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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....... Comedian 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.
The new musical from former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and his recent collaborator Fatboy Slim is set to begin a U.K. run at London's Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre on Sept. 30. "Here Lies Love" is based on the pair's double album of the same name, which was released in 2010 and documents the life of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines. The show recently opened its new commercial run at New York's Public Theater, after initially opening in April 2013. The 22-track double Here Lies Love featured a host of guest vocalists, including Florence And The Machine's Florence Welch, Santigold and Tori Amos. "The story I am interested in is about asking what drives a powerful person, what makes them tick? How do they make and then remake themselves?" Byrne explained in an introduction to the 100-page book which came along with the record. Byrne is also a member of the newly formed Content Creators Coalition, a group of musicians, authors and other creators seeking better terms for online use of their works -- for some thoughts on the state of artists' rights. "I think that artists in general can be given more agency regarding what happens to their work," Byrne recently told Billboard. "I don't own my own old recordings, a similar situation to many artists, so I have no say whether they are licensed to YouTube, Spotify, Beats, Apple, you name it, and for what percentage and for how long. If that's where music consumption is going, much of it is completely out of my control. I do at least control the publishing (which not every artist does) so that gives me a foot in the door: other kinds of licensing -- films, TV, etc. -- are up to me." - Billboard, 7/25/14.
The children of famous pop crooner Bing Crosby made a rare public appearance together on July 23 to discuss the upcoming PBS American Masters episode, Bing Crosby Rediscovered, and reminisced about the time their dad made a surprise duet with David Bowie on Crosby's 1977 Christmas television special. Harry, Mary and Nathaniel Crosby, now all in their 50's, were on set when Bowie arrived to tape his appearance. The mash-up between the cardigan-clad singer known for "White Christmas" and the glam-rocker who was in his Ziggy Stardust phase required some last-minute reworking of "The Little Drummer Boy." The result was a new melody and lyrics called "Peace on Earth." The duet remains a holiday staple and a curiosity. Bowie was 30 and Crosby was 73 at the time. Crosby died of a heart attack a month after the taping in September 1977. The Crosbys said the experience left an indelible impression on them. "The doors opened and David walked in with his wife," Mary Crosby said. "They were both wearing full-length mink coats, they have matching full makeup and their hair was bright red. We were thinking, 'Oh my god.'" Nathaniel Crosby added, "It almost didn't happen. I think the producers told him to take the lipstick off and take the earring out. It was just incredible to see the contrast." "They sat at the piano and David was a little nervous," Mary Crosby recalled. "Dad realized David was this amazing musician, and David realized Dad was an amazing musician. You could see them both collectively relax and then magic was made." Bing Crosby Rediscovered will air Dec. 2 on PBS stations across the US. In other Bowie news, actress Susan Sarandon has revealed she used to date the famous rocker and calls her former lover "extraordinary." "He's worth idolising. He's extraordinary," Sarandon told The Daily Beast website. "That was a really interesting period. I wasn't supposed to have kids, and I'm the oldest of nine and had mothered all of them, so I wasn't ever in a mode to where I was looking to settle down and raise a family, so that definitely changes the gene pool you're dipping into. But Bowie's just a really interesting person, and so bright. He's a talent, and a painter, and he's great." Bowie recently confirmed that he is working on new music, saying it will be released "soon." - AP/New Musical Express, 7/23/14.
The final Cadillac purchased by Elvis Presley is among 72 items being auctioned in August at Presley's Graceland mansion in Memphis during the annual celebration known as "Elvis Week." Among the items being auctioned, all from third-party collectors, are a 1976 Cadillac Seville that Graceland says is the last one Presley purchased for his personal use; Presley's signature on a library card; Presley's copy of the original script for his first movie, Love Me Tender; a 1969 Las Vegas show agreement; a 1975 Martin D-28 guitar; and a gemstone, diamond and gold lion mask pendant and chain worn by Presley when he met President Richard Nixon at the White House. More information about the auction is available at Graceland.com/auction. - AP...... Ozzy Osbourne will release a compilation of his greatest hits as a solo artist dubbed Memoirs of a Madman on Oct. 6 via Epic/Legacy Recordings. The album will feature 17 of the Osbourne's solo singles and be available in single CD format, a two-LP set and a two-LP picture disc set. There will also be an accompanying DVD with the release, featuring classic music videos, unreleased live performances and interviews. Osbourne is currently touring the world with Black Sabbath, with the band playing in London's Hyde Park in July as part of the British Summertime Festival. - New Musical Express...... Ted Nugent is firing back at those who called for his planned Aug. 4 concert at Idaho's Coueur D'Alene Casino to be canceled over his "racist views," saying his vehement support of the Second Amendment is behind the cancellation, not his alleged racism. "They literally have an army assigned to destroy Ted Nugent," Nugent told Radio.com. "To call me a racist is a clear act of desperation. Because everybody knows I'm not a racist! My [former] bass player Johnny Gunnel happens to be a black guy. My [former] bass player Marco Mendoza was born in Mexico! Are you kiddin' me? I pay tribute to Martin Luther King in my songs, I've always said my music is a direct result of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, and all the black musical heroes of my life." While the casino didn't cite any specific racist views, Nugent referred to President Obama as a "subhuman mongrel" earlier this year, later apologizing for the comments. - Billboard...... The Who vocalist Roger Daltrey and several of his UK pals are backing plans to launch an international model railway museum in Ashford, Kent. "We're trying to start a model railway museum down in Ashford, me and a few pals down in Kent," he told Radio 2's Chris Evans. "Britain forgets that we invented the railway and it conquered the world. The railway was the first thing to open up the world in a big way for trade. We invented it, and we should be proud of that. The model making side of it, it's enormous." Daltrey said he was a big miniature train hobbyist and that "I hate watching the TV because there's nothing on and I like listening to the radio... The great thing about model railways is you can be doing a bit of woodwork, a bit of painting, a bit of this, a bit of that, and having fun with your mates and you can listen to the radio." The Who recently announced details of their 50th anniversary tour and confirmed that they are starting to think about retirement. "This is the beginning of the long goodbye," Daltrey said. - New Musical Express...... Singer, songwriter and film composer Randy Newman has signed an administration agreement for North America with Downtown Music Publishing. Downtown's agreement covers Newman's catalog from 1977's Little Criminals forward, including such hit singles as "Short People" (Little Criminals), "The Blues" and "I Love L.A." (both from Trouble in Paradise), and "It's Money that Matters" (Land of Dreams). "The Randy Newman songbook transcends generations and inspired countless songwriters, artists and composers," said Downtown Music president Justin Kalifowitz. "We are truly honored to represent this timeless catalog and welcome such a beloved songwriter to the Downtown roster." Newman is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the winner of two Academy Awards, three Emmys, six Grammys, an Ivor Novello, and most recently, a PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award. - The Hollywood Reporter
Paul McCartney's continuing Archive reissue series will add two albums from his Wings days this fall. The group's 1975 LP Venus and Mars, and the following year's Wings at the Speed of Sound, will will be available on Sept. 23 as remastered deluxe 2-disc editions with a wealth of bonus material. One CD will contain the original album and a second with demos and unreleased tracks. A three-disc edition will also include a hardback book alongside unpublished photographs, new interviews with McCartney, track-by-track info and a bonus DVD containing footage from the time of each release. The albums will also be available as gatefold vinyl releases and as deluxe digital releases, in Mastered for iTunes and high-res formats. McCartney personally supervised the production of both reissues, the remastering for which was done at Abbey Road Studios by the same team that remastered the Beatles' discography. McCartney began his Archive collection in 2010 and has so far won two Grammy Awards for the releases, taking home Best Historical Album for Band on the Run in 2012 and Best Boxed for Special Edition Package for Wings Over America earlier in 2014. In other Beatles-related news, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono is among several musicians who have signed up as "virtual teachers" at an online girls school which is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter. The School Of Doodle calls itself a "peer-to-peer, self-directed learning lab dedicated to activating girls imaginations through entertainment, education and community." Ono and such artists as Pussy Riot, Courtney Love and Kim Gordon have all contributed "doodles" to the project, which will be part of Kickstarter pledgders' reward packages. - Rolling Stone/New Musical Express, 7/28/14.
A Washington state musician who conned several investors out of $600,000 after claiming such classic rock icons as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and REM were involved in his project has been sentenced to jail. Singer-songwriter Kasey Anderson ran several schemes to fraud backers out of their money, including claiming that he was working on a compilation album that would raise money for the legal funds of the so-called "West Memphis Three," a trio of teenagers convicted of murder in 1994 but later released from prison. Anderson told potential investors the likes of Springsteen, Petty, REM and more were all involved with the record. He also conned people into funding his own album, falsifying paperwork that said it had already sold thousands of copies and earnt $1.4 million in royalties. The musician has now been sentenced to four years in prison by a court in Tacoma and ordered to pay back the money he stole. Anderson claims he suffers from mental illness and wrote a letter to the court explaining his actions. "I lied to myself and others, and believing those lies, I told myself consistently that whatever was going on with me I could fix it on my own. I convinced myself that it was normal," he allegedly wrote. - New Musical Express, 7/27/14.
