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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Producer Brian Eno, who once released an album titled Before and After Science, is being recognized for his contribtions to science. The legendary producer, who has helmed hit albums for such artists as David Bowie and U2, is scheduled to receive the Stephen Hawking Medal at the 2019 Starmus science and music festival in Switzerland for his contributions to "science communication." Previous recipients include composers Jean-Michel Jarre and Hans Zimmer, and astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Starmus V event will be held in Zurich, Switzerland from June 24 to 29. Business magnate, investor, and engineer Elon Musk will also be honored. - Billboard/Pitchfork.com, 5/22/19...... Billy Gibbons"Sharp Dressed Man," a musical based on the music of the Texas trio ZZ Top, will open in Las Vegas in 2020, it was announced on May 21. Executive produced by ZZ Top -- vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons, vocalist/bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard -- "Sharp Dressed Man" is described as a a rock musical with a wicked sense of humor and a heart as big as Texas" about "a Lone Star auto mechanic who becomes a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing hearts -- and car parts -- with the help of his merry band of beer drinkers and hell raisers." Iconic ZZ Top songs including "Legs," "La Grange," "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and "Cheap Sunglasses" will all be featured. "We're excited about this fantastic project and look forward to hearing our music in a new innovative context," said Billy Gibbons said in a statement. "Fans have often told us that we've provided the soundtrack to their lives, and this is very much in line with that kind of enthusiastic thinking." Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins, who wrote the teleplays for Fox TV's Grease Live! and A Christmas Story Live!, have been tapped to write the musical. - Billboard, 5/21/19...... The Woodstock 50 festival is appealing part of a ruling earlier in May when Japanese financier Dentsu withdrew from the festival in late April and withdrew $18 million from the event's banking account. On May 15, Justice Barry Ostrager ruled Dentsu did not have the right to cancel Woodstock 50, but also decided he would not force Dentsu to return the remainder of the $49 million investment to festival founder Michael Lang and his partner Greg Peck so they could continue to produce the show. Lang responded with a lawsuit and, after a two-day hearing, Ostrager ruled a clause in the contract that allowed Dentsu to take control of the festival did not include the right to cancel it. But the judge stopped short of demanding Dentsu return any money it had previously promised to invest. Woodstock 50 attorney Marc Kasowitz's appeal seeks "a preliminary injunction in aid of arbitration requiring (Dentsu) to return $18 million withdrawn from a dedicated festival account and allowing Petitioner to use those funds for appropriate expenses." - Billboard, 5/22/19...... A trailer for the new Leonard Cohen documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words Of Love was released online on May 22. The documentary explores Cohen's relationship with his muse, Marianne Ihlen, who inspired songs like "So Long, Marianne." It documents the pair's initial meeting on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 and their life in a bohemian community. The trailer also features an excerpt from a letter Cohen wrote to Ihlen just before her death, in which he said: "Dearest Marianne, I'm just a little behind you -- close enough to take your hand." Marianne & Leonard: Words Of Love, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in 2019, features unseen footage by legendary rock documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and arrives in US cinemas on July 5. - New Musical Express, 5/22/19...... The official Jerry Lee Lewis Facebook page posted on May 21 that the iconic rock 'n' roll pioneer has been forced to cancel a show at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center set for July 1 as he recovers from a stroke he suffered in late February. "Although Jerry Lee is progressing miraculously in his recovery following the recent stroke, he doesn't feel his performing is yet back to the level that his fans deserve," the post says. In the meantime, Jerry Lee is continuing his rehabilitation and his team expects a full recovery, as well as a return show in Nashville in the very near future." Lewis, 83, suffered what was described as a minor stroke Feb. 28 in Memphis. A statement was later issued saying he would make "a full recovery." - Billboard, 5/21/19...... Dolly Parton, who turned 73 years old in January, took time to wish her friend Cher, who turned the same age on May 20, a happy birthday. "Hi Cher, It's Dolly. Happy birthday to you. We're the same age now," the country icon said in a video uploaded to social media. "Well, I might be a minute or two older than you but what's a minute or two among friends and old bags like us?" Parton continued: "I just want you to know I'm proud of you. I think you're great. I hope you'll be around for 100 more years to hang out with me, if nothing else... Heres to more years of singin', sequins, and swappin' secrets!" - Billboard, 5/20/19...... After legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away in August 2018 it was widely reported that the singer left no will. Now, her neice Sabrina Owens has found her aunt's will wedged under sofa cushions and filed them in court on May 20. "Two handwritten wills from 2010 have been found in a locked cabinet, and another dated 2014 was found in a notebook underneath some couch cushions," the brief states. The validity of the documents will be examined at a hearing set for June 12. A breakdown of the wills by The Detroit Free Press shows that Franklin's 2014 document requests that her son Kecalf Franklin serve as the estate's personal representative. That role is currently held by Owens. Meanwhile, Detroit's Chene Park was officially renamed Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre earlier in May in tribute to the late soul singer. - New Musical Express, 5/22/19...... David Lee RothA remix of Van Halen's 1983 hit "Jump" by VH singer David Lee Roth and Dutch trance DJ/producer Armin Van Buuren has been released by Warner Bros. Records. van Burren says he's "always been a fan of the song," which became Van Halen's biggest hit and topped the Billboard Hot 200 pop chart for five weeks. "I was 6 when it came out. I've heard it many times, and years ago, I had a conversation with my publisher saying if there could be one track that I want to get my hands on one day, [it's 'Jump.'] He remembered that, and a couple of months ago, I got the stems from a befriended label. First of all, to have the original stems to such an iconic record [is amazing.] I sent the mix it a label... For about two weeks, I didn't hear anything, then I got a phone call when I was on my way to Israel to do a gig. My publisher couldn't breathe. He was like 'David Lee Roth loves it, and he loves it so much, he wants to come to Miami to perform with you.' That's when I couldn't breathe anymore." The strange musical partners have been performing the "Jump" remix on the road, live for crowds at Ultra Miami and on stage at KAOS day club at the Las Vegas Palms Casino for the recent EDC festivities. "There are places in Texas where you could drive off the road and 20 minutes later I can still see the car," Roth says. "That's like these remixes. You can still kind of see the car and feel the music of the original, but it sure looks different and very far away from what it was originally." - Billboard, 5/20/19...... Sting will be among the headliners at NBC's fifth annual Red Nose Day Special, it was announced on May 20. The two-hour-long special airs on May 22 at 8:00 p.m. EDT in support of this year's Red Nose Day campaign, which raises money and awareness to ensure impoverished children in the U.S. and around the world are "safe, healthy and educated." Also performing at the star-studded charity event, hosted by Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews, will be John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. In its four years in the U.S., Red Nose Day -- created by Yesterday and Love Actually director Richard Curtis -- has raised almost $150 million. - Billboard, 5/20/19...... Patti Smith was among the headliners at the Museum of Contemporary Art 40th Anniversary Benefit in Los Angeles on May 18. Lenny Kaye performed several of her mainstays, including "In My Blakean Year," "Wing" and a cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" before closing the evening with a fiery rendition of "Because the Night." "Robert Mapplethorpe and I used to go to museums," Smith told the audience. "We were 20 years old and we had very little money and never had enough money to go into museums together. We would turns -- I would go in the Museum of Modern Art, he would wait for me outside, and then he'd go in the Whitney and I wait for him outside. And it would have meant so much to us to be able to just go into a museum for free and just study and absorb the work within. So good luck with this pursuit. And it's such a beautiful thought." - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/19/19...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Sun, Elton John slammed the haters of his new biopic Rocketman because lead actor Taron Egerton, who is straight, plays a gay man. "That's all bulls---, I'm sorry," John said. "If people don't like it, review-wise, or it doesn't make one dollar, it's the movie I wanted to make and that's all that counts," John continued. "I can look back and say, 'You know what, I love it. I can live with it." Egerton has previously spoken out about his same-sex love scenes. "For me, kissing a man onscreen is no less appealing than kissing a woman onscreen," he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not in any way repulsed by the male form. It's an uncomfortable thing regardless of who you're with." Rocketman hits US theaters May 31. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... Deep Purple singer Glenn Hughes has announced a new set of UK dates in November alongside ones he recently re-scheduled for his "Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live" tour. The re-scheduled dates include Salisbury (11/17), Norwich (11/20), Holmfirth (11/23) and Birmingham (11/29) with additional dates in Bexhill (11/16), Cambridge (11/19), Cheltenham (11/22), Aberdeen (11/25), Inverness (11/26) and Middlesbrough (11/28). "I'm excited to return to touring "Classic Deep Purple Live" in the UK in November 2019," says Hughes. "I first toured Classic Deep Purple Live in Australia and New Zealand last year and it went down a storm. We are looking forward for a second round in the UK in November." - Noble PR, 5/21/19...... '70s glam rockers Sweet have announced Novatines will be their special guests on their upcoming UK tour this November and December. The 16-city tour kicks off on Nov. 28 in Frome, also hitting venues in Holmfirth, Stockton, Nottingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Islington, Exeter and Southampton before wrapping in Bexhill on Dec. 21. - Noble PR, 5/22/19...... Farrah FawcettThe final days of '70s sex symbol Farrah Fawcett are chronicled in a new ABC special, This Is Farrah Fawcett, which airs on the network on May 23 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The special documents Fawcett's years-long battle with cancer in a series of raw and intimate video diaries. "She was never, ever someone who cried about why she got cancer and someone else didn't," said her oncologist and friend Dr. Lawrence Piro, who is also the chief medical advisor for the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. "She wanted to show everyone that cancer looks the same on one of the most glamorous, beautiful women in the world as it looks on every other woman and every other man." Fawcett passed away on June 25, 2009, in Santa Monica, Calif., with her husband Ryan O'Neal and close friend Alana Stewart by her side. She was 62 years old. "About a week before she died, she was in the hospital and I was sitting by her bed," Stewart remembered. "I remember I was holding her hand and I said, 'You know, you're my sister.' And she said... She looked up at me, and she was very ill at the time and weak, and she looked up at me and she said, 'More than a sister.'" - ABCNews.go.com, 5/22/19...... Geneviève Waïte, an actress, singer and songwriter and the mother of actress Bijou Phillips, died in her sleep Saturday in Los Angeles. She was 71. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Wate starred as the title character opposite Calvin Lockhart and Donald Sutherland in the London-set racial drama Joanna (1968). She also recorded a 1974 album, Romance Is on the Rise, that was produced by her then-husband, John Phillips, of Mamas and the Papas fame. Waïte also worked as a model and appeared in Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Move (1970), and her song "Love Is Coming Back" from Romance Is on the Rise is heard in the 1976 David Bowie starred The Man Who Fell to Earth. (Phillips did music for the film.) She was married to Phillips from 1972 until their divorce in 1985. Survivors also include her son, Tamerlane, and three stepchildren: actress Mackenzie Phillips, actress-singer Chynna Phillips and Jeffrey Phillips. "She was a beautiful soul and born from another planet," Bijou Phillips said in a statement. "Her ideas, her songs, her voice and her heartbeat [were] to a beautiful African rhythm no one else had, and I am so thankful she was able to share it." - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/21/19...... Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk, best known for writing the WW2 novels The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, died on May 17 at the age of 103. Mr. Wouk (pronounced woke) regarded The Caine Mutiny as his "signature work," and the novel's ringing plausibility springs from its author's personal experience. Set aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific during World War II -- "a pile of junk" modeled on ships Wouk served on -- the novel tells the story of a crew that rebels against its psychotic skipper, Philip F. Queeg. It was later turned into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. Mr. Wouk, who was born on May 27, 1915 in the Bronx, followed Caine with another hit, 1955's Marjorie Morningstar, the story of an aspiring Jewish actress who, after a sexual fling, abandons her dreams of the stage and settles into a safe suburban marriage with a man who regards her loss of virginity as a "deformity." The novel, an unabashedly conservative call for conformity and chastity, was made into a film starring Natalie Wood and Gene Kelly. It also landed its author on the cover of Time magazine. Mr. Wouk's The Winds of War and War and Remembrance were turned into a lavish TV miniseries starring Robert Mitchum. In 2008 Mr. Wouk was awarded the first Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Writing of Fiction by the Library of Congress. At the awards ceremony, which included a performance by Jimmy Buffett, Mr. Wouk donated more than 100 volumes of his journals to the library.- TheDailyBeast.com, 5/17/19.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Temptations will be among the headliners at the Apollo Theater's 2019 Spring Gala on June 10. "It is a real honor to take part in the prestigious Apollo Theater Walk of Fame and 85th gala celebration," says co-founding Temptations member Otis Williams. "I'm looking forward to sharing our music and reflecting on the wonderful and vivid memories that Paul (Williams), David (Ruffin), Eddie (Kendricks), Melvin (Franklin) and I spent at the Apollo Theater, a beloved national treasure." The Tempts and the legendary Harlem venue have a long history, it was backstage there that the group, with Smokey Robinson, came up with the lyrics to "My Girl," which became a platinum-seller the following year. The benefit will feature a special performance from The Temptations and Williams, their last living original member, and the group will also be inducted in the Apollo Walk of Fame days prior to the June 7 fundraiser. Other artists set to appear include Estelle, Jose James, Liv Warfield and Morris Day and The Time. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... Elton JohnWith the premiere of the long-awaited Elton John biopic Rocketman at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, Paramount Pictures becomes the first major studio to depict gay male sex onscreen. Rocketman features multiple scenes between Taron Egerton, who plays John, and Richard Madden (portraying his first gay lover, music manager John Reid) (while Ang Lee's 2005 film Brokeback Mountain also showed a sex scene between two men, it was not aimed at broad audiences like Rocketman and was released by the specialty label Focus Features). "For me, kissing a man onscreen is no less appealing than kissing a woman onscreen," Egerton says in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm not in any way repulsed by the male form. It's an uncomfortable thing regardless of who you're with -- it makes no difference as to your sexual preference." However Rocketman's R-rating and its depiction of gay sex should most certainly disqualify it from being released in China, indeed the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody edited out any suggestion that Freddie Mercury was bisexual for its release in that lucrative market. "Our movie is a different animal," Egerton said during a May 16 press conference at Cannes. "Our movie is a musical. It requires an actor who can sing in the lead role. For a biopic, that's not necessary. I'm very grateful that people compare us (to Bohemian Rhapsody). Hopefully, it shows that there's an appetite for movies [like this]. However, that movie is a unicorn." Meanwhile, Elton John has released new track, "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," from the soundtrack of Rocketman which also features vocals from Egerton. The upbeat track, written by John and his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, plays out over the film's credits. "It was so important that the music I composed and recorded had to be sung by Taron," Elton says. "I wanted his interpretation of me, through Bernie's lyrics and my music -- not just acting. I left Taron in the hands of [producer and composer] Giles Martin, who I trusted implicitly because he's brilliant." Rocketman hits US theaters on May 31. - The Hollywood Reporter/New Musical Express, 5/17/19...... In related news, Queen guitarist Brian May said during a May 14 appearance on BBC Radio 2's The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show that the band "hasn't earned a penny" from the worldwide smash biopic, which stars Rami Malek as frontman Freddie Mercury. "It was a long labour of love -- about 12 years in development, I guess. We thought it would do well in the end and we felt good about it, but we didn't realise it would do that well. It's incredible around the world -- it's like a billion-dollar movie." But May went on to say that it hadn't had an impact on the band's finances that many fans assume. "I had to laugh the other day because there's a thing in the paper saying that we were getting rich off this movie," he said. "If they only knew. We had an accountant in the other day and we still haven't earned a penny from it. Isn't that funny? How successful does a movie have to be before you make money? There's so many people that people don't realise will take pieces off the top." - NME, 5/14/19...... Cheap Trick will be among the headliners honoring songwriter Linda Perry on June 29 in Los Angeles at The Novo at L.A. Live. "Linda Perry & Friends: A Night at the Grammy Museum" will also feature appearances from Sharon Osbourne and Oscar-nominated actress Juliette Lewis and Perry's wife, actress Sara Gilbert. Perry, one of the most successful songwriters and producers in the music industry, has crafted hits for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys and others. Proceeds from the gala will assist the Grammy Museum Foundation. - AP, 5/16/19...... Dionne WarwickDionne Warwick has just released She's Back, the pop songstress's first new studio album in five years. The 15-song set features new recordings of her hits "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and 1979's "Deja Vu" -- the latter featuring a guest appearance by Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Warwick says the inclusion of her signature 1965 hit "What the World Needs Now Is Love" has special meaning for her. "That's something I feel everyone should be singing at this point in time," she explains. "We're living in a chaotic time and we need love -- we desperately need it. I don't like what's going on with my country or what's going on around the world; Nobody cares about anybody anymore or seems to want a care. It's like the '60s; It doesn't make sense, so we've got to get a grip. So I hope people start paying attention to those words again, because we need it." Other guests on She's Back include Kenny Lattimore ("What Color Is Love"), Brian McKnight ("Forever In My Heart") and Musiq Soulchild. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... On May 17, Bruce Springsteen released "There Goes My Miracle," the second song from his upcoming studio album Western Stars. Singing in a higher register than we're used to hearing from the Boss, he trades his gravely tone for a clear tenor in the vein of one of his musical heros, the late Roy Orbison, on the track. "There goes my miracle/ Walkin' away, walkin' away," Springsteen croons on the song's swaying chorus, backed by lush Burt Bacharach-style strings. Primarily recorded at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York, Western Stars is due on June 14 from Columbia Records. It's his first new studio album in more than five years, and his 19th overall. - Billboard, 5/17/19...... The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has reacted to his decision to call out some audience members who were smoking pot directly in front of him at The Who's May 13 concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. "I'd just like to make it clear that it is quite well known amongst real Who fans that I have an extreme allergic reaction to pot and cigarette smoke," Daltrey told Billboard on May 16. "I have a sensitive issue on my vocal cords and the smoke has the effect of shutting down my voice making singing really hard work. I really don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment, all I ask for is a little respect for someone doing their best to deliver a good night out for everyone. If you have to smoke it, get off your ass and go to the bog (bathroom) or eat it, please refrain from blowing clouds of it at me. I probably end up smoking more of your pot than you do and it becomes a singer's nightmare. You are putting the whole show in jeopardy by your selfish behavior, give it some thought." Daltrey was responding to a report about the incident in Britain's The Daily Mail, which described the 75-year-old musician as a "geriatric rocker." During the MSG concert Daltrey called out some smokers, saying "All the ones smoking grass down in the front there, I'm totally allergic to it. I'm not kidding, whoever it is down there, you f---ed my night and you made me really.. .I'm allergic to that shit and my voice just goes...It sucks up. So f---- you!" Daltrey has made similar comments at other shows -- including a particularly well-chronicled threat to stop the show during a May 2015 concert at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. The Who's "Moving On!" tour has two North American legs, the second starting on Sept. 3 in Toronto. On May 15, Daltrey Who guitarist Pete Townshend played their iconic song "Won't Get Fooled Again" on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon using classroom instruments, including a plastic toy ukulele and a child's tambourine. Townshend even ended the segment with his signature guitar smashing bit, breaking the colorful ukulele in half as Daltrey joked that he was leaving the band. - Billboard, 5/16/19...... The Allman Brothes Band spinoff The Allman Betts Band will release its debut album, Down To The River, on June 28 via BMG Records. Featuring ABB progeny Devon Allman, Duane Betts and Berry Duane Oakley, Jr., the band is embracing their inevitable comparison to the legendary ABB. "There was hesitation for 30 years, but there's no more hesitation because it's the right timing," says Allman, the son of the late Gregg Allman. "We've all done our thing. I've been in three, four, five different bands. Duane has. Berry has. It wasn't like we had to do this, but we ended up having real chemistry -- unforced, organic -- and we wanted to make music together." Friends and, in their words, "family" since they were children, Allman and Betts began touring together in 2018, after Allman invited Betts to take part in a December 2017 tribute concert for Gregg Allman in San Francisco. While on the road, writing together seemed like a natural progression. Oakley was recruited, according to Allman, "because he was a bad-ass bass player, not just because of who he was or what his name was." Allman says his band has "a fine, fine, fine line" to walk, even as they play some Allman Brothers Band material in its shows. "Y'know, if we hit the stage and did a two-hour show and played all Allman Brothers, that would just be weird. It would be a tribute band, and that's not what we're into," Allman says. "We have our own songs, our own show, our own album. But if we also go on that stage and didn't play one (Allmans song), that would be weird, too. So we need to tip our hats. It's appropriate." The band a full slate of concerts and festivals that will take the group into 2020, and is also already working on its next album. - Billboard, 5/16/19...... David ByrneDavid Byrne has announced he's taking his "American Utopia" show to a residency at Broadway's Theatreland this fall, following the likes of such artists as Bruce Springsteen and Morrisey. The former Talking Heads frontman's stint will take place at the Hudson Theatre and will open for previews on October 4, 2019, with an official opening taking place on Oct. 20. The residency will run until January 20, 2020. In a statement, Byrne explained why he was taking the show to Broadway. "Because of how theatrical the show is, others started telling me 'this needs to go to Broadway,'" he said. "Why not? But what did that mean? Parked in a beautiful Broadway theatre we can perfect the sound, the lights, the movement. I thought to myself that this new context might be good -- it might bring out the narrative arc a little bit more, to make it just a little more explicit... People ask me will I be darting into a town car after these shows or taking a flying leap onto my bicycle -- take a wild guess." Byrne's 2018 "American Utopia" tour was acclaimed by critics, with one describing it as "maybe just the best live show of all-time," and the musician later released a six-song live EP from the theatrical performance and named it after that quote. - NME, 5/17/19......The Rolling Stones have announced their itinerary of rescheduled "No Filter" tour dates, after the tour was postponed earlier to allow frontman Mick Jagger to heal after undergoing heart surgery in April. All 17 previously announced dates have been rescheduled, with the band now gearing up to launch the tour with a two-night stand at Chicago's Soldier Field on June 21 and June 25. They will then visit such markets as Ontario (6/29), Washington, D.C. (7/3), Foxboro, Mass. (7/7), New Orleans (7/14) and Philadelphia (7/23) before wrapping up with an Aug. 31 show at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Mick Jagger proved he was ready to rock the stage again on May 15 when he posted a video in which he's doing one of his signature vigorous dance routines before a mirror in a studio. Jagger was told by doctors in late March he could not go on tour "at this time." Jagger tweeted he was "devastated" the band couldn't tour, but said he hoped to be "back on stage as soon I can." - Billboard/AP, 5/16/19...... Dana York Petty, the widow of late Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty, is being sued for $5 million by Petty's daughters Adria and Annakim Petty. In a suit filed in Los Angeles County court on May 15, Dana and several other defendants are bing accused of breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and more. Filed on behalf of plaintiff Petty Unlimited -- an LLC established in Petty's will that allocated one-third of Petty's assets to each of the three women -- the suit alleges "self-dealing, theft, and gross mismanagement of company assets" on Dana's part by failing to fund the LLC with assets from Petty's trust, for which she was previously named as "directing trustee." "Tom Petty wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his daughters, Adria and Annakim, and his wife, Dana," said Petty Unlimited's attorney Alex Weingarten says that Tom "wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his daughters, Adria and Annakim, and his wife, Dana. Dana has refused Tom's express wishes and insisted instead upon misappropriating Tom's life's work for her own selfish interests. After countless efforts to resolve this matter amicably and out of court, we could no longer stand idly by and watch Dana disrespect Tom's wishes, his music, and his legacy." In response, Dana Petty's lawyer Adam Streisand said: "This misguided and meritless lawsuit sadly demonstrates exactly why Tom Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate. Dana will not allow destructive nonsense like this to distract her from protecting her husband's legacy." Petty died on Oct. 2, 2017, of an accidental drug overdose at age 66. - Billboard, 5/15/19...... The Alice Cooper-led supergroup Hollywood Vampires shared their new single, "The Boogieman Surprise," and posted a live performance of the track online on May 17. Hollywood Vampires debuted the new track recently at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and were joined on stage at separate points by Marilyn Manson and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. The band, comprised of Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry, are prepping for the release of their second album, Rise, on June 21. Unlike their debut album, the band's new project is mostly made up of original material, written by them. "[It's] not only a totally different animal than the first Vampires album, it is unique to anything I've ever been a part of," Cooper says. "I think that with this album, we are establishing what the Vampires' sound really is, whereas with the first album we were more tipping our hats to our fallen rock n roll brothers." - New Musical Express, 5/17/19...... Don FelderFormer Eagles guitarist Don Felder released his third solo album, American Rock 'n' Roll, in April. Felder says he's currently writing for another record "that I'd like to try to get out in the next two, two and a half years," adding that a busy touring schedule, including both regular concerts and private charitable and corporate events, has long been the speed bump for getting more material out. "I wish I had the time to actually spend more time every month at home in the studio, writing and recording... Unless I stop touring for a year, it takes me years to write and record and produce a record. With my touring schedule the only way I can write is sitting backstage on a little iPhone or on a plane writing lyrics or driving down the 405 singing something into my phone...It's really not until I can be home and settled that I can do anything with any of that. And I promise you that when I'm home I'm not lying out by my pool; I'm actually in the studio working. So I try, I really do." Felder's new 11-track set features guest appearances by musical pals such as Sammy Hagar, Peter Frampton, Slash, Joe Satriani, Bob Weir, Alex Lifeson, Richie Sambora, Mick Fleetwood and Toto members David Paich and Steve Porcaro. - Billboard, 5/14/19...... It appears the beleagured Woodstock 50 festival will go ahead after its organizers have secured new financial backing for the festival. On May 16, organizer and Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang confirmed that a new investor has been found. Investment bank and financial services company Oppenheimer & Co. will act "as a financial advisor to complete the financing for the festival," according to a statement issued by the festival. "Event preparations will continue as planned as Oppenheimer joins the list of strong institutions producing the festival," the statement continued. The news comes after the New York Supreme Court ruled on May 15 that Woodstock's former investor, Dentsu Aegis Network, could not cancel the festival. When Dentsu pulled out of funding the event, they issued a statement saying Woodstock 50 would no longer be going ahead. The court also ruled the Japanese conglamerate didn't have to return the $18 million it withdrew from a bank account it shared with backers of the anniversary concert. The festival has suffered several setbacks since Denstu's withdrawal, including The Black Keys dropping out, ticket sales being postponed, and the previous investors taking back their money. The event, which is due to take place in Watkins Glen, upstate New York, in August, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival. - New Musical Express, 5/17/19...... After 43 shows throughout the U.S. and Canada, Kiss wrapped the first leg of its "End of the Road" world tour on April 13 in Birmingham, Ala. In total, the band's North American leg grossed $58.7 million and sold 518,395 tickets, and the 2019 grosses lift the band's career total past the $300 million mark. The tour's biggest showing was at New York's Madison Square Garden on Mar. 27, where they grossed $1.947 million and sold 13,359 tickets. Of course, this isn't the first time Kiss has said goodbye. Almost 20 years ago, the "Kiss Farewell Tour" ran from Mar. 11, 2000, through Apr. 13, 2001. That trek had reported grosses of $55.6 million. Kiss will continue along the "End of the Road" tour throughout 2019, with 26 dates in Europe, an additional 26 in North America, and eight final shows in Australia and New Zealand. - Billboard, 5/14/19...... Norman LearThough the cast of the ABC special Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons is new, everything else is a blast from the past -- including the sets, which replicate the originals down to their precise measurements, and 1970s-inspired costumes. "These two scripts will be done word for word. We're not updating anything," says producer Norman Lear. "The lesson is human nature doesn't change. All of the problems that Archie and the Jeffersons face are clearly here today. Nothing has been totally resolved. There isn't any subject we did through all those years that we couldn't do again today." The 90-minute trip down memory lane airs live on ABC on May 22 at 8:00 PM EDT. - Entertainment Weekly, 5/17/19...... Michael Jackson's two sons Prince Jackson and Bigi (formerly "Blanket) Jackson have just launched a new film review show on YouTube. The show, which is hosted on Prince Jackson's Life On 2 channel, also features Taj Jackson, the nephew of Michael. The trio launched their show with a review of Avengers: Endgame, which was uploaded on May 15 and features James Sutherland as a special guest. - NME, 5/16/19...... Rock vocalist Glenn Hughes has rescheduled the four dates of his upcoming UK "Classic Deep Purple Live" tour due to illness. The rescheduled dates are Salisbury City Hall (11/17), Norwich Waterfront (venue change from Norwich UEA) (11/20), Holmfirth Picturedome (11/23) and Birmingham O2 Institute (11/29). The rescheduled concerts follow the news of Hughes needing to cancel his May 2019 UK tour dates due to illness. He needs to be treated for an illness that while not life threatening, must be dealt with immediately so that does not become a serious problem. Hughes is expected to make a full recovery. The shows for Edinburgh, St Albans, Liverpool and Nottingham had to be cancelled. Customers for the cancelled shows have been asked to return to their original point of purchase to request refunds. The former bassist and singer of Deep Purple is the current front man for rock super group Black Country Communion and had been scheduled to kick off the second leg of his tour at the Holmfirth Picturedrome on May 14. - Noble PR, 5/15/19...... Former Thin Lizzy member Brian Downey's "Alive and Dangerous" tour will return to the Camden Underworld for a one off concert on Nov. 7. Downey's band also features guitarist Brian Grace and former Low Rider band members Matt Wilson (lead vocals, bass), and Phil Edgar (lead guitar). 2018 marked the 40th Anniversary of Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album. Although the album was recorded live in 1977 at London's Hammersmith Apollo and Toronto's Seneca College, it wasn't officially released until a year later in 1978. - Noble PR, 5/14/19.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Peggy LiptonActress Peggy Lipton, who rose to stardom in the late 1960s as a co-star of the counterculture police series The Mod Squad and later became a cast member of the acclaimed series Twin Peaks, died on May 11 after a battle with cancer. She was 72. Born in New York on Aug. 30, 1946, the blonde beauty began a successful modeling career at age 15, then four years later made her TV debut on the sitcom The John Forsythe Show, which led to appearances on such series as Bewitched, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and The Virginian. At 21, she rocketed to fame in 1968 as the street-smart flower child Julie Barnes, one of a trio of Los Angeles undercover "hippie cops" on the ABC crime series The Mod Squad, one of the first TV shows to feature an interracial cast. Lipton was nominated for four Emmys during the series' five year run, and in 1971 she won a Golden Globe award for best actress in a TV drama. Her role and later marriage to music producer Quincy Jones in 1974 put the actress in the center of country dealing with racial tensions, but she later said she found the spotlight uncomfortable. "I never saw myself as trend-setting," Lipton told The Los Angeles Times in 1993. "We were always working. Fame really drove me into my house. I was very paranoid. I didn't like going out. I had no idea how to be comfortable with the press. I was very young. It was really hard for me." Meanwhile, she parlayed her TV fame into a singing career, enjoying chart success with her cover versions of "Stoney End" and "Lu" by Laura Nyro and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" by Donovan. With the exception of a Mod Squad reunion TV movie in 1979, Lipton stepped away from her acting career to raise her two daughters with Jones, actresses Kidida and Rashida Jones. After her divorce from Jones in 1989, she decided to return to acting, landing the role of Norma Jennings on the cult TV series Twin Peaks. More recently, she made occasional supporting role appearances in such films as When in Rome and A Dog's Purpose and TV series like Alias, Crash and 2017's Twin Peaks revival. In her 2005 memoir Breathing Out, Lipton wrote of her struggles with fame and the racism she and Jones faced as an interracial couple and revealed that she had been diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer the previous year. Her death was announced by her daughters on May 11. "She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side," they said in a statement. "We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her.... Peggy was and will always be our beacon of light, both in this world and beyond. She will always be a part of us." - The Los Angeles Times, 5/11/19...... Doris DayScreen legend and singing star Doris Day, whose wholesome, all-American image guaranteed box-office and record-chart hits in the '40s, '50s and '60s, died in the early hours of May 13 at her Carmel Valley, Calif., home, nearly two months after celebrating her 97th birthday, her Doris Day Animal Foundation announced shortly later. Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Oh., on Apr. 3, 1922, the daughter of a music teacher and a homemaker, the crystal-voiced pop soprano changed her surname to Day when, as a teen, she began singing on the radio. After appearances with the Big Bands of Barney Rapp and Bob Crosby, she joined Les Brown's Band of Renown and had her first hit with "Sentimental Journey." Going solo in 1947, she successfully auditioned for Warner Bros. the following year and was cast in the studio's attempts to compete with the romantic musicals that were the specialty of rival MGM. By the mid-'50s came better roles at other studios including 1954's Love Me or Leave Me, a fictionalized biopic of '20s singer Ruth Etting, which she considered her best film. In 1956, she costarred with James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much, in which she introduced the Oscar-winning song that became her signature, "Que Sera Sera." In 1959, she was paired for the first time with leading man Rock Hudson in the racy (for its time) romantic comedy Pillow Talk, which resulted in her one and only Best Actress Oscar nomination, and also in her greatest box-office success. Two more vehicles with Hudson (and sidekick Tony Randall) followed, as did similar comedies in which Ms. Day -- sometimes as a career woman, but always squeaky clean -- costarred with the likes of Cary Grant, James Garner and Rod Taylor, prompting Hollywood musician and resident Oscar Levant to famously quip, "I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin." In 1967, she was offered the role of Mrs. Robinson in the box office smash The Graduate by director Mike Nichols, however Ms. Day wasn't interested. "I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I'd seduced," she recalled later. "I realized it was an effective part... but it offended my sense of values." As the '60s wound down and her wholesome image went out of fashion onscreen, Ms. Day turned to TV, having been forced there by a contract signed by her third husband and manager Martin Melcher without her knowledge. CBS's 1968-73 The Doris Day Show never rose above the level of being a poor man's Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Ms. Day herself was highly critical of it. Melcher died unexpectedly in 1968, leaving Ms. Day in financial straits. Her husband's reliance on attorney Jerome Rosenthal for business advice proved disastrous: The lawyer went through Ms. Day's millions with bad investments in oil wells, cattle and hotels. But despite an ever-changing format, The Doris Day Show ran for five seasons, gave her financial stability, and kept her working as she coped with the loss of her spouse of 17 years. Ms. Day sued Rosenthal for mismanagement and won a $20 million-plus verdict in 1974 after years of litigation (she later settled with insurers). In 1976, Ms. Day married for a fourth time at age 52, to businessman Barry Comden. By the mid-'70s, Ms. Day withdrew from the limelight in her Monterey, Calif., home to focus on animal rights and set up the Doris Day Animal League and Doris Day Animal Foundation. "All my life, I have never felt lonely with a dog I loved at my side, no matter how many times I've been alone," Ms. Day said in her memoir. As a staunch advocate for animals, she briefly came out of retirement to host a cable TV pet show called Doris Day's Best Friends, which included an emotional reunion with three-time co-star Rock Hudson shortly before his death in 1985. Perhaps her closest friend, son Terry Melcher, a music producer, died in 2004 at 62. There was talk of comebacks: She reportedly was offered Murder, She Wrote and the Debbie Reynolds role in Mother in 1996. But she resisted Hollywood overtures. In 2015, she batted down reports she was to appear in a Clint Eastwood film. Ms. Day once told People magazine that humor had always been her secret weapon. "I love to laugh," said the star who made so many others laugh and sing. "It's the only way to live. Enjoy each day -- it's not coming back again!" Ms. Day passed away surrounded by a few close friends at her Carmel Valley home. She had celebrated her 97th birthday just last month with nearly 300 fans who gathered in Carmel to celebrate with her. - People.com/CNN, 5/13/19...... Tim ConwayBeloved comedian Tim Conway, a five-time Emmy winner who reveled in cracking up straight man Harvey Korman on CBS's variety series The Carol Burnett Show and before that as Charles Parker in the 1962-66 sitcom McHale's Navy, died from complications of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) on May 14 in Los Angeles. He was 85. Born in Willoughby, Oh., on Dec. 15, 1933, Mr. Conways' 50-year-plus career kicked into gear with his role as Ens. Charles Parker in the 1962-66 ABC sitcom McHale's Navy, opposite titluar star Ernest Borgnine and other regulars including Gavin McLeod and Joe Flynn. Although the series wasn't a massive hit, it aired more than 130 episodes and spawned a pair of movies in which he co-starred: McHale's Navy (1964) and McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force (1965). In the latter, his Ens. Parker is mistaken for a pilot, which gets his ship's crew somehow into the unfriendly skies. After McHale's Navy ended its run in 1966 -- only to live on in reruns and be discovered by younger comedy fans in the ensuing decades -- Mr. Conway starred in the 1967 Western sitcom Rango for ABC. His title character was an, of course, bumbling Texas Ranger who is assigned to the state's loneliest outpost, where it was assumed he would stay out of mischief. The midseason series lasted fewer than 20 episodes. But Mr. Conway became best known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show after joining its cast as a regular member in 1975, winning viewers over with characters like the Oldest Man and Mr. Tudball, whose accent he has said was inspired by his Romanian mother. Mr. Conway was known to ad-lib his sketches -- even surprising his scene partners -- and won a Golden Globe Award for the series in 1976, along with Emmys in 1973, 1977 and 1978. Emmys were also awarded to him for guest spots on such series as Coach (1996) and 30 Rock (2008). At a 2013 event promoting his memoir, What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life, Burnett, 86, painted her collaborator as an on-set prankster. "Tim's goal in life was to destroy [costar] Harvey Korman," she told the crowd, with Mr. Conway chiming in, "in the dentist sketch you can actually see Harvey wet his pants from laughing." Mr. Conway also was known for Dorf, the diminutive character -- he performed it on his knees, where fake shoes were placed -- who appeared in a litany of how-to videos launched during the 1980s, including Dorf on Golf (1987). Originating as a skit on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dorf introduced Mr. Conway to a new generation of fans while tickling his longtime ones. "I'm heartbroken," Carol Burnett said in a statement after learning of her longtime friend's passing. "He was one in a million, not only as a brilliant comedian but as a loving human being. I cherish the times we had together both on the screen and off. He'll be in my heart forever." Mr. Conway is survived by his wife of 35 years, his stepdaughter, his six biological children and two granddaughters. - People.com/Deadline.com, 5/14/19.