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Monday, March 27, 2017

In an interview with BBC Radio 6 on Mar. 25, Paul McCartney revealed he's working on a new album with producer Greg Kurstin, who McCartney previously worked with for a song for an animated film. "I'm making a new album, which is great fun. I'm in the middle of that," Sir Paul said. "I'm working with a producer who I first worked with two years ago on a thing, a piece of music I'm doing for an animated film. And since then he went on to work with Beck and got best album of the year," he continued. "Then he went on to work with Adele. He just got song of the year, record of the year with Adele. And just got producer of the year. So my only worry is people are going to go, 'Uhhhhh, there's Paul going with the flavor of the month.' You know, I suppose you always think the worst of it. But he's a great guy. Greg is musical and he's great to work with." Paul McCartneyMcCartney, who has not scheduled a release date for the upcoming album, released a deluxe version of his 1989 solo album Flowers in the Dirt with previously unheard demos from the recording sessions with Elvis Costello on Mar. 24, and has announced plans to tour Japan in 2017. Macca also paid tribute to the late Chuck Berry, who was a major influence on the Beatles. "He came to one of our concerts when we were playing in St. Louis, which is his home town. And he came round backstage. It was great to meet him and just be able to tell him what a fan I was," he said. - Billboard, 3/26/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Pete Shotton, a childhood friend and early bandmate of John Lennon, died of a heart attack in Liverpool, England, on Mar. 24 at age 75. "My memories of the two of us go back so far that I barely remember a time when there was no John Lennon in my life," Shotton wrote in his 1983 autobiography In My Life. Shotton, who lived around the corner from John, says he approached Paul McCartney soon after he'd met Lennon about an idea to join the pre-Beatles group The Quarrymen, which then included both him and Lennon. "By the way, I've been talking to John about it and we thought maybe you'd like to join the group." He wrote that McCartney thought for a minute, then said, "Oh, all right," and took off on his bicycle to go home. Shotton also played a role in the creation of two Beatles songs: "Eleanor Rigby" and "I Am the Walrus." Shotton said he suggested the name "Father McKenzie" when McCartney was trying to come up with the name of a cleric for the song. It was also his idea, he says, to have Rigby die at the end of the song, a suggestion he writes was originally rejected by Lennon. Lennon later gave Shotton a job managing the Apple Botique, which lasted just over six months before closing in 1968, and the pair remained friends until Lennon's death in 1980. - Billboard, 3/24/17...... Barry Manilow has joined the lineup for the monthly "Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!" series of charity concerts that raises money for human rights organizations. Manilow will perform at the Apr. 18 concert at New York's Town Hall, with proceeds benefiting the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center and the Sierra Club Foundation. The concert will also be streamed live on Facebook. - AP, 3/25/17...... Eric Clapton announced on Twitter on Mar. 24 that he was forced to postpone two two concerts scheduled for the last weekend in March at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., due to a case of "severe bronchitis." The concerts will be rescheduled for the fall. Clapton was already scheduled to perform Sept. 15 and 16 at the Forum and these new concerts will be rescheduled around those gigs. The 71-year-old Clapton has only performed two shows so far in 2017 -- both at New York's Madison Square Garden in late March. - Billboard, 3/24/17...... Elton JohnAs he reached his milestone age of 70 on Mar. 25, Elton John began curating the Song of the Day on Amazon.com's newly-launched premium on-demand streaming service Amazon Music Unlimited. Each day through March 30, Sir Elton will choose a new song by a different artist to be highlighted through song of the day; his first pick was Lana Del Rey's "Love," the singer's latest single which was released in February. "I'm excited to share some of my favorite songs and some new artists I'm really excited about with you over the course of the week," John said via introduction to the playlist. "Let's start it off with the new, gorgeous track from the one and only Lana Del Rey. I've been anxiously awaiting her new music and I wasn't disappointed when I heard the beauty and cinematic quality of this song." - Billboard, 3/24/17...... Cher has announced she's dropping out of a TV movie for the Lifetime network about the water crisis in Flint, Mich. Cher was set to portray a Flint resident whose family is impacted by the water crisis in the drama inspired by a Feb. 2016 cover story in Time magazine called "The Toxic Tap" by Josh Sanburn. Cher cited a "serious family issue" that prevented her from going on location for the April filming, but said "I'm so glad that Craig and Neil [the producers] plan to move ahead and I know that this Lifetime movie will be done beautifully." Cher won a Golden Globe nomination for her sole previous TV movie effort in 1996, HBO's If These Walls Could Talk, about three different women's experience with abortion. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/24/17...... Recently deceased rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry is on track to score his highest charting album on the Billboard Hot 200 LP rundown in more than 40 years with his greatest hits album The Definitive Collection, which could debut somewhere inside the chart's top 50. In 1972, Berry's The London Chuck Berry Sessions, which featured his No. 1 novelty track "My Ding-a-Ling," peaked at No. 8 on the Hot 200. - Billboard, 3/24/17...... A luxury timepiece from Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil has unveiled its "David Bowie Freelancer," a watch coming later in 2017 that "celebrates the legendary icon's musicality, style and unmatched innovation." To mark what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday, the watch features an Aladdin Sane lightning bolt on its face and Terry O'Neill's iconic 1974 portrait of the late star is on its case-back. The watch was created in collaboration with the David Bowie Estate and announced via the singer's social media channels. Just 3,000 of the watches have been manufactured and numbered for release later in the year. In other Bowie news, a crowd-funding campaign that was launched in February to raise £900,000 to erect the "ZiggyZag" sculpture near Bowie's birthplace in Brixton, South London has failed to reach its goal. Around 700 fans were only able to raise just around £50,000 of the total amount and none of the funds will be taken, however organizers say they hope to create an alternate "appropriate piece of public art." - Billboard, 3/23/17...... Bob DylanIn a rare interview posted on his official website to promote his new album Triplicate, Bob Dylan told interviewer Bill Flanagan that he enjoys recent releases by such artists as Iggy Pop, Imelda May and the Stereophonics. Dylan continued: "I like Willie Nelson and Norah Jones' album with Wynton Marsalis, the Ray Charles tribute record. I liked Amy Winehouse's last record." In other Dylan-related news, photographer Don Hunstein, who is best remembered for shooting the iconic photograph for Dylan's 1963 Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album, has passed away at age 88. The photograph features Dylan and his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, walking down a West Village street on a freezing February afternoon. Mr. Hunstein, an in-house photographer for Columbia Records in the 1950s and 1960s, also produced covers for Miles Davis' Nefertiti, Thelonious Monk's Monk's Dream, and Dylan's 1962 self-titled solo LP. - New Musical Express, 3/23/17...... Over 1,000 fans of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds attended a joint memorial honoring the two late actresses at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles on Mar. 25. There were more than a few fans present who payed tribute to Fisher's most famous role, as Princess Leia in 1977's Star Wars, including several young girls wearing their hair in Leia's iconic "cinnamon bun" style. "We grew up with the Star Wars movies and Carrie Fisher and we just love her so much," said fan Clarice Diers. "We were devastated. We were in Texas when we found out, so we found out about this. We just wanted to show up and show our support. We just loved them." During the ceremony, the Gay Men's Chorus sang a stirring rendition of "True Colors" while clips of both Debbie and Carrie played, that moved many in the audience to tears. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/26/17...... Sib HashianJohn "Sib" Hashian, the drummer in the classic '70s lineup of Boston, died after collapsing onstage during a concert performance on the Legends of Rock Cruise on Mar. 22. He was 67. The L.O.R. Cruise began on Mar. 18 in Florida and had stops in several places including Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Hashian, who donned an epic afro hairdo in the early days of his career, played on Boston's first two hit records, their self-titled debut album in 1976, featuring the hit song "More Than a Feeling," and the 1978 followup, Don't Look Back. Boston, comprised of Hashian, Tom Scholz, Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan, had one of the most successful debut records in history, selling over 17 million copies, with the singles "Long Time" and "Peace of Mind." Sib Hashian's daughter, Lauren, has a daughter with actor Dwayne Johnson, and he is also survived by his wife Suzanne. A cause of death had not yet been determined. - AP, 3/23/17...... Actress Lola Albright, perhaps best known for playing glamorous nightclub singer Edie Hart opposite Craig Stevens in the 1958-1961 NBC television series Peter Gunn, died on Mar. 23 in Toluca Lake, Calif. She was 92. A native of Akron, Oh., Ms. Albright was a receptionist for Akron radio station WAKR before moving to Hollywood. In 1959, she was nominated for an Emmy for her work in Peter Gunn. - Ohio.com, 3/24/17.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It appears that rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry died of natural causes at age 90 on Mar. 18, and no autopsy is planned. The singer/songwriter/guitarist's final album, CHUCK, will be released on June 16 on CD as well as vinyl via Nashville-based Dualtone Music, and his family said details about the album will be forthcoming soon. "Working to prepare the release of this record in recent months and in fact over the last several years brought Chuck a great sense of joy and satisfaction," they wrote in a Facebook post on Mar. 20. Meanwhile, it has been estimated that the business-savvy rock icon left behind an estate estimated to be around $50 million. Industry observers say the estate's share of publishing rights to songs controlled by the late rocker's Isalee Music Publishing Company could be worth more than $13 million alone, and Berry's recording-artist royalties could amount to $500,000 per year. Berry wrote about 200 songs during his career, and his estate will now own about half of them outright, albeit mostly ones he wrote after his commercial peak. Universal Music Group, which owns the Chess catalog, controls Berry's most valuable recordings; BMG holds what's left. The publishing rights to those songs could generate about $360,000 per year in royalties, and publishing income from his songs could amount to $1.1 million annually. Should the estate sell Berry's publishing rights, such catalogs are generally priced at about 12 times annual revenue, which in this case would be $13.5 million. - Billboard, 3/20/17...... Barry GibbThe CBS TV network announced on Mar. 21 that it will air a Grammy tribute to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Stayin' Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees, on Apr. 16. Barry Gibb, the Bee Gees' co-founder and last surviving member, will make an appearance and perform classic hits from the Saturday Night Fever album for the event, which will focus on improving music life and culture through the Bee Gees' legacy. Among the other artists scheduled to perform are Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Nick Jonas, Keith Urban, John Legend, Little Big Town and Ed Sheeran. John Travolta, who had the lead role in Saturday Night Fever, That '70s Show's Wilmer Valderrama, and Cynthia Erivo, will also be honoring the Bee Gees and the film. - Billboard, 3/21/17...... The Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, England announced on Mar. 22 that it is preparing to celebrate the half-centenary of the band's seminal 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Liverpool authorities have commissioned 13 artists to create works based on the album's 13 tracks, including choreographer Mark Morris' dance tribute to the title song, cabaret artist Meow Meow's "outlandish procession" based on "Lovely Rita" and a mural by U.S. artist Judy Chicago inspired by "Fixing a Hole." There will also be a singalong by 64 choirs of the jaunty "When I'm Sixty-Four." The works will have their world premieres at venues across Liverpool between May 25 and June 16. On June 1 -- the anniversary of the album's release -- the city will host a fireworks extravaganza by French pyrotechnic artist Christophe Berthonneau. - AP, 3/22/17...... Prog-rockers Kansas have announced they plan to carry on their 40th anniversary tour of their breakthrough 1976 Leftoverture album into its 41st year, with 32 U.S. dates planned for late summer through late fall, beginning on Aug. 25 in Shreveport, La. The second leg of the Leftoverture tour, which begins on Mar. 24 in Salina, Kan., includes an Oct. 6 date in Topeka, Kan., where the band was formed, and its final show will be on Dec. 9 in The Villages, Fla. The Leftoverture anniversary tour, which began in 2016, coincided with the release of The Prelude Implicit, Kansas' first new studio album in 16 years. Released during October of 1976, Kansas' Leftoverture was a Top 5, five-times platinum smash that included the band's most famous hit, "Carry On Wayward Son." Kansas' future plans include recording a new studio album in 2018 and another full-album tour, this time playing 1977's Point of Know Return, the quadruple-platinum follow-up to Leftoverture. - Billboard, 3/22/17...... In other prog-rock news, Brian May of Queen has unveiled a special new edition of the famous board game Monopoly based around Queen. May recently images of the game on Instagram and Twitter, which is emblazoned with a classic live photo of Queen, while the plot of the game has changed from amassing property to following the successful career of the band -- from their very first gig at Imperial College in 1970 to their last show with Freddie Mercury at Knebworth in 1986. The Queen Monopoly game will drop in May, and Queen are also preparing to go on tour in 2017 with Adam Lambert handling vocal duties. - NME, 3/21/17...... Todd RundgrenTodd Rundgren announced on Mar. 21 that he'll release a new studio album, White Knight, on May 12 via Cleopatra Records, and mount a new tour behind it beginning in April. The track list of White Knight is notable for the preponderance of guest stars involved, which run the gamut from peers of Rundgren's original '70s and '80s heydey (including Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates, Joe Walsh of the Eagles and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan), to luminaries of more modern art-pop, including Trent Reznor, Dam-Funk and Atticus Ross, and even Rundgren's own son Rebop. Rundgren has also shared the first advance track from the upcoming set, "That Could Have Been Me," which features Robyn. Rundgren kicks off a 12-city U.S. tour behind White Knight on Apr. 29 in St. Louis, wrapping on May 27 in St. Petersburg, Fla. On June 10, he'll be among the headliners at the 35th Syracuse Jazz Festival in Syracuse, NY. - Billboard, 3/21/17...... With the health of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II apparently in rapid decline, Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) says that he will miss the Queen after she dies and that he doesn't want his band's famous "God Save The Queen" to be played to mark her passing. Political anthem "God Save The Queen" was released in 1977 and features the lyrics: "God save the queen, she ain't no human being/There is no future in England's dreaming." It was released by the punk band during the week of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee. "[The song is] about a political situation and the demand for obedience to a monarchy I don't believe in," Lydon recently said in another interview, adding: "[The Queen is] a human being and I will sorely miss her as a human being on planet Earth It's not her fault she was born into a gilded cage. Long may she live." - New Musical Express, 3/21/17...... Lawyers representing the late '60s/early '70s band Spirit have filed an appeal with a US federal court to argue against the June 2016 verdict that sided with Led Zeppelin in the "Stairway To Heaven" plagiarism case. The 90-page brief filed the third week in March at the US court of appeals for the ninth circuit, argues a series of "erroneous" jury instructions were to blame for the verdict. At the center of the 2016 case was the accusation that Jimmy Page, when writing the intro to "Stairway To Heaven," ripped off Spirit's instrumental "Taurus," which predates the British band's 1971 signature hit. It was ruled in the 2016 case that the two songs were not "substantially similar" although the new appeal argues that the reason the jury did not hear similarities was because they were not allowed to hear the specific version of "Taurus" that Page allegedly copied from. Other complaints pertaining to the original trial include limiting plaintiff's trial time to 10 hours and an accusation the court seriously erred when defining originality. Spirit's lawyers are seeking a reversal of the original verdict and a retrial. After the initial verdict, Jimmy Page posted on Facebook that he "received and been aware of the overwhelming wave of support, encouragement and congratulations that have been deeply moving. I'd like to take this opportunity to personally thank all those who contributed such a positive energy to me." - NME, 3/18/17...... Glen CampbellKim Campbell, the wife of country/pop crossover legend Glen Campbell, says that Alzheimer's disease has robbed her 80-year-old husband's ability to play guitar. But Kim says that her husband occasionally breaks into a solo "air guitar" routine, which she says is "kind of fun." Campbell was diagnosed with the brain-ravaging disease in 2011 and went on a world tour afterward. The singer, known for such hits as "Rhinestone Cowboy," ''Wichita Lineman" and "Southern Nights," was moved to a long-term care facility in 2014. Kim says that Glen continues to sing, although the words are gibberish and "it's not a melody that we recognize, but you can tell that it's a happy song and he has a song in his heart," so that brings her great comfort. She added that he has lost most of his language, and doesn't understand many words either. - AP, 3/19/17...... Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was recently involved in a crash in which he was driving his rare Formula One car when it collided with a wall. Mason, a car aficionado, was driving his McLaren F1 GTR when he crashed the multi-million dollar supercar into a tire wall during the Goodwood Members Meeting in West Sussex. He is reported to have emerged from the battered vehicle fine and uninjured after the parade lap crash, but it is said that "serious damage" was done to the car. - NME, 3/21/17...... Iconic New York columnist Jimmy Breslin died on Mar. 19 after a battle with pneumonia. He was 88. In his decades-spanning career writing for several outlets, Mr. Breslin found fame for his portrayals of ordinary New Yorkers and the city's scruffy anti-heroes, often those at the sidelines of major world news events. In a 1980 Daily News story, Mr. Breslin told the story of the New York City cops who retrieved John Lennon's body moments after he'd been fatally shot. For an iconic 1963 column in The New York Herald Tribune, he tracked down the cemetery worker tasked with digging Pres. John F. Kennedy's grave. Mr. Breslin also authored several lauded books, including The Church That Forgot Christ, a response to the Catholic Church's many sex scandals; How the Good Guys Finally Won, a glimpse into the politicians who helped bring down President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal; and a novel, The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. In 1969, he ran as writer Norman Mailer's running mate in an unsuccessful New York mayoral bid. He is survived by his wife, four children, three stepchildren and 12 grandchildren. - HuffingtonPost.com, 3/19/17...... Chuck BarrisTV impressario/host Chuck Barris, the maniacal host/producer of The Gong Show who also was the manic mastermind behind two other spontaneous game-show classics, The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, died of natural causes on Mar. 21 at his home in Palisades, N.Y., according to publicist Paul Shefrin, who announced the death on behalf of Barris' family. He was 87. Mr. Barris, a Philadelphia native, also penned the 1962 pop song "Palisades Park," a tribute to the old amusement park in New Jersey that was a hit for Freddy Cannon and figured high on Mr. Barris' list of career achievements. With his innovative shows, Mr. Barris changed the face of reality TV but was derided but critics who nicknamed him "The King of Schlock," "The Baron of Bad Taste" and "The Ayatollah of Trasherola." On The Gong Show, which aired on NBC and in syndication in daytime and primetime from 1976-80, amateurs took to the stage to demonstrate their so-called talent in front of three celebrity judges. Quite often, they made fools of themselves. Acts who appeared included The Unknown Comic (Murray Langston), Danny Elfman, Paul Reubens and Barris' own mother, and at random moments, the host would call out Gene Gene the Dancing Machine (stagehand Gene Patton) to boogie for the audience to the tune of "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Any of the three judges (a roster that included Jaye P. Morgan, Rex Reed, Rip Taylor, Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson and David Letterman) could send the bad performers packing by striking a large gong. Barris, who in his book, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: An Unauthorized Biography, also claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA -- his implausible story became a fantastical 2002 movie directed by George Clooney and written by Charlie Kaufman. Mr. Barris first made his mark in the game show arena when he created The Dating Game, which bowed as an ABC daytime program in December 1965. Hosted by San Francisco radio personality Jim Lange, the program featured a bachelor or bachelorette asking three members of the opposite sex suggestive questions, then choosing one for a date. ABC's The Newlywed Game, produced by Barris and hosted by the cheeky Bob Eubanks, premiered in July 1966. Four couples who had been married for a year or less competed by matching answers to questions about their spouses' likes and dislikes. Just like The Dating Game, it was a huge hit and played in primetime as well (both shows aired in tandem on Saturday nights for a time). Mr. Barris often came off as a nut case, but he was an astute businessman. As a pioneer of first-run syndication, he sold The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game to stations after ABC canceled his shows, keeping them the air. Mr. Barris also presided over other game shows like The Game Game, How's Your Mother-in-Law?, Dream Girl of '67, The $1.98 Beauty Show, 3's a Crowd, The Family Game and The New Treasure Hunt. Mr. Barris is survived by his wife of 16 years, the former Mary Clagett. - Billboard, 3/22/17.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chuck BerryChuck Berry, one of the enduring legends of rock 'n' roll and its single most influential figure, was found dead of as yet undisclosed causes at his Missouri home by St. Charles County police on Mar. 18. He was 90. Born Charles Edward Berry in St. Louis, Mo., on Oct. 18, 1926, Chuck Berry learned guitar while in his teens, though his the calm of his adolescent years was shattered by a three-year spell in reform school for an attempted robbery. Upon release in 1947, he worked for a time for General Motors, before taking up a career in hair dressing. He became increasingly interested in music, partly to supplement his income and support a wife and two children. In 1956, Mr. Berry moved to Chicago, and his career took off after persuading Muddy Waters to let him sit in on a session. Impressed with Mr. Berry's guitar technique and fluent style, Waters recommended him to Chess Records head Leonard Chess, who signed up many local acts. Now under contract, Mr. Berry recorded his first tracks, "Maybellene" and "Wee Wee Hours." Though Mr. Berry preferred the latter song, "Maybellene" was released as the A-side after it had been co-credited to popular disc jockey Alan Freed, who possibly suggested some modifications to enhance its commercial potential. With the radio exposure Freed was able to supply, "Maybellene" became an immediate Top 10 hit in the U.S. For the next four years, Mr. Berry went on to produce a stream of utterly incomparable, archetypal rock 'n' roll songs, including "Roll Over Beethoven," "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man," and some of his equally well known compositions, such as "Memphis, Tennessee," were not even issued as singles during this period. Mr. Berry's sources were those of rock 'n' roll itself -- a blend of R&B and C&W, although he had also acquired an appreciation of blues since he was working for Chicago's Chess label. Chuck BerryIn contrast to other rockers, Mr. Berry concentrated on clarity of diction, so that his witty and often acerbic lyrics coiuld be plainly heard, and he was responsible for introducing a disciplined lyricism into early rock 'n' roll. Around this time, Mr. Berry appeared in four films with a rock 'n' roll theme -- Rock Rock Rock, Mr. Rock and Roll, Go Johnny Go, and Jazz On a Summer's Day, the latter a documentary of the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival, where he sang "Sweet Little Sixteen" and demonstrated his famous "duck walk," which he had developed in 1956 and virtually completed his charisma. Mr. Berry was one of the few black performers who connected to a largely white teenage audience, and his popularity was enormous. In 1959, Mr. Berry was indicted for offences under the Mann Act, a federal statute that prohibits interstate or foreign transportation of an individual with the intention of engaging such individual in sexual activity or prostitution. Though Mr. Berry always asserted his innocence in the case, he was found guilty after a trial lasting almost two years and sentenced to two years in prison. The incident shattered his marriage and threatened to shatter his career, but the climate of rock 'n' roll had changed when he was released, arguably to his advantage. His repertoire was covered by such hugely popular white acts as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, with the former recording "Roll Over Beethoven" for one of the few early million-sellers they didn't write themselves, and the latter covering over a dozen of his songs. The Beach Boys merely re-wrote "Sweet Little Sixteen" as "Surfin' USA" to score one of ther earlier hits. "Memphis, Tennessee," released as a single in 1964, signaled his return to music, and he completed his first studio sessions in almost five years, which resulted in another string of hits including "Nadine," "No Particular Place to Go," and "You Never Can Tell." Though Mr. Berry's chart success began to wane, his popularity as a live performer was undiminished, and he toured and recorded dilligently for the next several years, seeming to have emerged from prison as a harder, more shrewd businessman. In 1966, Mr. Berry signed a lucrative contract with Mercury Records, but by 1969 he had returned to Chess Records, and recorded Back Home and San Francisco Dues, arguably his best-ever LP's. He also benefitted from a renewed interest in early rock 'n' roll, and worked in several rock revival shows, as well as being given a prominent part in the film Let the Good Times Roll. Chuck BerryA U.K. appearance at the Lanchester Arts Festival in 1972 not only gave him one-half of a double album, The London Sessions, but also, strangely, his biggest-ever chart success. The gently ribald "My Ding-a-Ling" was his first-ever No. 1 record on both sides of the Atlantic. Strangely, because the song had been in and out of his stage show since he first turned professional. In 1979, Mr. Berry recorded another creditable effort, Rockit, and continued to play concerts, ofen with pickup bands. That same year, he appeared in the 1979 film American Hot Wax. In January 1986, Mr. Berry was among the first round of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the following year he published his memoir, Chuck Berry: The Autobiography. He was also the subject of a documentary/tribute film, Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, for which one of his biggest fans, Keith Richards, organized a backing band. Now residing in Wentzville, Mo., Mr. Berry built an amusement complex called Berry Park. He became entangled with legal problems again in 1979 when he was charged with income tax evasion, serving a 100-day prison term that same year. In 1990, felony drug and child-abuse charges were filed against him after police raided his home and found 62 grams of marijuana and a number of videotapes of women -- one of whom was apparently a minor -- that were using the restroom in a Berry Park restaurant. He was given a six-month suspended jail sentence, placed on two years' probation, and ordered to donate $5,000 to a local hospital. Among the fellow rock giants reacting to his death are the Rolling Stones, who soon posted "he was a true pioneer of rock'n'roll & a massive influence," and Bruce Springsteen, who tweeted "Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived." - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock/Billboard, 3/18/17.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Steely Dan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Journey and the Doobie Brothers have been added to previously announced headliners the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac for the lineup of the upcoming Classic East and Classic West two-day festivals in the US this July. The first event will be held on July 15-16 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, followed by Classic East from July 29-30 at Citi Field in New York City. The Eagles will open the first night of the series with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers. The second night will feature performances by Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire. - NME, 3/14/17...... Nile RodgersNile Rodgers of Chic delivered the keynote address at the SXSW Music Conference and Festival on Mar. 15 in Austin, Tex. Rodgers delivered a warmly encouraging and insightful hour-long talk, making such points as "practice makes perfect," "don't be snobby," "be open to chance," and "the future of musical success is in brands and sync rights." Rodgers last appeared at SXSW in 1991. On Mar. 14, Sammy Hagar told the audience that these days it's difficult for younger artists to be heard, because "record companies were so important... cause they would pay for you to go out on the road and they'd put you out with a big band opening for 14,000 people every night... you really had a shot at exposure and they would get your songs played on the radio and make a video for MTV, all those things. It seems like that's not there anymore. But there's other avenues." Hagar, who now fronts the band Chickenfoot, also touched on his life and career, from his poor upbringing to his time with Montrose and Van Halen to cars (his favorite is the Ferrari Boxer 512 from the "I Can't Drive 55" video), paranormal encounters, and his business interests in restaurant and liquor. Also appearing at SXSW on Mar. 14 was Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, who said Fleetwood Mac is "alive and well." "But the truth of the matter is, we're all in our 70s, and the band is 50 years old; there is a window and the window will close. That happens in all things in life. But until then, we carry on." Mick Fleetwood was also promoting his upcoming book Love That Burns: A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac Volume One: 1967-1974, a lavish tome due on Sept. 19. When the music portion of SXSW gets underway on the fourth week in March, a new concert film by '70s cult favorites Big Star, Thank You Friends: Big Star's Third Live...And More, will be screened, ahead of its Apr. 21 release. - Billboard, 3/17/17...... Paul McCartney's brother Michael McCartney says he believes a vintage Liverpool police recruitment film dating from 1958 may very likely contain a glimpse of himself, Paul and John Lennon standing on the rooftop of the McCartneys' home at 20 Forthlin Road watching the annual Police Horse and dog display. The footage was discovered by Liverpudlian Peter Hodgson, who posted on Facebook, "I love watching old films about Liverpool on You Tube and I made the connection with Forthlin Road when I saw the Mather Avenue police show footage... I found the information on a Merseyside Police website which confirmed it was 1958." Michael McCartney then told the Liverpool Echo that he believes it "could definitely be us... It was a really big occasion in Liverpool and that's what we used to do every summer" -- take deck chairs and climb onto the concrete shed and watch a free show. And I think there is every chance John would have been there that year -- absolutely. His friend, Pete Shotton, was a police cadet. And George [Harrison] could easily have been there, too. It's bloody mad -- absolutely fascinating and unbelievable!" Although the images of the people in question are to tiny for a positive identification, if it is indeed Paul McCartney and John Lennon it would be the earliest known film appearance of any of the group members. - Billboard, 3/9/17...... In related news, Sony/ATV Music Publishing is telling a UK judge that Sir Paul's lawsuit to reclaim rights to songs he authored as a member of the Beatles is "unripe" and "clearly forum-shopping." McCartney filed suit against Sony January, suing to confirm that under the termination provisions of U.S. copyright law, he gets to recapture his share of the copyright in the UK. If McCartney is successful, he will have terminated a copyright grant 18 months hence. Sony is asking the UK court to dismiss this case, and allow the UK court to determine relevant issues of UK contract law. Meanwhile, McCartney has unveiled the previously unheard demo for "Distractions" from his 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt, which will drop as a deluxe reissue on Mar. 24. Recorded and mixed by McCartney at Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland, in 1987, "Distractions" was a key track on side one of Flowers in the Dirt. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/13/17...... Ray DaviesVeteran The Kinks frontman Ray Davies was formally knighted by Prince Charles on Mar. 16 after making the Queen's 2017 New Years Honours list in December. Davies, 72, received his knighthood for services to the arts and made light of his special moment and shared a picture for posterity. "It lasted three minutes and it went very well," he told the Daily Mail. "And I said goodbye and went home." Davies was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen back in 2004, and The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Meanwhile, Davies is readying the release of Americana, his first solo album in nearly a decade, which is due on Apr. 21 via Legacy Recordings. - Billboard, 3/17/17...... A taping of the 2016 Farm Aid concert featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews will make its premier broadcast on AXS TV on Mar. 19 at 10:00 P.M. EDT. The Farm Aid special was filmed at the Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater in Bristow, Virginia, on Sept. 17, and also features Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, and Jamey Johnson with Alison Krauss. AXS TV is a television network featuring music programming and festivals, comedy performances and current events. - Billboard, 3/16/17...... Stevie Wonder has been tapped to deliver the keynote address at the 2017 edition of the ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO in Los Angeles, set for Apr. 13-15 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. Wonder will accept a new honor named the "Key of Life" award after his 1976 iconic double-LP Songs in the Key of Life that recognizes "songwriters and composers who best exemplify Wonder's legacy through their commitment to the art form he elevated through his talent, dedication and unparalleled heart." ASCAP's current president is songwriter Paul Williams, and some 3,000 attendees are expected. - Billboard, 3/16/17...... Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers will be among the headliners at the upcoming Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival in Pasadena, Calif., on June 24-25. Organized by the same team behind the successful Coachella festival, Arroyo Seco will take place in the Rose Bowl and is described as "a world class culture event featuring three stages of live music along with curated menus from LA's celebrated restaurants and chefs plus craft beer & wine." Also performing will be Weezer, Mumford & Sons and the Shins, among others. - Billboard, 3/15/17...... Gregg Allman posted on his official website on Mar. 13 that he has cancelled all of his scheduled tour dates for the rest of 2017. Allman, 69, said he was taking several months off from touring so he can "focus on his health," but still had plans to tour next year. Allman did not provide additional details for the cancellations, but he has faced multiple health issues, including contracting hepatitis C and having a 2010 liver transplant. - AP, 3/14/17...... Prince's sister Tyka Nelson claims her famous brother knew he was going to do die and had been making preparations for his death. "About three years ago he called He said, 'I think I've done everything I've come to do,'" she told ABC's forthcoming program People Icons: Gone Too Soon, which looks back on the lives of late stars. "My dad and Prince always spoke in these types of riddles," Nelson added. "He knew. And he was preparing me. It's very clear He needed to go. He was tired. Instead of crying, dance. He didn't like me to cry, so I don't want them to cry either." Tyka says she last saw Prince three days before his Apr. 21, 2016 death, and that they "were making jokes and hugged three times." - New Musical Express, 3/16/17...... Pete TownsendRoger DaltreyThe Who announced on Mar. 13 that they'll kick off a six-show residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on July 29, running through Aug. 11. The shows were described as a "first run" for the band, which has undertaken a long "goodbye tour" since 2014 that is set to end in April 2017 in England. The band's leading members are guitarist Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey, who are 71 and 73-years-old, respectively. - Billboard, 3/13/17...... Bette Midler returned to the Broadway stage on Mar. 15 in a revival of "Hello, Dolly!" and shared the first photo of her in the iconic title role the previous evening on Twitter. "Here I am for the first time as Dolly! Performances begin tomorrow #HelloDolly!," the Divine Miss M posted. The "Hello, Dolly!" revival began a run of preview performances on Mar. 15, and its official opening night is scheduled for Apr. 20. It will be the fourth revival of the play on Broadway. The original Broadway production ran for 2,844 performances between 1964 and 1970 and won 10 Tony Awards (including one for Carol Channing, who originated the role of Dolly on Broadway). - Billboard, 3/14/17...... A set of UK commemorative stamps honoring David Bowie were launched into space in helium balloons on Mar. 13 in a fitting tribute to the late galactic space rocker. According to the British Press Association, 52 sets of the stamps created to honor the one-year anniversary of Bowie's Jan. 2016 death at age 69 were sent into the stratosphere on the special balloons as an homage to Bowie's 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The flight reportedly reached a height of 111,876 feet, and fans who correctly guess where the "stamps that fell to earth" landed won one of the limited-edition versions, which were released on Mar. 14. - Billboard, 3/14/17...... Lionel Richie and Todd Rundgren will be among the recipients of an honorary degree from the Berklee College of Music during its commencement ceremony on May 13. Rundgren is also this year's commencement speaker. The college's honorary degrees recognize those who have made significant achievements and influences in music along with their contributions to American and international culture, and previous recipients include Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Annie Lennox, Carole King and Willie Nelson. - Billboard, 3/13/17...... A limited-edition vinyl release of recordings made by infamous '60s cult leader Charles Manson during the 1980s while imprisoned at San Quentin is being made available ahead of a new ABC documentary on Manson which premiers on Mar. 17. Manson was once befriended by the Beach Boys who recorded one of his songs, which charted in 1968. But a record deal eluded him; despite his connection to Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson, Manson failed to convince record producer Terry Melcher to take him seriously. Until now, Manson's music has existed mostly in bootleg form. Manson, who is now 82, cannot make money on his art while imprisoned in California's Corcoran prison. He has been serving life sentences since being convicted of the Sharon Tate murders in 1971, and made news earlier in 2017 when he was hospitalized. - Billboard, 3/17/17...... Paul SimonPaul Simon will kick off a 17-city US tour on June 1 in St. Augustine, Fla., to support the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. In an interview with the environmental issues website Mongabay, Simon said he hopes the tour can generate "millions of dollars" for the Foundation and boost awareness for its good causes. "I don't want people to come and think they're going to be lectured to. But I don't mind having Ed's book available or having (Half-Earth) caps there," Simon said. The tour will run through June 28 at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Denver, Co. - Billboard, 3/14/17...... A relief fund set up by Dolly Parton to benefit the almost 1000 families who lost their homes in Nov. 2016 in Parton's home territory of East Tennesse has raised upwards of $9 million and helped 921 residents of Sevier county. Parton, arguably the most famous person from the region, singlehandedly created countless jobs after buying an old theme park and converting it into Dollywood, which is now the "largest employer" in the area. In other Dolly Parton news, the singer/songwriter's longtime manager Don Warden died on Mar. 11 at age 87. Mr. Warden met Parton when the young country singer joined The Porter Wagoner Show in the 1960s. Parton said in a statement posted on her website that Mr. Warden was "like a father, a brother, a partner and one of my best friends." Mr. Warden was a self-taught steel guitar player who was a founding member of the Porter Wagoner Trio and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. - Jezebel.com/AP, 3/14/17...... James Cotton, a Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master whose full-throated sound backed such blues legends as Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Howlin' Wolf, died on Mar. 16 of pneumonia at St. David's Medical Center in Austin. He was 81. Known as "Mr. Superharp," Mr. Cotton was honored by New York's Lincoln Center in 2010, and his most recent album, 2013's Cotton Mouth Man, was nominated for a Grammy. - AP, 3/16/17...... Music industry veteran Maxx Kidd, who helped pioneer go-go music, died on Mar. 13 in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 75. Kidd's first major industry breakthrough was working as a producer for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records, where he collaborated with such artists as Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler and Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers. Kidd later played a role in producing and supporting D.C.'s infamous go-go sound, working with Brown & the Soul Searchers as well as fellow funk groups Trouble Funk and E.U. He also became an independent promoter and marketer, with a client list that included the O'Jays, the Temptations, Lou Rawls, Van McCoy, Johnnie Taylor and Shalamar. - Billboard, 3/15/17.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Touring Canada in mid-March, Elton John enjoyed a day off on Mar. 9 by doing a little record shopping in downtown Vancouver. Sir Elton dropped into Beat Street Records on Hastings Street to check out the selection of vinyl, asking for "gangsta rap." John, 69, is an avowed fan of Young Thug, whom he's hung out with in Atlanta, and of Big Sean, who he once approached at a party to gush over his new album. A manager of the store said Elton's purchases included LP's by such artists as Little Feat, Devine Brown, Linda Ronstadt, Morris Day and "all the Scritti Poliiti we had." Elton, whose next tour stop was two shows in Victoria, B.C., signed a copy of his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album for the store's employees before leaving. - Postmedia Network, 3/10/17...... Richard PryorNancy WilsonThe 5th Annual Rock Against MS benefit concert and award show, set for Mar. 25 at the historic Los Angeles Theatre, will honor the iconic '70s comedian Richard Pryor, who was afflicted with the condition. "More than anyone, Richard could appreciate RAMS' mission to not remain silent," says his widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor. "RAMS uses every means possible to enlighten, inform and educate the public about MS. Telling the truth is their genius too." The headlining performer will be Roadcase Royale, a new band featuring Nancy Wilson of Heart and Liv Warfield formerly of Prince's New Power Generation. Roadcase Royale premeired their new single, "Get Live," on RollingStone.com on Mar. 8, and a lyric video of the song is currently available to view on the official Roadcase Royale website. "Get Loud," about getting loud and standing up for women's equality, will be among the songs performed at the MS benefit concert, which will be hosted by comedians Bill Burr (Breaking Bad/Date Night) and Craig Gass (Sex in the City/The Howard Stern Show). - Miles High Productions, 3/10/17...... Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux has shared details on upcoming releases from the iconic psychedelic band, which have been mapped out for a whopping 22 years. "We know for sure that every year we're going to release four Dave's Picks, which are the three-CD complete live shows, quarterly," he says. "We know we're going to do one big box set each year, whether that's an eight-CD set or an 11-CD set, like the one we have coming up. This gives us one other big thing to focus on every year." Lemieux, a 46-year-old history and fine arts major from Ottawa, Ontario, compiled the new two-disc deluxe reissue documenting the band's self-titled debut with Rhino Records, the first of a 50th-anniversary reissue series through 2039. He also oversees the Dead's Los Angeles archive of thousands of tapes, arranged meticulously by year and format. "To me, as a Deadhead and as an archivist, every one of those tapes tells a story," he says. On May 5, the acclaimed 1977 live Dead concert Cornell 5/8/77 will drop as a deluxe 3-disc set, a recording considered so historically significant it has been accepted into the Library of Congress. - Billboard, 3/10/17...... After Black Sabbath played what they said was their final-ever gig together in Birmingham, UK on Feb. 4, the band appeared to make it official on Mar. 7, posting their obituary on Facebook with the hashtag, #TheEnd. Reaction to the news varied widely, with one fan quipping "the Rolling Stones have their final tour every 3 years," while another wrote "Black Sabbath will live on through their recordings for people to discover and enjoy the band for a long time to come." After nearly a half century together, the influential heavy metal group -- which, on its final tour, included singer Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and Tommy Clufetos replacing original drummer Bill Ward -- embarked on their The End Tour in January 2016, putting an end to a 49-year, 19 studio album career that began in Birmingham in 1968. - Billboard, 3/8/17......David ByrneA new musical from former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne based on Joan of Arc is set to debut at New York's Public Theater on Mar. 15. "Joan of Arc: Into the Fire" is described as a "raw, resonant take" on the 15th-century French martyr, with lead role actor Jo Lampert dressed in tight black leather and driving rock anthems sung by French soldiers. "What boggles the mind -- why her story has endured for centuries -- is that people are still trying to interpret her," Byrne says. "Marine Le Pen, the French right-wing politician, claims her! She has become this vessel, and people have always wanted to put their stamp on her," he added. - Billboard, 3/10/17...... Bob Dylan has shared a third track off his forthcoming 3-CD collection of 30 classic songs by American songwriters. Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" follows Frank Sinatra's "I Could Have Told Your" and "My One and Only Love," which were previewed in February. As well as Carmichael and Sinatra, Triplicate, due Mar. 31, will see Dylan also tackling songs made famous by the likes of Charles Strouse, Lee Adams and Harold Hupfield. On May 3, Dylan will kick off a 7-city tour of the UK and Ireland in Cardiff. - New Musical Express, 3/11/17...... A co-headlining tour by Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey has been rescheduled and reduced one-third in size, two weeks after Richie was forced to postpone the tour because of a knee injury. The original 35-date tour has now been reduced to 21 dates, and will kick off July 21 in Oakland, Calif., and run through Sept. 5 in Seattle. - Billboard, 3/9/17...... Elvis Costello will be honored at the "Little Kids Rock" music education benefit show on Oct. 18 at PlayStation Theater in New York City. The national nonprofit benefit, known for transforming the lives of children's music education, raises funds to provide instruments and teacher training in low-income schools. Costello, a longtime supporter of music education, will also perform with music students onstage, and the special event also includes a live auction including cool prizes. - Billboard, 3/9/17...... As Don McLean's seminal 1972 hit "American Pie" celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2017, the Maine-based singer/songwriter has given McLean's ex-wife Patrisha McLean an order of protection against him. McLean pleaded guilty in July 2016 to domestic violence assault after being charged with the offense six months earlier, with his lawyer saying at the time that his punishment would be a $3,000 fine if he stayed out of trouble for a year. A final order of protection was granted on Mar. 8 that will last for two years. It was preceded by a temporary order. Patrisha McLean says she is glad the order was granted. - Billboard, 3/8/17...... Two rare David Bowie albums will be reissued on vinyl on Apr. 22 in the UK to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day. Cracked Actor (Live In Los Angeles 1974), a live album recorded in Sept. 1974 which has never been officially released before, and BOWPROMO1, a 1971 promo album featuring alternative versions of songs that later appeared on Hunky Dory, will both see the light of day. It is believed fewer than 500 copies of BOWPROMO1 were pressed in 1971, and longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti has remixed the 16 multi-track tapes from Bowie's 1974 tour stop in L.A. for Cracked Actor. - New Musical Express, 3/10/17...... Barry ManilowBarry Manilow is prepping a concept album of New York songs, This Is My Town: Songs of New York, that will drop on Apr. 21 via Decca Records. The 10 Big Apple-centric songs mix Manilow originals, including "New York City Rhythm," and covers such as "On Broadway." "When you come from New York you are always a New Yorker, even though I've lived on the West Coast for more years than I did in New York," says the Brooklyn born singer. "I still feel like a New Yorker. I still talk fast. I still have my Brooklyn accent if I don't watch out. I still feel like a New York guy, so this (album) made sense." An eight-song "NYC Medley" includes the theme from "New York, New York," Billy Joel's "New York State Of Mind" and Jay Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State Of Mind." Manilow will launch a three-city mini-tour of the Los Angeles, Chicago and New York areas on May 14 in Inglewood, Calif., then visiting Rosemont, Ill., and Uniondale, N.Y. "It's going to be a residency type of thing, every other month for as long as people will come," says Manilow, who in 2016 spent more than a year on tour "saying goodbye to every city possible." - Billboard, 3/9/17...... Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's tour down under in January and February has earned nearly $40 million from 12 performances in seven Australian venues followed by concerts at two stadiums in New Zealand. Grosses totaled $38 million, giving the tour the top spot on the Billboard Hot Tours roundup for Mar. 7. Springsteen last played Australia in 2013 during his The Wrecking Ball tour. - Billboard, 3/8/17...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Guardian, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters compared US Pres. Donald Trump to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. "Any despot, whenever they build a monument to themselves, whether it's Ceauescu, or Saddam Hussein, or Donald Trump, they always look exactly the same," Waters said. He continued: "Weirdly, these people have bits missing from their sensibility, so it's almost as if they build the monument to themselves from a despot catalog and it's always full of marble and gold taps." [Look at] Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It's perfect. Trump with his gold taps and his all of that. It's the perfect symbol of everything we need to steer clear of." Waters will debut his operatic treatment of Pink Floyd's 1979 The Wall album on Mar. 11 in Montreal, Canada. - NME, 3/9/17...... Paris JacksonMichael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson has signed with the artist management company WME in all areas, one week after she joined the top modeling agency IMG Models. In February, Paris graced the covers of Rolling Stone and CR Fashion Book, and she'll appear on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Mar. 15. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/7/17...... Moviemaker Roman Polanski says he will agree to return to the U.S. to face 39-year-old sex charges if the judge overseeing his case promises not to send him to jail. The acclaimed director of Rosemary's Baby and The Pianist has has been milling around Europe since 1978, when he was charged with having sex with a 13-year-old girl at a Hollywood party. Polanski claims he left the U.S. and went into exile because the judge reneged on a deal to hand him 50 days behind bars and instead threatened him with a 50-year sentence. His lawyer Harland Braun says the 400 days Polanksi served in jail in the U.S. and under house arrest in Switzerland in connection to his crime is more than enough for the sex assault he committed almost four decades ago. - WENN.com, 3/11/17...... Joni Sledge, the second eldest sister in the hit pop group Sister Sledge, died at her home in Phoenix, Ariz., on Mar. 10 of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 60. Sister Sledge was formed in 1971 and went on to record such hits as "We Are Family," "He's the Greatest Dancer," "Frankie" and more, with "We Are Family" peaking at No. 2, topping the R&B and disco charts, and nominated for a Grammy. "We thank you for privacy as we hurt for her presence, but also for embracing her radiance and the sincerity with which she loved life," a statement issued by her family says. - Billboard, 3/11/17...... Jim Fuller, the lead guitarist and co-songwriter for the '60s rock band The Surfaris, died on Mar. 3 at the age of 69. Fuller, known as the "Godfather" of surf music, was also a studio musician that has performed on many other artists' recordings of rock, folk, and blues songs throughout his career, doing vocals, lead and bass guitar. Fuller also contributed to the popularity of Fender guitars after being photographed for the cover of The Surfaris albums, and his name is on the famous "Hollywood Walk of Fame." As of 2004 he continued to perform with The Surfaris and other bands, with a fan base in United States, Europe, and Japan. - 3/5/17...... Hershel Wiginton, a founding member of the backing vocal group The Nashville Edition, died on Mar. 6 at his daughter's home in Carthage, Tenn., after several years of declining health. He was 79. The Nashville Edition appeared on an estimated 12,000 recordings between the 1960s and the early 1990s, including Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn," Marty Robbins' "El Paso City, and Lynn Anderson's "Rose Garden." - 3/8/17.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A bi-coastal summer music festival headlined by the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac is reportedly being planned this July, with organizers hoping to turn the shows -- at Citi Field in New York and Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles -- into an annual event. The "Classic East" and "Classic West" concerts will each take place over two days with additional artists to be announced in the coming months. A number of big-time promoters and music companies are involved in the blockbuster concert concept including Azoff MSG Entertainment, Live Nation, the Oak View Group and CAA. The festivals would be the first performance by the Eagles since co-founder Glenn Frey passed away in Jan. 2016, and they are Fleetwood Mac's only scheduled dates in 2017, a source says. The classic-rock driven festival follows the success of Goldenvoice and AEG Live's Desert Trip festival headlined by such top acts as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Who. That Oct. 2016 festival brought in $160 million in ticket sales, but AEG officials have not announced if it will return in 2017. - Billboard, 3/2/17...... Meanwhile, Hall & Oates and '80s hitmakers Tears for Fears have announced they'll kick off an '80s-themed tour of North America together in 2017. The 29-city tour will kick off in Tulsa, Okla., on May 4, hitting major markets such as St. Louis (5/6), Milwaukee (5/13), Chicago (5/15), Detroit (5/17), Miami (6/7), Cincinnati (6/13), Queens, NY (6/16), Boston (6/24), Dallas (6/11), Denver (6/15) and Las Vegas (6/21) before wrapping in Los Angeles on July 28. While Hall & Oates have never split up since forming in 1970, Tears for Fears reformed in 2000 after parting company in 1991. - New Musical Express, 3/2/17...... Jimmy BuffettJimmy Buffett has announced he's launching a string of "Latitude Margaritaville" retirement homes, initially in Daytona Beach, Fla., with more planned in other communities in the future. "Inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett, your new home in paradise features exciting recreation, unmatched dining and FINtastic nightlife," reads the Latitude Margaritaville site. The place where you can "grow older, but not up" promises homes starting in the low $200s, with furnished models slated to open in early 2018 for residents who have to be 55 or older. "It's going to be a very fun place," Minto Communities vice president Bill Bullock told a local TV station of the $1 billion project that is expected to feature 7,000 2- and 3-bedroom homes. Buffett announced earlier in 2017 that he's also eyeing a Broadway show based on his music that will debut in the spring of 2018. - Billboard, 3/6/17...... Lawyers for Cher asked a New York Federal judge on Mar. 6 to dismiss a lawsuit over the album cover of her 2013 album Closer to the Truth which a graphic designer claims ripped off a typeface the he created. Moshik Nadav is a graphic designer who claims having his Paris Logo typography was used on Closer to the Truth, which has sold about 585,000 copies since its release. Nadav's complaint states that he is a leading figure in the world of typography and that his Paris Logo features "artistic elements such as swashes having various thicknesses, end drops and unique lettering that provide... an aesthetic look... that his clients... and the public at large associate with Nadav and his business, Moshik Nadav Typography LLC." In a motion to dismiss, Cher's attorney Leonard Venger pointed to the section of copyright code spelling out which material can't be copyrighted, which includes "short phrases, typeface and variations on lettering." - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/7/17...... Billy Joel was joined by '80s rocker John Mellencamp and two members of the '60s group the Young Rascals during his sold out show at Madison Square Garden on Mar. 3. Joel and Mellencamp treated fans to a surprise performance of "Authority Song," off of Mellencamp's 1983 Uh-huh album, while Young Rascals' Gene Cornish and Felix Cavaliere brought their 1966 hit "Good Lovin'" to the crowd. "I left the gig after watching these guys play and I almost gave up," said Joel, reminiscing about attending a Young Rascals show in the 1960s, as he introduced Cornish on guitar and Cavaliere on organ. Joel returns to the famed New York City venue in April. His next tour stop is in Lincoln, Neb., on March 24. - Billboard, 3/5/17...... Gladys KnightGladys Knight has announced she's launching a fundraising campaign to refurbish a Community Center at the site of Reynolds High School, in Canton, N.C. Knight says being married to western North Carolina native William "Billy" McDowell, a Canton native, has turned her into a country girl at heart, and she's hoping to turn that new affection into possibly the best thing that's ever happened to Canton. Organizers need to raise up to $5 million to renovate the 20,000-square-foot Reynolds Community Center, which was constructed in 1930 and was functional until 1966. It was once the only African-American high school in western North Carolina west of Asheville. When finished, the 6.5-acre property will provide multiple services, from a music center to counseling for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Meanwhile, Knight has won her bid to end all personal connections to her son's struggling chicken and waffles restaurant, according to a settlement filed in Georgia's Clayton County court. Signed on Feb. 27, the agreement states that 40-year-old Shanga Hankerson must remove all uses of Knight's name, likeness and memorabilia from the restaurant formerly called Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles by Apr. 26, 2017. "She's out of litigation and has her name and intellectual property back," her attorney told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hankerson founded the restaurant with his mother's help in 1999. The legal battle strained Knight's relationship with her son after he claimed she did not have the "mental capacity" to choose to remove her name from the business. - AP/Billboard, 3/5/17...... Rod Stewart is apologizing for a video shared by his current wife Penny Lancaster that shows Stewart in what appears to be a re-enactment of a beheading. Lancaster posted a video on Instagram that shows several people clad in black walking in a desert. Stewart is wearing a white shirt and standing behind a man who gets on his knees before Stewart makes a motion with his right hand in front of the man's neck. The video has been deleted but was captured by media outlets and republished. Stewart, who performed a concert in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Mar. 3, said in a statement that his group was "simply larking about pre-show." He says the video was "understandably" misinterpreted and he sends his "deepest apologies to those who have been offended." Stewart is set to begin the latest leg of his Las Vegas residency later in March, and has been announced as a headliner of this year's UK Isle Of Wight Festival. - AP, 3/3/17...... Roger Waters has posted another tease of his forthcoming first solo rock album in 25 years, Is This the Life We Really Want? Rogers posted a 30-second video clip on Mar. 2 that features him listening to a lush orchestral score for an unnamed song from the album. Produced by frequent Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich, Is This the Life We Really Want? is due out May 19. Meanwhile, the recording console used by Rogers' former band Pink Floyd for recording its classic 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon will go up for auction later in March. The TG12345 MK IV recording console, which was housed in Studio 2 at Abbey Road, will be auctioned by New York's Bonham's on March 27. The console is expected to reach a six-digit figure, though no estimate has been set. One of a two-of-a-kind model, the console was also used by Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Kate Bush, while The Cure also used it more recently. Currently owned by producer Mike Hedges -- who bought it from Abbey Road in 1983 -- Bonham's says the console is still in an "excellent working condition" and is currently housed in Prime Studios in Austria. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/3/17...... Curtis MayfieldThe estate of Curtis Mayfield has announced it will re-release Mayfield's book Poetic License to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Being re-released as a limited-edition paperback at CurtisMayfield.com, Poetic License spotlights poems and song lyrics penned by Mayfield during a career that spanned four decades, from his tenure with The Impressions during the civil rights era to his groundbreaking solo turn. The book was Mayfield's first project after a tragic 1990 stage accident which left him paralyzed from the neck down after being hit by lighting equipment. "It started him back to work and that's what I wanted," his widow Altheida Mayfield says. "I wanted him to get his mind off the accident, and remember that he still had a functioning mind. From that point on, he was anxious to work. You couldn't slow him down." After the book's publication, Mayfield went on to record and release his final album, 1996's New World Order. He died in December 1999 at the age of 57. Altheida Mayfield says she's also working on a book about her life with her late husband that's slated for release in 2018. In the meantime, a limited-edition vinyl reissue of Curtis Mayfield's 1972 Superfly soundtrack is set for release later in 2017, and a documentary about his life is also in development. - Billboard, 3/2/17...... In a new interview with Classic Rock magazine, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry says Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler "didn't get" the classic 1984 rock "mockumentary" Spinal Tap when the pair first saw the film at the cinema. "[He was] squirming and squirming, and he did not laugh the whole time," Perry recalled. "It was like he took the band's side on everything. It was like he did not -- he didn't get it. He got indignant. And it was, like, I couldn't believe it. So, my wife and I were cracking up -- and we're watching Steven." - NME, 3/2/17...... Lou Reed's widow Laurie Anderson announced on Mar. 2 that the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is acquiring Reed's complete archives. "What better place to have this than in the heart of the city he loved the best?" said Anderson, who described assembling Reed's archive as "one of the most intense experiences of my life." Reed, who died from liver disease on Oct. 27, 2013, at the age of 71, left behind an archive that measures approximately 300 linear feet of paper records, electronic records, and photographs, as well as approximately 3,600 audio and 1,300 video recordings. All of Reed's major tours and many of his guest performances are represented in the collection, including 25 hours of original recordings documenting his 1978 run at the Bottom Line in NYC from which the Take No Prisoners live album emerged. - Billboard, 3/2/17...... Actor Danny Masterson of That '70s Show fame is denying reports he is under investigation for raping fellow members of the Church of Scientology. According to journalist Tony Ortega's Scientology blog, "The Underground Bunker," Masterson is being investigated by officials at the Los Angeles Police Department for sexually assaulting three women. No charges have been filed against Masterson and he is now vehemently denying the claims. "Based on reading the anti-Scientology blog that posted this story, these false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini's anti-Scientology television series," a rep for Masterson said in a statement. - WENN.com, 3/3/17...... The BeatlesThe UK paper The London Sunday Times is reporting that a 50th anniversary deluxe re-release of the Beatles' landmark Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album is being planned for later in 2017. This special edition will reportedly include the songs "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane," which were originally planned to be included in the album, but were released as a double A-side single instead under pressure from record company EMI. Because the Beatles used to not include singles on albums, the two songs didn't end on up Sgt. Pepper, a decision that Beatles producer George Martin once called "a truly terrible mistake." More details about the re-release are being kept secret, but all parties involved have co-operated fully, including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon and George Harrison's respective widows, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. The re-release is set for June 1, exactly fifty years after the original. - The London Sunday TImes, 3/5/17...... In other Beatles-related news, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's son Sean Lennon has shared a recording of a song called "Bird Song" that he co-wrote with recently deceased actress/writer Carrie Fisher. Lennon and Fisher were good friends, with the musician calling her "one of the best and closest friends I've ever had in my life" in an Instagram post after her death. On Mar. 6, Sean shared the song on Instagram, explaining it was about "staying up too late and hearing the birds sing." "Carrie and I wrote this song years ago," Lennon wrote. "When she died I just felt I had to record it. This is only a demo unmixed, we only had a few hours to record it. But the lyrics she wrote with me I think are marvelous." - New Musical Express, 3/6/17...... Barbra Streisand has tweeted that Pres. Donald Trump has made her so anxious these days that she's gaining weight. "Donald Trump is making me gain weight," Babs tweeted on Mar. 4. "I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!" She continued the following day: "Trump just accused Obama of tapping his phones. Seriously crazy times. Time for more pancakes." Her comments come after Pres. Trump recently claimed the Barack Obama administration wire tapped into his Trump Tower phones during the 2016 Presidential elections. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/5/17...... Legendary '50s rock 'n' roller Jerry Lee Lewis is suing his daughter Phoebe, alleging she abused him, gave him drugs and isolated him. Lewis claims she schemed to spend his fortune with her husband Ezekiel Loftin, and said she gave him a "heavy cocktail of psychotropic drugs" to keep him under her control, according to TMZ.com. Lewis also alleges Phoebe forced him to go on gruelling tours despite his poor health, and kept him isolated at home in a mouldy house, which forced him to wear an oxygen mask. Lewis has requested $5 million of money back, and wants to block the couple from using his name or likeness. - WENN.com, 3/6/17...... Tom JonesTom Jones has reportedly said he won't return to the UK edition of The Voice after the current season ends. Jones, who was dropped from the show in 2015, has sung the praises of the revamped ITV show after re-joining the panel. But now the "She's a Lady" singer has told the UK paper The Sun that he wants to call it a day because the grueling filming schedule that is "very hard work, and takes up a huge amount of time and energy" acording to a source close to him. Jones famously told the BBC to "go f--- themselves" when he was replaced by Boy George in 2015 without consulting him -- slamming them for "sub-standard behaviour." - New Musical Express, 3/6/17...... Singer Valerie Carter has died of undisclosed causes at the age of 64. Carter, who had been ill in recent years including a serious 2014 incident where reports had her "fighting for her life," was best known as a backup singer for a long list of artists over the years including James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Neil Diamond, Nicolette Larson, Ringo Starr, Jimmy Webb, Willie Nelson and many more. Carter began her musical career when she was still a teenager, playing in coffee houses, and at age 20, had her first hit with Judy Collins' recording of Carter's "Cooked With Honey," which rose to No. 32 on the pop charts in 1973. She was also part of the band Howdy Moon which released an eponymous album in 1974 with production by Little Feat's Lowell George. George would go on to produce Carter's solo debut, 1977's Just a Stone's Throw Away, which included guest appearances by the likes of Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Maurice White. She went on to record two more albums, 1978's Wild Child and 1996's The Way It Is along with the 1998 EP Find a River. - 3/5/17...... Songwriter Ric Marlow, who co-wrote the Grammy-winning 1960s pop song "A Taste of Honey" that was made into a huge instrumental hit by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and also covered by the Beatles, died on Feb. 28 in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 91. Mr. Marlow and Bobby Scott co-wrote "A Taste of Honey" as the title song for a 1960 Broadway adaptation of Shelagh Delaney's British play that also was made into a 1961 film directed by Tony Richardson. Their song won the 1962 Grammy for best instrumental theme. Three years later, Alpert's version collected four Grammys, including song of the year, and went as high as No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was also covered by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett, among others. Mr. Marlow also worked as an actor, appearing on such shows as Bonanza, Death Valley Days, Sea Hunt, Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum, P.I.. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/6/17...... Robert OsborneRobert Osborne, a longtime film historian and the cherished host of Turner Classic Movies, died at his home in New York on Mar. 6 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 84. The genial, silver-haired Mr. Osborne had been the principal host of the Turner Classic Movies cable channel since its founding in 1994. His life partner, theater director and producer David Staller, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause. Mr. Osborne also wrote official histories of the Oscars and was a longtime columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, a show-business trade publication. Born Robert Jolin Osborne on May 3, 1932, in Colfax, Wash., a farming community, Mr. Osborne took acting roles in Seattle and his dashing good looks -- he resembled actor Robert Wagner -- led to a contract with Desilu Studies, a television production company run by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. His biggest role was a brief appearance in the 1962 pilot episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. Ball told him he lacked the survival skills for the cutthroat profession. "We have enough actors," he recalled her saying. "We don't have enough writers." He began publishing an official history of the Academy Awards in 1965, and updated the book every few years and joined the Hollywood Reporter in 1977, eventually settling in at its New York office. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/6/17...... Legendary TV broadcaster Barbara Walters' health has reportedly failed to the point that the 87-year-old now requires almost 24/7 care from a staff of people. There had been talk of a lifetime tribute to her on her longtime network ABC, but apparently she was unable to participate so it was put on hold.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Cher has added 18 summer and fall dates to her "Classic Cher" show at the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Cher says she decided to extend the show after the tremendous success of its first dates, and the newly announced performances will run from Aug. 2 through Aug. 19 and Nov. 8 through Nov. 25 at the Park Theater's 5,200-seat, re-imagined Monte Carlo venue. Cher performs many of her 34 Billboard charting hits in her "Classic Cher" show, which also has a previously announced run from May 3 through May 20. - Billboard, 2/28/17...... Ian AndersonJethro Tull principal Ian Anderson has announced he'll release Jethro Tull -- The String Quartets, a 12-song set of revamped versions of Tull classics including "Locomotive Breath," "Bungle in the Jungle" and "Aqualung," on Mar. 24. "I wanted to do these classic rock songs but in an authentic way," Anderson says. "Not the band with a string quartet but focusing on the string quartet with judicious ornament additions from myself to remind people, I suppose, of the originals and give it a bit more of an identifying feature... it was a challenge." Anderson says he selected the Anglo-Irish group Carducci Quartet to perform the arrangements constructed by Tull keyboardist John O'Hara. "Their energy, their precision -- they were really very impressive," Anderson notes. "So I was able to find a little hole in our mutual diaries when we could get together for four days to nail the album, which we did during the latter part of last year." Anderson, who provides flute and vocals to some of the songs on Jethro Tull -- The String Quartets, will kick off a Jethro Tull By Ian Anderson tour on May 26 with the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, followed by dates in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Europe and South America. He's also finishing up a lyrics book, which will be illustrated with photographs from his personal collection, and says he's planning an album of new material which he'll begin working on in March. - Billboard, 3/1/17...... The Temptations have been named the top all-time artist in a new Billboard ranking of the R&B/Hip-Hop genre, the first time the publication has compiled extensive all-time chart recaps of R&B/hip-hop music. Billboard reports The Temptations have tallied a record 16 No. 1s on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart (which began in 1965) and 14 leaders on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (which dates to 1958), including its longest-leading hit single, the eight-week No. 1 "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" in 1966. The Tempts also scored 43 top 10s, including in each decade from the '60s through the '90s. Next on the list is Aretha Franklin (also the top female artist), followed by Stevie Wonder (top male) at No. 3, with both sharing the record for most No. 1 records on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. James Brown (No. 4) and Michael Jackson (No. 5) round out the artist list's top five. Jackson also leads the list's all-time album recap, with Thriller, which spent a record 37 weeks at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in 1983-84. - Billboard, 3/1/17...... Speaking of Michael Jackson, the late singer's Neverland Ranch, which is now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch and owned Colony Capital, is back on the market with an asking price of $67 million. The price for the 2,700-acre property near Santa Barbara, Calif., is a significant cut from the $100 million it was on the market for in 2016. Jackson sold the ranch, which features a 12,000 square foot main residence and a 3,700 square foot pool house to Colony Capital prior to his 2009 death for $22.5 million. Colony Capital is headed by Thomas Barrack, a confidant and fundraiser for Pres. Donald Trump. - AP, 3/2/17...... Joey KramerIn an interview with Classic Rock magazine, Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer says he "never cared" for the Rolling Stones -- "especially in the drumming department" -- and he thinks his band are better live performers than Mick Jagger and co. "First of all, as far as Aerosmith goes, there is no band that has been around for almost 50 years that still has the original five guys in the band," Kramer said. "Everybody is always raving about the Stones, saying the Stones this and the Stones that. I've never cared for the Stones. They never had anything to offer me musically, especially in the drumming department." Kramer continued: "The Stones is not the original band and I do not care for them. I think if you came to see an Aerosmith concert, people would realise that we play so much better than them that it's silly because they're not so good live.... I don't think there's a band out there today that does what we do." Aerosmith announced in 2016 that their 2017 "Aerovederci" UK and European tour, which will include a huge headline performance at Download Festival, would be their last. - New Musical Express, 2/28/17...... Woody Woodmansey, the drummer who worked on David Bowie's 1972 masterpiece The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, says in a new interview that Bowie's label RCA Records initially rejected the album because they felt it lacked a lead single. Woodmansey, a member of Bowie's Spiders from Mars group, says Bowie then wrote the song "Starman" within a month. "It was an obvious single! I think Mick (Ronson) and I went out in the car after David played it for us the first time, and we were already singing it, having only heard it only once." On Feb. 23, Bowie won the top prize at the BRIT Awards, with his son Duncan Jones accepting the Best British Album award on his behalf. - New Musical Express, 2/24/17...... In other Bowie news, lawyers for the late rock icon have asked any secret heirs who might lay claim to his US $100 million fortune to come forward. Anyone who believes they have the right to inherit a portion of his estate, including any secret love children, will have two months to present their claims, after a notice was placed in British newspaper The Times on Feb. 25. Bowie, who passed away aged 69 in January 2016 after a battle with cancer, has two acknowledged children, film director Duncan Jones, 45, by his first wife Angie, and a daughter Lexi Jones, 16, by his second wife Iman. The notice requires claimants to present details of their relationship to him to lawyers at London legal firm Simkins LLP by 4 May. Bowie lived a typical rock and roll lifestyle during the peak of his career in the 1970s and has admitted his promiscuity in interviews. - WENN.com, 2/27/17...... StingSting performed an emotional rendition of his Oscar-nominated song "The Empty Chair" at the 89th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 26 in Hollywood, Calif. "The Empty Chair "was featured on the soundtrack of Jim: The James Foley Story, a documentary which chronicles the story of American journalist James Foley who was captured in Syria and became the first American citizen to be killed by ISIS when he was beheaded in 2014. "The Empty Chair"'s lyrics recount the absence from a deceased loved one from a family gathering, performance ended with a photo of Foley and the aptly-timed quote, "If I don't have the moral courage to challenge authority... we don't have journalism." Sting previously performed "The Empty Chair" at Sundance 2016's ASCAP Music Café with James Foley's family in attendance. "I curated the song from what [Jim's] family and friends said about him. It's their song," Sting has said. - Billboard, 2/26/17...... Jazz pianist Horace Parlan, a stalwart of the hard-bop jazz movement of the 1950s and 1960s and a notable collaborator with such stars as Charles Mingus and Dexter Gordon, died Feb. 23 at a nursing home in Naestved, Denmark. He was 86. Mr. Parlan overcame limited use of his right hand to develop a distinctive punchy style. In 1977, he made a well-received recording of spirituals with saxophonist Archie Shepp, "Goin' Home," and the two made several appearances over the next few years at jazz clubs and colleges in the United States. The duo later recorded two more albums. - AP, 3/1/17...... U.K. designer Alan Aldridge, who contributed to and compiled the classic Beatles-themed book The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics, has died at age 73. Aldridge is possibly best known for the picture book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper Feast (1973), a series of illustrations of anthropomorphic insects and other creatures, which he created in collaboration with William Plomer, who wrote the accompanying verses. Aldridge's other works include The Penguin Book of Comics (1967), Bernie Taupin: The One Who Writes the Words for Elton John (1976), and The Adventures and Brave Deeds of the Ship's Cat on the Spanish Maine (1977), and The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes: The Art of Alan Aldridge (2009). - Goodreads.com, 2/24/17.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Veteran rock guitarist/producer Rick Derringer pleaded guilty on Feb. 24 to carrying a Kel-Tec pistol on an airplane and in a secure area of Atlanta's airport on Jan. 9. Derringer, a former member of the Edgar Winter Group who sang the classic 1965 pop hit "Hang on Sloopy" and later recorded "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" as a solo artist, told a federal air marshal he kept his gun with him on commercial airline flights 30 to 50 times a year, and never before had a problem carrying it through airport checkpoints. However a spokesman for the TSA said there's no way to substantiate claims dating back years. "It was just a mistake, a simple human mistake," said Kenn Moutenot, his manager and the drummer in Derringer's Rick Derringer Band. Nothing like it will happen again, "not even a water pistol." According to TSA guidelines, air passengers are allowed to bring guns as checked baggage only, and the unloaded firearms must be in locked, hard-sided containers that are declared to the airline when checked. Ammunition also is prohibited in carry-on bags. Derringer will begin a U.S. tour in March, and is now working on a remake of his 1980s song "Real American," which has been used as theme music by pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, and at campaign events for former president Barck Obama and Pres. Donald Trump. Derringer has said he hopes the new version and its music video will transcend politics and bring the nation together. - AP, 2/24/17...... Eddie Van HalenRock guitar god Eddie Van Halen announced on Feb. 23 that he's donating 75 guitars to low-income students through the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. The organization provides nearly 1,800 instruments annually to schools without music programs, aiding about 10,000 students annually. "My whole life has been music. I could not imagine anything else," Van Halen told CNN. "It's a must. It has to be taught." He added that it "was very difficult at first to find a charity that [takes guitars]... They all just wanted money." The foundation takes its name from the 1995 movie Mr. Holland's Opus, starring Richard Dreyfuss as a music teacher who mentors young students. - Billboard, 2/23/17...... In related news, Bruce Springsteen continued his habit of encouraging young musicians by inviting an 11-year-old fan who had never played drums in her life onstage to jam with his E Street Band during a show in Christchurch, New Zealand on Feb. 21. Hayley Dockrill, who attended the show with her family, held a sign that caught The Boss's eye -- "I can resist Trump, but I can't resist Max" -- and before she knew it was drumming alongside E Street drummer Max Weinberg on the iconic 1984 track "Dancing in the Dark." Hayley's father, Chris, said it was a surreal moment for his daughter, who not only played in front of 30,000 people, but walked off with a present: a signed drum stick. On Feb. 15 in Brisbane, Australia, Springsteen invited a teenage fan onstage to perform "Growin' Up" with him. - Billboard, 2/22/17...... Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson is asking the court to let her intervene in a lawsuit against the executors of Michael's estate that centers on The Michael Jackson Company. Katherine claims she owns 10% of the company, which was formed in 2006. The legal fight began in 2013 after another TMJC shareholder, Quadree El-Amin, requested to inspect the company's financial records. As part of Jackson's ongoing probate proceedings, attorneys for the estate asked the court for an order determining that Jackson himself was the sole member and owner of TMJC. El-Amin then sued estate executors John Branca and John McClain, claiming they were making deals on behalf of TMJC without approval of its shareholders. Broderick Morris, Adean King and Raymone Bain also contend they are part owners of TMJC and are plaintiffs in the suit. Katherine Jackson says she was kept in the dark about El-Amin's inquiry and the resulting litigation. A hearing is currently set for Apr. 19. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/24/17...... Such rock legends as Keith Richards, David Byrne, Pete Townshend and Michael Stipe are fighting depositions and submitted documents that presumably go into detail about the financial arrangements they have with publishers in a lawsuit started in 2015 by the National Music Publishers Association against the Wolfgang's Vault website, which sells rock memorabilia and recordings by those and many other music artists. Since the lawsuit was filed, attorneys for Wofgang's Vault owner William Sagan have attempted various tactics to battle claims Wolfgang's Vault lacks the requisite licenses to stream an estimated two billion recorded concert performances. Sagan's attorneys are now prying into old agreements in the music business and demanding depositions with the overall goal of poking holes in the claim Wolfgang's lacks copyright authority. One of the main theories that Sagan's side is pursuing is that if musicians retained copyright to their works at the time of performance, and then agreed to a recording of their concerts, the musicians made an implied license for later use of the recordings. Sagan is also exploring issues ranging from possibly faulty copyright registrations to a lack of protest among the artists over the years to support affirmative defenses as well as limit damages in a case potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. At a hearing on Feb. 16, U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman ruled that Keith Richards and David Byrne wouldn't be required to appear for a deposition, but that they would have to answer 25 written questions. Stipe's own motion to quash a subpoena is still pending. On Feb. 22, the music publishers asked the judge's permission to add new allegations to their lawsuit over a new website, Wolfgangs.com, launched in November 2016 that is also streaming audio recordings and video footage. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/23/17...... Eric ClaptonA vintage Ferrari belonging to Eric Clapton may set a new record when it is auctioned in early March. Gooding & Company auction house founder David Gooding says the 1968 Dino 206 GT Ferrari could exceed the highest price paid for a Dino, which was $770,000 in 2016. The estimate on Clapton's Dino is $750,000 - $900,000, and if bidding gets fierce and competitive, it could be the first Dino to crest the $1,000,000 mark. Clapton has long had a continuing love affair with Ferraris, having owned at least a dozen exclusive cars from the Italian brand over the past forty years. The 1968 Dino is one of the first Ferraris he purchased, having been indoctrinated into the brand's charms by George Harrison. In his 2007 autobiography, Clapton recalled the time Harrison arrived at his house in a dark blue Ferrari 365 GTC. I'd never seen one in the flesh before, and my heart melted," he recalled. Clapton didn't have a license at the time and couldn't drive a manual transmission, but he vowed to learn "on Harrison's car" with the eventual goal of acquiring a Ferrari. - Billboard, 2/21/17...... Lionel Richie has been forced to postpone a coheadlining tour with Mariah Carey as he recovers from a knee procedure. The former Commodores member, 67, issued a statement saying "unfortunately my recovery from a knee procedure will not have me 100 percent ready to start the tour." He said he doesn't want to disappoint his fans and he's looking "forward to being back onstage so we can all be 'Dancing on the Ceiling' together again." The 35-date tour was supposed to launch Mar. 15 and wrap on May 27. Purchased tickets will be honored at the new dates, to be announced soon. - AP, 2/24/17...... A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on Feb. 22 that Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley will not have to pay spousal support to her estranged husband Michael Lockwood while they fight over her assets. Judge Patrick Cathcart ordered Presley to pay $50,000 to the lawyer representing Lockwood. The ruling comes days after Presley filed court documents stating she is deeply in debt and their 8-year-old twin daughters are subject to a child welfare case. The order does not affect the couple's children, who are in the care of Presley's mother, Priscilla Presley A trial in children's court is scheduled for March. Michael Lockwood is challenging the validity of an agreement he signed after marrying Presley in 2006 that would govern how much he is entitled to in a divorce. He had been seeking $40,000 a month in spousal support, but Judge Cathcart said the unemployed musician would have to wait until after a trial on the agreement. Lockwood said he gave up his career and worked for Presley before their breakup, according to court documents. Presley's lawyer contended that Lockwood hasn't been looking for work and should apply to be a music teacher or work at Guitar Center. Lisa Marie contends the children's court proceeding was initiated after she discovered photos and "disturbing" video on her husband's computer, allegations Lockwood's attorney contends are "highly sensational" and inaccurate." Priscilla Presley tried to allay fans' concerns about the legal issues and well-being of the twins in a Facebook post on Feb. 19. "There is lots of confusion, commotion and concern from all the talk circulating," she wrote. "Let me put this to rest ... the girls have not been in foster care and never will be. The girls have been with me and will be until all this is sorted out." - AP, 2/22/17...... David BowieNearly 14 months after his shocking death in Jan. 2016, David Bowie took top honors at the 2017 Brit Awards at London's O2 arena on Feb. 22. Bowie was posthumously awarded two of the biggest prizes -- best British album for Blackstar and British male performer -- during the 37th annual award show. I lost my dad last year, but I also became a dad and I was spending a lot of time trying to work out what would I want my son to know about his granddad," Bowie's son Duncan Jones said as he collected the best British album award on behalf of his late dad. "I think it would be the same thing that most of my dad's fans have taken over the last 50 years. He's always been there supporting people who think they're a little bit weird or a bit strange. A bit different. He's always been there for them. So this award is for all the kooks and all the people who make the kooks," Jones added. Actor Michael C. Hall, the lead actor in the Bowie-devised musical "Lazarus," collected the award for British male performer, and said "If David Bowie could be here tonight, he probably wouldn't be here tonight. But since he can't be here tonight, I'm here on his behalf and on behalf of his family to accept this testament to a man beholden to nothing but his own boundless imagination and daring. [A man] whose ever-expanding artistic vitality simultaneously soothes us and astonishes us. Maybe he is here tonight? I don't know." - Billboard, 2/22/17...... In other Bowie-related news, fans of the Thin White Duke are raising money for a memorial statue marking the late music icon's London birthplace. Plans call for the statue to be shaped in the fashion of the iconic lightning bolt from his Aladdin Sane album cover and would be situated in Brixton, south London -- just streets away from Bowie's Stansfield Road birthplace. Organizers say they have consulted Bowie's teams in New York and London in regards to planning the statue, and hope to pay for the project by crowdfunding online and estimate the costs to be north of $1.23 million. So far, 165 people have raised more than $28,330 for the red-and-blue-sprayed stainless steel monument. - NME/Billboard, 2/21/17...... Blondie announced on Feb. 20 that they will play a huge London Roundhouse show on May 3. Blondie will release it's latest studio LP, Pollinator, two days later and have recently posted the second single from the album, "My Monster" which is a collaboration with Johnny Marr, online. While in the U.K., Blondie will also play the British Summer Time festival. - NME, 2/20/17...... David CassidyIn an interview with People magazine on Feb. 20, David Cassidy revealed that he's suffering from dementia, the same disease from which his mother and grandfather suffered. "I was in denial, but a part of me always knew this was coming," the 66-year-old former The Partridge Family star said. Cassidy's revelation comes after a disastrous performance at The Canyon Club in Agoura, Calif., on Feb. 18 when he slurred his words throughout the show and even fell off the stage at one point. Cassidy also reportedly told audiences the following night at the Santa Barbara Performing Arts Center that that concert would be his last show, however a Mar. 4 show at BB King's Blues Club has yet to be cancelled. "I want to focus on what I am, who I am and how Ive been without any distractions," Cassidy told People. "I want to love. I want to enjoy life." Cassidy has struggled with alcoholism in the past, including a rehab stint in 2014 after his third arrest for driving under the influence. Cassidy also recently divorced his wife of 23 years, Sue Shifrin-Cassidy, after she filed for divorce. The split was finalized in 2016. - NY Daily News, 2/20/17...... A star-studded memorial for late The Brady Bunch matriarch Florence Henderson was held at the Music Box Theatre in New York City on Feb. 21. Stars including Alan Cumming, Michael Feinstein, Judy Gold, Whoopi Goldberg and Chita Rivera shared their fondest memories of the veteran actress, who died of a heart attack at age 82 on Nov. 24. Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady in the series, honored his TV mother by singing The Brady Bunch theme song with Gold and other stars. - NY Daily News, 2/22/17.