The U.S. Library of Congress announced on July 22 that Billy Joel will be the 2014 recipient of its annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Calling the New York Piano Man "a storyteller of the highest order," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said on the bureau's website that the 65-year old performer will be awarded the prize in November in Washington, D.C., during a week that will also include a series of events, complete with an honoree's luncheon and musical performances. Joel, a six-time Grammy winner and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriter's Hall of Fame, issued a statement saying that George Gershwin, the award's namesake, "has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career...And the Library's decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me." According to the Library of Congress' website, the Gershwin Prize "honors a living musical artists lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations." Joel's upcoming concerts include shows in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, then one concert each month in New York's Madison Square Garden from August to December. - Billboard, 7/22/14.
The legendary George Harrison is most often associated with the Beatles, but now an infestation of beetles has killed the George Harison Memorial Tree, which was planed in Los Angeles' Griffith Park in 2004 in tribute to the music icon. The pine tree was originally put in the park three years after Harrison's death in 2001 because the musician had spent his final days in L.A. and was an avid gardener. A small plaque at the base of the tree read, "In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener." The plaque also quotes Harrison himself: "For the forests to be green, each tree must be green." The tree reportedly had grown to more than 10 feet tall before the beetle infestation took over. Tom LaBonge, a member of the L.A. City Council, says the tree will be replanted soon. - Billboard, 7/21/14.
Multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter, the brother of recently deceased Johnny Winter, announced on July 23 that he will pay tribute to his sibling on his upcoming 17-date tour, which gets underway on July 31 in Clarkston, Mich., and wraps on Aug. 24 in Snoqualmie, Wash. In a statement, the "Frankenstein" rocker expressed admiration for Johnny, who he describes as "my greatest musical hero," and remorse for his passing. "My wife, Monique, and I are shocked at the suddenness of Johnny's passing, especially since I was so looking forward with such joy and anticipation to seeing him again and playing together," Edgar posted on Facebook. "I know his body is departing this physical realm, but his presence, his music, and his spirit are undiminished, and alive as ever in my heart." Edgar says he is reprogramming his upcoming Rock 'n' Blues Fest tour to serve as a tribute to Johnny. On each date of the tour, the Edgar Winter Band, Vanilla Fudge, Rare Earth member Peter Rivera and Savoy Brown's Kim Simmonds intend to play songs that fans associate with Johnny. Rick Derringer, whose "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" Winter recorded with Derringer on his Johnny Winter And album in 1970, will appear as a special guest on the tour's final two nights. The final album by Johnny, who died at age 70 on July 16, will feature the Texas blues guitarist playing with the likes of Eric Clapton, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, among others. - Vintage Vinyl News/Rolling Stone, 7/23/14.
Tom Petty says his new album Hypnotic Eye will include songs what he perceives as "the unchecked greed of the one percent" and the Catholic Church sex scandals. "Very few people know how to handle power and once they just become completely immoral, they're dangerous people," Petty told Billboard. "That attitude is what, to me, wipes out the middle class." Petty also spoke about "Playing Dumb," a song he wrote a song about the victims of the Catholic clergy that will be included as a bonus track on the album's vinyl release. "If I was in a club, and I found out that there had been generations of people abusing children, and then that club was covering that up, I would quit the club. And I wouldn't give them any more money," he maintained. Hypnotic Eye, which is due for release on July 29, will be a return the sound of Petty's early work, according to longtime Petty guitarist and collaborator Mike Campbell, who also co-produced the new LP. "I knew I wanted to do a rock & roll record," Petty told Rolling Stone earlier in 2014. "We hadn't made a straight hard-rockin' record, from beginning to end, in a long time." Petty and his Heartbreakers will be hitting the road later this year for a North American tour. Every ticket purchased includes a copy of Hypnotic Eye. - Billboard, 7/21/14.
Appearing on NBC's Today show on July 18, Mick Jagger opened up about the March 2014 suicide of his longtime girlfriend L'Wren Scott. "I'm doing OK. It's difficult. Very hard year, but I got back into it by working on touring with the Stones in Europe and doing other things, including doing this great movie," said the Rolling Stones frontman, adding that he "appreciates the support I've received from friends and family." Jagger is promoting Universal's upcoming James Brown biopic Get on Up, which he is co-producing with Brian Grazer. Jagger was joined in the interview with Grazer, director Tate Taylor and the movie's stars, including Chadwick Boseman, Octavia Spencer and Dan Aykroyd. Jagger noted that Brown was a big influence on him, and explained that he particularly loved how "Soul Brother No. 1" interacted with the audience: "the way he charmed them, the way he told them what to do, the way he gave them his emotions and encouraged them to give back." Dan Aykroyd also praised Brown's skill as a businessman. "He understood all aspects, the full range of what it took to be a superstar and how to exploit it for his friends and himself and his family," he said. Brian Grazer revealed that Chadwick Boseman, who had a breakthrough role as Jackie Robinson in last year's 42, landed the role as Brown once they saw he could dance. "Our minds were blown," the veteran producer said. Get On Up gets its world premiere in Brown's hometown of Augusta, Ga., on July 24. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/19/14.
A Native American tribe called the Coeur d'Alene announced on July 21 that an Aug. 4 concert by Ted Nugent at its casino in the northwest Idaho city of Worley has been cancelled because of the rocker's "racist and hate-filled remarks." The tribe says it booked Nugent without realizing he espoused "racist attitudes and views," but didn't detail which of Nugent's specific views it opposes. Nugent, an outspoken advocate of conservative causes, in the past has referred to President Barack Obama as a "subhuman mongrel." He later apologized "for using the street fight terminology of subhuman mongrel," but maintained that Pres. Obama was a "liar" violating the Constitution. - AP, 7/21/14....... A hotel inspired by the life of Bob Dylan opened for business in June in the upstate New York village of Woodstock. The Hotel Dylan, located just a few miles from where the singer used to record on Route 28, is at the center of a new complex designed by owner Paul Covello and architects Cortney and Robert Novogratz. The hotel is described as having "bohemian sophistication," also featuring rooms named in tribute to musicians other than Dylan who are associated with the area and the Woodstock festival, including 'The Jimi,' 'The Roadies,' 'The Van' and 'The Hippie Chick'. Every room in the hotel has its own turntable and records. Plans for a gastropub are also in the pipeline, where Covello says there will be a music venue for "intimate, unplugged concerts." - No Depression/New Musical Express, 7/21/14.
Crooner Paul Anka has become the latest performer to cancel a concert in Israel due to the current hostilities in the Middle East. "Due to the current situation in the Middle East, Paul Anka and the local promoters will be postponing his upcoming concerts scheduled for July 24 and 26, 2014," a rep for Anka said in a statement, adding that Anka's camp is trying to find a solution to reschedule the dates. "We ask all current ticket holders to keep their tickets and await that announcement. Mr. Anka assures you that once the local situation is resolved, he will be there with the latest version of his fantastic performance." The concerts would have been Anka's third time to the holy land since his November 2009 inaugural visit. His popularity in Israel had local promoters announce last month a second concert to be added, both scheduled for July 24 and 26. While Neil Young & Crazy Horse and The Brian Jonestown Massacre canceled their shows in Israel, both originally supposed to take place in mid-July, Anka's announcement clarified his shows are postponed and will be rescheduled in the near future. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/18/14.
