a new tour documentary, Planes, Trains and Eric, on DVD, Blu-Ray and other digital formats on Nov. 4. The new concert film chronicles the Far and Middle Eastern leg of Clapton's2014 tour and includes 13 live performances, including renditions of classic songslike "Layla," I Shot the Sheriff," "Crossroads" and "Wonderful Tonight." Along with the live footage, the documentary also features interviews with Clapton and his band, and offers a "fly on the wall" look at life on the road, from soundchecks and rehearsals to lengthy train rides from show to show. Clapton recently released his latest studio effort, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, which paid tribute to the late blues legend and his close friend, JJ Cale. - Rolling Stone, 8/7/14...... Stevie Nicks has launched a competition for her fans to design a new shawl, one of the singer's trademark garments. The competition winner will receive $2,000 to produce a shawl for Nicks, and also receive a professional photograph of the singer modelling the piece and will also be featured on her website and social media outlets. The competition ends on Sept. 29 with the winner announced on Oct.14. It will coincide with the release of Nick's new double album 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault, which is set for an Oct. 7 release. The album primarily consists of songs written between 1969 and 1987 but recorded recently in Nashville and Los Angeles. - Rolling Stone, 8/16/14...... Bob Seger released a new song, "Detroit Made," on Aug. 14, taking a step closer to releasing a new album, which has been rumoured for fall 2014. "Detroit Made," a cover of a song originally written and performed by John Hiatt, was the opening song of Seger's spring 2013 tour, and its release was specifically timed to the Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual car event held in the Detroit suburbs. Besides "Detroit Made," Seger also debuted his own "All of the Roads" and another cover, the Wilco/Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie song "California Stars," during the 2013 tour -- both of which he's also recorded. No details about a new album, or a release date, have yet been announced. - Billboard, 8/14/14...... "David Bowie Is" -- the David Bowie retrospective exhibition detailing the singer's 50-year career first shown at London's V&A in 2013 -- is to head to Australia. The exhibition was originally shown in London from March 2013 and received a sell-out run during which time more than 300,000 people attended the show. Since then, it has moved around the world, being shown in Toronto, Chicago Sao Paulo and Berlin. The newest stop to be added to the tour will be the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne, where the exhibition will show from July 2015. Between now and then, David Bowie Is will call at Paris and the Netherlands. - New Musical Express, 8/13/14....... Famed actress Lauren Bacall, a husky-voiced Hollywood icon known for her sultry sensuality, died of an apparent stroke on Aug. 12. She was 89. Ms. Bacall's international fame began before the backdrop of World War II, in 1944 with her first film, To Have and Have Not, which she made with future husband Humphrey Bogart. They married in 1945, had two children and went on to make more films together, including The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948). Bogart died in 1957. A marriage to Jason Robards, which produced another child, actor Sam Robards, ended in divorce. Ms. Bacall was engaged to Frank Sinatra, briefly, between marriages. She won two Tony Awards and an honorary Oscar; she was nominated for three Emmy Awards. Her first autobiography, Lauren Bacall: By Myself, won the National Book Award in 1980. By Myself and Then Some, her updated autobiography, was published in 2005. Ms. Bacall was anointed a legend during her lifetime by the American Film Institute, but she wasn't fond of that, she told CNN's Larry King in an interview in 2005. "I don't like the category. And to begin with, to me, a legend is something that is not on the Earth, that is dead," she said. - CNN, 8/13/14...... The body of DJ Casey Kasem, who died June 15 in Gig Harbor, Washington, is apparently headed to Oslo, Norway, for burial. Santa Monica Police are investigating allegations by Kasem's daughter, Kerri Kasem, that her stepmother Jean Kasem abused the late Kasem, and the family is speculating that the reason Jean Kasem wants her late husband buried in Norway is due to that country's strict laws concerning exhumation. "There is no connection my dad has with Norway," says Kerri Kasem's brother, Mike Kasem, who bitterly criticizes his stepmother. "I don't know if Jean has any ties to Oslo. She certainly has never mentioned it in the last 35 years. Check the exhumation laws there; sounds like a possibility that is the reason she will bury him there. My dad deserves to be buried where he specifically asked to be buried: Forest Lawn. Everyone keeps asking for motives as to why Jean acts how she acts. I don't have an answer." - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/14/14.
Robin Williams, a beloved actor and comedian known for his manic improvisational skills in the TV series Mork & Mindy as well as Oscar-winning dramatic roles in movies, died of an apparent suicide due to asphyxia on Aug. 11 in his home in Marin County, Calif. He was 63. Marin County deputies responded to an emergency call from Williams' home in Tiburon, Calif., at 11:55 a.m., reporting "a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing," the release from the sheriff said, and Williams was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m. Born in Chicago on July 21, 1951, Williams studied theater at Juilliard School before taking his stand up act to nightclubs. He was cast as Mork, an alien visitor to Earth, for a 1974 episode of television's Happy Days, which led to a spin-off show Mork & Mindy, which showcased his usual comic improvisation talents. After that series ended in 1982, Williams became an in demand movie actor in both comedic and dramatic roles that had a total box office gross of over $3 billion, including The World According to Garp, Mrs. Doubtfire, Cadillac Man, The Final Cut, The Fisher King, Moscow on the Hudson, Man of the Year, Good Morning Vietnam, One Hour Photo, Patch Adams, Dead Poet's Society, Insomnia, The Birdcage and 1997's Good Will Hunting, a film that earned him a best supporting actor Oscar. He also won two Emmys, four Golden Globes, and five Grammys. He most recently starred in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, and was reportedly considering participating in a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire, and was in post-production on several other projects. Williams, who battled drug and alcohol abuse for 20 years, made at least two trips to rehab for drug treatment, including a visit this summer, and he underwent heart surgery in March 2009. He had reportedly recently been battling severe depression and had a relapse of substance abuse, was last seen alive at his home, where he lived with his wife Susan, at about 10 a.m. on Aug. 11, the sheriff's statement said. "An investigation into the cause, manner and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff's Office," the sheriff's statement said. "Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made." Williams married his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider, in a Napa Valley, Calif., ceremony in Oct. 2011. "This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken," Schneider said in a statement. "On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions." - CNN, 8/11/14.