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A picture of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recording together at Ringo's home studio was posted on Twitter by Starr on Feb. 19, and Starr's publicist has confirmed McCartney was there to contribute to Ringo's forthcoming album. "Thanks for coming over man and playing Great bass. I love you man peace and love," posted Ringo, who also posted a separate picture of himself, Paul and Joe Walsh with the comment, "And look out Joe W came out to play. What a day I'm having. Peace and love." The two surviving Beatles last recorded together for Ringo's Y Not album, released in 2010. Four days earlier on Feb. 15, Starr, McCartney, Walsh, Tom Hanks and Dave Grohl were spotted at at the Giorgio Baldi restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/20/17...... In related news, a new song featuring Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Dirty Projectors and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend with Dave Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors producing. McCartney previously teamed up with Kanye West for the collaborative song "FourFiveSeconds" which also featured Rihanna. The bridge of that song was written by Longstreth. - NME, 2/16/17...... The BeatlesElsewhere on the Fab Four front, the movie rights for The Beatle Who Vanished, a book by author Jim Berkenstadt about drummer Jimmie Nichol who once filled in for Ringo Starr on tour for 13 days in 1964 when Ringo became ill, have been secured by Alex Orbison and Ashley Hamilton's 449 Productions. Alex Orbison is the son of rock and roll legend Roy Orbison, for whom the Beatles once opened for on tour before they shot to fame. Berkenstadt's book, first published in 2013, included accounts of Nichol's time with the Beatles, his pre- and post-Beatles career and included many archival photos. After his short tenure in the Beatles, Jimmie Nicol stayed in the music business playing with many groups, including Peter & Gordon, but mostly obscure bands. He has since avoided the spotlight. Alex Orbison says he is also planning a film on his father's life. - Billboard, 2/15/17...... Tohme Tohme, the ex-manager of Michael Jackson, took the stand in a trial over the King of Pop's taxes on Feb. 16, and his testimony could foreshadow an ugly trial ahead in his own separate legal fight with Jackson's estate. Tohme was called as a witness by the IRS, presumably, to show that Jackson had business suitors in the time leading up to his death despite allegations of child molestation. Specifically, he said there had been prospects of a "Moonwalker" sports shoe deal with Nike and a Broadway musical based on Jackson's songs. The legal fight between Tohme and the Jackson estate dates back to 2012, when a pair of dueling lawsuits were filed. That trial is currently set for October and, if Tohme's time on the stand Thursday is any indication, there will likely be fireworks in the courtroom between Tohme and Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman, who pulled no punches during his cross examination of Tohme in the current trial. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/17/17...... In other Michael Jackson news, the late singer's blockbuster 1982 album Thriller has just extended its reign as the highest certified album in U.S. history. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified the Quincy Jones-produced set at 33-times platinum in the U.S., and a plaque commemorating the milestone was presented at the home of Epic Records chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid over Grammy weekend earlier in February. The album was released through Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records and spent 37 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, and was the first album to generate a record seven Top 10 singles on the Hot 100 pop chart, including two No. 1s: "Billie Jean" (No. 1 for seven weeks) and "Beat It" (No. 1 for three weeks). In 2015, Thriller was named the biggest album of all time by a male artist on the Hot 200 chart, and the No. 3 title overall. Its closest competitor, the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971-75, was last certified in 2006 with 29 million album units. Thriller has sold 105 million copies globally, according to Sony and the Jackson estate. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... Paul StanleyKiss has reached a new merchandising milestone. Over the last year, with the help of longtime merch partner Epic Rights, the band hit the 125 global licensing deal benchmark. Throughout its career, Kiss has sold some half a billion dollars retail value at stores and concerts, which helps back its claim to being the most merchandised band of all time. While Kiss trailblazed new merchandise and fan club territory in the mid-1970s with a torrent of t-shirts, patches, posters, lunch boxes and the formation of the Kiss Army, its latest wares now include Kiss emojis, mobile video games, moisturizing face masks, carbon fiber bikes and credit/debit cards. "We've had thousands of licensing partners over the years but my objective has never been to have bragging rights by accumulating volumes of licensing partners," says Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley. "Rather, it's been about using decades of successes as a spring board to elevate our position in terms of gaining higher stature affiliations." Stanley said original Kiss manager Bill Aucoin was the mastermind behind the Kiss merchandising juggernaut, and "We were snickered at by other bands until they saw the checks we were getting and all of a sudden they joined the parade." As for a Kiss reunion of the original members, including guitarist Ace Frehley, Stanley said: "I have no thoughts of re-visiting the past. With that said I am happy to enhance or do whatever i can for anyone who has helped put me where I am, but that doesn't include getting hitched again to somebody I unhitched from."- Billboard, 2/17/17...... Bob Dylan has released a cover of Frank Sinatra's "My One and Only Love" ahead of his latest album Triplicate, a 3-disc collection of 30 classic songs by American songwriters. Dylan has also released another Sinatra cover -- "I Could Have Told You" -- to promote the new record. Triplicate is due on Mar. 31, and Dylan will showcase songs from the album on his upcoming tour of the UK and Ireland, which gets underway on May 3 in Cardiff. He'll also be visiting Bournemouth (5/4), Nottingham (5/5), Glasgow (5/7), Liverpool (5/8), London (5/9) and Dublin (5/11). - New Musical Express, 2/18/17...... Surviving members of the Jefferson Starship participated in a protest at San Francisco City Hall on Feb. 16 over the city's decision to block a free concert in Golden Gate Park for the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love." "The best thing we ever did was to play for free in the park," said David Freiberg, a vocalist and bassist with the Jefferson Airplane and its spinoff, Jefferson Starship. "How can you celebrate the Summer of Love without that? It's impossible. I see no reason why we can't work this out." The June 4 show might still go on but it hit another major bureaucratic hurdle during the 3-hour public hearing on Feb. 16 over concerns about public safety. - AP, 2/16/17...... Mick JaggerBritish publisher/author John Blake has written an essay for the UK paper The Spectator in which he claims that three years ago he acquired a secret, 75,000-word memoir written by Mick Jagger in the 1980s. Jagger has so far refused to release a memoir, but Blake writes that "virtually nobody knows is that he already has." Blake reveals that the book shows a "quieter, more watchful Mick" and "it's delicious, heady stuff. Like reading Elvis Presley's diaries from the days before he grew fat and washed-up in Vegas." But Blake says that Jagger suddenly "wanted nothing further to do with this project... He never wanted to see it published." - Billboard, 2/17/17...... Pay cable channel HBO has acquired the U.S. television rights to the David Bowie documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years, which chronicles the late rock icon's recording sessions for his final two albums, 2013's The Next Day and 2016's Blackstar, as well as the stage musical "Lazarus." The Last Five Years premiered on England's BBC2 in January and features rare archival Bowie images, recordings from the two albums' studio sessions and interview with a number of Bowie collaborators, including longtime producer Tony Visconti. HBO has not yet announced when The Last Five Years will air. - Billboard, 2/17/17...... Touring in Australia on Feb. 15, Bruce Springsteen invited a teenage fan onstage to perform "Growin' Up" with him at the Brisbane Entertainment Center. "You know it on guitar?" Springsteen asked young Nathan Testa. "Come on up." On Feb. 13, the singer held a private meeting with Australian Adam Brooker, a fan who has a severe intellectual disability and learned to speak through Springsteen's lyrics. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... In other news Down Under, the '70s hit "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band," adapted from John Williams's original Star Wars theme, has been named the country's favorite sex jam. Streaming giant Spotify.com compiled a list of Australia's Top 10 sex jams by scouring playlists with the word "sex" in their title, and "Cantina Band" led the list, followed by songs by Rhianna, Kings of Leon, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. - NME, 2/17/17...... The Grateful Dead have announced they will release a 40th anniversay box set of their legendary performance at Cornell University's Barton Hall on May 8, 1977. May 1977: Get Shown the Light will be an 11-disc box set and be "the commercial debut" of the Cornell University performance, which is considered so legendary that a copy of the recording was placed in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2011. To be released by the band's official site Dead.net, the set also includes three previously unreleased recordings: Veterans' Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (May 5, 1977), Boston Garden, Boston (May 7, 1977) and Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York (May 9, 1977). "These four concerts have been the holy grail of wish-list releases both externally and internally for a long, long time," said David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set's producer, in a statement. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... The twin daughters of Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley have been placed in the care of California's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after Lisa Marie claimed to have found indecent photos and videos of children on the computer of their father, Michael Lockwood. Finley and Harper Lockwood, eight, have reportedly been removed from the family home by social workers, and a trial date has been set for March to determine their future. Presley, 49, said of the discovery in the court papers: "I was shocked and horrified and sick to my stomach." She continued to reveal that police raided her former home with Lockwood and discovered 80 of his devices, but these have yet to be fully analyzed. "My understanding is that Tennessee law enforcement is also conducting an investigation related to the photos and videos that I discovered," she said in the documents. Presley and 55-year-old musician Lockwood married in 2006, with the singer filing for divorce last June, citing irreconcilable differences. Presley also claims her $300 million fortune left to her by her father's estate has gone, and she has been forced to move in with her actress daughter Riley Keough, although she still receives a $100,000 monthly allowance from the estate. - WENN.com, 2/17/17...... Just weeks after announcing he was planning to retire at the end of 2017, '70s teen heartthrob David Cassidy appeared to be heavily intoxicated at a concert at The Canyon Club in Agoura, Calif., on Feb. 18 where he slurred his words and struggled to stay on his feet. Footage captured by fans and shared by TMZ.com shows the former Partridge Family star rambling and toppling off the stage during his gig. Cassidy, 66, has battled with alcoholism in recent years, leading to arrest for DUI on several occasions, and according to one gossip columnist wrecked his car last September but managed to get it towed away without the police busting him again. Cassidy has live dates booked in for March and June, according to his website, though TMZ claims he said on stage that the Feb. 18 concert was his final show due to health reasons. - Billboard, 2/20/17...... Roger WatersFormer Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters said on Feb. 19 that he's considering performing his band's 1979 classic album The Wall at the US-Mexico border in a protest against U.S. Pres. Donald Trump. "The Wall is very relevant now with Mr Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions," Waters said, adding that the LP is "about how detrimental building walls can be on a personal level, but also on broader levels." Waters has also been protesting against Trump with his visuals for his live shows, which have included a flying pig that had the words "F--- Trump and his wall" emblazoned on it, as well as giant, super-imposed pictures of Trump with some members of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1990, Waters famously performed the album in Berlin to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year. Meanwhile, both Waters and fellow Pink Floyd member Nick Mason have appeared open to the band reuniting to play the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival. The two appeared together on Feb. 16 at a press conference at the V&A museum in London, ahead of an exhibition focusing on the band which opens in May. Asked about the possibility of a Pink Floyd Glastonbury reunion with Dave Gilmour, Waters reportedly said to Mason: "The last I heard, David retired. You know David better than me." - New Musical Express, 2/20/17...... Clyde Stubblefield, a drummer for James Brown, died on Feb. 18 at a Madison, Wisc., hospital after a 10-year battle with kidney disease. He was 73. Stubblefield performed on several of Brown's classics in the 1960s and early 70s, including "Cold Sweat," ''Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud," ''I've Got the Feelin'," and the album Sex Machine. But he was best known for a short solo on Brown's 1970 single, "Funky Drummer" which, according to Rolling Stone magazine, has been sampled on over 1,000 songs and served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks, including Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," Dr. Dre's "Let Me Ride," LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and Run-D.M.C.'s "Run's House." However his wife, Jody Hannon, said that her husband actually saw "very little" in royalties and never expected them. Stubblefield had lived in his wife's hometown of Madison, Wisc., since the early 1970s and had long been a fixture on the local music scene. - AP, 2/18/17...... Walter "Junie" Morrison, keyboardist and producer for funk band Ohio Players and producer/performer with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic, has died. He was believed to be 62. After high school, Morrison started a stint with the Ohio Players, working as an arranger, producer and musical director for the band on such hits as "Pain," "Funky Worm" and "Ecstasy." He left the group in 1974 and became a key player in Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic from 1978-1980, contributing to such landmark albums as One Nation Under a Groove and Motor Booty Affair. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... Peter Skellern, the singer behind the 1972 U.K. hit "You're a Lady," passed away on Feb. 17 following a battle with brain cancer. He was 69. Following "You're A Lady," Skellern had another hit with "Love is the Sweetest Thing"' in 1978. In 1984, he formed a group called Oasis with Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Hopkin, with their self-titled album earning them a silver record. Skellern, who became an ordained priest and a deacon, had revealed that he had an inoperable brain tumour last October. - New Musical Express, 2/17/17...... Irwin Stambler, author of the early pop music sourcebook The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul, died on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. He was 92. Mr. Stambler's pop encyclopedia, which was first published in 1974, went through several revisions, chronicled the professional and personal lives of everyone from Chuck Berry to The Zombies. In an age before the internet, it provided a convenient and entertainingly written set of mini-biographies. Mr. Stambler's son said his father often did his own research, interviewing musicians and attending concerts. - AP, 2/17/17...... Canadian radio legend Stuart McLean, best known as the host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Café which was syndicated to some 80 U.S. public radio stations, died in Toronto on Feb. 15. He was 68. McLean began his radio career as a researcher for CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup, before getting into radio documentaries for the station's Sunday Morning. In 1994, he launched The Vinyl Café as a summer series, and the show became part of CBC's regular schedule in 1997 and the next year starting taking it on the road to theaters across Canada and into the U.S. - Billboard, 2/15/17.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blondie has released a new psychedelic video for "Fun," the lead single off their upcoming album Pollinator. Directed by Beyoncé collaborator Dikyal Rimmasch, the video has a vibrant, intergalactic theme which Blondie guitarist Chris Stein says is necessary because "in these trying times, we need some fun... we're very serious about fun." Pollinator, the follow-up to Blondie's 2014 set Ghost of Download, hits stores May 5, and the band hits the road behind the new LP on July 5 in Saratoga, Calif. - New Musical Express, 2/15/17...... David BowieDavid Bowie swept the 2017 Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles with five posthumous wins for his final album, Blackstar. The late singer was awarded in all four categories in which he'd been nominated -- Alternative Album and Best Engineered Album, for Blackstar, plus Best Rock Performance and Rock Song, for the title track. Additionally, Blackstar's graphic designer took home a Grammy for Best Recording Package. In all, Bowie racked up four times as many Grammys as he'd previously garnered in the entirety of his career. The five Grammys were also the first ever true "musical" Grammy wins for Bowie, having previously won just Best Video in 1985 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. "I was very surprised to learn that he'd only won one Grammy, for a video -- that was shocking to me," said saxophonist Donny McCaslin, the jazz band leader who collaborated with Bowie on the sessions for the album. "I just feel this is such a deep record, regardless of my involvement in it, and I'm just so happy for his family and his fans. We're fans too, so this is really cool," he added. Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, recognized the achievement by sending a tweet of an old photo of himself hugging his dad, saying "So proud of you dad! Would hold you up forever." Meanwhile, the physical release of Bowie's No Plan EP featuring the final tracks he ever recorded for the "Lazarus" musical drops on Feb. 24 on CD, before a vinyl edition is released on Apr. 21. - Billboard/NME, 2/13/17...... In other '70s artist Grammy news, Willie Nelson took home a Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Grammy for his Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin album, while his fellow country legend Dolly Parton shared a Best Country/Duo Perdformance Grammy with Pentatonix for their collaboration on Parton's classic song "Jolene." A Best Music Film Grammy went to the Beatles for the Ron Howard documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. Meanwhile, Carlos Santana has apologized for a diss of Beyoncé, who lost to Adele in several Grammy categories, by intimating that the "Lemonade" vocalist was "not a singer-singer" but more of a music model. Santana told a New Zealand newspaper that "I think that Adele won because she can sing sing... With all respect to our sister Beyoncé, Beyoncé is very beautiful to look at and it's more like modeling kind of music -- music to model a dress -- she's not a singer, singer, with all respect to her." After his comments drew a firestorm of reaction on Twitter, Santana took to Facebook to clarify his comments, saying he was taken out of context. "My intent was to congratulate Adele on her amazing night at the Grammies," he wrote. "My comment about Beyoncé was regretfully taken out of context. I have the utmost respect for her as an artist and a person. She deserves all the accolades that come her way." In still more Grammy-related news, Joni Mitchell made a rare public appearance on Feb. 11 at Clive Davis' annual Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, where she was escorted by writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe. The attendance by the 73-year-old rock/folk icon at the star-studded gala was a big deal, given she suffered from a brain aneurysm in March 2015 and was found unconscious in her L.A. home. Mitchell's health has been a source of concern since, though in late June of that year, her attorney Rebecca J. Thyne said the artist was "expected to make a full recovery." Mitchell, who is now wheechair-bound, was honored at the Grammys with a tribute video and a performance by "Both Sides Now" folk singer Judy Collins. - Billboard, 2/12/17...... Tom PettyTom Petty was feted on Feb. 10 at a MusiCares' pre-Grammy dinner at the Los Angeles Convention Center by such fellow rock legends as Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Randy Newman and the Foo Fighters, among others. "Twenty years ago, I would have been way too cynical to do this, but I'm 66 now," said Petty, who was named the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year. Expressing gratitude to his band the Heartbreakers, Petty told the black-tie crowd, "We got together last week and rehearsed for this thing, and I realized I may actually be in one of the best two or three rock and roll bands there is." Performances included Newman ("Refugee"), Browne ("Learning to Fly"), Henley ("Free Fallin'") and ELO's Jeff Lynne ("I Won't Back Down"), with Petty himself and Stevie Nicks singing their big duet hit, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." Recording Academy president Neil Portnow announcing that the evening had brought in more than $8.5 million for musicians in medical or financial need. - Billboard, 2/11/17...... An unreleased song recorded by Bruce Springsteen for the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- the first movie in the Harry Potter series -- but was never used appeared briefly on the streaming service SoundCloud.com on Feb. 10, but has since been removed. The ballad "I'll Stand By You Always" was recorded by the Boss in 2001 although it doen'st have any direct reference to Harry Potter, it includes sincere lyrics like, "We'll let the night come and do what it may, together we'll find the courage, we'll find faith/ Until you awake." Springsteen later told the BBC that the song was "very uncharacteristic of something I'd sing myself" and added that he still hopes to get it into a children's movie someday. - Billboard, 2/10/17...... Rick DerringerRick Derringer has been charged with carrying a loaded gun in his carryon bag on a Delta Air Lines flight from Mexico after he was stopped after landing in Atlanta. According to court records, a federal air marshal said that Derringer said he often flies with a gun in his carry-on and has never experienced any problems. Derringer's manager, Kenn Moutenot, said the "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" singer thought he was permitted to have the gun because he has a permit to carry one, that he meant no harm and will work with the government to clear his name. - AP, 2/10/17...... A new Eric Clapton documentary entitled Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars will premiere on the pay cable channel Showtime in 2018 after being released theatrically this fall. The documentary, directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, is described as an unflinching and deeply personal journey into the life of Clapton will screen at domestic and international film festivals later this year, and be released theatrically in the U.S. and Canada this fall. "Despite the fact that (Clapton's) path is strewn with tragedies, addiction and loss, he never fails to regain his bearings and continue to serve what he holds dearest: his music," Zanuck said in a statement. - Billboard, 2/10/17...... '70s New Wave legends Devo have been given their own set of Web emojis, many of which reference memorable moments from videos for Devo hits like "Whip It" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as well as other imagery unique to the band. Devo formed in 1973 and released debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! in 1978. Their last full-length LP Something for Everybody was released in 2010. - New Musical Express, 2/11/17...... Former Deep Purple vocalist Glenn Hughes will participate in a "Storytellers" event at London's historic Cafe de Paris from 12 noon to 4pm on Feb. 25. The event will included the airing of a new 60 minute documentary, featuring never-before-seen classic archival vision of Hughes from the 1970's. The screening will be followed by a 2 hour story telling session hosted by Nicky Horne where Hughes will delve into some of the great and even infamous events in his life to date. - Noble PR, 2/10/17...... Al JarreauLegendary jazz singer Al Jarreau passed away on Feb. 12, two weeks after being hospitalized due to exhaustion and later cancelling his 2017 tour. He was 76. A seven-time Grammy winner, Jarreau's biggest single was 1981's "We're in This Love Together," and he was featured on the all-star 1985 song "We Are the World." Jarreau also sang the theme to television's Moonlighting. A statement on Jarreau's website read in part, "His 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen." The singer was surrounded by family and friends when he died in Los Angeles, his manager, Joe Gordon, told Ebony magazine. - Billboard, 2/12/17...... Sonny Geraci, the Cleveland-born pop singer who scored national hits as lead singer of The Outsiders in the 1960s and Climax in the 1970s, has died. He was 69, and had been in ill health since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2012. Geraci became the lead singer of The Starfires in 1964, who changed their name to The Outsiders and scored four singles on the U.S. pop charts during the late 1960s, including "Time Won't Let Me," "Girl in Love," "Help Me Girl" and "Respectable (What Kind of Girl Is This)," a remake of the Isley Brothers tune. After leaving The Outsiders in 1970, Geraci eventually formed Climax with Walter Nims, who had been a member of both The Starfires and The Outsiders. That group later scored a Top 3 single with "Precious and Few," written by Nims. Climax disbanded in 1975. Geraci left the music business in the early 1980s, but tried a comeback, under the pseudonym Peter Emmett, in 1983, releasing an unsuccessful album on MCA. Later, he played the oldies circuit, performed for a time with the Grass Roots and toured from 2007-2012 as Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders. - 2/6/17...... Steve Lang, a former bassist for the Canadian classic rock outfit April Wine, has died at the age of 67. No cause of death has been announced, though he had suffered from Parkinson's Disease. Lang joined April Wine in 1975 as a replacement for longtime bassist Jim Clench, and was first featured on 1976's The Whole World's Goin' Crazy. He went on to play on a total of seven April Wine albums over eight years. He split from the band in 1984, eventually going into the finance industry. "Steve played bass with [April Wine] for years and his musicianship was exceptional," April Wine band leader Myles Goodwin posted on Facebook. "My condolences go out to his family. He will sadly be missed by his friends and by fans everywhere." - 2/8/17.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Officials in San Francisco have denied a permit for a 50th anniversary "Summer of Love" concert that was to be held on June 4 in Golden Gate Park's Polo Field and headlined by surviving members of such legendary bands as Jefferson Airplane, Santana and Big Brother and the Holding Company. The "city by the bay" was at the center of the '60s counterculture movement, and the concert was expected to draw tens of thousands of people, but city officials have informed event promoter Boots Hughston that his request for a permit was being denied. In a sharply worded, 3-page letter, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department said that Hughston had made "numerous misrepresentations of material fact" that left them with deep concerns about safety and security measures for the concert. Hughston denied making any misrepresentations and called the letter a "character assassination," saying he has a flawless record as a concert promoter and had organized events at Golden Gate Park and elsewhere since the 1970s without any problems. Hughston said he plans to file an appeal against the permit denial and added he still hopes the event can take place. - AP, 2/9/17...... Geezer ButlerTony IommiOzzy OsbourneBlack Sabbath played their last ever show in their hometown of Birmingham, UK on Feb. 4 at Birmingham's NEC Arena. The heavy metal legends, who wrapped up their 81-date The End tour, played a 15-song set including "War Pigs," "Iron Man," "Children of the Grave," and bowed out with an encore of 1970's "Paranoid." Founding members Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler all participated in the The End tour, and in November 2016 Osbourne told Classic Rock magazine that he has no plans to retire from either recording or performing live. "It's not me that wants to retire, it's Black Sabbath," Osbourne said. "I'll be continuing my own musical thing. My wife is good at telling me partial information, but I know I'm not hanging my boots up for a while." On Feb. 6, Tony Iommi told Planet Rock that he would also quit touring, but he was "sure" Black Sabbath would continue as a band, and that he was open to releasing more music with Black Sabbath, although the band hasn't discussed it yet. - New Musical Express, 2/5/17...... In other Heavy Metal news, AC/DC guitarist Angus Young pranked his friends Guns N' Roses on Feb. 8 by dressing up as a member of airport security staff and ordering a search after Guns N' Roses touched down in Sydney ahead of five councerts in Australia. "Told we had to stay on plane last night in Sydney; 'airport security' wanted to do a check. We waited. It was Angus Young is an orange vest!," Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan tweeted. The bands have grown close over the past year as Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose has been filling in for AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson, who was forced to step down after being warned by doctors he could lose his hearing. Earlier in February, Johnson thanked a group of Swedish AC/DC fans for hosting an event raising funds for organisations searching for a cure for Alzheimer dementia, which has afflicted founding AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young. "I know Malcolm would be so proud of you," Johnson posted on the event's blog on Feb. 7. "I am and I want to thank you for doing this. We've tried to tell people about this awful disease, tried to get a cure for it. You guys are helping and I'm so proud of you." - NME, 2/7/17...... The estate of late rock icon Prince has granted Universal Music Group exclusive licensing rights to much of Prince's catalog of released and unreleased works. Under the deal, the estate is licensing the 25 albums Prince released under the NPG Records label between 1979 and 1995, plus UMG can now work with the estate on the artist's vault of career-spanning unreleased works. The agreement means UMG is now the home for much of Prince's recorded music, plus publishing rights and merchandising. - Billboard, 2/9/17...... Michael Jackson's mother Katherine Jackson has accused one of her nephews, Trent Lamar Jackson, of being an "abusive con man" who has been attempting to take control of her finances for years. The Jackson matriarch has obtained a restraining order against Trent Lamar Jackson, after accusing him of taking cash from her accounts, and a Los Angeles judge has ordered the man to stay away from his aunt and return all his house keys. Trent Lamar Jackson reportedly disappeared from the Jackson compound shortly before sheriff's deputies and her lawyer arrived to force him off her property, and Katherine says she now fears for her safety if he returns. Katherine Jackson is currently in London visiting her newest grandson, Eissa, who was born to her daughter Janet Jackson in January. - WENN.com, 2/9/17...... CherCher launched a residency at the Park Theater at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Feb. 8 after an illness forced her off the road for nearly three years. Cher's "Classic Cher" show featured the diva's hit singles, glamorous Bob Mackie-designed outfits, and her legendary sense of humor, as she joked about her breasts, her age, and her love of Dr. Pepper. The 90-minute show plays a series of dates at Park Theater in February and May, as well as at The Theater at MGM National Harbor outside Washington, D.C. in March, August and September. - Billboard, 2/9/17...... Interviewed by a Detroit TV station on Feb. 8, Aretha Franklin revealed that she plans on retiring at the end of 2017 after releasing a new album in September. "I must tell you, I am retiring this year," said Franklin. "I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now. I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either," she added. Franklin, 74, added however that she will remain open to "some select things, many one a month, for six months out of the year." Franklin's new LP will be an ode to her hometown of Detroit, composed of original works and recorded in the Motor City, and feature songs produced by Stevie Wonder. - Billboard, 2/9/17...... Speaking of Stevie Wonder, the legendary Motown singer has joked to TMZ.com that he will "reveal the truth" about his sight later this year, and claims that he has "flown planes." Wonder was recently stopped by TMZ and asked whether he would ever star in a reality TV show. His response was that it would be "too invasive." The artist went on to claim that he has flown planes twice before and actually landed one. When the TMZ reporter then joked that Wonder might one day come out and say he can actually see, he said (most likely in jest): "This year, I will reveal the truth." - New Musical Express, 2/7/17...... Blondie announced on Feb. 8 that it will kick off a 22-city North American tour on July 5 at The Mountain Winery in Saratoga, Calif. Blondie's "Rage and Rapture Tour" will come on the heels of the band's new album, Pollinator, which hits stores on May 8. The tour will run through an Aug. 12 date at Southside Ballroom in Dallas, Tex., and the opener will be Garbage. - Billboard, 2/8/17...... Willie Nelson announced on Feb. 8 he was postponing two more concerts -- one in Arizona and one in New Mexico -- due to illness. According to his website, concerts at Desert Diamond Casino in Sahuarita, Ariz., on Feb. 10 and the Route 66 Casino in Albequerque on Feb. 11 will be rescheduled. Two days earlier, the 83-year-old Nelson postponed three concerts in California and one in Tucson, Arizona. In late January, he canceled two of his five shows in Las Vegas due to a cold. On Jan. 31, Nelson was seen at an event in Las Vegas to promote his new line of specialty cannabis and played three shows at the Venetian on Feb. 1, 3 and 4. Nelson is due to release his latest album, God's Problem Child, on Apr. 28. - Billboard, 2/8/17...... Bob Dylan has added three warm-up shows at intimate venues to his upcoming UK arena tour, which is set to kick off on May 3 at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena. Dylan will play a trio of shows at the London Palladium on Apr. 28, 29 and 30 ahead of the main jaunt. The tour will also see the rock icon visiting Bournemouth (5/4), Nottingham (5/5), Glasgow (5/7), Liverpool (5/8), London (5/9) and Dublin (5/11). - NME, 2/8/17...... Elton John, Quincy Jones, George Clinton and Sean Lennon will be among the artist-curators of a new vinyl record subscription service called Experience Vinyl. For under $30 a month, subscribers to the new service will receive one of the artist's favorite albums (not their own album) along with personalized commentary, the artist's top ten albums list, access to the Experience Vinyl store and various rewards. A portion of the sales wil go to the artist's charity of choice. The service's first curator, Elton John, has directed a portion of his sales be donated to The Elton John AIDS Foundation. Co-founder Brad Hammonds called Experience Vinyl "a different kind of subscription service and a dream for any vinyl lover... Who better to send you great music each month than artists themselves?" - Billboard, 2/8/17...... In related news, David Bowie's No Plan EP is set to be released on vinyl later in 2017. No Plan is the latest posthumous release from Bowie, who died in Jan. 2016, and features three songs from his Lazarus musical, as well as "Lazarus" from his final album Blackstar. The EP was released digitally on Jan. 8 -- Bowie's birthday -- and features recordings from Bowie's final ever recording sessions. CD versions of No Plan will drop on Feb. 24, before the vinyl edition is released on Apr. 21. A special edition vinyl, which is a dye-cut version that comes with an accompanying lightograph, will follow a month later on May 26. - NME, 2/6/17...... Steven_Van_ZandtSteven Van Zandt, the longtime guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, has been named the speaker for this year's graduation ceremony at Rutgers University. Van Zandt, who also appeared in an acting role in HBO's The Sopranos, will also receive an honorary doctor of fine arts at the May 14 ceremony in Newark. Van Zandt was born in Massachusetts but moved to New Jersey when he was seven. The musician was chosen after a selection process involving students, faculty and staff, and he follows in the footsteps of former US Pres. Barack Obama, who delivered the keynote address in 2016. - AP, 2/8/17...... As the 1992 film Wayne's World was screened in US cinemas on Feb. 8 to mark the Mike Myers and Dana Carvey comedy's 25th anniversary, Alice Cooper has reflected on the movie's "we're not worthy" scene which featured him. The scene sees Wayne and Garth meeting Cooper backstage, and when the Coop asks the pair to "hang out," they bow to their knees and say: "We're not worthy, we're not worthy, we're scum." "I think we did it in two takes," Cooper reflected. "They [Myers and Carvey] were doing everything they could to get me to break up. But they didn't realise my iron will, so I went right through that dialogue and I think I surprised them." Cooper also revealed that some fans still re-enact the scene during chance run-ins. "Airports is when everybody does, 'We're not worthy!' I always try to let them think it's the first time anybody's ever done that. And they're so clever," he said. - Billboard, 2/8/17...... The creators of the classic rock "mockumentary" This Is Spinal Tap have reunited to file a $400 million lawsuit against Vivendi SA for "engaging in anti-competitive and unfair business practices, as well as fraudulent accounting" in its management of movie, which has been voted the funniest comedy film of all time. Co-creators Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and director Rob Reiner have formally joined fellow co-creator Harry Shearer in the lawsuit, which was originally filed by Shearer in October 2016. The co-creators are claiming they have been denied "their rightful stake in the production's profits." Commenting on the lawsuit, Guest said: "The deliberate obfuscation by Vivendi and its subsidiaries is an outrage. It is vital that such behavior is challenged in the strongest way possible." Shearer said of his co-creators' decision to join: "Their participation will help demonstrate the opaque and misleading conduct at the heart of this case. We're even louder now." - NME, 2/8/17...... Elton John paid tribute to his late friend George Michael during an interview on the UK radio show Beats 1 on Feb. 6. "George was one of Britain's most brilliant songwriters" and "the kindest, most generous man," Elton said, adding he'll miss Michael's "humanity most of all." Michael died at his England home at age 53 on Christmas Day. - AP, 2/7/17...... StingFormer The Police frontman Sting was named one of the 2017 Polar Music Prize winners on Feb. 2 by Alfons Karabuda, chairman of the Prize committee. Sting and saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter will accept their Polar Music prizes from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on June 15. The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by Stig "Stikkan" Anderson, the manager and music publisher of ABBA. A well-known lyricist, he also was the co-writer on many of their early hits. The prize was first presented in 1992. Previous winners of the Polar Music Prize include Elton John, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith. - Billboard, 2/7/17...... Music author and journalist Ritchie York, who penned books on such rock stars as Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, and most recently John Lennon and Yoko Ono, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in his native Australia on Feb. 6. He was 73. Yorke, who was the senior music writer for Brisbane's Sunday Mail for 20 years until 2007, and also earlier served as Billboard's Canadian editor for a decade in the 1970s. His books include Led Zeppelin: The Definitive Biography, The Music: The Van Morrison Biography and The History of Rock 'n' Roll. - Billboard, 2/7/17...... "Professor" Irwin Corey, the wild-haired comedian and actor known for his improvisational riffs and nonsensical style who billed himself as "The World's Foremost Authority," died on Feb. 6 at his home in Manhattan. He was 102. Mr. Corey's dizzying mix of mock-intellectual circumlocutions, earnest political tirades and slapstick one-liners made him the king of comedic confusion and earned him the nickname "professor." "Did you hear about the guy who went to the druggist and wanted to get some cyanide?" one of his jokes went. "The guy takes a picture of his wife out of his wallet, and the druggist says, 'I'm sorry, I didn't know you had a prescription!'" Mr. Corey became a staple on television talk shows and in comedy clubs in the 1960s and 1970s, and his film career included working with Jackie Gleason and Woody Allen. He often wore sneakers, a skinny black tie, black tails and his hair was disheveled. It was never clear exactly what he was an authority on. Often he would begin his act with long-winded gobbledygook filled with sentences that followed their own logic before pausing and then saying, "What was the question again?" Mr. Corey's son, Richard, alled his father "original and one-of-a-kind, iconic." - AP, 2/7/17.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bob Dylan announced on Jan. 31 that he'll be releasing a 3-disc studio album, Triplicate, on Mar. 31 that will feature 30 "brand-new recordings of classic American tunes." All three discs of Triplicate will be individually titled ('Til The Sun Goes Down, Devil Dolls and Comin' Home Late), and each album will include a thematically arranged 10-song sequence. Triplicate will be the artist's 38th album release, and the first ever triple-length set of his career. Produced by Jack Frost, Triplicate will feature such pop standards as "As Time Goes By," "Once Upon a Time," "The Best Is Yet to Come," "Stardust" and "Stormy Weather." - Billboard, 1/31/17...... Peter FramptonSteve MillerTwo classic rock legends, Steve Miller and Peter Frampton, have announced a coheadlining 30-city summer tour of North America that will get underway in Holmdel, N.J., on June 15 and wrap on Aug. 13 in Murphys, Calif. Major cities along the way include Toronto (6/20), Philadelphia (6/27), Salt Lake City (8/2), Las Vegas (8/8) and Los Angeles (8/11). Steve Miller expounded on his long history with Peter Frampton in a Jan. 31 statement: "Peter and I first met at Olympic studios in London in the late sixties when we were both just starting our recording career. He was a wonderful guitarist and songwriter then and he is even more so today. Over the years, we've played together in venues from theaters to football stadiums and everything in between.... I'm looking forward to a summer of great music, exceptional performances and fun. Peter is remarkable musician." - Billboard, 1/31/17...... High profile movie producer Michael De Luca (Captain Phillips, Moneyball, The Social Network) is working on a new, currently-untitled movie about the relationship between John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as well as their antiwar efforts. "The story will focus on ripe and relevant themes of love, courage and activism in the U.S. -- with the intention of inspiring today's youth to stand up for and have a clear vision for the world they want," De Luca said in a statement on Feb. 1. "I am also honored and privileged to be working with Yoko Ono, [writer] Anthony McCarten and [Immersive Pictures chief] Josh Bratman to tell the story of two amazing global icons." McCarten is the author behind The Theory of Everything and an upcoming Winston Churchill biopic starring Gary Oldman. During their 11-year marriage, John and Yoko collaborated on multiple creative projects, including what would become Lennon's final solo effort, 1980's Double Fantasy. In 2016, Yoko Ono reissued three of her albums from the 1970s, the start of a full reissue campaign of her music. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/2/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney has unveiled a rare demo on the web featuring Elvis Costello called "Twenty Fine Fingers" as part of his ongoing Archive Collection. "Twenty Fine Fingers" is the first of nine demo tracks from the sessions for Macca's 1989 solo album, Flowers In the Dirt, that are set to be released in 2017. McCartney and Costello collaborated on four of Flowers In the Dirt's 12 tracks, with Costello credited as a featured artist on the song "You Want Her Too." While "Twenty Fine Fingers" has already featured on McCartney bootlegs since Flowers In the Dirt was released (incorrectly titled as "Twenty-Five Fingers"), this is the first time that the demo has been officially released by its creator. A deluxe reissue of Flowers In the Dirt is set to drop on Mar. 24, which will contain eight other McCartney/Costello demos in addition to "Twenty Fine Fingers." A super deluxe version will contain a bonus DVD, 64-page photo book, and many other extras. - New Musical Express, 2/1/17...... David CassidyIn a post on his official website on Feb. 1, David Cassidy said he's planning to retire by the end of 2017 after playing a Las Vegas show on Feb. 17 and his final West Coast concerts on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. Cassidy, 66, said that "traveling and my arthritis" have made performing around the country difficult in recent years. "This is not a complete 'Good bye' but I'm planning on working much less," the one-time The Partridge Family teen heartthrob said. A spokeswoman for Cassidy says he will perform some East Coast dates in March as well. - AP, 2/1/17...... As he continues his tour Down Under with the E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen isn't letting up at all on US Pres. Donald Trump. During his show in Melbourne on Feb. 2 at AMMI Park, The Boss played a cover of The Orions' 1962 No. 4 pop single "Don't Hang Up" to mock an allegedly disastrous phone call between Pres. Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The unlikely cover of the doo-wop song, which features the lyrics "Don't hang up (no no)... Don't hang up like you always do/ I know you think our love is true/ I'll explain the facts to you, don't hang up," came after the Australian media spent the day obsessing over what has been described as a tense conversation between Trump and Turnbull on Jan. 29 when the two men reportedly clashed over the American president's controversial immigration policy. Meanwhile, on Feb. 2 E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt tweeted "Australia is, was, and always will be one of the USA's best friends and closest allies. Apologies for today's temporary embarrassment." The tweet came after Springsteen spoke out against Trump's immigration policy at a concert in Adelaide on Jan. 30. - Billboard, 2/2/17...... Organizers of 2017 Tribeca Film Festival announced on Feb. 2 that a new documentary about music mogul Clive Davis, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, will open the event this April. Based on Davis' bestselling 2013 autobiography, The Soundtrack of Our Lives explores Davis' life and historic career in the music industry, from his humble Brooklyn beginnings and brief stint as a lawyer to his development of major record labels (Columbia, Arista, J). Some of the top acts who Davis helmed during his career, including Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind & Fire, will perform after the doc's world premiere at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Apr. 19. The 16th Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, runs Apr. 19-30. - Billboard, 2/2/17...... Premium cable network Showtime has announced a new documentary about the Beach Boys' 1966 classic LP Pet Sounds will air on their network later this year. The Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds will premiere on Showtime in April and feature interviews with BB principal Brian Wilson as well as members Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks. The documentary will also feature footage from the band's 1960s studio sessions as well as outtakes from recordings. Released in May 1966, the hugely influential Pet Sounds is considered one of pop music's greatest masterpieces. Meanwhile, Brian Wilson has announced a 50th anniversary Pet Sounds tour of the UK that will include the Kendal Calling and Camp Bestival festivals, as well as London's Eventim Apollo on Aug. 1 and Sheffield City Hall on Aug. 2. "I'm really happy to be able to come back to the UK and perform Pet Sounds yet again for all our fans," Wilson said in a statement. "The response from everyone has been amazing and that's why we decided to come back and play Pet Sounds for one last time." - New Musical Express, 2/4/17...... Debbie HarryBlondie released the first single, called "Fun," from their upcoming studio album, Pollinator, on Jan. 31. Blondie's core trio of vocalist Debbie Harry, guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke are joined by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio on "Fun," which features the uplifting chorus "You're my fun when I'm down/ You pick me up again, you pick me up again/ You're my fun too, much fun/ I get the feeling that you're changing my mind." Pollinator also features contributions from Joan Jett, Laurie Anderson, Johnny Marr and Nick Valensi of the Strokes, and was the final album recorded at the legendary New York studio The Magic Shop. The studio was the site of sessions for David Bowie's final album, Blackstar, and has since closed due to rising rent costs. Pollinator, the follow-up to Blondie's 2014 album Ghosts of Download, is due on May 5. - Billboard, 2/1/17...... Appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Feb. 1, actor Keanu Reeves recalled the time Alice Cooper once babysat for him. "I grew up in Toronto and I lived on this street called Hazelton and there was a recording studio (near) there called Nimbus 9 and my mother was in costume design, she was in rock 'n' roll, in the business, and they had friends and she had friends, and so Alice Cooper -- I'm told -- babysat me. I don't know how that could possibly happen, but it did... Supposedly." Reeves will appear in the upcoming film John Wick: Chapter 2, as well as an upcoming new Bill & Ted project. - WENN.com, 2/2/17...... In a new interview with People magazine, the late Mary Tyler Moore's husband Dr. S. Robert Levine opened up about how her death has left him devasted. "I can't believe she is gone," he said. "Mary was my life, my light, my love. The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom." Revealing how she had remained fiercely independent even as her health failed after a long-term battle with diabetes and heart and kidney troubles. "She was a force of nature who fiercely defended her autonomy even as her health was failing," he said. "Mary was fearless, determined, and wilful. If she felt strongly about something, or that there was truth to be told, she would do it, no matter the consequences." Dr. Levine added that "My sadness is only tempered by the remarkable outpouring of good wishes, tributes, and personal 'Mary stories' told, with heart, by those touched by her grace." The death certificate for Mary Tyler Moore, who passed on Jan. 25, noted she died of "cardiopulmonary arrest, with aspiration pneumonia, hypoxia, and diabetes mellitus also listed as contributing factors." - WENN.com, 2/1/17...... John WettonJohn Wetton, a prog rock legend who was the ex-bassist for King Crimson and frontman for the '80s group Asia, died on Jan. 31 after losing his battle with colon cancer. He was 67. Born on July 12, 1949, in Derby, England, Wetton sang and played with the likes of Family, Mogul Thrash, Uriah Heep, Roxy Music, Wishbone Ash and King Crimson, before he formed the prog supergroup UK in the 1970s, and later the acclaimed and successful Asia with Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer. Wetton also enjoyed a successful solo career, and played with the likes of Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, David Cross, Ayreon and District 97. Wetton joined King Crimson two years after the departure of Greg Lake who, also sadly, died last month. "With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant," Carl Palmer posted on Facebook. "John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world," he added. Wetton is survived by his wife Lisa, son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy. - NME, 1/31/17.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