Actor James Garner, best known for his starring role on the popular TV series Maverick and The Rockford Files, passed away of natural causes in his home in Los Angeles on July 19. He was 86. A smooth-talking "man's man" who never took himself too seriously, Mr. Garner's genial charm, sly humor and handsome looks made him a Hollywood fixture for more than 50 years. Born James Baumgarner on Apr. 7, 1928, in Norman, Okla., Mr. Garner joined the merchant marines at 16 after dropping out of high school. Later in the Army, he was wounded in the Korean War and awarded the Purple Heart. After being discharged, he briefly attended the University of Oklahoma and worked a variety of odd jobs, including gas station attendant, traveling salesman, carpet layer, and model of swim trunks. Mr. Garner chanced upon acting when boyhood friend Paul Gregory, who became a producer, offered him a nonspeaking role in the 1954 Broadway production of "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial." Thanks to his tall, rugged frame, extreme good looks, and genial personality, Mr. Garner soon began landing small parts on TV and films, which led to his big break in 1957, a starring role in the popular TV series Maverick. In 1958, he scored a screen test and a $200/week contract with Warner Bros. after impressing studio execs with his bit parts on the TV series Cheyenne. Mr. Garner went on to act alongside Marlon Brando in Sayonara, which led him to a supporting role in Darby's Rangers. Other roles followed, including Up Periscope (1959), Cash McCall (1960), Boys' Night Out (1962), The Great Escape, The Thrill of It All, The Wheeler Dealers, Move Over Darling (all 1963) and The Americanization of Emily (1964), and by the mid-Sixties he was one of Hollywood's top-salaried leading men. Other notable films include Grand Prix (1966), How Sweet It Is (1968), Marlowe and Support Your Local Sheriff (1969). Mr. Garner started his own production company, Maverick, and parlayed his earnings into profitable investments in oil and real estate. Although his film roles declined in the early '70s, he maintained his popularity with the TV series Nichols and the 1974-80 detective series The Rockford Files, for which he won an Emmy in 1977. Mr. Garner continued to work consistently throughout the years, acting in the likes of Space Cowboys with Clint Eastwood in 2000, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood with Sandra Bullock in 2002, and in The Notebook in 2004, in which he played the older version Ryan Gosling. A three-time Golden Globe winner, he also was honored with the Screen Actor's Guild Life Achievement Award in 2005, and in 2001 published his memoir, The Garner Files. News of Mr. Garner's death prompted online tributes from several of his former co-stars and friends, including Willam Shatner, Donny Osmond, John Stamos and Reese Witherspoon, who posted she was "Very privileged to work with this incredibly talented actor early in my career. He will be loved and missed forever." - E! Online/The Film Encyclopedia, 7/20/14.
Johnny Winter, an icon of Texas blues and rock who rose to fame in the late 1960s and '70s for his energetic performances and Grammy-winning musical collaborations with childhood hero Muddy Waters, died in a hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland, on July 16 while on tour in Europe. He was 70. One of the most popular live acts of the early 1970s, Winter's signature fast blues guitar solos attracted a wide following and his career received a big boost early on when Rolling Stone magazine singled him out in December 1968 as one of the best blues guitarists on the Texas scene. This helped secure the 23-year-old a substantial recording contract from Columbia Records and gave him a wide following among college students and young blues fans. Instantly recognizable for his long white hair, Winter worked with some of the greatest bluesmen, producing several albums for Waters and recording with John Lee Hooker. He paid homage to Waters on "Tribute to Muddy," a song from his 1969 release The Progressive Blues Experiment. His first release for Columbia in June of the following year, Johnny Winter, rose to Number 24 and featured his younger brother Edgar Winter on keyboards. He quickly released a follow-up in October, Second Winter. Both records featured a mix of originals and covers of songs by Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson and more. Between those two albums' release, Winter played an hour-long noon set on the last day of Woodstock, and he also teamed up with his brother Edgar for their 1976 live album Together. In 1973, after a two-year break to recover from a heroin habit, he released Still Alive and Well, a Rick Derringer-produced album that featured bassist Randy Jo Hobbs and drummer Richard Hughes which rose to Number 22. In his lifetime, the bluesman issued nearly 20 studio LPs. His most recent album, Roots, came out in 2011 and featured guests ranging from Warren Haynes to Edgar on songs by the likes of Elmore James and Jimmy Reed. A four-disc retrospective box set, True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, was released in Feb. 2014. Winter's final album, Step Back, which features appearances by Eric Clapton, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, among others, is scheduled to come out on Sept. 2. Winter, along with his younger brother Edgar, turned heads both for their musicianship and stark-white hair, a result of the musicians' albinism. He had been on an extensive tour in 2014 that brought him to Europe, and his last performance came on July 12 at the Lovely Days Festival in Wiesen, Austria. "His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of one of the world's finest guitarists," a representative for Winter said in a statement. "An official statement with more details shall be issued at the appropriate time." - AP/Rolling Stone, 7/17/14.
A photo of a Nebraska teenager snapped by his friend of him standing in front of Paul McCartney and billionaire businessman Warren Buffet as the two men sat casually on a bench in the background became a viral hit on July 14. Reports surfaced the previous evening that the ex-Beatle was in town, having dinner, dessert and walking around Omaha's Dundee neighborhood with Buffet, who is based in the city. Plenty of awe-struck citizens took photos of the unexpected duo, but a shot of Omaha resident Tom White giving a thumbs up while McCartney and Buffet sit relaxing on a bench became a viral celeb hit on Twitter. "Chillin with my homies" said White's tweet, which linked to a copy of the image on Instagram. Jacob Murray, who snapped the pic, White and another boy took a series of photos with the two men, and the image was later re-tweeted by McCartney's Twitter handle on July 14. "Just hanging out with friends," @PaulMcCartney wrote. McCartney was in Nebraska for is "Out There" world tour, and played Lincoln on July 14. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Macca said he will step out of the limelight eventually but "not today" and added he likes to mix up old and new material to keep everyone happy. "So we mix it up occasionally, but mainly we hope we're pleasing the various facets in the audience," he commented. McCartney recently re-released five of his classic Wings and solo albums as apps. New versions of McCartney, Ram, Band On the Run, Wings Over America, and McCartney II have been released via the Apple store as apps for the iPad. The apps, released through the Concord Music Group, include the original albums and a host of special features and extra material, including remastered audio tracks, interviews, photos, artwork and rehearsal footage and documentary videos. The apps cost $7.99, less than the price of the albums on iTunes, which go for $9.99 or $12.99 for the deluxe editions. In other Beatles-related news, Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard has signed on to direct and produce an authorized, as-yet-untitled documentary about the touring years of the Fab Four's career (approx. 1960-1966), a period in which the Beatles crossed the globe, sparked Beatlemania and released several classic albums. For it, he will interview surviving members McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as talk with John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison. "We are going to be able to take the Super 8 footage that we found, that was all shot silent. We'll not only be able to digitally repair a lot of that, but we've also been finding the original recordings," explains Howard. "We can now sync it up and create a concert experience so immersive and so engaging, I believe you're going to actually feel like you're somewhere in the Sixties, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it. And as a film director, that's a fantastic challenge." The documentary is scheduled for a tentative late-2015 release. - Billboard/Rolling Stone, 7/15/14.
After decades of litigation, some early Jimi Hendrix master recordings will go to Legacy Recordings, the catalog wing of Sony Music Entertainment. The deal was struck between Sony and Experience Hendrix LLC, the Hendrix family music company which owns and administers the Jimi Hendrix music rights. The recordings date from 1965-1967 and cover the two-year period when Hendrix was moonlighting as a session guitarist with New York-based R&B act Curtis Knight & The Squires. Having been introduced to Hendrix by Curtis Knight, in 1965 record producer and entrepreneur Ed Chalpin signed Jimi (then Jimmy") Hendrix and Curtis Knight & The Squires to a notorious three-year recording contract for the princely sum of $1.00 and a 1% royalty rate. Just before Hendrix went to England and became a global solo star, his manager, Chas Chandler, bought out every contract that his client had previously signed, with the exception of Hendrix's 1965 agreement with Chalpin's PPX International. It would prove a costly oversight and became the source of a long-running legal dispute which has now been settled, however terms were not disclosed. Hendrix's long-time sound engineer Eddie Kramer will oversee the reissues, which will be released by Legacy Recordings over the next three years. Meanwhile, a musician described by many as "the British Hendrix" is returning to the UK with a brand new studio album and a nationwide UK Tour in March 2015. Robin Trower, will play launch a 17-city tour beginning Mar. 26 in Lincoln, also visiting venues in Birmingham (3/28), Glasgow (4/4), York (4/8), Sheffield (4/9), London (4/11) and Exeter (4/15) before wrapping in Milton on Apr. 17. Trower will be touring behind his last album, 2013's critically acclaimed Roots and Branches, and tickets went on sale July 16 at ents24.com. - Billboard/Noble PR, 7/17/14.
David Bowie penned a statement in which he promised "more music soon" which was read on July 12 to guests at the 12 Bar in central London, for a low-key event to celebrate 50 years of Bowie's music and to raise funds for the Terrance Higgins Trust. "This city is even better than the one you were in last year, so remember to dance, dance, dance," the statement reads. "And then sit down for a minute, knit something, then get up and run all over the place. Do it. Love on ya. More music soon. David." It has been roughly 16 months since his 2013 album The Next Day rose toward the top of sales charts around the globe, an LP that was unexpectedly announced on his 66th birthday when he dropped a new single "Where Are We Now" and announced news of his first album since Reality ten years earlier. Recorded in secrecy, with long-time collaborator Tony Visconti assuming production duties, The Next Day arrived at No. 1 in 15 countries including the U.K. In the U.S., it opened at No. 2, his highest chart debut there. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of "Liza Jane" -- Bowie's first single released as Davie Jones with the King Bees (he adopted the name Bowie to avoid confusion with The Monkees' British frontman Davy Jones). - Billboard, 7/17/14.