A forthcoming first-person shooter game called Destiny will feature a full score and theme song from Paul McCartney, the New York Times reported on Aug. 10. Destiny, described as being in the vein of the game Halo, is a futuristic, dystopian game where Earth's final survivors are forced to fight off invading aliens (on Earth and Mars) who seek to conquer mankind for good. Sir Paul's score is reportedly "widely varied, with lush orchestral and choral sections and eerie, atmospheric passages, to fast paced, heavily percussive sections and high-adrenaline string, brass and electronic figures." McCartney collaborated on the project with ex-Bungie house composer Marty ODonnell and Mike Salvatori, and Macca broke the news back in July 2012 via Twitter: "I'm really excited to be working on writing music with @bungie, the studio that made Halo," he posted. 70 minutes of the score, which was recorded with a 120-piece ensemble at London's Abbey Road Studios with director Giles Martin, have been circulating the Internet via a beta version of the game, according to the report. The fully-orchestrated theme song will drop Sept. 9, the same day as the game. McCartney has been composing full-length scores and orchestral music since 1990 and similar games (like the Halo series) have earned plaudits for their symphonic approach. In other Beatles-related news, officials in London are considering installing a "lollipop lady" (crossing guard) at the famous crossing outside Abbey Road studios in St. John's Wood over saftey fears. The Westminster City Council says thousands of people who visit the "zebra" crossing who try to take photos in the middle of the road are raising safety concerns, and that residents have complained of an increase in traffic as tourists take photos on the crossing, especially in the summer season. Councillors have also raised concerns about buses carrying tourists causing traffic congestion by double-parking or parking on yellow lines. A Westminster City Council spokeswoman said it is discussing options to manage the busy traffic flow, including the possibility of employing a lollipop lady or man. The crossing was made famous after the Beatles traversed it for Ian Macmillan's iconic cover shot for the 1969 Abbey Road record. - Billboard/The BBC, 8/11/14.
A night-long concert honoring the music and legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd will be held on Nov. 12 at Atlanta's Fox Theatre, the venue where the Southern Rock icons recorded their live double-album, One More From The Road, in 1976 during the height of their fame to help save the hall from demolition. Producer Don Was will serve as music director for One More For The Fans! -- Celebrating The Songs & Music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the show will feature performances from Lynyrd Skynyrd themselves along with several of their famous fellow musicians, including Gregg Allman, Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Trace Adkins, Alabama, John Hiatt, Cheap Trick and Donnie Van Zant, among others. Surprise guests and additional performers are also forthcoming. "Lynyrd Skynyrd's music has had a profound and unmistakable influence on artists and fans all over the world," Don Was said in a statement. One More For The Fans! will be filmed and recorded for "multi-platform distribution," according to a press release. Tickets for the event go on sale to the public on Aug. 18 at www.foxtheatre.org. - Billboard, 8/11/14.
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top recently recorded several songs of new music with EDM producer David Guetta in Ibiza, which Gibbons says he expects to surface in same shape for form in the near future. "It's a far cry from what people might expect -- 'Gibbons and electronic stuff?'" Gibbons notes. "But a lot of people have overlooked the fact that one of the things that made (ZZ Top's) Eliminator so interesting was the opportunity to go into that experimental side of things and fool around with the coolest new toys that could be found in the recording studio. I'm always fascinated by that, so my time in Spain was very fruitful." Gibbons says he's also planning to begin work on ZZ Top's next album with Rick Rubin, who produced the band's 2012 LP La Futura, once again at the helm. "There were 11 tracks released on La Futura that were pulled from a total of 22 -- actually we did 27 tracks and out of those 27 it got boiled down to a favorite 22, which was a big pile of stuff," Gibbons says. "So there's probably another CD's worth of pretty righteous stuff. It's very tasty. There's some juicy cuts waiting to be heard. I'm just waiting on a call from Rick that he's ready," Gibbons says. ZZ Top is celebrating its 45th year as a band in 2014 and released a new complation, The Very Baddest of ZZ Top, in July. It hits the road with Jeff Beck on Aug. 8 for one of the most anticipated double bills of the summer, after canceling the first six shows due to bassist Dusty Hill's kidney stone surgery. Gibbons and Beck have been friends since the original Jeff Beck Group came to America in 1968, and he says the two bond over things like cars and hot rods more than music. ZZ Top and Beck will play 27 shows through mid-September, then stay on the road after the tour with Beck ends, with shows booked into early November so far. - Billboard, 8/8/14.
The city of Seattle finally broke ground on the long-planned Jimi Hendrix Park in the city's Central District on Aug. 7 to honor its hometown guitar hero. The park's organizers, the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation, envision the park as being a place where people of different backgrounds will find the motivation to explore music and art, while celebrating Seattle's cultural heritage, experiencing community pride and appreciating the programming of the museum next door. The bulk of the construction will take place in 2015. The evolution of the two-and-a-half acre park is being split into two phases: The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation has named the first "Little Wing," after the singer's 1967 song, and will include the construction of an entrance and stairway at the park's southeast corner, as well as paved pathways, a timeline of Hendrix's life and a butterfly garden, among other features. The second phase, which is currently unnamed and now the subject of a fundraising campaign, will include a central shelter, performance space and a "shadow wave wall," which will cast silhouette images of the guitarist. When the foundation announced the park's concept in December 2011, it was initially supposed to open in November of the following year to coincide with what would have been Hendrix's 70th birthday. The foundation, along with the group Friends of Jimi Hendrix Park, raised more than $1 million in addition to the $500,000 that it received from the Seattle Parks and Green Levy Opportunity Fund Grant. Earlier in 2014, the United States Postal Service honored Hendrix's cultural importance by releasing a "Jimi Hendrix Forever" stamp sporting his visage. - Rolling Stone, 8/7/14.