According to an investigation of police records by the Miami Herald newspaper, the death of co-founding Allman Brothers Band member Butch Trucks was a suicide. The drummer, 69, reportedly shot himself in the head with a pistol inside his West Palm Beach condo as his wife of 25 years, Melinda, stood nearby. The records included a transcript of Melinda Trucks' call to police around 6 p.m. local time that was described as "hysterical," as she struggled to speak in complete sentences. Although Trucks was still breathing when police arrived, he passed away soon after. Police do not suspect foul play, and the results of an autopsy by the coroner's office will be released in a few weeks. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... Performing in Adelaide, Australia on Jan. 30, Bruce Springsteen spoke out against new US Pres. Donald Trump before launching into the song "American Land," which he described as an "immigrant song." "America is a nation of immigrants, and we find this anti-democratic and fundamentally un-American," Springsteen told the audience. Springsteen's words came after a federal judge in New York temporarily blocked an executive order by Pres. Trump on Jan. 28 that prevented individuals from seven countries with known terrorist ties from entering the U.S. Pres. Trump responded to the judge's action the next day on Facebook, saying his administration is "protecting our own citizens and border." - Billboard, 1/30/17...... Carole KingIn related news, Carole King has released an updated version of "One Small Voice," a song she first released more than three decades ago in support of the recent Women's March on Washington, D.C., in protest of Pres. Trump. In an essay on HuffingtonPost.com, King said: "It will take the strength and persistence of many small voices to overcome the lies of the loudest voice with our message of truth, dignity, and decency." "One Small Voice" tells the story of the Hans Christian Anderson classic "The Emperor's Clothes," and includes the lyrics "One small voice speaking with the values/ we were taught as children." King participated in her own women's march the same day in her small hometown of Stanely, Idaho. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... The Jacksons have announced they'll play a one-off UK show on June 18 at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, on June 18 as part of the venue's Nocturne concert series. The current Jacksons lineup is comprised of four founding members -- Jermain, Tito, Jackie and Marlon Jackson -- and the show will be the group's only UK headline performance in 2017. Kool and the Gang will be the opening act. - New Musical Express, 1/30/17...... In related news, Michael Jackson's 18-year-old daughter Paris Jackson will make her acting debut in 2017 on Fox's drama series Star, the network announced on Jan. 30. Star is set in the music industry and features Queen Latifah as a surrogate mom to aspiring young singers. A date for the episode with Paris Jackson wasn't announced. - AP, 1/30/17...... It is rumored that Prince's music will be widely released to streaming services by Grammy Night on Feb. 12 after a series of purple ads bearing the Spotify logo -- and only the Spotify logo -- appeared in New York's Union Square subway station on Jan. 30. While much of Prince's post-Warner Music catalog remains in varying degrees of legal limbo, the Warner catalog, as well as his music publishing, are reportedly on solid footing to be streamed in the near future. Reps for Spotify, Apple Music, Warner Music and the Prince estate have not confirmed the rumor. - Billboard, 1/30/17...... "Star Dust," a spellbinding David Bowie-inspired modern ballet, made its debut in New York at the Joyce Theater on Jan. 25 after debuting in Detroit in 2016. The production pairs familiar Bowie songs such as "Space Oddity" and "Rock N' Roll Suicide with modern dance. The program also includes the troupe of around 15 dancers in the Complexions Contemporary Ballet performing to "Changes," "Life on Mars?," "1984," "Modern Love" and "Young Americans," with an encore of "Let's Dance. The show is scheduled run through Feb. 5, 2017. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... Elton JohnA Broadway adaptation of the hit book and movie The Devil Wears Prada will feature music scored by Elton John and be written by legendary playwright Paul Rudnick. "Re-imagining The Devil Wears Prada for the musical theater is super exciting," Elton John said in a statement. "I'm a huge fan of both the book and the feature film, and a huge aficionado of the fashion world. I can't wait to sink my musical teeth into this hunk of popular culture." The Devil Wears Prada follows new graduate and aspiring journalist Andrea, as she tries to make her way working for an iconic fashion magazine under a cutthroat boss while maintaining her iconoclast identity. The blockbuster movie starred Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced on Jan. 27 that Neil Young will be inducting his frequent collaborator Pearl Jam into the Cleveland-based hall and museum during the 2017 RRHOF ceremony in New York on Apr. 7. Young and Pearl Jam memorably joined forces to play Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" at MTV's Video Music Awards in 1993, and Pearl Jam regularly covers the song on tour. Presenters for the other inductees, which include ELO, Journey, Tupac Shakur and Nile Rodgers, have yet to be announced. - AP, 1/27/17...... The headliners for the 2017 New Orleans Jazz Fest set for the Crescent City on Apr. 28-30 and May 4-7 will include Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Maroon 5 and Dave Matthews, organizers announced on Jan. 27. Also included in the more than 500 bands that will be performing are Kings of Leon, Alabama Shakes, Widespread Panic and Pitbull. - AP, 1/27/17...... Blondie have been added to the 2016 British Summer Time line-up, with the New York-based quartet supporting Phil Collins at the London show in Hyde Park on June 30. Also performing the same day will be Mike and the Mechanics and Starsailor. "The reaction from the British public has been overwhelming," said Phil Collins previously about the headline date. "I can't wait to play Hyde Park and see everyone there. I will be playing all of the songs that people love." - NME, 1/30/17...... Bob Dylan will be among the headliners and the fan-curated Firefly Festival this summer, which is set for Dover, Delaware on June 15-18. Weezer, Mars, The Shins and Kesha are also on the bill for the festival, which bills itself as the first to be "curated" by fans. - NME, 1/27/17...... Willie Nelson cancelled two shows at The Venetian resort in Las Vegas on Jan. 28 and 29 due to a "bad cold," according to his publicist. Nelson is still scheduled to play the remaining three shows, on Feb. 1, 3 and 4. The canceled shows have not been rescheduled. - AP, 1/26/17...... In a new interview with the London Times, Ozzy Osboure denied that he is a sex addict, despite a statement from a representative for Black Sabbath in 2016 that Osbourne was undergoing "intense therapy" for sex addiction. "I'm in a f---ing rock band, aren't I? There have always been groupies," Ozzy said. "I just got caught, didn't I? I don't think I'm a f---ing sex addict." The statement from Black Sabbath's rep was released following intense media speculation over Osbourne's 33-year marriage to Sharon Osbourne when the pair separated in May 2016. However, Osbourne later said that their marriage was "back on track again." - New Musical Express, 1/30/17...... Brad WhitfordAerosmith is promising some "surprises" for their upcoming final tour of the U.K. and Europe, after first announcing it in 2016 by saying it would be "one of the greatest rock n' roll shows ever seen." Guitarist Brad Whitford says the band would "like to do some more deep cuts" on their "Aerovederci Tour" and "we'll see how that goes, it's very hard to get everybody to agree on certain things. We've basically done the hit-parade our whole career, and there's a lot of really great deep tracks that have been neglected. It would be nice to bring some of that stuff out. I think people would appreciate that." The 17-city tour commences on May 17 in Tel Aviv, Israel, also hitting Moscow, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. It also includes a headline performance at the Download Festival in Donington, UK, on June 11. - NME, 1/30/17...... TV legend Mary Tyler Moore was laid to rest on Jan. 29 after a small, private ceremony in Connecticut, according to the local paper Connecticut Post. Ms. Moore, a resident of Greenwich, Conn., was buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield at around 11 a.m., and her service was attended by approximately 50 of her closest friends and family members. The only celebrity in the crowd was Bernadette Peters, her co-star in the 1990 TV movie The Last Best Year. Ms. Moore's gravesite is surrounded by 12 empty plots that the family reportedly purchased at $2,000 a pop to ensure her privacy. Outside the cemetery, a small tribute to Ms. Moore in the form of three homemade signs proclaiming "We Love You," "Mary!!!," and "Rest in Peace, Mary" hung on the main gate, along with a picture of the actress smiling. Ms. Moore passed away on Jan. 25 at age 80 after dealing with a series of health issues, including diabetes. - PageSix.com, 1/30/17...... Officials in Los Angeles say they have positively identified the man who raped and killed Karen Klaas, the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley in 1976. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said on Jan. 30) that investigators blame Kenneth Eugene Troyer for the slaying. Karen Klaas was strangled with her pantyhose in her home in Jan. 1976 as she returned to her home in Hermosa Beach, and the 32-year-old died a few years later. McDonnell says investigators used a controversial DNA testing technique that allows investigators to search databases to identify likely relatives of suspects who may have committed the crime. A forensic sample collected at the crime scene found a familial match to identify a close male relative of Troyer's. - AP, 1/30/17...... Geoff Nicholls, a longtime keyboardist for Black Sabbath who joined the band in 1979 after the firing of Ozzy Osbourne, died on Jan. 28 following a battle with lung cancer. He was 68. Nicholls first appeared on Black Sabbath's 1980 album, Heaven and Hell, and five years later he was named an official member of the group. After appearing on nine Sabbath albums and touring regularly with the band, he left in 1996, after Osbourne returned. "I'm so saddened to hear the loss of one of my dearest and closest friends Geoff Nicholls," Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi wrote on Facebook on Jan. 28. "I will miss him dearly and he will live in my heart until we meet again. Rest in peace my dear friend." - Billboard, 1/28/17...... John HurtJohn Hurt, a legendary actor perhaps best known for his role in the 1978 film Midnight Express which earned him an Oscar nomination, died on Jan. 27, his publicist confirmed the following day. He was 77. Hurt's cause of death was not immediately disclosed, however he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. Long a familiar face to moviegoers, Hurt's over 60-year career also included roles as wandmaker Garrick Olivander in the Harry Potter films, as the British dictator in V for Vendetta, and as the disturbed Harold "Ox" Oxley in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the main character in Nineteen Eighty-Four. - NBCnews.com, 1/28/17...... Actor Mike Connors, best known as detective Joe Mannix on the 1967-1975 CBS crime drama Mannix, died on Jan. 26 in Tarzana, Calif. He was 91. In the 1950s, Mr. Connors appeared in the John Wayne film Island in the Sky and in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, and he also appeared in the early-'60s TV series Tightrope! and Today's F.B.I. in the early 1980s. He later played Colonel Hack Peters in Herman Wouk miniseries War and Remembrance. Mr. Connors, who had been recently diagnosed with leukemia, is survived by his wife Mary Lou, daughter Dena and granddaughter Cooper. "He was a wonderful father, a wonderful husband, a wonderful father-in-law and a wonderful friend," his son-in-law Mike Condon said. "He was always there for anyone in need."- Variety.com, 1/26/17.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Interviewed for an in-depth cover story in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson says she still can't believe the world thought her late dad was a child molester, and that Michael would "cry to me at night" as he battled ongoing accusations of child abuse at his Neverland Ranch home in California. "Picture your parent crying to you about the world hating him for something he didn't do," said Paris, now a teenage model. "And for me, he was the only thing that mattered. To see my entire world in pain, I started to hate the world because of what they were doing to him. I'm like, 'How can people be so mean?'" Jackson's sensational 2005 trial ended with the members of the jury finding the King of Pop not guilty on all 14 charges against him. Paris also discusses her ongoing battles with cyberbullies, briefly mentions being sexually assaulted by "a complete stranger" at 14, and "multiple" suicide attempts stemming from her early teenage "depression and drug addiction" (she's now sober). Paris also insisted that Michael Jackson was her real father, that she "considers herself black" because her dad told her she was, and that her dad was somehow, murdered. "Absolutely," she said. "Because it's obvious. All arrows point to that.... all real fans and everybody in the family knows it. It was a setup." - WENN.com/jezebel.com, 1/24/17...... David BowieGreat Britain's Royal Mail announced on Jan. 25 it will be commemorating David Bowie with a limited-edition run of 10 postage stamps featuring covers of Bowie's albums and images from his tours. The stamps will feature art from such landmark albums as Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Heroes, Let's Dance, Earthling and Bowie's final work, 2016's Blackstar, as well as four of his tours. Royal Mail will issue the stamps on Mar. 14, and pre-orders are being accepted. Royal Mail previously has honored the Beatles in 2010 and Pink Floyd in 2015. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... In other Bowie news, Sting stunned a "Celebrating David Bowie" concert at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on Jan. 24 by making a surprise appearance to perform two songs from Bowie's Blackstar -- the title track toward the end of the 3-hour, 25 minute show, and "Lazarus," as one of the 4-song encores. The show featured a massive band comprised largely of alumni of Bowie's touring units, with celebrity lead vocalists including Perry Farrell, Bush's Gavin Rossdale and Def Leppard's Joe Elliott. The concert was part of a very limited five-city international Bowie tribute mini-tour. - Billboard, 1/25/17...... Queen with guest vocalist Adam Lambert have announced a 25-city arena summer tour of North America that will get underway on June 23 in Phoenix, Ariz. June dates also include Las Vegas (6/24), Los Angeles (6/26) and San Jose, Calif. (6/29). Major cities in July include Seattle (7/1), Denver (7/6), Chicago (7/13), Montreal (7/17), Detroit (7/20), Boston (7/25), Brooklyn (7/28), Philadelphia (7/30), and Washington D.C. (7/31), before three final dates in August -- Nashville, Tenn. (8/2), Dallas (8/4) and Houston (8/5). Tickets for the tour go on sale Feb. 3. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... A planned Janis Joplin biopic starring 5-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams has been scrapped, according to director Jean-Marc Valle. Valle, who also directed Dallas Buyers Club, says he's committed instead to the upcoming HBO series Big Little Lies. The movie, to have been called Get It While You Can, is not to be confused with another Joplin biopic starring Michelle Williams that is currently in production. That movie, Janis, is based on the biography Love, Janis by Joplin's sister, Laura Joplin, and uses Joplin's letters to family and friends to tell her story. Janis Joplin died in 1970 at the age of 27 from a heroin overdose after releasing only three albums; a posthumously released album, Pearl, was released just months after her death and featured one of her last hits, "Me and Bobby McGee." - Billboard, 1/25/17...... Fleetwood Mac announced on Jan. 25 that they will reissue their 1987 album Tango In the Night in a special deluxe 30th anniversary reissue with rare and unreleased tracks on Mar. 10. The reissue will arrive in three formats -- single CD, two CD and three CD, LP, and DVD -- and the expanded releases include 13 previously unheard recordings, rare B-sides and music videos. - NME, 1/25/17...... Ray Davies announced on Jan. 23 that he'll release his first solo album in 10 years, Americana, on Apr. 21 via Legacy Recordings. The LP's title is taken from Davies' 2013 memoir of the same name, and along with new songs, the album will also feature spoken-word passages from his memoir. Americana is the first of two volumes to be released by Davies in 2017, and the singer has also released it's lead single, "Poetry," which is backed by the alt-country band the Jayhawks. Davies was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in December. Americana will be his fifth solo effort, with his most recent being 2007's Working Man's Cafe. - NME, 6/23/17...... Rod StewartRod Stewart announced on Jan. 23 that he'll kick off a summer tour of mostly smaller cities in America with opener Cyndi Lauper on July 6 in Hollywood, Fla. Visiting such markets as Tampa, Tuscaloosa, Camden, Bangor, Wantagh, Bristow and Rochester, the tour also visits Cincinnati on Aug. 4 and Dallas on Aug. 11 before wrapping on Aug. 12 in Houston. Stewart released his last album, Another Country, in 2015, and is currently in the studio recording. Sir Rod was also present at the Scottish Cup Draw football match on Jan. 22, where he reportedly had a blast plucking a series of numbered balls out of a bin and participated in the time-honored tradition of setting up the match-ups for the fifth round of the tournament. - Billboard, 1/23/17...... Neil Diamond has announced a 50-song, three-disc career retrospective, The 50th Anniversary Collection, will drop on Mar. 31. Diamond, 75, oversaw the selection of the song on the set, which will hit stores on the 50th anniversary of his first hit, 1966's "Solitary Man." Diamond's major hits and key album tracks will be featured on the set, which drops just before he kicks off a huge 2017 world tour on Apr. 7 in Fresno, Calif., that will run through an Oct. 17 gig at London's O2 Arena. - Billboard, 1/24/17...... The iconic '60s group Jefferson Airplane and its '70s offshoot, Jefferson Starship, has signed a worldwide management deal with legacy management firm Jampol Artist Management, which also has such iconic acts as the Doors, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and the Ramones on its roster. "I think it's fan-f---ing-tastic that we're working with JAM," said Jefferson Airplane frontwoman Grace Slick in a statement announcing the signing. Added co-founder Marty Balin: "The Airplane still flies! It was one of the greatest experiences I ever had. I am proud of the musical legacy Jefferson Airplane brings and I look forward to working with JAM." JAM, Inc. specializes in extending, promoting and diversifying offerings by legacy acts through documentary and feature film projects, stage productions, retail apparel and licensing campaigns, museum exhibitions, books and more. - Billboard, 1/23/17...... The iconic Whisky a Go Go marque from the legendary Sunset Strip club in Los Angeles was put up for auction on Jan. 25. The weathered 13-foot marquee, which says simply, "The Whisky," adorned the West Hollywood club in the '80s and '90s, and was replaced in 2004 with a new sign -- "Whisky a Go Go" -- that restored the full name used when the club opened in 1964. The marquee sold for nearly $35,000 in 2012, and it is expected the sign could fetch somewhere between $25,000 and $60,000. Over the years the Whisky a Go Go has played host to such acts as Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Van Halen and the Ramones, and it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. - AP, 1/22/17...... Cher was among the Pres. Donald Trump protesters calling into MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on Jan. 21, after the diva participated in the Women's March against Pres. Trump. "People from all over the world don't like him, don't trust him and they don't think he's a good person," Cher told host Chris Matthews. Cher responded to comments from some who might criticize the marchers as "sore losers" following their preferred candidate losing the election to Trump, despite receiving more of the popular vote. "You'd be disappointed if Mitt Romney won," said Cher. "Trump is a different thing altogether." The singer added that she "actually support (Trump's) people because they feel disenfranchised and through some sort of miracle they think he will fix their problems," and ended her conversation with a rallying cry: "His supporters always call us whiners, but we are going to kick their ass." - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/21/17...... In related news, Roger Waters has formally unveiled his latest set of anti-Trump live visuals in a new video in the wake of Pres. Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration. The Pink Floyd co-founder has inducted the visuals, which include a flying pig with the words "F--- Trump and his wall" emblazoned on it as well as superimposed pictures of the 45th president with some members of the Ku Klux Klan, into his live gigs during the past few months, including his high profile appearance at the Desert Trip festival in California in October. Now Waters has shared a new video for a Sept. 2016 performance of the 1977 Pink Floyd song "Pigs" in Mexico City on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, with the words "the resistance begins today" accompanying the newly-released footage. Meanwhile, Waters recently previewed new material from what will be his first new solo album in nearly 25 years. - New Musical Express, 1/22/17...... Crystal GayleCountry/pop crossover singer Crystal Gayle was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Jan. 21, nearly 50 years after she first walked onto the stage to perform as a teenager. The honor was performed by Gayle's sister, country legend and longtime Opry member Loretta Lynn, at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Gayle is best known for her 1977 hit, "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," which is noted on her official website as the song that "opened the world's eyes to Crystal Gayle." - AP, 1/21/17...... UK rockers Status Quo have announced a series of new tour dates following the December death of Status Quo singer/guitarist Rick Parfitt. Surviving members Francis Rossi, Andrew Bown, John 'Rhino' Edwards, Leon Cave and Richie Malone will perform four shows in support of their recent album Aquostic II: That's A Fact!, including a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. Other dates include Inverness (6/20), York (6/21) and Norwich (6/25). Status Quo has released over 100 singles -- many of which were penned by Parfitt -- and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide. - NME, 1/23/17...... Two of Prince's relatives who are likely to receive a share of the late rock icon's multimillion-dollar estate have accused the estate's special entertainment advisers of mismanaging an October Prince tribute concert and holding on to profits the estate was guaranteed to receive. Veteran entertainment attorneys L. Londell McMillan and Charles Koppelman have been employed by the estate as experts to help monetize Prince's entertainment assets, and have entered a number of licensing agreements on behalf of the estate. At a recent hearing, the judge said the estate would likely be dived between the six people listed on the initial filing with the court: sister Tyka Nelson and half-siblings Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson, John Nelson, Omarr Baker, and Alfred Jackson. The Official Prince Tribute-A Celebration of Life and Music concert was held on Oct. 13, 2016 in St. Paul, Minn. - Billboard, 1/26/17...... Bassist Pete Overend Watts, a founding member of Mott the Hoople, passed away on Jan. 22 after a battle with cancer. He was 69. Born in Yardley, Birmingham on May 13, 1947, Watts met drummer Dale Griffin at Ross Grammar School, and the pair played in local bands before moving to London in 1969 where, having formed a band called The Shakedown Sound, they came to the attention of producer Guy Stevens, who also auditioned and appointed Ian Hunter as their lead singer. Renamed Mott the Hoople, the band was a popular glam-rock group in the early '70s, with hits including "All the Way from Memphis," "Roll Away the Stone" and "All the Young Dudes." After Mott the Hoople disbanded in 1974, Watts went on to form the bands Mott and British Lions. "Overend was a warm, funny, intelligent, talented and hugely charismatic person who always had an entertaining story to tell," Mott the Hoople keyboardist Verden Allen posted on Facebook. "There are no words to explain how much he will be missed, and by so many that he was an inspiration to." - New Musical Express, 1/23/17...... Butch TrucksButch Trucks, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band who played drums alongside Jai "Jaimoe" Johnny Johanson throughout the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' 46-year on-and-off history, died on Jan. 24 in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 69. Born Claude Hudson Trucks in Jacksonville, Fla., Trucks first played in local bands and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, as well as in ensembles at Florida State University, where he studied. In a 2016 interview, Trucks said he "was a good drummer and didn't know it" when the late Duane Allman approached him to be in the band in 1968. "I was about to head back to school and get a degree in math and teach... when Duane knocked on my door with Jaimoe, and then the Allman Brothers happened," Trucks recalled. "Duane decided he wanted two drummers -- he told Jaimoe, 'If James Brown can have two drummers, so can I!' -- and Jaimoe kept telling me, 'Butch is your guy. Butch is the guy!'" Trucks is the uncle of Derek Trucks, who also played drums in a later incarnation of the ABB, and another nephew, Duane Trucks, is a member of Widespread Panic and Hard Working Americans. Trucks becomes the third member of the original Allmans to pass away: Duane Allman died after a 1971 motorcycle crash at the age of 24, and bassist Berry Oakley was killed in a similar accident at the same age less than 13 months later. Trucks and the other ABB members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. He is survived by his wife, Melinda, their four children and four grandchildren. "I'm heartbroken. I've lost another brother and it hurts beyond words. Butch and I knew each other since we were teenagers and we were bandmates for over 45 years," bandmate Gregg Allman said in a statement. "He was a great man and a great drummer and I'm going to miss him forever. Rest In Peace Brother Butch." - Billboard, 1/25/17...... Folk-rock singer-songwriter Maggie Roche, a member of the sister vocal trio The Roches, has died of cancer, according to an online statement posted by her sister Suzzy Roche on Jan. 21. She was 65. The Park Ridge, N.J. sisters caught the eye of Paul Simon while touring in the '70s, and Simon recruited them as backup singers for his hit 1973 album, There Goes Rhymin' Simon. The Roches released their debut album in 1975, also playing Greenwich Village folk venues, and in 1979 released their well-received album The Roches, the first of a dozen albums. The Roches' final studio album, Moonswept, was released in 2007. "Maggie was a brilliant songwriter, with a distinct unique perspective, all heart and soul," Suzzy Roche posted. - AP, 1/21/17...... Ronald "Bingo" Mundy, best known for his work with the doo-wop group The Marcels and their hit "Blue Moon," died of pneumonia on Jan. 20 at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. He was 76. "Blue Moon," which was reportedly recorded by the five-member Marcels in only two takes, is instantly recognizable for the bass vocals that begin the song -- "Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom." Mundy can be heard singing the background refrain of "Moon moon moon moon moon." The single hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961. - AP, 1/24/17.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler MooreMary Tyler Moore, the sparkling TV comedienne who revolutionized the medium with her classic Emmy-winning The Mary Tyler Moore Show after first rising to fame as housewife Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, died on the morning of Jan. 25 in the company of friends and her longtime husband, cardiologist Robert Levine, after a long battle with diabetes. She was 80. One of the most beloved television actresses of the 20th century who first rose to fame, Ms. Moore was born on Dec. 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, N.Y. A leggy brunette dancer, her first TV job came after graduation from high school in 1955, when she played Happy Hotpoint, a dancing elf in an appliance commercial. That same year, the 18-year-old aspiring actress married 27-year-old cranberry-products salesman Dick Meeker as a ticket out of an uhappy household with a devoutly Catholic father and alcoholic mother, and the couple had a son named Richie a year later. After that show ended in 1966, a year later Ms. Moore played Julie Andrews' pal in the 1920s musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, but even bigger fame was waiting when CBS premiered The Mary Tyler Moore Show in Sept. 1970. Enjoying a seven-year run and earning multiple Emmy awards, the show's cast included Ms. Moore as WJM-TV producer Mary Richards and her newsroom friends, gruff news director Lou Grant (Ed Asner), unflappable newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), blowhard anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), and flirty "Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White). Neighbors in Richards' apartment building were Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman). Mary Tyler MooreThe final episode made history as it brought closure to the characters when they were all fired (except for Ted) and participated in a big group hug before Mary turned out the lights for the last time. The Mary Tyler Moore Show earned 29 Emmys by the time it signed off the air in 1977, a record wouldn't be broken until 2002, when Frasier won its 30th trophy. Ms. Moore's famous "hat toss" pose in the opening credits even earned its own statue on display at the Minneapolis Visitor Information center, the city where the series was set. Though the show spawned several spinoffs including Rhoda, Phyllis, and Lou Grant, further TV success eluded Ms. Moore (a variety show featuring David Letterman and Billy Crystal lasted briefly). But her next success came in a very different role as a cold mother coping with an unhappy family in the 1980 Robert Redford-directed bigscreen drama, Ordinary People. Ms. Moore earned rave reviews, as well as an Oscar nomination, for her performance that showed what Redford called "the dark side of Mary Tyler Moore." Ms. Moore then made several TV movies, including Heartsounds (1984), Finnegan Begin Again (1985), Gore Vidal's Lincoln, (1988) and Stolen Babies, a 1993 project for which she won another Emmy. Further attempts at sitcom glory in the mid-1980s, Mary in 1985 and Annie McGuire in 1988, were unsuccessful. In real life, Ms. Moore's story was more soap opera than sitcom, and after her first marriage to Meeker ended in 1961, she married NBC programmer Grant Tinker, and the two founded the successful MTM Enterprises in 1969. With that company, Tinker produced many memorable TV series through the years, including The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere. Mary Tyler MooreThe two seemed to be a happy Hollywood couple before announcing they were spitting in 1981 (MTM was sold in 1990), and Ms. Moore later said that Tinker was more a father figure than a husband. In 1983, she married Robert Levine, a cardiologist 18 years her junior, and a year later entered the Betty Ford clinic for what she called "a social drinking habit." She was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 33, and she was a longtime vegetarian and animal rights activist. Ms. Moore also coped with much tragedy in her personal life: the death of only son Richie at 24, in 1980 of a self-inflicted gunshot, and the death of her 21-year-old sister in 1978 from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. Through the years, Ms. Moore used her fame to help the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and, as a devoted animal lover, she served on the boards of several animal welfare organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Mary Tyler Moore must be counted, along with Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, as one of the great comediennes of American television," TV historian Tim Brooks once said. In a 1990s interview, Ms. Moore recalled how she would sometimes watch old episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show or The Mary Tyler Moore Show when she had trouble sleeping. "Without any trouble at all, I'll lose myself in the episodes," she said. "It's been so long I can hardly remember what the plots were, so it's almost fresh to me. They're always so wise. They have a lesson, small ones and happy ones. They give you hope that there's a better future." - USA Today, 1/25/17.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A photo of an overweight man with a white beard attending Elvis Presley's annual birthday tribute event at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., on Jan. 8 is being put forth by some loyal Elvis fans as proof that the King of Rock & Roll is still alive. The photo, which is being shared on the "Elvis Presley Is Alive" Facebook page, also shows security personnel "guarding" the King to protect his anonymity, the fans claim. Since Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, at age 42, some fans have always insisted that he faked his own death so that he could live a more low-key life. - New Musical Express, 1/17/17...... In other Elvis-related news, a federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against the city of Memphis and Elvis Presley Enterprises, the owner of Graceland, on Jan. 18 by five African-Americans who claim they were discriminated against at a protest by a coalition associated with the Black Lives Matter movement during the annual Presley death vigil last August. The protest by The Coalition of Concerned Citizens coincided with a candlelight vigil at Graceland, which has been held every year on the Aug. 16 anniversary of his death. Protesters, most of them black, gathered on the street leading to Graceland, yelling slogans such as "black lives matter," and their protest came at a time when racial tensions were heightened nationally following the killings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota and the shootings of five Dallas police officers in retaliation. The lawsuit says officers blocked about 60 protesters from entering the permitted area where Presley's fans gathered on a public street, and officers allowed mostly white people who said they were going to the vigil to pass through. Elvis Presley Enterprises issued a statement the following day saying that their tourist attraction has a history of being inclusive. The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and unspecified damages. - AP, 1/19/17......Stevie NicksIn a new interview with London's Evening Standard paper, Stevie Nicks said she's reluctant to record and release new material because she feels "people aren't willing to pay for artists' work" in the Internet age. "I don't write as many songs anymore because with the Internet, the way that kids listen to music, all the streaming, and the fact that if they're very savvy, if they want to get it and not pay for it, they can," Nicks said, adding "It goes against the grain of our whole belief in, 'You write a song, you record it, and you put it out there and people should buy it'... We realise it's not our world anymore and the younger kids don't look at it like they're taking from us we don't have the impetus to write 20 songs because we know that unless you're under 20 you're not going to sell many records." Nicks' last solo album was 2011's In Your Dreams, while her band, Fleetwood Mac, last released an album in 2003. Nicks also said that Fleetwood Mac would prefer to tour rather than record new material: Would you rather spend a year in the studio or get back on the road? I think that the band would choose to tour." Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie recently announced that they are working on a new album of duets to be released in May. - NME, 1/17/17...... Judas Priest will release a three-disc 30th anniversary set of their 1986 album Turbo on Feb. 3. The deluxe release features the original album remastered along with a Kansas City concert from May 22, 1986. Turbo reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart, which tied Screaming For Vengeance as Judas Priest's highest chart position at the time, and it launched the Mainstream Rock singles "Turbo Lover" and "Locked In." - Billboard, 1/19/17...... A breach of contract lawsuit by Thriller producer Quincy Jones against Sony Entertainment and MJJ Productions over posthumous Michael Jackson releases inched one step closer to trial on Jan. 18 after a judge denied a motion for summary judgment. The fight began in 2013 when Jones sued Sony Entertainment and MJJ Productions, a song company controlled by the King of Pop's estate, claiming master recordings he produced were wrongfully edited and remixed to deprive him of backend profit participation. The works at issue include the This Is It film and soundtrack album and the 25th anniversary edition of Bad. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern denied a previous summary judgment motion from the defendants' attorneys in Feb. 2016, and the trial is currently set for Feb. 21. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/19/17...... Currently on a tour of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, James Taylor emailed a clip to fans on his mailing list on Jan. 20 from French Polynesia bemoaning the end of Pres. Barack Obama's era and the new Donald Trump presidency. "Hi, it's James in French Polynesia on the last day of the Obama administration, and it feels like it's raining all over the world," says Taylor as he stands outside a grass hut in the rain. Taylor, a vocal critic of Trump, performed at Pres. Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Taylor's feelings about the new president are shared by Bruce Springsteen, who snubbed the controversial new president by delivering a 15-song acoustic concert at the White House on Jan. 19 as a final thank-you to Pres. Obama and his hard-working staff. Pres. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and some 200-250 guests attended the concert at the East Room of the White House. The Boss was reportedly in a chatty mood as he talked politics between songs, and sang Obama's praises. As the show wrapped up, the president took the mic and thanked the performer. "He's been with us for some time now, performing his craft to show his support," Obama told his staff. Springsteen is so unimpressed with Donald Trump, even a Springsteen covers band has declined a request to play at an Inauguration night ceremony. The B Street Band withdrew from its scheduled Jan. 19 appearance at the Garden State Inaugural Ball in Washington, saying it decision is "based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band. - AP/Billboard, 1/20/17...... Tony OrlandoMeanwhile, Tony Orlando was among the entertainers performing at galas around Washington, D.C., on the night of Pres. Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20. The "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" singer performed at the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, and invitation-only ball that is free for members and veterans of the armed services and their families. - AP, 1/17/17...... "Now the Time Has Come," a song featuring Ringo Starr that debuted in September 2016 for the annual International Day of Peace, is being made available as a free download for the first time. The song was created by Starr and producer Bruce Sugar and two versions are available to stream online: one by Ringo and friends Richard Page, Colin Hay and Billy Valentine, and another with Ringo and friends and Latin artist Fonseca. The song's lyrics include the line: "Now the time has come/Time has come for everyone/To lay down all your guns/And let the light of love shine on and on." Ringo has celebrated "peace and love" annually since 2008 on his July 7 birthday, and International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") is observed around the world each year on Sept. 21. It was established in 1981 by United Nations resolution 36/37 as a day devoted to "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples." - Billboard, 1/19/17...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney filed suit in New York on Jan. 18 against Sony/ATV with the aim of getting a declaratory judgment that states he will soon regain his copyright ownership share of songs he created as a member of the Beatles. In what could become one of the most important legal battles in the music industry this decade, Sir Paul is looking to leverage the termination provisions of the Copyright Act, which was passed by Congress in 1976 and increased the period that works are under copyright protection, and in recognition of authors who had signed over their rights to publishers and studios without much bargaining power. The bill allowed such authors 35 years hence to reclaim rights in the latter stages of a copyright term, and artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Prince have used the mere threat of termination to negotiate new deals and better compensation arrangements. The lawsuit notes that McCartney has been serving and recording termination notices for nearly a decade. Represented by attorneys at Morrison & Foerster, he now expects to recover copyright interests as soon as Oct. 5, 2018. Sony/ATV issued a statement saying they "are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature" and that they have "collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon's Estate for decades to protect, preserve and promote the catalog's long-term value." - Billboard, 1/18/17...... George HarrisonThe estate of George Harrison announced on Jan. 17 that a box set of Harrison's vinyl albums will be released in Feb. 2017. George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection will feature the vinyl albums reproduced as they were originally released and in their original cover sleeves, and the albums were remastered from the original analog master tapes at Capitol Studios. The set will also include the two-LP set Live In Japan along with set exclusives of two 12" single picture discs of '80s hit singles "When We Was Fab" and "Got My Mind Set On You." The albums will also be available separately, though Harrison's 1970 triple-LP masterwork All Things Must Pass will be a limited-edition release, the estate said. - Billboard, 1/17/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the drum kit used by the Beatles on "Love Me Do," their first No. 1 US single in 1964, will be auctioned by Nate D. Auctions on Jan. 26, with bidding beginning at $75,000 (£60,598). Ringo Starr did not play on that recording however, session musician Andy White filled in for Ringo in what was only Starr's second session with the band. The drum skin of the bass drum has White's name, the song title and The Beatles' logo on it, as well as drum maker Ludwig's name. - New Musical Express, 1/21/17...... The now-grown child actor who portrayed AntiChrist Damien Thorn in the 1976 horror flick The Omen received a suspended prison sentence on Jan. 13 for a road rage incident he was involved in last summer. Harvey Stephens, 46, was charged with two counts of actual bodily harm and one charge of criminal damage after being found guilty of attacking cyclists Mark Richardson and Alex Manley near Westerham, England. Stephens reportedly punched Richardson in the jaw during the roadside altercation, and manhandled Manley, knocking both off their bikes and hurling abuse at them. Stephens was sentenced to a total of 14 months in jail, suspended for two years. - WENN.com, 1/18/17...... Astronaut Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17 and the last man to walk on the moon, died on Jan. 16 after an illness at age 82. Mr. Cernan, a Captain in the U.S. Navy, left his mark on the history of exploration by flying three times in space, twice to the moon. He also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last human to leave his footprints on the lunar surface. - AP, 1/17/17...... Marilyn Petrone, a former executive with Dick Clark Productions and United Artists Music Group and who worked with such top acts as War, ELO, Shirley Bassey, Bobby Womack, Kenny Rogers, Paul Anka and Johnny Rivers, died at her Beverly Hills home on Jan. 18 from cancer. She was 82. Mrs. Petrone was married to the late Emiel Petrone, who was the senior vp of Phillips Corporate Alliance Group, which helped to launch the compact disc and DVD formats. - Billboard, 1/20/17...... Howard Kaufman, a veteran rock manager whose longtime management company H.K. Management worked with such top artists as Aerosmith, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Buffett, Chicago, Lenny Kravitz and Def Leppard, died of as yet unnamed causes on Jan. 18. He was 79. In 1974, Kaufman teamed with Irving Azoff to form Front Line Management, which notably guided the careers of Buffett, the Eagles and Steely Dan, among others. The company disbanded in the early 1980s, around the time the Eagles began their long hiatus, but was resurrected by the pair in early 2005. The revamped Front Line experienced rapid growth and in 2008 was acquired by Ticketmaster, which named Azoff CEO. - Billboard, 1/19/17...... William Onyeabor, a highly influential funk musician who released eight acclaimed funk albums between 1977 and 1985 before embracing Christianity and distancing himself from his music, died at his home in Enugu, Nigeria, on Jan. 16. He was 70. Onyeabor's pioneering synth-funk tracks were rediscovered in recent years thanks to Luaka Bop's compilation album Who Is William Onyeabor? and Noisey's film about his career, Fantastic Man. - New Musical Express, 1/18/17.