Cher, who ended the first leg of her Dressed to Kill Tour on July 11, is on track to have the most successful trek of 2014. Cher's tour has grossed a reported $54.9 million through the end of its first leg on July 11. A total of 610,812 attendees went to the 49 shows -- all of which were sell-outs. The show is on a break until Sept. 11, when the diva launches the second leg in Albany, New York at the Times Union Center. The show will get some extra glitter from Emmy Award-winning fashion designer Bob Mackie, who will provide new costumes for Cher. Cher and Mackie have collaborated for decades, however he couldn't design outfits for the first leg of the new tour due to time constraints. The Dressed to Kill Tour is Cher's first tour since her lengthy Living Proof Farewell Tour, which played 325 shows around the globe from 2002 through 2005. Among the highlights in the current show are a campy vampiric take on her new album's song "Dressed to Kill," where she slinks around the stage before sinking her teeth into a dancer. Also crowd-pleasing is her medley of her three No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits from the 1970s: "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," "Dark Lady" and "Half-Breed." The show ends with Cher literally flying above the crowd, singing her top 20 Adult Contemporary chart hit, "I Hope You Find It." - Billboard, 7/15/14.
In a wide-ranging new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Eric Clapton admits he has trouble writing songs now; claims he is truly serious about retiring from the road; and confesses he doesn't listen to much new music. When asked "what has happened to your songwriting" (his recent album have been mostly covers), Clapton replied: "I'm just lazy. When I get to 'What am I going to do for that bit?' I stop and turn on the TV. I'm easily distracted. What I've done a lot is written songs, then forgotten them. I put them down as a voice memo, on my phone, then I lose the memo." Queried if he listens to rock much anymore, he said he didn't know what rock is now. "I'm not sure who's playing rock. Blake Mills [who has played with Conor Oberst and the Avett Brothers] is the last guitarist I heard that I thought was phenomenal. At Crossroads last year, I was playing with [jazz guitarist] Kurt Rosenwinkel, trying to keep up with him and wondering what I could steal." Asked if he'll do another Crossroad Festival benefit because "after each one, you swear that's it," the musician said: "No, I think this could be it. I don't want to work that hard, that much, anymore. The Breeze [his upcoming JJ Cale tribute LP] was a joy to do. I was planning to write and record another album for myself when JJ passed away. So that's the next thing I would do. Next year, I might do a couple of shows and say, 'Folks, that's it, I'm off.' Then I'll see what I make of that, whether I'm content to just go into the studio now and then and play at home for the family." And how often does he play at home? "Quite a lot. Maybe once a day or every two days, for a fair bit of time. I pick up an acoustic and try to work something out." "Do have new, original songs you haven't forgotten or lost?" "Yeah [laughs]. They're on my iPhone." - Rolling Stone, 7/17/14.
Rosalind Nyman, the mother of Billy Joel who inspired him to write "Rosalinda's Eyes," died in Long Island, N.Y., on July 13, a spokeswoman for the singer and songwriter announced on July 15. She was 92. "Rosalinda's Eyes," from Joel's 1978 album 52nd Street was a tribute to his mother, who raised him alone after divorcing his father, Howard Joel, in 1957. The lyrics include the words: "I've got music in my hands; The work is hard to find; But that don't get me down; Rosalinda understands." Rosalind Joel, born in Brooklyn to English immigrants, worked in a clerical capacity for various businesses near her home in Hicksville and supported a number of charities. She met her husband in 1942 at a City College musical production and married him three years later. Billy Joel was born in 1949. The couple later adopted Judy, the daughter of Rosalind's late sister Muriel. Billy Joel endowed the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts at City College in 1986. - ABC News, 7/15/14.
Actor Don Cheadle's fascination with Miles Davis began as a child, when the jazz icon's 1959 album Porgy and Bess was a staple in his family's music collection. Now the House of Lies star will make his feature-film directorial debut with a partially crowdfunded biopic focusing on the Bitches Brew mastermind's brief hiatus from music and his rocky relationship with his first wife Francis Taylor. "I'm not interested in all the things that a traditional biopic does," says Cheadle, who learned how to play trumpet for the film. "I want to tell a hot story that's full of his music, that feels impressionistic in that it finds a way to incorporate all his musical styles, influences and ideas." - Entertainment Weekly, 7/18/14.
Tommy Ramone, the last surviving founding member of the groundbreaking punk band the Ramones, died after battling cancer on July 11. He was 65. Ramone reportedly died at a hospice facility in Ridgewood, Queens, and was suffering from cancer of the bile duct. Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary in 1949, Ramone immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1957 to Forrest Hills, Queens. He co-founded the Ramones in 1974 with singer Jeffrey Hyman (Joey Ramone) and bassist Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone). He recorded 1976's The Ramones, 1977's Leave Home and Rocket to Russia with the band, and also co-produced 1978's Road to Ruin, as well as the band's live double album It's Alive in 1979. Despite producing what are now considered to be classic anthems of the early punk rock years, including "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Teenage Lobotomy," and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," the band never cracked the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart (in fact," Blitzkrieg Bop" -- arguably their most famous song -- never hit the Hot 100 yet stands as their best-selling download). End Of The Century, a 1980 album recorded with legendary producer Phil Spector, was their best selling set, topping out at No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 200. Tommy Ramone left the band in 1979 and worked as a producer, where he notched up credits on the Ramones' 1984 album Too Tough To Die and the Replacements' 1985 album Tim. Although strife within its ranks led the Ramones to officially disband in 1996, following a tour in support of Adios Amigos, the band's final studio album, its members had joined together to promote the posthumous release of 1999's Rhino anthology Hey Ho Let's Go. Tommy and the other Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. He is survived by longtime partner Claudia Tienan, brother Peter; sister-in-law Andrea Tienan; and nephews Eric and David. Posting on his Twitter account, Chris Stein of Blondie, a contemporary of the Ramones in the New York City punk scene, wrote: "He was a lovely gentle guy, super smart. The last of the original Ramones. RIP, Tommy." - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 7/12/14.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse announced on July 13 that the band has canceled their July 17 concert in Israel at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park over the current security crisis in the region." It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we must cancel our one and only Israeli concert due to tensions which have rendered the event unsafe at this time," a spokesperson for Young said in the statement on the website of Young's label, Warner Bros. Records. "We'll miss the opportunity to play for our fans and look forward to playing in Israel and Palestine in peace." A spokesman for Israeli authorities added that the concert was canceled "in order not to put people in Gaza rocket range at unnecessary risk." Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel since July 8. The statement on the Warner Bros. site added that Young "will be making donations to the Louise Tillie Alpert Youth Music Centre of Israel and Heartbeat, which according to Young are "two organizations that teach music to Palestinian and Israeli youth simultaneously by enabling them to play music together." Earlier in 2014, Young's manager Elliot Roberts and former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters, a Palestinian sympathizer, both urged Young not perform in Israel. - Billboard, 7/13/14.
A new reality series featuring members of Michael Jackson's extended family is set to debut on the cable channel Reelz on November 18. The six-episode show will focus on Alejandra Jackson, the ex-wife of Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson, and her five children. After Michael's death five years ago, they left the Jackson family home in suburban Encino, Calif., a move that a preview clip from the show suggests wasn't their idea. Alejandra Jackson had two children with Randy Jackson -- Genevieve and Randy Jr. -- and then married Randy's brother Jermaine, having sons Jaafar and Jermajesty. Alejandra has raised Donte since he was 2 after he was adopted by Katherine and Joe Jackson. "It's a long story," Alejandra said about her love life. - AP, 7/9/14.
Luciana Giminez, the Brazilian ex-girlfriend of Mick Jagger, is calling on Brazilian soccer fans to stop bullying the Rolling Stones frontman after he was dubbed a bad luck charm for appearing to always support the losing team. Jagger was cheering Brazil from the stands of the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte on July 8, when the host nation suffered a humiliating 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany, which went on to win its fourth World Cup on July 13 with a tense 1-0 victory over Argentina in extra time. The Jagger critics also noted that the singer had previously voiced his support for Italy at a show in Rome in June when he claimed the team would advance from the group stage, only for them to lose to Uruguay and bow out of the competition. Further supporting their theory, Jagger also allegedly told fans in Lisbon that he was backing Portugal to advance to the knock-out round, but again, they failed to make it and now his triple bout of bad luck has prompted some soccer-mad devotees to dub the rocker "pe frio", which loosely translates as "the jinx." Posting on her Instagram account, Luciana Giminez wrote, "I would like to ask you guys who do this kind of bullying to think before you do it. Even though it only seems like a small thing, Mick is a person like us all, and he does not deserve to be treated this way by Brazilians." - WENN.com, 7/9/14.