A former housekeeper of Michael Jackson's has told the New York Post that the "Thriller" singer lived in deplorable conditions inside Neverland Ranch during the time she was in his employ and that he was the "dirtiest, most unsanitary person in Hollywood." "Michael sometimes ran around where the animals were, and he'd track...poop throughout the house and think nothing of it," said the woman, identified only as "Maid No. 1." "Then, if you said something, he'd threaten to make doo-doo snowballs and throw it at you." She also claimed that Jackson disregarded sanitation and urinated in front of her the day after his 1993 Oprah Winfrey interview. "He literally peed on the floor of the entryway, right where you saw Oprah walk in," she told The Post. "It was surreal. He just stood there, unzipped his trousers and watered the floor." The woman was one of five maids who spoke to The Post anonymously about the conditions at the property, which they claim became worse following accusations of sexual abuse against Jackson by Jordan Chandler in 1993. On Aug. 4, lawyers for 36-year-old James Safechuck, who is alleging that Jackson abused him when he was 10 after the pair were working on a Pepsi commercial together, filed claims against Jackson's estate. Jackson lived in the sprawling property in Santa Barbara County, Calif., from 1988 until his death in 2009. It was recently announced that Neverland is being put up for sale. - The New York Post, 8/11/14.
The Journey and Steve Miller Band co-headlining tour is the top summertime trek in the U.S., according to Billboard's Hot Tours list. The veteran rock bands joined forces in mid-May to co-headline an 11-week tour, playing primarily at outdoor amphitheaters. With a handful of arenas and a fair date added to the mix, the bands stopped in 39 cities during the run that featured Tower of Power as opening act. Journey and SMB launched their tour on May 15 at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. Among the 39 dates on the itinerary, the top grosser was the second show of the run, the May 16 performance at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl. The highest attendance was logged at White River Amphitheatre in the Seattle metropolitan area. Overall box office revenue from the tour topped $29 million from more than half a million sold tickets. - Billboard, 8/7/14....... Elton John and his longtime friend, tennis star Billie Jean King, will host a tennis match at Royal Albert Hall in London on Dec. 7 to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. John and King will coach teams that feature former No. 1-ranked Kim Clijsters and John McEnroe and Britain's Tim Henman and 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki. John says the match is being presented on behalf of "an AIDS-free future" and "access to lifesaving treatment to more people living with HIV in Africa." King says it's the first time her "World Team Tennis Smash Hits" event will have a "global presence" and she's pleased to bring "this wonderful evening of tennis to a new audience." The Smash Hits program, which has raised $12 million since 1993, will be held on the final night of a Masters tennis tournament. - AP, 8/8/14...... Billy Joel will be among the celebrities featured in an upcoming "baby boomers" documentary for PBS about the post-World War II generation. PBS announced on Aug. 7 that American Masters: The Boomer List will air Sept. 23 on member stations. The 90-minute production, directed by filmmaker-photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, will include 19 notable public figures, including Joel, Maria Shriver, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie O'Donnell, Tommy Hilfiger and Steve Wozniak. Their years of birth represent each of the years commonly associated with the baby boom era, 1946-64. An accompanying photo book will be released and an exhibit, "The Boomer List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders," will run at the Newseum from Sept. 26 through June 2015. - AP, 8/7/14...... Robert Plant and his backing band the Sensational Space Shifters have announced a seven-date fall tour of the U.S. and Canada that will kick off Sept. 25 in Port Chester, N.Y. The tour will also visit Brooklyn, N.Y. for two dates (9/27, 28) as well as Toronto (9/30), Chicago (10/2), Denver (10/4) and Los Angeles (10/7). Presale tickets, which go on sale Aug. 15 at www.citiprivatepass.com/#, include a copy of Plant's new record, Lulllaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, which drops Sept. 9. - Billboard, 8/7/14...... Seventies musicians Mick Jagger, Sting, Cliff Richard, Bryan Ferry, David Gilmour and Andrew Lloyd-Webber are among the dozens of celebrities and public figures in Britain who have signed a petition appealing to Scottish voters to vote to stay in the United Kingdom in a referendum in September. The letter tells Scottish voters taking part in the Sept. 18 referendum that the undersigned "want to let you know how very much we value our bonds of citizenship with you, and to express our hope that you will vote to renew them." A spokesman for Yes Scotland, a pro-independence group, released a statement saying "it's great to know that Scotland has so many friends and admirers, and we know they will all continue to be our friends and admirers after we vote Yes on September 18." - AP/Billboard, 8/7/14....... Grateful Dead co-founding guitarist Bob Weir has cancelled all scheduled concerts by his band RatDog for 2014 and January 2015. "Circumstances have necessitated that all scheduled tour dates for Bob Weir & RatDog are being cancelled," reads a posted on ratdog.org on Aug. 10, however Weir didn't offer more details. Weir also is canceling a September performance at the Lockn' Festival with Furthur, the band he formed with fellow Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh. Weir, 66, fell onstage at a concert last year. Lesh told the crowd that Weir had been suffering from a strained shoulder. - Associated Press, 8/12/14....... Henry Stone, a fixture on the '70s disco scene who was instrumental in the careers of K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Ray Charles and James Brown, died of natural causes on Aug. 7 at a Miami-area hospital. He was 93. Mr. Stone was a co-founder of the Miami-based disco label TK Records, and when that label went bankrupt in 1981, he produced an off-beat hit in 1990 with the novelty act 2 Live Jews and its album, As Kosher As They Wanna Be, a parody of 2 Live Crew that featured Stone's actor, songwriter-producer son, Joseph Stone. - AP, 8/10/14...... James Shigeta, a prolific and pioneering Asian-American actor whose 50-year career includes the movies Die Hard and Flower Drum Song, died in his sleep in Los Angeles on July 28, his agent said. He was 81. Mr. Shigeta was well-known for co-starring with Bruce Willis in 1988's Die Hard, in which he played the executive Joseph Takagi. His work stretches across TV and film, and he is considered one of the first Asian-American actors to rise to prominence. He also made appearances in series such as Perry Mason, The Love Boat, Hawaii Five-O, Fantasy Island and Little House on the Prairie. - CNN