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour has just made his entire 2016 Live at Pompeii concert film available for free streaming on YouTube. Gilmour put on the special two-night concert event in Pompeii in July 2016, 45 years after Pink Floyd staged a similar show in the same city. Gilmour's full performance was released in 2017 as a concert film, which incorporated footage from the Pink Floyd Pompeii gig, and live album. Originally screened in cinemas for one night only, the film was later released on DVD and Blu-ray. - New Musical Express, 5/11/19...... Brian Wilson and recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Zombies are teaming up this summer for a North American tour in celebration of their music from 1968, fittingly titled the "Something Great From '68" tour. Wilson will most perform songs from two of his favorite Beach Boys albums, 1968's Friends and 1971's Surf's Up, with former bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin joining him onstage. The Zombies will open each show with a full performance of their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, in addition to other classics in their set. The 15-city trek kicks off Aug. 31 in Las Vegas, also hitting such major markets as Phoenix (9/6), Los Angeles (9/12), Oakland (9/13), Seattle (9/16), Denver (9/20), Milwaukee (9/22) and Detroit (9/24) before wrapping on Sept. 26 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. - Billboard, 5/7/19...... Rickie Lee JonesAcclaimed '70s/'80s singer Rickie Lee Jones will release a new album of covers, Kicks, on June 7. Jones, best known for such hits as "Chuck E.'s in Love," "Young Blood" and "A Lucky Guy" as well as her 1979 self-titled debut album which hit No. 3 on the charts, already has three all-covers albums to her credit: 1991's Pop Pop, 2000's It's Like This and 2012's The Devil You Know, in which she took well-known songs by Donovan, Frank Sinatra and Steely Dan and molded them in her own image. Kicks will feature renditions of such '70s rockers as Elton John ("My Father's Gun"), Steve Miller Band ("Quicksilver Girl"), and Bad Company ("Bad Company"), alongside such jazz classics as "Nagasaki" and "Mack the Knife." One highlight of the new set is a cover of America's "Lonely People." While Jones says the breezy pop band "weren't A-listers" in their time, she found a deep well of sentimental value in "Lonely People," a friendly ode to the isolated. "You have to get over how you perceive a thing and look for the treasure in the music," she says. Jones has also released a video for "Lonely People" which features her changing from costume to costume while poking fun at her own image. - Billboard, 5/10/19...... John Lennon's personal copy of the legendary Beatles Yesterday and Today "butcher cover" album has brought #163;180,000 -- the third-highest price ever paid for a vinyl record -- after being auctioned by Julien's Auctions at The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool, England on May 9. The "butcher" Yesterday and Today, which showed the Fab Four covered in raw meat and decapitated baby dolls before it was withdrawn from sale in 1966, was sold to an anonymous collector as part of a wider sale of Beatles memorabilia. At the time of release, the graphic image was replaced by a cover that showed the band standing around a travel trunk. It was said to be the only Beatles album to lose money for Capitol Records. Lennon's copy previously adorned the wall of his New York The Dakota apartment until he gifted it to Dave Morrell, a lifelong Beatles fan and bootleg collector. With signatures by Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, it is is believed to be the only "butcher" album featuring three Beatles' signatures. Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions said an American collector had "bought the record as an investment believing it will increase in value in the years to come." Julien added the market is still developing "so we anticipate in the next five years this same record could bring $500,000-plus (£385,000). This was a world record for a Beatles butcher cover and the third-highest price paid for a vinyl." Other Beatles items to go under the hammer the same day included a baseball signed by the band at their final US performance, which fetched £57,600 ($75,000). The "butcher cover" sale comes after Ringo Starr's rare copy of the band's "White Album" became the most expensive vinyl in 2015, when it sold for $790,000 (£ 522,438). - New Musical Express, 5/10/19...... A lawsuit brought seven years ago by Michael Jackson's singer's mysterious ex-manager, Tohme Tohme, is finally set to get underway in Los Angeles on May 14. Tohme, who filed the suit all the way back in 2012, alleges he provided the necessary "advice, guidance and skillful work" to improve Jackson's public image, alleviate the singer's financial situation, and put his client in a position to make a final tour. Tohme claims the Jackson estate owes him a 15 percent commission on compensation that Jackson received during the last year of his life, before he died from an overdose of propofol at age 50 on June 25, 2009, and also wants a cut of revenues relating to This Is It, the concert film that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. Finally, Tohme is seeking a finder's fee for securing a loan that prevented foreclosure on Jackson's Neverland Ranch home. The trial is being split into two phases: a contractual interpretation, in which Tohme is hoping to bring experts to the witness stand to testify that post-termination commissions are customary in the entertainment industry, and a second phase which may get into the nitty-gritty of the relationship between Jackson and Tohme -- for instance, whether or not Jackson actually fired Tohme is a point of controversy among the parties and something that would be dealt with if necessary at the later stage. Tohme alleges that he only took 15 percent after Jackson proposed becoming 50/50 partners. Although Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young may see reason to delay the trial once agaain, it will likely commence quite soon. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/9/19...... In other Jackson-related news, his eldest son Prince Jackson, whose real name is Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., graduated from Loyola Marymout University in Los Angeles on May 11. Prince, 22, graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration. The day was celebrated in social media posts from Prince, who was 12 when his father died almost 10 years ago, and relatives in his famous family. Michael has two other children, 21-year-old Paris Jackson and 17-year-old Prince Michael Jackson, known by the nickname Blanket. - New Musical Express, 5/11/19...... Billy JoelBilly Joel celebrated his 70th birthday with a blowout concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on May 9. "Welcome to my birthday. This is kind of a weird night," Joel said, as he looked out at the 18,000-plus crowd packing the venue. "But what else am I gonna do?" he deadpanned. Joel's birthday bash included video happy birthday wishes from the likes of Paul McCartney, Don Henley, Garth Brooks, Pink and Brian Johnson of AC/DC. Peter Frampton showed up in person to jam on "Show Me The Way" and "Baby, I Love Your Way" with the Piano Man, and Joel's daughters Alexa Ray, 34, and 3-year-old Della Rose appeared onstage to sing "Happy Birthday" to their dad. Joel wrapped the show with four high-energy hits: "We Didn't Start the Fire," "Uptown Girl," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and "You May Be Right," and encored with his signature tune, "Piano Man." The show was Joel's 64th consecutive sell-out at the Garden, a continuation of the record-setting residency he launched in December 2013. The Garden has already announced the 70th show in the MSG residency for Nov. 15, which will be Joel's 116th all-time performance at the arena. In January, Joel announced his sixth consecutive year of playing stadium shows, including a concert June 22 at Wembley Stadium in London. - Billboard, 5/10/19...... Speaking of Peter Frampton, the '70s rocker will release a new album of blues covers, All Blues, on June 7. All Blues will feature such classic blues songs as B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," which Frampton says "is not a song I would ever have done" before meeting King when the late blues legend was part of his 2013 Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus tour. "I went to his bus to meet the King, and I'm very nervous and sort of stuttering and stuff in front of him," Frampton recalls with a laugh. "He could see I was having a little trouble, and he said, 'Peter, sit down, boy. Just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it for you.' I couldn't believe it. He just put me at ease -- such a modest man and the nicest, easiest to get along with person you could ever dream of." The Thrill is Gone" is one of 10 blues covers on All Blues, and will be the first in a series of albums Frampton and his Peter Frampton Band have been making since October. "We must have done nearly 40, 45 tracks, and we're still going," reports Frampton, who was diagnosed with Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM) some years ago but only made it public in 2019. He reckons he has three albums done already "and we're working on a fourth right now, and after that I think it's time for a Christmas album!" "I want to go out playing really well," says Frampton, who pulled the plug on a planned co-headlining trek with Alice Cooper this summer because he felt it was the right time for his farewell tour. His farewell tour kicks off June 18 in Oklahoma, and he promises "it won't be a static playlist... I'll change it every night." Meanwhile, in between touring, a book project, and his Sirius XM radio show, Frampton is also being treated for his IBM at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he plans to take part in a drug test study after the farewell tour wraps during mid-October. - Billboard, 5/9/19...... Pop/gospel legend Mavis Staples celebrated her 80th birthday at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem on May 9, the first of several star-packed 80th birthday parties she has planned. Staples, who won't officially turn 80 until July 10, first played the Apollo in 1956 with her family band, the Staple Singers; a portrait of her alongside her father, Roebuck "Pops Staples, and sisters, Yvonne and Cleotha, hangs on the storied venue's staircase leading up to the mezzanine. Staples' performance included duets with Valerie June and Maggie Rogers on such songs as "Living On a High Note" (which June penned for Staples) and "May The Circle Be Unbroken" (the first song Pops Staples taught his children), and with former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne on Byrne's own "Slippery People." The night reached a peak in the effervescence of the Staple Singers No. 1 hit "I'll Take You There." Staples will continue to celebrate her birthday on May 15 with a concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and on May 22 at Los Angeles' Theatre at the Ace Hotel. - Billboard, 5/10/19...... Sammy HagarSammy Hagar released a new album with his all-star band The Circle, Space Between, on May 10. The Circle -- which includes Hagar's longtime guitarist Vic Johnson, founding Van Halen bassist and Hagar's Chickenfoot bandmate Michael Anthony and drummer Jason Bonham -- has been together for about seven years, to this point playing favorites from his past and an assortment of Led Zeppelin covers. The group released a live album, At Your Service, in 2015, but Hagar acknowledges until now he was "scared to make a record" of original material with the group. "But I think we did it," Hagar says. "Touring seven years together, playing, we knew what we were all about. It was like starting over, like when we were kids and paid all our dues together -- and then we made an album. The album is really about money, greed, enlightenment and truth. It's greed that's the problem. Guys like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, you can't be mad at them for being so rich. These guys build hospitals, build schools for children and other countries. Those are good guys. That's what you can do with money." - Billboard, 5/9/19...... An attorney representing the Woodstock 50 concert is seeking an injunction on behalf of the troubled festival to force its main investor, Japanese media company Dentsu, to return $17.8 million it allegedly "misappropriated" from a bank account used by anniversary event organizers. "Dentsu's actions have caused a worldwide uproar over its efforts to kill the Festival's commemoration of one of the most iconic cultural events of the 20th century," attorney Marc Kasowitz wrote in a filing in New York state court on May 9. Kasowitz, a well-known trial lawyer who has represented Pres. Donald Trump, wants Dentsu to return the money and agree to not disparage the festival or interfere with Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang's attempts to stage Woodstock 50 at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York this August. With just 100 days to go before the scheduled festival was to begin, Kasowitz argues the injuction is needed to save the event before it's too late, arguing that "the only true impediments to that success are Dentsu's ongoing interference with W50's contractual right to produce the festival, Dentsu's theft of the festival's funds, and Dentsu's active effort to disparage W50 and the festival through lies and mischaracterizations intended to destroy W50's business relationships." In late April, a rep for Dentsu announced that it was canceling the festival because organizers with Woodstock 50 had failed to meet certain goals and benchmarks on the festival site allowed in the company's contract. Kasowitz also wants Dentsu officials to agree to "cooperate with W50 in connection with W50's continued planning of the Festival" and "produce bank records relating to removal of funds from the bank account" and "communications between Dentsu and any person or entity involved in the planning or production of the festival." - Billboard, 5/9/19...... In other Woodstock-related news, a cool $800 is the list price for a new 38-disc, 432-song Woodstock 50th anniversary box set, Woodstock 50 - Back to the Garden - The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive. Set for release on Aug. 2, the 36 hour limited-edition behemoth promises to be the first definitive collection featuring every artist who played the original concert. The collection will come in 1,969 limited-edition, numbered box sets released worldwide, with fully restored audio and 267 previously unreleased tracks. For those who can get by on a lesser Woodstock fix, 10-disc and three-disc versions, as well as a 5 album vinyl collection, will also be available on June 28. Woodstock has been commemorated before, in 1970 with a three-LP album of highlights, as well as in 2009 with a 6-disc set. - Billboard, 5/9/19...... German electro-pop titans Kraftwerk recently wrapped up their Asia tour with ive shows in Japan and one show in Seoul, followed by a gig at Hong Kong's Star Hall on Apr. 29 as their final stop. Kraftwerk -- Ralf Hütter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert, and Falk Grieffenhagen -- fused music with art, with visuals tailored to every city Kraftwerk has visited. For the Hong Kong performance, the group merged shots of the Hong Kong skyline with futuristic animations, including a UFO flying over the city, all presented in 3-D to give audiences an enhanced concert experience. Kraftwerk's next show is June 1, when they will close the second day of the Best Kept Secret Festival in the Netherlands. - Billboard, 5/8/19...... Marie OsmondMarie Osmond announced on May 7 that she will join the panel of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk, replacing Sara Gilbert one month after the Roseanne star announced her departure. Osmond -- who last appeared on the small screen in her short-lived Marie daytime talk show on the Hallmark Channel in 2013 -- has been a regular guest host on The Talk over the years. The singer/actress will join the current panel of rapper/actress Eve, Carrie Ann Inaba, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood when The Talk kicks off its 10th season on Sept. 6. I could not be more thrilled," Osmond said in video to fans. Osmond recently announced that she and brother Donny Osmond -- her co-star in the 1970s Donny & Marie variety show -- would end their 11-year run in Las Vegas later this year. "Thrilled for my sister @MarieOsmond as she takes on new role @TheTalkCBS," Donny tweeted on May 9. "Working 2 shows at once will be a challenge, but if anyone can do it, it's Marie. She makes a perfect co-host. Ladies of #TheTalk, good luck getting a word in edgewise... I ve been trying for years!," he added. - Billboard, 5/8/19...... A new documentary on Led Zeppelin is heading to the Cannes market for distribution. Bernard MacMahon, the director of the Emmy-nominated 1920's music documentary series American Epic, is helming the as-yet-untitled doc, which will feature new interviews with band members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, as well as rare archival interviews with the late John Bonham. Currently in post-production, the documentary is billed as the "definitive telling of the birth of the world's biggest-selling rock band" and will be told solely from the band's perspective, with never-before seen archive film footage and photographs and state-of-the-art audio transfers of the band's music. "When I saw everything Bernard had done both visually and sonically on the remarkable achievement that is American Epic, I knew he would be qualified to tell our story," Jimmy Page said in a statement. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/8/19...... Meat Loaf reportedly suffered a broken collarbone after he fell off a stage during a speaking engagement in Texas on May 4. The 71-year-old "Bat Out of Hell" vocalist, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, was taking part in a Q&A at the Dallas horror film convention Texas Frightmare Weekend when he suffered the fall. According to TMZ.com, Meat Loaf was treated for a broken collarbone at a local hospital and was kept in overnight. Organisers of the horror convention took to Facebook following the incident to offer their statement. "As everyone knows Meat Loaf fell today. We wanted to keep you updated as soon as we knew something," the convention wrote. "We just found out that the hospital is keeping him overnight for observation. He will not be able to return on Sunday but he has already confirmed that he will be back in 2020! He's a trooper and we are praying a speedy recovery!" Meat Loaf collapsed on stage in June 2016, and subsequently underwent a new diet and fitness regime and an emergency back operation. He told fans on Twitter in January about the current state of his health, writing: "Living in constant pain is a pain. I just what to go to work. Love you all. May you never know constant pain. Those that do I feel for you. God bless you." - New Musical Express, 5/7/19...... Robin Trower, Maxi Priest and Livingstone Browne have joined forces for a nationwide UK tour in October 2019. The three musicians have recorded a new album, United State of Mind, which will be released later in 2019. Their tour kicks off at The Picturedrome in Holmfirth on Oct. 24, then hits The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh (10/25); Boiler Shop, Newcastle (10/27); Town Hall, Birmingham (10/28) and Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (10/29). Special guest on the tour will be American blues rock vocalist Sari Schorr. - Noble PR, 5/9/19...... '70s glam-rockers Sweet will embark on a 16-date tour of the UK on Nov. 28 beginning on Nov. 28 in Frome. Currently comprised of Andy Scott (lead guitar, vocals), Bruce Bisland (drums, vocals) Tony O'Hora (lead vocals, bass) and Paul Manzi (guitar, keyboards, vocals), still tour the world extensively and have a string of top 10 records in the UK and Europe, including "Blockbuster," "Hellraiser," "Ballroom Blitz," "Teenage Rampage" and "The Sixteens." In the US, they became known in 1975 with their "Fox on the Run" hitting the No. 3 spot. "Love is Like Oxygen," written by Scott, also became a worldwide hit in 1978. Other cities on the tour include Holmfirth, Nottingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Islington, Exeter and Southampton before the tour wraps in Bexhill on Dec. 21. Tickets went on sale May 8 via www.planetrocktickets.co.uk and www.thegigcartel.com. - Noble PR, 5/8/19...... Pete TownshendRoger DaltreyThe Who kicked off their "Moving On!" North American tour on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and company were accompanied by a 49-piece orchestra on 18 of the night's 22 songs, tastefully blending rock and richness in material from Tommy and Quadrophenia. The latter's instrumental "The Rock," in fact, was the show's best moment, replicating the original album version with genuinely exciting precision. Songs from the rest of the Who's catalog varied, meanwhile, with some faring better (the rare "Imagine a Man," "Emminence Front") than others ("Who Are You"). After a particularly messy "Join Together," Townshend -- who also poked fun at the sheet music on a music stand in front of him -- even told the crowd, "It's all a bit too much, I think." The band delivered a roaring show-closing rendition of "Baba O' Riley," spotlighting touring violinist Katie Jacoby. But 28 more North American shows across two legs gives Townshend and Daltrey plenty of time to build it up to its promise, and the duo could still be credited with trying on a new challenge when it could have easily played the age-old favorites in a traditional manner yet again. - Billboard, 5/8/19...... J. R. Cobb Jr., a founding member of the '60s band Classics IV and later the '70s group Atlanta Rhythm Section, died on May 4 of a heart attack. He was 75. Born James Barney Cobb Jr. in Birmingham, Ala., and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., Cobb was a co-founder of Classics IV, which formed in Jacksonville in 1965, and co-wrote such hits as "Spooky," "Stormy" and "Traces" with Buddy Buie, the band's manager and producer. "Spooky" reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in 1968 and was later re-recorded by ARS on their 1979 Underdog album. In the spring of 1970, Cobb, who had already moved to Atlanta, worked as a session guitarist at Doraville's Studio One, where he played in a session band with members of Classics IV and The Candymen. Two years later, Cobb, along with three former members of the Candymen -- Rodney Justo, Dean Daughtry and Robert Nix -- formed ARS with Justo on vocals, Daughtry on keyboards, Nix on drums, Cobb on guitar, Barry Bailey on guitar and Paul Goddard on bass. ARS charted seven Top 40 singles on the pop chart from 1974 through 1981, their biggest hits being "So Into You" (1977) and "Imaginary Lover" (1978), which both reached No. 7. Cobb left ARS in 1986, and in 1993 he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His death was shared by his family and bandmates on the ARS Facebook page. - 5/6/19....... Zoologist Jim Fowler, best known as the longtime host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, has died at the age of 89. Mr. Fowler first co-hosted Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins beginning in 1963, then became its main host starting in 1986. Fowler, who helped preserve and protect endangered species through his educational and outreach work, made hundreds of appearances on television, including Omaha's KETV NewsWatch 7, and he would visit schools whenever he visited the city. Dennis Pate, the director of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium praised Mr. Fowler's service. "Jim Fowler was an early ambassador of wildlife conservation along with Marlin Perkins. He continued that wildlife stewardship late into his career and throughout his life. Jim set the stage for many others to follow in advancing wildlife conservation." In 2003, Mr. Fowler was honored with the Lindbergh Award for his 40 years of dedication to wildlife preservation and education. He was president of the Fowler Center for Wildlife Education, with a mission of educating the public about wildlife so they may help protect habitats and influence government policy. - AP, 5/9/19.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Neil Young announced a new book about audio quality he co-authored with his Neil Young Archives CEO Phil Baker on his official website on May 3. Titled To Feel the Music: A Songwriter's Mission to Save High-Quality Audio, the book is Young's attempt to, according to him, tell "the story of my efforts to improve the quality of audio that you hear." "It takes you through how the sound was and is compromised by the tech and record companies, and instead of improving over time like other technologies, it has become worse," Young continues. "Our book also tells the business and development story behind Pono, and then, when people wanted the convenience of streaming, how we developed Xstream high resolution streaming, the highest quality streaming in the world, as you hear it at NYA. The issue of improving audio quality has been one of the most important things we've been doing for decades, and something I focus on every day. We spent a year writing this and I think you'll find it interesting and informative." To Feel the Music is scheduled to drop on Sept. 9. Young launched a new subscription service and app in Dec. 2018 that brought together material from across his entire career. The Neil Young Archives (NYA), originally launched in 2017, includes Young's complete back catalogue of audio and visual content. - New Musical Express, 5/4/19...... Neil YoungIn more Neil Young news, the singer/songwriter is among a slew of Canadian musicians including Rufus Wainwright, k.d. lang and members of Arcade Fire who have signed the "Pact for a Green New Deal," asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal federal government to devise "an ambitious policy platform that re-tools our economy to respond to the multiple crises we are faced with today," including global climate change, decent jobs, tackling hate crimes and racism, and fulfilling outstanding promises to Indigenous peoples. "A bold and far reaching plan to cut emissions in half in 11 years in line with Indigenous knowledge and climate science, create more than a million good jobs you can support a family with, and build inclusive communities in the process," the petition states. "We need a Green New Deal -- for everyone. And we need everyone to be a part of building it." Open to the public, the petition was created by "a coalition of workers, artists, Indigenous leaders, scientists, youth, and people directly impacted by climate catastrophe." - Billboard, 5/7/19...... In related news, Queen's Brian May is calling for another concert on the epic scale of the 1985 Live Aid event will take place to tackle climate change. "It probably would take the younger generation to take that bull by the horns," May told the UK paper Daily Mirror on May 7. "We'd help in any way we can but I think that's what it would require." May and Queen played an integral role at the original Live Aid, playing what was arguably the most famous gig of their entire career, but May admits another in a long string of benefit concerts might not have the desired effect. "People have seen so many concerts since Live Aid purporting to be solving the problems of the world so it's not quite as easy as it seems," May noted. - NME, 5/7/19...... Cher performed her big hits "Believe" and "If I Could Turn Back Time" along with ABBA's "Waterloo" at the "2019 Met Gala Celebrating Camp: Notes on Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art" on May 6 in New York City. Showing off blue hair and a skin-tight glittery body suit, Cher shone on a high-camp night first with "If I Could Turn Back Time," and later transformed herself with an outfit change, appearing on stage with blonde locks, a black puffer jacket over a pink slip and jeans for a performance of "Believe" and "Waterloo." Among the attendees were Kayne West and various members of the Kardashian clan, Travis Scott and Corey Gamble. - Billboard, 5/7/19...... In a new interview with the UK paper The Sun, Elton John laments about being "too old" to have more children because he and husband David Furnish already have too much on their hands. John, 72, is already father to two sons, Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, and gushed that being a parent is "fantastic" though, even if he never expected his lifte to take this turn of events. "Ten years ago if you'd have told me that, I'd have said you're crazy," Elton said. John, who is currently on his goodbye "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, explained that as a dad he has "other things to do" with his time than taking on more parenting responsibilties, as he prepares to close the door on his touring career. He adds that he feels like now is the right time to stop performing after almost 50 years on and off the road, and his main focus will be raising his two sons, who he revealed are "girl mad," after the tour finishes. Meanwhile, a behind-the-scenes featurette of the upcoming Elton biopic Rocketman was released on May 6. In the film, fans get a look at how the superstar's wardrobe was treated for the film. Actor Taron Egerton, who plays John in the new film, said settling into the star's iconic clothing was one of the most fun parts of filming. "I have found the process of inhabiting Elton John and his wardrobe incredibly liberating," he said. The clip also introduces Julian Day, the film's costume designer, who says "What we talked about was using the basis of Elton's clothes to create our own look for him." Rocketman premiered in the UK on May 2 and will hit US theaters on May 31. TheDailyMail.co.uk/Billboard, 5/3/19...... A George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Musical Achievement Award that was to be presented to Don McLean by the Student Alumni Association of University of California, Los Angeles, has been rescinded after the association learned that McLean was involved in a domestic violence assault incident in 2016. McLean, 73, pleaded guilty to domestic violence assault against his then wife Patrisha McLean, and the case was dismissed after he met the terms of a plea agreement. The couple are now divorced. A spokesman for McLean called it "disrespectful" for an award to be rescinded over failure to conduct due diligence on a widely reported incident. Past recipients of the award include Julie Andrews, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. - AP, 5/7/19...... Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang has announced he plans on raising $30 million by May 10 in a last ditch attempt to save his floundering Woodstock 50th anniversary concert, set for Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International speedway, 150 miles east of the original 1969 Woodstock festival site. Lang estimates that he will need $30 million to stage the three-day concert, in addition to the $30 million Japanese firm Dentsu already spent on headliners for the festival including Jay-Z, Dead & Company, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus and Chance the Rapper. Officials with Dentsu previously said that their announcement on Apr. 28 to withdraw from Woodstock 50 meant the anniversary festival would be canceled, but Lang disagreed and said he would continue to produce the festival without Dentsu or producer Rick Farman from Superfly, which issued a statement on May 1 saying New York City-based promoter "will no longer be participating" in Woodstock 50. It is unclear if Lang will be able to raise the $30 million he needs, with promoters Live Nation and AEG already passing on offers to invest in the event, or if the artists announced to perform at the festival are still obligated to perform. - Billboard, 5/6/19...... Diana RossChaka KhanThe final two days of the 8-day 2019 New Orleans Jazz Fest were closed out in style with headlining sets from Diana Ross on May 4 and Chaka Khan on May 5. On May 4, Ross hit the stage with, appropriately, a gangbusters rendition of "I'm Coming Out" as her first song. She followed that with "More Today Than Yesterday" and her first words to the crowd: "If you know these songs, you gotta join in and sing with me, okay?" "This is my Diamond Jubilee!" Ross later told the crowd. "So if I'm 75, you can do it too, come on!" Ross finished her performance with such nuggets as "Love Hangover," "Ease on Down the Road" from The Wiz, and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." She went beyond her time with an encore of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," and reprised the song for a second encore. Ross also made headlines as she traveled home after the festival, blaming the Transportation Security Administration for an "over the top!!" screening at the New Orleans airport that "made her want to cry." The Motown legend posted on Twitter that she felt "violated" by an airport screener who touched her between her legs. "On one hand I'm treated like royalty in New Orleans and at the airport I was treated like shit," she wrote. The TSA responded in a statement: "TSA is aware of concerns presented by Diana Ross about her screening experience at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport this morning. Initial review of CCTV indicates that the officers involved with Ms. Ross's screening correctly followed all protocols, however, TSA leadership will continue to investigate the matter further. We encourage Ms. Ross to reach out to TSA so we can work with her directly to address her concerns." The following afternoon, Chaka Khan played the crowd-pleasing funk she's known for playing to an absolutely packed and scorching Congo Square Stage. Khan opened with "This Is My Night," with its bright synth horns, and "Do You Love What You Feel" and "Tell Me Something Good," two more Rufus jams. She followed them with "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me?" a "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" for the '80s, with her soaring vocal runs on the outro. She then performed a medley of Rufus songs, including "Stay" and "Sweet Thang." Attendance estimates for 2019 NOJF are expected to surpass the 2018 festival, which drew upwards of 60,000 or so attendees daily. - Billboard/AP, 5/6/19...... Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was a surprise guest at the fifth annual "Ride For Ronnie" Ronnie James Dio charity event in Encino, Calif., on May 5. Grohl was part of a special live band who covered Motörhead and Thin Lizzy during the charity show. Grohl played drums during the gig in a band which was comprised of the Black Star Riders' Ricky Warwick and Robbie Crane, as well as the former Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson. Together, the quartet performed covers of Motörhead's "Bomber" and Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak." "I am here on this beautiful day in Encino [because] everybody loves Ronnie James Dio," Grohl told those who attended the event. "He was my neighbor actually; we lived down the street from each other. "I encourage everybody to come out and support the cause, because it's a beautiful day with a bunch of beautiful people and we hope to see you next year." - New Musical Express, 5/7/19...... Bruce Springsteen showed up at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood at the opening night of the Netflix FYSEE "Springsteen On Broadway" event on May 5 to, by his own admission complete strangers for their vote." During the event, which promoted The Boss's Broadway special before Emmy voters, Springsteen and director Martin Scorsese discussed the film of "Springsteen on Broadway" in an often humorous and personal chat. Springsteen and Scorsese first met in 1975 when the legendary director and Robert DeNiro went to a Springsteen concert at the Roxy in Los Angeles. But it was about 30 minutes into the 40-minute talk that Springsteen said what any Bruce fan wanted to hear: "There will be another tour with the E Street Band. "I've spent about seven years not writing anything for the band. I couldn't write anything for the band," confessed Springsteen, whose new solo album, Western Stars, drops June 14. "And then about a month or so ago, I wrote almost an album's worth of material for the band and it came out of just I mean I know where it came from, but at the same time, it just came out of almost nowhere. I had almost two weeks of those daily visitations and it was so nice. It makes you so happy. You go, 'Fine, I'm not f---ed.' There'll be another tour." The news brought a cheer from the 200-person audience, who were also treated to a two-song acoustic performance of "Dancing In the Dark" and "Land of Hope and Dreams" by Springsteen. Meanwhile, the previous evening Springsteen made a surprise appearance with E Street Band member Little Steven Van Zandt at Van Zandt's Disciples of Soul show at Beverly Hills' Saban Theater. Springsteen joined Steven Van Zandt's band -- which was celebrating the May 3 release of their new album Summer of Sorcery -- for renditions of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "Sun City" and "I Don't Want to Go Home." - Billboard, 5/6/19...... The BeatlesThe new Beatles tribute film Yesterday from director Danny Boyle premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on May 4. Right before Boyle unveiled his new film, he shared a quick anecdote about filming inside the Mersey Tunnel in the Fab Four's native Liverpool. A local construction worker stopped him, he said, and gave him a stern warning about the project: "Don't f---k it Up." From all indications, he didn't. Oscar-winning Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) have crafted a crowd-pleaser that aims to delight, and when the musical rom-com fantasy is released to the masses on June 28, it will certainly be anointed as the "feel-good picture of the summer." In Yesterday, Boyle allows fans to re-experience the Beatles' songs as if they're brand-new. After a freak 12-second global blackout and a bus accident that landed main character Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) in the hospital and wrecked his guitar, he's gifted a new instrument by his friends once he's on the mend. Turns out Jack is the only human on Earth to have heard of the Beatles or their unparalleled repertoire following that unexpected, dimension-shifting blink. When Jack straps on an electric guitar and performs a sizzling rendition of "Help!" the feeling is exhilarating. As his popularity grows into "Hard Day's Night"-levels, there's a sense that sooner rather than later someone will and should figure out that "The Long and Winding Road" is not an original and Jack must face a serious reckoning. - Billboard, 5/5/19...... A federal judge in Mississippi has dismissed most of a lawsuit in which rock 'n' roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis alleged a daughter had stolen money from him. U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers ruled on Apr. 25 that most claims were barred by a three-year statute of limitations. Judge Biggers left alive only claims by Lewis' son and current wife that they were defamed by online comments from the daughter's husband. The lawsuit is another fracture in the often difficult personal life of the 83-year-old pianist and singer known as "The Killer." The Louisiana native and survivor from the dawn of rock now lives in Nesbit, Miss. Lewis suffered a stroke in February and canceled upcoming performances. - Billboard, 5/3/19...... A former accountant for Deep Purple has been sentenced to six years and four months in a UK prison for stealing £2.2million from the band. Dipak Rao was sentenced on Apr. 30 after it was revealed that he transferred large sums of money from the accounts of Deep Purple Overseas Ltd and HEC Enterprises Ltd -- both of which he was a director of -- into his own account. Rao then invested the cash into a number of money-making schemes that all turned out to be scams, resulting in Rao losing the money. Discovering Rao's wrongdoings in 2014, he was sued by the surviving founding members of Deep Purple (Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice) and the estates of the late Jon Lord and their former manager Tony Edwards in early 2017. Edwards' children were said to have become suspicious when they inherited some of the band's business following their father's death in 2010. "The stress that we have been under during this time is immeasurable," said a statement from Tony Edwards' daughter, read out in court. "He has devastated the legacy that my father spent his life building. This devastation was brought about by a man that we had known for years and trusted." Pleading guilty to fraud by abuse of position and transferring criminal property, Rao is due to serve at least half of his prison sentence and has been disqualified from being the director of any business until 2028. - New Musical Express, 5/2/19...... Stevie Wonder was among the family and friends of recently deceased director John Singleton at his Los Angeles funeral on May 6. The private service was held at Angelus Funeral Home in South Los Angeles, the neighborhood formerly known as South Central, where Singleton spent part of his childhood and where his career-defining film, Boyz N the Hood, was set. Also paying their respects were Rep. Maxine Waters, Ice Cube, Ludacris and actors Ving Rhames and Taraji P. Henson. The service came a week after Singleton s family announced that he had died at age 51, days after he suffered a stroke. - AP, 5/7/19...... Led_ZeppelinSongs by Frank Sinatra, Ed Sheeran, Led Zeppelin, Meat Loaf and Robbie Williams are the most popular songs played at funerals in the UK, according to a new poll by Co-op Funeralcare. Sinatra's "My Way"' topped the latest chart drawn up by the UK's biggest chain of funeral directors, but for the first time since the biennial exercise began in 2002 not a single traditional hymn made it into the top ten. "Supermarket Flowers" -- Sheeran's tribute to his late grandmother, written from the perspective of his mother -- has entered the roundup at No. 6. Other popular choices included Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" and Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell," while "Angels" by Robbie Williams is the most requested pop tune, said the Co-op. "What people want more than anything at a funeral is a combination of the personal and the familiar," Rev. Dr. Jeremy Brooks, a member of a Church of England focus group working on funerals, told The Guardian. "Contemporary lyrics, classical music and songs that have been the soundtrack of our lives are all valuable in helping people remember and grieve. For a family to be able to choose particular songs for a funeral led by a church minister -- whether the music is expressly religious or not -- is an important part of any service," he added. - NME, 5/3/19...... Stephen I. Diener, a music and entertainment executive who served as president of ABC Records in the late '70s where he worked with such artists as Steely Dan, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett and the Commodores, died on Apr. 30 at his home in Coral Gables, Florida. He was 80. After graduating from Tulane University, Mr. Diener began his professional career in New York at the firms Young & Rubicam and Revlon. Pursuing a love for the arts and entertainment, he entered the music industry and held various executive positions at CBS Records International before departing to Paris to head CBS Records France. Mr. Diener then moved to Los Angeles where he was named president of ABC Records in 1977. In the early '80s, Mr. Diener relocated to Miami and returned to CBS International, where he helmed the marketing operations of the European and Latin American divisions. Later, as a pioneer in the home video business, he was named president of 20th Century Fox Video. - Billboard, 5/3/19...... Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the iconic Star Wars character Chewbacca in the original Star Wars trilogy, Episode 3 of the prequels and the new trilogy, died on Apr. 30 in his North Texas home with his family by his side. He was 74. The 7-foot-2-inch tall Mayhew was plucked from obscurity in 1976, when he was working as an orderly at London's King's College Hospital. Producer Charles H. Schneer cast him as a minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger after seeing a photograph of Mayhew in an article about a man with large feet. That lead to Mayhew being cast as Chewbacca in 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, and the rest is history. "He put his heart and soul into Chewbacca and it showed in every frame of the films, from his knock kneed running, firing his bowcaster from the hip, his bright blue eyes, down to each subtle movement of his head and mouth," his family said in a statement. Mayhew was a mainstay at Star Wars conventions around the world, including the bi-annual "Star Wars Celebration," and he was heavily involved in the Make-A-Wish foundation, Wounded Warriors and the Star Wars organization the 501st Legion, a fan collective that creates authentic props and costumes. He also established The Peter Mayhew Foundation, which supported individuals and families in crisis situations, providing "food and supplies for children of Venezuela during their recent road to freedom." - DailyMail.co.uk, 5/2/19.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Neil Young announced on Apr. 28 that he'll drop a previously unreleased live album recorded with his then backing band the Stray Gators in 1973 on June 7. Called Tuscaloosa, the live album originally recorded on Feb. 5, 1973 at the University of Alabama features songs from such classic Young albums as Harvest and Time Fades Away. With a total of 11 tracks, Tuscaloosa is shorter than the original performance because the show tape didn't capture the whole thing, according to Young's engineer, John Hanlon, who says "The Loner" wasn't included because "it was out of tune" and "On The Way Home" is absent simply as it appears on too many other live albums. Young defended the decision to leave out those two songs on his Neil Young Archives website: "I still make those decisions because I am here on the planet. However, those two versions will be available in the archives for members to hear. I have no plans to release everything I have ever recorded. Some of it is just not good enough." - NME, 4/28/19...... Joe PerryAerosmith guitarist Joe Perry's "Bladerunner" guitar, which he famously played in the "Walk This Way" video with Run-D.M.C., is part of the new "Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll" exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. "I was really honored to think a guitar I played would have enough gravitas to make it into the Met," Perry told Billboard during a break at Aerosmith's current "Deuces Are Wild" residency at Las Vegas' Park MGM. "There's a thousand great guitar players out there who have contributed to the last 50, 70 years of rock n' roll. To be asked to have even one guitar in that display is a real honor. The guitar I picked -- I'm sure there are plenty of Les Pauls and Stratocasters and those guitars that have played a big part in my career in the studio and on the stage -- but that guitar was in a video that was pretty pivotal," Perry added. Perry says his Bladerunner has "a little different sound than what I usually like, but it's got a good neck on it, it's a well-built guitar." "I actually went online and I couldn't find one," he noted. " don't know how many they made; the guy who gave it to me from the Guild said it was a prototype. I had another one duplicated from a guitar-maker friend of mine, so I have two, just in case something happens to the original. They're very rare, I don't know how many they made actually." Aerosmith began their Las Vegas residency on Apr. 6, with many of the scheduled 18 shows already sold out. Beginning Aug. 8, they'll play 9 shows at the The Theater at MGM Grand Harbor in National Harbor, Maryland. - Billboard, 4/30/19...... On Apr. 29 Ozzy Osbourne released a list of rescheduled dates for his "No More Tours 2" tour, which the heavy metal had been forced to postpone after being laid up with a variety of health issues for much of the new year. Ozzy will kick off the European leg of his 19-city tour in his native country on Jan. 31 with a show at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. He'll also be visiting Dublin, Manchester, Newcastle, London, Glasgow and and Birmingham in the next two weeks, before playing several cities on the continent through a Mar. 16 gig in Zurich. Osbourne also rescheduled 27 North American dates, which starts with a show in Atlanta on May 27 and runs through a July 31 concert in Las Vegas. "I'm really looking forward to getting back to Europe for these shows," Osbourne said in a statement. "Thank you to all the fans for sticking with me and waiting for the new dates to be announced. I can't wait to see you all next year." - Billboard, 4/29/19...... Meanwhile, Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne and Gene Simmons of KISS are among the names speaking out against a suggested boycott of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. Set for Tel Aviv in May with headliner Madonna confirmed to perform, the annual competition has sparked much controversy due to its location. Earlier in 2019, Peter Gabriel, Vivienne Westwood and Wolf Alice were among the signatories of an open letter calling for the BBC to boycott the contest in solidarity with Palestine -- arguing that taking part would be "a dubious honour" for "any artist of conscience." Now, Simmons, Osbourne and over 100 other public figures have signed a letter arguing against a boycott, claiming that it would only work against the show's "spirit of togetherness" and ultimately "subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division." Meanwhile, the BBC is denying that Eurovision had any political associations. "The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance and diversity and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC's participation for political reasons," the UK broadcaster said. "Because of this, we will be taking part in this year's event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC." The first run of semi-finals for Eurovision 2019 begin on May 14, before the final takes place on May 18. - New Musical Express, 4/30/19...... Former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung is working on his first solo album since his 2009 effort One Hundred Years From Now, despite his feeling that the current music business "is as crass and as unrewarding as it has ever been." "It's a lot of work, and there's no radio to play it... I couldn't see any reason to do it," DeYoung recently told Billboard. DeYoung has written eight new songs with his neighbor in Chicago and former Survivor/Ides of March principal Jim Peterik for the new album, and one of the songs, the proggy and soul-searching "Proof of Heaven," is out now, with a video, and will appear on solo albums by both men. DeYoung is currently touring his "The Grand Illusion 40th Anniversary Album Tour" as well as his "The Music of Styx" shows, and acknowledges it is interfering with his as-yet-untitled solo album's completion. "I just tell people the party's going on... it's gonna go on just as long as they want to come and see it," he says. - Billboard, 4/29/19...... Van MorrisonAs the 2019 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival continues in the Crescent City, Van Morrison and Bonnie Raitt brought down the house on Day 4 on Apr. 28 at the Fair Grounds Race Course. "This is the greatest festival in the world for artists of all stripes," Bonnie Raitt told the crowd as she performed on the Acura Stage at 3:40 p.m., adding that the NOJF was "an endangered species." Raitt had kind words for singer/songwriter John Prine, who she noted was "having a helluva year," by way of introducing "Angel From Montgomery," which Prine penned but she popularized. She remarked on the 30th anniversary of her classic Nick of Time LP before playing "Something to Talk About." After performing a funked-up version of that album's "Love Letter" that she dedicated to "all the New Orleans funk greats," Raitt wound down her set with the maudlin "I Can't Make You Love Me." At 5:35 p.m., Van Morrison took the stage, starting out his set with Muddy Waters' "Baby Please Don't Go" (as in, "down to New Orleans," in an offering to locals) with a vocal effects mic as well as Waters' "Got My Mojo Working." The Celtic crooner also treated fans to a beloved romantic ballad of his from his 1989 Avalon Sunset album, "Have I Told You Lately," with Morrison on sax, soloing alongside his bandmates. Later on in his set, Morrison performed the light-as-air "Moondance," and ended his set with a trio of killers: "Wild Night," "Real Real Gone" and, of course, "Brown Eyed Girl." - Billboard, 4/29/19...... The Rolling Stones announced on Apr. 30 that they'll reissue their classic 1968 The Rock and Roll Circus film on June 7 in the US and June 28 in the UK. Originally conceived as a BBC-TV special, The Rock and Roll Circus was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg (the Beatles' Let It Be) and recorded in front of a live audience in London in 1968. It also featured performances from The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono, as well as "supergroup" The Dirty Mac - consisting of Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and John Lennon. Unheard tracks by the collective will be available on the new release for the first time ever. The film has received a 4K Dolby Vision restoration for Blu-ray and DVD, with the soundtrack also remixed and expanded to 28 songs and set to be released on double CD and triple vinyl sets. A Limited Deluxe Edition will include the film on Blu-Ray ray and DVD, plus the 2-CD expanded soundtrack, and a 44-page booklet with custom foldout gatefold design. Meanwhile in other band news, Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has shared an update on Mick Jagger's health after the singer underwent surgery: "Sally [Humphreys, Wood's wife] and I went on a break to the Caribbean with Keith [Richards] and Patti [Hansen], and we sent him videos of us playing and singing 'get well' songs on the guitar," Wood said. "[Jagger] was amused and impressed!" Wood added. "He is doing really well. I spoke to him yesterday and he's feeling great." - New Musical Express, 4/30/19...... Concert promoter Michael Lang, the co-organizer of the beleaguered 50th anniversary Woodstock festival set for Watkins Glen, N.Y., on Aug. 16-18, is vowing to keep his celebration of the iconic 1969 festival alive after its primary funding partner Dentsu Aegis Network withdrew its financial commitment and announced the "cancellation" of Woodstock 50 over concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness, and permitting issues. Lang, who co-founded the original Woodstock festival, has hired well-known New York trial lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz, who has represented Pres. Donald Trump in the past, in an effort to calm the storm surrounding Woodstock 50's immediate future. Kasowitz issued an industry-wide statement on Apr. 30 which declared that Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the festival, and instructed "all stakeholders, including the entertainers" to proceed as planned, even though representatives from two major talent agencies with headliners booked for the event said Dentsu's decision to pull out of the event "voids their contract and releases them from playing the festival." Speaking to the New York Times, Michael Lang said that he and the other organizers of Woodstock 50 are currently "in talks with investors who are anxious to come in" and save the festival. "We have a short window to put this back together. That's obvious," Lang added. "We feel it's enough time, and there is enough interest, that we think we will accomplish it." In a separate statement issued by Lang a few days earlier, he cited the memory of the chaotic staging of the original 1969 festival as inspiration for how Woodstock 50 could get back on track. "It's deja vu all over again... it seems in a way that history is repeating itself," he wrote. "In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go, we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!" More than 80 artists, including John Fogerty, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, the Black Keys and Chance the Rapper, are expected to perform on three main stages at Watkins Glen International racetrack in the Finger Lakes for Woodstock 50. The original Woodstock was held on a farm in Bethel, New York, that is now run as an attraction by The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. That venue has its own anniversary event Aug. 16-18 with performances by Fogerty, Santana and Ringo Starr. - New Musical Express/AP, 5/2/19...... Linda RonstadtThe Sound of My Voice, a new Linda Ronstadt documentary that traces the singer's rise in Los Angeles clubs to opening for Neil Young and eventually packing many of those arenas herself in the years that followed, made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Apr. 26. Such Ronstadt collaborators as David Geffen, Ry Cooder, J.D. Souther, Don Henley and Cameron Crowe all weigh in with their recollections, but present-day Linda, who retired from music in 2011 just before being diagnosed with Parkinson's, only plays a minor role in the film, appearing briefly at the beginning and end of the picture and in voiceovers. The bulk of the narration is stitched together from more than 50 years' worth of interviews, a triumph of both research and clever storytelling. Sheryl Crow was on hand to close the premiere with a short set of Ronstadt nuggets, including "When Will I Be Loved," "Tumbling Dice" and "You're No Good" -- before introducing her own "My Favorite Mistake" and gushing about Ronstadt's influence on her own career. The Sound of My Voice is based on Ronstadt's 2013 autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, and comes from filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. - Billboard, 4/29/19...... A Los Angeles man who claims he was the victim of a gay hate crime perpetrated by Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal's son Redmond O'Neal is suing O'Neal for over $100 million in damages. Ken Fox claims he was walking down the street while singing opera on May 2, 2018. Fox says he passed by O'Neal, who then looked at him and said, "What are you looking at, f----t?" Before he could react, Fox claims O'Neal then struck him in the head with a bottle (or another hard object), breaking his nose. Fox says he then fell to the ground and O'Neal began punching him as he hurled more expletives. O'Neal eventually fled the scene and ended up getting arrested several days later after he allegedly committed several other crimes. He was eventually charged with attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, brandishing a knife and battery. Fox has now filed a statement of damages with the court, saying he is going after O'Neal for $15 million for pain and suffering and another $15 million for emotional distress. After the addition of medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, attorneys fees and punitive damages, it adds up to over $100 million in damages. O'Neal is still behind bars awaiting trial on a slew of charges stemming from his latest crime spree. - TheBlast.com, 4/30/19...... Detroit rock concert promoter Russ Gibb, who promoted hundreds of concerts by the likes of The Who, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa as well as being responsible for the infamous "Paul (McCartney) Is Dead" rumors that began in 1969, died on Apr. 30 in Garden City, Mich., after years of declining health. He was 87. First working as a teacher, Mr. Gibb moved into music by working part-time at WKNR in Dearborn, Mich., and DJing at local sock hops -- where he "made more money in one night than in about three weeks of teaching." He was already operating the Grande when he made international news via the "Paul is Dead" rumor. It began on Oct. 12, 1969, during his radio shift at Detroit's WKNR when Gibb took a call from a listener claiming that the Beatles bassist had died in 1966 and been replaced by a cosmetically altered look-alike. The caller encouraged Gibb to play the group's "Revolution 9" backwards, with its purported message of "turn me on dead man," setting off a firestorm of speculation that spread around the world. "The whole thing just exploded," Gibb recalled. "The phones were ringing off the hook. People were calling with their own clues. It was non-stop." Gibb laughed as he remembered the station's owner telling him, "Whatever you're doing, just keep doing it." He even called Eric Clapton, a friend in England, to ask if he knew anything about it. "He told me, 'Come to think of it, I haven't seen Paul for awhile...' "It was really a phenomenon. For a while, it seemed like it might really be true." McCartney called the rumor "bloody stupid" when Life magazine reporters found him in Scotland shortly after, but in 2009 he told David Letterman that, "I just laughed it off but it was a little strange because people did start looking at me like...'Is it him or a very good double?'" Mr. Gibb also owned the Grande Ballroom in Detroit -- one of the key theaters on the early U.S. rock n' roll circuit during the late '60s and early '70s -- and made it one of the country's premier rock venues during its six-year run. The Grande was defined by extravagant light shows -- including the first strobe light in the U.S., Gibb claimed -- and psychedelic poster art as well as often mixed-genre bills. Roger Daltrey of The Who -- which gave the rock opera "Tommy" its U.S. premiere on May 9, 1969 at the Grande -- noted that the venue "was one of THOSE places, the ones you had to play when you came to America. If you played there it was a sign that you were important." Mr. Gibb closed the Grande during 1972, after a six-year run, over financial concerts and when national acts "started using their own (opening) bands and Detroit bands were being squeezed out." He went on to his career as an educator and, until 2016, maintained an active website that included an outspoken blog called At Random. Tributes to Mr. Gibb were posted by Wayne Kramer of the Detroit band The MC5 ("he was one of a kind") and Alice Cooper ("when nobody else would book us, Uncle Russ would"). - Billboard, 5/1/19...... Maureen McCormickFormer The Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick says she is not happy with an anti-vaccination group that has been using a clip of herself and other Brady Bunch actors to downplay the seriousness of measles, which is currently having its largest outbreak in the US since the disease was declared eliminated in nationwide 2000. The "anti-vaxer" group is referencing an episode of The Brady Bunch from 1969 in which McCormick, who played Marcia Brady on the iconic sitcom, catches measles along with her other siblings. In it Marcia says, "If you have to get sick, you sure can't beat the measles." "I think it's really wrong when people use people's images today to promote whatever they want to promote and the person's image they're using, they haven't asked or they have no idea where they stand on the issue," McCormick told NPR. She also added that her own daughter was vaccinated. "Having the measles was not a fun thing," McCormick recalled of when she contracted measles as a child. "I remember it spread through my family," she added. Most cases in the United States have emerged in communities with low rates of vaccination against the virus, according to public health officials. Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes or if someone comes into direct contact with them or shares germs by touching the same objects or surfaces. Measles symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes and a rash of red spots. - CNN, 4/29/19...... Rock vocalist Phil McCormack, who took over as lead singer of the Southern Rock act Molly Hatchet in 1992, died on Apr. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes at age 58. McCormack -- who previously performed in The Roadducks and Savoy Brown -- joined the Southern rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1971 in 1995, taking over for longtime singer Danny Joe Brown, who passed away in 2005. With his gritty, soulful voice, McCormack became the band's official full-time lead singer in 1995 and fronted the group until his death, appearing on seven albums, including 1996's Devil's Canyon, 2000's Kingdom of XII and 2012's covers album Regrinding the Axes. "Wherever he performed he gave his all," McCormick's family posted on Apr. 29. "Phil loved his audiences and they loved him." - Billboard, 4/29/19.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

'70s artists are well represented on a new pop-up SiriusXM radio channel counting down the top songs of the 1980s and 1990s. Olivia-Newton John's "Physical" crowned the 1980s chart, while Santana and Rob Thomas' "Smooth" was named the most popular song of the 1990s. "Physical" led the weekly Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-tying 10 weeks, beginning in November 1981, with "Smooth" leading the Hot 100 for 12 weeks, beginning in October 1999, marking Santana's first No. 1 a record 30 years after the Carlos Santana-fronted act's first appearance on the chart. SiriusXM partnered with Billboard for the pop-up channel countdowns. - Billboard, 4/24/19...... Meanwhile, SiriusXM has announced special Willie Nelson programming in the last weekend of April to celebrate the country icon's 86th birthday on Apr. 30. "Willie Nelson's 4-Day Birthday Weekend" gets underway on the curated Willie's Roadhouse channel on Apr. 27 at 7:00 p.m. EDT, featuring a conversation between Nelson and his daughter Paula and his full 45-minute Luck Reunion performance. It will be repeated on Apr. 28 at 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Apr. 29 at noon and 6 p.m. and Apr. 30 at midnight and 8:00 p.m. - Billboard, 4/26/19...... Cameron CroweA musical based on the beloved '70s-themed acclaimed 2000 movie Almost Famous will have its world premiere in San Diego on Sept. 13 at The Old Globe Theater, producers Lia Vollack announced on Apr. 26. The city is the hometown of the movie's director, Cameron Crowe, and is based on his own teenage adventures as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and where he set the story. "The story has always been a personal one for me and it is a special thrill that we are coming to the Old Globe," Crowe said in a statement. "We used to live in an apartment on Sixth Street across from Balboa Park and the Old Globe. I first met [rock critic] Lester Bangs less than a mile away from where the 'Almost Famous' musical will open. It all feels a little bit like fun destiny to bring this story about loving music back to San Diego, where it all began." The show will open the 2019-2020 season at the Old Globe, with the musical's book written by Crowe based on his Oscar-winning screenplay, with music by two-time Tony winner Tom Kitt and lyrics by Kitt and Crowe; the show will be directed by Tony nominee Jeremy Herrin. Set in 1973, the story unfolds in the twilight of the Watergate-besieged Richard Nixon presidency, and follows idealistic 15 year-old aspiring music journalist William Miller. "'Almost Famous' is about a young man finding his place in the world and the indelible characters he meets along the way, featuring classic hits, in addition to the new songs by Kitt," according to a press release. Casting and other news about the show, which is co-produced by Columbia Live Stage, will be announced at a later date. - Billboard, 4/26/19...... A&M Records co-founder and '60s band leader Herb Alpert will hold his annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) event in New York on May 13. Alpert, 84, established HAAIA 25 years ago in response to cutbacks in government funding for the arts, and he says the situation hasn't changed. "The politicians don't get it," says Alpert. "The heart and soul of a country is shaped by its artists." Each year, the Herb Alpert Foundation offers a $75,000 prize (it previously was $50,000) to boundary-pushing midcareer artists, one each in the categories of dance, film and video, music, theater and visual arts. During his 50-year career, the Los Angeles native led The Tijuana Brass, won nine Grammys and, with his partner Jerry Moss, co-founded A&M Records, which the two sold to PolyGram in 1989. But he remains humble: "We started out very inconspicuously in my garage," he says of his early days. Using the funds from album royalties and the A&M sale, he established the foundation to support arts education, inspired by his decision to pick up a trumpet in his own school's music class. Alpert says he removes himself from both the process of selecting winners and the logistics of running HAAIA so there's "no corruption," but his discerning taste and generous spirit permeate the awards nonetheless. "The artists that we gravitate toward," he says, "have that certain something." - Billboard, 4/26/19...... In related news, Paul McCartney is criticizing the UK government after Liverpool's Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) reportedly lost £16 million in funding. The institution, which the former Beatle co-founded, claims a "series of errors, made in 2016, cost the institute in potential funding and a further £160,000 for the initial steps of a judicial review." An investigation has now been launched by the Parliamentary Ombudsman over how the Office for Students disqualified LIPA. "I helped to bring LIPA into life during very difficult times for Liverpool. It is now a highly respected institution all over the world," said Sir Paul in a statement. "Our funding was recently affected by what to me, and the heads of every university in Liverpool, was a flawed process. LIPA is my passion and part of my legacy. It would not be fair to allow injustice to affect its future. I sincerely hope the Government will correct this error and help us to continue our work successfully into the future," he added. - New Musical Express, 4/25/19...... In other Beatles-related news, the 2009 John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy is being adapted as a musical for the theatre stage. Based on a book written by the late Beatle's half-sister Julia Baird, the film Nowhere Boy depicted Lennon's teenage years and starred Aaron Johnson as the musician. Kristin Scott Thomas, David Morrissey and Anne-Marie Duff also starred, while Sam Taylor-Wood made her directorial debut with the movie. The musical will largely follow the narrative that was set out in the original film, which focused on the Quarrymen-era Lennon and the relationships he had with his mother, Julia Lennon, and Julia's older sister, Mimi Smith. The musical's producer, Dayna Lee, said that, as was the case with the movie, this focus on Lennon's aunt and mother will depict "two very different women, very powerful in different ways." Lennon's wido Yoko Ono is aware of the project "but has no involvement." As with the film version of Nowhere Boy, the musical will not include Beatles songs -- but will instead use rock and roll hits from the late 1950s. - NME, 4/23/19...... Bruce SpringsteenIt was revealed on Apr. 25 that Bruce Springsteen's first new studio album in more than five years will be released on June 14 by Columbia Records. Western Stars, Springsteen's 19th LP, draws inspiration from the Southern California pop records of the late '60s and early '70s. It was primarily recorded at the musician's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. "This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements," said Springsteen in a statement. "It's a jewel box of a record." Western Stars' 13 tracks -- all written by Springsteen -- are described as "encompass[ing] a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope." Western Stars was co-produced by Springsteen with Ron Aniello, who also produced the artist's last two studio albums, 2012's Wrecking Ball and 2014's High Hopes. Patti Scialfa, a long-time member of Springsteen's E Street Band who has been married to the musician since 1991, provided vocals and contributed vocal arrangements on four tracks. The first single and video from Western Stars, "Hello Sunshine," was released on Apr. 26. The four-minute, mid-tempo ballad features the Boss's melancholy vocals over a quickly strummed acoustic guitar, with a repeating piano figure coming in as the song's chorus is introduced with a touch of pedal steel guitar. - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer was absent during the eighth night of the band's "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vegas residency at the Park MGM on Apr. 23. He was replaced by his drum tech, John Douglas, after the 68-year-old suffered a minor accident, the band later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "Joey had a minor accident and is totally fine, but he hurt his shoulder in the process so he won't be playing tomorrow," read the statement, which did not describe the injury. Douglas also replaced Kramer for the band's Apr. 26 show. - Billboard, 4/26/19...... A new David Bowie demo collection called The Mercury Demos after his former label will be released by Rhino/Parlophone Records on June 28. Songs on the album were recorded live in one take in the late musician's flat in 1969, and feature Bowie singing and playing guitar and Stylophone. John "Hutch" Hutchinson also appears on guitar and vocals. The 10-track LP will also include an early version of "Space Oddity," which according to a press release will be "presented in its true context for the first time." The rest of The Mercury Demos will be comprised of Bowie originals including "Conversation Piece" and "An Occasional Dream," a cover of Roger Bunn's "Life Is A Circus," and Lesley Duncan's "Love Song." The latter was later covered by Elton John for his 1971 album Tumbleweed Connection. "Janine" features a brief section sung to the melody of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." The album will be released in a replica of the original tape box and will feature one mono 33 1/3 RPM vinyl, one print, two photo contact sheets, and sleeve notes by Mark Adams. The collection will follow another box-set called Clareville Grove Demos. That set will also include a version of "Life Is A Circus" and will mark the 50th anniversary of "Space Oddity." - New Musical Express, 4/26/19...... Paul Simon announced on Apr. 23 that he's donating all net proceeds from his upcoming 2019 Outside Lands Festival performance to two environmental organizations, the San Francisco Parks Alliance and Friends of the Urban Forest. The Outside Lands Festival will take place Aug. 9-11 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Other performers will include Childish Gambino, Kacey Musgraves, Mavis Staples, Twenty One Pilots, Lil Wayne, Blink-182 and Ella Mai. Simon, 77, retired from touring last year but plans to perform occasionally at benefit concerts. In a statement, Simon says he's "pleased to be playing in San Francisco with its well-deserved reputation for being in the forefront of environmental issues." - AP, 4/23/19...... Actor Taron Egerton, the star of the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman, says he understands why gay actors would feel more suited to the role of Elton. "It's easy for me to sit here as a white, heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want. But I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this is an opportunity for which they would be better suited," Egerton recently told the UK's Attitude magazine. "The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play him in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay. I want to live in a world where people are excited about playing people who are different from themselves. I believe that there is something inclusive and progressive about that," he added. Rocketman is set to premiere in the U.K. on May 2 and the U.S. on May 31. - NME, 4/25/19...... Donald FagenSteely Dan brought their sophisticated ecstasy to their new Vegas residency, dubbed "Reelin' In the Chips 2," at the Venetian at its debut on Apr. 24, with band co-founder Donald Fagan fully front and center after the death of Walter Becker in 2017. The team accompanying Fagen in 2019 is a practically flawless assortment of instrumental pros -- much like the cast of studio pros who played on Steely Dan's '70s albums -- whose every guitar riff, horn vamp or silky backup vocal brings to mind the original studio version without feeling like a slavish recreation. Before delving into "FM (No Static At All)," the title track to the forgotten 1978 comedy starring Martin Mull, Fagan noted: "This is a song we wrote -- I'm talking about my partner Walter Becker -- for a movie that was kind of a stinker. It was okay, could have used a little help on the screenplay." Fagen and his band also trotted out such classics as "Reelin' In the Years," "Peg," "My Old School," "Hey Nineteen," "Aja" and "Dirty Work." "I hope we're good -- or at least passable," Fagen told the crowd at one point. - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Meanwhile, Sting announced on Apr. 24 that he'll headline a new Las Vegas residency, "Sting: My Songs," beginning May 22, 2020. The 16-show residency will take place at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and explore Sting's decades-long catalog, including his hits with The Police and his solo work. "I'm thrilled to announce that my brand new Las Vegas residency "Sting: My Songs" will be opening at the legendary Caesars Colosseum in May of 2020!," Sting tweeted on Apr. 24. Before he heads to Vegas, Sting has a string of projects in the works: He'll tour the United Kingdom with Shaggy (they won the best reggae album Grammy this year for their collaborative album 44/876); he has a number of solo shows in the United States and around the world; and he will release a new album that re-imagines some of his biggest hits, My Songs, on May 24. - Billboard, 4/24/19...... The producers of an upcoming new Michael Jackson musical have said that production will continue regardless of controversial claims made against the pop star in recent documentary Leaving Neverland. "We're not judge and jury," director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon recently told The New York Times. "In our process, we're facing [the controversy] pretty much head on, but we're also studying the many facets of Michael Jackson." Meanwhile, a former bodyguard of Jackson's, Matt Fiddes, has defended the late singer despite allegations in the Leaving Neverland documentary. Fiddes, who owns a string of martial arts schools across the UK with a business empire worth a reported £30 million, recently posted on Instagram it was "now to defend a friend @michaeljackson who was always so great to my family and staff." He claims that key facts were left out of the film which details accounts of two subjects named Wade Robson and Jame Safechuck who claim they were sexually abused by the singer. "I have sat back and watched the circus which we got used too over the years," he added. "People forget this man was and still is the most famous man in the world. The biggest target in the world. And he wanted his life to be a "mystery." He understood the media value of that. And it has backfired on him in death sadly." - New Musical Express, 4/25/19...... The Prince estate and Warner Bros. Records announced on Apr. 25 the upcoming release of an album of 14 previously unreleased Prince demos, marking the latest posthumous release from the late musicians's vast vault of career-spanning material. The focus of Originals is 14 songs Prince wrote for other artists, including Apollonia 6, The Time, The Bangles, Sheila E., Vanity 6, Kenny Rogers and Martika. Tracks on the LP, which were selected by Troy Carter on behalf of the Estate and Jay-Z, will begin streaming exclusively on TIDAL for two weeks beginning June 7, before Warner Bros. releases the collection on all download and streaming partners and CD on June 21. A 180s gram 2-LP and limited-edition deluxe 2CD-2LP format will follow on July 19. - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Motown Records launched new mentorship programs for Detroit-based musicians and startups on Apr. 25. The legendary label says the two new programs are aimed at fostering local talent and entrepreneurs. The first program, dubbed the Motown Musician Accelerator, will offer individualized coaching, industry introductions and a $20,000 grant to four musicians or musical groups during a 12-week program slated to launch in summer 2019. A second component of the Accelerator program will involve quarterly workshops conducted by industry professionals that will offer information and advice on distribution, booking and touring and songwriting, among other topics. "Detroit has always been a creative hub for new talent and development," said Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam in a statement. "Being able to provide the necessary support, funding and programming to help them grow in their careers is an absolute honor for us." - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Rick Springfield'80s pop hitmaker Rick Springfield, who released his debut album in 1974, will release Orchestrating My Life, a collection of his tunes with orchestral accompaniment, on Apr. 26. Springfield said he was inspired to release the new album, which features such key hits as "Don't Talk to Strangers," "Affair of the Heart," "Human Touch" and "I've Done Everything For You," after being invited to Germany to play six weeks of orchestral concerts in 2018. The Orchestrating My Life arrangements got their U.S. debut on Mar. 30 at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles. Ahead of the album, Springfield has released an orchestral version of his iconic 1981 hit, "Jessie's Girl." Meanwhile, Springfield has just completed his second novel, World on Fire, and is "in the middle" of a third, which he says "is going good and bad, like it always does. I'd like to finish it f---ing soon, but it'll be done when it's done." - Billboard, 4/25/19...... Netflix announced on Apr. 25 that Martin Scorsese's upcoming Bob Dylan tour documentary will be released by the studio on Netflix and in selected cinemas on June 12. Scorsese's new film chronicles Dylan's famed "Rolling Thunder Revue Tour," which took place during 1975-76 and saw the musician performing with the likes of Joan Baez, Mick Ronson and T-Bone Burnett. Titled Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, the film has been described as "part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream." It will feature on-camera interviews with Dylan, and, according to a press release, promises to "capture the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year." A companion 14-CD box set, The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings, will also be released in June and is now available to pre-order on Dylan's official website. - New Musical Express, 4/25/19...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has unveiled a series of new paintings, including a Picasso-inspired picture that honours his band. Entitled "Abstract Stones," the painting is one of five different works of art Wood began selling online as hand-signed prints on Apr. 26. "I call it The Picasso Stones. It's my interpretation of Picasso's painting The Three Dancers," Wood said. "Looking at the original, I was inspired to do my own take featuring the boys. I did a few versions and each one was slightly different and more honed than the last. I had great fun doing it. Picasso did his own take on a lot of artists but I bet he never thought no one would ever do a take on him. I hope and think he'd be flattered, but also a bit shocked and pleasantly surprised at my take on his work." Wood has also painted a set of his own personal interpretations of classic Stones tour posters: "Bridges to Babylon," "Urban Jungle" and "Voodoo Lounge." They can be viewed and purchased on Wood's official site. - NME, 4/25/19...... In other Rolling Stones news, Mick Jagger made his first appearance since undergoing heart surgery earlier in the month on Apr. 18 at the premiere of his partner Melanie Hamrick's new ballet in New York. Jagger reportedly remained backstage for the opening night "Porte Rouge," which includes choreographed dance routines to Stones classics such as "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Paint It Black." Although he wasn't spotted by attendees, the 75-year-old musician made his presence known by sharing a message over the PA. "Mick Jagger here. Hope you enjoy this wonderful new ballet and the music," he told the audience. An insider said that the frontman stayed out of view as he "didn't quite look like Mick Jagger" following his recent operation. Backstage sources added that he stayed for the entire show and congratulated dancers. - NME, 4/24/19...... Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack Osbourne has given an update on his dad's health following Ozzy's cancellation of his 2019 tour after being hospitalized with pneumonia. "He's doing really well," said Jack during an appearance on The Jenny McCarthy Show. "He's good. He's getting back on his feet, so he's good." Elsewhere in a recent chat with People magazine, Jack said that Ozzy is "back to being his cynical old self," which he claimed "is always a good sign." In February, the rock star was forced to postpone dates in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. He then postponed all upcoming 2019 shows due to a subsequent fall. - NME, 4/24/19...... A new Frank Zappa-based holographic tour, "The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa," made its world premiere on Apr. 22 at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, N.J. The show combines holographic performances, surreal visuals and a live band of Zappa collaborators for a maximalist tribute. The show is a joint effort between the Frank Zappa Family Trust and Eyellusion, a hologram production company that is simultaneously reuniting the late Ronnie James Dio with his Dio bandmates. "It really takes you on the emotional journey that Frank was about," Eyellusion co-founder and CEO Jeff Pezzuti says. "But even if you know nothing about Frank, you're still going to enjoy the show, just based on the visuals." Although the idea never came to fruition during his lifetime, Zappa shared his vision for consumer-grade holograms in his 1989 memoir The Real Frank Zappa Book. "[It would] generate free-standing 3-D images, in any size, on your coffee table at home, or on a stage for theatrical use." He even came up with a company name: Intercontinental Absurdities. - Billboard, 4/23/19...... Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will reproduce two episodes of classic '70s Norman Lear sitcoms for a new ABC Primetime special on May 22. Kimmel will stage episodes of All in the Family and The Jeffersons with an all-star cast, including Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker. - The Wrap/ComingSoon.net, 4/23/19...... Ken KerchevalActor Ken Kercheval, best known for portraying oil tycoon Cliff Barnes on the 1978-1991 CBS soap opera Dallas, died in his hometown of Clinton, Ind., on Apr. 21. He was 83. A spokeswoman of the Frist Funeral Home confirmed his death and did not provide additional information, however Mr. Kercheval had been a heavy smoker and had part of his lung removed in 1994 after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Mr. Kercheval and Larry Hagman as his rival J.R. Ewing were the only two stars who appeared on Dallas for its entire 14-season run. Mr. Kercheval was a recurring character for the first two seasons, but was then upped to a regular in the 1979-1980 season. He reprised his role in the 1996 Dallas reunion, the 2004 CBS reunion special and the 2012-2014 TNT revival. He was among five series stars who directed episodes, taking the helm for two episodes for Seasons 13-14. When Dallas viewers asked him when Cliff was "finally going to get J.R.," Mr. Kercheval always answered: "This Friday night!" Born on July 15, 1935, in Wolcottville, Ind., and raised nearby in Clinton, Mr. Kercheval attended the Indiana University to major in music and drama, and later studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York with Sanford Meisner. In the 1960s, Mr. Kercheval appeared on Broadway in Mike Nichols' "The Apple Tree" and Harold Prince's "Cabaret." He also had roles in films like Pretty Poison, Rabbit Run and Sidney Lumet's Network and F.I.S.T. His small-screen career was prolific, with appearances on Search for Tomorrow in the 60s and early 70s, CHiPs, The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote, ER, and more. - MSN.com, 4/24/19.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Fans of Prince are tweeting tributes to the late funk rocker, who died on Apr. 21, 2016, in his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, on the third anniversary of his death. "Three years since Prince died & whilst time may fly, his music will last forever," posted one fan, while another said: "Thank you for the amazing music you made, your memory will live forever." Meanwhile, the memoir Prince was working on at the time of his death has been given an Oct. 29 release date, publisher Random House announced on Apr. 22. Titled The Beautiful Ones, the 288-page book will combine Prince's unfinished manuscript with rare photos, scrapbooks and lyrics. First announced just weeks before Prince's 2016 death, the book will include an introduction by The New Yorker writer Dan Piepenbring, whom Prince had chosen as a collaborator. The memoir, which spans from the artist's childhood to his early years as a musician to the cusp of international stardom, is an exclusive partnership with the Prince Estate. - New Musical Express/AP, 4/21/19...... Eric ClaptonEric Clapton announced on Apr. 22 that he'll play three dates in the Western US this September before presenting the fifth iteration of his Crossroads Guitar Festival later the same month. Slowhand will play San Francisco's Chase Center on Sept. 11, Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 13, and Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sept. 14 before his two-day Crossroads Festival gig, which is set for Dallas' American Airlines Center on Sept. 20-21. The festival has announced a superlative group of ax-slingers, with 2019's roster boasting Gary Clark, Jr., Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Billy Gibbons, James Bay and more. Clapton will be the only artist playing both nights of Crossroads, whereas every other player is split between Friday and Saturday's slate of performances. Proceeds from the event will benefit Clapton's Crossroads Centre in Antigua, his facility for chemically-dependent persons focused on treatment and education. - Billboard, 4/22/19...... Photographic portraits of Joni Mitchell by veteran rock photographer Norman Seeff have gone on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Seeff's latest photo book, The Joni Mitchell Sessions, was released in Dec. 2018 captures Mitchell in a variety of moods and looks from her 1970s heyday, from 1972's Court and Spark shoot through 1975's bathing-suited Hissing of Summer Lawns work and on through to a concluding set of mysterious poses for her Don Juan's Reckless DaughterLP in 1977. "I usually like to be extemporaneous, which is dangerous," Seeff told the audience during a recent preview of his full exhibit at the Grammy Museum. "Working with Joni is also dangerous," he added with a fondness. The Grammy Museum will mount a larger exhibition of Seeff's Mitchell portraits later in 2019. - Billboard, 4/22/19...... The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the sailing vessel and environmental organization launched 50 years ago by the late folk icon and green activist Pete Seeger, announced on Apr. 22, which is "Earth Day," that Mavis Staples and Ani DiFranco will headline its annual festival on June 15, followed by the Wailers and Railroad Earth on June 16. Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, which takes place at Croton Point Park on the banks of the Hudson River, 30-plus miles north of New York City, is billed as "the country's oldest and largest music and environmental festival." The 2019 Clearwater Festival, as it's commonly known, will recognize the centennial of Seeger's birth, on May 3, 1919, and the 50th anniversary of the launch of the sloop Clearwater on May 17, 1969. Seeger, who passed away in 2014 at age 94, conceived of the Clearwater in the early 1960s with a simple goal. "We're going to build a boat to save the river," he said of the vessel, a 106-foot-long replica of the wooden Dutch sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 19th century. With Seeger's inspiration, and the commitment of multiple generations of leaders, crew and volunteers, the sloop has achieved much more. The festival will also feature several co-headliners, including Lone Bellow, Del McCoury Band, Tom Paxton & the DonJuans, Tom Chapin and Joanne Shenandoah. - Billboard, 4/22/19...... Steve PerryServing as the keynote speaker at the Pop Conference 2019 at the Seattle Museum of Pop Culture' on Apr. 20, former Journey frontman Steve Perry spoke of how personal loss affected his music, and how he sees his songs as "little ghosts in time." "I'm a pretty melancholy kind of guy," Perry said when asked how grief affects writers' songs. "I kind of live in a melancholy state all the time. For me, is that too much sadness? I don't know. It does keep me centered, it keeps me in the moment. Am I a depressive guy? I don't know, I call it melancholy. I write music that I think speaks from that place." Perry then brought up the loss of his partner Kellie Nash, who died in 2012 after a battle with cancer. They were together for a year and a half before she passed away. "When I had my profound loss with Kellie [Nash] a few years back, I agree that being pulled into that moment deeper than I ever experienced before was a new place, to where everything that mattered, I thought, fell off," Perry said. "I sought professional help to really learn how to grieve, because I didn't know how." Perry also spoke about his most recent solo album, 2018's Traces. "It's a complex record because there are two songs I wrote that were about profound grief -- one called 'In the Rain,' which is the darkness of grief, pictures that stare back in silence, by myself; the other one is a song called 'Most of All,' a little but more uplifting, but still about loss," said Perry. "Those songs were written before I met Kellie, which was really bizarre." He later spoke of the "haunting" aspect of music. "Some of the recordings are little ghosts in time, and they have a tendency to remain that to us personally, but they are invisible until they hit your inner ear and they go in your mind and they recall spots where you first heard that song, what it means to you, what's going on today. They conjure all these emotions." - Billboard, 4/21/19...... Concert promoter Michael Lang, who is heading one of the two planned 50th anniversary Woodstock festivals later in 2019, is pushing back against rumors that his Woodstock 50 festival has been cancelled after an email alerting agents that a ticket on-sale has been postponed. "Woodstock is a phenomenon that for fifty years has drawn attention to its principles and also the rumors that can be attached to that attention," Lang, one of the co-founders of the original 1969 event in Bethel Woods, N.Y., told Billboard. "It's just more rumors." Tickets for the three-day event with headliners The Killers, Dead and Co, Imagine Dragons and Jay-Z had been set to go on sale on Apr. 22 in honor of Earth Day. No new date has been announced, and the delay has prompted concern from managers and agents with acts playing the multi-genre festival. - Billboard, 4/19/19...... The Rolling Stones released a new career-spanning greatest hits compilation titled Honk on Apr. 19, ahead of their recently postponed North American leg of their "No Filter" tour. The collection collects hits and classic cuts from every Stones album from 1971's Sticky Fingers to 2016's covers album Blue & Lonesome. The album comes in 3 CD, 4 LP and digital formats, with 36 essential tracks, including "Brown Sugar," "Tumbling Dice," "Angie," "Miss You," "Emotional Rescue" and "Start Me Up." A deluxe version also has a bonus disc of 10 live tracks recorded during the band's recent tours, including "Dead Flowers" with Brad Paisley, "Bitch" with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, "Wild Horses" with Florence Welch and "Beast of Burden" with Ed Sheeran. "All the very best hits in one spot! #HONK is available to stream and download at @AppleMusic. Add it to your library today! #therollingstones #applemusic #bestof #listennow," the band tweeted on Apr. 19. The Stones recently postponed the launch of the 17-date North American leg of their tour after singer Mick Jagger underwent heart valve replacement surgery. The 75 year-old singer is reportedly recuperating and expected to make a full recovery. - Billboard, 4/19/19...... Alice CooperThe supergroup Hollywood Vampires have released the lead single, "Who's Laughing Now," from their forthcoming second album Rise, which will drop on June 21. The 16-track effort from the group, which features Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, will contain mostly original material written by the band -- unlike their 2015 debut, which featured covers of songs by The Who, Spirit, The Doors, Harry Nilsson, Badfinger and others. "Rise is not only a totally different animal than the first Vampires album, it is unique to anything I've ever been a part of," says Cooper in a statement. "I approached it very differently than I usually do when working on an album. Each of us; Joe, Johnny, Tommy, and myself have written songs on this album. What is different though is that I didn't try to change any songs to be more 'Alice-like.' Because each of us has different influences, the sound of this album is very cool. I think that with this album, we are establishing what the Vampires' sound really is, whereas with the first album, we were more tipping our hats to our fallen rock 'n' roll brothers." The band has also announced a 7-city tour behind the new LP which will kick off on May 10 in Las Vegas. Additional dates include Los Angeles (5/11), San Francisco (5/12), Denver (5/14), Albuquerque, N.M. (5/16), Scottsdale, Ariz. (5/17) and Indio, Calif. (5/18). - Billboard, 4/18/19...... Drummer Jason Bonham has retracted a recent story about Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page purportedly giving him his first line of cocaine when he was just 16. On Apr. 19, Bonham issued a statement to "unconditionally retract all derogatory and defamatory comments relating to Mr J Page." "It is wholly untrue that Mr J Page offered me any illegal substances either when I was a minor or at all," Bonham wrote on his website. "I apologize to Mr Page, unreservedly, for making these unfounded and untrue comments about him. Out of my long held respect for Mr Page I will make no further comments on the interview and I agree to make no further comments which Mr Page might view as disparaging, either now or in the future." Bonham, the son of late Led Zepp drummer John Bonham, made headlines earlier in April after telling SiriusXM talk show host Howard Stern how the guitar icon offered him the drug at a hotel while the band was on tour. "Jimmy was the first one to ever give it to me," Bonham previously told Stern. "We got called to his room. I was 16 at this point, and there was a woman on the floor with a collar on, meowing, and he had this grinder thing and he turned it over and he went, 'Here you go,' and I went, 'Thanks.' He's like, 'You've done this before, right?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, of course I have.'" The original anecdote came after Bonham previously stood in for his dad at several Led Zepp reunions -- including the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and their comeback performance at Ahmet Ertegun's O2 Arena tribute concert in 2007. - New Musical Express, 4/19/19...... Pop hitmaker Sheryl Crow has released "Redemption Day," the lead single from her forthcoming final album of duets, which is due out this summer. The poignant tune is a duet with Johnny Cash, who previously recorded the tune. Penned by Crow in 1996 after a trip to Bosnia with Hillary Clinton, "Redemption Day" was featured on the singer's 1996 self-titled album. After Johnny Cash heard the tune in 2003, he approached Crow about the song's lyrics and later recorded it himself. His version was released on the posthumous American VI: Ain't No Grave in 2010. The country legend is one of several duet partners featured on Crow's forthcoming release on the Big Machine imprint the Valory Music Co. Additional collaborations include Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks and St. Vincent. - Billboard, 4/19/19...... Michael McDonaldFormer Doobie Brothers member and '80s solo star Michael McDonald has inked a new worldwide publishing deal with Kobalt Music, the company announced on Apr. 18. The worldwide agreement includes administrative, creative and global synch services for the former Doobie Brother's entire catalogue and any future works. "Having penned some of the most significant songs of the last fifty years, Michael's catalogue is a treasure trove of hits," Kobalt exec Merril Wasserman-Serling said in a statement. "Michael continues to write and I'm certain that more great songs are on the horizon. It's an honor to welcome him to the Kobalt family and look forward to working closely with him and his team." "I'm very excited about my new affiliation with Kobalt Music Publishing," McDonald added. "I look forward to working with... Merril Wasserman... and the entire Kobalt team in the years ahead." McDonald is currently on a North American co-headling tour with Chaka Khan. He continues to collaborate with other artists, including recent work with Barbra Streisand, Thundercat and Nashville duo Johnnyswim. - Billboard, 4/18/19...... Fleetwood Mac announced the rescheduled date for their upcoming North American tour on Apr. 18 after cancelling a handful of shows earlier in April due to the illness of a band member. The previously scheduled show in Boston at TD Garden has been shifted to Oct. 28, while a show in Quebec City at Centre Videotron will now take place on Oct. 30. New dates have also been announced for shows in Toronto (11/1), Philadelphia (11/3), Winnipeg (11/7), Calgary (11/10) and Edmonton (11/12). However the Mac will not be making up a planned appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in May, which was to be a replacement act after the Rolling Stones had to cancel their performance due to Mick Jagger recent surgery. All previously held tickets will be honored for the new dates. - Billboard, 4/18/19...... During a performance in Vienna, Austria on Apr. 17, Bob Dylan called out fans for taking photos after he nearly fell over during the concert. After nearly wiping out on a foldback wedge, the rock icon gathered himself and paused when a fan broke his "no photos" rule. "Take pictures or don't take pictures. We can either play or we can pose. Okay," Dylan grumbled to the audience before taking his seat at the piano for a rendition of "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry." This isn't the first time that Dylan has taken issue with fan photography at gigs. As Rolling Stone reports, a New York show last year had ushers shining flashlights at anyone they spotted using a phone, with repeat offenders threatened with being removed from the show. Dylan's European tour continues, including a headline performance at Roskilde Festival in June as well as performing at London's Hyde Park with Neil Young in July. Meanwhile, Dylan is expected to help open his new whiskey distillery in downtown Nashville, Tenn. next fall under the brand "Heaven's Door," in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of his classic Nashville Skyline album. - New Musical Express, 4/18/19...... Berry GordyA 60th anniversary Motown concert featuring a slew of famous Motown acts including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson was aired on CBS on Apr. 21. The "Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration" concert, which was held on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles, also featured Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., who told the packed Microsoft Theater that he wanted his label to "bring people together from all walks of life through a legacy of love." "My dream came true," added Gordy, who started the African American label in 1959, building a roster that included superstar artists such as Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and The Temptations. Ross, who was once signed to Motown as lead singer of The Supremes, brought attendees to their feet when she opened her set singing to Gordy while sitting next to him. After singing a couple of songs onstage, she returned back to Gordy and sang "My Man." The event was hosted by Robinson and Cedric the Entertainer. - AP, 4/17/19...... Accomplished British songwriter Les Reed, who penned songs for the likes of Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby and Shirley Bassey, has passed away at age 83, his family has confirmed. The Woking-born songwriter was the co-writer of Jones' hits "Delilah" and "It's Not Unusual," the latter which was released in 1964 and became Jones' debut single and first No. 1 hit. It also featured Mr. Reed as arranger and pianist. The pair reprised their success with "Delilah" in 1968, which reached the Top 10. In 1959, Mr. Reed joined The John Barry Seven as a pianist, and developed his career as a songwriter in the 1960s, writing hits for artists including Lulu, Herman's Hermits and The Dave Clark Five. Tom Jones paid tribute to Mr. Reed on Twitter, describing him as a "gifted songwriter who was instrumental in penning many a hit, incl two important songs for me. Les was a lovely man, whose legacy will live through his music." Mr. Reed was born in Woking, Surrey, in 1935. He is survived by his daughter, Donna, and grandsons. - The BBC, 4/16/19...... Soul music songwriter Kent "Boogalo" Harris, who wrote hits for such acts as The Coasters, Bo Diddley and The Platters, has reportedly died of cancer at his Southern California home at age 88. Mr. Harris's stock and trade in the 1950s was writing catchy novelty songs such as "Shopping For Clothes" for The Coasters and "Cops and Robbers" for Diddley. He also wrote for his own family group, The Harris Sisters (later called The Dimples Harris Trio), who had several modest hits during the decade, and recorded and performed with his own act, Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew. Mr. Harris also became an entrepreneur, opening a Los Angeles record store in the 1960s and forming his own record label. He also continued to write and producer for a number of R&B and jazz artists, including Adoph Jacobs and Jimmy Ellis. Mr. Harris continued to work into the new century, reportedly contributing to the music of the somewhat maligned Eddie Murphy movie, Norbit. He also would perform his delightfully humorous repertoire around the U.S. with his Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew. - AP, 4/16/19.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Pulitzer Prize jury announced on Apr. 15 that Aretha Franklin is being honored with a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her contribution to American music and culture. "Congratulations to @Aretha Franklin and her family and friends," the Pulitzer Prize account tweeted to make the announcement, using the hashtags #QueenofSoul and #Respect. The jury occasionally awards the Special Citations when deemed necessary, and has previously awarded them to the likes of Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. Franklin, who passed away on August 16th at age 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, is also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... Carly Simon is writing an "intimate, vulnerable" memoir about her famous late friend, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux announced on Apr. 15. The press release states that Simon and Onassis, who died in 1994, met at a summer party on Martha's Vineyard and began an "improbable, but lasting friendship" with Onassis becoming everything from a "protective mother figure" to a "mischievous pal" to the popular singer/songwriter. Titled Touched by the Sun, the book has been given an Oct. 22 release date. - PageSix.com/The New York Post, 4/15/19...... Kenny NolanSongwriter/singer Kenny Nolan, the composer of such iconic '70s hits as LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade," Frankie Valli's "My Eyes Adored You" as well as his own 1976 No. 3 hit "I Like Dreamin'," has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing for breach of contract and copyright infringement, according to court documents filed April 10. According to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, Nolan alleges that Sony/ATV bought the publishing rights to dozens of his compositions without his knowledge and have been failing to pay him his fair share of royalties ever since. Nolan claims that after licensing his 50% share of the publishing rights to 77 compositions -- including "Lady Marmalade" -- to his former co-writer Bob Crewe, Crewe later licensed those compositions to music publisher Stone Diamond. Nolan alleges that Stone Diamond then sold the rights to Sony/ATV without his knowledge or consent. EMI April Music, EMI Blackwood and Stone Diamond Music Corporation are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. Nolan is seeking a total of at least $20 million to be determined at trial, as well as a "necessary and appropriate accounting to determine exactly how much money Sony/ATV owes him. A representative for Sony/ATV declined to comment. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... Attorney John Branca, a co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate, spoke publicly for the first time about the controversial Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland and indicated that he's considering suing the film's director, Dan Reed. At a panel discussion titled "Trial by Media: Guilty Until Proven Innocent" presented at Harvard's Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Mass., on Apr. 16, Branca and other members of Jackson's legal team including Howard Weitzman and Bryan Freedman had harsh words for the documentary and Reed, telling the small audience they were determined to defend and rebuild Jackson's reputation in the wake of Leaving Neverland, which contained disturbing and graphic first-person accounts of Jackson's alleged pedophilia but did not give the estate a chance to respond to these accusations. Branca said although the estate has taken a hit after the airing of the documentary, streaming sales of Michael's music is still up from 2018. He added that "From the point of view of society, I want to make it so people feel comfortable saying, 'I love Michael's music.' Michael is too big to fail." In February, the estate filed a $100-million lawsuit against the pay-cable network HBO, which aired the documentary in the US, alleging it had violated a non-disparagement clause contained in a 1992 agreement to premiere Jackson's concert film, Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has named its new photography gallery in Elton John's honor after the superstar recently made a "significant donation" to the attraction. Recognizing John and his husband David Furnish's generosity, gallery 101 has been renamed The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery. The singer's private collection of more than 7,000 photographs will also go on display at the gallery, with the images spanning from the early 20th Century to the present day. John has described the collaboration and renaming as "the perfect partnership," with a major co-curated temporary exhibition set to be announced in the near future. "We are delighted to be part of this exciting moment and we hope that audiences will walk away with the same excitement and appreciation for photography as I did when I first started collecting," said John in a statement. Meanwhile, the new Elton biopic Rocketman will hit theaters in the U.S. on May 31 and in the U.K. on May 2. - New Musical Express, 4/16/19...... SiriusXM radio launced its highly anticipated new Cher channel on Apr. 17. The limited run channel will play music from throughout the diva's career, including her hits and her musical influences, along with stories from Cher herself about her music that defined multiple decades and her life. The Cher channel will also feature tracks off the original cast album for "The Cher Show," the new bio musical currently playing on Broadway. SiriusXM subscribers will be able to enter for the chance to win two trips for the winner and a friend to New York City. The prize includes airfares, hotel stays and a pair of tickets to see The Cher Show on Broadway, plus see Cher live at Madison Square Garden from the front row and the opportunity to meet her. The Cher Channel will run through May 1 at 3 a.m. EST on SiriusXM radios (channel 4) and on the SiriusXM app. Meanwhile, Cher performed her Sonny & Cher hit "I Got You Babe" with the cast of "The Cher Show" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Apr. 15. Cher, rocking a fire engine-red wig and a sparkly black suit, also came out with host Jimmy Fallon to lip sync to a bunch of random New York bar patrons screeching her hit "Believe" and recreated the famous Moonstruck slap during his monologue. Cher also revealed that she used to be terribly shy and still gets embarrassed to sing in front of strangers. Also, she told late ex-husband Sonny Bono that she thought "I Got You Babe" wasn't very good when she heard it for the first time. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... Paul Simon stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Apr. 15 for a spirited performance of the Cajun-inspired tune "That Was Your Mother" with host Stephen Colbert accompanying him on washboard. "That Was Your Mother" was first recorded by Simon on his revered 1986 album Graceland, and one of its orginal contributors, John Batiste who also fronts The Late Show house band, joined in on accordian. Meanwhile, Simon is set to headline Outside Lands Festival in August with Twenty One Pilots and Childish Gambino. - Billboard, 4/16/19...... Journey announced via its Twitter account on Apr. 15 that it will play a nine-show residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace this October. The nine performances are set for Oct. 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23, 25 and 26. The band last toured together in 2018 during an extensive 56-date show across the U.S. with co-headliner Def Leppard. Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... James TaylorIn related news, James Taylor will kick off his first ever Vegas residency at The Colosseum on Apr. 17. Taylor will perform 17 shows at the venue, which has also hosted residencies by the likes of Elton John, Cher, Celine Dion and Bette Midler Taylor will be performing on acustom-built stage that will include the return of his One Man Band drum machine. "I was a Vegas snob forever, for sure," the 71-year-old Taylor notes. "Back in the day, Vegas definitely had a very specific connotation for us, and it was something [that folk and pop artists] in the late '60s and early '70s, were distancing ourselves from. For one thing, it's now a town of two million people. It's not just the strip; there's an actual population there, and it's just an excellent place to put on a show." He says he's most excited about performing on his most elaborate stage to date. "This particular staging that we're going to present is something we've essentially been perfecting over the past couple of years," he said. Taylor will play the Colosseum on April 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27 and May 1, 3, 4, 8, 10 and 11, with the possibility of more gigs added in the future. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at New York's Tribeca Grill Loft on Apr. 13 at a benefit for the Kristen Ann Carr Fund. Hopping on stage with famed photographer Danny Clinch's Tangier Blues Band, the Boss ripped through Johnny Rivers' classic "Rockin' Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu" and the blues rock standard "Down the Road Apiece" at the event, dubbed "A Night to Remember." The event was aimed at raising money to fight the soft tissue cancer sarcoma in honor of Carr, the late daughter of rock journalist Dave Marsh and Springsteen's co-manager, Barbara Carr. Kristen Carr died of sarcoma in 1993 at age 21. - Billboard, 4/15/19...... Police log books from the Beatles' first visit to the U.S. have gone on display at Liverpool's Magical Beatles Museum. The log books, which were set to be destroyed, were discovered by NYPD officer Patrick Cassidy, who discovered the logs while searching in police records. "The Ed Sullivan Theatre is in the confines of my precinct, so one day in 2013, I went into the storage area that holds these books," Cassidy told the BBC. "After 50 years, they clean out and destroy them, so I looked up February '64 and found the book, which would have been destroyed the following year." The logs list the names of the officers who guarded the band in New York as they prepared to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 and their show at Carnegie Hall. At the latter, the logs state that there was an incident where an officer was "knocked off balance" and injured outside the Plaza Hotel while "attempting to restrain the surging crowd." The Fab Four's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which marked their US TV debut, was watched by a then record 73 million people at the time. - New Musical Express, 4/15/19...... The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has made nearly $1 billion (£760 million) taking in box office receipts of over $900 (£687 million) around the world since its premiere in 2018, Variety has reported. The Oscar-winning film generated $901 million (£688 million) internationally and of those figures, it has been a huge hit in Japan where it has grossed $114 million (£87 million), a further $76 million (£58 million) in South Korea and in the United Kingdom where it has brought in returns of $71 million (£54 million). The ticket sales show a huge return for the biopic, which itself only cost Fox $50 million (£38.2 million) to make. Bohemian Rhapsody swept the board at major film awards earlier in 2019 including winning accolades for Best Picture at the Golden Globes and numerous Best Actor awards for Rami Malek, who portrayed Freddie Mercury in the blockbuster. Rudi Dolezal, the director of many Queen music videos, recently revealed that a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel could also be in the works. A documentary about Queen and its current frontman Adam Lambert, The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, to be aired on ABC on Apr. 29 and will follow the band's ongoing collaboration with Lambert. - New Musical Express, 4/15/19...... A source close to AC/DC says its former frontman Brian Johnson will "absolutely" tour again with the Aussie rockers in 2019. Last year, it was reported that the rock icons were working on a new album that would feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track." Then, earlier this year, American band Terrorizer confirmed that after bumping into Johnson at an airport, he told them that he would feature on the new album and that he was "sick of denying it." Johnson meanwhile was forced to quit AC/DC in 2016 after suffering hearing loss and was replaced on the band's tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. But according to radio DJ Eddie Trunk, Johnson will rejoin the legendary band to tour the upcoming album. "I have sources that have told me that they are absolutely going to tour with Brian back again," Trunk says. "That's all unconfirmed from their camp, but I had it from some reliable sources." The band is reportedly back in the studio working on a new album with Johnson on vocals. - NME, 4/13/19...... Mick Jagger posted a pic on Twitter of himself taking a stroll in a park on Apr. 11, once week after the 75-year-old rock icon had surgery to replace a heart valve. Dressed in jeans, a dark blue dress shirt and gray baseball hat, Jagger posed in front of a tree filled with white spring blossoms, a slight smile on his face, with the caption "A walk in the park!" The Stones announced earlier in April that they were rescheduling their North American "No Filter Tour" so that Jagger could have the procedure. Originally slated to begin in April, the tour will now begin in July with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks. - Billboard, 4/12/19...... John PrineSinger/songwriter John Prine gave a rollicking performance at Brooklyn's Kings Theatre on Apr. 13, the one year anniversary of his 2018 album The Tree of Forgiveness, his most acclaimed and successful album in several years. "Today is its birthday, one year ago tonight," said Prine to the sold-out crowd at the majestically restored venue. The album's arrival last spring marked Prine's first set of new songs in some 13 years, and the disc debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The album also signaled Prine's confident return after surgery for lung cancer in 2013, following his recovery from neck cancer 15 years earlier. Prine, 72, was named artist of the year at the Americana Music Awards in September. He was honored in an all-star tribute concert on the eve of this year's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, and he will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York on June 13. After touring throughout 2018, Prine spent this March performing in Australia. The Brooklyn gig was his second stateside stop on a world tour that currently runs through December. - Billboard, 4/14/19...... As the 2020 presidential primary campaign heats up, some of the leading Democratic candidates have received donations from several famous rock and country musicians before the recent close of the first quarter fundraising deadline. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a former member of a punk rock band, has received $2,800 from a fellow Texan, county music icon Willie Nelson, as well as $1,850 from Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and $2,800 from Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley. In March, Michael Jackson producer and composer Quincy Jones was among the celebrities contributing to California Sen. Kamala Harris' bid for the White House, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has received donations from members of Foo Fighters and Phish. - AP, 4/16/19...... Paul Raymond, a guitarist for the rock band UFO, died of a heart attack only one week after the band's final U.K. show, his life partner Sandra announced on Facebook on Apr. 14. He was 73. "With a desperate and broken heart, fully in tears and pains that feel like they will kill me I have to tell you that my most beautiful and beloved darling Paul Raymond has passed away today," she wrote. "The doctors were trying to reanimate him and with success at first but then his system shot down again and there was nothing more they could do for him, he died of a heart attack." First joining UFO in 1976, Raymond played on the albums No Place to Run, Obsession and Lights Out as well as the live Strangers In The Night album. After playing with the band during four different stints, he was a regular in the UFO lineup since 2003. Raymond's other musical endeavours included replacing Christine McVie in Chicken Shack after she left to join Fleetwood Mac, as well as being a member of Savoy Brown. He also played with two former UFO bandmates on two separate occasions. He also played with guitarist Michael Schenker in MSG, and then with Pete Way in Waysted. UFO will be performing at a series of European festival dates this coming June and July, with a US tour in October. They will also perform as part of the Rock Legends Cruise, which departs from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 27, 2020. - New Musical Express, 4/13/19...... Gary Stewart a music industry veteran who spent decades in the industry working at Rhino Entertainment and Apple Music, died on Apr. 11. He was 62. A musical savant, Stewart used his vast knowledge to introduce music to a new audience through such memorable catalog collections for Rhino Entertainment as the kitschy Have a Nice Day '70s compilation series to Nuggets, a slate of albums devoted to obscure psychedelic rock from the '60s, as well as more scholarly sets, including Shout! Factory's Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans. After a hiatus, he rose to senior vp A&R for Rhino and then moved to Apple Music. His first role was chief music officer for Apple's iTunes before he left and then returned to work in catalog curation. He parted ways with Apple for good in 2018. Stewart, a massive Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen fan, was also a co-founder with David Gorman of Trunkworthy.com, a website evangelizing "underappreciated yet overachieving music, movies, and television," as the description phrased it. Stewart was also a committed philanthropist. At Rhino, he was the impetus for a volunteer program whereby employees who donated 18 hours of time per year would get off the week between Christmas and New Year's Day with pay. At various times, he served on the boards of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, the Community Coalition, Liberty Hill Foundation and Social Venture Network. He was a donor, fundraiser and activist on social justice issues and progressive candidates and initiatives, advocating for such issues as living wages, progressive taxation, marriage equality, affirmative action and immigrant rights. Elvis Costello posted a tribute to Stewart on Facebook on Apr. 14. "This morning's brief promise of Spring was punctured by the news of the passing of Gary Stewart. It is rare enough to find people of insight, kindness and loyalty but Gary had all these qualities in abundance. Friends have called or written all today trying to make sense of the impossible and the inexplicable." - Billboard, 4/12/19...... Georgia EngelEmmy-winning sitcom actress Georgia Engel, best known for playing Ted Baxter's significant other Georgette Franklin on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the mother-in-law of Robert Barone (Brad Garrett) on Everybody Loves Raymond, died on Apr. 12 in Princeton, N.J. She was 70. The Washington, D.C. native joined The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1972 when it was a top 10 primetime series and would appear in nearly 60 episodes over its final five seasons. Her demure, dim but well-meaning Georgette was the love interest of self-important anchorman Baxter (Ted Knight), who courted and eventually married her during the November 1975 sweep -- though he didn't seem all that prepared for it. They went on to adopt a child and later had one of their own. The role earned Engel back-to-back Emmy noms for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1976 and '77. She appeared as Georgette in the MTMS spinoff Rhoda and later was a regular in a different role as Betty White's ditzy best pal on CBS' The Betty White Show (1977-78). She also was a series regular on the single-season ABC comedy Goodtime Girls in 1980 and the network's 1983-84 sitcom Jennifer Slept Here and had a recurring role as Shirley Burleigh on Coach from 1991-97. During that era, Engel also guested on such shows as The Love Boat, Mork & Mindy and Fantasy Island. She also did voice work on such animated series as The Care Bears, Hercules and Hey Arnold! and played a giraffe in the 2001 feature Dr. Dolittle 2. She joined CBS' megahit Everybody Loves Raymond during Season 7 in 2003 when she scored back-to-back-to-back Guest Actress Emmy nominations. She continued to work in TV post-Raymond, appearing in episodes of such series as The Office, Two and a Half Men, Passions and Neighbours. She also recurred as Mamie in 20 episodes of Hot in Cleveland, TV Land's first scripted series, and her final credit was a 2018 appearance in Netflix's Grace and Frankie. "Georgia Engel was a comedy machine," Mary Tyler Moore Show co-creator James L. Brooks once told the TV Academy's The Interviews series. "She was a great character, a great addition to the show. She as much as any actor I've ever worked with, when she's talking people lean forward -- just reaching for her words." - Deadline.com, 4/13/19.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A remixed version of Diana Ross' Aug. 1979 hit "The Boss" has topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending Apr. 13. "The Boss 2019" remix by producer Eric Kupper, among others, is Ross' third remix to hit No. 1 on the chart, following "I'm Coming Out"/"Upside Down 2018" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough 2017." The singer also topped the Dance Club Songs with her original versions of "Upside Down"/"I'm Coming Out," in 1980, "Swept Away" (1984) and "Take Me Higher" (1995). - Billboard, 4/11/19...... Electric Light Orchestra mastermind Jeff Lynne will be honored with the Founders Award for songwriters and composers at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards, set for May 16 in Beverly Hills, Calif. "Jeff Lynne has led a singular career and we are all fortunate that his musical genius has been felt so widely. His legendary stature is well-deserved and ASCAP is very proud to present him with our highest honor," said ASCAP chairman of the board and president Paul Williams. During the invitation-only ceremony Blondie icons Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke will also be feted with ASCAP's career-encompassing Golden Note Award. - Billboard, 4/11/19...... Neil YoungNeil Young posted on his Neil Young Archives site on Apr. 8 that he and Crazy Horse are "about to enter the studio with 11 new ones." "We sincerely hope [fans] enjoy our new music when it is released this year, because we know we will enjoy making it," Young added. He has released a total of 23 records with Crazy Horse, including EPs and live albums. Young and Crazy horse last recorded together in 2012 for their Psychedelic Pill album, and the two camps reunited in 2018 for a one off concert. Young launched his Neil Young Archives, a subscription service and app that gives fans access to a complete back catalogue of audio and visual content, in 2018. - New Musical Express, 4/10/19...... On Apr. 9 the Fender guitar company released replicas of two iconic guitars made famous by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page to mark the band's 50th anniversary -- the "Dragon" and "Mirror" models of Page's Telecaster. In an animated clip from Fender which features Page's voiceover, he recalls the time his former Yardbirds bandmate Jeff Beck gifted him the "Mirror" -- "He said, 'Here, this is yours', and he gave me the Telecaster." Page goes on to discuss how he wanted to "really make it [his] own" following his time with the Yardbirds. "I tried applying mirrors to it so you could use it in an optical way," he remembers. "It was this whole thing of the reflective surfaces, and you could actually reflect the light onto other things; to make it sort of almost kinetic at the same time." - New Musical Express, 4/9/19...... In other Zeppelin-related news, drummer Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zepp drummer John Bonham, has revealed how Jimmy Page gave him his first line of cocaine when he was just 16. Appearing on Howard Stern's SiriusXM show, Bonham explained how he entered Page's hotel room to discover a woman on the floor who was meowing and wearing a collar. "Jimmy was the first one to ever give [cocaine] to me," Bonham said. "We got called to his room. I was 16 at this point, and there was a woman on the floor with a collar on, meowing, and he had this grinder thing and he turned it over and he went, 'Here you go,' and I went, 'Thanks.' He's like, 'You've done this before, right?