A red Gibson SG electric guitar which Pete Townshend of the Who famously windmilled on stage during a Seventies concert in Cleveland, Oh., is currently up for sale on the auction site Lelands.com. According to the listing, the instrument was originally gifted to Cleveland disc jockey David Spero (later the personal manager of Townshend's rock pal Joe Walsh, who toured with the Who in the '70s); it includes both the original case and a letter of authenticity from Spero that explains how he acquired the item. Also on the online bidding block is a bundle of Who drummer Keith Moon percussion accessories: two Premier timbale drums with original heads, and a Paiste crash cymbal and a drum stool used during the recording of the Who's 1978 LP (and Moon's final album with the band) Who Are You. Moon's pieces were reportedly obtained from "respected rock dealer and Rolling Stones fanatic collector Matt Lee," who acquired them from Moon drum tech/Who road manager Bill Harrison; that listing also includes a letter of authenticity from Harrison. - Rolling Stone, 7/11/14.
AC/DC has reportedly completed work on their follow-up to 2008's Black Ice, an international smash that sold more than 5.3 million units in its first year of release. "The album is now finished. And the band members are apparently happy with the fruits of their labour... I'm very excited and we've got some great songs," frontman Brian Johnson told Classic Rock magazine. Johnson kept mum on the new LP's title, only saying "I wanted to call it 'Man Down' but its a bit negative and it was probably just straight from the heart. I like that." Johnson's potential title probably refers to the condition of the band's co-founding rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young, who has recently been hospitalized with an illness that forced him to take a break from the band, and sparked the false rumor that AC/DC would call it quits. "We miss Malcolm obviously. He's a fighter," Johnson said. "He's in hospital but he's a fighter. We've got our fingers crossed that he'll get strong again." AC/DC was inducted into the Australian Record Industry Association Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the Rock And Rock Hall Of Fame in 2003. Earlier in 2014, Johnson hinted that AC/DC would play a 40-date tour to commemorate the group's 40th anniversary. Meanwhile in other heavy metal news, veteran rockers Judas Priest could nab what would be their first Top 10 album ever on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart in mid-July with the release of their new set Redeemer of Souls. Industry sources forecast the album could sell upwards of 30,000 copies in the week ending July 13. Redeemer of Souls, which was released on July 8, is the band's 17th studio effort, and first since 2008's Nostradamus. Despite having charted 17 albums on the Billboard Hot 200 since 1978, the group has yet to rack up a top 10 album. They topped out at No. 11 with Nostradamus. - Billboard, 7/10/14.
A 50th anniversary Beatles special called The Beatles: The Night That Changed America which was broadcast on CBS in February has scored six Emmy Awards nominations. The special, produced by CBS and AEG Ehrlich Ventures, is up for Outstanding Variety Special and in the categories of direction (Gregg Gelfand), music direction (Don Was), writing (Ken Ehrlich, David Wild), lighting design and sound mixing. In other Beatles-related news, Oscar-winning composer Ken Thorne, who earned a Grammy nomination for writing the incidental score to the 1965 Beatles film Help!, died on July 8 at age 90. Mr. Thorne also won an Oscar for scoring the 1966 musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and went on to receive an Emmy nomination for the 1995 CBS TV movie A Season Of Hope. Mr. Thorne, who was born in England and lived in West Hills, Calif., began playing piano at age five and was a professional musician by 15. His other credits include Superman II, Superman III and The Monkees' comedy Head. - Billboard, 7/10/14.
Posting on his official Facebook page on July 9, Dave Davies of the Kinks refuted a new BBC Radio 2 documentary that once again alleges the long-debunked myth that Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page played on the 1964 Kinks hit, "You Really Got Me." "BBC tells lies about Dave Davies and the Kinks in their new documentary," Davies wrote in an all-caps message on Facebook, urging fans to tweet the facts at the show's producer Kellie Redmond and host Danny Baker. "I, Dave Davies, invented the distorted guitar sound and played the solo on 'You Really Got Me' and Ray Davies played rhythm guitar. We never used ANY other guitarists on any Kinks hits," Davies added. Baker's documentary on London's famed Denmark Street -- known as the city's own Tin Pan Alley -- simply states that Page, a session musician at the time, played on the track, though other iterations of the legend have credited him for the song's distinct guitar tone and solo. The Kinks themselves, producer Shel Talmy and even Page have all denied the legend's validity over the years. In June, Dave and his brother Ray Davies said they were discussing the possibility of a Kinks reunion tour, though they both agreed that they would want to record a new album before hitting the road. - Rolling Stone, 7/10/14.
Charlie Haden, one of the most influential bass players of his generation, died on July 13 after a prolonged illness, according to his family and his record label, ECM. He was 76. Haden made essential recordings with Ornette Coleman's iconic free jazz quartet, trumpeter Don Cherry and drummer Billy Higgins, including albums The Shape of Jazz To Come and Change Of The Century. His solos on tunes like "Lonely Woman" and "Ramblin'" are still remembered, and he also played on the influential Coleman LP, This Is Our Music. In 1997, Haden released a Grammy-winning duet album with Pat Metheny, Beyond The Missouri Sky, and he released over twenty albums as a band leader and appeared on approximately 150 other recordings. - Billboard...... Teenie Hodges, a Memphis, Tennessee musician best known for his work as rhythm and lead guitarist and songwriter on many of Al Green's popular soul hits of the '70s, has died at age 68. Two of his compositions "Take Me to the River" and "Love and Happiness," both co-written with Green, have been covered by numerous other international artists, including Talking Heads, Al Jarreau, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Canned Heat, Foghat, Levon Helm, Tom Jones, and others. He also co-wrote several other popular hits with songwriters like Isaac Hayes, Willie Mitchell, and Green, including "I Take What I Want," "Oh Me, Oh My," "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)" and "Full of Fire." In March 2014, Hodges was taken to a Dallas hospital for pneumonia, following an appearance at Austin's South by Southwest music festival. He died there on June 22, 2014, from complications of emphysema. - Wikipedia.com...... John Seigenthaler, a veteran journalist and publisher who was also known as a strong defender of the First Amendment and civil rights, died on July 11 at his home in Nashville, Tenn. He was 86. In his wide-ranging career, Mr. Seigenthaler also served on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign, founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, edited and then published The Nashville Tennessean newspaper, and helped shaped the pioneering national newspaper USA Today. After he retired from The Tennessean in 1991, Mr. Seigenthaler founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt, which aims to "create national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment issues." He was also the father of broadcast journalist John Seigenthaler Jr., who survives him along with his wife, the former Dolores Watson, a professional singer. - AP
NBC announced on July 8 that Stevie Nicks will be joining its hit talent show The Voice as an adviser to Adam Levine's team for the upcoming season, which premieres on Sept. 22. Filming is currently underway on the show's seventh season, and the 66-year-old Nicks has been working with Levine and his 12 team members as they assign songs and rehearse with the contestants in preparation for the show's battle rounds. Meanwhile, Nicks and Fleetwood Mac are preparing to kick off a 33-city tour starting Sept. 30 in Minneapolis, Minn. The fall tour will include Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and feature the return of McVie's ex-wife Christine McVie. - Billboard...... Aerosmith will launch a co-headlining summer tour with Slash of Guns N' Roses fame on July 10 in Wantagh, N.Y. Aerosmith has just wrapped an extended run in Europe, and guitarist Joe Perry says they will continue to showcase their 2012 album Music From Another Dimension!, an LP Perry says he doesn't feel has gotten its fair due. Perry will publish a memoir, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith on Oct. 7, to be followed by a new solo album. Frontman Steven Tyler says hopes to finish his own solo album that he's been working on for the past few years. - Billboard...... Jackson Browne will be among the honorees of a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Americana Music Association Honors and Awards ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., in September. Browne, who has lent his voice to a number of social policy issues including clean energy, will receive the "Spirit of Americana" Free Speech Award. - Billboard
Paul McCartney returned to the stage in Albany, N.Y. on July 5 after a virus kept him from performing for two months. McCartney, 72, made no immediate reference to the virus that briefly hospitalized him in Japan. Dressed in black pants and a sky blue blazer, he kicked off the concert with a version of the Beatles "Eight Days a Week" and took his jacket off four songs in, joking it would be the evening's only wardrobe change. At one point, he interrupted his set to invite a Rochester, N.Y. couple onstage to supervise a marriage proposal. In May, McCartney canceled shows on his "Out There" tour of Japan and gigs in South Korea and the United States. He subsequently postponed a series of US shows in Lubbock, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville and Louisville, which have been rescheduled for October. He last played in Costa Rica on May 1. Meanwhile, the new single from McCartney's latest album New temporarily reached No. 1 on the Twitter "Trending 140" chart, then settled at No. 2 after it was outdone by a new track from Alt-J. "Early Days" reflects on the early relationship between McCartney and John Lennon while growing up in Liverpool. New was released in October 2013. - AP/Billboard, 7/8/14.