Founding Village People member Victor Willis is lashing out at controversial comedian and TV personality Joan Rivers after she used a racial stereotype to describe Justin Bieber's odd fashion sense. On her show Fashion Police on Aug. 1, Rivers was criticizing Bieber for wearing a colourful Alexander McQueen sweater and baggy, black leather pants with a matching leather skirt (complete with a black hat and a chunky gold chain) for a trip to a Whole Foods supermarket in California, when she said: "That little b---h just gets on my nerves" before addressing the 20-year-old hitmaker directly: "You are not a big black thug, you are just like your shoes -- ordinary and completely white." Rivers' fellow panellists, including singer/TV personality Kelly Osbourne, laughed off the remark, but Victor Willis claims the crass funnywoman should be taken to task for her "racist" comment. Willis, who portrayed the traffic cop in the band, took to his Twitter account and Facebook page on Aug. 3, where he shared the offending clip and urged fans to condemn the veteran comic. "What Joan Rivers Said Is No Laughing Matter! It's Racist! And She Has A History Of This. Time To Shut Her Down! What Say You?," he wrote. In July, Rivers made headlines when she angrily walked out of a CNN interview with host Fredricka Whitfield, saying, "I really am going, because all you've done is negative." Rivers was on to promote her latest book, Diary of a Mad Diva, when Whitfield pressed the comedian on whether she thinks her own humor is mean and questioned her decision to wear a fur coat on her book cover. The incident came a day after Rivers said that she thought President Obama was already our first gay president and that Michelle was "a trans." - WENN.com, 8/5/14.
Kiss's Gene Simmons has declared he's "on the side of Donald Sterling" in the controversy over the former L.A. Clippers owner's infamous racist rant to his girlfriend over the phone, which she recorded and released to the public. In an interview for The Wall Street Journal for the new AMC series 4th and Loud -- about the Kiss-branded Arena Football League team L.A. Kiss -- Simmons was asked if he had followed the Sterling incident. "I'm on the side of Don Sterling," he replied, before his position was even asked. Although he admits that Sterling is "heinous," he opines that he should have been let off with a fine, since the rant occurred in private. Simmons goes on to insinuate that all people make racist rants or off-color jokes in private: "Because you say an off color joke or make a racist rant privately, that causes you to lose a job -- nobody would have a job!" Simmons also linked a loss of privacy to Sterling's fate: "I'm on the side of free speech in the privacy of your own home or privacy of the situation. Big brother has finally crawled in bed with us." In an ironic twist, Simmons claimed earlier in the interview that he supported changing the name of NFLs Washington Redskins, which many people feel is a racist nick. Donald Sterling's rant also prompted Victor Willis of the Village People to demand the L.A. Clippers quit playing the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." during their games as long as Sterling remained the owner. - Billboard, 8/5/14.
In an explosive article in Mojo magazine, singer Marianne Faithfull claims that her ex-boyfriend, aristocrat Jean de Breiteuil, of supplying the drugs that killed The Doors legend Jim Morrison. Morrison is alleged to have died of a heroin overdose in Paris, France in 1971, but as no autopsy was performed, the exact cause of his death is still disputed. Faithfull claims she knew something terrible was about to happen the day Morrison died and chose to stay away from the apartment that the singer/poet shared with his partner Pamela Courson when de Breiteuil was planning a final visit. "I could intuitively feel trouble. I thought, 'I'll take a few (sedative) Tuinal and I won't be there. And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him," she told Mojo. But Faithfull insists the drug overdose was an accident: "The smack (heroin) was too strong? Yeah. And he died. And I didn't know anything about this. Anyway, everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me." Courson was found dead in her Hollywood apartment on Apr. 25, the victim of a suspected heroin overdose. - WENN.com, 8/6/14.
English actress Gabrielle Drake, the sister of cult folk artist Nick Drake, has announced the first authorized Nick Drake biography will be published this autumn. Gabrielle has compiled and edited Nick Drake: Remembered For A While, which will feature handwritten lyrics, letters from Drake to his parents and words from his string arranger Robert Kirby and his producer Joe Boyd. A deluxe edition of the book will come complete with a 10" vinyl record featuring five previously unreleased recordings from a "lost" 1969 BBC John Peel session, comprising alternative versions of "Time Of No Reply," "River Man," "Three Hours," "Bryter Layter" and "Cello Song." Meanwhile, six previously unheard Nick Drake recordings have been removed from auction following a dispute over their ownership. The tapes were described as being in "pristine" condition and were recorded in 1968, before the 1969 release of the iconic folk singer's 1969 debut album Five Leaves Left. The recordings were put up for auction by his friend, singer Beverley Martyn, who was married to the late John Martyn. However, lawyers representing the late singer's estate and his record company have questioned Martyn's ownership and the sale has been postponed. "I looked after them for 38 years, treasured them," said Martyn, stating that she believes she is the rightful owner of the tapes. "I know the person who made the tape and they are happy for me to have it. The Drake family even offered to buy it off me eight years ago for 2,000." Drake died of a drug overdose on Nov. 25, 1974. - New Musical Express, 8/6/14.