Monday, January 16, 2017

David Bowie has scored two 2017 BRIT Awards nominations, in the British Male Solo Artist category and Mastercard British Album Of The Year category for Blackstar. The late Leonard Cohen also received a nod in the International Male Solo Artist category. Nominations for this year's awards were announced at a ceremony on Jan. 14. The BRITs, the U.K. recording industry's flagship awards ceremony, will be held Feb. 22 at London's O2 Arena. - Billboard, 1/16/17...... In other Bowie-related news, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman revealed on BBC Radio 5 that he played piano on Bowie's 1971 Hunky Dory track "Oh! You Pretty Things," in addition to his previously credited contributions to the songs "Changes" and "Life on Mars?" That is me [playing]," Wakeman told host Danny Baker. "David wanted it to be very simple but if I remember rightly he kept cocking up the little riff. He did a few bits of it and I did the rest. He did the beginning." Wakeman also performed a piano rendition of "Life on Mars?" after Bowie's death in Jan. 2016. - New Musical Express, 1/16/17...... Christine McVieLindsey BuckinghamIn a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham said they are working on a new album of duets. "I've been sending Lindsey demos in their very raw form, and he's been doing his Lindsey magic on them, which I love," McVie said. "It made sense to me with what she had given me and what I done with it. But we still didn't know how it was going to play out in the studio," Lindsey Buckingham added. Although the duets album, which is expected to be released in May, will also feature Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, it won't come under the Fleetwood Mac banner, but instead it is tentatively titled Buckingham McVie, a homage to the pre-FM Buckingham and Stevie Nicks collaboration, Buckingham Nicks. - NME, 1/13/17...... Elton John and Mariah Carey were paid $4.2 million to perform at a wedding at the LandMark hotel in London for the granddaughter of Russian billionaire Valery Kogan on the second weekend of January. Sir Elton kicked things off with an impressive 12 song set, and the reception lasted for a staggering 9 hours. Meanwhile, Elton has paid tribute to ex-Watford and England manager Graham Taylor, who died on Jan. 12 at age 72 of a probable heart attack. John was chairman of the Hertfordshire football club during Taylor's time as manager, and said he was "deeply saddened and shocked" by the news. "He was like a brother to me. We shared an unbreakable bond since we first met. We went on an incredible journey together and it will stay with me forever... We have become a leading English club because of his managerial wisdom and genius," Elton wrote in an Instagram post. - TMZ.com/New Musical Express, 1/12/17...... A New York coffeehouse where a young Bob Dylan played a couple of gigs almost 60 years ago has reopened after a $2 million renovation project. The low-ceilinged Caffe Lena was host to Dylan in 1961 and 1962 as he was making his way onto New York City's folk scene. "It's a legendary place," said Jeff Place, archivist for Smithsonian Folkways, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution. "For singer-songwriters, playing there is like playing Carnegie Hall for classical musicians." Caffe Lena first opened in May 1960, and also saw early performances by such folk legends as Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Don McClean and Arlo Guthrie, who was honorary chairman of the coffeehouse's fundraising campaign. - AP, 1/15/17...... Sky TV, a leading pay TV channel in the UK, has announced it will not air a controversial program about Michael Jackson after his daughter Paris said she was "incredibly offended" by the portrayal of the late music star. The episode was scheduled to be part of a series called Urban Myths and was set to air on Sky Arts. It focused on Jackson taking a road trip from New York to Los Angeles with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attacks, with Joseph Fiennes playing Jackson. In a statement, Sky said they "set out to take a light-hearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense," and that "Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision." On Jan. 12, Paris Jackson tweeted following a trailer for the episode, and said the images made her "want to vomit." A petition to boycott the episode had been signed by more than 20,000 people. - Billboard, 1/13/17...... Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has previewed music from his upcoming first solo album in 25 years, with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich at the helm. On Jan. 11 Waters posted a video of himself playing guitar in the studio with Godrich, as well as a photo of the pair together. The LP will be Waters' first solo effort since 1992's Amused to Death. - New Musical Express, 1/12/17...... Bob WeirFormer Grateful Dead member Bob Weir helped kick off the 11th MusicNOW Festival at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati on Jan. 12. Weir treated the audience to a rapturously received set of Dead classics, Bob Dylan covers and a dose of cowboy songs from his recent solo album, Blue Mountain. Weir's 21-song set opened with a take on Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece," then Son House's "Walkin' Blues" and Little Feat's "Easy To Slip." Encores included "Ki-Yi-Bossie," "Peggy-O" and "Ripple." The three-night event was founded by The National guitarist Bryce Dessner. - Billboard, 1/13/17..... Stevie Wonder serenaded outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Jan. 11. Mrs. Obama was the guest of honor on the show that night, with the host bidding farewell to her husband's administration. Performing his 1969 classic "My Cherie Amour," Wonder changed the lyrics to honour Obama, calling it "My Michelle Amour." "I love you Michelle," Wonder said as he introduced the song. "I must tell you, I wrote this song but I changed the words a little." - NME, 1/12/17....... Two offspring of the Beatles -- Sean Lennon and Stella McCartney, got together on Jan. 10 at the Cotton Club in New York's Harlem. Stella, the daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, was in New York for her pre-fall fashion show. On his Facebook page, Sean, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, made a comment on a picture from the show, "At @stellamccartney Cotton Club bash the other night. Was nice to see the familams." Stella has made a name for herself as one of the world's top fashion designers, and her famous dad has often attended her fashion shows. - Billboard, 1/13/17...... Legendary country singer Loretta Lynn will be the subject of a major exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville that is set to open Aug. 25. "I am so happy the Country Music Hall of Fame has asked me to be one of their main exhibits in 2017 gonna show off my 50-some-odd years in country music," Lynn said in a statement. "They best have a big space. I have a lot of stuff. I'm so proud to share my life, and music with the Hall of Fame. Y'all come see us," she added. Her exhibit, featuring personal artifacts and career memorabilia, will remain open through June 2018. Meanwhile, Willie Nelson says he thinks Loretta Lynn should try marijuana again, after she recently tried it for the first time at the age of 84 for her glaucoma but didn't like it. "She's got a lot of guts. She'll try anything. Maybe I should help her," Nelson said in a recent interview, Nelson, 83, has attached his name to a line of legal marijuana being sold in Colorado and Washington called "Willie's Reserve," after decades of personally advocating for the legalization of marijuana. - AP, 1/12/17...... Billy Joel performed his 37th Madison Square Garden Show on Jan. 11 since first launching the residency in 2014. Joel often asked the audience to dictate what he would perform, allowing them to choose between two possible songs. During the nearly three-hour show, Joel admitted that he often picks favorites from his discography based on his mood. Before launching into "Vienna" at the Garden, he said, "I just kind of said what came to the top of my head at the time -- the problem is they're different every day. Some days, I like some songs. Some days, I like other songs." - Billboard, 1/12/17...... Karen and Richard CarpenterCarpenters surviving member Richard Carpenter filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group on Jan. 11 over digital royalties he contends are owed from the licencing of Carpenters songs for online services such as Apple's iTunes. The lawsuit seeks more than $2 million in royalties and is also being filed on behalf of the estate of his sister, Karen Carpenter, who died in 1983. The suit, which also names Universal subsidiary A&M Records, is one of a number of lawsuits filed after a 2010 appellate court ruled in a case involving Eminem's record label that music downloads from services such as iTunes should result in higher payments to artists. That ruling called for artists to receive substantially higher royalty payments for digital downloads of their music than they do when a physical recording is sold. Richard Carpenter says he has been unable to resolve the dispute without suing. "The Carpenters recordings are among the best sellers in the history of popular music and after 48 years continue to contribute a substantial amount to UMG/A&M's annual bottom line," he wrote in a statement. "It seems only fair that these companies account fairly to my sister's estate and to me." - AP, 1/11/17...... Author William Peter Blatty, the novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter most famous for landmark 1973 horror film The Exorcist as well as the director of two films, The Ninth Configuration and The Exorcist III, has died at age 89. The Exorcist director William Friedkin announced the news on Twitter on Jan. 13: "William Peter Blatty, dear friend and brother who created The Exorcist passed away yesterday," Friedkin wrote. - Variety, 1/13/17...... Actor Tony Rosato, an alum of the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live and SCTV, died on Jan. 10 of a suspected heart attack at his home in Toronto. He was 62. Born in Naples, Italy, in 1954, Rosato joined the Canadian comedy show SCTV in the late 1970s, playing, among other characters, drunk TV chef Marcello Sebastiani. He went on to join the cast of SNL in 1981, a year after producer Lorne Michaels took a break from the NBC show. His other TV credits include Night Heat, L.A. Law and Lonesome Dove. - Variety.com, 1/12/17...... Actor Dick Gautier, who starred on Broadway in the original production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" and then famously played Hymie the Robot on the '60s sitcom Get Smart, has died at age 85. Mr. Gautier died on Jan. 13 at an assisted living facility in Arcadia, Calif., after a long illness, his daughter Denise said. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/14/17...... Alex "Magic Alex" Mardas, who was once dubbed The Beatles' technological guru, has died at age 74 in Greece. Mardas was reportedly found dead in his apartment of natural causes on Jan. 12, and reportedly had been dead for several days before his body was found. While most of Magic Alex's inventions for the Fab Four were failures or didn't deliver what he promised, some of his ideas were way before their time. Some of his ideas had foresight, like the phone that dialed by voice recognition and displayed the numbers of callers. But then there were others, like the electronic brooches that made noise and flashed in no particular order, an artificial sun that used laser beams, and the invisible curtain that used ultrasonic vibrations to "screen" the Beatles from their fans. "I invented a large number of electronic devices, none of which had anything to do with music of the business of the Beatles," Mardas told the New York Times in 2010. "It must be remembered that none of these had even been thought about by others at the time, although most of them are now in common use," citing an electronic camera and a "memory phone" among them." When The Beatles began Apple Corps in 1968, Mardas was hired to head Apple Electronics, and was also chosen to design lighting for the band's newly opened Apple Boutique and reportedly tried to help them buy a Greek island. A year later, he was pushed out by the band's new business manager Allen Klein after failing to properly put together a planned 78-track recording studio for them at Apple. - Billboard, 1/14/17...... A Bruce Springsteen cover band called B Street Band is drawing jeers on social media for agreeing to perform at pre-inauguaral event for President-elect Donald Trump in Washington on Jan. 19. The band has responded by saying its performance at the New Jersey State Society's gala -- not Trump's inaugural ball itself -- has actually been planned since 2013. "We got some flak from the others, but nothing like this," says B Street Band bandleader Willie Forte. "We made a commitment, and we're not political," and added his band has twice performed for the nonprofit group's galas to mark Democrat Pres. Barack Obama's inaugurals. Among those criticizing the band was a Democratic NJ state senator, who accused them of "profiting from Bruce, now they're abandoning the message in his music." Springsteen himself has called Trump a "flagrant, toxic narcissist" and questioned whether he's competent for the job. - AP, 1/16/17...... Marie OsmondIn related news, Marie Osmond told Yahoo Finance that she'd be willing to perform at Trump's inauguration, though she has not yet been asked. "I think when it comes to our country we need to unite. I think we should all support our president whether we're happy or sad. This is America," the 57-year-old "Paper Roses" singer said. Osmond has previously performed at multiple inaugurations, including Ronald Reagan's in 1981. - JustJared.com/Yahoo Finance, 1/10/17...... Tony Booth, the artist who created several posters for the Beatles in Liverpool in the early 1960s, died on Jan. 11 after a battle with cancer. He was 83. Mr. Booth made the iconic signs for the Fab Four and other Merseybeat bands in the 1960s, and in recent years, made replicas of the posters for fans and had written a book about them which his son hopes will be "part of his legacy." One of his last projects was to produce posters for The Cavern club's 60th anniversary, which it is celebrating throughout January 2017. - BBC.com, 1/12/17...... Tommy Allsup, a guitarist for Buddy Holly who lived nearly 58 additional years because he lost a coin flip to ride on the doomed flight of Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, died on Jan. 11. He was 85. Mr. Allsup would have been aboard the plane except that he flipped a coin with Valens for a seat on the plane. After Holly's death, Mr. Allsup finished the tour with Waylon Jennings, then moved to California and joined Liberty Records as a session guitarist. At the studio, he made a quick rise and began producing and working with such greats as Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, Willie Nelson and Bobby Vee. Paul McCartney once called Mr. Allsup "one of the finest guitar players in the world." - AP, 1/12/17...... Singer Buddy Greco, a jazz pianist, vocalist and Las Vegas mainstay who recorded more than 60 albums and had a hit with a version of "The Lady Is a Tramp," died on Jan. 10 in Las Vegas. He was 90. Born in South Philadelphia, Mr. Greco toured and recorded with famed bandleader Benny Goodman, performed on dozens of TV variety shows and was a popular act at The Desert Inn in Las Vegas. He often sat in with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. of The Rat Pack and collaborated with Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Lena Horne and many others. Mr. Greco signed with Sinatra's Reprise Records and in 1966, and hosted his own TV special in 1965. His other notable songs included "Around the World," "Girl Talk," "MacArthur Park" and "The More I See You." In Nov. 2016, a frail-looking Mr. Greco appeared at his induction into the Las Vegas Entertainment Hall of Fame. - AP, 1/11/17.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bruce Springsteen participated in a 90-minute Q&A session at Monmouth University in Long Branch, N.J., on Dec. 10, telling the audience of around 700 that "the right song can start a fire." "I tend to believe music is important to activism in the sense that it stirs passion, it stirs interest, it stirs curiosity, it moves you to question your own beliefs," the 67-year-old singer said. "It strikes straight to your emotions and it stirs you up inside. After you've heard it, I think it marinates inside of you, and ends up coming out in your own energy." Moderated by Grammy Museum executive director Robert Santelli, the conversation covered plenty of musical ground, from Springsteen's beginnings with Steel Mill, his creative process, future musical plans, and stories as told in his new memoir, Born to Run. Since 2011, Monmouth University -- an affiliate of the Grammy museum -- has served as the home of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, and is the official archival repository for Springsteen's written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts. The appearance came a few weeks before Springsteen and his E Street Band will hit the road for a month-and-a-half tour of Australia. - Billboard, 1/11/17...... Billy JoelBilly Joel appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Jan. 9 in New York, and among the highlights was when hos Stephen Colbert asked the Piano Man to name his five favorite songs from his career. Joel said he actually favors album tracks over the hit singles, naming off the following: "Vienna," "And So It Goes," "You May Be Right," "She's Right on Time" and "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant." Joel capped his appearance with a stirring performance of "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)." - Billboard, 1/10/17...... A special David Bowie tribute concert was held in Brixton, UK, on Jan. 8 to celebrate what would have been the late music icon's 70th birthday. Bowie's actor friend Gary Oldman curated the event, and the show also featured members of Bowie's old band including guitarists Adrian Belew and Earl Slick, pianist Mark Garson and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey -- who fronted a number of legendary tracks including "Space Oddity" and "Young Americans." The three-hour charity show also featured special guests including La Roux, Tom Chaplin, Simon Le Bon, members of Spandau Ballet and many more. The gig was the first in a series of events organized by Bowie's former bandmates, with others taking place on Jan. 10 at New York's Terminal 5, Jan. 25 at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, and Feb. 2 in Tokyo's Dome City Hall. On Jan. 8 a group of 130 Bowie fans also gathered at London's Olympic Studios for a group meditation to commemorate Bowie's birthday. The memorial was followed by a playback of Bowie's 1972 album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and 1974's Diamond Dogs, which was recorded in the very same building. Meanwhile, a new EP of Bowie music to mark this birthday, and is available on Spotify.com. As well as the single "Lazarus," the No Plan EP also features tracks recorded for the acclaimed musical of the same name. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 1/9/17...... The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued the death certificate for Carrie Fisher, and it confirms that the Star Wars actress died of a heart attack, but added more investigation is needed to try to determine the underlying cause. Under "cause of death" it says "cardiac arrest/deferred." The "deferred" designation indicates that more investigation is needed by the county coroner, usually in the form of toxicology tests that can take several weeks to complete. Fisher suffered the heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23. According to the certificate, she died at age 60 on Dec. 27 at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and lists "writer" as the occupation in which Fisher spent most of her life. Fisher's mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, died the following day at another Los Angeles hospital, after having her own medical emergency while making memorial plans for her daughter. The pair were laid to rest on Jan. 6 at Hollywood Hills Cemetery, with Fisher's remains reportedly inside a porcelain urn in the shape of a large Prozac pill. Fisher's brother, Todd Fisher, said his sister bought the urn years ago and it was her favorite possession. "She loved it, and it was in her house, and Billie and I felt it was where she'd want to be," he said. Among the other stars buried at Hollywood Hills are Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Dick Van Patten, Liberace and Florence Henderson. - AP, 1/10/17...... Mick JonesForeigner has announced it will mount a 40th anniversary tour on July 11 in Syracuse, N.Y., with longtime pals Cheap Trick and drummer Jason Bonham and his band as openers. Founding Foreigner member Mick Jones says that original Foreigner members Lou Gramm, Ian McDonald and Al Greenwood will be appearing on select dates. "They're not on the whole tour, but there will be some appearances," Jones says. "It's the right time to do this. I'm looking forward to that and we'll see how it goes, and I'm sure it'll go down well." Foreigner's extensive 2017 tour schedule includes U.S. dates which start on Jan. 30, 37 summer dates that run through Sept. 9 in Auburn, Wash., and a European tour that begins May 20 in Switzerland. A two-disc, 40-track anniversary compilation with some brand new material is also in the works, while Jones will be publishing his memoir, A Foreigner's Tale, due out this spring. Jones formed Foreigner during 1976 in New York, and the band released its debut album a year later. - Billboard, 1/8/17...... Stevie Wonder was honored on Jan. 7 at the 10th Annual Heaven Gala Celebration, which encourages screen professionals and entertainers to support and volunteer their time to programs such as hospitalized youth, homeless shelters and special needs centers. The evening featured such special guests as John Legend and Quincy Jones, and concluded with a moving performance by Wonder of such classic songs as "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life." - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/8/17...... Former UFO and Scorpions member Michael Schenker will release Michael Schenker Fest "Live" Tokyo, a new live recording and filmed concert, on Mar. 24. Filmed and recorded Tokyo International Forum on Aug. 24, 2016, the concert features guest appearances from some of the greatest rock vocalists who have worked with Schenker including M.S.G.'s Gary Barden and Graham Bonnet, and Robin McAuley of the McAuley Schenker Group. Says Schenker, "It's a miracle that after all these years, something like this took place with the original band members of M.S.G. Being able to go back to those days and celebrate the music is an exciting experience for us, as well as for old and new fans. To being able to re-experience, and for the new audience to get a feel of what it was like, is incredibly enjoyable." - Noble PR, 1/9/17...... Jimmy BuffettProducers of a new Jimmy Buffett-inspired musical announced on Jan. 6 that the show, called "Escape to Margaritaville," is eyeing a Broadway debut in the spring of 2018. After the production has its previously-announced world premiere at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse on May 9-June 25, the show will make three additional tryout stops in New Orleans, Houston and Chicago. "Its always been a dream of mine to make it to Broadway!" said Buffett in a statement. "Escape to Margaritaville" tells the original story of a tropical island resort and its charming bartender-singer who falls for a beautiful, career-minded tourist. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/6/17...... In a new interview with radio station Planet Rock, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi revealed that a lump recently found in his throat wasn't cancerous. Iommi, 68, said he received the good news on Christmas Day: "I had the treatment when I got back from [touring] South America. I went in for the throat [operation]. They found a lump at the back of my sinus, in the throat, and we had to have it checked in case it may have been cancerous. But it turns out it wasn't, which I found out on Christmas Day, which is brilliant." In November, it was rumoured that Black Sabbath might consider releasing new music in 2017. While Iommi has ruled out future touring for the band, the guitarist answered "maybe" when the notion of recording new Black Sabbath material was posed to him. - New Musical Express, 1/6/17...... In other Black Sabbath-related news, Ozzy Osbourne's daughter Kelly Osbourne has revealed in her forthcoming book, There Is No F---ing Secret: Letters From A Badass Bitch, that her dad once overdosed on pills while his wife and Kelly's mother Sharon Osbourne was fighting cancer because "he could not handle the thought of losing mum." "Dad was there in his boxers, and I watched him scoop his hands into a bowl of pills, swallow a handful of something, and then wash it down with vodka," Kelly recalls. She writes that later, during an ambulance journey, Ozzy "leaned over to put his hand out to see if mum was breathing. Then he passed out with his hand over her mouth The EMTs tried to pull him off, and dad, not knowing where he was or what he was doing, started to resist out of habit. They pulled over the ambulance and started to call the police." There Is No F---ing Secret is due in April. - NME, 1/9/17...... Glenn HughesFormer Deep Purple member Glenn Hughes says he's "thrilled to be coming over to tour the UK and Europe this month and February" for a tour that's set to kick off on Jan. 20 in Newcastle. "My band will now be a four piece. On guitar is Sren Andersen, on drums Pontus Engborg, and on keyboards Jay Boe," Hughes says. "Song selections will be a mix from my new album Resonate, and from my well of historic songs through the decades. This tour is all about ROCK and what it means to us all, including my band, and to my fans and friends," he added. Hughes' tour will also visit London (1/21), Bilston (1/23), Glasgow (1/24), Nottingham (1/26), Reading (1/29), Cambridge (1/30), and Leeds (2/1) before wrapping in Bristol on Feb. 2. Hughes is currently in the studio in LA recording a new studio album with rock supergroup Black Country Communion. - Noble PR, 1/6/17...... Buddy Bregman, an American conductor, arranger and composer who worked with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby, died on Jan. 7 in Los Angeles after a long battle with Alzheimers disease. He was 86. Mr. Bregman also served as Merman's personal arranger; produced TV specials/documentaries that featured Crosby, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Mel Torme; worked as a producer on Jonathan Winters' CBS variety show; and directed several TV-movies. - AP, 1/9/17...... Eclectic columnist/critic/novelist Nat Hentoff died on Jan. 7 at the age of 91. His son, Tom Hentoff, said his father died from natural causes at his Manhattan apartment. Jazz was Mr. Hentoff's first love, but he was an early admirer of Bob Dylan, first hearing the then-unknown singer at a Greenwich Village club in 1961 and getting on well enough with him to write liner notes two years later for Dylan's landmark second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Mr. Hentoff also wrote a popular column for the Village Voice for 50 years, also authoring more than 25 books included works on jazz and the First Amendment. - AP, 1/8/17.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A bevy of A-list musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Eddie Vedder and Jay Z are set to perform at Pres. Barack Obama's final White House party on Jan. 6 in Washington before the 44th president ends his term on Jan. 20. The final "grown up" party as the Obamas describe it will also include close friends and major donors, including Chance the Rapper, Bradley Cooper, JJ Abrams, David Letterman and George Lucas, with Usher and Samuel L. Jackson also rumoured. The news comes as Pres. Elect Donald Trump is reportedly struggling to book artists to perform at his upcoming inaugural ball, whose only name artist so far is 2010 America's Got Talent finalist Jackie Evancho, who is set to perform the US national anthem. - New Musical Express, 1/5/17...... Barbra Streisand participated in a Q&A session at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Jan. 5, ahead of the upcoming 59th Awards in February when the diva will be up for her ninth Grammy for her latest album Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. "I was known on the block as the kid who had no father but had a good voice! That was my MO. I knew I had a good voice," Streisand told host Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli. It was the first 2017 event for the Grammy museum's annual public programmes series, with all proceeds going towards funding music programmes for underprivileged youth in L.A. - Billboard, 1/6/17...... Rick WakemanDuring a Q&A on his website on Jan. 4, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman revealed he has had a change of heart and will be appearing with Yes for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Apr. 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "I am very pleased to announce that as the Hall of Fame have now agreed to present Chris Squire's wife with a posthumous award acknowledging his massive contribution to YES, I have agreed to attend the Induction ceremony in New York to both stand proudly with my fellow band mates Jon (Anderson) and Trevor (Rabin) and also to watch Chris' wife Scottie collect this well deserved award on his behalf," Wakeman wrote. "Ialso hope that this move to acknowledge members of bands who sadly did not live to receive their own honour, means they can get them posthumously in the future." It should be noted that Squire was always included in Yes' induction, and deceased members of other bands have also been honored by the Rock Hall during past ceremonies. Wakeman, who has been in and out of Yes five times, has been touring since fall 2016 with Anderson and Rabin as AWR, and the trio are scheduled to begin a European tour on Mar. 12 in Wales and have plans for a new album. Wakeman has previously said he thought Yes should have disbanded after Squire's death in 2015, because "Chris was the only founding member, the only original member that stayed the entire time with that band, and I do think... it was time to go 'Let's give it a decent burial.'" The current incarnation of Yes includes longtime guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White -- who will be inducted, along with Squire, Anderson, Wakeman, Rabin, Bill Bruford and Tony Kaye -- as well as keyboardist Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison and bassist Billy Sherwood. Yes continues to record and tour, most recently playing entire albums during its shows. - Billboard, 1/5/17...... During a press conference at Dodger Stadium in L.A. on Jan. 5, Billy Joel annonced he will take over the ball field on May 13 for his first performance in Los Angeles since May 2014 when he played three nights at the Hollywood Bowl. The show will also be the only Southern California gig in 2017 for Joel, who already has four shows announced at New York's Madison Square Garden, continuing his monthly residency into its fourth year. The Piano Man will also play the first concert at the newly renovated Nassau Coliseum in his hometown of Long Island, with other dates in Orlando, New Orleans and Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2016, the 67-year-old musician performed 28 concerts at stadiums and arenas. - Billboard, 1/5/17...... David BowieA new David Bowie documentary entitled The Last Five Years that will air on BBC 2 on Jan. 7 alleges that Bowie didn't know he was dying while recording his final album Blackstar. Johan Renck, who directed Bowie's video Lazarus, claims that Bowie only discovered his cancer had become terminal when he was in the middle of filming the clip in November 2015. "David said: 'I just want to make it a simple performance video'," Renck recalls in the documentary. "I immediately said 'the song is called Lazarus, you should be in the bed'. To me it had to do with the biblical aspect of it it had nothing to do with him being ill." Renck added that he found out later as they were shooting the video that doctors were ending Bowie's treatments and that "his illness had won." Blackstar, recorded in early 2015, is widely regarded as Bowie's "parting gift" to fans, but these new claims contradict this intent. Meanwhile, tributes to Bowie on the first anniversary of his death and what would have been his 70th birthday on Jan. 8 include a concert at Brixton Academy featuring friend and actor Gary Oldman along with over 30 musicians that collaborated with Bowie throughout his career. Also on Jan. 8, a new David Bowie Musical Walking Tour of notable landmarks in his hometown of London will also launch that will take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The tour will include performances of some of his most iconic tracks, including "Starman," 'Heroes', "Life On Mars" and "Ashes To Ashes." "I hope people will come along and enjoy the experience together by singing some of his wonderful songs or just by soaking up the rich culture of Brixton, whether they are massive fans or just want to learn more about the great man and his home town," says tour founder Nick Stephenson. Stops along the tour include Bowie's childhood home in Brixton at 40 Stansfield Road, Stockwell Primary School and James Cochran's mural to the star -- which has become a place of pilgrimage for fans around the world. A new limited edition picture disc of Bowie's Low track "Sound and Vision" will drop on Feb. 10. - New Musical Express, 1/6/17...... Cher has been an outspoken advocate for the citizens of Flint, Mich., since that city suffered a crisis in its water supply in 2015, even donating thousands of bottles of water, and now the singer/actress is set to star in a new Lifetime movie about the incident. Cher will portray a Flint resident whose family is impacted by the water crisis, and the poor management that led to water poisoning as well as the human elements of the residents who suffered but were ignored by government officials. The movie was inspired by a Feb. 2016 cover story in Time magazine called "The Toxic Tap," by Josh Sanburn. In 1996, Cher starred in her first TV movie, HBO's If These Walls Could Talk, for which she scored a Golden Globe nomination. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/5/17...... Elvis PresleyOn Jan. 5 Elvis Presley's hometown of Memphis began celebrating what would have been the king of rock & roll's 82nd birthday on Jan. 8 with a cake-cutting ceremony on the front lawn of Elvis' Graceland mansion. Also a total of 164 pieces of Elvis memorabilia have been consigned for an auction to be held on Jan. 7 at The Guest House at Graceland, where birthday celebration events are being held for the first time. Included in the auction are a gold and diamond lion head ring given to musician and guitarist Charlie Hodge, boxing gloves worn by Presley in the 1962 film Kid Galahad, and personal clothing. The Guest House at Graceland, a 450-room hotel that opened in October, is part of a $137 million expansion that is also to include an entertainment complex across the street from Graceland. Presley died in August 1977 at age 42. - AP, 1/5/17...... Bruce Springsteen will participate in a Q&A session in front of a live audience on Jan. 10 at the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J. Grammy Museum executive director Robert Santelli, a New Jersey native, will moderate the event. Santelli, a former reporter, also edited Springsteen's 2001 book Songs and published Greetings from E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Meanwhile, in a new interview with Marc Maron WTF.com podcast on Jan. 3, Springsteen said he feels a special "kind of fear" over Donald Trump's "competence as president." "I've felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now," he said. "It's as simple as the fear of is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job? Forget about where they are ideologically. Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in the position of such responsibility?" Springsteen was also critical of Trump's choices for his incoming Cabinet, adding "that doesn't speak very well for what's coming up," and said he was concerned that the "worst aspects that (Trump) appealed to (could) come to fruition." - Billboard, 1/3/17...... Paul McCartney made a suprise New Year's Eve appearance with the Las Vegas band The Killers as they were performing in St. Barts for Russian billionaire and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich McCartney played one of his old band's songs, "Helter Skelter," with The Killers, and on New Year's Day he posted a holiday message on his website, writing "Happy New Year's Day. May this year be a happy and peaceful one for you and your family and everyone around the world. Love Paul." On Dec. 31, Sir Paul has confirmed his first live dates in 2017 will be in Japan in April. - NME, 1/2/17...... In an interview with the UK paper The Creative Independent, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne dismissed the idea of a Talking Heads reunion as something that would "probably be quite a number of steps backwards." "[A] Talking Heads reunion might be incredibly successful for a specific generation, or maybe for many generations. It would make me a lot of money and get a lot of attention," Bryne said. "It would also probably be quite a number of steps backwards as far as being perceived as someone who does a lot of different things. "For that reason, I feel like I have to sacrifice something, whether it's money or name recognition or whatever, in order to be able to do a little bit more of what I'd want to do. In other words, you can't have it all," he added. One of the iconic new wave bands, Talking Heads formed in New York City in 1975, and called it quits in Dec. 1991. The band briefly reunited for a short set to mark their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, but have not played together since. Meanwhile, Byrne is expected to debut a new musical based on the life of Joan of Arc in New York in the spring. - NME, 1/5/17...... As The Doors' classic eponymous 1967 debut marks its 50th anniversary in 2017, the band has announced it will reissue a deluxe special edition of the album with a 3-CD/LP package on Mar. 31. The Doors: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition includes remastered stereo and mono mixes of the album, a vinyl version of the mono mix and a live album of a performance at San Francisco's The Matrix from March 7, 1967 -- barely two months after its original release. It will come packaged in a 12x12 hardcover book featuring rare/previously unseen photos while the live album features eight tracks from the album including "Break On Through (To the Other Side)," "Light My Fire" and "The End." The reissue also marks the CD debut of the original mono mix, with the stereo mix available on CD for the first time in a decade. Meanwhile, on Jan. 4 the Los Angeles City council proclaimed the day "The Day of the Doors" during an event featuring founding Doors drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger, along with family members of the late frontman Jim Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek. - NME, 1/4/17...... Charles MansonCharles Manson, the notorious cult leader who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murders of seven people including the Hollywood actress Sharon Tate in 1971, is reportedly "seriously ill" and has reportedly been transferred from California's Corcoran State Prison where he has been an inmate for 46 years to the hospital. A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the 82-year-old Manson is alive, but told the newspaper: "We do not disclose inmate movements for safety and security reasons." During his time as a cult leader, Manson espoused a theory called "Helter Skelter" which he took from the Beatles song of the same name. He believed "Helter Skelter" was an impending apocalyptic race war and the murders he and his followers carried out would help to trigger it. - NME, 1/4/17...... '70s artists Iggy Pop and Patti Smith are among the musicians slated to cameo in director Terrence Malick's upcoming film Song to Song, which is set it the fertile music scene of Austin, Tex. Due Mar. 17, Song to Song is described as a "modern love story about two entagled couples set against the Austin music scene who chase success through a rock 'n' roll landscape of seduction and betrayal." Its stars include Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender. - Billboard, 1/5/17...... Several famous friends of late actresses Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds attended a memorial service held at the homes on Fisher and Reynolds in Los Angeles on Jan. 5. Meryl Streep, Penny Marshall, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ed Begley, Jr. were among those paying respects to Fisher and Reynolds. Reynolds died Dec. 28 at the age of 84, a day after Fisher died at the age of 60. Streep starred in the film, Postcards From the Edge, based on Fisher's 1987 semi-autobiographical novel of the same title. - AP, 1/6/17.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Producer/composer Brian Eno took to Facebook on Jan. 1 to share an extensive New Year's Day message, urging the public to push for equality. Eno described 2016 as a "pretty rough year" and questioned whether it is "the end -- not the beginning -- of a long decline." "The consensus among most of my friends seems to be that 2016 was a terrible year, and the beginning of a long decline into something we don't," he wrote. "This decline includes the transition from secure employment to precarious employment, the destruction of unions and the shrinkage of workers' rights, zero hour contracts, the dismantling of local government, a health service falling apart, an underfunded education system ruled by meaningless exam results and league tables, the increasingly acceptable stigmatisation of immigrants, knee-jerk nationalism, and the concentration of prejudice enabled by social media and the internet," he added. Eno than blamed the "huge wealth inequalities" for the decline of democracy and urged readers to "start something big." "It will involve engagement: not just tweets and likes and swipes, but thoughtful and creative social and political action too," he continued. "If we want social generosity, then we must pay our taxes and get rid of our tax havens. And if we want thoughtful politicians, we should stop supporting merely charismatic ones." Eno concluded that "inequality eats away at the heart of a society, breeding disdain, resentment, envy, suspicion, bullying, arrogance and callousness," before adding that "if we want any decent kind of future we have to push away from that, and I think we're starting to." - New Musical Express, 1/1/17...... Ray DaviesThe Kinks' frontman Ray Davies was made a knight by England's Queen Elizabeth II on the last day of 2016, making the Queen's 2017 New Years Honours list with actor Mark Rylance, comedian Ken Dodd, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Davies, 72, told that BBC that he initially "felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write." Davies, who formed his legendary and influential British rock band with his brother Dave Davies in the early 1960s, joins the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Tom Jones who have received a knighthood. The Kinks disbanded in 1996, six years after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Dec. 2015, Ray and Dave Davies performed together for the first time in 20 years, sparking rumors that the band might reunite. - Billboard, 12/31/16...... Elton John paid tribute to his good friend and 1985 Live Aid duet partner George Michael on Dec. 28 during his first of four scheduled New Year's concerts at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Appearing before a large photo of Michael projected above the stage, Sir Elton opened the show with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," which he originally recorded in 1974. Michael and John performed the ballad together at the Live Aid concert in 1985, and at Michael's Wembley Arena concert in 1991. The duet was recorded and released at the end of 1991, and became a No. 1 hit for the pair in 1992. Elton was among the many musicians and celebrities paying tribute to Michael on Twitter and other social media after the singer passed away at his home in Oxfordshire on Christmas day due to heart failure. "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend - the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family, friends and all of his fans. @GeorgeMichael #RIP," John posted on Instagram the following day. Elton will also reportedly be performing at Michael's funeral, before the late pop star is buried next his mother Lesley in Highgate Cemetery. - Billboard, 12/29/16...... Neil Diamond has scored his 38th Top 10 hit on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio airplay chart with his yuletide song "The Christmas Medley (Acoustic Christmas)." The track is from Diamond's recently-released album Acoustic Christmas, which has reached No. 6 on the Holiday Albums chart after being released eight weeks earlier. Diamond's last AC Top 10 was another Christmas song, "Cherry Cherry Christmas," which hit No. 4 on Jan. 2, 2010. Diamond now trails only Elton John with appearances on the AC chart, which originated on July 17, 1961. John has 39 appearances, followed by Diamond, Barbra Streisand (35), Elvis Presley (31), Dionne Warwick (29), and Barry Manilow (28). - Billboard, 12/28/16...... Debbie Reynolds and Carrie FisherHollywood is mourning the deaths of two iconic actresses, Carrie Fisher on Dec. 27 and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, one day later. Fisher, 60, died after suffering a heart attack during a flight from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where the Star Wars star was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital, reportedly never regaining consciousness. Fisher, the daughter of entertainers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, started sharing the stage with her mother in a nightclub act at around age 12. She started but never finished high school, choosing instead to join the Broadway musical "Irene." She was 17 when she made her film debut opposite Warren Beatty in the 1975 sexual-revolution dramedy Shampoo, playing a tennis player who seduces her mother's hairdresser and lover. She went on to study at London's Central School of Speech and Drama but never graduated, and in 1977 beat out other actresses including Sissy Spacek for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars. When she returned to the character three decades later for The Force Awakens, Fisher expressed anxiety about being a senior member of the cast, after having been away from the series for a generation. Fisher grappled with substance abuse and bipolar disorder during her time in the movies, which also took a toll on her overall health. Fisher starred in several underperforming films, such as Under the Rainbow, Garbo Talks and The Man With One Red Shoe. She went on to take smaller roles in Hannah and Her Sisters, The Burbs, When Harry Met Sally and Soap Dish, and over the past two decades, her screen roles were mostly cameos. Fisher then found acclaim as an author and screenwriter, and her darkly comic, semi-autobiographical 1987 novel Postcards From the Edge was a smash hit, telling the story of a recovering, drug-addicted actress and the love-hate relationship she has with her spotlight-stealing mother. Fisher adapted it into a screenplay for director Mike Nichols 1990 film, which starred Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Fisher's mother Debbie Reynolds, who was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1950s and 1960s, passed away the day after Carrie's death, and some health experts have speculated it could have been the result of "Broken Heart Syndrome," in which a traumatic experience puts a strain on the heart. The 84-year-old film legend was rushed to the hospital on Dec. 28 after suffering a stroke, and died that night. Born Mary Frances Reynolds in El Paso, Tex., the bubbly singer, dancer and actress began her film career after being spotted in a beauty pageant at the age of 16. She rose to fame after being picked to co-star with Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in Singin' in the Rain, one of Hollywood's best-known musicals. Ms. Reynolds was also an entrepreneur, humanitarian and historian, and is survived by her son, Todd Fisher. - AP/The Hollywood Reporter, 12/28/16...... Allan Williams, the first manager of the Beatles who became known as "The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away" from the title of his gritty autobiography, died in Liverpool on Dec. 30. He was 86. In the early 1960s, Mr. Williams opened a coffee bar in Liverpool called The Jacaranda where he first met Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe, and personally drove the van to take the young band to Hamburg in 1960, where they gained the vital showbusiness experience that led to their emergence on the world stage. Mr. Williams helped the band get other gigs as well, including a short tour of Scotland with Johnny Gentle, but he and the Beatles got into a dispute after the group took on an extended engagement at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg and refused to pay Mr. Williams the commission he believed he was owed. The dispute was the beginning of the end of their association, and when the group returned to Liverpool, now with Pete Best as drummer, they came to the attention of Brian Epstein, who was running a local record shop. Epstein told Williams he was thinking of managing the Beatles. Mr. Williams told him about the commission dispute and how unpredictable they were. "Yes, yes, Allan you're right," Epstein told him, "but I feel here (tapping his chest) that together the Beatles and I could make something really big. So big that ..." Years later, Mr. Williams worked to get tapes of the Beatles recorded while they were playing at the Star-Club in Hamburg released. The Beatles later won a court case to have the tapes taken off the market. In more recent years, he met with groups of Beatles fans traveling through Liverpool. Beatles historians note that although Mr. Williams wasn't the person who could mold the band into the phenomenon they became, his decision to send them to Hamburg allowed them to transform themselves from a mediocre dance band into the tight, hard-rocking group that mesmerized the world. Williams' death marks the second passing in recent weeks of someone closely associated with the early days of the Beatles. Sam Leach, who booked many early Beatles shows, died Dec. 21 after a long illness. - Billboard, 12/30/16...... William ChristopherActor William Christopher, who played the unassuming U.S. Army chaplain, Father Mulcahy, struggling to bring spiritual comfort to an anarchic surgical unit during the Korean War on the long-running hit TV series M*A*S*H, on Dec. 31. He was 84. Mr. Christopher, who was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months ago, died in his bed at his home in Pasadena, Calif., according to his longtime New York-based agent, Robert Malcolm. His wife of nearly 60 years, Barbara Christopher, was with him at the time. Mr. Christopher landed his signature role of Father Francis Mulcahy on M*A*S*H after another actor played the part on the show's pilot episode. He went on to portray the soft-spoken priest assigned to the fictional 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital for the duration of the series, which ran from 1972 to 1983 on the CBS network and continued to air in syndication for decades after. Together with Alan Alda as Captain "Hawkeye" Pierce, Loretta Swit as Major Margaret "Hotlips" Houlihan and Jamie Farr as cross-dressing Corporal Maxwell Klinger, Mr. Christopher was among the only cast members to remain on the show for all 11 seasons. The 1983 finale of M*A*S*H drew 106 million viewers, making it the most-watched U.S. TV show to date. "I liked the character. I liked Father Mulcahy. The character is pretty real to me," Mr. Christopher told a North Carolina newspaper in 2011. Born on Oct. 20, 1932, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Ill., Mr. Christopher moved to California and landed recurring roles on 1960s TV shows including The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle: USMC and Hogan's Heroes, and small roles in movies including 1968's With Six You Get Egg Roll in which he appeared with future M*A*S*H co-star Farr. In the 1990s, Farr and Mr. Christopher co-starred in a touring production of the play "The Odd Couple." Mr. Christopher married his wife, Barbara, in 1957. They had two children. He was active in the cause of autism awareness. He and his wife co-authored a book about raising an autistic son. - EW.com, 1/1/17.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A new video for a song called "We Are Not Afraid" that raises fund for victims of religious and political violence around the world has attracted the participation of the likes of Yoko Ono, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro, Sting and Patti Smith, among others. Ono became the first to agree to participate after her photographer friend Bob Gruen, who snapped many iconic photos of her and John Lennon before Lennon's 1980 death, brought the project to Yoko's attention. "(Yoko) immediately offered to put together the long form 'We Are Not Afraid' video when told of our plan. And for that we are deeply grateful," said creator-organizer Steve Weitzman in a statement. Weitzman says the eight-minute video was expanded from its original planned four-minute length because so many celebrities, which also include Iggy Pop, Peter Gabriel, Jackson Browne, Chuck D, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Debbie Harry, Dion and Elvis Costello, signed on. The video, which premiered in November, shows the stars holding signs with the song title and the music was written by Nigerian singer-songwriter Majek Fashek. It is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and other major outlets, with proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). Yoko Ono"It's a positive statement in a negative world," said Bob Gruen in a statement. "I hope it becomes something that inspires people around the world to do their own versions. You shouldn't go through life being afraid." Yoko Ono adds, "We're all together now!" More info can be found at the wearenotafraid.net website. - Billboard, 12/23/16...... The Beach Boys revealed on Dec. 22 that they have been asked to perform at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration in January, but a spokesman for the band says they have not yet made a decision whether to appear. The iconic California pop band has performed at past presidential events for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and First Lady Nancy Reagan once came to the defense of the band in the 1980s after then-Secretary of the Interior James Watts in April, 1983, opposed the Beach Boys and the Grass Roots from performing on the Washington Mall on the Fourth of July because they attracted an "undesirable element." The Beach Boys did play in Washington on July 4, 1984 after Mrs. Reagan personally invited them, and she became a close friend of the band. Meanwhile, Gene Simmons has reportedly "politely declined" an invitation for KISS to play at Trump's inauguration, according to TMZ.com. In a clip posted on the site, a TMZ reporter asks, "Gene, you're the rock'n'roll Donald Trump, will you play at the inauguration?" when Shannon Tweed, his wife, and their daughter Sophie, 'screamed out "No!" quickly and repeatedly.' Tweed then grabs Simmons' cheeks, and made him mouth "No." He then said "he's our president" and "people need to get over it."' The President-elect is understood to be having great difficulty booking acts to perform at his inauguration, and the line-up for his pre-inauguration "All-American Ball" is less than stellar, with Nashville singer/songwriter Beau Davidson, '80s cover band The Reagan Years, and The Mixx, who are billed as "the Mid-Atlantic's hottest Party Band!" In related news, actor Alec Baldwin, who lately often portrays Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, has offered to sing AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" at the inauguration. "I wanna perform at Trump's inauguration. I wanna sing HIGHWAY TO HELL," Baldwin tweeted on Dec. 23, also adding: "Inauguration Day means the beginning of the countdown to when he will be gone. And he will be gone." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/22/16...... Steven TylerOn Dec. 3, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler received the United Nations Humanitarian Award for his work with the non-profit organization Janie's Fund, which helps young women who are victims of abuse, and Tyler says he was "just flabbergasted" with the honor. "It's been a great two years, doing the country record, launching Janie's Fund and when I got offered this place for the U.N. Humanitarian," Tyler later said. "I usually don't wake up in the morning and think 'I'm Steven Tyler in Aerosmith.' I don't think of it like that, but it really was a beautiful end of this year. I was just flabbergasted." Tyler, who offered 100 percent of the proceeds from an auction of his prized Hennessey Venom GT sports car to Janie's Fund, accepted the award with an impassioned speech addressing global warming and climate change, and performed two Aerosmith songs, "Livin' on the Edge" and "Dream On," backed by a classical quartet. While some reports have suggested that Aerosmith may retire, Tyler has a different take. "The European tour is booked, locked and cocked and that's ready for next summer. And then we're coming back and we're doing the rest of the world," he says. He added that Aerosmith "has no right being as healthy as we are after what we've been through" and that we're "looking pretty damn good for what's going on." "Being away from each other is sometimes the healthiest thing we can do," Tyler said of his recent furlough from the band. "You know? I dare to say that being away from each other may have saved a few marriages on this planet," he says. - Billboard, 12/22/16...... Twitter accounts belonging to Bob Dylan and Sony Music were hacked on Dec. 26, with false reports of the death of Britney Spears. The first message came from the Sony Music Global Twitter account, which read "RIP @britneyspears #RIPBritney". It was quickly followed by a second, "britney spears is dead by accident! we will tell you more soon #RIPbritney". A similar tweet was soon posted from Bob Dylan's official Twitter account. The hacks reportedly came from OurMine, a hacker group advertising their security expertise who were also responsible for recent hacks of the Marvel and Netflix accounts. - NME, 12/27/16...... Actress/author Carrie Fisher, famous for her role in the 1977 Star Wars film and who recently appeared in a new installment of the sci-fi series, is in "stable condition" according to her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, after suffering a medical emergency on a flight between London and Los Angeles on Dec. 23. Fisher, 60, suffered a cardiac arrest on a flight between London and Los Angeles on Dec. 23, and was later admitted to a Los Angeles hospital in "critical condition." Reynolds tweeted on Dec. 25 that the family would share any updates on Fisher and thanked the public for its "prayers & good wishes." Fisher is also known for such books as Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking. - AP, 12/26/16...... Rick ParfittGuitarist/singer Rick Parfitt of the veteran British rock band Status Quo died on Christmas Eve following complications from a shoulder injury he sustained in a fall. He was 68. "He died in hospital in Marbella, Spain as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall," Parfitt's manager Simon Porter said in a statement. Parfitt was a member of Status Quo for nearly 50 years, spanning from 1967 until October of this year, when the guitarist announced his retirement from performing live after suffering a heart attack earlier in 2016. Formed as the Scorpions and then the Spectres by guitarist Francis Rossi and bassist Alan Lancaster in 1962, the band changed their name to the Status Quo in 1967 with the addition of Parfitt. The band released their debut LP Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From the Status Quo in 1968 which featured the psychedelic anthem and Top 10 Hot 100 single "Pictures of Matchstick Men." Parfitt recorded over 30 albums with Status Quo during his tenure in the band, including co-writing some of their biggest hits like "Whatever You Want," "Again and Again," "Rain" and "Living on an Island." The band also served as the opening band at the monumental Live Aid concert in 1985, performing three songs at London's Wembley Stadium. "We are truly devastated to have to announce that Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has passed away," Parfitt's family said in a statement. On Dec. 24, Queen guitarist Brian May tweeted: "Shocked and so sad to hear of the passing of Rick Parfitt. Hard to find words. You truly joyfully rocked our world. RIP dear buddy." - AP, 12/24/16...... Iconic 1980s pop singer George Michael, who began his career in the 80s singing in Wham! and went on to have a successful solo career in pop music, died at his home in Oxfordshire, U.K. on Dec. 25. He was 53. Michael, who sold more than 100 million albums over a career spanning four decades, had previously struggled with various forms of substance abuse. The circumstances of his death are not well known, however his publicist did issue this statement: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage." The London-born singer, whose birth name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, began his career in the '80s with Wham! before eventually going onto find more success as a solo artist. In July 2006, Michael was accused of anonymous public sex at London's Hampstead Heath, and he officially came out as gay in 2007. After many other scrapes with the law and the tabloids, he would become more reclusive as the years went on. In the U.S., he was seen in the TV series Eli Stone and performed on American Idol in 2008. He also released a new track that year called "December Song," via his website for free. He sold more than 100 million albums throughout his career and had been recently reported to be working on a new album with Naughty Boy. Michael's friend and collaborator Elton John is among the many musicians and celebrities offering their condolences : "I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend -- the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and his fans." - Billboard/NME, 12/25/16.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