On July 7, Columbia Records formally announced that Pink Floyd will release their first new album in 20 years in October after David Gilmour's wife Polly Sampson casually tweeted that "the band has a new record in the works and it's coming out this fall... [it's] called The Endless River [and is] based on 1994 sessions... [it] is Rick Wright's swansong and very beautiful." Columbia's announcement confirmed Samspon's tweet, noting the new LP "is an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright." The label added that the album will be produced by Gilmour alongside Phil Manzanera, Youth and recording engineer Andy Jackson. On July 1, the band celebrated The Division Bell's 20th anniversary by releasing a deluxe reissue of the album. Keyboardist Wright, a founding member of the band, died of cancer in 2008 at the age of 65. According to singer Durga McBroom-Hudson, who toured with Pink Floyd in the 1980s and 1990s, the band started recording the new project during the Division Bell sessions and it was originally titled "The Big Spliff." "It was originally to be a completely instrumental recording, but I came in last December and sang on a few tracks," McBroom-Hudson posted on her Facebook page. "David then expanded on my backing vocals and has done a lead on at least one of them. That's the song you see being worked on in the photo." She went on to emphasize that the new album will consist entirely of unreleased songs. David Gilmour currently has a solo album in the works, and there is no word on whether Roger Waters will have been included in the new project, but his last appearance on a Floyd record was in 1983 with The Final Cut. Waters reportedly has a new solo album in the works. - Rolling Stone/Billboard, 7/6/14.
On July 3, the director of the beleaguered Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, along with two of the film's producers, were indicted by a Georgia grand jury on involuntary manslaughter charges following a fatal train crash on the film's set in that state in February, which led to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Producer Jody Savin and executive producer Jay Sedrish are charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass and could face 10 years in prison, according to a statement from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office. Filming on Midnight Rider, which was being made by Uunclaimed Freight Productions, was suspended in the aftermath of the train tragedy, and actor William Hurt -- who was due to play Allman -- pulled out of the production. Seven other crew members were also injured in the incident, which is reported to have taken place while filming a dream sequence that involved a bed being placed on the railway tracks. - Billboard, 7/4/14.
In the July 3 episode of the popular game show Jeopardy! an entire category was devoted to Bruce Springsteen. The Springsteen-related themes included "Born in the U.S.A.," "Glory Days," "Cover Me," "The Ghost of Tom Joad," and "The 'E' Street Band," and one category dealt exclusively with the singer himself. While Springsteen has no live shows scheduled for the immediate future, on July 9 he will release Hunter of Invisible Game, a short film he co-directed with longtime collaborator Thom Zinny. He recently paused his vacation in Portugal to appear with the Rolling Stones for a rendition of "Tumbling Dice." - Rolling Stone, 7/4/14.
A reel of six previously unheard recordings by late '70s cult singer/songwriter Nick Drake will go up for auction on July 31 at London's Ted Owen & Company. A company representative described the rare recordings as "pristine master tapes" and is expecting them to fetch at least £250,000 ($428,000). According to a story in the New York Times, the songs were recorded in 1968, the year before the release of his debut album Five Leaves Left, the reel has been owned by Beverley Martyn, a folk singer who mentored Drake alongside her late husband John Martyn. In an interview with the UK paper The Independent, Martyn called the sound "full of fun," and said Drake's early guitar playing on the tape is "absolutely excellent." "The strings were great [on the formal albums], but this is just him, and it makes it more personal," she said. She went on to describe Drake as a "younger brother." While Drake, who died prematurely of an anti-depressant overdose in 1974 at the age of 26, never found fame in his short lifetime and his albums received little acclaim (he was dropped by Island Records for poor sales), decades after his death audiences rediscovered his poetic lyrical sensibilities and delicate arrangements on albums such as 1970's Bryter Later and 1972's Pink Moon. Martyn cites health issues as her reason for finally parting with the tapes, which has been in her possession all this time. "I don't want this tape to get lost or get into the wrong hands if anything happens to me," she said. "Someone else should be able to enjoy it." - Rolling Stone, 7/3/14.
Blondie have announced two UK shows this summer, at the Bristol O2 Academy on Aug. 19 and the Leicester O2 Academy on Aug. 20. The gigs will follow the release of the recent two-disc Blondie 4(0) Ever which is made up of a greatest hits album alongside the band's new LP Ghosts Of Download. It was their first release since 2011's Panic Of Girls. Blondie recently played UK dates in London and Sheffield at the end of June, and also co-headlined the legendary Glastonbury Festival. In February, the band was honoured at the NME Awards with Austin, Tex. They were named Godlike Genius at this year's event, which took place on Feb. 26, where they performed a career-spanning set. - New Musical Express, 7/5/14.
The Who announced on June 30 they'll kick off a "Hits 50" anniversary tour of the UK on Nov. 26 in Dublin, Ireland. "It's an 'Amazing Journey' through their entire career from the days of the 'High Numbers' to classic albums such as Who's Next, Tommy, Quadrophenia, My Generation, Live at Leeds up to the present day," reads the official announcement. "We cannot keep going on doing these month after month-long, extended tours," vocalist Roger Daltrey said in an interview with Billboard. "It's extremely hard, hard work," the 70-year-old Daltrey added. "When we take civilians, as I call them, on the road with us they usually last about 10 days and they're exhausted, just by the grind of it. So we have to be realistic. The band got better reviews on their last tour (2012-13's Quadrophenia & More) than we had for years. It was incredibly enjoyable. But it was incredibly exhausting, and we have to be realistic about our age." Guitarist Pete Townshend, who promised the trek will include hits, picks, mixes and misses" from the group's history, noted that he's also "under no illusions" about the Who's elder statesman status in rock: "We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we're lucky to be alive and still touring. If I had enough hairs to split I would say that, for 13 years since 1964, the Who didn't really exist, so we are really only 37." And while Daltrey hints it may be the final Who tour, he says "it's not going to be the last things the Who will do." "We're going to be doing events. We're going to be doing shows. We've always been there for charity shows; when people are in trouble and need a band for a charity show, we can do it. That's not going to change. But it won't be those long, extended tours." The Who's Dublin date will be followed by shows in Belfast (11/28), Glasgow (11/30), Leeds (12/2), Nottingham (12/5), Birmingham (12/7), Newcastle (12/9), Liverpool (12/11), Manchester (12/13) and Cardiff (12/15), before wrapping in London's O2 Arena on Dec. 17. A North American tour is expected during 2015, and Townshend and Daltrey are reportedly working on new material, which could be finished and out even before this year's dates. - Billboard, 7/1/14.
After recently issuing a stamp honoring guitar god Jimi Hendrix, the United States Postal Service has unveiled details of a new stamp honoring Janis Joplin. According to the stamp news website Linns.com, the Joplin stamp will be released this August and will feature the iconic blues-rock singer smiling and wearing shades surrounded by a psychedelic background and lettering evoking the popular font of the 1960s. "Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was a groundbreaking singer whose powerful, bluesy voice propelled her to the pinnacle of rock stardom," a biographical description of the 16-stamp sheet says. "An icon of the 1960s, she was known for her uninhibited and soulful performances. Joplin is now recognized as one of the greatest rock singers of all time, as well as a pioneer who paved the way for other women in rock music." No information on the specific date in August and location of the stamp issue has been announced. Joplin, who was born in Port Arthur, Tex., and would have turned 71 this year, and Hendrix are the latest subjects to join the USPS's "Music Icons" series, which had previously honored Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Tejano songstress Lydia Mendoza in 2012. The USPS has also revealed that it may issue stamps honoring such famous musicians as John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Bill Monroe, Sarah Vaughan and Tammy Wynette. A James Brown stamp and a re-release of the immensely popular 1993 Elvis Presley will be released in 2015. - Rolling Stone, 6/30/14.