Neil Young is urging fans to boycott non-organic cotton, vowing to phase the material out of his tour merchandise in favor of 100% organic cotton immediately. Young, a co-founder of the Farm-Aid benefit concert and veteran activist who has championed environmental and social causes over the years, made the plea with a post on his official website on Aug. 1. "Friends, on my last tour of Europe, I started to give our music loving (sic) audience free organic cotton t-shirts as a way to show that we appreciate you," he writes in a statement on the homepage. "I'm hoping that when you wear your PROTECT/EARTH t-shirt, you will vow to PROTECT EARTH & to take a stand for EARTH in the ways that you can," he posted. - Billboard...... Actress Marilyn Burns, who became a cult movie superstar after starring in the 1974 horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was found dead in her Houston, Tex., home on Aug. 5. She was 65. Burns made her film debut in director Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud while she was still attending the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with a drama degree in 1971. However, it was her role as the sole survivor and heroine Sally Hardesty in the Tobe Hooper-directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre that made her a cult superstar. She also made subsequent cameos in the 1994 and 2013 reboots of the popular franchise. Burns also starred in 1977's Eaten Alive opposite Robert Englund and the 1976 Emmy-nominated miniseries Helter Skelter, about the real-life trial of Charles Manson. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the official cause of her death, according to her representative. - WENN.com..... The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has been criticized for removing the ashes of DJ Alan Freed, who is credited with coining the term "Rock 'n' Roll." Executive Director of the museum Greg Harris says the ashes were moved from their current location because the RRHOF "is moving away from exhibiting remains since ashes don't help tell a story" and that "museum community colleagues across the country agree." Harris says that Freed's ashes will still be "very prominent" in the Hall Of Fame, and pointed out that the museum's radio studio is named for him, "and there are many touch points in the Hall that relate to Freed." But Lance Freed, Alan Freed's son, said he believed that the entire exhibit dedicated to his father was being removed. Freed's ashes were moved to a new location reportedly to make way for a new exhibit featuring Beyonce's costumes. "Rock 'n' roll isn't just about yesterday," said Harris of the new additions. "It continues to evolve, and we continue to embrace it and refine our operations." - New Musical Express...... A James Brown tribute concert has been set for Aug. 13 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in conjunction with the new Mick Jagger co-produced Brown biopic Get on Up, which hit screens in the U.S. on Aug. 1. Several former members of Brown's band, including Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, Danny Ray, Clyde Stubblefield, Jab'o Starks and Mousey Thompson, have been confirmed to participate. The concert was organized by jazz bassist and huge Brown fan Christian McBride, who worked with Brown in 2006 on a big band concert at the Hollywood Bowl. - Billboard
Revered rock guitarist/songwriter Dick Wagner, a former member of Alice Cooper's and Lou Reed's touring bands who also recorded with such rock acts as Kiss and Aerosmith, died on July 30 of respiratory failure in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital. He was 71. The Iowa-born, Detroit area-raised Wagner was a self-taught guitarist who was asked to back Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison on one-off gigs in the Sixties, and by the end of the decade he had rose to prominence as the frontman for the rock group the Frost and, after moving to New York City in the early Seventies, as a member of Ursa Major. The latter group, whose original group featured keyboardist Billy Joel, recorded with Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin, who recognized Wagner's talent and brought him in to play additional guitar on their School's Out, Billion Dollar Babies and Muscle of Love LPs. Wagner and fellow guitarist Steve Hunter played on Lou Reed's acclaimed 1973 album Berlin, and later that year, the duo backed Reed on the tour that was featured on the live albums Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live. Wagner and Hunter went on to play on Cooper's Ezrin-produced first solo album, Welcome to My Nightmare. It was on that album that Wagner also made a name for himself as a songwriter, co-writing the hits "Welcome to My Nightmare," "Department of Youth" and "Only Women Bleed," among others. On subsequent Seventies Cooper records, Wagner helped write the hits "I Never Cry," "You and Me" and "How You Gonna See Me Now" and toured with the singer. Wagner occasionally played on Cooper records in the Eighties and Nineties, and he even made an appearance on Cooper's most recent record, 2011's Welcome 2 My Nightmare, co-writing one song and playing lead guitar on another. Outside of his work with Cooper and Reed, Wagner released an Ezrin-produced solo album, Richard Wagner, in 1978. He also played guitar -- often uncredited -- on records by Aerosmith (a solo on "Train Kept A-Rollin'"), Kiss (acoustic guitar on "Beth"), Peter Gabriel ("Here Comes the Flood") and Air Supply ("Just as I Am.") Wagner was felled by a near-fatal heart attack in 2007, spending two weeks in a coma and awakening with a paralyzed left arm. He battled other health issues but managed to recover both physically and creatively, releasing a new album, Full Meltdown, in 2009, performing again onstage in the Detroit area in 2011, and publishing his memoir, Not Only Women Bleed: Vignettes From the Heart of a Rock Musician, in 2012. Wagner played his final show on June 29 in Owosso, Mich., and in mid-July had undergone a cardiac procedure. "Even though we know it's inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators," Cooper said in a statement. "Dick Wagner and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable. His brand of playing and writing is not seen anymore, and there are very few people that I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick Wagner. A lot of my radio success in my solo career had to do with my relationship with Dick Wagner...so to hear of Dick's passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, rock & roll and to his family," he added. Wagner is survived by two sons and a daughter, and a memorial is planned in Michigan. - Rolling Stone/Billboard, 7/30/14.