An a cappella version of Paul McCartney's yuletide ditty "Wonderful Christmastime" featuring the former Beatle himself was aired on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Dec. 20. With host Jimmy Fallon's house band The Roots providing backup vocals, lyrics from "Wonderful Christmastime" were delivered by Fallon, then animated versions of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and singer Tori Kelly before Macca appeared to finish the song, which was first released in 1979. McConaughey, Witherspoon, Johansson, MacFarlane and Kelly are all starring in the new animated film Sing. - New Musical Express, 12/21/16...... In other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono will appear in the cast of director Wes Anderson's next film, an animated movie called Isle of Dogs about a group of dogs living on an island. Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johannson, Bryan Cranston and Edward Norton will also be providing vocal tracks for the film. Meanwhile, classic videos by Yoko's deceased husband John Lennon have been added to YouTube, just in time for Christmas. Solo songs by John including "Imagine," "Jealous Guy" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" are among the over 20 clips now streaming on the popular online video service for free. "Happy Holidays! love, yoko," wrote Ono as she shared the news on Twitter on Dec. 18. - Billboard/NME, 12/22/16...... In still more Beatles news, a French fan of the Fab Four has announced he will sell 15,000 items of Beatles memorabilia in hopes that it will pay for his retirement. Jacques Volcouve will put his collection of records, signed books, posters, autographs and figurines up for auction at the prestigious Drouot auction house in Paris on March 18, 2017. "The Beatlemania bug bit me and I was never cured of it," Volcouve told the paper The Observer. Volcouve says he has met Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in person and claims to have met Yoko Ono. "I hope the sale will give me enough money to live on decently until I die, and my collection will have a new life with someone else," he said. - NME, 12/19/16...... Stevie WonderA one-block stretch of Detroit's Milwaukee Street was renamed Stevie Wonder Avenue on Dec. 21 in honor of the Motown legend. Attending the unveiling of the street sign in Detroit's New Center area, Wonder sang a bit of "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" before telling fans "I want all of us to walk down the street that leads us to a place of humanity, equality, of fairness and respect for each other." Referring to the recent presidential election in which President-elect Donald Trump suprisingly carried the blue-collar state of Michigan, Wonder said, "Don't let the color of the state define who you are. Don't let negativity say this is what you are. Don't let hatred and ignorance determine who you are... Be a part of fulfilling the promis ... to really make this city, this station, this nation a truly united people of the United States, of the world." After the ceremony, told reporters that he promises to stage one of his House Full of Toys holiday benefit concerts, which he's done during the past 21 years in Los Angeles, in Detroit for Christmas 2017. Meanwhile, Wonder and singer Ariana Grande appear in a new video for a song called "Faith" for the upcoming animated musical-comedy Sing, which was released on Dec. 21. - Billboard, 12/21/16...... A Minneapolis judge has ordered Prince divorce file opened in Jan. 2017 over the objections of Prince's ex-wife, Manuela Testolini. The Dec. 21 order says the records from the couple's 2006 divorce will be made public Jan. 13, as requested by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Testolini was the second wife of Prince, who died on Apr. 21 from an accidental overdose of fentanyl. - AP, 12/21/16...... James Taylor announced on Twitter on Dec. 21 that he will be canceling his February 2017 concert in Manila, Philippines, saying reports of summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the country without judicial proceedings are "deeply concerning and unacceptable." Taylor said he had been looking forward to performing in Manila and that it saddened him to cancel the concert. He then apologized to his Filipino fans and said all tickets sold for the Feb. 25 performance at Manila's Mall of Asia Arena would be fully refunded. Philippino president Rodrigo Duterte has overseen a crackdown on illegal drugs since he was elected in June 2016, which has left more than 6,000 people dead to the dismay of Western governments and human rights watchdogs. "Recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law," noted Taylor, who says his scheduled concerts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand would not be affected. - AP, 12/21/16...... The site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, N.Y., where some 400,000 music fans famously gathered on rolling farmland for three days of rock music in Aug. 1969 is among 26 properties that have been nominated to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the nominations on Dec. 20, and landing a place on the registers can help property owners and organizations secure preservation grants and historic rehabilitation tax credits from the state and federal governments. - AP, 12/21/16...... Alan WhiteThe Class of 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced on Dec. 20, with first-time nominees Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Joan Baez, Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur joining three-time nominee Yes for induction into the Cleveland-based hall and museum next year. "It's totally exciting," says Yes drummer Alan White. "It's a great pleasure to be recognized for something you've been doing all your life and get recognition in the industry for the amount of work you've put in and to have done something that changed the course of history, I guess, over time," he added. Journey, who along with Yes and ELO have often been cited as Rock Hall snubs in previous years, topped the fan ballot conducted by the Rock Hall, with 250,758 votes. ELO, Pearl Jam and Yes were also in the top five and each received a vote added to the tally cast from more than 900 Rock Hall voters. Acts are eligible for the Rock Hall 25 years after the release of their first recording. Nile Rodgers, the frontman of 11-time nominee Chic, will also receive an Award for Musical Excellence at the 32nd annual RRHOF induction ceremony, which is set for Apr. 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Others on the ballot this year who were passed over included J. Geils Band, Steppenwolf, The Cars, MC5, The Zombies, Chaka Khan, Joe Tex, Janet Jackson, Jane's Addiction and Bad Brains. - Billboard, 12/20/16...... In more award news, Sly Stone, The Velvet Underground and Nina Simone are among the musical acts set to be honored at the 2017 Grammy Awards with a Special Merit Award. Gospel singer Shirley Caesar, jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, country singer Charley Pride and the "Father of Country Music" Jimmie Rodgers will also be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Grammy Special Merit Awards, which takes place during the pre-Grammy festivities in Feb. 2017. - New Musical Express, 12/20/16...... Independent music services company Kobalt has struck a deal to administer and provide publishing services for a vast majority of Elvis Presley's catalogue of more than 1,000 songs through a new administrative agreement with Authentic Brands Group (ABG) and Elvis Presley Enterprises, LLC. The arrangement takes effect on Jan. 1, 2017 and includes some of the "most desired tracks for film and TV trailers, soundtracks, and commercials," Kobalt said in a statement. Presley's music continues to establish new records and find new fans almost 40 years after his death, and 2017 should be another banner year for the King, as it is the 40th anniversary of the legendary singer's Aug. 16, 1977 death. - Billboard, 12/19/16...... Sole surviving Bee Gees member Barry Gibb has scrapped his 2017 "In The Now World" Tour of Australasia and canceled his appearance at the annual Byron Bay Bluesfest citing a "change in international commitments." Gibb had been scheduled to play eight arena, winery and festival shows, starting April 8 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and wrapping April 29 at Qudos Bank Arena (formerly Allphone Arena). Those dates won't be rescheduled and refunds will be made available for all ticket holders for Gibb's headline shows, according to a statement by Live Nation, the tour's producer. Gibb's shows were meant to be a sort of homecoming for the artist, whose British-born family got an early break in music after relocating to Redcliffe, north of Brisbane, in the late '50s. It was at the family home in Redcliffe where Gibb and his younger brothers Maurice and Robin Gibb signed their first record contract, and where the Bee Gees name was created. Gibb last performed Down Under for his 2013 Mythology Tour. - Billboard, 12/19/16...... Olivia Newton-JohnIn other Oz news, John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John's current Christmas single "Friends For Christmas" has risen to No. 1 in Australia, since first appearing on the chart five weeks ago. Farnham and Newton-John's last collaborative album, the live LP Two Strong Hearts, also reached the top spot on Australia's national albums chart for three weeks, giving the popular duet pair their second consecutive No. 1 in as many years. - Billboard, 12/18/16...... A UK air date for the David Bowie documentary The Last Five Years will apparently be on BBC Two on Jan. 7 at 9 pm GMT, three days short of the first anniversary of his death. The date was reported on Dec. 21 by the unofficial but renowned Bowie fan site David Bowie News, with the BBC set to confirm those details in the coming days. David Bowie: The Last Five Years will feature rare and unseen archive footage of the late artist, as well as unheard audio interviews and vocal takes -- including a previously never-before-heard a capella take of "Lazarus." Another Bowie programme, Bowie at the BBC, will air on BBC Four on Jan. 13 at 10 pm GMT. Meanwhile, a Bowie fan has found yet another new "secret" hidden on the artwork for the vinyl LP version of Bowie's final album, Blackstar. "What you have to do is bring the booklet to within about 10cm of a wall in a blackened room and shine a torch on the images that appear in the booklet (such as the stars, the man and woman, the 'Lazarus' title etc, etc,) and what you get is a range of fantastic coloured and 3D images," Bowie fan Chris Gray says. "The lyrics also appear 3D with red shadow colouring." - NME, 12/21/16...... Appearing on the BBC Four's "Desert Island Discs" programme on Dec. 18, Bruce Springsteen said his depression "still jumps up and bites me" sometimes. "It is something that has been a part of my life. It is usually OK, but like Churchill's 'black dog', it still jumps up and bites you in the arse sometimes," the New Jersey rocker noted. Springsteen added that his wife, Patti Scialfa, also helps him battle the condition, as does the right dose of medication. He says that Scialfa sometimes had to see a "freight train bearing down, loaded with nitroglycerin and running quickly out of track." Meanwhile, Springsteen has contributed vocals to guitarist Matt O'Ree's new album Brotherhood. O'Ree is known for his scorching blues guitar, with nods to such classic rock acts as Led Zeppelin, Cream and Black Sabbath. The album is available through O'Ree's website, mattoree.com. - NME/Billboard, 12/18/16...... '60s pop hitmakers The Turtles have lost their suit against Sirius XM radio after New York's highest court ruled on Dec. 20 that the owners of old music recordings can't make radio stations pay for their use. A company controlled by former Turtles Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a. Flo & Eddie) had sued Sirius, arguing its rights were violated when the satellite radio service plays its old songs including the No. 1 hit "Happy Together" without permission or compensation. Sirius countered it can play the songs without permission because they were made before 1972, when new federal copyright rules took effect. New York's Court of Appeals ruled that state common law doesn't recognize a "right of public performance" that would require radio stations to have permission to play records made before 1972. - AP, 12/20/16...... Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and New Order are set to be among the headliner the Tibet House 30th anniversary benefit show, which is set for Mar. 16 at New York City's Carnegie Hall. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the non-profit educational institution and cultural embassy Tibet House US. - NME, 12/16/16...... Zsa Zsa GaborLegendary Hollywood actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor passed away on Dec. 18 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 99, just two months shy of her 100th birthday. While the stunning Hungarian-American's rise to fame was slow in her earliest years, by the 1950s and 60s, she had starred in dozens of films and television series and solidified her footing as a Hollywood actress, although she was mostly featured in supporting roles. After being crowned Miss Hungary in 1936, Ms. Gabor immigrated to the U.S. in 1941, and broke through in 1952 with roles in We're Not Married! and Molin Rouge, but over the years, she gained more notoriety for her many romances and was married a total of nine times, including a five year marriage to Conrad Hilton with whom she had her first and only child, Francesca Hilton. "I am a marvelous housekeeper: Every time I leave a man I keep his house," she once quipped. Along the way, she had affairs with several iconic men, including Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy. Her intriguing personal life was an early example of celebrities driving their stardom by simply being their larger-than-life selves. Ms. Gabor also experienced her own share of debilitating health concerns, beginning in 2002 when she was hospitalized in a coma after suffering a car crash in Los Angeles. Though she survived, she was left reliant on a wheel chair. Three years later, she had a stroke. Then in July 2010, she broke a hip and had it replaced, though complications from a blood transfusion brought her back to the hospital. In 2011, she devastatingly had to have her left leg amputated after a blood clot transformed into an infection. She is survived by her most recent husband, Frederick Prinz von Anhalt, with whom she shared her longest marriage to date. - E! Online, 12/18/16.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The biannual Rainforest Fund concert sponsored by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler was held at New York's Carnegie Hall on Dec. 13, with special guests Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Ronnie Spector and Darlene Love. Springsteen kick-started his set by emerging from the back of the hall and proclaiming "Ho, Ho, Ho! This is your Jersey Santa Claus! I just got in! I didn't think I was going to make it, the North wind is coming down and the temperature is dropping, and all I want for Christmas is... one of those." That would be co-host Sting, who Bruce proceeded to hug. He then strapped on a guitar, and launched into a rocking version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," leading the venue in a sing-along that capped off a stellar night of music that included Sting performing the Wham! new-wave holiday classic "Last Christmas" with the female backup singers. Taylor's set included the seasonal standard "River" by Joni Mitchell, "Winter Wonderland" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside." - Billboard, 12/15/16...... Bruce SpringsteenIn other Bruce Springsteen news, The Boss' 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible is up for grabs on eBay. The car -- famed for being the inspiration for as well as the very place where he wrote his signature songs "Born to Run," "Thunder Road" and "Backstreets" -- is up for auction courtesy of BlindedByTheLight.com, which was founded by fan and Springsteen historian Michael Crane. The current bid for the automobile is set at $350,000 -- which is $348,000 more than the Freehold, N.J. native originally paid. "In '70s New Jersey, the car was still a powerful image," Springsteen wrote of the vehicle. "That summer I bought my first set of wheels for $2,000. It was a '57 Chevy with dual, four-barrel carbs, a Hurst on the floor and orange flames spread across the hood." From Oct. 2008 to Jan. 2010, the Chevy was featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York City. It was then moved to the main Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Oh., where it became part of the largest Bruce Springsteen exhibit ever. The electrical and mechanical systems have been overhauled and body and frame are untouched. BlindedByTheLight.com is also tossing in the original vehicle registration, temporary insurance card and Allstate insurance card issued in Springsteen's name and address. - Billboard, 12/13/16...... Diana Ross will be among the headliners of the 23rd annual 2017 Essence Festival, which is set for the Superdome in New Orleans on June 30-July 2, 2017. Also performing will be John Legend, Chaka Khan, Teyana Taylor and current Grammy nominees Lalah Hathaway, Solange and Ro James. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks. - Billboard, 12/15/16...... AC/DC will release what is being billed as the "first official photo book of the band" from their recent "Rock or Bust" world tour in the summer of 2017. The book will feature photos from Ralph Larmann, who shot the group throughout their 17-month trek, and include facts, figures and tour memorabilia. It will be available in several different editions, including a "Leather And Metal" collectors version with a slipcase boasting a glowing AC/DC logo. - New Musical Express, 12/13/16...... The Doors have announced they will release a limited edition (18,000 copies) London Fog 1966 album featuring seven songs recorded during the group's residency at L.A.'s Sunset Strip club, before they moved shop to the Whiskey a Go Go. The songs include blues covers and early versions of "Strange Days" and "You Make Me Real." But it was at the London Fog venue where the group cut its teeth, and guitarist Robby Krieger says "this is the earliest stuff I've ever heard of the Doors... it's pretty cool." The Doors will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017, and the band is gearing up to commemorate the golden anniversary of the group's classic first album, though the plans are still being finalized. "We've got some ideas; I can't give them way yet, but there will definitely be some cool stuff happening with the Doors," says Krieger, who's also planning to release a new solo album in the new year. - Billboard, 12/14/16...... Tina TurnerTina Turner will be the subject of a new musical bio being developed for the London stage to be directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who had earlier success with the ABBA jukebox musical "Mamma Mia!," a global blockbuster. Turner joined the creative and producing teams in London on Dec. 16 for a workshop presentation of the piece, for which no timeline has been announced. Adrienne Warren, a Tony nominee this year for "Shuffle Along," is playing Turner in the workshop. Turner, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and eight-time Grammy winner, was previously portrayed on the screen in the 1993 biopic What's Love Got to Do With It, starring Angela Bassett, which traced her difficult emergence from an abusive marriage to Ike Turner to her amazing comeback as a solo artist in the 1980s. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/16/16...... Elton John announced on Dec. 12 that he's launching a competition to give young contemporary filmmakers a chance to create music videos for his 1970s hits that were released before music videos were popular. John and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin say they're launching the competition with YouTube in celebration of their 50th anniversary of collaboration together, and hope to give aspiring video creators the opportunity to make music videos for such John/Taupin standards as "Rocket Man," "Tiny Dancer" and "Bennie and the Jets." Entries for "Elton John: The Cut" open Jan. 9, 2017. The competition closes on Jan. 23 and creators must be at least 16. John, Taupin, a panel of YouTube creators and industry players will pick three winners, and music videos will premiere next summer. Winners will also receive $10,000 from YouTube. - Billboard, 12/13/16...... David Bowie has beaten the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen in a new poll to name the UK's favorite male musician. Conducted by CamRate, the poll asked 2,000 Brits to name their favourite male and female musicians as well as asking them to rank their favourite actors. Adele was named as the UK's top female musician in the same poll. In other David Bowie news, a special screening of the late rock icon's final Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars concert at London's Hammersmith Odeon will be staged at Hammersmith's Eventim Apollo for the first time since the concert took place over 40 years ago on July 3, 1973. The gig was Bowie's final Ziggy & the Spiders show. Further screenings of the film will take place across the UK from March 2, 2017. In January, a series of concerts marking Bowie's 70th birthday will be held in London, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo.- New Musical Express, 12/16/16..... Tom Petty has announced he and his Heartbreakers will play at London's Hyde Park next summer as part of British Summer Time, the band's only European tour date of 2017. The concert will take place on July 9 with Stevie Nicks and the Lumineers also on the bill. Petty and the Heartbreakers are celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2017, and the London gig will mark only the second time the band has visited the UK in 18 years. Petty announced a huge batch of 40th anniversary shows across the US on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in November. Petty posted a video saying he and the band were "pretty excited" about the London show, and "it will be a special gig for us." - NME, 12/13/16...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney revealed on Dec. 15 that his 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt will be reissued in the US on Mar. 24, 2017. The release will be the first under his new deal with Capitol Records, which was announced in August, and Capitol says the reissue was personally supervised by McCartney. It will include a wealth of previously unheard demos and be available in a 2-CD special edition, on vinyl over 2 LPs and a deluxe edition with 3 CDs and a DVD plus books. Digital downloads will be made available of all tracks. The deluxe edition will include the 13-track album remastered at Abbey Road Studios and two added discs with 18 bonus tracks of previously unreleased demos, both the original and 1988 demo versions done by McCartney and his co-writer of several songs on the album, Elvis Costello. "I hadn't listened to [the demos] in ages but when I did I knew we had to put them out," McCartney said in a statement. "We made a little tape of them and sent them to Elvis, who loved them too. We said we should put out an EP or something and now the moment's finally arrived," he added. - Billboard, 12/15/16...... Dolly Parton raised an estimated $9 million for victims of the recent wildfires in her East Tennessee homeland of Sevier County during a TV telethon dubbed "Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund" on Dec. 13. "I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who have donated from all over the country and to my friends who donated their time, their talent, and money for My People," said Parton. "The response has been so overwhelming that we haven't been able to count all of the donations yet; right now, in total, we have raised about 9 million dollars for the folks who lost everything in Sevier County." The wildfires, which are determined to have been set by two juveniles who are now in custody, spread under extremely dry conditions and took the lives of 14 people and displaced over 1,300 families since they began in late November. - Billboard, 12/15/16..... Barbra Streisand wrapped her "The Music The Mem'ries The Magic!" tour on Dec. 5, and with $10.7 million in ticket sales earned at concerts in four U.S. markets during November and December, it gives the diva the No. 1 slot on Billboard's latest Hot Tours recap. The sold out shows at arenas in Houston, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami were the only fall dates on the tour that hit nine North American cities during the summer in August. Rod Stewart came in second on the list, with $5,537,784 in ticket sales earned at four UK shows from Nov. 29 through Dec. 8. - Billboard, 12/14/16...... KISS rocked the finale of NBC's The Voice on Dec. 13, performing a rocking medley of songs including "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Nite" with newly-crowned Voice winner Sundance Head. American Idol Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert performed "Beth" and "Detroit Rock City" with the band, while Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson teamed with KISS for "Love Gun" and "Shout It Out Loud." Johnson also opened for KISS on tour this summer. - Billboard, 12/14/16...... Alice Cooper has announced he'll kick off a string of UK arena concerts at Leeds on Nov. 11, 2017. Returning to the UK for his first headline tour in five years, Cooper will also play Glasgow (11/12), Birmingham (11/14), and Manchester (11/15) before wrapping at London's SSE Arena, Wembley on Nov. 16. Opening acts include The Mission and The Tubes. - New Musical Express, 12/13/16...... Linda RonstadtA Linda Ronstadt tribute featuring her longtime friends and collaborators Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Aaron Neville and J.D. Souther was held on Dec. 11 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Henley was a suprise guest for the night, and he closed the main set down with "Desperado," introducing it as "the first song I ever wrote with an extraordinary guy named Glenn Frey." Henley recalled the song "didn't get much love or attention when it was released on [the Eagles'] second album back in April of 1973. In fact, the executives at the record label freaked out: 'Oh God, they've made a fucking cowboy record.' And then Linda Ronstadt recorded the song and put it on her album Don't Cry Now that came out in September of 1973 and everything was different." "[Linda] not only knew what was a great song, she knew why it was a great song," said J.D. Souther while introducing his song "Faithless Love," which Ronstadt first recorded and made famous. He added she was "instrumental [in] incentivizing the careers of Lowell George and Warren Zevon and myself." Jackson Browne lauded Ronstadt's "incredible, uncanny ability to find songs and breathe new life into them." As proof, he sang Lowell George's "Willin'," which Ronstadt recorded in 1974, describing it as "one of the greatest songs anybody ever wrote." Proceeds from the event benefited the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. - Billboard, 12/12/16...... A 90th birthday celebration for crooner Tony Bennett that was held on Sept. 15 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall and featuring Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga will air on Dec. 20 at 9:00 p.m. EST on NBC. Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come also features video testimonials to the "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" singer from the likes of Clint Eastwood, Bonnie Raitt, Celine Dion, Keith Richards, Bette Midler, James Taylor, Carole King, Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson, among others. - Billboard, 12/13/16...... After 4,642 shows at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre, the Four Seasons musical "Jersey Boys" will hold its final performance on Jan. 15, 2017. "I'm not sad," Four Seasons leader Frankie Valli says. "I never dreamed it would last 11 years. The beauty about this whole situation is it's not over. It is now beginning to happen in other parts of the world." The Tony Award-winning musical based on the quartet's career and harmonies opened in 2005 and ranks as the 12th-longest running show in Broadway history. - AP, 12/13/16...... Neil Young's high-resolution listening device and a digital music store Pono has struggled to make a profit since its Jan. 2015 launch, and was taken offline in July after its provider, Omnifone, went into administration and was purchased by an unidentified buyer. But Young isn't ready to give up on Pono, and announced on a recent podcast that "we're setting up right now partnerships for a Pono hi-res streaming service, and when we get our streaming service up we're gonna re-emerge as a streaming service and a hi-res download offer." "We're pushing towards getting our presence in phones and being able to be part of large partnerships that will enable us to be able to share the sound of hi-res and have people experience the sound of hi-res in music, like they have in television," Young added. "That's what we do, that's our service: we provide the best that's available, full-resolution music, great-sounding music." - Billboard, 12/13/16...... Jimi HendrixA newly discovered rare plant found in Baja California, Mexico, has been named after guitar god Jimi Hendrix. Researchers have christened the plant Dudleya hendrixii, or "Hendrix's liveforever." Liveforevers are a kind of succulent with enormous life spans, and a former graduate student of San Diego State University reportedly discovered the plant while listening to Hendrix's song "Voodoo Child." While the plant is a liveforever with flowers that die in the summer and re-sprout in the fall, this plant is in peril, with its two-acre habitat threatened by farming, off-road vehicles and development. - AP, 12/15/16...... Mackenzie Phillips of One Day at a Time fame will be returning to a reboot of the '70s sitcom by streaming giant Netflix. But this time Phillips, who played rebellious eldest daughter Julie in the CBS original, will not be reprising her role. Instead, she will guest-star as Pam, a psychologist and leader of a female veterans' therapy group that Penelope (Justina Machado) reluctantly attends in a later episode. Phillips' casting marks a key reunion with Norman Lear, who also produced the original series and was forced to fire Phillips during the show's original run over Phillips' chronic substance abuse. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/14/16...... Willie Joe Ligon of the gospel quartet Mighty Clouds of Joy passed away on Dec. 11 in Los Angeles. He was 74. The Mighty Clouds of Joy became one of the nation's top gospel quartets in the 1960s, winning three Grammy Awards, and in 1975 they innovated with "Mighty High," a disco-influenced song that crossed over onto the pop charts. While the church community looked askance at this bold new sound, youngsters were tearing up the club floors to the sound of "Mighty High." - 12/12/16...... Veteran record executive Bob Krasnow, former chairman of Elektra Records, founder of Blue Thumb Records, veteran executive and co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died on Dec. 11. He was born in 1935, though his exact age couldn't be confirmed. Mr. Krasnow is often hailed for bringing Elektra Records back to prominence after taking over as chairman in 1983, signing such acts as Metallica, Anita Baker, Motley Crue, 10,000 Maniacs, The Cure, The Pixies, The Sugarcubes and others. Mr. Krasnow served as president of Blue Thumb Records until 1974, when he became vice president/talent acquisition for Warner Bros. Records, a role he held until 1983 when he was elevated to chairman and CEO of Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records (later known as Elektra Entertainment). - 12/13/16...... Actor Bernard Fox, best known for playing Dr. Bombay on the '60s sitcom Bewitched, died of heart failure at a Van Nuys, Calif., hospital on Dec. 13. He was 89. The Welsh-born actor had 30 film credits from 1956 to 2004, including two films around the sinking of RMS Titanic. Mr. Fox was in both the 1997 film Titanic as Colonel Archibald Gracie IV, and the earlier 1958 version A Night to Remember in an uncredited role as Frederick Fleet. His other dozens of TV credits include recurring/guest roles roles in Hogan's Heroes, Columbo, The Andy Griffith Show, Knight Rider, The Phantom Major, F Troop, M*A*S*H, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Perry Mason. - Deadline.com, 12/14/16...... Canadian actor Alan Thicke, best known for his role on the sitcom Growing Pains, died on Dec. 13 after suffering a heart attack while playing hockey with his son. He was 69. On Growing Pains, Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who works from home. Beginning in Sept. 1983, Thicke hosted a late night talk show called Thicke of the Night, produced by famed network programmer Fred Silverman. However, it proved to be no match for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and lasted just nine months. He most recently appeared on Netflix's Fuller House. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/13/16.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mick Jagger became a dad again for the eighth time on Dec. 8 when the 73-year-old Rolling Stones frontman's 30-year-old American ballet dancer girlfriend Melanie Hamrick gave birth to a baby boy, whose name has not been revealed. "Melanie Hamrick & Mick Jagger's son was born today in New York and they are both delighted," a rep for Jagger said. "Mick was at the hospital for the arrival. Mother and baby are doing well and we request that the media respect their privacy at this time." The couple began dating in 2014, and Hamrick's pregancy was announced in July. Jagger has seven other children -- four daughters and three sons -- aged 18 to 47 from previous relationships. Jagger, who also has five grandchildren, became a great-grandfather in 2014 when granddaughter Assisi Jackson gave birth to a baby girl. - E! Online, 12/8/16...... In other Rolling Stones news, the band has scored its record-extending 37th top 10 album on the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart with its latest effort, Blue & Lonesome. The album sold 123,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 8, according to Nielsen Music, with 120,000 of those in traditional album sales. The album's robust debut is notable both for being a covers set and for coming a decade after the Stones' last studio album, A Bigger Bang. The album has also bowed at No. 1 in Australia, opening at the top of the ARIA Albums Chart down under. - Billboard, 12/11/16...... Gary BrookerProcul Harum leader Gary Brooker will be among the headliners at the upcoming Winter Solstice holiday concert series with the Paul Winter Consort that will pay tribute to late Beatles producer Sir George Martin. The Paul Winter Consort's 37th Annual Winter Solstice will take place on Dec. 15, 16 and 17 at Manhattan's Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Brooker and Winter have known each other since Procol Harum and the Consort played a bill together at Fillmore East in 1971. "I was a big fan of Procol Harum in the '60s," Winter said in a statement. "It was the only rock band I liked besides the Beatles. I've long loved Gary's bluesy voice since first hearing him sing 'Whiter Shade of Pale.'" Sir George Martin produced albums both by Brooker and Winter -- Brooker's first solo album No More Fear of Flying and the Consort's 1972 album Icarus which Sir George later called "the finest record I ever made." Brooker has also announced plans for a 50th anniversary tour in 2017 for Procul Harum, which released its self-titled debut in 1967 containing the classic "Whiter Shade of Pale." The song was a No. 1 hit in the U.K. and hit No. 5 on the Billboard singles chart in the U.S. "We thought we'll make a special effort to do something special," Brooker says of the 50th anniversary tour. "We're all still alive and kicking. And after all that time there's a lot of loyal people as well and there's a lot of younger people that we'd like to reach that like what we've done. They'll certainly like what we're going to do." - Billboard, 12/10/16...... The 2016 Nobel Prize ceremony took place in Stockholm, Sweden on Dec. 10, and while Bob Dylan was unable to attend the event to accept his Nobel Prize in literature win in person, he did write a speech that was read at the event by United States Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji in Dylan's absence. Dylan was awarded the prize in October "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Also on hand to pay tribute to Dylan was rock poetess Patti Smith, who needed two attempts to get through Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Smith forgot the lyrics in the second verse and had to pause to regain her composure. "I apologize. I'm sorry, I'm so nervous," she said, asking the orchestra to start over. The audience in Stockholm's Concert Hall, many dressed in formal attire, clapped to support Smith as she tried anew. She then finished the song, after briefly blanking out again in the third verse, with an emotional performance that left some in the crowd misty-eyed. - Billboard/AP,. 12/10/16...... Tom PettyForty years after Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released their eponymous debut album in November 1976 and embarking on their first tour a month later, the band announced on Dec. 9 that it will celebrate the milestone in the spring of 2017 with a 35-date North American tour set to get underway on Apr. 20 at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Center. Petty and the band will visit several major American and Canadian cities, playing two-night stands at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, Col. on May 29 and May 30, and two nights at Milwaukee's Summerfest on July 5 and 6, before wrapping with two shows at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, N.Y. on July 26 and 27. Additional dates are expected to be announced later. Eagles member Joe Walsh will open for the band on many dates, and country star Chris Stapleton will be the opener at the Summerfest dates. - Billboard, 12/9/16...... Several former band members of David Bowie's have announced they'll perform in a Bowie memorial show on the ne-year anniversary of his death with a show at New York's Terminal 5 on Jan. 10. Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew, Mark Plati and Gail Ann Dorsey are among the musicians on tap for the event, titled "A Very Special David Bowie Concert With Bowie People Playing Bowie Music Bowie Style." The musicians have also announced additional Bowie tribute shows for London (Jan. 8, O2 Academy Brixton), Los Angeles (Jan. 25, The Wiltern), Sydney, Australia (Jan. 29, Sydney Opera House) and Tokyo (Feb. 2, Tokyo Dome City Hall). "To honour David Bowie's 70th birthday, Bowie band members, friends, and a massive ensemble of top recording & touring musicians from around the world are getting together for a one-time only series of global goodwill concerts, in aid of local charities, called Celebrating David Bowie," a statement reads. "The concerts, announced sporadically, all take place in cities that have a strong connection with David Bowie and his work. All feature a core two dozen musicians traveling plus many local, regional, and national musicians to create a sound like no other," it continued. - Billboard, 12/7/16...... As what has been described as the "tax trial of the century" -- a billion-dollar tax battle over the estate of Michael Jackson -- is set to begin in Feb. 2017, the co-executor of Jackson's estate, John Braca, and his former business manager, Michael Kane, have both been ordered to testify by U.S. Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes. The case is of special interest throughout the entertainment industry because it will be valuating Jackson's posthumous right to his likeness. The IRS has insisted it's worth more than $434 million due to a Cirque du Soleil tribute show, and post-death albums, video games and other lucrative memorials, while the estate's own valuation is just $2,105, arguing that what's important is the value when he died, when Jackson's commercial prospects were suffering from charges of child molestation and drug abuse, before executors worked their magic, and the King of Pop experienced a resurgence in popularity. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/8/16...... A new short film interpreting Queen's classic 1975 hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" produced by Corridor Digital has surfaced online. Titled "Literal Bohemian Rhapsody," the clip chronicles the hit scene by scene with lyrics from the song. It sees a man confessing to his mother that he "just killed a man" before he has a showdown with a group of cops. Yes, his guns are called "thunderbolt" and "lightning" and the cops are named "Galileo" and "Figaro" and, sadly, the officers will not let him go. - NME, 12/9/16...... Original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock is asking fans for help in locating three guitars that were recently stolen from his London home. Recently completing a solo tour of the UK, Matlock took to Facebook to seek help in finding three stolen guitars, which include a 1961 Ivory Fender Precision Bass, a Modern Mexican Black Precision Bass and a Blonde Guild D37 Acoustic. "Please keep an eye out for them," Matlock writes. "A substantial reward will be paid for information leading to their recovery." Matlock played bass in the legendary punk band from 1975 to 1977, when he left and was replaced by Sid Vicious. He was part of the group's first reunion in 1996 and the brief reunions that followed in 2002/2003 and 2007/2008. - NME, 12/12/16...... Yoko OnoYoko Ono marked the anniversary of death of her husband John Lennon on Dec. 8 by posting a powerful plea for gun control on her website. "Dear Friends," she wrote. "Every day, 91 Americans are killed with guns. We are turning this beautiful country into a War Zone. Together, let's bring back America, the green land of Peace. The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 36 years, our son Sean and I still miss him." Yoko also posted a photo of John's blood-stained glasses to drive the point home. The couple's son, Sean Lennon, also posted a tribute in memory of his dad, as did the surviving Beatles and other figures from the music and arts world. - New Musical Express, 12/8/16...... In other Beatles-related news, a Twitter user named Chris Barker has refashioned the Fab Four's iconic Sgt. Pepper's album cover to honor the many music icons that have passed in 2016. Among the faces on "christhebarker"'s cover are: David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Sir George Martin, Leon Russell, Keith Emerson, Maurice White, Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Robert Vaughn and Gene Wilder. - Billboard, 12/9/16...... Actor Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday milestone at an intimate gathering of friends and family held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Dec. 9. Flanked by Anne Douglas, his wife of over 62 years, his son Michael Douglas, his daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones and his grandchildren, Mr. Douglas listened to words from his loved ones as images from his many classic film credits such as Spartacus, Lust for Life, Paths of Glory and others played on a screen behind him. Michael Douglas kicked off the proceedings, saying that it's not just about age, but about the life he's lived and what he's accomplished. "One of the things that I find most incredible about dad is the third act of his life," said Michael Douglas. "After all he accomplished in his professional career and what he's given for his country, at the point in his life where he's faced adversity, losing a son, having a helicopter crash, having a stroke, and what he's accomplished in this third act in his life, I find quite extraordinary." Also in attendence were Mr. Douglas' Rabbi, along with comedian Don Rickles and movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. - AP, 12/10/16...... Recently deceased The Brady Bunch star Florence Henderson secretly battled serious heart issues before she died of a heart attack at age 82 on Nov. 24, according to her death certificate which has been obtained by TMZ.com. The certificate notes she suffered from heart disease for 10 years, and 5 years ago, she was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. It also notes she was "in the entertainment industry for 64 years." - TMZ.com, 12/5/16...... In related news, former Brady Bunch daughter Susan Olsen has been fired from her job as an LA talk radio personality after she got into an online confrontation with openly gay actor Leon Acord-Whiting. LA Talk Radio announced on Dec. 9 that it "will not tolerate hateful speech" and that it "has severed ties" with Olsen. Acord-Whiting criticized the co-host of "Two Chicks Talkin' Politics" after he was a guest on the show, writing on Facebook that she "spreads outrageous misinformation & it is dangerous and unprofessional." Olsen, who played Cindy Brady on the TV show, posted on her Facebook page that Acord-Whiting blocked her "before I could even get one hit in." Acord-Whiting later posted a screenshot of a Facebook message he says Olsen sent to him. In the screenshot, Olsen appears to call the actor an offensive term for gay men. "And by now, your homophobic private message to me is being shared all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So I don't have to say another word. The world is seeing your true colors," he wrote when sharing the message. - AP, 12/11/16...... John GlennFormer astronaut and U.S. senator John Glenn, a genuine American hero who was the last survivor of the original Mercury 7 program astronauts, died on Dec. 8 at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Oh. He was 95. Sen. Glenn, who had heart valve replacement surgery in 2014, was hospitalized "more than a week ago," according to Ohio State University spokesman Hank Wilson. Sen. Glenn piloted the Mercury space capsule, dubbed Friendship 7, and circled the planet three times in just under five hours on Feb. 20, 1962. Prior to his career as an astronaut, Sen. Glenn flew 149 missions during World War II and the Korean War and received multiple medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions. He resigned from the astronaut program in 1964 and pursued a career in politics, serving as a U.S. senator as a Democrat from Ohio between 1974 and 1999. He even ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984, and in 1988 at age 77, he became the oldest person to ever travel in space, as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery for a nine-day mission in 1998. In 2011, he received a Congressional Gold Medal alongside Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. In 2012, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. Earler in 2016, he attended a celebration that saw the renaming of Port Columbus Airport to John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Sen. Glenn joked that the only astronaut he was envious of was his fellow Ohioan: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. "I've been very fortunate to have a lot of great experiences in my life and I'm thankful for them," he said in 2012. - AP, 12/8/16..... CNN will debut a Chicago documentary, Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago on Jan. 1 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Greg LakeGreg Lake, the singer/guitarist/bassist in the famed '70s prog rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer, died on Dec. 6 of cancer, according to his manager. He was 69. "Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer," Lake's manager Stewart Young posted on Facebook. Born in Bournemouth, UK, on Nov. 10, 1948, Lake was presented with his first guitar at age 12 and took lessons from a local tutor called Don Strike. Lake formed a close friendship with his fellow student guitarist Robert Fripp, and the pair formed King Crimson in 1969. Their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, set a standard for progressive rock with such elaborate tracks as "21st Century Schizoid Man," and was famously praised by Pete Townshend of the Who. Within a year however, Lake parted ways with King Crimson, refusing to work with the band after founding member Mike Giles quit. But he was featured on the band's critically-reviled second album, In The Wake Of Poseidon. Lake was then approached by keyboardist Keith Emerson, who had supported King Crimson on a North American tour, and needed a singer for a new band he was forming. Emerson, Lake and PalmerAfter recruiting drummer Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster, ELP made their live debut at the Guildhall, Plymouth, in 1970, then established themselves with a well received performance at the Isle of Wight Festival. ELP's eccentric style combined heavy rock riffs with a classical influence, and the trio scored hit albums with Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy, and Brain Salad Surgery -- many of them produced by Lake himself. Their 1971 album Tarkus featured an opening track lasting more than 20 minutes, and was inspired by a fictional half-tank, half-armadillo creature that would appear on stage at gigs. The band's ambitious light shows and on-stage theatrics became the epitome of '70s rock excess, and later in the decade several punk acts cited ELP as one of the bands they were reacting against. But the band sold more than 48 million records worldwide, and Greg Lake continued to be an influential and popular touring musician even after ELP's heyday of the early-mid '70s. His death comes during the season when ELP's yuletide song "I Believe in Father Christmas" is often heard on rock radio. News of the passing of Lake, who is quoted on his website as saying "The greatest music is made for love, not for money," comes nine months after his longtime bandmate Keith Emerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. - 12/8/16.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dolly Parton announced on Dec. 6 that she will be hosting a Dec. 13 telethon in Nashville to raise money for her My People Fund, which benefits victims of the recent devastating wildfires in East Tennessee. "I know there are a lot of great events being planned to help the people of East Tennessee, however, I am planning a telethon to support the 'My People Fund' where 100% of the money will help those who lost their homes in the wildfire. I am planning on doing this on Dec. 13th in Nashville, Tennessee," Parton said in a statement. Dolly's My People Fund aims to provide $1,000 each month to families in Sevier County, the area where the country icon grew up and the location of her theme park, Dollywood. For donations, visit dollywoodfoundation.org. - Billboard, 12/6/16...... Stevie Nicks has added 20 new dates in the new year to her "24 Karat Gold Tour" with opening act The Pretenders. With the tour being met with "huge ticket demands" and receiving "stellar reviews" according to her reps, the legendary Fleetwood Mac singer will kick off the winter 2017 leg on Feb. 23 in Reno, Nev., also visiting such cities as Salt Lake City, San Diego, New Orleans, Raleigh, Orlando, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Newark, N.J. before wrapping in Uniondale, N.Y. on Apr. 6. The tour is in support of Nicks' latest album 24 Karat Gold, which features new versions of works primarily written and demoed between 1969 and 1987 but never officially released. "It's been thrilling to get on stage each night and sing some of my early gems from early in my career along with getting the chance to sing the material from my last two albums," Nicks said in a statement. The current 2016 tour concludes on Dec. 18 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. - Billboard, 12/6/16...... David BowieWhile David Bowie's final album Blackstar received three 2017 Grammy nominations in the rock categories when the 59th Annual Grammy Awards nominees were announced on Dec. 6, the late rock icon's swansong set was noticeably absent from the main four categories. Although the title track from Blackstar received Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance nominations and the album was nominated in the Best Alternative Album category, many expected the critical favorite and commercial success with an intriguing backstory to also have a lock for an Album of the Year nomination. Bowie didn't fare much better when the BBC Music Awards nominations were announced on Dec. 5, with Blackstar again being snubbed for Album of the Year, however Bowie was nominated for a British Artist of the Year prize at the upcoming Dec. 12 ceremony. Blackstar gave Bowie his first No. 1 in the U.S, his 10th chart-topper in his homeland and was a hit across the globe with fans and critics. Meanwhile, other 2017 Grammy Award nominees include the Ron Howard-directed Beatles tour documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, for a Best Music Film nomination, and Paul McCartney's deluxe Tug of War reissue getting a Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package Grammy nod. Bob Dylan was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, for Fallen Angels, and Dylan's The Cutting Edge: 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12 was nominated in the Best Historical Album category. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/6/16...... The Rolling Stones are on course to score an official UK number one album for the first week in December for their latest album, Blue & Lonesome. The album, the veteran rockers' first studio release in more than a decade, is way ahead of its nearest competition with almost 66,000 combined sales at the halfway stage of the midweek chart. The all-blues 12-track album was recorded in just three days at British Grove Studios in west London and sees the band return to "their roots and the passion for blues music." Should the album cross the finish line in first place, it'lll be the band's 12th No. 1 in the U.K. The Stones' last studio effort to reach the chart summit in their native country was Voodoo Lounge back in 1994, though a re-release of their 1972 album Exile On Main St also reached Number One in 2010. - NME, 12/5/16...... The Nobel Foundation announced on Dec. 5 that while Bob Dylan won't be attending the traditional Nobel Prize banquet on Dec. 10 in Stockholm, Sweden, the singer-songwriter has written a "speech of thanks" for the occasion that will be read aloud by a yet-to-be-decided person. Earlier in the day, Patti Smith is scheduled to perform Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" as a tribute to the 75-year-old musician. A spokeswoman for the foundation says Dylan's diploma and Nobel Prize medal will be handed over at a later date that hasn't been determined yet. - AP, 12/6/16...... Brian MayTaking to Twitter on Dec. 6, Queen guitarist Brian May gave fans an update about his health after the musician was forced to cancel an 11-date solo UK tour two months ago due to what he described as a "persistent illness." "Just want to say thanks, dear twitter folks -- for all your kind wishes. I'm still taking it relatively slowly, but getting stronger. Bri -- Dr. Brian May (@DrBrianMay)," he posted. In the fall, May said that he was "now at the point where I don't feel confident to perform the scheduled shows to the standard we all expect... I've been strongly advised to rest and heal, rather than go out and risk 'falling down on the job' out there, which would be a real tragedy." Queen with guest vocalist Adam Lambert completed their 2016 tour at the end of September, and May and Kerry Ellis are due to release a collaborative album in March. - NME, 12/6/16...... A Chicago-based design firm called New World Design Ltd. has announced plans to block out the word "Trump" from President-Elect Donald Trump's Trump Tower in the Windy City with four "golden pig balloons," a protest inspired by the cover artwork of Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals. "Comprised of four gold colored balloon pigs tethered to buoys in the Chicago River, the folly is a design effort by NWD to provide visual relief to the citizens of Chicago by interrupting the view of the ostentatious Trump Tower Chicago sign," the company said in a statement on its website. "The design scheme follows rigorous rationale in providing layers of meaning while allowing for nuanced interpretations by viewers," it added. The protest follows former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters' use of a giant inflatable pig which flew over the crowd at the recent Desert Trip festival in October in Indio, Calif. On that occasion, the pig was printed with the phrases "F--k Trump and his wall" and "Ignorant, lying, racist, sexist." - Billboard, 12/5/16...... In a post on his Facebook page on Dec. 5, Neil Young questioned whether Pres. Barack Obama will stand up to the corporate interests pushing for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), following the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to look for an alternate route for the project. After DAPL issued a press release on Dec. 4 stating they remain "fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe" and that "nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way," Young asked what the president will do if DAPL does indeed move ahead despite the Army Corps' decree. "The question now is whether President Obama will send in law enforcement or the military to halt DAPL from drilling without a permit," Young wrote. "Otherwise, today's announcement will have no enforcement. It will be seen as another US and corporate ploy to send home water protectors, and thousands of veterans, now at Standing Rock Camp, where more than 10,000 are camped." - Billboard, 12/5/16...... The EaglesJames Taylor'70s artists The Eagles, James Taylor and Mavis Staples were among those feted by Pres. Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors show Dec. 4, 2016 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Eagles members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit were first called for Kennedy Center recognition in 2015, but postponed their attendance in hopes that Frey, who by then was in a fierce battle with colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and pneumonia, would recover. Tragically, Frey passed away in January, and his wife Cindy and children were on hand to receive his honor. Frey's longtime friend and fellow Detroit native, Bob Seger, showed up to pay homage to the band and his 47-year friendship with Frey, noting his upcoming album features a song he wrote for Frey that carries the line, "When I think about you I always smile." Also honoring the Eagles were Kings of Leon, country star Vince Gill and Latin rocker Juanes, who performed "Take It Easy," "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Hotel California," respectively. James Taylor was honored by former president Bill Clinton, country/rock singer Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow and Garth Brooks, while Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day paid tribute to Mavis Staples. The event was taped and will air on the CBS network on Dec. 27. - Billboard, 12/5/16...... Kraftwerk has added two more UK shows to their upcoming 2017 tour, due to heavy ticket demand. The German electro pioneers announced a rare and lengthy run of UK shows earlier in 2016, before tickets instantly sold out within minutes -- much to the frustration of fans. Now the band has added two more shows -- at Oxford on June 6 and Brighton New on June 7 -- to the trek, which kicks off in Dublin on June 2. Kraftwerk will wrap the 17-date tour with a three-night stand at London Royal Albert Hall on June 21, 22 and 23, and are rumoured to be among the headliners at the 2017 Glastonbury festival in June. - NME, 12/5/16.