As he plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin in November to discuss Russia's oppressive policies toward gay people, Elton John told Britain's Sky News on June 30 that "Jesus Christ would approve of gay marriage." "If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him -- as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was -- saying this could not happen," said John. "He was all about love, compassion, forgiveness and trying to bring people together. That's what the church should be about." Discussing how organised religion had improved its attitudes to homosexuality, John said he saw "signs of hope" in the more tolerant views expressed by Pope Francis and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. But he said the Church of England's refusal to allow gay clergy to marry was "old and stupid." Elton added that he isn't sure if his meeting with Pres. Putin will do any good, "but unless you build a bridge, it's no good putting up a wall and saying 'I'm not talking to these people.' The only thing that gets solved is by talking to people." John and his partner David Furnish had a civil rights ceremony in 2005, and Elton has announced they may get married in 2015. "It'll be very quiet and off the cuff," he said. "We had our big shebang when we had our civil union," said John, who kicks off a mainland European tour in Spain on July 4. - New Musical Express, 6/30/14.
Ozzy Osbourne is currently at the center of a campaign to get him knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and the Black Sabbath singer says that he "can't imagine anything better" than receiving the honor. "I've heard about that. Getting knighted? I can't imagine anything better," the 65-year-old Osbourne told London's Time Out magazine. "And my wife [Sharon Osbourne] would become a Lady, which would be pretty cool. But I'm not gonna get upset if it doesn't happen. I never thought I'd get further than Aston [in Birmingham, England, where he was born]." Ozzy fan Helen Maidiotis, who created the The Knighthood of Ozz' campaign, argues a knighthood is "well deserved and long overdue" for Osbourne. Osbourne also revealed to the mag that he's shocked his career has managed to last almost half a century, admitting he believed it would only go on for a "couple of years" at best: "I don't [look back], but I guess I should a bit more. Because I know when I had my first successful album with Sabbath I thought, 'Oh this is great, this will last a couple of years. I'll just get drunk every night and have a few chicks in my room'. And here I am, 45 years down the road and I'm doing better than ever. I haven't always been on top of the world " there have been bad times as well " but you don't just give up at the first sign of choppy waters: you carry on rowing." In June, Osbourne said during a press conference that there is a possibility of a new Black Sabbath album, saying that the band "just wanna finish this tour and then we'll see." - New Musical Express, 6/29/14.
The Beatles' acclaimed 1964 movie A Hard Day's Night is returning to American theaters on the first weekend in July, starting July 4 and continuing throughout the summer. In June, a Criterion Collection version of the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray, featuring a new digital restoration of the film approved by director Richard Lester, audio commentary, several documentaries about the movie and "The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film," an Academy Award-nominated short directed by Lester and starring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. Conceived to capitalize on the Beatlemania sweeping the globe at the time, A Hard Day's Night offered a day-in-the-life view of the group at the time, culminating in a concert in London. Its madcap, fast-paced and dry-witted flavor made it a fresh kind of cinematic experience, cited as an influence on subsequent spy films, music videos and, three years later, The Monkees TV series. Premiering July 6, 1964 in London and Aug. 11 worldwide, the film was nominated for two Academy Awards -- Best Screenplay for Alun Owen and Best Score (Adaptation) for Beatles producer George Martin, while the accompanying album hit No. 1 in the U.S., U.K. and Australia and the title track won a Grammy Award for Best Performance By a Vocal Group. Ringo Starr tells Billboard that 50 years later, making the film remains a surreal experience for him. "It was a really exciting thing to do," Starr says. "We were making records and, wow, the records were taking off and then we're playing to bigger and bigger audiences and that's taking off, and now we're doing a movie. It was mad... but it was incredible." The theatrical return of A Hard Day's Night is only one part of a number of Beatles' 50th anniversary celebrations this year, which include honors at the Grammy Awards and a subsequent Record Academy CBS special saluting Starr, Paul McCartney and their late bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison. The Beatles in Mono, a 14-LP vinyl collection, will be released Sept. 8, with the individual albums also available separately. - Billboard, 7/3/14.
Two boxes of rare Bob Dylan acetates from around 1969-70 have been discovered in a New York City apartment building at 124 W. Houston St. in Greenwich Village that was once used by the rock 'n' roll legend. Jeff Gold, proprietor of Recordmecca and a longtime collector/dealer/historian, took to his website on July 1 to detail this once-in-a-lifetime find -- two boxes containing 149 acetates from Dylan's Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning albums, all produced by Bob Johnston between 1969-1970 for Columbia Records. Gold says he purchased the trove of unreleased mixes, recordings and sequences (some with Dylan-written notes on them) from the executor of the estate of the late owner of a NYC building being prepared for sale. While doing a final scan of the building, the man found boxes labeled "Old Records" in a closet in a semi-hidden loft above the bedroom. A source close to Dylan's camp says that, "While it's unknown how those actetates came to be in the hands of others, everything that is on them definitely also exists in original form on reel-to-reel tape and is securely held in the vaults. Most of that material in fact, was released on Another Self-Portrait last year." Gold says he has provided transfers of all the discovered music to Dylan's representatives. He has also made a few of the acetates, including an alternate version of Skyline, available for sale on recordmecca.com. - Billboard, 7/2/14.
Jeff Beck has been forced to cancel his European tour in order to receive "emergency medical attention." The legendary rock guitarist was scheduled to begin the second leg of his tour in Austria on June 27, but now says he has been advised by his doctors not to perform for the next six weeks. "It is with the greatest regret that Jeff Beck has been forced to cancel the forthcoming European dates of his worldwide tour, set to begin in Austria on 27 June," reads the statement on Beck's official website. "Following many months of international touring and after seeking emergency medical attention, Jeff will now undertake a short hospital procedure and his doctors have instructed a complete break from performance for a total of six weeks. Following the treatment, Jeff will fulfil his US tour commitments beginning in Missoula MT on 8 August. He sends his profound apologies to those fans who had bought tickets for the European concerts and very much looks forward to playing for his American audiences after he has completed his treatment." The musician will begin his month-long co-headlining US tour with ZZ Top in Missoula, Montana, on August 8, where the band will perform a collaboration at the end of each night's show. In related news, Neil Young and Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot suffered a mild stroke in late June and will not be able to perform with the band on their upcoming European tour. "Talbot's doctors expect him to make a full recovery," the group said in a statement. "They have advised Talbot to sit this tour out and recover his strength." Neil Young's longtime bassist Rick Rosas will play in his place. Talbot is a founding member of Crazy Horse and hasn't missed a single gig with the group since their formation in 1968. Young and Crazy Horse begin their European tour July 7th in Reykjavik, Iceland. They currently have no North American dates scheduled. - New Musical Express/Rolling Stone, 6/29/14.
Mick Jagger's son James Jagger is set to star in a new HBO drama series co-produced by his famous rocker dad and acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese. The as-yet-untitled series will focus on the New York music scene of the 1970s, showcasing the development of punk and disco through the eyes of fictional record company executive Richie. The cocaine-addicted exec will be played by Bobby Cannavale, who portrayed gangster Gyp Rosetti in the Scorsese-produced HBO series Boardwalk Empire. James Jagger will play the singer of fictional punk band Nasty Bits. Jagger attended the same high-school drama class in New York as Twilight actor Robert Pattinson. His previous acting roles include parts in Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Howard Marks biopic Mr Nice. In other Stones-related news, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts have filmed a sketch mocking the Rolling Stones as part of Monty Python's press conference ahead of their "Monty Python Live (Mostly)" shows. The surviving members of Monty Python started their 10 shows at London's O2 on July 1. They announced at the press conference in central London that astrophysicists Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox will appear in filmed new sketches as part of the show. - New Musical Express, 6/30/14.
Former Mork & Mindy star Robin Williams, who has struggled with substance abuse since the early 1980s, has checked into rehab for continued sobriety. "After working back-to-back projects, Robin is simply taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment, of which he remains extremely proud," his representative said on July 1. Williams, 62, is currently at Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota in a program aimed at maintaining long-term sobriety, the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com first reported. He will remain there for several weeks. Williams admitted he once thought he could handle addiction on his own. "But you can't. That's the bottom line," he said. "You really think you can, then you realize, I need help, and that's the word ... It's hard admitting it, then once you've done that, it's real easy." Williams has been busy working on Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, due out later in 2014. - The Huffington Post, 7/1/14.