Linda Ronstadt was honored with a prestigious National Medal of Arts by Pres. Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House on July 28. "I had a little crush on her back in the day," Pres. Obama revealed as he hung the medal around the 11-time Grammy-winning singer's neck. The honor was a particularly special moment for the 68-year-old Ronstadt, who didn't make it to her induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April since Parkinson's disease limits her ability to travel. A military aide brought her into the East Room by wheelchair, but she walked to the stage to receive her award as a citation was read honoring her "one-of-a-kind voice" that paved the way for generations of women artists. Eleven other recipients were awarded the 2013 National Medal of Arts, as America's highest award given to artists and their patrons, including DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg and Dominican-American writer Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies. - AP, 7/29/14.
Eric Clapton's new album The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale is on course to become the iconic guitarist/singer's 14th Billboard Top 5 album, with a forecast of 50,000 copies sold for the week ending Aug. 3. The Breeze was released on July 29 on Clapton's own Bushbranch label, through Surfdog Records, and is distributed by Warner Music's independent distribution arm, Alternative Distribution Alliance. One of the guests on Clapton's new LP, Tom Petty, is set to debut in the No. 1 slot of the Billboard Hot 200 with his own new release, Hypnotic Eye. With around 100,000 copies sold, Hypnotic Eye will mark Petty and his Heartbreakers' first ever chart-topping LP since they debuted on the Hot 200 37 years ago. Though Petty has claimed 21 charting albums on the Billboard 200 -- with 11 of them hitting the top 10 -- he's never visited the top slot. Hypnotic Eye was released on July 29 through Reprise/Warner Bros. Records. Until now, his highest-charting effort was a pair of No. 2 albums: 2010's Mojo debuted and peaked at No. 2, while 1979's Damn the Torpedoes spent seven weeks in the runner-up slot in early 1980, becoming stuck behind Pink Floyd's The Wall. - Billboard, 8/1/14.
The family of Michael Jackson is reportedly "disappointed and saddened" following reports in late July that Jackson's Neverland Ranch has been put up for sale. Forbes magazine reported that the Colony Capital group, whose owner Tom Barrack has been managing partner of the property since 2007, have decided to place the property on the market after debts involved in the outlandish home of the late pop star reached $50 million. While "Bubbles" the chimp, the amusement rides, and zoo animals are long gone, the Peter Pan-inspired tudor house and sprawling, 2,600-acre property that make up Neverland are still in tact, and have been restored and readied for potential sale. Although Colony Capital has yet to announce an asking price, a nearby 8-bedroom ranch covering "only" 250 acres is on the market for over $21 million. The Jackson Estate is reportedly not happy with the decision, with an unnamed representative telling Forbes that they are "frustrated, bitterly disappointed, and saddened that it has come to this... Sadly, Michael lost control of Neverland during his life as a result of advice from a former manager." Jackson purchased Neverland in 1988 for $19.5 million and turned into a fantasy home complete with carnival rides and other over-the-top features. He lived there for nearly two decades until he essentially abandoned it in the wake of his 2005 acquittal on charges he molested children at the ranch. Neverland became the setting of several infamous pop culture events, including the 1991 wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky, as well as Jackson's 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was seen by 90 million viewers. Colony Capital took control after purchasing a $23.5 million note on the ranch in 2008, during a financially challenging period for Jackson. He died in a Los Angeles mansion he was renting a year later, on June 25, 2009, of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. In other Jackson-related news, the producer of a new Queen album featuring vocals by Freddie Mercury and Jackson has been confirmed. William Orbit announced the news in a tweet which said: "Am definitely working with QUEEN. Amazing songs. Thats all Im saying for now. Watch this space." - William Orbit (@WilliamOrbit) July 29, 2014. Orbit, who has produced Blur, Madonna and Britney Spears, previously announced in July 2013 that he was producing a duet between Mercury and Michael Jackson, which is likely to feature on the new Queen album. Mercury and Jackson recorded three unreleased songs during the sessions for Jackson's classic 1982 album Thriller. The three songs were subsequently re-recorded, but not as Jackson/Mercury duets. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 8/1/14.
In a new interview with the U.K. music publication Uncut, Robert Plant says he is "disappointed and baffled" by his former Led Zeppelin bandmate Jimmy Page and his attempts to fuel the Led Zep reunion rumor mill. "I feel for the guy," Plant says. "He knows he's got the headlines if he wants them. But I don't know what he's trying to do. So I feel slightly disappointed and baffled." Plant even mentions a failed attempt at collaborating with Page in an acoustic format. "A couple of years ago, I said, 'If you've got anything acoustic, let me know. I'll give it a whirl. It was hands across the water. He just walked away. But we couldn't do anything proper. The weight of expectation is too great." Led Zeppelin's last show was a one-off performance on December 10th, 2007 honoring late Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun at London's O2 Arena. Ever since, Page has publicly expressed interest in pursuing a full tour, and Led Zep'sexpansive remastering/reissuing campaignhas brought the conversation back into national headlines. In May, Page told The New York Times that he was ready to hit the stage with Zeppelin once more -- but blamed the lack of progress on a disinterested Plant. "I was told last year that Robert Plant said he is doing nothing in 2014, and what do the other two guys think? Well, he knows what the other guys think. Everyone would love to play more concerts for the band. He's just playing games, and I'm fed up with it, to be honest with you. I don't sing, so I can't do much about it. It just looks so unlikely, doesn't it?" The following month Plant fired back at Page in a press conference, saying,"I think he needs to go to sleep and have a good rest, and think again. We have a great history together and like all brothers, we have these moments where we don't speak on the same page, but that's life." Meanwhile, the LZ camp has revealed it will be reissuing two more albums in the fall. The reissue of the group's untitled fourth album -- known as Led Zeppelin IV or ZOSO -- will include alternate versions of every track on that monster-selling (300 million sold worldwide) album from 1971. A reissue of 1973's Houses of the Holy includes alternate versions of nearly every track on that 1973 album, except "D'yer Mak'er." Jimmy Page personally oversaw the remastering of each album. The reissues come as single album editions, deluxe editions and as a super deluxe box set, which includes CDs, LPs, a digital download and an 80-page book with previously unseen photos from the group's heyday. Both releases drop Oct. 28. - Rolling Stone/Billboard, 7/30/14.