Friday, December 2, 2016

As the Stevie Nicks with opening act The Pretenders fall tour hit New York City's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1, Nicks warned the crowd that tonight's show is "not gonna be the same show that you're used to seeing," and promised "magical gothic things from my gothic trunk of secrets and mysteries." Nicks then delivered a set of little-heard rarities like "Starshine," a reject from her 1981 solo debut Bella Donna that eventually ended up on 2014's 24 Karat Gold - Songs From the Vault and "Crying in the Night," a Buckingham-Nicks-era favorite that Nicks rarely played live before this tour. The highlight was "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)," the dramatic power ballad whose recording reinvigorated Nicks' solo career earlier in this decade, and which she now calls "my favorite song I've ever written." Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, who gushed about Nicks during her band's set and said it was "like being on tour with Elizabeth Taylor," was even invited on stage to sing Tom Petty's part in Nicks' breakout solo hit, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." "I'm gonna marry her," Hynde quipped after the performance. "So don't get any ideas." Nicks encored with the Fleetwood Mac staples "Rhiannon" and "Landslide." - Billboard, 12/2/16...... On Nov. 28, Eric Clapton announced he'll play four shows in the US -- New York City's Madison Square Garden on Mar. 19 and Mar. 20 and The Forum in Los Angeles on Mar. 25 and Mar. 26 -- in 2017 that will be billed as "celebration of Clapton's 50 years in music." The dates seem to put hints of retirement to rest after the 71-year-old legendary guitarist revealed in June that nerve damage from his peripheral neuropathy has impacted on his ability to play guitar. Opening acts on the tour include Jimmie Vaughan and Guy Clark Jr., with former Joe Cocker sideman Chris Stainton among the musicians in Clapton's backing band. Tickets go on sale on Dec. 3. - New Musical Express, 11/28/16...... Neil DiamondShortly before participating in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC on Nov. 30, Neil Diamond told reporters that he'll leave "no song unsung" when he kicks off a 50 Year Anniversary World Tour in 2017. "Especially stuff from The Monkees," said Diamond, who wrote several several songs for the iconic '60s pop band including the No. 1 smash "I'm a Believer." The first leg of the tour gets underway in Fresno, Calif., on Apr. 7, then travels to cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, before wrapping in August. "We play all over the United States, North America, and then we will find other places to go," he said. Diamond promises to pull out all the stops on his tour, and that he still feels energized when performing for his fans. "They can expect me to give everything I possibly can. I will leave no stone unturned, and no song unsung," he said. - AP, 12/1/16...... KISS announced on Nov. 29 they'll be launching their KISSWORLD 2017 European arena tour on May 1 in Moscow. The glam-rock icons will also hit such cities as Helinksi, Stockholm, Oslo, Munich, Vienna, Frankfurt and Rotterdam before traveling to the UK for shows in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester before the 15-city tour wraps at London's O2 on May 31. - NME, 11/29/16...... Rod Stewart has joined the lineup of headliners for the UK's 2017 Isle of Wight Festival, which takes place from June 8-11 at Seaclose Park, Newport. Billed as his only UK festival appearance in 2017, Stewart will top the festival bill on the final night of the festival. "I have been very lucky to have played many of the world's finest venues and festivals -- but never played the legendary IOW Festival. I am so excited to put that right. June can't come round soon enough," Stewart said in a statement. The festival originally ran between 1968 and 1970 before being revived in 2002, and recent headliners include Queen + Adam Lambert and Fleetwood Mac. - NME, 11/28/16...... James Taylor has announced a summer tour of four baseball parks for 2017, culminating in a date at Fenway Park, home of his beloved Boston Red Sox. Taylor and his band will open the tour on July 14 at Nationals Park in Washington. It continues July 17 at Wrigley Field in Chicago; July 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco; and Aug. 11 at Fenway. It will be the third consecutive year Taylor has played Fenway, the venue where the Boston-born Taylor debuted his video for "Angels of Fenway," his ode to the redemptive spirit of baseball and a song featured on his 2015 album Before This World. Bonnie Raitt will open for Taylor at each show. - AP, 11/29/16...... Rush announced on its Facebook page on Nov. 30 that the band is donating the $40,000 award it's getting from the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in honor of the late Tragically Hip frontman Downie. "Many families have been affected either directly or indirectly by this terrible disease. Through Gord's courageous efforts this cause is now getting the attention it desperately deserves. As a fellow musician and friend it's our turn to help support his efforts to fight Brain Cancer now," the post reads. Earlier in December, Canadian Music Week announced that Rush were the 2017 recipients of the Slaight award, which will be handed out in April; the award comes with a $40,000 prize earmarked for the charity of the recipient's choice. - Billboard, 12/1/16...... Dolly PartonCountry music legend Dolly Parton has established a fund to help victims of the recent spate of wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, which is also home to her Dollywood theme park. Parton's My People Fund will provide $1,000 each month to families in Sevier County, Tenn., and in a new video the singer explained how she wanted to help get people "back on their feet" after the deadly natural disaster. "I've always believed charity begins at home and my home is some place special," she said. "That's why I've asked my Dollywood Companies -- including the Dollywood theme park, and DreamMore Resort; my dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; and my Dollywood Foundation -- to help me establish the My People Fund. We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires." Parton's theme park was also threatened by the fires. More info can be found at dollywoodfoundation.org. - Billboard, 11/30/16...... Pres. Barack Obama welcomed four of the recipients of the 2016 Nobel Prize to the White House in Washington on Nov. 30, and noticeably absent was Nobel winner Bob Dylan. "Unfortunately, for those of you wondering, Bob Dylan will not be at the White House today, so everybody can relax," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during a press briefing. Earnest said Dylan didn't give a reason, but he noted that Dylan and the president had met previously and "the president enjoyed meeting him." In 2012, Pres. Obama presented the iconic rock star with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature on Oct. 13 but won't be attending the prize ceremony, later announcing he may travel to Stockholm sometime in 2016 and give his Nobel Lecture then. - AP, 11/30/16...... A new court filing suggests that the late Prince's estate could be worth as much as $200 million, the first time a specific estimate has emerged publicly from court proceedings since the musician died from an overdose in April. Since Prince left no known will, the rock superstar's sister and five half-siblings are in line to inherit equal shares of the estate -- after taxes gobble up about half of it. Attorneys have avoided giving specific figures in public since then, but based on a court filing made public on Nov. 29, Bremer Trust puts the value of the estate at about $200 million, the AP has calculated. In 2016, Prince's estate took in $25 million and sold more albums than any other dead musician for a No. 5 spot on the list of top earning deceased celebrities. Prince's estate has until Jan. 21 to file federal and state estate tax returns. Meanwhile, a new Prince documentary entitled Prince: R U Listening? is reportedly in the works for a spring 2017 release. The film, directed by Find Your Groove's Michael Kirk, will chronicle Prince's rise to fame and will feature interviews with members of his band, as well as friends and admirers including Bono, Mick Jagger, Sheila E, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol. Prince's Minnesota estate-turned-museum, Paisley Park, is is also planning a "Celebration 2017" event in April, with guided tours of the late singer's home and performances from Prince's former bands. - AP, 11/30/16...... The Bee GeesThe Bee Gees announced on Dec. 29 that they've inked a long-term worldwide agreement with Capitol Records that will cover the legendary trio's entire catalog of recorded music -- all 22 studio albums -- plus various compilations, unreleased recordings and other projects. Several soundtracks are also part of the agreement, including the disco era-defining Saturday Night Fever. Capitol will begin working with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), Barry Gibb and the estates of late members Robin and Maurice Gibb on numerous sales and marketing campaigns aimed at breathing new life into the brothers' catalog, which ranged from psychedelic pop to disco to soft rock. The group's most active years were spent on either Polydor or RSO, aside from a brief stint with Warner Bros. "The Bee Gees catalog is one of the most esteemed and important bodies of work in the history of recorded music, and we are brimming with ideas that will remind fans of its brilliance and further the band's legacy by introducing their music to new audiences," Capitol Music Group chairman and CEO Steve Barnett said. "All of us at the company are honored that The Bee Gees have chosen Capitol as their new home." - Billboard, 11/29/16...... Cher will be among the celebrities featured in This Climate, an upcoming documentary about the perils of climate change. The film, which also features Mark Ruffalo, Vivienne Westwood and Noam Chomsky, will be screened in festivals, events, and universities worldwide in early 2017 after November's United Nations Climate Change Conference and before the World Economic Forum in January, for optimal impact on global discussion. - Billboard, 11/30/16...... A new picture book inspired by John Lennon's 1971 world peace anthem "Imagine" is set for release on Sept. 21, 2017, the United Nations' International Day of Peace. Authorized by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, the book will be released in partnership with Amnesty International, which will receive some of the proceeds. ith illustrations by Jean Jullien, the book will feature Lennon's lyrics as it tells of a young pigeon's mission to advocate for peace. - AP, 11/29/16...... In other Beatles-related news, a rare copy of the Fab Four's "White Album" originally owned by Ringo Starr has topped a list of the world's most valuable vinyl records. The LP sold at auction in 2015 for £730,876. The list, compiled by LoveAntiques.com, also includes recordings by the formative Beatles band The Quarrymen ("That'll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger" - £100,000) at No. 2 and the Beatles' "Love Me Do" (£80,500) at No. 3. - NME, 11/29/16...... The Recording Academy has announced it will be adding 25 new musical works to its Grammy Hall of Fame, including David Bowie' "Changes," the Jackson 5's "ABC," Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," Arlo Guthrie's "The City of New Orleans," Merle Haggard's Okie From Muskogee and the Beach Boys' "I Get Around." The selected singles and album recordings are all at least 25 years old to meet requirements for selection, and with this year's additions there will be 1,038 recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 11/28/16...... Neil YoungNeil Young has penned an open letter to Pres. Barack Obama urging an "end to the violence" against the protestors at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota. "Standing together in prayer to protect water displays a deeply rooted awareness of life's interconnected nature, and of the intrinsic value and import of traditional ways," Young posted on his Facebook page on Nov. 28. "This growing movement stems from love, it is the most human instinct to protect that which we love." Despite the hundreds of people standing in solidarity and peacefully protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Young wrote that protesters are met with "violent aggression" from law enforcement. "Standing while being hit with water cannons, mace, tear gas, rubber bullets. Standing without weapons and praying, the water protectors endure human rights abuses in sub freezing temperatures," Young writes. "Thus, it is the ugliness of corporate America, seen around the world." The rocker later called upon the president "to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately" before discussing President-elect Donald Trump, who he described as a "surprise president [who] claims he does not believe in climate science nor the threats it presents and his actions and words reflect that claim in tangible and dangerous ways." Trump also owns stock in the company laying the pipeline, and has called for its completion. - Billboard, 11/29/16...... The former wife of Phil Collins has told the UK paper Daily Mail that she will sue the former Genesis member after he slammed her with alleged inaccuracies in his new autobiography, Not Dead Yet. Andrea Bertorelli, Collins' first wife, took issue with what her ex shared about their five-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 1980, and blasted him for failing to remember even the simplest of details, like where they actually tied the knot. "Even the most basic facts have become distorted," she said. "For a number of years... I have variously been portrayed as a homewrecker, a gold-digger and a bad mother (in the media). The recent publication of Phil's autobiography Not Dead Yet is the final straw." It's not clear how much compensation Bertorelli is seeking from her ex, who is yet to comment on the lawsuit news. The former couple shares two adult children -- son Simon, a musician, and actress Joely, who was Bertorelli's daughter from a previous relationship. Collins adopted Joely as his own during their marriage. - WENN.com, 12/2/16...... Tony Award-winning character actor Fritz Weaver, who played a German Jewish doctor slain by the Nazis in the 1978 mini-series Holocaust and an increasingly unstable Air Force colonel in the 1964 film Fail Safe, died on Nov. 26 at his home in Manhattan. He was 90. The Pittsburgh-born Mr. Weaver won a Tony in 1970 for his role in Robert Marasco's drama "Child's Play," and also appeared in such TV series as The Twilight Zone, Playhouse 90, Mission: Impossible, Magnum, P.I., Matlock, Gunsmoke, Falcon Crest and Murder, She Wrote. His screen credits included Marathon Man (1976), Demon Seed (1977), Creepshow (1982) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). - AP, 11/28/16...... Al BrodaxAl Brodax, the producer and co-writer of the Beatles' iconic animated 1968 film Yellow Submarine, died on Nov. 24 in Danbury, Conn. He was 90. In 1960, Mr. Brodax created and headed the television/motion picture division of King Features Syndicate, writing and producing more than 500 episodes of Popeye, Krazy Kat, Barney Google and The Beatles' cartoon series. In 1968, he was producer and co-writer of Yellow Submarine, winning more than 30 awards including the New York Film Critics Circle Award in 1969. Mr. Brodax went on to become the animation supervisor for ABC, producing the shows Make a Wish and Animals, Animals, Animals. In later years, he was a consultant for Marvel Comics. - The New York Times, 11/28/16...... Joe Esposito, a close personal friend and longtime aide of Elvis Presley, died on Nov. 23 of natural causes in Calabasas, Calif. He was 78. Esposito met Presley in 1959 while both were serving in the Army. After they completed their service, Esposito became Presley's assistant in professional matters, from keeping his calendar to functioning as road manager when the King was on tour. Esposito was one of two best men at Presley's 1967 wedding to Priscilla Wagner and a pallbearer at his funeral in 1977. After Presley's death, Esposito worked as a road manager for other artists, including the Bee Gees and Michael Jackson. His daughter, Cindy Bahr, said that her father was suffering from dementia at the time of his death. - AP, 11/29/16...... TV mogul Grant Tinker, the former chairman and CEO of NBC and former husband of Mary Tyler Moore, died on Nov. 29 at age 90. In 1969, Mr. Tinker and his then-wife Moore launched MTM Enterprises, which became an indie powerhouse that produced such hits as Moore's Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere. In 1981, he left MTM to become chairman and CEO of then-last-place network NBC. With Brandon Tartikoff as his entertainment president, Mr. Tinker spearheaded a ratings turnaround, with the network rising from last to first place on the strength of a slew of hit new series, including The Cosby Show, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Cheers, Night Court and Hill Street Blues. He left NBC in 1986, following its acquisition by General Electric. - Deadline.com, 11/30/16.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Appearing at the Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings NFL matchup in her hometown of Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, Aretha Franklin delivered a generous 4 minute and 35 seconds long rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to the start of the game, which may have been as much a topic at Thanksgiving dinner as the game itself. Her lengthy version of the national anthem then went viral on social media, with one Twitter user joking that "there was enough time to cook a turkey, eat and do the dishes" during the performance. Others opined that the 74-year-old "Queen of Soul" had earned the right to sing the anthem for as long as she wanted. The CBS production team even got in on the fun during the game by including Franklin in a time of possession graphic: "Time of possession battle is crucial. pic.twitter.com/EZVC53fVeD" -- NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) November 24, 2016. - AP, 11/26/16...... In related news, James Taylor tweeted a Thanksgiving message to his fans stressing the importance of gratitude on Nov. 24. "Sometimes we suffer setbacks. And if these reversals of fortune are deeply important to us, the loss can be a source of real grief. Recovery takes time and we should allow ourselves time to grieve. But what eventually seems to help most is to take a regular moment to give thanks. To whom we give it is a big question but just go ahead on and do it. Gratitude is the way to an improved attitude, dude," Taylor wrote in the post. The 68-year-old singer/songwriter then gets a little spacey in the message, speculating about the possibility that other distant worlds in the cosmos might support life. "Scientists tell us that it is likely, even inevitable, that there are other worlds in the cosmos which, like our own, would support life. But they are so rare and far apart that it's a long shot we'll ever be in touch... To have been born in human form and consciousness aboard this unbelievably beneficent planet is an incredible stroke of luck. Dig it..." - AP, 11/24/16...... Billy JoelAfter Bruce Springsteen made headlines earlier in November for being rescued by a group of biker veterans when his own motorcycle broke down on Allaire State Park in New Jersey on Veterans Day, Billy Joel revealed onstage during a Nov. 26 concert at Madison Square Garden that the faulty bike ridden by the Boss was, in fact, built in his own 20th Century Cycles shop in Oyster Bay, N.Y. "So he takes the bike out on Veteran's Day and it breaks down. It's all over national news: Bruce's Bike Breaks Down," the Piano Man told the audience. "So I'm reading this and thinking, Oh s--t, I hope it wasn't the bike I built for him. I called him, 'Bruce, what bike was the bike that broke down?' 'It was the one you made for me,'" Joel continued. Joel then said he apologized to the 67-year-old New Jersey rocker, to which Bruce responded, "Oh no, it's cool, dude." Perhaps to make amends, Joel covered Springsteen's classic "Born to Run" later in the show. Joel, 67, owns a custom motorcycle shop, 20th Century Cycles, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., and Springsteen is one of his clients. - The NY Daily News, 11/27/16...... Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, the musician has taped an appearance on the venerable BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs that will air during the third week of December. On Desert Island Discs, host Kirsty Young is joined each week by a guest who is asked to "name eight recordings, a book and a luxury item that they would take with them on a desert island." Springsteen said of his track choices that "this is the music that electrified me -- they galvanised me into changing my life in some way." First broadcast in 1942, Desert Island Discs has welcomed the likes of Tom Hanks, Bill Gates and Michael Bubl earlier in 2016. - New Musical Express, 11/24/16...... Stevie Wonder has announced that John Legend and Lionel Richie have been confirmed to perform at his annual House Full of Toys benefit concert, which is set for L.A. Live's Microsoft Theater on Dec. 9. Wonder launched House Full of Toys in 1996 at former Hollywood venue House of Blues. In subsequent years, the concert has been staged at The Forum in L.A. as well as the Microsoft. Concert proceeds benefit the We Are You Foundation, which assists children and families in need. For ticket information (patrons are also asked to bring an unwrapped toy), visit axs.com. Additional performers at this year's event will be announced shortly. - Billboard, 11/23/16...... Elton JohnAfter Anthony Scaramucci, an advisor to President-Elect Donald Trump, made a surprise announcement that Elton John would be playing the president-elect's January inauguration on the BBC programme HARDtalk on Nov. 23, a rep for Sir Elton unequivocally denied the same day that John will be playing the Washington D.C. event. Scaramucci said that John's performance would demonstrate the president-elect's "commitment to gay rights," commemorating what he referred to as "the first American president in U.S. history that enters the White House with a pro-gay rights stance." It is worth noting however that Trump's running mate, Vice-President Elect Mike Pence, has been strongly criticized by the LGBT community for his anti-gay positions as governor of the state of Indiana. - Billboard, 11/23/16....... In an interview with the London Times, David Bowie's saxophonist Donny McCaslin claims that Bowie was planning to make more music at the time of his death in January at age 69, two days after the release of his album Blackstar, a record which many fans believed was his final farewell. "It certainly didn't seem that it (Blackstar) would be his last record," McCaslin said. "He was going to start writing new music -- or maybe he had started; it wasn't quite clear -- but he was in the process of planning a new recording with us. I don't think Blackstar was this goodbye thing," he added. McCaslin also said Bowie was considering appearing on stage for the first time in a decade. "Clearly there wasn't going to be a Blackstar tour but he was going to sit in with us at (New York jazz club) the Village Vanguard," McCaslin said. "It would just have been him turning up unannounced after rehearsing during the day." Earlier in 2016, McCaslin and his band released their own album, Beyond Now, inspired by and dedicated to their former collaborator. The LP includes original tracks by McCaslin and a number of covers of songs by the likes of Deadmau5, Mutemath, The Chainsmokers and Bowie. - New Musical Express, 11/25/16...... Prolific TV actor Ron Glass, a veteran of such series as Barney Miller, Stakeout, Bureaucrat, Ms. Cop, Vigilante and The New Odd Couple, died at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 15. He was 71. It is not yet clear if the star had been ill prior to his death, but there is speculation that he was suffering from respiratory problems. The news of Glass's death shocked members of California's Buddhist community, of which he was a prominent figure. Sharing the news on Facebook, one friend wrote: "My Buddhist Brother and Friend, Ron Glass passed last night. I had called him 11/15/16 to find out how is doing since it's been a few months since I had see him last and his nurse said he was not up to talking. I called back on 11/16/16 and said to the nurse: 'let him know that I love him and really care'." The Indiana-born performer also appeared on such series as Friends, Star Trek: Voyager, CSI, Rugrats, Rhythm & Blues and Murder, She Wrote. - The Mirror UK, 11/16/16...... Fidel CastroFidel Castro, the controversial revolutionary leader and former head of state of Cuba, died on Nov. 25 at the age of 90, according to Cuban state television. One of the world's longest-serving political leaders, Fidel Castro ruled Cuba for 49 years after playing a central role in the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s. He cut a divisive figure during his lifetime, transforming Cuba into the Western Hemisphere's first communist country and becoming a thorn in the side of the United States during the Cold War. Hailed by supporters as a hero who fought for socialist ideals by standing up to the U.S. and the world's other political giants, Fidel Castro was seen by critics as a ruthless dictator guilty of subjecting his people to countless human rights abuses, devastating Cuba's economy and forcing more than a million Cubans to flee the island. Considered by many Cubans to be a national hero, Castro in February 1959 was sworn in as prime minister of the island nation, after his group of revolutionaries finally succeeded in forcing the increasingly ruthless dictator General Fulgencio Batista to flee the country, after many attempts. While the international community criticized Castro's government for its brutal campaign of retribution against Batista supporters, the Cuban people were firmly on Castro's side. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans would gather and cheer as he delivered long, rousing speeches -- some of them lasting hours about the revolution (his longest on record in Cuba was 7 hours and 10 minutes). During the Cold War, Castro's Cuba proved especially influential in the politics of the day, after he revealed his belief in socialism and declared his allegiance to the USSR early on in his rule. After Russian missiles, placed in Cuba with Castro's consent, were spotted by an American spy plane in October 1962, the Soviets and the Americans engaged in tense negotiations, the world spun closer to nuclear war than at any other time before or since. Fortunately, however, the USSR -- to Castro's fury -- finally agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba, and the crisis was averted. Castro fell ill in 2006 with an undisclosed disease, and handed the reins of power to his brother Ral Castro. He officially resigned in 2008, after 49 years as Cuba's head of state. Castro was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of developing nations in 2001, and also spoke up against global warming and other environmental issues and was lauded by some for his environmentalism and green policies. - Huffington Post, 11/26/16.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Florence HendersonBeloved TV and stage actress Florence Henderson, best known as the ever cheerful matriarch of the iconic '70s series The Brady Bunch, died unexpectedly of heart failure on Nov. 24 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 82. Born on Feb. 14, 1934 in Dale, Indiana, Ms. Henderson got her first big break on Broadway when she was just 18 after being cast in a lead role in the seminal musical "Oklahoma!" before moving on to productions of "The Sound of Music," "The King and I" and "South Pacific." But it was her role as Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch, the innocent sitcom about a blended family, that made her a household name. The series, which aired from 1969 to 1974, returned to television in various forms again and again, including The Brady Bunch Hour in 1977, The Brady Girls Get Married in 1981 (a pilot to the short-lived Brady Brides series) and The Bradys in 1990. It was also seen endlessly in reruns. Ms. Henderson also joined the cast of the 1995 spoof The Brady Bunch Movie, playing Grandma Brady opposite Cheers star Shelley Long as Carol. Her 50+ year career in show business also included a stint as the first female guest host on The Tonight Show, and the release of a cookbook based on the cooking series Country Kitchen. Throughout her career, Ms. Henderson was also known for her philanthropy work, supporting causes including City of Hope and the House Ear Institute (she experienced sudden hearing loss in 1965, and underwent corrective surgery in both ears). In 2010, she competed on Dancing with Stars and was the fifth competitor to be voted off that season. She made a surprise appearance on the show this September, dressed up in character as Mrs. Brady, and was reportedly backstage when her fellow Brady Bunch actress Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady in the series, competed on Dancing With the Stars on Nov. 21. Ms. Henderson, who is survived by two daughters, two sons and five grandchildren, died surrounded by family and friends, her manager, Kayla Pressman, said in a statement on Nov. 24. "Florence Henderson was a dear friend for so very many years & in my heart forever. Love & hugs to her family. I'll miss u dearly #RIPFlorence," Maureen McCormick tweeted on Nov. 25. - USA Today/AP/Huffington Post, 11/25/16.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pres. Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, to 21 groundbreaking musicians, actors, athletes, technological professionals, and others including '70s artists Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Nov. 22. Prior to the ceremony, the White House appraised Bruce Springsteen's contribution to the nation by describing him as "a singer, songwriter, and bandleader (who) more than five decades ago... bought a guitar and learned how to make it talk." "Since then," the statement continued, "the stories he has told, in lyrics and epic live concert performances, have helped shape American music and have challenged us to realize the American dream." Other honorees include actors Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Tom Hanks and Cicily Tyson, basketball greats Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Michael Jordon, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, broadcaster Vin Scully, and various scientists, educators and architects. Obama said the people receiving the medal all influenced him and his presidency in some way and "helped push America forward and inspired millions around the world." The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes especially meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States, to its culture, or to other significant endeavors. - AP, 11/22/16...... Leonard Cohen"Hallelujah," perhaps the most well known song by late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Leonard Cohen, has debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart for the first time, at No. 59, following Cohen's death on Nov. 7. "Hallelujah" also entered Billboard's Digital Song Sales chart at No. 12 with 33,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 17, according to Nielsen Music. It also drew 3.8 million U.S. streams in that period, a 279 percent increase. Cohen originally released the enduring anthem "Hallelujah" on his 1984 album Various Positions, and Jeff Buckley's 1994 cover of the song (itself inspired by a piano-led version by John Cale three years prior) and now considered by many to be the definitive take on the song, although it, too, wasn't a chart hit at the time and has yet to hit the Hot 100, although it has now appeared on the Digital Song Sales chart at No. 29. Cohen's most recent studio album, You Want It Darker, has also jumped from No. 48 to No. 7 on the Hot 200 albums chart, and his greatest hits album The Essential Leonard Cohen, has also debuted on the chart at No. 13 with 20,000 units and 11,000 albums sold. - Billboard, 11/21/16...... Released on Nov. 11, Pink Floyd's new massive 27-disc box set The Early Years 1965-1972 features unreleased outtakes and demos, TV appearances, seven hours of concert recordings, performances, interviews, over 20 unreleased songs, an updated version of their Zabriskie Point soundtrack and more. Fans have also discovered hidden tracks in the form of alternate mixes of the band's 1972 LP Meddle, inside the set's Blu-ray discs, although specialized software is needed in able to pull both the new stereo and 5.1 mixes of the album from the disc. The set charts the band's first seven years before their The Dark Side of the Moon commercial breakthrough, and also includes the song "Green Is The Colour," which was originally on their 1969 album Soundtrack From The Film More and recorded just after founding member Syd Barrett left the group. - NME, 11/19/16...... Sting was honored with an acheivement award during the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 20. The former Police frontman also performed a medley of his hits during the show, starting with his recent single "Can't Stop Thinking About You" from his new album 57th and 9th and running through his Police-era classics "Message in a Bottle" and "Every Breath You Take." "American music lit the musical spark in my young mind," the 65-year-old Sting said while accepting his award. "This uniquely American experiment -- perhaps America's greatest and most influential export -- rock and roll." Sting has also notched his 11th solo Top 10 entry in the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart with 57th & 9th, at No. 9 with 28,000 units sold. Sting last hit the Hot 200 Top 10 with his 2010 album, Symphonicities. Meanwhile, Sting and Bruce Springsteen are slated to perform at the 2016 Rainforest Fund gala on Dec. 14 at New York's Carnegie Hall. - Billboard, 11/20/16...... Bruce SpringsteenSpeaking of Bruce Springsteen, the Boss has announced he'll be hitting the road for another round of book signings for his just released memoir, Born to Run. The New Jersey rocker will launch a one-week tour beginning Nov. 28 at Books-A-Million in Chicago for a book tour that will stretch through Ohio (Cincinatti, 11/29), continue to Denver (11/30) and Austin, Tex. (12/1), and wind down at 2nd & Charles in Kennesaw, Georgia, on Dec. 2. All books will be pre-signed, and fans will be able to snap a photo with the 67-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member. Tickets for all shows went on sale on Nov. 22 on the artist's Facebook Events page. Meanwhile, Springsteen has weighed in on the "Hamilton" Broadway show controversy in which the cast of show took to the stage after their Nov. 18 curtain call to address Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who attended the show. "We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us," cast member Brandon Victor Dixon. Springsteen and his wife Pattie Scialfa posed for a selfie on Nov. 20 in front of the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City where "Hamilton" is being presented, with Scialfa writing "looking for VP elect Pence #freedomofspeech." E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt -- while not disagreeing with the statement -- took to Twitter the next day to say the cast chose an "inappropriate" time to make their stand, and instead was "bullying" the politician. "You don't single out an audience member and embarrass him from the stage. A terrible precedent to set," Van Zandt posted. - Billboard, 11/20/16...... A terse letter written by John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney shortly after the breakup of the Beatles sold at auction for nearly $30,000 during a sale on Nov. 17 conducted by Boston-based RR Auction. RR says the letter is believed to have been written in 1971 in response to criticism Lennon received from Linda McCartney about his decision to not publicly announce his departure from the band. Filled with profanity and sometimes rambling, the letter reads "Do you really think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles? I don't believe you're that insane -- Paul -- do you believe that? When you stop believing it you might wake up!" - AP, 11/21/16...... Bob Dylan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature on Oct. 13 but won't be attending the prize ceremony, will likely travel to Stockholm next year and might give his Nobel Lecture then, the Nobel Prize's Swedish Academy announced on Nov. 18. Dylan likely will give a concert in the Swedish capital, offering "a perfect opportunity to deliver his lecture," according to the academy. Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the academy, told a Swedish radio station that the Nobel Foundation's rules for laureate lectures are "flexible." Dylan can deliver his as "a written speech, a spontaneous discourse, a film" or another format of his choosing, said Danius. Dylan, 75, has said he cannot attend the Dec. 10 prize ceremony due to pre-existing commitments that, according to his Facebook page, are of a personal nature. Details about who will accept the award on Dylan's behalf are still unclear. - AP, 11/18/16...... Freddie MercuryQueen guitarist Brian May announced on his Facebook page that the mother of late Queen frontman, Jer Bulsara, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Nov. 13 at age 94. May called Mrs. Bulsera, who he says he had known for 50 years, "a warm and devoted mum to Freddie and, like Freddie, always had a strong twinkle in the eye." Bulsara and Mercury had a close relationship until his untimely death aged 45 from complications arising from AIDS. Speaking of her relationship with her "dear boy," she once told the UK paper The Telegraph: "I often told him I didn't like his clothes and dresses, and tried to get him to cut his hair, but he would explain it was something you have to do when you are in the pop world and gradually I learnt to accept it." Meanwhile, a new Freddie Mercury documentary, Who Wants to Live Forever, debuted on UK TV on the fourth weekend of November on Channel 5. The in-depth film explores Mercury's life from the summer of 1985 at the Live AID concert to the spring of 1987, when he was diagnosed with HIV. 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Mercury, who passed on Nov. 24, 1991. - New Musical Express, 11/19/16...... As the Rolling Stones prepare to release a new album of blues classics and deep cuts covers, Blue & Lonesone, on Dec. 2, frontman Mick Jagger says an album of new, original material that the band was originally working on when they veered off toward a blues album is still on the docket, but it could take a while. "I was working on it quite recently," Jagger told Billboard/ "We've got a long way to go, but I think it sounds really great and I'm looking forward to carrying on with that." Jagger says he hopes they might return to the new songs in 2017, and guitarist Ronnie Wood has also predicted they'll be back in the studio "next year." Keith Richards, however, was less definitive: "Well, man, you know, I'm not Nostradamus," he quipped. Blue & Lonesone will be the British rockers' first studio LP since 2005's A Bigger Bang. Meanwhile, Jagger reportedly left a huge tip for the staff at the upscale New York Chinese restaurant Philippe Chow when he and his entourage recently visited the eatery. According to TMZ.com, Jagger reportedly left a $500 tip for a $478 bill, as he and his friends ordered a hardy meal -- including lettuce wraps, tuna tartare, chicken satays and green prawns -- for starters. The party then moved onto an order of Mr. Cheng's Noodles and Peking duck, before finishing with Baked Alaska for dessert. Eyewitnesses say Jagger ate his meal quickly and was very polite to staff. - Billboard/WENN.com 11/17/16...... The Ford Motor Company and UAW-Ford have announced a $6 million investment towards a planned expansion of the Motown Museum in Detroit. "We are thrilled to play a role in the next chapter of a global music icon," said Joe Hinrichs, president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company. "The enhanced museum will not only upgrade the visitor experience, it also fits with our commitment to investing in the cultural heritage of Detroit and southeast Michigan." The Motown Museum is located in the Hitsville U.S.A. house where record company founder Berry Gordy launched his music empire in 1959. Scores of classic hits were created there before the label moved to California in 1972. Ford's donation is part of a $50 million upgrade that will create a new Ford-branded theater, space for interactive exhibits and a recording studio at the tourist attraction. - Billboard/AP, 11/18/16...... Smokey RobinsonIn related news, Motown icon Smokey Robinson was honored with the prestigious Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16. "Gershwin music was always on in our house. So for me to be even mentioned in the same breath as the Gershwins is just unbelievable," Robinson said. Robinson also performed a soul-stirring concert at the DAR Constitution Hall, which was packed with some of the U.S.'s most powerful politicians. The event was taped and will air on PBS stations across the US on Feb. 10. - Billboard, 11/17/16...... Country songwriter Mentor Williams, best known for penning Dobie Gray's 1973 No. 5 smash "Drift Away," passed away from undisclosed causes on Nov. 16. He was 70. The brother of singer/songwriter/actor and ASCAP President Paul Williams, Mentor was also known for co-writing such tunes as Randy Travis and George Jones' "A Few Ole Country Boys" in 1990, and Alabama's 1984 hit "When We Make Love." His best-known song by far, however, was Gray's "Drift Away," which has been covered by everyone from Waylon Jennings to Rod Stewart, Michael Bolton, Ray Charles and Roy Orbison -- as well as Uncle Kracker, who returned the song to the Billboard Top 10 in 2003 with his No. 9-peaking, Gray-assisted cover. Williams, a longtime resident of Taos, NM, also worked with, recorded and produced a number of other artists, including Paul McCartney, Kim Carnes and his brother Paul, and served as a staff writer at Almo-Irving in the 1960s. He was also a producer for the A&M, MCA and Columbia Records labels, and had a romantic relationship with country singer Lynn Anderson from the 1980s until her death in 2015. "Mentor was a proud and grateful member (of ASCAP). He will be so missed," Paul Williams tweeted on Nov. 16. - Billboard, 11/17/16...... Canadian guitarist/songwriter Doug Edwards, a former guitarist with the bands Skylark and Chilliwak who penned Skylark's mega-hit "Wildflower," has died at his home in Vancouver after a long illness. He was 71. Born in Edmonton in 1946, Edwards moved to Victoria at age 15 and took up guitar and electric bass. He then moved to Vancouver and, within 18 months or so, was touring with the Fifth Dimension as their guitarist, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and opening for Frank Sinatra. In 1970, Edwards teamed with Dave Richardson, a Saanich police officer, to write "Wildflower," which became a gold record in Canada, went to No. 9 on the U.S. Billboard chart, and was covered by more than 75 artists from crooner Johnny Mathis to rapper Drake. "'Wildflower' is one of the most performed songs in the history of Canadian popular music," notes the website of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. "Wildflower" has also been used to treat female military personnel suffering from PTSD and sexual assault, and has been used to help suicidal addicts recover. Edwards, a session musician for six decades who underwent triple bypass heart surgery on Feb. 1 and then went into cancer treatment, also recorded or performed with Ann Mortifee and Olivia Newton-John, and on TV shows with Tom Jones, Paul Anka and Wolfman Jack.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Recent Nobel Prize for Literature honoree Bob Dylan has informed the Nobel Prize's Swedish Academy that "he wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible," and that he won't be making the trip to Stockhom to pick up the prize in person on Dec. 10. Dylan, 75, was awarded the prize on Oct. 13 "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Details on who will accept the award on Dylan's behalf are expected to be announced soon. Dylan at first was silent after the Nobel announcement but eventually said getting the award left him "speechless." - AP, 11/16/16...... Friends and former bandmates of David Bowie have announced they'll throw an all-star concert in memory of Bowie on what would have been his 70th birthday, Jan. 8, 2016. Set for the UK's Brixton Academy, the event will feature music by 30 musicians from throughout Bowie's career. Bowie friend and actor Gary Oldman will host the show, and it will be the first of a series of gigs around the world that will "take place in cities that have a strong connection with David Bowie and his work." The London gig will feature musicians who played on Bowie's final albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, along with former collaborators Mike Garson, Earl Slick and Adrian Belew, among others. - New Musical Express, 11/14/16...... Joni MitchellAs Joni Mitchell continues to recover from a brain aneurysm that left her unconscious in her L.A. home in March 2015, the legendary Canadian singer/songwriter made another public appearance on Nov. 7, her 73rd birthday, to celebrate the occasion with friends. Wearing red for her special day, a photo of Mitchell was posted to her Twitter account on Nov. 16. Although her condition was listed as life-threatening at the time, Mitchell's attorney Rebecca J. Thyne said the artist "has physical therapy each day and is expected to make a full recovery." Mitchell has kept a low profile since but was snapped out with friends at the Catalina Bar and Grill in late August. - Billboard, 11/16/16...... The exact details of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen's death on Nov. 7 have emerged, with his manager Robert B. Kory issuing a statement saying Cohen's death was "sudden, unexpected and peaceful" as he died in his sleep after falling down in the middle of the night at his Los Angeles home. Kory's statement also said that Cohen died on Nov. 7 -- three days before his passing was made public. The "Hallelujah" singer, who was 82, had been in declining health for much of the year, though he revealed few details. Cohen, who is survived by two children and three grandchildren, was buried in Montreal in a small ceremony on Nov. 10, the same day his death was announced. A makeshift memorial to Cohen has appeared at New York City's famous Hotel Chelsea, which was immortalized by Cohen in his 1974 song "Chelsea Hotel #2," which he later revealed was about Janis Joplin. Fans have left flowers, handwritten notes and pictures outside the Chelsea in Cohen's memory. A memorial to Cohen in Los Angeles is being planned, according to his reps. - AP, 11/16/16...... In related news, Leon Russell's wife, Jan Bridges, released a statement on Nov. 13 stating the influential songwriter and performer died at his home in his sleep on Nov. 12. "We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this very, very difficult time," she wrote. While Bridges did not specify his cause of death, she said, "My husband passed in his sleep in our Nashville home. He was recovering from heart surgery in July and looked forward to getting back on the road in January. We appreciate everyone's love and support." Elton John, who collaborated with Russell on the 2010 album The Union, tweeted that Russell was "a mentor, inspiration and so kind to me... I loved him and always will." Others tweeting in honor of Russell include Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Charlie Daniels, Chaka Khan, Richard Marx, Whoopi Goldberg, Booker T. Jones an George Benson, whose cover of Russell's composition "This Masquerade" was a Top 10 hit in 1976. - Billboard, 11/13/16...