Innovative and versatile director Paul Mazursky, known for such films as Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Harry & Tonto and An Unmarried Woman, died on July 1 of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 84. A talented writer, actor and producer as well as director whose films showed the absurdity of modern life, Mr. Mazursky racked up five Oscar nominations, and also created memorable roles for the likes of Art Carney, Jill Clayburgh and Natalie Wood. Later in life, Mr. Mazursky acted in in such TV series as The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Once and Again. He and his writing partner Larry Tucker first triumphed in 1969 with the script for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a clever takeoff on the emerging sexual freedom of the late 1960s. Warner Bros. turned it down for fear of its racy subject, but Columbia scooped it up and accepted Mr. Mazursky's proviso that he would direct the film. Over the years, he was nominated four times for screenplay Oscars: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, 1974's Harry and Tonto, 1978's An Unmarried Woman and 1989's Enemies, A Love Story. As a co-producer, he also shared in the best picture nomination for An Unmarried Woman....... In related news, actor Bob Hastings, best known from the 1960s sitcom McHale's Navy, died on June 30 in his Burbank, Calif., home after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. He was 89. Mr. Hastings won fans on McHale's Navy as Lt. Carpenter, a bumbling yes-man. Other memorable roles were on All in the Family and General Hospital. Later TV appearances included Ironside, The Dukes of Hazzard, Major Dad and Murder, She Wrote. His voiceover work continued as recently as the 2010 video game Mafia II...... Comedian and singer Steve Rossi, half of the comedy duo Allen & Rossi -- staples on The Ed Sullivan Show -- died in Las Vagas on June 22 after battling cancer. He was 82...... "Psychic to the Stars" Kenny Kingston, who boasted Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Lucille Ball, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and John Wayne among his celebrity clients, passed away on June 30 after a long battle with a cardiovascular disease. He was 87. Mr. Kingston was the first psychic to appear on primetime television in the U.S., on programs such as The Flip Wilson Show, and he was a regular on variety shows hosted by Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and Steve Allen. He also penned five books on the spiritual world and was often approached by media outlets for insights from dead stars, like Monroe, who became one of his spirit companions from beyond the grave. - AP, 7/1/14.
Soul legend Bobby Womack, known for hits including "Lookin' for a Love," "That's The Way I Feel About Cha," "Woman's Gotta Have It," "Harry Hippie" and "Across 110th Street," died on June 26 while battling colon cancer and diabetes. He was 70. The son of two musicians, Womack began his career as a member of the gospel group Curtis Womack and The Womack Brothers with his siblings Curtis, Harry, Cecil and Friendly Jr. After leaving the group in 1965, Womack became a session musician, playing guitar on several albums, including Aretha Franklin's landmark Lady Soul before releasing his debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. A string of successful R&B albums would follow, including Understanding and Across 110th Street, both released in 1972, 1973's Facts of Life and 1974's Lookin for a Love Again. In 1989, Womack sang on Todd Rundgren's "For the Want of a Nail" on his album Nearly Human and in 1998, performed George Gershwin's "Summertime" with The Roots for the Red Hot Organization's Red Hot + Rhapsody benefit album. Womack enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, appearing on the band Gorillaz' track "Stylo" from their third album, Plastic Beach. This association with Damon Albarn led to him producing Womack's acclaimed 2012 album The Bravest Man In The Universe, which his first release in over a decade. Womack toured extensively with Gorillaz and appeared at Glastonbury Festival in 2013, and was in the process of recording the follow-up, tentatively titled The Best Is Yet to Come, reportedly featuring contributions by Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Snoop Dogg, at the time of his death. Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Womack's health had suffered in recent years; he'd been treated for colon cancer and in 2013 told fans he had "signs of Alzheimers." The Rolling Stones, whose association with Womack dates back to 1964 when they released a cover of the Womack song "It's All Over Now," posted a message on their website in honor of Womack. "Bobby Womack was a huge influence on us. He was a true pioneer of soul and R&B, whose voice and songwriting touched millions. On stage, his presence was formidable. His talents put him up there with the greats. We will remember him, first and foremost, as a friend." - Rolling Stone/The Hollywood Reporter, 6/27/14.
In a new interview with Uncut magazine, Eric Clapton hints at retirement, saying "the road has become unbearable." "It's become unapproachable, because it takes so long to get anywhere. It's hostile -- everywhere: getting in and out of airports, traveling on planes and in cars," the legendary 69-year-old guitarist says. Clapton also suggested he is likely to spend more time in the studio in the coming years. "There are tons of things I'd like to do, but I'm looking at retirement too," he said. "What I'll allow myself to do, within reason, is carry on recording in the studio. I don't want to go off the boil to the point where I'm embarrassing myself." When asked if he plans to stop playing guitar altogether, Clapton replied, "Maybe. It might be that I can't, if it hurts too much. I have odd ailments." Clapton also discussed the possibility of a Cream reunion with the magazine, but from his comments, the prospect of getting the band back together seems highly unlikely. "I haven't spoken to Jack [Bruce] or Ginger [Baker] for quite a time," he said. "I don't think there's been any line of dialogue between any of us -- or between me and them, that is to say -- since the American affair [the trio's Madison Square Garden shows in 2005]. "After that I was pretty convinced that we had gone as far as we could without someone getting killed," he continued. "At this time in my life, I don't want blood on my hands! I don't want to be part of some kind of tragic confrontation." Clapton's latest remarks come after an interview with Rolling Stone in 2013, when he told the magazine: "When I'm 70, I'll stop. I won't stop playing or doing one-offs, but I'll stop touring, I think." - Rolling Stone, 6/27/14.
As Genesis is apparently planning to temporarily reunite in 2016 for a new documentary for the BBC, former member Phil Collins has just donated his massive collection of The Battle of the Alamo artifacts to the historic site in San Antonio, Texas. "I've had a love affair with this place since I was about 5 years old," Collins said in an interview with the AP at the site, noting his fascination with the famous battle where 1,500 Mexican troops laid siege to 200 Texans began with the Walt Disney miniseries Davy Crockett. "It was something that I used to go and play in the garden with my soldiers." Collins will pay to have the items shipped to San Antonio, and while some of them will be on display as soon as October, a new building to house much of the collection will be constructed in the near future. Among the items in Collins' collection are a rifle and leather shot pouch owned by Davy Crockett, as well as a pair of powder horns the folk hero supposedly gave to a a Mexican officer before his death. Collins said that his favorite item was a receipt for a saddle bought by John W. Smith, a messenger who rode through Mexican lines in hopes of securing reinforcements. The musician also promised to keep collecting, adding "once I've lived with whatever I buy for a month, I'll ship it over here." In 2012, Collins even authored a book about his fascination with the Alamo, The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey. - Rollng Stone, 6/26/14.
Crosby, Stills & Nash have announced they will revive their "covers project" album soon after they finish third leg of their 36-date concert tour, which concludes Oct. 4 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The project, begun in 2010 with producer Rick Rubin, came to an abrupt halt in the summer of 2012 after they had finished recording seven songs. The trio has since reconvened and re-recorded five of the songs. The trio loved the idea of a covers album when it was pitched to them by Sony A&R executive Jay Landers, and among the songs that made the cut were Lennon & McCartney's "Norwegian Wood," Bob Dylan's "Girl From North Country," and Tim Hardin's "Reason to Believe." "We did seven songs and none of them excited us," says Nash, 72. "Sony owns those seven songs that they have no right to release. We went back to the studio in Santa Monica and started over and we've got five we really like." The trio, along with sometime bandmate Neil Young, will release CSNY 1974, a box set of live recordings from their troubled 1974 reunion tour, on July 8 via Rhino Records. Their summer tour starts July 2 in Bethlehem, Pa., and includes stops at New Yorks Beacon Theater (July 8 and 9), the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago (July 19), New Orleans Saenger Theatre (Aug. 23) and the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Washington (Sept. 13 and 14). Meanwhile, Stephen Stills has revealed he will become the third member of the trio to release a memoir. "I'm writing one right now," the guitarist says. "And it is a bitch. It's the hardest f---ing thing in the world! I mean, there's writing and there's typing. I'm so frustrated with my computer that I'm going to get a f---ing Selectric typewriter and organize this thing like I was taught to do in school." Unlike most rock stars, Stills is determined to write the entire book himself, without the aid of a ghostwriter. "I got an 800 verbal [on my SAT]," he says. "Dammit, I'm writing it myself. Why would I use a ghostwriter? Do you want a 300 page People interview?" - Billboard, 6/25/14.
Robert Plant has just announced details of a new album with his band The Sensational Shape Shifters. Titled lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar, the new LP will be released on Sept. 8. Produced by Plant, it features 11 new recordings, nine of which are songs written by Plant with the rest of the band. The first single from the album, "Rainbow," will be released later this summer. The album will be Plant's first record since 2010's Band Of Joy, which followed 2007's collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. The all-new lineup of the band features Justin Adams, John Baggot, Juldeh Camara, Billy Fuller, Dave Smith along with Cast guitarist Liam "Skin" Tyson. Plant and his band have also announced a UK and Ireland tour for later in the year. The band will play 13 dates on the stretch including Newport, Bournemouth, London, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Dublin and Blackpool. - New Musical Express, 6/23/14.
|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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