Legendary rock producer and recording artist Brian Eno has written a strongly-worded letter about the current conflict between Israel and Palestine. In a post published on former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's website, Eno says he "can't keep quiet any more" about the conflict and describes a picture he saw on the news that day of a Palestinian man carrying his four year old son's remains in a plastic bag. He goes onto express his dismay that America refused to support a proposed UN resolution to set up an international inquiry into accusations that Israeli actions could amount to war crimes. "What is going on in America?" Eno writes. "I know from my own experience how slanted your news is, and how little you get to hear about the other side of this story. But -- for Christ's sake! -- it's not that hard to find out. Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY?" Eno then details a 2013 trip he took to Israel, where he witnessed the tensions first hand. He then goes onto describe what he calls the Israeli "settler militias" who have the "notion that they had an inviolable (God-given!) right to the land, and that 'Arab' equates with 'vermin' -- straightforward old-school racism delivered with the same arrogant, shameless swagger that the good ole boys of Louisiana used to affect. That is the culture our taxes are defending. It's like sending money to the Klan." David Byrne, who collaborated with Eno on such albums as My Life in the Bush of Ghosts in 1981 and Everything That Happens Will Happen Today in 2008, also included a note explaining why he decided to put Eno's passionate letter online. "I received this email last Friday morning from my friend, Brian Eno," Byrne writes. "I shared it with my office and we all felt a great responsibility to publish Brian's heavy, worthy note." - New Musical Express, 7/31/14.
Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota proclaimed Aug. 2 as "Paul McCartney Day" as the ex-Beatle is scheduled to perform a sold-out show at Target Field in Minneapolis that evening. Gov. Dayton says the state is recognizing McCartney for his musical career spanning nearly six decades. The proclamation also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first -- and only -- Beatles concert in Minnesota in 1964. McCartney performed with the Beatles at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington in 1965. His most recent Twin Cities appearance was in 2005 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. - AP...... Dwina Gibb, the widow of late Bee Gees legend Robin Gibb, and their son R.J. Gibb are releasing the best of sessions that Robin Gibb recorded a few years before cancer took his life in May 2012. Entitled 50 St. Catherine's Drive, an album named for the singer's birthplace in the Isle of Man, the album will also include a few demos recorded as late as July 2011. - Rolling Stone...... A second Northwest Indian tribe has canceled a scheduled Ted Nugent show at its casino, three days after Idaho's Coeur D'Alene Tribe canceled Nugent's Aug. 4 show over his "racist and hate-filled remarks." Now the Puyallup Tribe announced on July 31 that it's canceling Nugent's concerts scheduled for Aug. 2 and 3 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash. Puyallup spokesman John Weymer says the tribe had been getting a lot of pressure from critics of the ultraconservative musician, who is known for advocating hunting and gun rights. - AP...... A David Bowie documentary about the touring art exhibition "David Bowie Is," which premiered at London's Victoria and Albert Museum last year, will run in more than 100 movie theaters in the United States on Sept. 23. That same day, the exhibition itself -- which consists of photos, costumes and other items from the David Bowie Archive -- will open at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art and will remain on view until Jan. 4. - Rolling Stone...... An online campaign to get Ozzy Osbourne knighted has attracted over 21,000 signatures. The campaign, being organised by 65-year-old fan Helen Maidiotis, states that the Black Sabbath frontman deserves the honour for his "significant contribution to the music industry." When asked about the campaign in a recent interview, Osbourne said: "I've heard about that. Getting knighted? I can't imagine anything better. And my wife [Sharon] would become a Lady, which would be pretty cool." - New Musical Express
Manny Roth, a colorful nightclub owner in Greenwich Village whose Cafe Wha? and its basement level stage was a rite of passage in the 1960s for the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen and many others, died of natural causes at his home in Ojai, Calif., on July 25. He was 94. Founded in the late 1950s, The Cafe Wha? was a former stable that Mr. Roth personally helped renovate, laying down the new floor and bringing in some friends to help decorate. The look was such a mish-mash that Mr. Roth named the club Cafe Wha? It was a true starter club, with low pay for the performers, no liquor and little space. But Mr. Roth's stage was an essential first stop for young performers looking for a chance, or even a place to stay. Dylan showed up in early 1961, not yet 20 years old and fresh from his native Minnesota. "He was just a kid," Roth later recalled, noting how he announced from the stage that Dylan needed a room for the night. "The first time I heard Dylan get up on an open mic, I'm thinking to myself, 'This kid doesn't have a prayer. He can't sing, can't play and certainly doesn't have any stage presence.'" Manny Roth left Cafe Wha? in the early '70s amid financial problems and over the past 40 years worked in various businesses, whether opening a restaurant in Woodstock or helping to run the West End Gate in uptown Manhattan. Cafe Wha? was back in the headlines in early 2012 when a reunited Van Halen chose Roth's former business to launch an upcoming tour. Manny Roth was among the guests as David Lee Roth bowed to the club he visited as a boy. - AP...... Dick Smith, known as the "Godfather of Makeup" and renowned for his realistic transformations in films like The Godfather and Amadeus, died on July 31 at age 92. The makeup artist transformed an aging Marlon Brando into Don Corleone and F. Murray Abraham into a wizened Antonio Salieri -- garnering an Academy Award for his work in the latter film alongside Paul LeBlanc. In 2012, Mr. Smith received an honorary Governor's Academy Award for his contribution to the field, which was presented by his protege Rick Baker. Earlier in 2014, he received the Makeup Artists Lifetime Achievement Award at the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylist Guild Awards. Mr. Smith discovered his passion for makeup while studying at Yale University, teaching himself the techniques that would shape his career after discovering a guide for theatrical makeup at a local bookstore. Mr. Smith was also responsible for realizing Linda Blair's harrowing possession in The Exorcist. His other notable projects included Taxi Driver, The Godfather: Part II, The Deer Hunter, Little Big Man, Scanners, Marathon Man and Death Becomes Her. - Variety