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen and Diana Ross will be among 21 people to be recognized by Pres. Barack Obama with a Presidental Medal of Freedom at the White House on Nov. 22. America's highest civilian honor, the medal will also be awarded to Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Cicely Tyson, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill and Melinda Gates, Lorne Michaels and sports broadcaster Vin Scully. - AP, 11/16/16...... In other Bruce Springsteen news, a group of good Samaritan bikers rescued The Boss on his own motorcycle after the bike broke down as he was travelling through Allaire State Park in New Jersey on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Members of the Freehold, N.J. American Legion Post 54 Legion Riders -- who represented Post 54 at the Veterans Day Ceremony in Holmdel for Veterans Day -- noticed a lonely rider on the side of the road calling out for help. After they pulled over, they recognized it was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, and gave him a ride to Mulligan's, a restaurant in Farmingdale, N.J., where the 67-year old rocker made a call for a pickup. After the guys went inside, sat down and had a few drinks, a grateful Springsteen threw in $100, told them to keep the change, posed for a few pictures and took their phone numbers, presumably for future rides, or a thank-you note with free concert tickets. - Billboard, 11/12/16...... Reacting to the surprise election of Donald Trump as the next president of the U.S., Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger told the Associated Press in a new interview that "Everyone outside the U.S. is kind of mystified... I'd say, that's the polite word." Also weighing in during the interview were Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood, who aid "There will be some changes made. Hopefully they're going to be good ones," Charlie Watts, who commented that "I don't think he's gonna be as radical as he was coming into it, so I think a lot of what he says is going to be tempered down. Because if it isn't, it's gonna be a hell of bloody ride for four years." Keith Richards, however, offered no opinion. "It's a blank spot to me, I'm telling you... I ain't going there," he said. The Stones are promoting their new exhibit that debuted at Industria in New York City on Nov. 12 after launching in London earlier in 2015. It includes colorful tour outfits, Jagger's lyric book, Keith Richards' 1963 diary, Watts' toy drum kit and various photographs, from posters to magazine covers. The group's first London apartment that the band mates shared in 1962, complete with dirty dishes, beer bottles and blues records placed throughout the flat, has also been recreated. The band is also preparing to release a new album of blues cover songs called Blue & Lonesome on Dec. 2.- Billboard, 11/15/16...... Two members of the '60s pop band The Turtles, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a. Flo & Eddie), have settled a royalty lawsuit with SiriusXM radio on the eve before the trial was scheduled to begin. Pre-1972 sound recordings aren't protected by federal copyright. So, until recently, the owners of the rights to the songs weren't being compensated for hits played on digital channels like SiriusXM Radio's "'60s on 6." Details of the settlement were not announced, and a motion for preliminary approval of the deal will be filed in the next three weeks. - The Hollywood Reporter, 11/14/16...... Cable channel HBO has announced that a two-part, as-yet-untitled Elvis Presley documentary has just wrapped and will be debuting on their network at some future date. The three-hour doc from Sony Pictures Television will span from Presley's childhood through his final recording sessions at his Graceland Jungle Room studio in 1976. It is written by Alan Light and directed by Emmy/Grammy winner Thom Zimny, who has worked on multiple Bruce Springsteen documentary and video projects. The film is being produced with full participation of Presley's family estate and will include never-before-seen photos and footage. - Billboard, 11/14/16...... Joe PeryAerosmith has announced that it will launch what it is calling a "farewell" tour in Europe in the spring of 2017. The Hall of Famers, who recently completed a tour of South America, are calling the tour the Aero-Vederici Baby! Tour and will kick it off on May 17 in Tel Aviv, Israel and include 17 dates before wrapping up July 5 in Zurich, Switzerland. The tour includes headlining spots at the Sweden Rock Festival on June 8 and the U.K.'s Download Festival on June 11. Tickets go on sale Nov. 18, and the full itinerary is posted at the band's official web site. Aerosmith's members have been talking about a farewell tour for a year, and guitarist Joe Perry says "that's a little tough for me to wrap my head around." "I mean, we all know our age is creeping up on us, but, man, we've tried to follow the lead of the original blues guys and the early rockers and just keep playing 'til we drop, y'know?," he added. "We all have different feelings about it. I do have a feeling that there'll be a tour that we'll call the final tour -- but when will it end? That I can't say." No North American dates have been announced yet for next year. Aerosmith has announced no plans to release new music, but Perry says "Maybe once we start doing some shows again we'll get inspired and get everyone on the page to do that. We'll see." - Billboard, 11/14/16...... Veteran ska band The Specials have just played two shows in London in November, and have announced they'll play extra dates in Birmingham, Leeds and Hatfield in Hertfordshire in May 2017. In December 2015, The Specials' drummer John "Brad" Bradbury died at the age of 62. After joining the band in 1979, Bradbury had a top 10 hit with The Specials in 1984 -- "Free Nelson Mandela." The Coventry band then split, but reunited for a 2009 tour to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Bradbury had remained part of the group since then. - Billboard, 11/12/16...... A letter from John Lennon and Yoko Ono to Paul McCartney and wife Linda McCartney has been put up for auction to the highest bidder, with bidding expected to reach $20,000 (£16,000). The undated letter sees Lennon responding to prior correspondence from Linda which he says left him "wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it." Lennon writes in his letter: "I hope you realise what shit you and the rest of my 'kind and unselfish' friends laid on Yoko and me, since we've been together." Later in the letter, John goes on to say that doesn't "resent" his former Beatles bandmate but that he feels "sorry for him." He also wrongly predicts that the McCartneys' marriage would be over within two years. "It was likely written shortly before Lennon and Ono's departure for America," says RR Auction representative Robert Livingston. "The draft captures the intense rivalry between the two men in the months, and even years, surrounding the breakup of the Beatles." - New Musical Express, 11/14/16...... A gig by Kraftwerk in Buenos Aires that appeared to be a victim of the Argentinian capital's ban on electronic music events after six people died at the Time Warp festival will go ahead after all, the promoter announced on Nov. 14. Kraftwerk are scheduled to play at Buenos Aires' Luna Park Stadium on Nov. 23. Kraftwerk are also set to tour the UK in 2017. - NME, 11/14/16...... StingFormer The Police frontman Sting reopened the Bataclan venue in Paris on Nov. 12, a day shy of the anniversary of the Paris terror attacks that killed 90 music fans during an Eagles of Death Metal concert in 2015. "We've got two important things to do tonight," Sting said in French. "First, to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the attacks a year ago and to celebrate the life and the music of this historic venue." He then called for a minute of silence in their honor, and said "We shall not forget them, before launching into his 1988 song "Fragile," whose lyrics read: "Nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could." Sting then paid tribute to a list of musicians who have passed within the past year, including David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Lemmy Kilmister and Leonard Cohen. - Billboard, 11/12/16...... Actress Carrie Fisher, who co-starred in the iconic 1977 Star Wars film with Harrison Ford, has purportedly detailed that she had a three-month extramarital affair with Ford in her upcoming book, The Princess Diarist. Fisher reveals the two thespians were more than just friends while shooting Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope in 1976, when she first portrayed Princess Leia and Ford took on the role of Han Solo. An excerpt purportedly from the upcoming release began circulating online on Nov. 15, apparently suggesting Carrie, then 19, was left disappointed the first time she slept with her co-star. Fisher has since spoken out to dismiss the unfounded claims, telling People.com, "Any reports claiming I said Harrison was bad in bed are utterly false. Perhaps people should read the book before they write their stories." Fisher has also taken to Twitter to address the reports, insisting her book makes no mention of Harrison's lovemaking skills. "I would never talk about how someone was in any furniture - chair, bed, coffee table or otherwise," she joked. Fisher says she has no regrets about going public with her fling, even though it suggests Ford was unfaithful to his then-wife Mary Marquardt. Ford and his first wife MaryMarquardt filed for divorce in 1979. He went on to wed Melissa Mathison in 1983, and now he's married to actress Calista Flockhart. Fisther has only been married once - to singer Paul Simon from 1983 to 1984. Ford and Fisher both reprised their roles for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015. - WENN.com, 11/16/16.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Leon_RussellLeon Russell, the longhaired and long bearded pianist/guitarist/songwriter/bandleader who moved from playing countless recording sessions to making hits on his own, died on Nov. 12 in Nashville, Tenn. He was 74. The death of Russell, who had suffered significant health difficulties over the past five years, was announced on his website, which said that he had died in his sleep but gave no specific cause. One of the first of the supersessionmen, Russell played on recordings from whole host of artists from Jerry Lee Lewis through to The Crystals, Herb Alpert, The Byrds, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Delaney & Bonnie and the Rolling Stones. Born Claude Russell Bridges in Lawton, Oklahoma on Apr. 2, 1941, Russell grew up in Tulsa and studied classical piano from the age of three for 10 years, but then grew tired of the disciplines of formal music. At 14 he learned to play trumpet and put together his own band, lying about his age so that he could work in a Tulsa nightclub, where he played with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, which later evolved into The Band. Later, Jerry Lee Lewis took Russell's band on the road with him. In 1958 he moved to Los Angeles, and began to hustle gigs as a sideman on recording sessions -- something his instrumental versatility enabled him to do with relative ease. He met Ricky Nelson's guitarist James Burton, who taught him guitar, and worked in the studio with Dorsey Burnette, Glen Campbell, and others. Leon_RussellRussell worked on nearly all the Phil Spector hit productions -- from The Crystals' "He's a Rebel" to the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," as well as on isolated hits like The Byrds' "Mr. Tamborine Man," Herb Alpert's "A Taste of Honey" and Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly." After spending some time as an executive with a small record company named Viva, he quit the music business for two years in 1967 in order to build his own sophisticated home studio, and occasionally appeared with friends Delaney & Bonnie on the ABC TV dance show Shindig, and sometimes played sessions. In 1968, he and Marc Benno were signed by Mercury for the Smash label, and made the Asylum Choir album, which sold disappointingly. Russell then toured with Delaney & Bonnie, and teamed with English producer Denny Cordell to form Shelter Records, which signed J. J. Cale, and went to London where they laid down the tracks for Russell's debut solo album, Leon Russell. At the beginning of 1970, Russell put together the Mad Dogs and Englishmen all-star entourage to back Joe Cocker, who had cut Russell's composition "Delta Lady" at Russell's home studio, on Cocker's ambitious American tour. However as the film of the tour illustrates, the whole enterprise served to elevate Russell into the star attraction at the expense of Cocker. In August 1971, Russell was invited by George Harrison to be one of the many leading rock personalities to participate in the Concert for Bangla-Desh benefit show, which also featured Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Leon_RussellRussell's considerable stature in the rock world was also fortified when he was invited to work with and produce Dylan, although the resulting tracks, which include "Watching the River Flow" and "When I Paint My Masterpiece," were recorded when Dylan seemed to be creatively at a low ebb. Russell's solo career, however, continued apace, and throughout 1972 and 1973, he was enormously popular in the U.S. He developed a strong onstage personality with his long beard, wispy hair and beard, and familiar stove-pipe hat. His own albums usually employed superstar lineups, and were of variable quality, though after 1972's Carney and a 1973 triple live set recorded at California's Ontario Race Track both went gold, Russell's standing as a solo artist declined. Russell severed his associations with Shelter Records in 1976, and initiated a new label, Paradise Records, with his Wedding Album. The album celebrated his marriage to singer Mary McCreery, who had released a solo album on Shelter in 1973. In more recent years, Russell continued to record and tour, and in 2010 he collaborated with one of his old touring partners, Elton John, on an album called The Union. That same year, Russell underwent surgery for a brain fluid leak and was treated for heart failure. The following year, he was honored with the Award for Musical Excellence by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In July of this year, Russell suffered a heart attack, and was scheduled for further surgery, according to a news release from the historical society of Oklahoma, his home state. - 11/13/16.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

'70s artists Stevie Wonder and Yoko Ono are among the many celebrities reacting to the largely unexpected election victory of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Nov. 8. On Nov. 11, Yoko tweeted an audio clip after Trump's win -- a response that was utterly Ono, singing an emotive shriek of agony with anxious grunting and utter distress. "Dear Friends, I would like to share this message with you as my response to @realDonaldTrump." "That's an awesome quote," you can hear someone saying on the recording afterwards. In an interview with Philly.com published the day of the election, blind R&B legend Wonder asked a reporter: "If you had an emergency situation and needed to go to the hospital, and you had to get there right away, would you want me driving your car?" he asked, to which the reporter replied "no" -- before he added: "Because I'm not an experienced driver, right?" The "Superstition" singer continued his brilliant, hilarious put-down of Trump: "So my belief is that Hillary [Clinton] is an experienced person of the government, and she has spent 30 years with a commitment. Not to mention that her parents taught her in a kinder way, to have respect and love for all people. That's the person I want to govern, to be the leader of this nation. This is not a reality show. This is life in reality. So I'm with her because I believe in where we are, and where we are going to go. I have always believed that America is great. We're just going to make it greater." - New Musical Express/Billboard, 11/8/16...... Joe ElliottDef Leppard has premiered a video for their 2015 eponymous Def Leppard LP track "Let's Go," the opening number from their upcoming live album/DVD And There Will Be A Next Time -- Live From Detroit. The concert is from the English rockers' stop at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, and the set is scheduled to hit stores on Feb. 10. There Will Be A Next Time features the group's entire 17-song set, including its medley of "Hysteria" and the late David Bowie's "Heroes." The set also comes with official music videos for "Let's Go," "Dangerous" and "Man Enough," as well as a lyric video for "Let's Go." Def Leppard will launch a pre-order site on PledgeMusic.com on Nov. 15 to give fans early access to select tracks and exclusive merchandise. Frontman Joe Elliott & co. will launch a tour in April 2017 that will last much of the year. - Billboard, 11/11/16...... Fans of David Bowie are seeking funding for a new statue in tribute to the rock icon to be erected in the town of Aylesbury, north of London. In 1971, Bowie debuted songs from his Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums at the Friars Club in Aylesbury, and he also referenced the rea's Market Square in the opening lines of the Ziggy track "Five Years." A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to finance the bronze statue designed by sculptor Andrew Sinclair, with organizers seeking £100,000 for the project. Fans have so far donated £26,420 to the cause. The statue would be complemented with a working soundsystem that would play a Bowie song every hour throughout the day and evening. In other Bowie news, a sale of Bowie's art collection conducted by Sotheby's in London smashed expectations, with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat selling for more than 7 million pounds ($8.8 million). The first part of the two-day Bowie sale on Nov. 10 netted 24.3 million pounds ($30.3 million), more than double its upper pre-sale estimate. The top lot, Basquiat's "Air Power," sold for 7.1 million pounds ($8.8 million). Another, untitled Basquiat sold for 2.4 million pounds ($2.96 million). Bowie played Andy Warhol in Basquiat, director Julian Schnabel's 1996 biopic of the American artist. The sale, which includes 400 items in all, also includes pieces of furniture and design from Bowie's collection. - New Musical Express/AP, 11/8/16...... Phil Collins announced on Nov. 8 that he'll be one of the headliners at British Summer Time at Hyde Park in June 2017, part of his recently announced comeback solo tour. Collins had already announced a run of shows throughout Europe as part of his "Not Dead Yet" tour, and the Summer Time gig will be the biggest concert yet. "The reaction from the British public has been overwhelming," Collins said in a statement. "I can't wait to play Hyde Park and see everyone there. I will be playing all of the songs that people love." Collins' previously announced dates include five nights in London at Royal Albert Hall, two dates in Cologne, and two dates in Paris, all set for June 2017. - NME, 11/8/16...... Sting has announced he will headline a concert at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, which takes place on Dec. 2 at the Wynn hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Sting will perform both a classic hit from his catalog as well as a new song from his latest album 57th & 9th, which dropped on Nov. 11. Meanwhile, Sting is scheduled to reopen the Bataclan concert hall, the same Paris concert venue where the tragic terrorist attack took place in 2015, on Nov. 12. - Billboard, 11/10/16...... Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney has taken part in the Mannequin Challenge craze, the latest viral sensation that follows the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Harlem Shake. In it, people film themselves holding poses and staying completely motionless -- like mannequins. There's usually music playing in the background and a lot of the videos so far have been soundtracked by hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles." Now McCartney has joined in with his own version, also soundtracked by Sremmurd's track. "Love those Black Beatles," read a caption accompanying Macca's Mannequin Challenge video on Nov. 10. In the clip, Sir Paul stands by his grand piano, one hand tickling the ivories and the other reached out, seemingly in mid-song rapture. As the camera pans around him, you can probably guess which line from Sremmurd's current Top 10 hit blares out: "Black Beatle, bitch/ Me and Paul McCartney related!" - Billboard, 11/10/16...... Over 190 black & white photos from Elton John's personal photo collection have gone on display in "The Radical Eye," an exhibition which has opened at London's Tate Modern gallery. The photos usually adorn John's 18,000 square foot apartment in Atlanta, one of his several homes. John, who began buying photographs after he became sober in 1990, says collecting photos is a "a much healthier addiction," and his collection of 8,000 images is one of the largest troves of 20th-century photography in private hands. The photos on display were taken between 1915 and 1950, and include two dozen photos by surrealist Man Ray, including ones that usually hang above John's bed. The exhibition opened on Nov. 10, and will run through May 7. - AP, 11/10/16...... John Fogerty played an impromptu set that included the classic Creedence Clearwater Revival numbers "Proud Mary" and "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" after he completed his keynote Q&A session at the Billboard Touring Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 10. Earlier, Fogerty told the gathering of music execs that he was "scared to death of being a one-hit-wonder" when CCR started out. "After a while I started worrying about what was gonna happen after "Susie Q," Fogerty said of the 1968 cover hit. "It was a novelty and I knew it. I started to get busy staying up late and writing songs. I started strumming on the Rickenbacker and 'Proud Mary' came out." Fogerty, 71, also quipped that he dilegently practices his guitar playing, "because Brad Paisley is still better than me." Previous keynote Q&A's for the global touring business conference, now in its 13th year, have included conversations with Roger Waters, Gene Simmons and Chris Cornell. - Billboard, 11/11/16...... The slew of fellow musicians and celebrity admirers reacting to the recent death of revered singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen included several '70s musicians, including Charlie Daniels, Paul Stanley, Bette Midler and Carole King. "Rest in peace Buddy, I learned a lot about music from you," Charlie Daniels tweeted on Nov. 11, while Paul Stanley posted "RIP Leonard Cohen. A poet, songwriter and rogue till the end. Hallelujah." Bette Midler tweeted "Leonard Cohen has died. Another magical voice stilled," while Carole King simply posted "R.I.P. Leonard Cohen." Cohen, whose "Hallelujah" was one of the most covered songs in modern music history," passed away on Nov. 7 at age 82. - Billboard, 11/10/16...... Don HenleyIn a new interview with the Washington Post, Eagles co-founding member Don Henley has slammed the U.S. Copyright Office over the sudden replacement of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante. In October, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced that Pallante would be removed from her position, a move that was met with dismay from many members of the music industry and creators' rights groups. "She was a champion of copyright and stood up for the creative community, which is one of the things that got her fired," Henley said of Pallante, before turning his attention to Hayden. "The Librarian wants free content, and the copyright office is there to protect creators of content. They are diametrically opposed ideologies... [Hayden] has a long track record of being an activist Librarian who is anti-copyright and a Librarian who worked at places funded by Google." In her position as Register, Pallante was seen as a generally fair and sympathetic figure when it came to expanding creators' rights, and advocated for updating many of the Copyright Office's tech-based policies. "There's a mindset that the digital giants have fostered that everything on the internet should be free," Henley told the Post. "When they say they want free and open access, that's code for, 'We want free content.'" Henley added that "you don't make any money from recording music anymore... The streaming services have wiped out that revenue stream." - Billboard, 11/10/16...... Kraftwerk could be forced to cancel a gig in Buenos Aires later in November due to a ban on electronic music events in the Argentinian city. In April, the city ruled to ban all electronic events after the deaths of six people at Time Warp festival. The local government said they would no longer approve permits for major electronic music festivals until a new law is introduced to prevent drug-related deaths at music events. The German electronic music pioneers had been scheduled to play Buenos Aires' Luna Park Stadium on Nov. 23. Kraftwerk have announced they'll tour the UK in 2017, and the band was also recently nominated for next year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. - NME, 11/10/16...... Actor Robert Redford has announced he will retire from acting once he completes the two movie projects he is working on. Redford, 80, made the announcement in an interview with his grandson Dylan Redford for the Walker Art Center, where he will appear at an event on Nov. 12. "Once they're done then I'm going to say, 'OK, that's goodbye to all that,' and then just focus on directing," he said. Redford has two acting projects in the pipeline including a love story for older people called Our Souls at Night with Jane Fonda and a lighter piece with Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek called The Old Man and the Gun. Redford adds he will turn his attention to painting as a creative outlet. "It's just me, just the way it used to be, and so going back to sketching - that's sort of where my head is right now... So, I'm thinking of moving in that direction and not acting as much," he said. The veteran actor first directed in 1980 with Ordinary People, which won him a Best Director Oscar, and he is also the founder the Sundance Institute, which helps independent filmmakers and runs the annual Sundance Film Festival. - WENN.com, 11/11/16...... Robert VaughnActor Robert Vaughn, the debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in the iconic '60s TV spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., died on Nov. 11 after a brief battle with acute leukemia, according to his manager, Matthew Sullivan. He was 83. Born Robert Francis Vaughn into a theatrical family Nov. 22, 1932, in New York City, Mr. Vaughn broke into show business "after a two month struggle" in 1956, and starred in his first movie, No Time to Be Young, in 1957 after he was discharged form the Army. He went on to appear in a number of movies and television shows, and earned an Oscar nomination in 1959 for his supporting role in The Young Philadelphians, in which he played a wounded war veteran accused of murder. He eventually landed a lead role as urbane superspy Napoleon Solo in NBC's The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which debuted in 1964. The show was an immediate hit, particularly with young people, and was part of an avalanche of secret agent shows (I Spy, Mission: Impossible, Secret Agent), spoofs (Get Smart), books (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold) and even songs (Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man") inspired by the James Bond films. Mr. Vaughn's Napoleon Solo character was teamed with Scottish actor David McCallum's Illya Kuryakin, a soft-spoken, Russian-born agent, and the pair put aside Cold War differences for a greater good, worked together each week for the mysterious U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) in combating the international crime syndicate THRUSH. After the show was canceled in early 1968 due to sagging ratings, Mr. Vaughn and McCallum reunited in 1983 for a TV movie, The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. in which the super spies were lured out of retirement to save the world once more. Mr. Vaughn, a liberal Democrat, was also drawn to politics in several of the roles he chose, portraying US presidents Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt in various screen and stage projects. Mr. Vaughn also remained active in movies in his later career, usually in character roles in such films as The Venetian Affair, The Bridge at Remagen, Julius Caesar (the 1970 British version starring Charlton Heston), The Towering Inferno, S.O.B., Superman III and Delta Force. Mr. Vaughn is survived by his wife, Linda Staab Vaughn, their son Cassidy and daughter Caitlin. - AP, 11/11/16.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Leonard CohenCanadian poet/novelist/singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, a highly influential recording artist whose literate, evocative material was covered by many artists including Judy Collins and Jeff Buckley, died at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 7. He was 82. Born in Montreal on Sept. 21, 1934, to a middle class family with Judaic roots, Mr. Cohen began studying music and poetry at a young age, taking up the clarinet but later turning his attention to writing as he grew older. After attending McGill University, Mr. Cohen published his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies, and his first novel, Beautiful Losers, in 1966, and began to set his poems to music. When Judy Collins recorded his song "Suzanne" that same year, his solo career began to take off, and Columbia Records signed him and released his debut album, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, the following year. Full of haunting compositions which were well suited to his lugubrious, flat vocals, The Songs of Leonard Cohen was well received, as was its follow-up, Songs From a Room, though it didn't have the impact of its predecessor. Mr. Cohen then embarked on a series of live appearances in the U.S. and Europe, and for his first European tour in 1970, he employed a backing group called The Army which included his future producer, Bob Johnston, who also produced Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. A reserved, slightly academic figure who was reportedly dismayed by the adulation fostered by live appearances, Mr. Cohen lacked the necessary stimulus to be a rock star, and his singles did not chart in the U.S. His 1971 release, Songs of Love and Hate, was a typical sparse and haunting collection that ranks among the most emotionally intense of his 13 studio albums, and perfectly captured his dramatic blend of folk and pop. In the mid-'70s, Mr. Cohen became a practicing Buddhist and spent time between 1994-99 secluded at a monastery in Mount Baldy, Calif. Leonard CohenAfter the monastery years, Mr. Cohen's career was jump-started in 2001 when his backup singer Sharon Robinson released Ten New Songs, which was co-written by Mr. Cohen. In 2012, the masses finally began catching on with the release of his LP Old Ideas, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, and 2014's Popular Problems, which debuted at No. 15. Mr. Cohen began touring in earnest again in 2008, delivering generous, acclaimed shows that were chronicled on a series of concert albums and live videos. Mr. Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 by Lou Reed, who lauded him as being mong the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters." Other honors include induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, four Juno awards, and a Grammy Lifetime Acheivement Award in 2010. He was also awarded several literary prizes and honorary university degrees, and was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian award, in 2011. HIs romantic relationships included Marianne C. Stang (the subject of "So Long, Marianne"), artist Suzanne Elrod -- with whom he had son Adam and daughter Lorca but never married -- French photographer Dominque Issermann, and actress Rebecca De Mornay. Mr. Cohen's death was announced by his son and current producer, Adam Cohen, on Facebook on Nov. 10, who stated "We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries" and that his father "passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records... He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor." A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. - Billboard, 11/10/16.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bruce Springsteen is scheduled to perform at a final evening rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Nov. 7. Springsteen will appear along with fellow New Jerseyan and Clinton supporter Jon Bon Jovi as well as Pres. Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former president Bill Clinton, and the Clintons' daughter, Chelsea. Springsteen has previously performed at presidential rallies for Pres. Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Sen. John Kerry in 2004. Springsteen has also been a frequent critic of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, stating "he will not win" at a recent question and answer session promoting his new book, Born to Run, at New York City's Town Hall. - Billboard, 11/6/16...... Ted NugentMeanwhile, Ted Nugent campaigned on behalf of Donald Trump in his home state of Michigan, at Sterling Heights' Freedom Hill Amphitheater, on Nov. 6. "I've got your blue state right here. Black and blue," the veteran rocker and advocate for conservative causes said as he grabbed his crotch. "Each and every one of you have only 24 hours to convince the numb nuts that you know, that you can't vote for criminals, you can't vote for liars, you can't vote for scam artists," he added. Nugent, 67, also dropped an array of profanities as he warmed up the crowd in the traditionally Democratic state of Michigan. Nugent then performed "Fred Bear" and "Never Stop Believing for the crowd, shortly before Donald Trump took the stage and said "Unbelievable what's going on" to his supporters. Nugent has supported Trump since the New York businessman and celebrity first announced his campaign in 2015, telling a radio host "I'm a big fan of Donald Trump because I believe in bold, aggressive, unapologetic truth -- period" in August 2015. - Billboard, 11/7/16...... Former Creedence Clearwater Revival principal John Fogerty has been announced as the keynote speaker at the 13th annual Billboard Touring Conference, which takes place Nov. 9-10 at the SLS Beverly Hills Hotel. "John Fogerty is one of the most important popular music artists to emerge in the last 50 years, writing and performing songs that are interwoven into the very fabric of popular culture," said Ray Waddell of Billboard, who will be conducting a Q&A with Fogerty. "For many of us, Mr. Fogerty's voice and guitar provide a truly transformative American experience. I am thrilled to welcome him to the Billboard Touring Conference and fully expect to be entertained, surprised, and inspired in a compelling session," he added. The Billboard Touring Conference & Awards is taking place in L.A. for the first time after 12 years in New York. - Billboard, 11/7/16...... Director Jim Jarmusch describes his new Iggy Pop and the Stooges documentary Gimme Danger as a "love letter" to the 69-year-old Pop and his band. "I call it an essay, a love letter. I call it a blatant celebration of The Stooges," Jarmusch says. " I love all Stooges songs. [1970's] Fun House as an entire record is probably the greatest rock'n'roll record ever made. The lyrics to 'Gimme Danger', the song, are incredibly beautiful, dark and fantastic." Gimme Danger, an Amazon Studios/Magnolia Pictures production, is currently screening in select theaters, and can be pre-ordered for streaming at Amazon.com. - Billboard, 11/4/16...... RushRush will be honored with Canada's Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award during the 2017 Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards in Toronto on Apr. 20, 2017. Rush, comprised of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, issued a statement saying they were "so incredibly honored" for the decoration, which recognizes outstanding Canadian artists who've contributed to social activism and supported humanitarian causes. "The depth of Allan and Gary Slaight's generosity, consideration and benevolence has no measure," the statement said. "We will strive to carry forward their spirit of charity and goodwill." Gary Slaight of Slaight Communications noted the band's tireless campaigning for people in need. "In recent years, the group has raised money for food banks, Casey House, the Kidney Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, AIDS research; the list goes on," he said. On Nov. 3, a new documentary of Rush's R40 Tour, Time Stand Still, premiered at selected cinemas in Canada and the US. The film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 18. Rush is also preparing to reissue their classic 1976 album 2112 as a special 40th anniversary edition this Christmas. 2112 - 40th will include rare live and previously unreleased material as well as covers from Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, Alice in Chains, and others. A 2 CD/DVD edition will feature a newly remastered version of the album with the second disc featuring live outtakes, and the DVD will feature Rush's 1976 performance at the Capitol Theatre and a Q&A with Alex Lifeson. A 3 LP/2 CD/DVD "Super Deluxe" edition will also be available, with the first 1,000 preorders also featuring a limited edition 7-inch pressing of the album's first single, "The Twilight Zone." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 11/3/16...... Neil Young has previewed a new song called "Peace Trail" from his upcoming album of the same name. Originally set for a Dec. 2 release, Peace Trail has been pushed back for a Dec. 9 release. Meanwhile, Young has made his entire back catalogue available on the major streaming services again after removing them in the summer of 2015 because he was dissatisfied with the tracks' sound quality. "It's not because of the money, although my share (like all the other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent" Young posted on Facebook at the time. "It's about sound quality. I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music." Young's albums were again made available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music on Nov. 4. - Billboard, 11/4/16...... PrinceUniversal Music Publishing announced on Nov. 2 that it had acquired exclusive worldwide publishing rights for Prince's entire song catalog -- released and unreleased. "UMPG will work closely with the artist's estate to develop new creative outlets for his music," the statement said. Before his death, Prince and his staff managed his publishing catalog, with Peermusic handling back-office administration, after an earlier UMPG contract ended in 2013. Negotiations for the licensing rights to much of the prolific Prince's overall catalog, as well as to four decades' worth of unreleased material, are ongoing, according to longtime Prince associate L. Londell McMillan. Earlier in 2016 Prince's longtime label Warner Bros. announced that it had secured the rights to the first posthumous releases since the artist's death on Apr. 21, which include a deluxe edition of Purple Rain containing a full album of unreleased material, out early in 2017. - Billboard, 11/2/16...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has joined a growing network of UK artists, musicians, film makers, and others who are calling on Israel to withdraw their occupation of the West Bank. Waters has signed a petition requesting that the electronic duo Chemical Brothers cancel their upcoming performance in Tel Aviv on Nov. 12. More than 7,000 signatures were collected in petition against the performance, and so far the Chemical Brothers have made no plans to cancel. - Billboard, 11/2/16...... A new sign of giant red letters that proclaim "Long Live Rock" has just been unveiled in the plaza of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Oh. The sign will be formally dedicated on Nov. 10 as officials share details of a multimillion-dollar redesign expected to include the Hall of Fame and main exhibit spaces. Todd Mesek of the RRHOF says the sign adds another "iconic element" to the attraction, and visitors already have been spotted snapping photos with it. - AP, 11/5/16...... A David Bowie orchestral tribute that took place at the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival earlier in 2016 has announced it will now embark on a short tour of the UK. The orchestra, conducted by Charles Hazlewood, performed composer Philip Glass' 1996 classical work "Heroes Symphony," based on Bowie's 1977 album "Heroes." The three performances will take place in Bristol (12/10), Nottingham (12/12) and Bexhill (12/14). Bowie was a fan of Philip Glass, citing him as an influence on his music. Meanwhile, the BBC recently announced a series of upcoming Bowie specials to mark the one year anniversary of his death, and a new "best of" compilation, Bowie Legacy, is due on Nov. 11. - New Musical Express, 11/3/16...... Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has hinted that Black Sabbath could be releasing new music after they wrap their "The End" farewell tour in early 2017. "As I said, I'll be doing some writing," Iommi told Ultimate Classic Rock magazine. "Maybe I'll be doing something with the guys, maybe in the studio, but no touring." Iommi added that he "loves the playing" but he "just can't travel anymore." Black Sabbath's final six gigs will take place in the UK in the winter of 2017, with the final two shows in their native Birmingham on Feb. 2 and 4. - NME, 11/4/16...... The alt rock band Foo Fighters, currently on hiatus, has announced it will reunite in 2017 to particpate in the ceremony honoring Tom Petty as MusiCares Person of the Year on Feb. 10, 2017. It will mark Foo Fighters' first performance since announcing their hiatus in Nov. 2015. The Foo Fighters will be joining previously announced artists Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Jeff Lynne and Randy Newman at the Petty tribute. - Billboard, 11/4/16...... Meat LoafAppearing at the Q magazine awards in London on Nov. 2 to receive an honor, Meat Loaf revealed to the UK Press Association that he had emergency back surgery in October and was still "in pain" following the operation. "I'm just ready to sit down because four weeks ago I had spinal fusion," said Meat Loaf, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday. "There was a cyst which was pinching nerves so I had emergency back surgery." Meat Loaf previously revealed that he was on a new diet and fitness regime following his collapse while performing at a concert in Edmonton, Alberta on June 16. The Bat Out of Hell singer previously collapsed on stage at a gig in London in 2003 and at a show in Pittsburgh during 2011.- NME, 11/3/16...... Bob Cranshaw, a veteran jazz bassist known for his hundreds of sessions with everyone from Tony Bennett to Oscar Peterson died on Nov. 2 after a battle with stage 4 cancer. He was 83. Born in Evanston, Ill., on Dec. 10, 1932, Mr. Cranshaw began his career back in the 1950s and his signature light touch on the upright and electric bass could be heard on a galaxy of recordings from some of the jazz and pop world's most popular artists, including George Benson, Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Judy Collins and Buddy Rich. He also served as the session bassist for the iconic PBS children's programs Sesame Street and The Electric Company and played bass in the Saturday Night Live house band from 1975-80. According to the Jazz Foundation, Mr. Cranshaw played on a total of 3,000 recordings and also served as the musical director for The Dick Cavett Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The David Frost Show. - Billboard, 11/3/16.

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News items appearing in Super Seventies RockSite!'s "Favorite Seventies Artists In The News" are compiled from numerous online and printed sources, including 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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