Jimmy Buffett's new online streaming channel Margaritaville TV has netted about 10,000 viewers for each of its seven broadcasts since it began earlier in 2014. The feedback from that has been unbelievable," says Buffett, whose channel offers select Buffett concerts live. "There was one element of my inner circle that thought we'd be cannibalizing ourselves by going on television. But I played my instincts, and I haven't had one person say they'll watch it instead of going to the show...they do both," he says. "They watch the (online) shows and get charged up to go see it in person. And there are other people that can't get to a show that absolutely love the fact we're doing it. My friends in Bora Bora now can punch (the shows) up on the screen and watch it while they're having dinner. It makes it a Parrothead world now, not just a nation," Buffett adds. The singer/songwriter also predicts that other programming, including special events and archived shows that weren't presented live, will be part of Margaritaville's offerings, and it may also serve as a vehicle for releasing new music. Buffett's last album, Songs From St. Elsewhere, came out in August 2013, and he says that since then he's been "playing around with some new songs," including one called "We Need to Care a Little Less," which he says is "about over-thinking, over-reacting to everything." Writing, he adds, is "a natural process. I'm not stopping writing," but he isn't sure if a conventional album will be the result. "For me, an album has just been adding something; if you like this music you can add it to the collection," he explains. "I'm not out there trying to win hits or chase Grammys or shit like that. I'm just trying to stay in the game at our level, so we're looking to find the best system for the next batch of new music." In addition to his online TV venture, Buffett is also keeping busy with his new line of wine, Auter deRose, whose purpose, he cracks, is "to get women in our bigger bars to stop drinking white zinfandel and drink a better wine." - Billboard, 7/25/14.
Stevie Nicks has confirmed she will be releasing her new CD, 24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault, on Oct. 7 via Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Dave Stewart, Waddy Wachtel and Nicks, the new album was recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles, and is the follow-up to Nicks' 2011 LP In Your Dreams. Most of these songs were written between 1969 and 1987," Nicks says. "One was written in 1994 and one in 1995. I included them because they seemed to belong to this special group. Each song is a lifetime. Each song has a soul. Each song has a purpose. Each song is a love story. They represent my life behind the scenes, the secrets, the broken hearts, the broken-hearted and the survivors. These songs are the memories... the 24-karat gold rings in the blue box. These songs are for you." A deluxe photobook CD album will be available for fans, which includes two bonus tracks plus 48 pages of exclusive photos from Nicks' personal collection. Fans can pre-order the new album beginning Aug. 5, and on that date Nicks will begin previewing snippets of 24 Karat Gold on her new official Instagram account, "stevienicksofficial." The multi-Grammy winning singer is scheduled to embark on a new tour with Fleetwood Mac, the On With the Show Tour, beginning Sept. 30 in Minneapolis with recently returned bandmate Christine McVie. "It's so exciting to have Christine back after so many years. We can't wait to get on the road together," stated Nicks. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/24/14.
Neil Young has launched a new Kickstarter.com campaign that is devoted to saving the rainforest, teaming up with the environmental group Rainforest Connection to help them raise much-needed funds. "[This] is a technology that's a connection between the rainforest and you," says Young. "This technology enables the forest to talk to the world. When the forest is threatened, the forest can speak and you can hear it." Young sent out a letter to supporters of his Pono Music campaign, which he also fully funded through Kickstarter, asking them to contribute, and he appears in a video on behalf of Rainforest Connection. "Neil's involvement makes perfect sense," says Topher White, the physicist and engineer beyond Rainforest Connection. "Throughout his life, he has always been a passionate crusader for indigenous rights, and in recent years, has worked tirelessly in combating climate change. These are both issues that we directly address with the Rainforest Connection technology." If Rainforest Connection reaches their fundraising goals, they will be able to help the Temb indigenous people of Brazil fight black market illegal logging operations. They also hope to place their system in trees all across Indonesia. The central idea behind Rainforest Connection is as simple as it is brilliant: Old cellphones are retrofitted with a solar-powered energy source and placed in trees around the rainforest. When they pick up the sound of chainsaws, animals in distress or gunshots, they alert authorities in real time. "Current detection systems rely on satellites which show rainforest destruction days or weeks too late," says a note on the group's Kickstarter page. "Our system provides the world's first real-time logging/poaching detection system. We can pinpoint deforestation activity the moment it begins, while simultaneously streaming the data openly and immediately to anyone around the world." In other Neil Young news, the singer-songwriter has announced the 2014 edition of the Farm Aid benefit concert will take place Sept. 13 in the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, N.C. It features performances by Young, Farm Aid president and co-founder Willie Nelson, and fellow board members John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews. Local artists will also perform. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $45 million through the festival to help family farmers keep their land and publicize locally grown food. Tickets for the concert go on sale in August and prices range from $49 to $175. - Rolling Stone/AP, 7/28/14.
|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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