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, of course I have.'" Jason Bonham has filled in for his dad on the kit at several Led Zeppelin reunions - including the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and their comeback performance at Ahmet Ertegun's O2 Arena tribute concert in 2007. - NME, 4/11/19...... Steven Van ZandtDisciples of Soul, a side project of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, will release their latest album, Summer of Sorcery, on May 3. Van Zandt first launched the Disciples of Soul back in 1982 and recently brought the group back to active duty with 2017's Soulfire, its first release in 18 years, and 2018's Soulfire Live. Among the upcoming projects on Van Zandt's list is another TV show to follow his well-received roles in The Sopranos and Lilyhammer. "If (Springsteen) decides not to do anything, then I'll probably go back to TV," he says. "I've dedicated a good, solid two years to becoming reacquainted with my own life's work and re-introducing myself as an artist, which has been very satisfying, and I'll continue to do that on a regular cycle. But having done that I think it's time to look back at TV and what I might be able to do there now. - Billboard, 4/11/19...... Sharon Osbourne became a bit emotional as updated fans on husband Ozzy Osbourne's health on the Apr. 8 broadcast of her talk show The View. Sharon recalled that at the beginning of 2019 Ozzy had a "very bad flu" that developed into bronchitis and then a bout of pneumonia. After leaving the hospital for treatment of the flu, "he had a bad accident at home, he fell... in the middle of the night," she said, noting that the fall aggravated injuries from a 2003 motorbike accident that put him in a coma for several days. "And what he'd done was he re-injured his back and neck and shoulders. All of the metal rods and everything that were put in his body were dislodged. So we had to cancel his year of dates." As her fellow panelists rubbed her back and soothed a teary Osbourne, she assured them that Ozzy is "good... he's fine, he's great." Ozzy announced on Apr. 4 that he has been forced to postpone all his 2019 North American and European as he recovers from a the injury sustained at his Los Angeles home. - Billboard, 4/10/19...... Meanwhile, a tour featuring a hologram of the singer who once replaced Ozzy in Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, will launch on Mar. 31 and feature the late rocker's former Dio bandmates. The official band line-up will feature Craig Goldy on guitar, Simon Wright on drums, Scott Warren on keyboards and newer Dio family member Bjorn Englen on bass. The show will also feature renowned metal vocalists Tim "Ripper" Owens and Oni Logan of Lynch Mob. The 90-minute celebration of Dio will include fan favorites such as "Holy Diver," "King of Rock N' Roll" and "We Rock," and fans will get to see the hologram of Dio perform material ranging from Rainbow to Black Sabbath, to his own Dio material. The "Dio Returns" tour will visit 18 cities, including Orlando, Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Dallas and Los Angeles, and wrap on June 29 in Las Vegas. - Billboard, 4/9/19...... The B-52's have announced their 40th anniversary world tour will kick off on May 4 at West Palm Beach, Fla.'s Sunfest festival on May 4. OMD and Berlin will open for the band on select U.S. tour dates. The band will play two additional U.S. dates, in Arlington, Tex. (5/12) and Nashville, Tenn. (5/26), before touring Europe in June and July. In August, they'll play 29 additional U.S. dates before wrapping at New York City's Central Park Summerstage on Sept. 24. Meanwhile, the B52's are working on their first official book, which is due in 2020. "Woo-hoo! Europe and then all over North America! Dust off those go-go boots and shine your dancing shoes because the B-52s are coming!," frontman Fred Schneider said in a press release. - Billboard, 4/9/19...... Robert FrippLegendary prog-rockers King Crimson are finally entering the digital world in conjunction with their upcoming 50th anniversary world tour. At a presser on Apr. 6, King Crimson manager David Singleton announced that the band's entire studio-album catalog will soon launch on the Spotify streaming platform, as part of an "outreach year" for King Crimson. Their 13 studio albums will be available on other streaming platforms in May before uploading to Spotify on June 10, the same day the band kicks off their ambitious 43-city 50th anniversary world tour on June 10 in Leipzig, Germany. The Robert Fripp-led group is also releasing reissues of their back catalog, a new documentary, and commemorative merchandise in celebration of five decades together. - Billboard, 4/8/19...... Music publisher Primary Wave has signed a deal with the estate of Leon Russell to curate the songwriting catalog of the late 1970s rocker, including such oft-covered songs as his 1970 classic "A Song For You." Under the new deal, Primary Wave also acquires the music publishing and master recording income stream of songs including his 1972 hit single "Tight Rope," "The Masquerade," which George Benson recorded, and "Superstar," a hit for The Carpenters. Since Russell released "A Song For You" on his eponymous debut album, it has been covered by the likes of Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and Amy Winehouse. "I am delighted that Leon Russell and his heirs have joined the Primary Wave family," said Primary Wave CEO and founder Lawrence Mestel. "Leon was a legendary songwriter whose music has resonated in people's lives for decades. His songs were an inspiration to so many and we look forward to furthering the legacy of this remarkable musician." The partnership comes one week after what would have been Russell's 77th birthday. The eclectic Grammy-winning artist, who was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, died in 2016 at age 74. - Billboard, 4/9/19...... More details have been announced about Bob Dylan's recently announced whiskey distillery which will open in downtown Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of his iconic Nashville Skyline album. Dylan is set to help open the distillery in fall 2020 under the brand "Heaven's Door," which takes its name from one of his biggest hits. According to a press release, "Heaven's Door Spirits will transform the 160-year-old Elm Street Church into the Heaven's Door Distillery and Center for the Arts, featuring the distillery, a whiskey library, a restaurant and a 360-seat live performance venue. It will also feature Dylan's paintings and metalwork sculptures." - AP, 4/9/19...... A silent 11-second clip of the Beatles performing on the legendary U.K. music program Top Of The Pops that was once thought lost has been unearthed in Mexico. The clip is the only surviving footage of the band miming to 'Paperback Writer' on the show back in 1966, as the BBC did not keep the tapes. However, one family in Liverpool happened to be filming the footage from a television on an 8mm camera. A collector in Mexico then happened upon the footage, who handed it over to missing TV footage specialists Kaleidoscope in Birmingham. "I think if you're a Beatles fans, it's the holy grail," Chris Perry of the UK band Kaleidoscope told the BBC. "People thought it was gone forever because videotape wasn't kept in 1966. To find it all these years later was stunning." While the band pre-recorded a number of performances for Top Of The Pops, this was their only live appearance. - New Musical Express, 4/9/19...... Rod StewartJeff BeckClassic rock veterans Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck have announced they'll reunite this September for a connect in Los Angeles, marking the first time the two have shared a stage together in almost a decade. Stewart and Beck, who played together in The Jeff Beck Group, are set to play the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 27 in what is being described as "their most in depth concert in over 35 years." Their set list will include a mixture of hits and rare early classics. The Jeff Beck Group was formed by Stewart and Beck in 1967 and also included Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. The group released several albums before disbanding in the early 1970's. The last time the two reunited was during a concert in 2009. - New Musical Express, 4/8/19...... Fans of Creedence Clearwater Revival will have their final opportunity to see the CCR spinoff band Creedence Clearwater Revisited this summer as the band has announced a 20-city farewell tour will kick off on June 13 in Del Mar, Calif. and the San Diego County Fair. Original bassist Stu Cook says "this just seemed like a good time to wrap it up." "Both (drummer Doug Clifford) and I are approaching 74 this month and just thought, 'Y'know, we've been there, done that, seen it, we know how it feels, we know how it tastes'," Cook explains. "We're gonna miss it, but there's still time to do other things in life. We all have bigger families, grandkids. We're still playing great, but we are pretty tired of the road. We're not retiring, but the idea right now is to put the band to bed and see what else comes along and how we feel about it moving forward. I'd like to try other things and explore other ideas and places before my time's up." CCRevisited formed during 1995, at a time Cook and Clifford's former bandmate John Fogerty was still refusing the play the band's material. Cook and Clifford did lock horns periodically with Fogerty -- who famously refused to perform with them during CCR's 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction during Revisited's tenure. Though in 1997 Fogerty's legal actions briefly forced them to change the group name to Cosmo's Factory, courts ultimately ruled in the duo's favor and it returned to the Revisited moniker. The three settled their various disputes a few years ago and now jointly operate an LLC "to market the brand and, if you will, exploit our good will," with plans for merchandising and other endeavors -- among them a possible video release of CCR's performance at the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which was not included in the 1970 documentary from the festival. CCRevisited will not be taking part in any of the upcoming Woodstock 50th anniversary celebrations, but he and Clifford are looking towards the final shows, which Cook predicts "will be a tough one" but, ultimately, satisfying as a long-term job well done. - Billboard, 4/8/19...... AC/DC are reportedly back in the studio and "doing something" musically together, according to the band's longtime engineer Mike Fraser. Speaking on the Mastering Music Mastering Life podcast recently, Fraser didn't deny that the band had been recording recently. "Well, yeah, I could say that we've been in the studio doing something," Fraser said. "What's come of that I can't discuss yet." Asked if Johnson was back singing vocals, Fraser answered: "I think so." Rumours have been circulating about possible new AC/DC material ever since lead vocalist Brian Johnson (who was forced to quit the band's tour in 2016 due to hearing loss) and ex-drummer Phil Rudd were seen leaving a studio in Vancouver last summer. Guitarists Angus Young and Stevie Young were also spotted outside the same studio the day after, while former bassist Cliff Williams was seen in Vancouver with Johnson back in December. - NME, 4/10/19...... ZZ TopZZ Top announced on Apr. 8 that they'll embark on a lengthy 34-city U.S. tour this summer in celebration of their 50 years as a band, with Cheap Trick and Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for the Texas trio on selected dates. "It's been five decades, and I think we're starting to get pretty good at all this!" ZZ Top guitarist/vocalist Billy Gibbons said in a statement. "We're truly excited to be appearing across the continent this summer and fall, playing our bluesy kind of rock like we started in '69." The tour is set to kick off Aug. 16 in Ridgefield, Wash., also hitting cities including Irvine, Calif. (8/23), San Diego (8/28), Phoenix (8/29), Milwaukee (9/4), Boston (9/18), Cleveland (9/21), Charlotte (10/6) and Tampa, Fla. (10/19) before wrapping in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Oct. 20. - Billboard, 4/8/19......Just a few days after announcing they'd be stepping in to replace the Rolling Stones at the 2019 Jazz Fest in New Orleans as Stones frontman Mick Jagger recouperates from surgery to replace a faulty heart valve, the band has been forced to drop out of the Jazz Fest as well due to an illness affecting Mac singer Stevie Nicks. "Due to the illness of Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac has just announced the postponement of four upcoming North American tour dates and their performance at Jazz Fest on May 2," the Jazz Fest announced on Apr. 8. Mac announced on April 4 that the band would replace fellow veterans the Stones at the annual New Orleans festival, with Nicks tweeting to fans that she "can't wait to get back to New Orleans again." Earlier in April, Mac postponed shows in Philadelphia and Boston due to what was described as "a band member illness." "We are having more fun than ever on this current tour, but as we all know, touring life comes with its challenges," drummer Mick Fleetwood said. "The flu has sidelined Stevie for a couple of weeks but she is on the mend and we look forward to getting back out on the road. We so apologize to the fans, but we are working on rescheduling." - Billboard, 4/8/19...... Meanwhile, Mick Jagger updated fans on his healthon Apr. 5, posting on his Facebook page that he's "feeling much better now and on the mend." The 75-year-old singer also thanked his fans for their messages of support, "and also a huge thank you to all the hospital staff for doing a superb job." The Stones announced last week that they were rescheduling their North American No Filter Tour so that Jagger could have the procedure. Orginally slated to begin in April, the tour will now begin in July with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks. The Stones are expected to make up nearly all the dates on their "No Filter Tour." - Billboard, 4/8/19...... In other Stones-related news, the UK's Sheffield Documentary Festival has pulled a screening of a film about former Stones bassist Bill Wyman over "sex predator" protests in the country. Wyman's The Quiet One documentary was among the festival's most high-profile offerings for the 2019 event, where it was due to be screened alongside a Q&A session with Wyman himself and the film's director Oliver Murray. Both events have now been pulled after detractors singled out Wyman's relationship with his second wife Mandy Smith. Wyman met Smith when she was just 13, and he was 47. While the pair married in 1989 when she was 18 and Wyman was 52, Smith later alleged that they first had sex when she was just 14. While the screening has been cancelled, Wyman has never been arrested or charged with any offences and previously said that he volunteered to be interviewed by police. "I went to the police and I went to the public prosecutor and said, 'Do you want to talk to me? Do you want to meet up with me, or anything like that?' and I got a message back, 'No,'" he said. "I was totally open about it." Wyman was the main bassist with the Rolling Stones until his retirement in 1993. He has since made a handful of comeback cameo performances, including a brief stint during a show at London's O2 Arena in 2012. - New Musical Express, 4/8/19...... GreaseA "prequel" to the smash 1978 movie musical Grease titled Summer Loving is in development, with with writer John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) set to write the script. Summer Loving is said to center on a summer fling Danny Zuko (originally played by John Travolta and Sandy Olsson (originally played by Olivia Newton-John each bring up to their friends in the movie during the song "Summer Nights." Zuko's take on the fling is much more graphic than Olsson's version of the story, which is more innocent and wistful. In 2016, a live TV version of the original movie starring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens won five Emmy Awards. Grease has remained a popular title and soundtrack for Paramount ever since it's '78 release, forever cemented in pop culture. - ComingSoon.net, 4/9/19...... Country singer/songwriter Earl Thomas Conley, known for his country hits in the '80s and early '90s including "Holding Her and Loving You," "What'd You Say" and "Right From the Start," died on Apr. 10 at age 77. Conley had been in hospice care for several months while suffering from a condition similar to dementia, accordding to The Tennessean. "I'm sad to report that Earl Thomas Conley passed away very early this morning," according to country singer and The Voice judge Blake Shelton. "Earl was my all time favorite singer, hero and my friend. Prayers to his family. We will all miss you deeply my brother. Now go rest..." Shelton, Conley and and Michael Pyle composed Shelton's 2002 hit "All Over Me." Born in Portsmouth, Oh., in 1941, Conley began writing songs while in the U.S. Army and after being honorably discharged in 1968 he'd frequently travel from Ohio to Nashville. In 1974 he signed with independent record label GRT. While his early singles failed to chart, Conley continued to have success writing songs for other artists, including Conway Twitty ("This Time I've Hurt Her More Than She Loves Me") and Mel Street ("Smokey Mountain Memories"). In 1979 he signed with Warner Bros. Records and released his first major hit, "Dreamin's All I Do," which peaked at No. 32. He'd see his first No. 1 in 1981 with "Fire and Smoke" and receive a string of nine chart-toppers from 1983-1986, beginning with "Your Love's on the Line" and including "Don't Make It Easy for Me," "Angel in Disguise" and "Chance of Lovin' You," among others. He went on to release 10 albums and secure more than 30 singles on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. - Billboard, 4/10/19...... Actor Seymour Cassel died on Apr. 7 following complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 84. Mr. Cassel collaborated with director/actor John Cassavettes on several of his films, and earned an Oscar nomination for their 1968 movie Faces. He later worked with filmmaker Wes Anderson on Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. His other screen credits included the Steve Buscemi comedy In the Soup in 1992, and TV series Under Suspicion, Good Company and Tracey Ullman's Tracey Takes On. - WENN/Canoe.com, 4/8/19.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

ABBA's Bjrn Ulvaeus has revealed that new music from the Swedish pop icons will arrive this autumn. Ulvaeus told Denmark's Ekstra Bladet tabloid on Apr. 3 that fans can expect a new song "in September or October." A new song titled "I Still Have Faith In You" was due to premiere on the BBC in December 2018. ABBA also recorded another new song called "Don't Shut Me Down." This comes after Ulvaeus hinted last year that the band's recent recording sessions could lead to "a new album, possibly." Ulvaeus added in the interview with Ekstra Bladet that the group's planned avatar spectacular, in which he, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog planned to reunite in a virtual tour featuring digital avatars, "has been delayed for too long," saying that "it takes an extremely long time" to make the video with the avatars of the group members. - New Musical Express, 4/3/19...... AerosmithAerosmith delivered the first performance of their "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vegas residency at the Park MGM on Apr. 6 that saw the Boston-based rock veterans blast through their greatest hits while re-tracing the steps of their journey to rock legend status. Before taking the stage, fans were taken on a trip down memory lane as eight towering screens projected tons of never-before-seen photos, concert reels, TV spots and interviews, including Aerosmith's 1991 appearance in the animated series The Simpsons. Frontman Steven Tyler also chose to sport a T-shirt bearing the "Simpsonified" versions of himself and his bandmates for their first night of the Vegas run. Tyler was in top form throughout the concert, which kicked off with the band's cover of The Yardbirds' "Train Kept A-Rollin'," followed by "Mama Kin," "Back in the Saddle," "Kings And Queens" and "Sweet Emotion." They wrapped the 16-song set with the 1-2-3 punch of "Dude Looks Like a Lady," "Dream On" and "Walk This Way." - Billboard, 4/7/19...... A rep for Mick Jagger confirmed on Apr. 4 that the Rolling Stones frontman has successfully undergone a heart valve procedure in New York and is "expected to make a full recovery." Doctors were reportedly able to access Jagger's heart valve through his femoral artery, using a a catheter without opening the chest, and are now monitoring the musician for any complications that could arise from the procedure, including excess bleeding. The minimally invasive procedure is believed to have been carried out at New York-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell Hospital, and although the 75-year-old singer could be up an moving in a few days, he will need some additional recovery time before returning to the stage. On Mar. 31, the Stones announced they were rescheduling their North American "No Filter Tour" so that Jagger could have the procedure. Orginally slated to begin in April, the tour will now begin in July with new dates to be announced in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Jagger became a great-grandfather for the second time on Mar. 31 after his 26-year-old grandaughter Assisi Jackson, whose mother is his 47-year-old daughter Jade, gave birth to her second daughter. Assisi and her chef boyfriend are already parents to a four-year-old daughter, Ezra, who was Mick's first great-grandchild. Jagger also has eight children, the youngest of whom, Deveraux, was born in 2016. - Billboard/WENN.com, 4/4/19...... In related news, Fleetwood Mac will be replacing the Rolling Stones at the upcoming 50th anniversary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May. Fleetwood Mac will take the stage on May 2, the day the Stones had been set to appear before being forced to postpone their tour due to Mick Jagger's health. New Orleans Jazz Fest lineup will also feature Tom Jones, Ziggy Marley, Mavis Staples and Regina Carter's Southern Comfort, along with many local artists. Fleetwood Mac was forced to postpone a show itself on April 2 at Boston's TD Garden due to a "band member illness," according to a post by the venue on Twitter. The band has also since postponed their April 5 show in Philadelphia. It is unclear which band member is sick. In November 2018, the group rescheduled their concert at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, right before the show was set to begin after Stevie Nicks became ill. Tickets for the original Boston concert will be honored at the rescheduled show, or fans have the option to refund their purchases. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... Michael Jackson's family has decided to speak out against the recent bombshell allegations of sexual abuse against the pop star made by Wade Robson and James Safechuck in the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. In a new 30-minute film posted online titled Investigating Neverland, journalist Liam McEwan interviews several of Jackson's relatives and inner circle, who vehemently defended him against numerous claims. MJ's 37-year-old niece, Brandi Jackson, details how she originally met Robson, when she was about nine years old in 1991. The two would go on to become best friends and dated for nearly a decade. "Everything was fine until he was about 17 or 18, when I noticed his behavior changed. That's when he began to cheat," she explained. "As I would confront him about these things, he would say, 'No these aren't true.' Constantly lying. He denied [the infedelities]." Brandi continues: "He has always been a bit of an opportunist. He knows how to position himself in different situations that will benefit him in a financial way. Once other jobs weren't coming through, this was his next outlet," Brandi continued. Her relationship with Robson was left out of Leaving Neverland. "It would discredit the things he's trying to claim. I find it fascinating that he thinks he's able to erase 10 years of life." If presented with the opportunity to confront Robson, Brandi says, "I would tell him to stop lying. I'm not curious as to why he's doing it, he needs to stop. I don't care what his reasoning is, as far as trying to be relevant, desperate for money. These lies need to stop. It's not okay. My uncle took care of him and did very well by his family." - Billboard, 4/5/19...... Roger TaylorQueen drummer Roger Taylor has released a new politically-themed solo single, "Gangsters Are Running This World." The track -- his first new music in more than five years -- feature lyrics that address the state of the world. "There's blood in the streets / Panic in the air / The markets are trading up / In madness and fear," Taylor sings in the new song. It's not the first time that Taylor has made political statements in his material. In 1994 he released the single "Nazis" while his 1998 album Electric Fire featured a cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero." In 2011, Taylor re-released a protest song he wrote about media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. There were no details of a possible new album with the release of "Gangsters Are Running This World." - New Musical Express, 4/2/19...... Ozzy Osbourne announced on Apr. 5 that he has been forced to postpone all his 2019 North American and European as he recovers from an injury he sustained while recovering from a recent bout of pneumonia. "I can't believe I have to reschedule more tour dates," Osburne, 70, said in a statement. "Words cannot express how frustrated, angry and depressed I am not to be able to tour right now. I'm grateful for the love and support I'm getting from my family, my band, friends and fans, it's really what's keeping me going. Just know that I am getting better every day...I will fully recover... I will finish my tour... I will be back!" In the statement, Osbourne said he fell at his Los Angeles home and aggravated a years-old injury from a 2003 ATV accident, requiring an unspecified surgical procedure in March. He will reportedly remain under a doctor's care in L.A. as he recovers. On Feb. 19, Osbourne was forced to cancel shows in Australia, New Zealand and Japan on his "No More Tours 2" as a result of developing pneumonia from the flu. The news came a week after wife/manager Sharon Osbourne revealed the rock star had been released from intensive care unit. In early March, Ozzy's song Jack Osbourne said in an interview that his dad was "back to his normal routine" following hospitalization for complications from the flu. According to the new statement, all of Ozzy's shows will be rescheduled beginning in February 2020, with ticketholders asked to hold onto their original tickets, which will be honored at the rescheduled dates. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... Former presidental candidate Hillary Clinton was spotted in the audience at the Cher-themed Broadway musical "The Cher Show" on Apr. 3. The former presidential candidate was happy to pose with the cast for snaps at the Neil Simon Theatre, which were shared wide on Twitter and Instagram. Cher and Clinton are friends from way back. The pop legend is a longtime - and vocal -- supporter of Clinton and in 2016 campaigned for the former First Lady at a string of campaign events. Cher will be on the road through much of the year with her "Here We Go Again" tour, which has just expanded with 14 new dates. "The Cher Show" traces the trailblazing singer, comedienne, actress's career. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... A full house congregated on Mar. 31 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church for the Los Angeles premiere of the Aretha Franklin concert documentary Amazing Grace, which chronicles the live, two-day recording of Franklin's best-selling gospel album of the same name. In the exact spot where the film and album were originally recorded 47 years ago, viewers clapped and cheered in the blue-upholstered pews as the late Franklin sang onscreen, echoing those who sat in her presence in 1972. Amazing Grace, which recently won the NAACP Image Award for best documentary film, was remastered and released on March 22 by the American film production and distribution company Neon. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/3/19...... Tom Petty's widow and his two daughters are reportedly locked in a fierce legal battle as they feud over the late singer's will and the future of his unreleased music. According to the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com, Petty's wife Dana York Petty and his daughters Adria and Annakim Petty are feuding over the late music icon's estate. In a petition filed in Los Angeles County court, Dana states that she is in control of Petty's estate -- but Adria and Annakim, his daughters from a previous relationship, say that their father always intended for them to be involved too. Dana has also accused Tom's daughters of verbally attacking Petty's former bandmates and making it increasingly difficult for her to control the estate. The court filing also sees Dana accusing Petty's daughters of blocking the release of solo material he recorded 25 years ago. His widow reportedly wanted to include the tracks on a 25th anniversary box set reissue of his seminal 1994 album Wildflowers and expected the project to have pulled in more than $1 million in royalties. Petty died on October 2, 2017, of an accidental drug overdose. He was 66 years old. - NME, 4/3/19...... George HarrisonIt has just been revealed that George Harrison once sent an angry telegram to then president Richard M. Nixon after being detained at a U.S. airport in March 1973 to discuss the Beatles' record company Apple and to work on Ringo Starr's album Ringo. Beatles researcher Chip Madinger, the co-author of Eight Arms to Hold You and Lennonology: Strange Days Indeed, says when he researched the latter book he did a Freedom of Information request and got John Lennon's INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] file "and just went ahead and got George's at the same time." "[George] came in from Pakistan and was detained at the airport. And they went through some 'he said and she said' and but eventually was allowed to come into the States. And I believe he was given permission to stay until June 1 and he was looking for more time," Madinger says. "He'd supposedly gone to an INS office and gotten an OK to stay until the 30th of June. And he wanted more time beyond that. And that's when it was denied. So he and [wife] Pattie Boyd shipped back to the U.K. on, I believe it was, June 28th of '73. And he must have just gotten a bee in his bonnet or something about it and wrote this telegram." The telegram, addressed to "President Richard Nixon, White House DC," with misspellings, reads: "Sir, how can you bomb Cambonian (sic) citizens and worry about kicking me out of the country for smoking marijuana at the time. Your repressive emperaour (sic) war monger ways stop before too piece (cq) luv (cq). We will run the world Harry Krisher, Hare Hara Krishne Hare Hara Hare Hara Krishner. George Harrison." "I think it's clear that he dictated it because of the misspellings in it," Madinger says. John Lennon also famously had immigration problems with the U.S. government in the early '70s after the Nixon Administration feared he would galvanize young voters, so they then moved to deport him. Lennon's victory came in four steps in Federal Court. He and wife Yoko Ono were first approved as "outstanding artists" and then was given "non-priority status" to keep from being deported. Lennon also sued the government for "selective prosecution," and lastly won an appeal on the deportation order. The Lennon case became an important legal precedent in immigration law. - Billboard, 4/5/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney's 2019 tour of Latin America has broken the $100 million threshold, earning $17.8 million from four South American shows. Of that total, he has earned $21.5 million in Argentina (four shows) and $47.8 million in Brazil (10 shows). His recent shows in late March at Brazil's Allianz Parque were his first double-header in the country and as such, become his highest-grossing engagement there. - Billboard, 4/4/19...... Robin Trower, Maxi Priest and Livingstone Brown will embark on a nationwide U.K. tour in October 2019, playing Holmfirth on Oct. 24, Edinburgh on Oct. 25, Newcastle on Oct. 27, Birmingham on Oct. 28 and London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on Oct. 29. The three musicians have joined forces on a new album, United State of Mind, which will be released later in 2019. After a chance meeting at Brown's recording studio in Brixton, the unlikely duo of Trower and Priest hit it off. Both are directly influenced by soul and gospel music and still share a mutual passion for the genre. Robin, Maxi and Livingston went even further, striking up a very productive joint songwriting partnership, that quickly developed over a dozen new songs. In the 90's Brown played in Trower's band and co-produced his highly rated 20th Century Blues album. - Noble PR, 4/4/19...... Veteran British blues rockers Savoy Brown, with leader Kim Simmonds at the helm, will return with this summer with their 40th album, City Night, set for a June 7 release via Quarto Valley Records. The new 12-track album features Simmonds on vocals and searing lead guitar and includes such tracks as "Walking On Hot Stones," "Payback Time" and "Don't Hang Me Out To Dry." Savoy Brown was formed by guitarist Simmonds in 1965 in London. Simmonds has been the group's guiding hand from the first singles released in 1966 through the band's newest effort, their 40th album. Savoy Brown has announced five U.K. dates in which they will premiere songs from the new album. They will play Banham (4/11), London (4/12), Sheffield (4/14), Wolverhampton (4/15) and Edinburgh (4/15). - Noble PR, 4/5/19...... The EaglesThe Eagles announced on Apr. 2 they will perform their 1976 album Hotel California in its entirety in concert for the first time. According to promoter Live Nation, the performance will take place on Sept. 27 and 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Tickets will go on sale through Ticketmaster on Apr. 12. Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit will be joined by Deacon Frey and Vince Gill on both nights for what will be the group's only North American performances of 2019. Founding member Glenn Frey, Deacon's father, died in 2016. Hotel California is the third best-selling U.S. album in history, and features the Grammy-winning songs "Hotel California" and "New Kid in Town." The Eagles have won six Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. - AP, 4/2/19...... Bill Isles, an original member of the chart-topping R&B group The O'Jays, has died at his southern California home in Oceanside, just north of San Diego. He was 78. Isles died of cancer on Mar. 28, and his funeral was held on Apr. 6, according to his son, Duane Isles. Bill Isles and his childhood friends in Canton, Oh., formed The Mascots in 1958 before changing the name to The Triumphs and releasing a single in 1961. The band changed its name to The O'Jays after getting pivotal advice from a Cleveland DJ named Eddie O'Jay. Isles was featured on songs including "Lonely Drifter" and "Lipstick Traces" before he quit the group in 1965. Duane Isles says his father was The O'Jays' tour manager between 1971 and 1974, when the group released its biggest hits, "Love Train" and "Back Stabbers." The O'Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Isles spent the latter part of the 1970s in Los Angeles before moving his family in 1981 to Oceanside. - AP, 4/7/19...... Actor Noah Keen, who appeared in several episodes of Bonanza as well as such series as Mission: Impossible, Perry Mason, Cagney and Lacey and The Twilight Zone, died at his home in Harlem, N.Y., on Mar. 24. He was 98. His film credits include Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Tom Sawyer and Big Hand for a Little Lady. Mr. Keen, who was born in Cincinnati and served as a bombardier in WWII, moved to NY and worked at NBC. On his way to becoming a director, he decided he wanted to try acting, which became his passion. After several off-Broadway plays he made his way to the West Coast, where he was hired to appear in Bonanza. He is survived by his wife, Gerrianne, his daughter Evan, and two grandsons, Greyson and Riley. - The Los Angeles Times, 4/25/19.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Elvis Costello & The Attractions and Blondie have announced a co-headlining 13-city tour this summer set to kick off on July 20 at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York. The tour, in honor of the two groups' long friendship and past collaborations, will also visit Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and more, before wrapping Aug. 10 at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery near Seattle. Costello and his band will be playing songs from his deep catalog, including his latest effort, 2018's Look Now. Blondie is touring in support of their 2017 album Pollinator. - Billboard, 4/2/19...... A musical inspired by the music of Queen has been announced for a tour of North America following the success of the recent Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Producers announced on Apr. 1 that "We Will Rock You" will open in Winnipeg, Canada, on Sept. 3. The tour will stop in other cities including New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Las Vegas. The original production in London's West End opened in 2002 and featured music supervision from Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor. The producers say the musical reflects the scale and spectacle that marked Queen s live performances, and casting for the North American tour is currently underway. - AP, 4/1/19...... The Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones are reportedly planning to return to the road by this July after after the band was forced to postpone its nine-week "No Filter" tour across the US and Canada when frontman Mick Jagger was told by his doctors that he needs to have a damaged heart valve replaced in early April. The 75-year-old Jagger, who follows a strict diet and exercise regime, is expected to make a complete recovery, as heart valve replacement surgery has a 95% success rate. The rock icon had undergone a routine scan that alerted doctors to an unexpected issue that could require hospital treatment. Despite being ordered to rest, Jagger is said to have told friends he "feels great" and that he is already "bored" of taking it easy. He was spotted on Mar. 31 playing with his youngest son on a beach in Miami and taking it easy ahead of the surgery. Jagger was seen enjoying some family time with two-year-old Deveraux, girlfriend Melanie Hamrick and daughter Georgia May after cancelling the sell-out North American tour which was due to start on Apr. 20. The postponed dates include the Stones' set at New Orlean's Jazz Festival on May 2, as well as the recently added show planned for Canada Day weekend on June 29 in Ontario. Jagger, a father of eight, apologized to fans on Twitter for the cancellation of the tour. "I really hate letting you down like this. I'm devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working very hard to be back on stage as soon as I can. Once again, huge apologies everyone," he posted. In 2016, Jagger pulled out of a show in Las Vegas owing to what was described as "bad laryngitis." Two years earlier, the band cancelled the entire Australasia leg of their world tour due to Jagger's devastation over the suicide of his girlfriend L'Wren Scott. - Billboard/DailyMail.co.uk, 4/1/19...... The Who's long-shelved "Lifehouse" project is to be made into a graphic novel more than four decades after the ambitious rock opera was intended to be released, Who guitarist Pete Townshend announced on Apr. 1. "A graphic novel based on my very first 1970 concept for The Who's abandoned Lifehouse project is perhaps the most exciting creative development in my long career," Townshend said in a statement. "Lifehouse always had a strong and important visual story that was never even touched on. Even by 1971, when Lifehouse was written, it had to be treated as a film script, which was entirely beyond my skill set, and beyond the financial scope of The Who," Townshend continued. "If I had completed my art studies, instead of staying with The Who, I might have made my own graphic novels. I am excited then, with huge anticipation, that at last Lifehouse can be realised visually, and as a story -- part science fiction, part spiritual allegory." Townshend originally wrote the opera as a follow-up to the band's 1969 album Tommy, which was later adapted for stage and screen. But Lifehouse was abandoned in favour of the group's 1971 record, Who's Next. In March, Townshend announced the release of his debut novel, The Age of Anxiety, on Nov. 5 of 2019. It is described as a "great rock novel [that] captures the craziness of the music business through a cultured, witty, and unreliable" narrator. - New Musical Express, 4/1/19...... Willie Nelson has announced his 46th annual 4th of July Picnic concert will return to Circuit of The Americas' Austin360 Amphitheater on July 4 in Austin, Tex. This year's concert will also feature performances by Luke Combs, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and many more. The all-day event held on America's birthday features performances from artists on two stages. In March, Nelson also announced the lineup for his 2019 Outlaw Music Festival Tour, set to launch on June 14 in Bangor, Maine, will also feature Krauss, Phil Lesh & Friends, The Avett Brothers, The Revivalists and more. - Billboard, 4/1/19...... Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, which is now known as Ojai's Sycamore Valley Ranch, has been languishing on the real estate market even before the recent controversial Leaving Neverland documentary. Its asking price was slashed from $69 million to $31 million a few days before the premiere of Leaving Neverland, a four-hour documentary that centers on the testimonies of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused them as children. Meanwhile, Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson and her boyfriend Gabriel Glen played their first public show as the Soundflowers on Mar. 30 at The Mint in Los Angeles. The intimate, mostly seated venue was packed with the duo's friends and family, including Paris' older brother Prince Michael, mother Debbie Rowe, cousin TJ Jackson and Godfather Macauley Culkin. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 3/31/19...... Stevie NicksBryan FerryJoe ElliottStevie Nicks, Roxy Music, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, The Cure, Radiohead and The Zombies were formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Mar. 29 during an induction ceremony at Barclays Center in New York City. Nicks, already a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as part of Fleetwood Mac, was inducted as a solo act, and opened the show with her pounding 1983 hit "Stand Back." "This is the original cape from 'Stand Back,'" Nicks pointed out to the crowd. "My frugal mother would've appreciated that." Well, at least eventually. "If she found out how much it cost in 1983 ($3,000), she would've grounded me, even though I was too old to ground." After a duet with the Eagles' Don Henley on "Leather and Lace," the pair's 1981 duet, Nicks welcomed another surprise guest, rising singer Harry Styles, for a duet of "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," originally recorded by Nicks and the late Tom Petty. Nicks closed her set with "Edge of Seventeen," after which Styles returned to the stage to induct her and praise her as the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock Hall for a second time. "She is forever current," Styles said. "'Dreams' was the first song I knew all the words to before I even knew what it meant -- I thought it was a song about the weather," he said to laughter. Also that evening, Bryan Ferry reunited with some of his Roxy Music bandmates including multi-instrumentalist Andy Mackay and guitarist Phil Manzanera for performances of such Roxy classics as "In Every Dream Home A Heartache," "Out Of The Blue," "Love Is The Drug," "More Than This," "Avalon" and "Editions Of You." Former Roxy members Brian Eno and Paul Thompson were not present due to other commitments, however a selection of musicians who have also played with Ferry and the band over the years accompanied Ferry, Mackay and Manzanera, including Chris Spedding, Neil Jason and Fonzi Thornton. "I'd like to thank everybody for this unexpected honor, especially our fans around the world, who've supported us through the years," said Ferry, after the band was inducted by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor of Duran Duran. Def Leppard led and all-star jam to close out the ceremony, which included an all-star jam of Mott the Hoople's 1972 David Bowie-penned song "All the Young Dudes" that included Queen's Brian May; the Zombies' Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent; the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs; "Little" Steven Van Zandt; and Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter. Earlier in the evening, Brian May gave the induction speech for Def Leppard, calling the pop-metal band a "magnificent rock group, in the classic tradition of what a rock group really is." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/30/19...... Speaking of Mott the Hoople, the veteran '70s rockers kicked off an 8-date tour of selected U.S. cities on Apr. 1 in Milwaukee. Other dates on the "Mott the Hoople '74" tour include Minneapolis (4/2), Chicago (4/3), Detroit (4/5), Cleveland, Oh. (4/6), Glenside, Penn. (4/8), and Boston (4/9) before wrapping at New York's Beacon Theatre on Apr. 10. Touring with Hunter will be two members of Mott's 1974 incarnation, keyboardist Morgan Fischer and guitarist Ariel Bender, however two key members -- bassist Pete Watts and drummer Dale "Buffin" Griffin -- have died in the last few years, and guitarist-songwriter Mick Ralphs can't appear due to complications from a stroke he suffered in 2017. Hunter was asked if he had any thoughts on turning 80, which happens two months after the tour ends. "I feel great about it! 80 sounds sunshiny and clear and lovely, and 79 sounded all murky. I didn't think I'd make 50, so this is all a bonus," he said. - Billboard, 4/1/19...... The Brach's candy company has announced the release of special "Purple Rain" jelly beans for Easter holiday this year in honor of the late Prince, who died three years ago on Apr. 21, also the date of Easter in 2019. The "Purple Rain Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs" will feature four flavors: berry, blueberry, blue raspberry and grape and be available in 3 oz and 11 oz bags. - Billboard, 3/29/19...... Victor WillisOriginal The Village People member, "cop" Victor Willis, has announced he plans on "rebooting" the famous '70s disco group after years of legal issues have been settled. The "YMCA" hitmakers began life back in 1977, created by French producers Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo. Appearing alongside Willis' policeman alter-ego were the GI, the builder, the cowboy, the biker, and the Native American. After original frontman Willis quit the band back in 1979, he is now looking to bring the Village People back as his own -- with years of legal issues surrounding royalties finally resolved. "There was nothing I could do about it until this legal stuff was straightened out," Willis told the BBC on Mar. 31 of returning to front the group. "And this just happened to be at the 40-year anniversary of Village People. Everything seemed to fall into place where I could say, 'OK, it's time for me to take over the group again.'" Willis added: "Not a reunion, but to reboot the group. To have to get new characters. Then I have to get a band like when Jacques and I first sat down and decided we're going to create this Village People thing." He went on to explain that the new incarnation of the group will be "something that's live" and "real." "And this what I came back to do," he said. Willis won a landmark royalties court case back in 2012, which gave him back partial ownership of a number of Village People tracks. In 2009, he sued a new version of the band for $1 million over image issues. He sought the damages after claiming that his image and voice had been used for new promotional purposes without his consent. Willis recently wrapped up his "40 Years of Disco UK" arena tour. - New Musical Express, 3/31/19...... Elton John is standing by actor George Clooney's call to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei after the country passed a law that would allow stoning LGBTQ people to death. He was referring to an op-ed Clooney penned for Deadline.com about the Asian nation's law and its Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, who is instituting the law and happens to be the owner of several luxury hotels around the world. ("On this particular April 3rd the nation of Brunei will begin stoning and whipping to death any of its citizens that are proved to be gay," Clooney wrote. "Let that sink in." "Our hearts go out to the good, hardworking employees of properties owned by the Sultan of Brunei, many of whom we know to be gay," John said. In another tweet, Sir Elton added: "We must send a message, however we can, that such treatment is unacceptable. That's why [my husband] David [Furnish] and I have long refused to stay at these hotels and will continue to do so. We hope you will join us in solidarity." John then provided a list of hotels he's urging others to boycott: The Dorchester in London, 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in the U.K., the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, Le Meurice in Paris, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome and Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan. - Billboard, 3/30/19...... A museum in Tulsa, Okla., will soon open a new Bob Dylan exhibit that will showcase 12 pastel portraits painted by the iconic musician. Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum will display "Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond" from May 10 to Sept. 15. The exhibit is filled with pieces from the Bob Dylan Archives, which has more than 100,000 items from his 60-year career. It's the first major show from the archives since it was acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa in 2016. The paintings highlight Dylan's multifaceted artistic capabilities, said Michael Chaiken, the archive's curator. "He's best known for his music, but Dylan is also a writer of prose, a filmmaker and someone who has been involved in the visual arts for decades," Chaiken said. "This show is an opportunity to explore all those different avenues of Dylan's creativity." The portraits were first shown in London in 2013. The only time they were on display in the U.S. was during a two-month exhibit in Ohio in 2016. The exhibit will also include handwritten song lyrics, a black leather jacket, an electric guitar and screen tests filmed by Andy Warhol. - AP, 3/30/19...... The Grateful Dead has announced it will reissue its 1969 album Aoxomoxoa on June 7 in honor of the LP's 50th anniversary. The two-disc deluxe edition will include the original album with newly remastered sound, plus a bonus disc of unreleased live recordings. The album will also be released as a 12-inch picture disc as a limited edition of 10,000 copies on Rhino Records. Aoxomoxoa is the third studio recording from the Grateful Dead. There will be two versions included in the release: One is fully remastered from the original 1969 recording, and the other remastered from the 1971 band-produced mix. Also included is a bonus disc with previously unreleased live music recorded January 24-26, 1969, at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. - Billboard, 3/28/19...... Marvin GayeMotown Records released the previously unheard "lost" Marvin Gaye album, You're the Man, on Mar. 29. The posthumous record features 17 tracks from the scrapped follow-up to the late soul icon's legendary 1971 album, What's Going On. The songs were recorded back in 1972 in Detroit and Los Angeles, including new versions of "My Last Chance," "Symphony," and "I'd Give My Life for You," mixed by Amy Winehouse producer Salaam Remi. An extended version of "I Want to Come Home for Christmas," is also among the tracks. It marks the first time that all of the Motown legend's follow-up tracks will appear together. - Billboard, 3/29/19...... Actor Tom Hanks is reportedly in talks to play Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in a forthcoming Presley biopic from Austrailian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby). Luhrmann, who co-wrote the screenplay with Craig Pearce, is reportedly seeking an unknown actor for the main role of Elvis, with the director apparently meeting potential candidates at present. It's also thought that, should Hanks agree to play Parker, Warner Bros. will likely allocate a significant budget for Luhrmann's picture -- with the director reportedly seeking to start production on the biopic later in 2019. Parker came across Elvis in 1955 and subsequently signed him up as an exclusive client the following year. Born in the Netherlands, Parker was largely responsible for a number of milestone moments in Elvis' career, including the successful negotiation of his landmark record contract with RCA. - NME, 3/29/19...... Rockabilly musician Billy Adams, best known for writing and recording the rockabilly staple "Rock, Pretty Mama," died on Mar. 30 in Westmoreland, Tenn. He was 79. Adams once said he was inspired to write "Rock, Pretty Mama" listening to the sound of trains near his home. It was released in 1957 and was included in multiple compilations of rockabilly songs. He recorded a comeback albun at Sun Studios in Memphis in 200 called Legacy. Among other songs he recorded in the late 50s include "You Heard Me Knocking," "True Love Will Come Your Way," and "You Gotta Have a Duck Tail." The Redbush, Kentucky native was also an inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. - AP, 4/1/19...... Shelley Lazar, the president of SLO VIP Ticket Services and a longtime veteran in the VIP ticketing space with four decades of experience dating back to her work with legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, passed away on Mar. 31 after a battle with cancer. She was 69. Lazar, known to her friends as "the MFTQ" (Mothaf---ing Ticketing Queen), worked on hundreds of tours for artists including the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Lady Gaga. She created SLO Limited in 2002, building it into one of live music's most successful VIP ticketing providers, selling her company in 2008 to Ticketmaster where she had worked until becoming ill. Lazar also sat on the board of the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Little Rock Kids, the Taylor Family Foundation, Tipping Point Community, Human Rights Watch and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. - Billboard, 3/31/19.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Activists in the LGBT community in China are condemning a decision by Chinese authorities to release the recent Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody with all its references to homosexualy removed. The film was released in the country earlier in March with censored scenes, including ones which showed two men kissing or featured the word "gay." All references to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury's sexuality were also edited out, while the scene in which he comes out to his then-girlfriend was also removed. Another notable change includes the audio being muted during the emotional moment when Mercury tells the band that he has AIDS. Thousands of Chinese social media users have been sharing reviews of the film online, and most have been positive, however many have criticized their government's revisions of Bohemian Rhapsody. Homosexuality has been legal in China for more than two decades and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry removed it from the country's classification of mental disorders in 2001. But the movie's censorship was widely anticipated. In recent years, Chinese authorities have embarked on a campaign to purge content it deems inappropriate. Explicit references to same-sex relationships are banned under Chinese regulations. Gay content is frequently removed or censored by Chinese media anxious to ensure compliance. - New Musical Express/BBC.com, 3/27/19...... StingSting will revisit and reimagine 15 of his best known songs as a solo artist and Police frontman on his new album My Songs, which drops on May 24. "I'm constantly tinkering and I'm always wanting to make the songs as contemporary as they can possible be, because I think they are good songs," Sting says. "Sometimes songs are identified by the technology they were recorded with -- recording techniques, the sound of synthesizers or the drum sound. They all date a song, so we just want to re-contemporize the stuff." My Songs was recorded in various locations, making use of both existing and newly recorded tracks, with members of Sting's touring band, including guitarist Dominic Miller and drummer Josh Freese. A deluxe edition with five live bonus tracks will also be available. Sting, who shared a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with Shaggy for their 44/876 collaboration, will hit the road again with the rapper on May 19 for a short U.K. tour, then play two dates in the U.S. during May before launching a "Sting: My Songs" tour starting on May 28 in Paris. He also has a handful of additional U.S. dates slated for late summer. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... '70s artists Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Bill Murray will be among the cast for director Jim Jarmusch's upcoming zombie film, Focus Features announced on Mar. 28. Written and directed by Jarmusch, the film is set to hit theaters worldwide on June 14 and will also feature Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Danny Glover and Selena Gomez. Jarmusch is known for helming such films as Dead Man (1995) and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), and some of the cast have worked with him in previous films, such as Pop in Dead Man. - Billboard, 3/28/19...... Herbie Hancock will be among the headliners in 2019's International Jazz Day weekend, set for April in Melbourne, Australia. The festival will occur on both Apr. 29 and 30 and will include jazz performances by artists from more than 130 countries around the world, education programs and community service initiatives across both days that feature over a dozen jazz masters. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... The Beatles producing legend Sir George Martin and late Atlantic Records head Ahmet Ertegun will be inducted into the Music Business Hall of Fame during the 61st annual Music Business Association (Music Biz) conference on May 7 in Nashville. Music Biz launched its Hall of Fame in 2018, inducting Tower Records founder Russ Solomon. It aims to celebrate the achievements of industry executives, companies, media, venues, institutions and others who have made significant contributions to the music business. Martin, who passed away in March 2016 at age 90, will be inducted by his son, Giles Martin. The Music Biz 2019 Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner will take place as part of Music Biz's Annual Conference on May 7 at the JW Marriott Nashville. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... The Motown Museum in Detroit celebrated the 75th anniversary of one of its most famous performers, Diana Ross, on Mar. 26 with a screening of Diana Ross: Her Life, Love and Legacy at the Emagine theater at the original Hitsville USA headquarters. The new documentary showcases Ross's famed 1983 conterts in New York's Central Park, and patrons in attendance were also serenaded by the local Prism Mens Chorus, which sang her hit "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" as well as "Happy Birthday." Although Ross herself was celebrating her birthday at home in Los Angeles that night, Ross's youngest sister Rita, who reminded everybody she's the "baby of the family," told the crowd that she was "blessed to be part of my sister's journey for over seven decades." That included traveling with The Supremes as part of a Dick Clark Caravan tour and joining the group on Sammy Davis Jr.'s private plane on its way to the trio's first engagement at the Copacabana in New York during 1965. "I remember we were going over and over and over, trying to get their opening speech (down), so I learned it by heart," the younger Ross said. The event also included a specially videotaped message by Rhonda Ross, her daughter with Motown founder Berry Gordy and a member of the Motown Museum board. Meanwhile, Ross is pleading with critics of her late friend Michael Jackson to "stop in the name of love" amid resurfaced claims of Jackson's alleged sexual abuse stemming from the new HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. "This is what's on my heart this morning. I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others," the former Supremes frontwoman posted on Twitter on Mar. 23. "STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE," she added, referencing the Supremes' chart-topping hit. - Billboard, 3/27/19...... Stevie WonderIn other Motown-related news, Stevie Wonder is set to headline a gig at this year's British Summer Time at London's Hyde Park on July 6, with former The Commodores and '80s solo superstar Lionel Richie as his opener. "The Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love & Music" will be presented on Great Oak Stage with Wonder playing music from his almost six decades-long career. "I'm very thankful that you all have been so wonderful to me, giving me your life and allowing me to share my music with you since I was 11 years old, which was just a little ago," Wonder told the UK's New Musical Express. "So, we're just going to play and have fun." Wonder is also set to headline the international TV festival SeriesFest on June 24 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. This will mark Wonder's first-ever performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Meanwhile, Lionel Richie has announced he'll release his latest album, Live from Las Vegas, on Aug. 23, his first release under his new deal with Capitol Records. Recorded at Zappos Theater at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, the album will feature Richie performing some of his biggest hits, inclukding "All Night Long," "Say You, Say Me," "Hello," "Dancing On The Ceiling" and "Truly," as well as songs from his time with The Commodores, including "Three Times a Lady" and "Easy." Richie will kick off a 32-date "Hello Tour" on May 28 at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, Tex., also making stops in Radio City Music Hall in New York CIty (July 17, 18) and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (Aug. 5), among others, before wrapping on Aug. 30 at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, Minn. - Billboard/NME, 3/26/19...... Family members of late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin celebrated what would have been her 77th birthday on Mar. 25 with a memorial service at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit, nearby where Franklin was laid to rest in a crypt in August 2018. Those who attended remembered not only the legendary singer but also other departed members of the Franklin family. Later in the evening, the Detroit Institute of Arts hosted the premiere of the documentary Amazing Grace, which chronicles Franklin's 1972 performance at a Los Angeles church. Amazing Grace will be released on DVD in April with many extras, including several songs that aren't in the movie. - AP, 3/25/19...... Playing his 62nd sold out show during his residency at Madison Square Garden in New York on Mar. 21, Billy Joel surprised his audience by bringing out John Fogerty to jam with him on a couple of Creedence Clearwater Revival classics, "Up Around the Bend" and "Fortunate Son." Fogerty was in New York for the Woodstock 50 festival lineup announcement at Electric Lady Studios earlier in the week, where he also performed a few CCR songs. - Billboard, 3/25/19...... The estate of Michael Jackson is criticizing the recent announcement by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that Michael's mega-selling 1982 album Thriller (33 million copies sold) has been surpassed as the "best-selling album of all time" by the Eagles' 1975 hits collection, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which the RIAA recently certified as a 38-million seller. Though the two albums have jockeyed for the top spot since the 1980s, trading the lead five times, executives from both Jackson's estate and Sony Music were stunned by the news that Their Greatest Hits had gained nine new platinum certifications in a single day from the RIAA for the years 2006 to 2018 -- meaning 9 million additional U.S. album sales had been made or discovered over those 12 years. Jackson estate co-executor and Ziffren Brittenham partner/head of music John Branca says he's skeptical. "When you review the analysis of the [Eagles] record's performance over the last 20 years, this sudden certification of newly discovered albums that were uncounted calls into question the accuracy of the RIAA certifications," he said in January. "Record companies regularly restrict audits of sales to a three-year period. I've never seen an audit that goes back 20 years." The data team at Warner Music Group, the Eagles' label, had undertaken an exhaustive forensic search to find all sales and royalty reports dating back to 1976, when the album was first issued, sources say. At the very least, Thriller remains the sales leader worldwide, says Branca: The United States accounts for only 30 percent of Jackson's sales and streaming, both of which are up even after the documentary. "When you look at it on a global basis, it's not even a fair conversation," he said. "No album comes close." - Billboard, 3/25/19...... Elton JohnElton John revealed the title, release date and cover for his long-awaited biography on Mar. 25 to mark his 72nd birthday. Titled Me, the memoir will arrive in bookstores on Oct. 15 and its cover features a black and white image of John in his younger years, sporting a pair of his colorful trademark specs. "This is the very first time anyone has seen this, apart from me, of course," the singer said during the unveiling on Twitter. A press release describes Me as "[Elton]'s first and only official autobiography [which] reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, which is also the subject of the upcoming film Rocketman. The result is Me -- the joyously funny, honest and moving story of the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time." Me will be published by Henry Holt in the U.S. and Pan Macmillan in the U.K. Meanwhile, actor Taron Egerton, who plays John in the upcoming biopic Rocketman spoke at a recent partial preview of the Dexter Fletcher-directed movie and said it tells the singer's full story -- warts and all. Egerton says that the film begins with John entering rehab, then the film unfolds as he tells of how he ended up so broken. Egerton has also denied rumours that a gay sex scene has been removed from Rocketman, and says it will be more of a musical than a typical bipoic. Rocketman hits theaters in the U.S. on May 31 and in the U.K. on May 2. - New Musical Express, 3/26/19...... The B-52's have announced plans for a farewell tour of the U.K. this summer. Best known for their hits "Love Shack" and "Rock Lobster," the Georgia-based band will play five dates, kicking off at Gateshead Sage in Newcastle on June 29, then visiting London's Aventim Apollo on June 30 and Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall on July 2. before wrapping up at Manchester O2 Apollo on July 3. The B-52's formed in October 1976 over a shared flaming volcano cocktail at the Hunan Chinese Restaurant. They released their self-titled debut album in 1979, produced by Chris Blackwell via Island Records. The band is also currently working on a documentary and their first official book. In 2018, the band celebrated what they dubbed their 40th anniversary by co-headlining a North American tour with fellow '80s stars Boy George & Culture Club and Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey. - NME, 3/26/19...... A new study from a team at New York University has revealed that the 1960s is the best decade for pop music. The team quizzed 643 subjects aged between 18 and 25 on their pop song knowledge throughout the last 50 years and, in a major victory for fans of the 1960s, it seems that chart toppers from that decade proved to be a whole lot more memorable than the songs from the years 2000 to 2015. Other songs from across the decades were also found to be particularly memorable. Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman," Blondie's "The Tide Is High" and the lesser known "Baby Come Back" by Player were among the most memorable tunes. As for the least memorable, that dubious accolade went to Dawn's "Knock Three Times," John Denver's "I'm Sorry" and Lionel Richie's "Truly." "The 1960s to 1990s was a special time in music, reflected by a steady recognition of pieces of that era-even by today's millennials," said Dr. Pascal Wallisch, lead author of the study. - New Musical Express, 3/27/19...... Olivia Newton-John has claimed that she is regularly haunted the ghosts of celebrity friends that have passed away. The singer made the comments in her new memoirs Don't Stop Believin' and suggested that her late famous pals -- including John Denver and Karen Carpenter -- hover around her while she's performing and act as her spirit guides to ensure her shows always go without a hitch. "I often feel as if they hover around me when I perform," the 70-year-old said. "They are my spirit guides who I ask to support me before every show and they keep me strong. They're gone, but their love never dies." Newton-John, who recently revealed she's currently battling cancer for the third time, also says that she has a number of ghostly companions, which also include a friend's daughter who died as a child, along with other family members. "She has been with me ever since (she passed away), along with my parents (and) my sister," she confessed. - WENN/Canoe.com, 3/26/19...... Redmond O'Neal, the troubled son of actor Ryan O'Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett, has been sued by one of the men he allegedly attacked in 2018 during a violent crime spree. The alleged victim, Steven Jaco, claims the 34-year-old Redmond stabbed him in the head during a drug-fueled rage in Venice, Calif. Jaco claims O'Neal attacked "without provocation," and was wielding his fists, along with some sort of "spike." Jaco, who insists O'Neal was under the influence of drugs, claims he was stabbed "on the right side of his skull, near the side of his left eye and his temple." Jaco claims he has incurred tons of medical expenses, along with not being able to work, and now wants to go after O'Neal for the damages. It's the second lawsuit brought against Redmond, as in 2018 another man sued him during a different violent spree, accusing him of a hate crime. O'Neal remains behind bars until his next hearing in July. - TheBlast.com, 3/26/19...... A new exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Oh., spotlights the 2019 inductees, which include Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson, The Cure, Def Leppard, Radiohead, Roxy Music and The Zombies. Nicks items include her performance outfits from her 1983 "Wild Heart" solo tour and the tambourine from the cover of her 1981 solo debut album. The 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Mar. 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with an edited version slated to air on HBO on Apr. 27. According to a press release, Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry will renunite with former members of his band, including Andy Mackay and Phil Manzanera, at the ceremony. - Billboard, 3/25/19...... Joan JettSpeaking of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett is set to take the stage at WWE's Wrestlemania on Apr. 7, the entertainment company announced on Mar. 26. Jett will perform her hit song "Bad Reputation" as Ronda Rousey makes her grand entrance into the ring for the annual wrestling smackdown. With her performance, Jett will join a lengthy list of stars who've graced the extravaganza's stage over the years, including Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, Kid Rock and others. Wrestlemania is set to take place April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and will stream live around the globe on WWE Network. - Billboard, 3/26/19...... Ranking Roger, a former member of The English Beat and General Public, passed away on Mar. 26 after a battle with cancer. He was 56. Roger, whose real name is Roger Charlery, announced his diagnosis back in January, revealing that cancer had been discovered in his brain and in his lungs after he suffered a stroke last summer. He began his career drumming for the Nam Nam Boys before joining The Beat (known as The English Beat in North America) for their three albums, 1980's classic I Just Can't Stop It, 1981's Wha'ppen? and 1982's Special Beat Service. After the band's breakup in 1983, Roger and Dave Wakeling went on to form General Public with members of Dexys Midnight Runners and The Specials. - Billboard, 3/26/19...... Scott Walker (neé Scott Engel) of the '60s group The Walker Brothers has died aged 76, his record label said on Mar. 25. The US pop trio enjoyed hits like "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" and "Make It Easy On Yourself" in the 1960s. The band moved to Britain and at one point their fame in their adopted country rivalled that of the Beatles. "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Scott Walker. Scott was 76 years old and is survived by his daughter, Lee, his granddaughter, Emmi-Lee, and his partner, Beverly," record label 4AD posted on Twitter. - TV News London, 3/25/19...... Blues harmonica virtuoso and onetime Muddy Waters sideman James Cotten died on Mar. 14 at a medical center in Austin of pneumonia. He was 81. Mr. Cotton, who was born on a cotton farm in Tunica, Miss. on July 1, 1935, came to prominence in the Fifties when he cut two singles for the fledging label Sun Records and performed gigs with Waters. Mr. Cotton, dubbed "Mr. Superharp," formed the James Cotton Band in 1966, with the group issuing a self-titled debut the next year. In the Seventies, he recorded for Buddha and Capitol, reuniting with Waters for LPs produced by guitarist Johnny Winter. The first, Hard Again, came out in 1977 and won a Grammy. He also made appearances on albums by Sumlin, Memphis Slim, Steve Miller and others, and welcomed Miller, Winter, Dr. John, Todd Rundgren, David Sanborn and others onto his own recordings. He continued to record throughout the Eighties, including a run on Alligator Records, and won the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy for his Deep in the Blues LP in 1997. His most recent album was Cotton Mouth Man, which came out in 2013 and was nominated for a Grammy. - 3/19/19.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Although Paul Simon has announced he is finished touring for good, the singer/songwriter has signed on to headline the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, which is set for Aug. 9-11, and donating the entire net proceeds from his performance to local environmental non-profits. Simon's decision is in line with his 2018 retirement, where he said he was finished touring but not performing live. Simon will play Outside Lands nearly one year after wrapping his "Homeward Bound Farewell Tour" with a final two-and-a-half-hour show show at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in September where he closed with "Sound of Silence" before walking off stage and telling fans "It means more than you can know." In a statement about his Outside Lands appearance, Simon said: "I'm looking forward with great anticipation to playing at Golden Gate Park this summer. This will be my first appearance there, and it's an honor to join the long line of musicians who've given the park its sanctified musical heritage. I'm equally pleased to be playing in San Francisco with its well-deserved reputation for being in the forefront of environmental issues. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be of service to this vital cause." - Billboard, 3/22/19...... Barbra StreisandBarbra Streisand has clarified her comments regarding Michael Jackson and the controversial new Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland after facing criticism for an interview with the Times of London on Mar. 22 in which she said Jackson's "sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has... You can say 'molested,' but those children, as you heard [the grown-up Wade Robson and James Safechuck] say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." Streisand went on to say that she has "a combination of feelings" on the situation and that she blames the parents of Jackson's alleged victims, saying, "I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him." On Mar. 23, Streisand issued an additional clarification, saying she is adamant that she does not condone the behavior Jackson is accused of perpetrating in the documentary, which details the experiences of Robson and Safechuck, who allege that Jackson sexually abused and groomed them as children. "To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone," her statement reads. "The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them." In an additional apology on her website, Streisand said that the original comments to The Times "do not reflect my true feelings." "I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims, because the words as printed do not reflect my true feelings," she writes. "I didn't mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way. Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth." - Billboard, 3/23/19...... In related news, the Jackson estate has been informing the media of its many concerns about the credibility of Leaving Neverland and Safechuck and Robson. In a 24-page PowerPoint document not intended for publication titled "Leaving Neverland and the Truth," the estate questions the accusers' memories and the filmmakers' motives in detail. The estate also attached recent news clips in which the Jackson's defense attorney, Thomas Mesereau Jr., called the charges "hogwash." "The quotes are taken out of context and no effort was made to clarify," notes the estate, which sued HBO before the film's wide debut for violating a 1992 nondisparagement clause. "The facts don't add up, but no one has really been interested in reporting on it." Meanwhile, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has said it has no intentions of removing Jackson from its list of legendary superstars despite the extensive allegations against Jackson. The music icon was inducted into the prestigious hall twice during his lifetime, once with the Jackson 5 in 1997, and again as a solo artist in 2001. This comes after the legendary Madame Tussauds wax museum said that all waxwork statues of Jackson are set to remain on display at all of their museums. "The figures on display at Madame Tussauds reflect profiles that have had an impact on popular culture and that visitors expect to see," a spokesperson says. "Michael Jackson has been and is currently a feature of Madame Tussauds attractions around the world. We regularly monitor our choice of figures on display based on external events and visitor feedback." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/22/19...... Sources close to the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman say the film is expected to get an R-ration for sex and drug scenes. Rocketman will reportedly include an intimate love scene between Taron Egerton, who portrays John, and Richard Madden, who plays Elton's former manager and lover, John Reid. Director Dexter Fletcher is in the midst of editing the film, which is slated for release in the U.S. on May 31 and in the U.K. on May 24, and produced by John's husband, David Furnish. Fletcher recently tweeted a statement saying the movie "has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in." Paramount test screened the film earlier in March in Pasadena, Calif., and according to a source, it received scores in the high 80s, a promising sign for an unfinished $40 million musical that grapples with some challenging themes, including John's drug addiction. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/22/19...... An old school book containing essays written by Paul McCartney when the former Beatles member was 17-18 years old and studying at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys will be auctioned on Mar. 26 as part of a Beatles memorabilia auction by Merseyside's Omega Auctions. The green book contains English essays on such classic literary works as Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native and John Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as notes and doodles. The book is expected to reach a final price of between £4,000 and £6,000 -- although estimates of £10,000 have also been quoted. In Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn's book The Beatles - All These Years: Vol. One McCartney is quoted as saying, "I did most of my reading in (that) little period of my life I thought it was a bit swotty, a good image I felt like I was at university." - New Musical Express, 3/22/19...... Todd RundgrenAs Todd Rundgren prepares to launch the U.S. leg of his "The Individualist" tour on Apr. 10 in Atlanta, Ga., the musician will release Todd Rundgren's Utopia Live at the Chicago Theatre on CD and Blu-ray/DVD on Apr. 5. Rundgren and Utopia, which is comprised of bassist Kasim Sulton, drummer Willie Wilcox and keyboardist Gil Assayas, hit the road for the first time in 32 years in the spring of 2018 for a 33-date tour. The quartet played two-set shows, the first focusing on the more expansive prog-rock of the early Utopia catalog, the second on the poppier side of the group's canon. "It was fun," Rundgren says in retrospect. "It started off very nerve-racking because of the volume of music we had to cover as well as, you know, the band hadn't played together for 35 years or whatever. So trying to regain some sort of tightness, synch, stuff like that, it doesn't must come immediately. It takes a couple gigs for all that to settle in. But as the tour went on it got to be more comfortable and more fun and lasted just about the right amount of time." Before the 20-date, 10-city U.S. leg of his The Individualist tour, Rundgren will play in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Apr. 3 and in London on Apr. 6. After the U.S. leg wraps on May 13 in San Francisco, Rundgren will play two shows in Japan, in Tokyo and Osaka, on May 22 and 23, respectively. Although Rundgren was nominated for the 2019 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he says he isn't losing any sleep about being passed over for the honor. "I didn't expect it and have never cared about it," he says. "I'm not looking for some organization to acknowledge me, somehow. Besides, the Hall of fame doesn't make any sense to me because musicians don't have to retire. Athletes retire, and that's when they go into the hall of fame, because they're not playing anymore. But everybody (the Rock Hall) is inducting now is still playing, so how can you say you've got the measure of them? You don't. So, no, I really don't care." - Billboard, 3/22/19...... Phil Collins, who wrapped his "Not Dead Yet!" tour in 2018, has announced he's returning to the U.S. for an extended run of shows this fall for which he has cleverly dubbed the "Still Not Dead Yet, Live!" tour. Collins' 15-date tour will kick off Sept. 23 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Tex., also visiting major markets including Houston (9/24), Atlanta (9/28), Detroit (10/1), New York (10/6), Denver (10/13), Phoenix (10/15) and San Francisco (10/17) before wrapping at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 19. Collins promises fans will be treated to an assortment of hits spanning his career, including "Against All Odds," "In the Air Tonight," "Invisible Touch" and more. - Billboard, 3/21/19...... The O'Jays have released a new single, "Stand Up (Show Love)," ahead of their new studio album The Last Word, which hits stores on Apr. 19. "Stand Up (Show Love)"'s video goes behind-the-scenes of The O'Jays' recording process, as the lead trio, lead by O'Jays veterans Eddie Levert and Walter Williams are assisted by backup vocalists and a luscious combination of guitars, drums, and keys. "'Stand Up (Show Love)' is our response to what we see happening in the world today as well as the ignorance and hatred we feel is coming from the Trump administration," Eddie Levert explains. "It is a great example of what The O'Jays are all about, message music that make you think while you dance. With this video we wanted to invite people into the studio with us and get them excited to stand up, to take action." Fans can catch The O'Jays performing cuts from the new LP as well as their many classic songs at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on Apr. 26. - Billboard, 3/22/19...... Alan ParsonsAlan Parsons will release a new studio album, The Secret, on Apr. 26 which he says should appeal to his longtime fans more than his last set, 2004's A Valid Path in which he explored electronica. "I've been keeping busy," the musician-producer-engineer -- who recently won a Grammy Award this year for Eye in the Sky -- 35th Anniversary Edition for Best Immersive Audio Album -- says, ticking off a range of endeavors from buying a new home and building a new studio to putting together special reissues of the Alan Parsons Project's Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Eye in the Sky and an album for ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, who guests on The Secret. "Throughout this period Frontiers [Records] have been chasing me to make a new studio album, and eventually we came to an agreement and literally came to a deal that I could live with. Here it is, and here we are, almost 15 years later. I have no problem with that." The Secret also features vocals by Jason Mraz ("Miracle"), Foreigner co-founder Lou Gramm ("Sometimes") and longtime Parsons concert vocalist P.J. Olsson ("Beyond the Years of Glory"), with Parsons lending his vocals to "As Lights Fall" and "Soiree Fantastique." Genesis alumnus Steve Hackett plays on a rendition of Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," which kicks off the album. Parsons takes his live band on the road starting Feb. 26 in Quebec City, with dates throughout April in North America and a European run right after that into June -- and he promises more live dates will follow. - Billboard, 3/20/19...... R&B icon Curtis Mayfield's 1972 hit "Superfly" is among the 25 songs that have recently been added to the National Recording Registry, the Library of Congress announced on Mar. 20. Other memorable titles chosing by the Registry include Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," Sam & Dave's "Soul Man" and songs from the '70s children's series Schoolhouse Rock. The library selects titles for preservation because of their cultural and historic importance to the American soundscape. - AP, 3/20/19...... The Michigan legislature has approved a portion of M-10 in Detroit be renamed "Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway" in honor of Aretha Franklin, who died in Detroit in 2018 after pancreatic cancer. The legislation will next go to the state Senate for approval before being signed by the governor. The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Leslie Love of Detroit, says Franklin was a "special lady" who fought for civil rights and "gave us all a soundtrack to our lives." - AP, 3/20/19...... Fleetwood Mac is on track to gross more than $100 million on the North American leg of their 2018/2019 tour with venues across the country reporting grosses between $1.5 to $2 million per show powered by a new generation of fans who have embraced the legendary group and its deep catalog of No. 1 hits. In 2018, the group announced they were going on tour without longtime member Lindsey Buckingham, but with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Crowded House's Neil Finn standing in for the guitarist/singer Buckingham. "The tour is playing to sold out arenas every night and I love walking thru the crowds, seeing generations of longtime fans dancing and singing along to their favorite songs," the band's co-manager Sheryl Louis said in a statement. "What I've noticed on this tour specifically is so many younger fans, who are equally as enthusiastic, seeing the band live for the first time and loving it." - Billboard, 3/18/19...... Cher is reaching out to fans for help in finding her beloved black, rhinestone-studded "Eat the Rich" T-shirt which the diva says she has misplaced after remaining loyal to it for nearly 40 years now. On Mar. 20, Cher tweeted "My T-Shirt Is Gone," along with a few sad-face and broken-heart emojis. "Black studded Rhinestone Shirt with white pirate," she added. "Worn it for 30-40 years. My favorite piece of clothing." She also noted that she's hoping for a little divine intervention, tweeting, "I'm Asking St. Anthony To Get Involved, He Finds Everything." - Billboard, 3/21/19...... Boz ScaggsBoz Scaggs has released a video for "Little Miss Night and Day" from his latest album, 2018's Grammy Award-nominated Out of the Blues. "That's what it's about," Scaggs says of the black & white clip, which features backstage, soundcheck and on stage footage from a tour stop. "It's on the road. It's live. I like people to come out and see it, and we're really running on the enthusiasm that has been created from the last number of years of shows. It's exciting. I'd forgotten how much fun I could have on stage." Scaggs and his band will return to touring on Mar. 27 as part of the 70s Rock & Romance Cruise before starting a U.S. tour leading up to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Apr. 27, and then tours of Japan and back to the U.S. Out of the Blues, which was up for a Grammy for best contemporary blues album this year, was the concluding piece in a trilogy in which Scaggs explored his various musical influences, particularly soul, blues and Americana. Scaggs says he's looking at "a wide open palette" for what he'll do next. - Billboard, 3/20/19...... The Woodstock 50 anniversary festival has announced a massive list of headliners including Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Dead & Company, David Crosby and original Woodstock veteran Santana. Rappers Jay-Z and Chance The Rapper have also been confirmed to headline the event at Watkins Glen, N.Y. running Aug. 16-18. Original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang previously said the 50th anniversary Woodstock will "cross genres from rock to pop, folk and hip hop... It's kind of representative of this idea of engagement and trying to steer toward acts that are heavily involved in social issues. So there's some real gravitas in the performance and we want it to live on beyond the event." Woodstock 50 will occur on the same weekend as another Woodstock anniversary festival produced by Live Nation with headliners Ringo Starr and Santana. - Billboard, 3/19/19...... Jerry Lee Lewis has announced he is canceling several upcoming shows, including his appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival on Apr. 28, as he recovers from a stroke he suffered in February. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also announced he is cancelling his May 18 concert in Knoxville, Tenn., and a June 8 concert in Alexandria, Va. According to a statement from the 83-year-old Lewis' neurologist released on Mar. 18, he is expected to fully recover with aggressive and intensive rehab. - AP, 3/19/19...... Country artist Roseanne Cash has joined forces with artist and producer Ry Cooder for a five-city run of "Cash and Cooder on Cash: A Musical Tribute to Johnny Cash." The performances are tribute to Johnny Cash by his daughter and Cooder featuring heartfelt personal interpretations of gems from his treasure-filled songbook. The special performances will kick off on June 16 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville then head to the Chicago Theatre in Illinois, Wang Theatre in Boston, Carnegie Hall in New York and close out on Nov. 3 at the Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia. - Amplify, 3/18/19...... Ray Stevens'70s hitmaker Ray Stevens is among the country/pop acts who have been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Mar. 18. Stevens, along with Brooks & Dunn and Jerry Bradley, will be formally inducted during a ceremony at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum later in 2019. The induction into the CMHOF is the pinnacle of achievement in country music. - Billboard, 3/18/19...... A California judge has allowed a lawsuit brought by former Journey singer Steve Perry over vocals he recorded in a garage two decades ago to move forward. In Nov. 2018, Perry sued Phil Brown, claiming the musician wants to release without his permission demos the two recorded together in the early 1990s. Perry says he never intended for those vocals to be used in a larger sound recording in which any other party would have a copyright interest and that the two signed an agreement that Perry would control the exploitation of the musical compositions. Perry says Brown has ignored his cease and desist demands, so he sued. He asked the court for a declaration to clear up who owns the recordings, and is seeking damages for violation of his publicity rights and false endorsement. The court in November granted a temporary restraining order that bars Brown from releasing the works. The next hearing in the case is currently set for Mar. 25. - Billboard, 3/18/19...... R&B legend Andre Williams, perhaps best known for songs including "Bacon Fat" (1956), "Jail Bait" (1957), "Cadillac Jack" (1966), and the R&B classic, "Shake a Tail Feather" (1963), passed away on Mar. 17 in Chicago. He was 82. "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams," a Facebook post from the Chicago-based label Pravda Records read. "He died this afternoon in Chicago at the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of countless others. We love you Dre." Mr. Williams was signed to Motown and Chess Records during his career, and released his last album, Don't Ever Give Up, via Pravda in 2016. - New Musical Express, 3/18/19.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A new 3-disc Rolling Stones compilation called Honk will be released on CD, vinyl and digitally on Apr. 19, the band announced on Mar. 14. The "best of" collection will consist of classic tracks and big hits from every Stones studio album from 1971 onwards, as well as recent recordings of 10 live tracks with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Dave Grohl and Florence Welch. A special, fan edition deluxe 4-LP coloured vinyl will also be released. - NME, 3/14/19...... Ringo StarrA rep for Ringo Starr confirmed on Mar. 17 that the former Beatles drummer "has been working on a new record for months." This comes three days after Ringo's recording engineer, Bruce Sugar, posted a pic of himself, Ringo and Steve Lukather of Ringo's All-Starr Band on Facebook with the caption, "Another great day in the Studio..." Starr later tweeted the same day: "In the studio again with the great Steve Lukather what a guy peace and Love." Ringo's most recent album, Give More Love, peaked at No. 128 on the Billboard 200 in October 2017. There's no word on when the new album will be released. Ringo and his band will kick off a 2019 US tour on Mar. 21 in Funner, Calif., followed by nine shows in April in Japan. He'll be back performing in Canada and the U.S. starting Aug. 1, including the 50th anniversary Woodstock music festival. - Billboard, 3/17/19...... In other Beatles-related news, a letter written by John Lennon in 1971 which details his anger with his record label and the music industry at large over the Two Virgins album he released with Yoko Ono has been put up for auction, with bids expected to reach as much as £15,000. Addressed to "Martin George of Rock Ink," who is interpreted to be either Beatles producer George Martin or, more likely, underground Ink music mag journalist Martin George, the letter states: "Yoko and I got 'Two Virgins' out in spite of [which is underlined] being past owners of Apple. We made it in May and they f---ed us about till November! Then E. M. I. (who have the real control) wrote warning letters to all their puppets around the world telling them not handle it in any way (this after Sir Joe [Lockwood, chairman of EMI] had told us face to face that he would do 'everything he could' to help us with it - and asking us for autographed copies!!)." Lennon continues: "In the States it came out on Tetragrammaton which vanished leaving a few thousand spares (it was sold discretely wrapped in a brown paper bags). Retailers here and there were too scared to handle it and it sold very few - it's very well known but not many people could actually get it. In most other major markets, e.g. Japan, it has never been released." After railing against the censorship of the word "fuck" and the "banning" of Ono's 'Open Your Box', Lennon concluded the letter with: "Just thought you'd like to know." - New Musical Express, 3/13/19...... The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana has announced its upcoming Roger Ebert Eberfest film festival will feature the premiere of a restored version of Aretha Franklin's "lost" 1972 concert film Amazing Grace. The 1972 film directed by Sydney Pollack, which has been stored in a vault for decades, has now been restored and released. It will kick off this year's Ebertfest followed by a live community choir performance. Franklin died at the age of 76 in August 2018 from pancreatic cancer. The annual festival honors Ebert, the late Chicago Sun-Times film critic and UI graduate, and runs from Apr. 10-13 at Champaign's Virginia Theatre. - AP, 3/18/19...... As the Brexit issue comes to an apparent climax in the U.K., The Who's Roger Daltrey has told reporters for Sky News that Britain's controversial withdrawal from the European Union won't affect British musicians. Daltrey, who has previously defended his pro-Brexit views, was asked whether Brexit would be "bad for British rock music." "No. What's it got to do with the rock business?," Daltrey said. "How are you going to tour in Europe?" the interviewer replied. "Oh dear. As if we didn't tour Europe before the f---ing EU," he said. "Oh give it up!" Daltrey then compared the EU to the mafia, saying: "If you want to be signed up to be ruled by a f---ing mafia, you do it. Like being governed by FIFA." The Who will kick off a North American tour on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich. - New Musical Express, 3/17/19...... Lou ReedA huge Lou Reed archive that personal notes, photographs and more than 600 hours of recordings is now available at the New York Public Library. The archive was acquired by the library after Reed's wife, performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson, decided to share it with an institution that could preserve and showcase the archive. In an interview with the New York Times, Anderson says her late husband never discussed what to do with his belongings before his death in 2013. She says she thought the archive should be accessible to young musicians and anyone interested in his life. Reed was the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the '60s band The Velvet Underground before launching a solo career that spanned decades. - AP, 3/18/19...... The Jacksons performed a "medley tribute" to their brother Michael Jackson on Mar. 16 during a concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Performing songs such as "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save' and "Dancing Machine," all of which feature Michael as the lead vocalist, The Jacksons member Tito Jackson says that their current world tour is "a tribute to MJ... He is everything and will be represented on the stage." In addition to Tito, the The Jacksons consist of Marlon, Jermaine, Randy and Jackie Jackson. However due to an illness Jermaine was unable to make the trip to Sao Paulo. The group will end their visit to South America on Mar. 23 with a concert in Chile. Meanwhile, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis announced on Mar. 15 that it plans to remove three Michael Jackson items from exhibits after the new documentary Leaving Neverland renewed allegations of child sexual abuse against the late singer and Gary, Ind. native. The Indianapolis Star reports a fedora and glove Jackson wore onstage and a Jackson poster are no longer on display at the museum, which says it wants items on display to tell stories of "people of high character." On Mar. 14, Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson posted on Twitter that "There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said in regards to defense," of her late dad, noting that her cousin Taj Jackson "is doing a perfect job on his own and I support him." "I'm just (trying to) get everyone to chill out and go with the flow, be mellow and think about the bigger picture. that's me," she added. Taking a more aggressive approach to defending the memory of the late King of Pop are three of his fan club groups, who are suing his accusers for "sullying his memory." The Michael Jackson Community, the MJ Street, and On The Line fan clubs have filed a lawsuit in France against Wade Robson, 26, and James Safechuck, 41, who claim in the Dan Reed-directed film that they were sexually abused by Jackson when they were children. Their attorney, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP on Mar. 15 that they are suing Jackson's accusers for "sullying his memory" and for "lynching" the late star. The groups, he added, "want to discredit the accusations of paedophilia." Ludot previously successfully sued Jackson's personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray for causing distress to his fans by giving him the drugs that killed him in 2009. - New Musical Express/AP/Billboard, 3/18/19...... Bernie Tormé, a former guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne's band in the early 1980s, died on Mar. 17 at age 66. The Irish guitarist's official website confirmed the news of his passing and his family issued a statement on Mar. 18, which read, "Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family. He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications. Bernie will be remembered for dedicating his life to his music for five decades. He will be sorely missed." Tormé came to prominence in the mid-1970s when he played in a series of bands that lead to a gig as the lead guitarist in Gillan, the hard-rocking group fronted by former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan. His three-year stint ended in 1981, after which he briefly joined Osbourne's solo band for a handful of live dates as the replacement for Randy Rhoades, following Rhoades death in a plane crash in 1982. While that gig was short-lived, Tormé continued to write, record and tour with bands that performed under his name, including Tormé and Electric Gypsies. Osbourne and wife/manager Sharon Osbourne sent their best wishes to Tormé in February upon hearing of his illness. Tormé briefly teamed up with Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider in the group Desperado, whose only album was never offically released, and then formed the supergroup Guy McCoy Tormé in 2006 with former Gillan bassist John McCoy and drummer Robin Guy. - Billboard, 3/18/19...... David ByrneSpeaking at the South By Southwest Conference and Festival in Austin, Tex. on Mar. 13, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne screened and answered questions about the acclaimed 1986 Talking Heads documentary True Stories, as well as the music industry in general. The first of the digitally submitted questions asked Byrne to weigh in on the current economies of the music industry -- which producer T Bone Burnett focused a great deal of his time on during his talk in the same Hilton Hotel ballroom just before Byrne spoke. "Yes, things are changing very rapidly," Byrne told the overflow crowd. "In some ways what we as musicians do feels like it's been devalued over the years. It's become kind of free wallpaper or whatever." Byrne then noted that his personal antidote has been playing live. "I find that for me, at least, performance is still a thing that I do fairly often," Bryne said. "That experience as an audience or as a performer lives outside the commodification of music. That, to me, is a good sign. There's an opportunity for things to be heard beyond the gatekeepers." Byrne added that the changes in the music business have not really changed his creative practice, either. "I just kind of find other kinds of media, whether it's film or (his new Reasons To Be Cheerful) projects," he said. "I have been lucky enough to make enough money from touring -- not so much from records anymore, but from touring -- that I have the luxury of being able to say, 'Oh, I want to do this' and can dedicate my time and pay people to collaborate with me on things. That's not that different than what I used to do." Byrne says he launched his Reasons To Be Cheerful project as a response to the current state of division and divisiveness in America and other parts of the world -- through his own investigations as well as through musical projects such as his 2018 album American Utopia and the widely acclaimed tour that supported it. - Billboard, 3/13/19...... In other David Byrne news, the singer/songwriter will be among those inducting artists into the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class on Mar. 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Byrne will be inducting Radiohead, with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor doing the honors for The Cure, Queen's Brian May for Def Leppard, The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs for The Zombies and Duran Duran's Simon LeBon, John Taylor for Roxy Music, and Harry Styles for Stevie Nicks. Although no details have been formally announced on which acts will perform, Def Leppard, Nicks, the Zombies and Roxy Music are expected to take the stage. - Billboard, 3/13/19...... Chauncey "Chick" Crumpacker, best known as the producer and music exec who brought Elvis Presley to RCA Victor Records, died of natural causes on Mar. 12. He was 91. Mr. Crumpacker's career in music began in 1953 in RCA Victor's A&R department shortly after moving to New York City. During his time in A&R, he played a key role in bringing Presley to the label from Sun Records and then toured and traveled with the now-iconic rocker. He also tried to bring Johnny Cash to the label, but was ultimately unsuccessful after the label failed to support the move. Mr. Crumpacker also wrote Grammy-nominated liner notes for many records at RCA and spent many of his last years in the label's archive, cataloging and researching. - Billboard, 3/15/19...... Eddie Lambert, a veteran music exec who who worked at companies including ABC/Dunhill, Motown and EMI-Capitol during his five-decade career, died on Mar. 4 at his home in West Hills, California, after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 76. In 1974, Lambert and his brother, songwriter/producer Dennis Lambert, launched Haven Records, and Eddie Lambert, as vice president and GM, signed the newly reunited Righteous Brothers as well as Evie Sands, Player and The Grass Roots. He also worked closely with Dennis on the Tavares and Glen Campbell albums that his brother and Brian Potter produced for Capitol. He also supervised and coordinated the soundtrack albums for The Big Chill (1983) and A Fine Mess (1986). A number of those LPs were produced or co-produced by his brother. He retired in 2017 because of his illness. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/13/19...... Dick DaleDick Dale, known as "The King of The Surf Guitar" whose biggest hit "Miserlou" soundtracked one of the most iconic opening sequences in film in Pulp Fiction, died on Mar. 16 after quietly suffering health issues for many years. He was 81. Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston, Mass. in 1937, and first coming to prominence in the early '60s with his band, The Del-Tones and "Miserlou," Mr. Dale's take on the traditional Greek folk tune featured his furious, signature strum and served as the venerable hit of his 1962 debut LP, Surfer's Choice. The single enjoyed a later renaissance thanks to director Quentin Tarantino, who blasted it during the opening credits of 1994's Pulp Fiction 32 years after the song's release. The Black Eyed Peas notably sampled "Miserlou" in their 2006 hit "Pump It," which peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not only did Mr. Dale create an entirely new style of music, he was also credited with creating custom amplifiers for Fender that could handle his often powerful sounds and slides. His distinctive sound was influenced by his Lebanese heritage, and his 1961 hit "Let's Go Trippin'" is credited for sparking a sound that encompassed a budding Southern California surf culture. Among his movie credits were Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party and Back To the Beach with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funacello, and Let's Make Love starring Marilyn Monroe. His music was also featured in such movies as Escape from L.A., Space Jam, Barbed Wire and Jesus's Son, and he made appearances in such TV shows as Beverly Hills 90210, Beavis & Butthead, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The David Letterman Show and the Conan O'Brian Show. In 1996, he was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame, and in 1989 the Surfing Hall of Fame. In 1963, he was the first rock guitarist to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, the nation's number one national show. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Mr. Dale, who toured well into his twilight years, was candid about the various health issues he faced -- including renal failure, diabetes and more -- as he continued to travel the country and perform. "Even with my illnesses and diseases," he said, "I'm faster with my hands than I've ever been." MTV original VJ Kurt Loder shared his condolences to Mr. Dale on Twitter, while actor Seth Rogen admitted his affinity for the guitar hero. "Once I drove an hour and half to see Dick Dale perform at a horse track, and it was wonderful. RIP," Rogen wrote. He is survived by his longtime love, Lana, and son Jimmie. - Billboard/The Daily Mail/DickDale.com, 3/17/19.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Movie studio MGM announced on Mar. 9 that its upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect will hit U.S. theaters on Aug. 14, 2020. In 2018, MGM set the project in motion when it announced Oscar-winning actress/singer Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) had been personally selected by the Queen of Soul to play her in the film. Screenwriter Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise) is writing the script for Respect, which follows the rise of the singer's career -- from a child singing in her father's church choir to a superstar. Meanwhile, the theatrical release of the Franklin documentary Amazing Grace, which was shot in 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles during the recording of Franklin's double-platinum album of the same name, will take place on Apr. 5, following its Oscar-qualifying run in NY and LA at the end of 2018. - Variety.com, 3/9/19...... Paul McCartneyAfter brisk ticket sales for his June 29 show at the 20,000-capacity T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Paul McCartney has just added a second show at the same venue a day earlier. The concert is the latest addition to the U.S. leg of Sir Paul's "Freshen Up" tour, his first extended stateside run since the "One On One" tour that played to some two million fans around the world between 2016-2017. The tour, with the 76-year-old superstar playing for three hours each night, gets underway on May 23 at New Orleans' Smoothie King Arena, hits mostly medium-sized markets including Raleigh, NC; Greenville, SC; Lexington, KY; Green Bay, WS; and Arlington, TX. It will wrap on July 13 at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium. - Billboard, 3/12/19...... The New York Post's PageSix.com site is reporting there might be a sequel to the hugely successful Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Rudi Dolezal, who directed several Queen videos including "One Vision," told Page Six that he expects the group's legendary manager, Jim Beach, will back a second biopic about the band and its late frontman, Freddie Mercury. Beach produced Bohemian Rhapsody, which won several major film awards earlier in the year including Best Picture at the Golden Globes and numerous Best Actor awards for Rami Malek, who portrayed Mercury in the blockbuster. However the site also noted that Queen nor its management have supported Dolezal's claims. Queen fans will be able to indulge in more of the band's history when a new documentary about Queen and current frontman Adam Lambert airs in the US this spring. The two-hour film, The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story, is set to be shown on ABC on Apr. 29. - NME, 3/11/19...... '70s New Wave icon Joe Jackson's "Four Decade" tour hit L.A.'s picturesque Orpheum Theater on Mar. 10, with Jackson delivering a 24-song set that traveled across decades and genres with easy assurance. He cast his set as a scrapbook flipping through the '70s, '80s, '90s and 2000's, bookending the show with "Alchemy" from his new LP, Fool. "Thank you for supporting us for all these years," Jackson said with clear sincerity near the end of the evening. - Billboard, 3/11/19...... While airplay of Michael Jackson songs after the premiere of the new HBO Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland has dipped, there has been a bump in streams and sales of the King of Pop's catalog of music in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. Jackson's combined album and song sales -- including his work with the Jackson 5 and The Jacksons -- increased 10 percent in the shadow of the Neverland premiere. His combined sales on March 3-5 totaled nearly 9,000, up from the little over 8,000 on the previous Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 24-26). The first part of Leaving Neverland premiered on HBO on Mar. 3., and the second two hours bowed on the network a day later. Viewing Jackson's radio airplay picture, spins of his songs fell by 13 percent to 5,200 plays across all monitored U.S. terrestrial and satellite radio stations on March 3-5 (down from 6,000 on Feb. 24-26). Notably, there was a marked decline in plays for Jackson's songs on Tuesday, March 5 (the day after the second part of Neverland's airing) versus Sunday, March 3 (the day of the premiere of Neverland). It's unclear if any of Jackson's albums or songs will see any major impact on the Billboard charts (dated March 16, reflecting the sales and streaming week ending March 7). - Billboard, 3/8/19...... In a recent interview with the UK music mag Metal Hammer, Ozzy Osbourne revealed that he "died twice on the way to hospital" at one point during his chemically-fuelled younger years. Osbourne was hospitalized in February after suffering complications from the flu. In a later update, he said that he had developed pneumonia and was forced to cancel his planned tour to recover at home. Now, the former Black Sabbath frontman has discussed sobriety while recalling his earlier days of rock 'n' roll debauchery. Ozzy says that he thought he would die young as a result of his addictions and lifestyle. "If you'd said to me years ago, 'How long do you think you'll last?' I would've said, 'I'll be dead by 40!'" he explained. "Luck has shadowed me all the way," the 70-year-old rocker added. "If you'd read a news story that said, 'Ozzy Osbourne has been found dead in his hotel room!', you wouldn't go, 'Oh, really?' would you? You'd say, 'Well, obviously!'" Reeling off his previous lucky escapes, Ozzy remembered: "I've fallen out of lift shafts and windows. I broke my neck on a quad bike. There was one time when I died twice on the way to hospital. I might be unsinkable!" - New Musical Express, 3/12/19...... Surviving The Monkees members Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith are paying tribute to both late Monkees members Davy Jones, who died on Feb. 29, 2012 after suffering a heart attack, as well as Peter Tork, who died more recently on Feb. 21 at age 77 after a battle with adenoid cystic carcinoma. "We went through (mourning Tork) last year," Dolenz says, noting that when Tork told him and Nesmith that he could not be part of shows with them during 2018, his death on Feb. 21 at the age of 77 "did not come as a surprise, not like David's (Jones) did... Peter acknowledged a few years ago, in fact, that he had some health issues. So Mike and I sorta went through (the mourning) last year, 'cause we had an idea what was coming." Dolenz and Nesmith will be playing their "The Monkees Present: The Mike & Micky Show" shows through Mar. 16, including makeup dates for the four postponed last year when Nesmith needed heart bypass surgery. Dolenz says the duo has recorded, though not fully filmed, The Mike & Micky Show for release on CD, and while some sort of live document is possible, he says a follow-up to 2016's successful Good Times! album and 2018 Christmas Party set is not in the offing. "Not at this point -- not yet, anyway," Dolenz says. "After the success of Good Times! there was talk about following it up, and the general consensus was, 'How the hell are we going to top that?!'" - Billboard, 3/8/19...... The Charlie Daniels Band are hitting the road with country superstar Travis Tritt this spring for a joint co-headlining tour dubbed the "Outlaws & Renegades Tour." The trek kicked off on Mar. 8 in St. Augustine, Fla., and will run through Aug. 25 in Tuscon, Ariz. The Cadillac Three will serve as special guests throughout the tour with additional support from the Marshall Tucker Band and Love & Theft on select shows. - Billboard, 3/8/19...... Joni MitchellA private gift of art and lyrics sent by Joni Mitchell will be released in book form on Oct. 22, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced on Mar. 11. Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings collects materials the singer-songwriter assembled in the early 1970s and sent to friends -- just 100 copies, all signed. The forthcoming release will include a new introduction by Mitchell and additional paintings not included in the original edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will also publish a signed, limited edition of Morning Glory on the Vine. The book announcement follows the one-night only screening of the Joni 75th birthday tribute concert Joni 75 on Feb. 7, and its companion album on Mar. 8. - AP, 3/11/19...... Posting on his official Twitter account on Mar. 8, Elton John said he plans on releasing his "first and only autobiography later in 2019. "My life has been one helluva roller coaster ride and I m now ready to tell you my story, in my own words," John captioned a video in which he announced the news. In the clip, Elton added: "Here I am in my favourite bookshop, John Sandoe in Chelsea, in London. I just wanted to tell you I have a book coming out, which is my first autobiography." The as-yet-untitled book will be released in October 2019 and will be published by Macmillan's Henry Holt & Co. On their website, the publisher said: "A multiple Grammy-winning legend and flamboyant superstar, Elton is the most enduringly successful singer/songwriter of all time. Fans have been eagerly waiting for him to tell his story. Now the wait is (almost) over." John first revealed he was writing his memoir in 2017. "I'm not prone to being a nostalgic person," he said at the time. "I'm often accused of only looking forward to my next gig or creative project. It's come as quite a surprise how cathartic I am finding the process of writing my memoirs. As I look back, I realise what a crazy life I have had the extreme privilege of living." Elton is currently touring the US as part of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour," which will be his last ever. Meanwhile, a biopic focusing on his breakthrough years is due for release on May 24. Rocketman will star Taron Egerton as John, while Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Madden and Jamie Bell will also appear. - New Musical Express, 3/8/19...... In related news, Olivia Newton-John's new memoir Don't Stop Believin' was released in the US on Mar. 12. In the book, first released in her native Australia in 2017, Newton-John reveals she took on a secret battle against cancer in 2013. "I just decided I wanted to go through it myself," Olivia said on the American show Today on Mar. 7. "It was just a decision to keep it to myself that time." The "Physical" hitmaker also addressed rumours from earlier this year which suggested she was near death. "It was like, they were telling me I was dying and I thought, 'I don't feel like it. I feel pretty good'," she laughs. "Rumours start and then it gets out of control and I decided, 'No, I'm gonna come out and talk about it, because I have many friends and family all around the world and I can't call everyone, so I need to let them know I'm OK'." - WENN/Canoe.com, 3/8/19...... The former residence of imprisoned record producer Phil Spector and his wife in Alhambra, Calif., where actress/model Lana Clarkson was murdered by Spector in 2003 has been put on the market with an asking price of $5.5 million. The turreted mansion, known as the "Pyrenees Castle," has been put on the market just one month after the 16th anniversary of the actress' death. The 8,700 square foot home boasts nine bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, three half bathrooms, two home offices, a hair salon and a butler's pantry. It also comes equipped with a two full kitchens, a games room and an employee quarters, complete with a separate staff entrance. Spector, 79, is currently serving a sentence of 19-years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in the home's foyer in 2003. The 40-year-old actress who starred in the cult film Barbarian Queen was found dead at the property on Feb. 3, 2003. She had suffered a single gun-shot to the mouth and her teeth were found scattered over the floor. Speaking to Esquire magazine in 2003, Spector claimed Clarkson's death was an "accidental suicide" and that she had tried to "kiss the gun" before it inadvertently went off. In an emergency call from Spector's home, the music virtuoso can be heard saying "I think I killed someone." - DailyMail.co.uk, 3/10/19...... David BowieA demo that is thought to be among the first recordings of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars track "Starman" has sold at auction in the U.K. for £51,000. The recording was made in 1971 by Bowie and his Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, who later handed it to Kevin Hutchinson, a close friend and aspiring musician who wanted to learn the now iconic track. Despite initial estimates that the tape would sell for £10,000, it went under the hammer for £51,000 at Merseyside's Omega Auctions on Mar. 12. "Now I'm 65 and I played it, I just couldn't believe how good it is," Hutchinson told a UK press association. "But at the time, I thought: It's not bad. At 16 you're not totally impressed, nothing impresses you," he noted. Hutchinson says he discovered the tape when he retrieved his old tape recorder out of hisloft and threaded the tape into the machine. On the demo, Bowie can also be heard telling Ronson that he had not finished the song when he tries to end the recording. "You can tell that Mick has never heard the song before because at the end he is just about to turn the tape recorder off and Bowie says: 'Hang on. There's a little bit more'," Hutchinson says. - New Musical Express, 3/13/19......Celebrated musician, award-winning writer, artist and publisher Artie Wayne, who played a major part in the success of such artists as Quincy Jones, Ringo Starr and Olivia Newton-John has died aged 77 in Palm Springs, Calif. As a songwriter he had more than 250 covers recorded by such artists as Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Rick Nelson, Paul Anka, Cher and The 5th Dimension. Born in New York City, Wayne began his career on Broadway, working as a songwriter for the publisher Don Kirshner, co-writing and producing his first million selling hit in 1963 Joey Powers' "Midnight Mary." In 1968, Wayne moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as general manager of Warner Brothers Music, helping to develop the careers of artists including Jimmy Webb, Jackson Browne and the Eagles, before running A&M's publishing house, Irving Almo. In his first week at the company Wayne put Olivia Newton-John together with the song "I Honestly Love You," which became the singer's first number-one single in the United States and was Record of the Year in the 1974 Grammys. As well as guiding artists to best-selling songs, Wayne continued to enjoy success as a songwriter himself. In 1973, with George Clinton, he wrote "Little Christmas Tree" for Michael Jackson, which was featured on the Motown compilation LP A Motown Christmas which hit the top of the Billboard 200 in 1973, as well as co-writing "Touch the One You Love" for the star. In the same year he co-wrote "Sending My Good Thoughts to You" with Patti Dahlstrom, which was dedicated to their late friend, the singer Jim Croce who had recently died in a plane crash. In later life, Wayne retired to Palm Springs for health reasons, where he pursued his interest as a painter, and wrote a blog about his experiences in the music industry that reached an audience of over 2 million. - AP, 2/23/19...... Sidney Sheinberg, a former Universal Studios executive who discovered and nurtured Steven Spielberg, putting Jaws into production and helping to turn Hollywood into a blockbuster-focused business, died on Mar. 7 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 84. His death, following years of Parkinson's disease, was confirmed by his son, Jonathan. - The New York Times, 3/9/19...... Actor Jan-Michael Vincent, the '80s heartthrob best known for his role on TV's Airwolf, died in a North Carolina hospital after suffering cardiac arrest on Feb. 10, it was reported on Mar. 8. His CBS hit, Airwolf, made him into a huge star. At the time, he was reportedly the highest-paid actor at $200k per episode. Vincent played helicopter pilot Stringfellow Hawke on the show, but the series lasted only a couple seasons largely in part to the star's cocaine abuse. His acting career would ultimately suffer from it. He nearly died in 2012 from an infection that required his right leg to be amputated. Vincent also starred opposite Burt Reynolds in the 1978 film, Hooper, and co-starred with Kim Basinger in the 1981 film, Hard Country. He was a steady working actor in Hollywood for three decades, and appeared in a slew of old TV classics like, Lassie, Bonanza and Gunsmoke, as well as the 1971 TV movie Tribes and the 1974 feature film Buster and Billie. His most recent role was in the 2002 movie, White Boy. - TMZ.com, 3/8/19...... Hal BlaineLegendary session drummer Hal Blaine, a virtual one-man soundtrack of the 1960s and '70s who played on the songs of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys among countless others, died on Mar. 11 of natural causes at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 90. The winner of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award last year, Mr. Blaine's name was known by few outside the music industry, even in his prime. His drumming can be heard on songs that included Presley's "Return to Sender," The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were," the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," dozens of hits produced by Phil Spector, and the theme songs to Batman, The Partridge Family and dozens of other shows. "Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can't put it into words," the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson said in a tweet that included an old photo of him and Blaine sitting at the piano. "Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success -- he was the greatest drummer ever." Ringo Starr also paid his respects to Mr. Blaine, tweeting, "God bless Hal Blaine peace and love to all his family Goodbye Hal an incredible musician." As a member of the Los Angeles-based studio band "The Wrecking Crew," which also featured keyboard player Leon Russell, bassist Carol Kaye and guitarist Tommy Tedesco, Mr. Blaine forged a hard-earned virtuosity and versatility that enabled him to adapt quickly to a wide range of popular music. According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he played on 40 No. 1 hits, 150 top 10 songs. Mr. Blaine also played on eight songs that won Grammys for record of the year, including Sinatra's "Strangers In the Night" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and may be the only drummer to back Presley, Sinatra and John Lennon. Mr. Blaine nicknamed himself and his peers "The Wrecking Crew," because they were seen by their more buttoned-down elders as destructive to the industry -- an assertion that Kaye and others disputed. Many members of The Wrecking Crew worked nonstop for 20 years, sometimes as many as eight sessions a day, a pace that led to several marriages and divorces for Mr. Blaine. As more bands played on their own records and electronic drums arose, business dropped off in the 1980s even as younger musicians, such as Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, cited his influence. His memoir, Hal Blaine & The Wrecking Crew, came out in 1990 and he continued to appear at symposiums and workshops into his 80s. Mr. Blaine also was seen in the 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew and was played by Johnny Sneed in the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. The son of Jewish immigrants, Mr. Blaine was born Harold Simon Belsky in Holyoke, Mass. on Feb. 5, 1929. By age 8, he was already drumming, using a pair of dowels he removed from a seat in the living room. He was a professional by age 20 and within a few years switched from jazz to rock. He is survived by his daughter Michelle Blaine, and seven grandchildren. - AP, 3/11/19.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson and their Led Zeppelin muse Robert Plant joined forces at the Third Annual Love Rocks NYC Benefit Concert on Mar. 7 in New York City to benefit the God's Love We Deliver organization, which feeds thousands of people per day through delivering meals in the metro NYC area. After Plant delivered a solo set that included a brooding rendition of Elvis Presley's "Don't" and the Wilsons covered some of their hits including "These Dreams," the musicians, with Taj Mahal in tow, closed the show with raucous versions of Presley's "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and Joe Cocker's "Feelin' Alright." The packed four-hour event at Beacon Theatre, which also featured performances by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Grace Potter and many more, met God's Love We Deliver's fundraising goal of $100,000, the equivalent of 10,000 meals, through ticket sales and text contributions. In the audience were such celebrities as Bill Murray, his SNL alums Chevy Chase and Martin Short, and actor Kevin Bacon. - Billboard, 3/8/19...... Alice CooperAlice Cooper and the Grammy-winning band Halestorm have announced they'll kick off a co-headlining tour across North America this summer. The 19-city trek will kick off on July 17 at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. and run through major markets, including Detroit, Chicago, Houston and more, even making a stop at the traditionally country venue, The Opry House in Nashville, before closing out on Aug. 16 at BB&T Pavilion in Camden, N.J. "We've played festivals with Halestorm, including Rock In Rio, and now I'm excited about doing this summer tour with Lzzy [Hale] and the band, can't wait to get to the first show," said Cooper in statement. Alice adds he'll bring his all-new "Ol' Black Eyes Is Back" show for the Summer 2019 tour. He's is also expected to release new music produced by his longtime collaborator Bob Ezrin in time for the summer dates. The follow up to Cooper's 2017 album Paranormal, it will feature friends like ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, U2's Larry Mullen Jr, and Deep Purple's Roger Glover, as well as original Alice Cooper band members Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce. In addition to recording and touring both on his own and with the Hollywood Vampires (with pals Joe Perry and Johnny Depp), Cooper continues his nightly syndicated radio show Nights With Alice Cooper, heard worldwide on over 100 radio stations. - Billboard, 3/4/19...... Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor paid tribute to their former tour manager Gerry Stickells, who has died after, according to Taylor "a long struggle with illness." "So sad that our wonderful tour manager for many years Gerry Stickells passed away this morning. Lost for words. RIP GERRY. Love ya. Thanks for everything," May posted on social media on Mar. 8, with Taylor adding that Stickells was "the world's greatest tour manager." "He was more than a tour manager to Queen - he was a father figure, great friend and teacher and an island of calm in the midst of chaos. He had a profound effect on my life, all of it good... We will miss him greatly and send love to Sylvia and the family at this difficult time," Taylor added. In addition to Queen, Stickells also worked with the likes of Elton John, Jimi Hendrix and Paul McCartney. Stickells was diagnosed with a brain tumor 16 years ago after suffering a seizure whilst on tour with McCartney. Since the diagnosis, he had reportedly suffered "multiple health issues" associated with the disease according to a GoFundMe page that sought to raise funds to help with his treatment and care. - New Musical Express, 3/8/19...... In other Queen news, Brian May has responded to what he describes as the "vindictive sickness" of some critics after the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody defied a critical mauling to triumph at the Academy Awards on Feb. 24. Posting on Instagram, May shared a piece from the U.K.'s The Spectator paper that defended the film and explained how the film's awards triumph was a major victory over its detractors. "Well, yes. You saw I went very quiet after the Oscars were over, signalling the end of the whole movie awards season," wrote May on Instagram. "What really happened? We opened the Academy Awards show in a way it's NEVER been opened before, in an avalanche of excitement, looking out on an instant standing ovation from a glittering audience containing many of our heroes, all beaming and singing with us and punching the air." In his lengthy post, May also addressed the negative reception of many critics: "If you look at the Press and Internet discussions that took place over the last few months, you can see that 90% of it is aimed at discrediting one or other, or all of the nominated films by innuendo and smears, rather than discussing their merits and admiring the skills that went into making them. Vitriol and dishonesty, and blatant attempts to shame and influence the members into voting the way they, in their arrogance required them to." He then directed readers to The Spectator's article about "snobby film critics" at the paper's website. - NME, 3/7/19...... Frank ZappaA new Frank Zappa hologram that will be featured in an upcoming UK tour in May 2019 has been unveiled. Dubbed "The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa," the clip shows a hologram of the psychedelic legend, who died in 1993, saying: "I'm a person who likes to do what he wants to do whether people like it or not and what I do is designed for people who like it, not for people who don't." Zappa always fought against censorship throughout his career, particularly for artists' rights. He even appeared before Congress in September 1985, and later famously volunteered to slap his albums with a "warning guarantee" label. The hologram will feature in a new virtual Frank Zappa tour of five UK cities that includes hours of never-before-seen Zappa performance footage from the early seventies. The footage, locked away in the Zappa vaults for 44 years, will be juxtaposed with "outrageous visuals that offer a striking view into his complex musical works." Joining Zappa's hologram on stage will be longtime Zappa players including Ray White, Mike Keneally, Scott Thunes, Robert Martin and Joe "Vaultmeister" Travers. The hologram will feature on a number of UK dates including the London Palladium on May 14, then make an appearance at the Doctor Music festival in Spain over the weekend of July 12-14. - NME, 3/1/19...... Barbra Streisand has been confirmed to headline the 2019 British Summer Time concert series in London's Hyde Park on July 7, alongside other previously announced acts including Florence & the Machine, Celine Dion and Robbie Williams. Additional special guests are expected to be announced in the coming months. It was previously announced that a co-headlining show from Bob Dylan and Neil Young would headline the event, however they dropped out after Young objected to Barclays bank's "fossil fuel entity" sponsorship of the concert, even though BST eventually announced the show would go ahead without Barclays' backing. - NME, 3/7/19...... As the Woodstock 50 concert approaches with little more than four months to go, the reboot of the iconic festival in upstate New York is expected to announce its full lineup soon, with ticket sales also going live. Among those confirmed to appear so far include the Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead and Company, Santana, The Killers, Imagine Dragons and Chance the Rapper. More than 80 bands and artists are expected to perform at the three-day event, which is being organized by original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang at set for Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, NY. Since the festival is not backed by a major promoter like AEG or Live Nation, most acts insist on receiving 100 percent of their fee upfront before taking the stage. Following reports that that the festival was having issues paying certain artists the entirety of their fee, representatives for the event confirmed that as of Mar. 4 all artists had been paid in full. In addition to the unpredictable August weather in upstate New York, another concern is the area surrounding Watkins Glen has minimal infrastructure to support the 100,000 fans expected to attend the 50th anniversary event, with few hotels in close proximity. - Billboard, 3/6/19...... In other festival news, Willie Nelson has announced the lineup for his 2019 Outlaw Music Festival tour. The country icon will be supported by Phil Lesh & Friends, The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, The Revivalists and more for the summer leg of the tour. Produced by Blackbird Presents, the touring festival will kick off in Bangor, Maine on June 14 and include additional performances from Nelson's sons Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real and Particle Kid. The tour will then hit New York, Connecticut, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and wrap on July 3 in Dallas, Texas. In addition to several guest artists including Counting Crows and Steve Earl & the Dukes at selected shows, each festival tour date will feature a unique range of festival attractions including local cuisine, craft beers, and crafts by local artisans to provide music fans in each city with a unique concert experience. In 2018, the Outlaw Tour hosted more than 200,000 fans in amphitheaters and arenas all over the US. - Billboard, 3/5/19...... Pete TownshendThe Who's Pete Townshend will release a rock novel entitled The Age of Anxiety on Nov. 5, publisher Hachette Books announced on Mar. 5. Set in London, the novel takes on the torments of creativity and the music business and "deals with mythic and operatic themes including a maze, divine madness, and long-lost children." In a statement issued through his publisher, Townshend said he hopes to expand the story into an opera and art installation. "Ten years ago I decided to create a magnum opus that would combine opera, art installation and novel," he said. "Suddenly here I am with a completed novel ready to publish. I am an avid reader and have really enjoyed writing it. I am also happy to say the majority of the music is composed, ready to be polished up for release and performance. It's tremendously exciting." No dates have been set for the music's release or for the art installation. Townshend, who previously authored his memoir Who I Am, follows such rock acts as Ray Davies, Morrisey and Nick Cave into the realm of fiction. - AP, 3/5/19...... In other The Who news, Roger Daltrey commented on The Who's forthcoming new album, its first since Endless Wire in 2006, and The Who's upcoming 29-date North American tour which is set to kick off May 7 in Grand Rapids, MI., at the 31st International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London on Mar. 8. "It's full-blown The Who plus an orchestra. It's going to be incredible. We're not going to take our foot off the throttle. At the age of 75, it feels to me a way of getting to play our music that feels at least slightly dignified," Daltrey told host and former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell. As for the new Who LP, Daltrey said: "It's a very weird [time] because we're not really a band anymore. I just love my job of being the guy who takes what Pete's written as a solo song, looking at it and thinking, 'How do I make this work to move an audience?' It's that process for me that makes making records still worth it. Otherwise it's two guys in two different studios. We don't go in and make records like we used to. I wish it was that way but we're not a band. Since [bassist] John [Entwistle] and [drummer] Keith [Moon] died we're not a band in that sense. But equally, we can make music and as long as I can put a vocal on that has elevated a song from: there was a Pete Townshend song, to: there is a Who song, I'm happy." - Billboard, 3/8/19...... CBS has scheduled a star-studded Aretha Franklin tribute concert taped on Jan. 13 in Los Angeles for Mar. 10. Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for The Queen of Soul featured performances by Smokey Robinson, Celine Dion, Pattie LaBelle, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson, among others. Franklin died at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer in 2018 in her Detroit apartment. Some of her family members including her grandson who spoke at her funeral were in attendance at the tribute, which was hosted by filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry. - AP, 3/5/19...... Michael JacksonHBO's two-part Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland, which premiered on the network on Mar. 3, has attracted ratings rarely seen for documentaries on the premium channel. Part one of Leaving Neverland averaged 1.29 million viewers for its first airing on Mar. 3, the third-largest audience for an HBO documentary this decade behind Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (1.7 million) and Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (1.6 million). The Mar. 4 conclusion brought in 927,000 viewers, giving the entire film an average of about 1.11 million viewers. The two-day average is also in the upper reaches for HBO documentaries in recent years. Following the doc, the Oprah Winfrey-hosted special After Neverland -- featuring interviews with Jackson accusers Wade Robson, James Safechuck and director Dan Reed, and an audience of sexual-abuse survivors and their families -- drew 780,000 viewers on HBO (it was simulcast on Winfrey's OWN cable channel). The documentary is also selling widely to broadcasters and streamers internationally in such countries as Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Russia as it drums up controversy. However its popularity is also stirring up a significant backlash -- both for and against Jackson -- in several countries. According to reports, a group of about 20-30 loyal Jackson fans, many brandishing placards, gathered outside Channel 4 offices in the UK around midday on Mar. 6, with one having traveled from as far away as Austria. The protestors chanted "innocent," "facts don't lie" and "Channel 4, shame on you," according to the music weekly New Musical Express, adding that they criticized the accounts of Robson and Safechuck, saying they "hijacked the #MeToo movement." Meanwhile, The Simpsons principals James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean have announced they've decided to pull the 1991 The Simpsons episode featuring Jackson from recirculation after viewing the controversial documentary. "It feels clearly the only choice to make," Brooks told The Wall Street Journal. "The guys I work with -- where we spend our lives arguing over jokes -- were of one mind on this" even though he described it as a "treasured episode [with] a lot of great memories wrapped up in it... this certainly doesn't allow them to remain." On Mar. 7, a statue of Jackson at the National Football Museum in Manchester, England, which had been on display since 2014, was removed in the wake of the controversial film. Also, Sony's reported $250 million (£190 million) acquisition of the distribution rights to Jackson's back catalog could be threatened by the allegations that have been made against the late singer in Leaving Neverland. Royalties from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are included in the deal, as are those from radio station plays. Variety is also reporting that three radio stations in Canada have announced that they're pulling all Michael Jackson music from their airwaves due to the allegations made in Leaving Neverland and concerned comments from listeners. As the 10-year anniversary of Jackson's death approaches in June, the stakes are high for Jackson's brand and legacy. "This would be the time that you would want to rerelease a movie or a new film," says one well-placed industry source. Or a Broadway-bound musical. "That may be dead for this year, or delayed." "Frankly, it caught [Jackson estate co-executor] John Branca by surprise," the source added. "The estate got blindsided by Leaving Neverland. They had no idea it was going to elicit the reaction it did." However not everyone believes the documentary will have a lasting effect on the Jackson brand. John Gallant, an attorney representing Bob Marley's estate in a trademark case, says, "Usually you see a period where there's no new licensing and the estate holds back on his image until the dust clears. I would imagine that's what happens. You ride out the storm." - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter/Varity/NME, 3/6/19...... Carole Bayer SagerSongwriter Carole Bayer Sager has been added to the list of honorees for the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the upcoming 50th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner on June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the SHOF, given only to songwriters and songwriter teams who have already been previously inducted. Bayer Sager was inducted into the SHOF in 1987 for her lyric writing on songs including "Nobody Does It Better," "Don't Cry Out Loud" and the Oscar-winning theme from the movie Arthur, "The Best That You Can Do." Bayer Sager will be joined at the event by this year's inductees, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Tom T. Hall, John Prine, Jack Tempchin and Dallas Austin. Legendary music publisher Martin Bandier will also be honored with the Visionary Leadership Award, with more honorees to be announced. - Billboard, 3/6/19...... Visitors to a Beatles-themed cafe in their hometown of Liverpool will soon be able to play the world's first and only official pinball machine dedicated to the Fab Four. The Beatles and Stern Pinball have joined forces to create a series of US-made, limited-edition pinball machines, with the first of its kind debuting at The Beatles Story's Fab4 Cafe. Only 1,964 of the games will be produced in recognition 1964, the year when Beatlemania kicked off, according to The Guide Liverpool. Nine Beatles classics will feature on the machine in the cafe, which will be available to play for £1, including: "A Hard Day's Night," "Can't Buy Me Love," "Ticket to Ride," "All My Loving," "Help," "Drive My Car," "It Won't Be Long," "I Should Have Known Better," and "Taxman." The game also features iconic introductions by Ed Sullivan, who introduced America to the band in 1964, as well as custom speech and callouts by Hall of Fame disk jockey, Cousin Brucie, who famously introduced the Beatles at New York's Shea Stadium in 1965. If fans can't make it to Liverpool to play the game, they can purchase their own limited-edition machine from the attraction's Fab4 Store for £11,995. - New Musical Express, 3/3/19...... Meanwhile in other Beatles-related news, on Mar. 2 a new plaque was unveiled in commemoration of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's first public gig, which took place 50 years ago at Cambridge University. Ono held a jazz performance at Lady Mitchell Hall on Mar. 2, 1969, and Lennon joined her as "her band." Now, a plaque that reads "Yoko Ono John Lennon Cambridge 1969" has been unveiled to mark the event. The couple's experimental jazz concert was covered in brief in student publication The Cambridge News at the time. The report explained that Lennon sat with his back to the audience for a large portion of the 26-minute set, as Ono opened with a "fearsome siren note" and wrapped up the gig with "a long series of screams." In 1980, Lennon spoke to the BBC about the Cambridge concert. "The audience were very weird, because they were all these sort of intellectual artsy-fartsies from Cambridge," he said, but added that they "were totally solid." The plague unveiling precedes a six-month exhibition of Ono's work which will be displayed in various cities. The "Yoko Ono: Looking For" exhibition, which opens in June and runs until the end 2019, will feature more than 90 works by Ono. - NME, 3/2/19.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

An exclusive vinyl edition of the original test pressing of Bob Dylan's classic 1975 LP Blood on the Tracks will be among the official releases for the annual Record Store Day, which takes place on Apr. 13. Also available will be vinyl reissues of David Bowie's Pin Ups and the Rolling Stones' first two compilation albums, as well as LPs from Madonna, Weezer and The Flaming Lips. Started in 2008, the yearly event is meant to celebrate record store culture by bringing together fans, artists and thousands of independent vinyl shops, and features exclusive releases, reissues and hard-to-find gems for record lovers everywhere. Pearl Jam has been named as the official 2019 Record Store Day ambassadors. - Billboard, 2/28/19...... Sting announced on Mar. 1 he's bringing his deeply personal musical "The Last Ship" to Los Angeles. The former The Police frontman's Tony Award-nominated musical, inspired by the shipyard culture of Sting's native Newcastle, England, will run Jan. 14-Feb. 16 at the Ahmanson Theatre, with Sting playing shipyard foreman and elder statesman Jackie White -- as he's doing now at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto and did during the end of its Broadway run during January of 2015. "The Last Ship" premiered in Chicago during the summer of 2014 before moving to Broadway that September, closing after a little more than four months. It was subsequently staged in Salt Lake City during the fall of 2016, in Finland during the fall of 2017 and in the U.K. and Ireland during 2018. Meanwhile, Sting is also doing some recording and planning his upcoming "My Songs" tour, which will play five shows in Europe starting June 23. - Billboard, 3/1/19...... Stevie NicksIn a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Stevie Nicks revealed, among other things, that she owns thousands of shawls and keeps them in a temperature-controlled vault. "I have my shawl vault -- they're all in temperature-controlled storage," the Fleetwood Mac singers says. "I have these huge red cases Fleetwood Mac bought, all the way back in 1975 -- my clothes are saved in these cases. All my vintage stuff is protected for all my little goddaughters and nieces. I'm trying to give my shawls away -- but there's thousands of them. If I ever write my life story, maybe that should be the name of my book: There's Enough Shawls to Go Around." Nicks also says that at age 70, she sees no end in sight for her career. "As long as I take care of myself, I am still going to be doing this when I'm 80," she says. "There's so many things I want to do. I want to do another record. I want to make a mini-series. If the coven reforms, I want to go back to American Horror Story. I tell myself, 'Do it now, because you're spry, you're in good shape, you can still do the splits, you can still dance onstage and wear a short skirt and high six-inch heels.'" The diva also swoons over the multiple artists that have drawn inspiration from her work over the years, saying she sees them as her children. "He's Mick [Fleetwood]'s and my love child," she says of former One Direction member Harry Styles, who recently covered "The Chain." She also calls out Natalie Maines, LeAnn Rimes and Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum," saying, "I feel like I have a lot of daughters." Nicks' interview comes ahead of the latest leg of Fleetwood Mac's tour, sans Lindsey Buckingham. She'll also be inducted, as a solo artist, into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on Mar. 29. - AVClub.com, 2/28/19...... After the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was release on DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 12, three weeks after its digital arrival on Jan. 22, multiple Queen songs have re-entered the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart for the week ending March 2. The onslaught of 16 tunes is led by "Bohemian Rhapsody, which re-entered the chart at a new No. 3 peak with 15,000 downloads. "Another One Bites the Dust" follows at No. 5 on the chart, with 8,000 downloads sold. Queen songs were additionally aided by activity surrounding the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, as the movie was nominated for multiple honors, including Best Picture. It won for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing, while Rami Malek, in the role of late frontman Freddy Mercury, won best actor. Queen also opened the broadcast with Adam Lambert on vocals. - Billboard, 2/28/19...... In other Queen-related news, in a surprise to many Chinese film industry observers who assumed the release of Bohemian Rhapsody would be banned in their country because of Beijing's past repressive handling of content involving gay characters, the Chinese goverment granted permission on Feb. 27 for Bohemian Rhapsody to be released theatrically in China. No release date has yet been set, but a source with knowledge of the import plans at China Film Group says the film is expected to open sometime in mid-March. Sources also say that at least one minute of cuts will be made to the film, removing portrayals of drug use and several intimate kisses between Rami Malek's Freddie Mercury and other male characters. The surprise announcement comes after the Chinese streaming site Mango TV cut the phrase "gay man" from Malek's Best Actor Oscar acceptance speech during the Academy Awards on Feb. 24 as he encouraged young people struggling with their identity and replaced it with "special group" instead. Mango TV came under fire for their action, with screen grabs of the moment -- many of them accompanied by statements of outrage or complaint -- circulating on Chinese social media ever since. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/27/19...... Tom PettyAs the new Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers compilation The Best of Everything - The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection. hits stores on Mar. 1, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench says there's still "a bunch of really great stuff" in the Petty vaults, including early Mudcrutch recordings and "a whole other version" of 2014's Hypnotic Eye album, "not the same songs, just more stuff from the same period," as well as Petty demo recordings from 2002's The Last DJ. But Tench adds that he and the surviving band members, along with members of Petty's family, don't intend to put anything out "that isn't really high quality." "I don't want to get into exploiting or finding some half-ass jam and finishing it. I'm really leery of anything that isn't really high quality, and whatever we would put out in the future we would take extreme care with it," he notes. Tench also says the Heartbreakers playing with a new lead vocalist is not being considered at all. "(Tom) was the focal point of the band. He was the songwriter of the band. He was the lead singer of the band. You can't take that out and have it still be the band. You can't take his rhythm guitar out -- that's the real center of the whole thing. What united us at the core was the fact that we loved playing his songs, and playing his songs with HIM. I don't want to have somebody else sing Tom's songs. I don't want to be a Heartbreakers karaoke band. It's too hard for me to even contemplate anything other than the band as we were, with him there." - Billboard, 2/27/19...... Another Michael Jackson documentary has been announced for late 2019, this one from the UK's BBC Two, a rival channel of Channel 4 which is responsible for the recent controversial Jackson biopic Leaving Neverland. The BBC Two's Jackson film will be directed by Jacques Peretti, who has produced three previous documentaries about the late pop superstar, Michael Jackson: What Really Happened, Michael Jackson's Last Days: What Really Happened and Michael Jackson's Secret Hollywood. The new film, called Michael Jackson: The Rise and Fall will follow MJ's path from from his modest beginnings in Gary, Ind., and rise to fame as part of the family band the Jackson 5 through the preparations for his abandoned "This Is It" 2009 comeback shows. "(It) will try and unpick the circumstances, controversies and accusations that continue to surround him today in an attempt to better understand the rise and fall of the pop superstar," read a statement announcing the film. The Rise and Fall will air on BBC Two later in 2019, while Channel 4 is set to air Leaving Neverland over two nights beginning on Mar. 6, just days after the two-part doc is slated to debut in the US on HBO on Mar. 3. Meanwhile, Jackson brothers Tito, Marlon and Jackie Jackson and his nephew Taj Jackson appeared on CBS This Morning on Feb. 26 to discuss Leaving Neverland and the claims featured in it. In a rebuttal to Jackson accusers Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the accusers in the center of Leaving Neverland who say Jackson used to send them "love letters," Taj showed host Gayle King some of the notes he had received from his uncle, which featured sentiments of love and pride. "My uncle gave letters like that all the time to people that he cared about," he explained. "There's nothing salacious about it." Taj added that he "grew up" attending Jackson's "sleepovers" with children, and that Jackson's "naïveté" was his downfall," saying he "didn't have that bone in his body to look at" the sleepovers in the same way as the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey announced on Feb. 27 she will sit down with Wade Robson and James Safechuck in a TV special that will air after the premiere of Leaving Neverland. The special, titled Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Neverland, will be taped before an audience that includes survivors of sexual abuse. The one-hour special will air simultaneously on HBO and OWN on Mar. 4 at 10 p.m. immediately following the second and final part of the two-night Leaving Neverland. Also, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Jackson's former Neverland ranch home, where he lived from 1987 to 2005, is back on the market at a $70 million discount. The Santa Barbara, Calif. estate was first put up for sale in 2015 with a $100 million price tag, but now Neverland, which is co-owned by the Jackson estate and real estate investment firm Colony Capital, is seeking to offload the property for $31 million. It was last listed in 2017 and has been renamed the Sycamore Valley Ranch, according to Architectural Digest. - Billboard/New Musical Express/Hollywood Reporter, 2/27/19...... Authorities in suburban Detroit are investigating whether someone cheated Aretha Franklin by cashing a $178,000 check before her death in August 2018. Oakland County chief assistant prosecutor Paul Walton says Franklin filed a complaint with Bloomfield Township police in June about a missing check. Franklin had complained about missing money before she died weeks later of pancreatic cancer at age 76. Walton told The Detroit News that Franklin's death has affected the investigation. He says it's been "difficult to determine" if she gave the check to someone who actually had permission to cash it, and says police have talked to the unnamed person who cashed the check. Walton says the check could become a separate issue for lawyers, family members and creditors involved in Franklin's estate in Oakland County court. - AP, 3/1/19...... Jerry Lee LewisRock & roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis suffered a minor stroke on the night of Feb. 28 according to a statement on his official Facebook page. The 83-year-old, known as "The Killer," is expected to fully recover and is currently spending time with his family in Memphis. "The Killer looks forward to getting back into the studio soon to record a Gospel record and on the road performing live for his fans," the post reads. "His family requests privacy at this time. Well wishes and prayers are greatly appreciated." According to The Tennessean, Lewis will not be canceling any shows, including his May performance at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He was among the 10 rock legends inducted into the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. - The Tennessean, 2/29/18...... Former Baretta star Robert Blake has settled things up with his third wife, Pamela Hudak. Blake, 85, filed for divorce from Hudak in Dec. 2018, after two years of marriage. According to the terms of the settlement, both Blake and Hudak will keep all their own property they came into the marriage with. The documents note Blake will hold onto his pension from working in the entertainment industry, as well as a 1987 BMW. There will be no spousal support between the two, because of the short marriage, but Blake agreed to cut Hudak a $5,000 check to cover her moving expenses. Hudak testified on Blake's behalf during his 2005 murder trial of Bonnie Lee Blakely. He was acquitted of murder, but later found liable for her death in a civil suit. - TheBlast.com, 2/28/19...... Andy Anderson a former drummer for Iggy Pop and the English alternative band The Cure, died on Feb. after a battle with terminal cancer. He was 68. "Andy Anderson was a true gentleman and a great musician with a wicked sense of humor which he kept until the end, a testament to his beautiful spirit on the last journey. We are blessed to have known him," Cure founding member Lol Tolhurst posted on Twitter. Anderson joined the Cure in 1983 after Tolhurst switched to keys, and went on to work with a number of major artists including Pop, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, the Sex Pistols' Glen Mattlock, Edwin Collins, Peter Gabriel and Isaac Hayes. Anderson revealed his diagnosis via Facebook earlier in February. "No Boo, Hooing, here, just be positive, for me it's just another life Experience and Hurdle, that one has to make yet another Choice in life... thank you all for the well wishes I love them all, and are held very, very close to my heart dearly, and will stay with me for ever, any way, stay well yourselves and chat soon," he wrote. - Billboard, 2/26/19...... Prolific composer/arranger/conductor Stan Applebaum, whose half-century-long career in music included orchestration for hits by artists such as Ben E. King, Bobby Vinton and Connie Francis, died in New York on Feb. 23. He was 96. Mr. Applebaum's work can be heard on more than 25 top 10 hits and a handful of No. 1 singles from artists such as Francis, Vinton, Neil Sedaka, The Drifters, The Coasters, Brook Benton and, most famously, Ben E. King's 1962 classic "Stand By Me," for which he arranged the strings. Mr. Applebaum also arranged the orchestration on a number of other classic early rock hits, including The Drifters' "Save the Last Dance for Me," King's "This Magic Moment" and "Spanish Harlem" and Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do." Mr. Applebaum was also a prolific composer for commercials, with more than 1,500 credits, including Pan Am Airlines' iconic "Makes the Going Great" (which later inspired a ballet by George Balanchine), winning four Clio Awards for his efforts. - Billboard, 2/28/19...... Katherine HelmondActress Katherine Helmond, best known for her roles in the sticoms Soap and Who's the Boss, among many other roles, died February 28 of Alzheimer's complications at her home in Los Angeles. She was 89. On Soap, Ms. Helmond played the flighty Jessica Tate on ABC's 1977-81 ensemble primetime soap opera, and as the sexy, wise and flitatious Mona Robinson -- who showed that romance and excitement are not over for older women -- opposite Tony Danza, Judith Light and Alyssa Milano on ABC's 1984-92 series Who's the Boss? She received four Best Actress Emmy Award nominations for Soap and back-to-back noms for Who's the Boss? in 1988-89. Helmond also scored a Best Actress Golden Globe Award for Soap in 1981, another for Supporting Actress in Who's the Boss in 1989 and a second a Globes nom for the latter in 1986. Ms. Helmond was also well-known for her recurring roles as Doris Sherman on ABC's Coach (1995-97) opposite Craig T. Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke, and as Debra Barone's mother Lois Whelan opposite Ray Romano and Patricia Heaton on the CBS hit series Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2004). She also earned a Guest Actress Emmy nom for that role in 2002, giving her seven overall for her career. More recent television credits included guest-starring roles on A&E's The Glades, as well as the role of Caroline Bellefleur on HBO's True Blood. Other roles include appearances in such memorable TV series as Gunsmoke, The F.B.I., The Bob Newhart Show, Mannix, Medical Center, Barnaby Jones, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman and The Love Boat. "I was in love with her," Tony Danza said. "She was such an influence on me. From being a single guy with a hit show in Hollywood, though my marriage and having kids -- she was with me. No matter what problem I had, I could go to her. Very few people could match her." A memorial service is being planned for family and friends to celebrate her life and career. - Deadline.com, 3/1/19...... Oscar-winning pianist/composter/conductor André Previn, who was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won four, passed away in his Manhattan home on Feb. 28 at age 89. Mr. Previn won Oscars for his soundtrack work on My Fair Lady (1964), Gigi (1958), Porgy and Bess (1959) and Irma La Douce (1963). While much of his Hollywood labors were spent on lesser films (Challenge to Lassie, for one), the work gave him "a thorough schooling in the practical aspects of music making," he once told The Washington Post. He said it allowed him to "stand up in front of an orchestra of superlative players" and hone his conducting skills. Born Andreas Ludwig Prewin in Berlin, Mr. Previn was named musical director of the Houston Symphony in 1967, and went on to lead such renowned orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London s Royal Philharmonic. In 1998, his opera based on "A Streetcar Named Desire" premiered at the San Francisco Opera. He married five times, including glittering collaborations with Mia Farrow and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. He was among those in Hollywood who early on experimented with LSD, and his memoir of his movie-studio days, No Minor Chords, contained juicy revelations about everyone from Lenny Bruce to Ava Gardner. The Korean orphan he and Farrow adopted, Soon-Yi, became the center of a tabloid scandal when she became involved with Farrow's then-boyfriend, Woody Allen, and eventually married him. "I would cheerfully run him over with a steamroller," Mr. Previn once said of Allen, who eventually adopted two children with Soon-Yi. - AP, 2/28/19.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ringo Starr and Carlos Santana have been confirmed to play at the 50th anniversary Woodstock festival at New York's Bethel Woods this summer. Ringo and his All-Starr Band will will perform Aug. 16, along with Arlo Guthrie and Edgar Winter, who both performed at the original festival. Performing Aug. 17 are Santana, who also took the stage back in 1969, and the Doobie Brothers. The festival also announced on Feb. 20 it had to scale back after losing one of its producers. - Billboard, 2/20/19...... John Lennon and Yoko Ono's son Sean Ono Lennon released his second album with his Claypool Lennon Delirium project with Primus's Les Claypool, South of Reality, on Feb. 22. The LP, which is full of references to fishes, crickets, fleas and a creature known as the Toadyman, is described as the group's most lovably left-field co-creation to date. "I have obvious influences from my dad... but the truth is that the artist who is me was birthed from the crucible of the Yoko Ono universe," Sean says. - Billboard, 2/22/19...... Peter FramptonClassic rock veteran Peter Frampton has revealed he's been diagnosed with a "rare and incurable" degenerative muscle disease called Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), a condition which causes muscles to stop functioning. Believing that the disease will eventually spread to his fingers and stop him playing guitar, the British born singer/guitarist has announced a 40-date farewell tour in his adapted continent of North America in 2019, with one European date scheduled at the "Keeping The Blues Alive" blues festival in Barcelona on Aug. 16. "I'm a perfectionist, and I don't want to go out there and feel like 'Oh I can't, this isn't good.' That would be a nightmare for me," the musician told CBS This Morning on Feb. 24. Explaining his love of playing live, Frampton said: "I've been playing guitar for 60 years, it's my passion. I started when I was eight and now I'm 68. So I've had a very good run." He added he was first diagnosed with IBM several years ago but didn't begin to feel the symptoms beginning to progress until 2018. Frampton's 1976 concert LP Frampton Comes Alive is one of the best-selling live albums ever, spending 10 weeks at No. 1 in the US and selling 11 million copies. Frampton has played himself in both The Simpsons and Family Guy, and is known for pioneering the "talk box," an instrument which merged his voice with his guitar and made it sound as if his guitar was singing. He first found fame in Humble Pie with Steve Marriott of The Small Faces, before going solo in 1971. After the success of Frampton Comes Alive, he was involved in a near-fatal car crash in the Bahamas in 1978. Frampton told CBS This Morning he is also undergoing experimental treatment at Johns Hopkins, and he says he'll do a "miracle tour" some day if the drug trial works, but at this point he says he's just being "realistic," so "this really is the farewell tour." - New Musical Express, 2/23/19...... Queen + Adam Lambert kicked off the 91st Annual Academy Awards ceremony at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre on Feb. 24 with an explosive performance of two Queen classics, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions." Current Queen singer Lambert, dressed in a teal sequin-patterned blazer, took the stage alongside two original Queen members, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor for a performance that had the audience on its feet, with stars like Glenn Close, Lady Gaga and Queen Latifah enthusiastically bopping along to the hits. As the set ended, parks fell from the ceiling and footage of Queen's late original frontman, Freddie Mercury, played on the stage backdrop. Later actor Rami Malek, who portrayed Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, was awarded a Best Actor Oscar for his work in the film and thanked Queen "for letting me be the tiniest part of your phenomenal, extraordinary legacy. I am forever in your debt." Although the frontrunner for the award, Malek seemed genuinely surprised when it was announced he'd won and wrapped his speech by thanking his Bohemian Rhapsody co-star and real-life girlfriend Lucy Boynton, who plays his lover-then-friend in the film. "Lucy Boynton, you are the heart of this film. You are beyond immensely talented, you have captured my heart. Thank you so much," he said. Meanwhile, Queen and Adam Lambert are heading out on a 23-show tour this summer set to begin this summer on July 10 in Vancouver and finish up Aug. 23 in Charlotte, N.C. Lambert first played with May and Taylor while he was competing on American Idol in 2009, and began to tour with the band in 2012. Lambert also announced on Twitter on Feb. 25 that the band will be releasing a documentary titled The Show Must Go On - The Queen + Adam Lambert Story that's set to air Apr. 29 on ABC. The documentary will contain "rare concert footage" and "brand-new interviews" with Lambert, his parents Leila and Eber, May and Taylor, Simon Cowell, Rami Malek and Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins. - Billboard, 2/24/19...... Elton JohnTaron EgertonIn other Oscar-related news, Elton John and Welsh actor Taron Egerton, who is set to portray Elton in the upcoming biopic Rocketman, performed a duet of "Tiny Dancer" during the singer's famous AIDS Foundation Academy Award viewing party on Feb. 24 in West Hollywood, Calif. The rendition of the 1972 ballad was Egerton's first-ever live performance, made even better with John's added harmonies. John surprised Egerton by inviting him onto the stage for an impromptu performance of the track. As Egerton walked on stage, he turned towards the audience and said, "It's funny how life turns out, isn't it?" before belting out the song. Egerton, 29, has confirmed that he will be singing all of John's songs featured in the film himself. The movie is currently scheduled for a May 31 release. The producers of Rocketman released a trailer for the film on Feb. 22. Egerton is seen honing his talent at home, rising to fame and grappling with the pitfalls that superstardom can bring. The film also stars Jamie Bell (as John's longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin), Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard. John also performed "Daniel" at his AIDS benefit with The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers. Also during the Oscar ceremony, Bette Midler perfomred the lovely ballad "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns. As red umbrellas levitated and glowed in the background, the Divine Miss M crooned the tune, one of the nominees for Best Original Song, accompanied by Marc Shaiman on piano, who co-wrote the song with Scott Wittman. - Billboard/Variety, 2/25/19...... Aerosmith announced on Feb. 26 that they'll be taking their "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vagas residency on a summer East coast tour of nine performances beginning on Aug. 8 at the The Theater at MGM Grand Harbor in National Harbor, Maryland. After playing two more dates at the venue on Aug. 10 and 13, Aerosmith will head to The Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., for two dates on Aug. 16 and 18, then wrap with four dates on Aug. 21, 24, 26 and 29 at the MassMutual Center at MGM Springfield in Springfield, Mass. Their "Deuces Are Wild" Vegas residency begins on Apr. 6 at the Park MGM. - Billboard, 2/26/19...... Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart have announced they'll reunite for the first time in three years on Mar. 7 at the Love Rocks NYC event, an annual benefit concert for God's Love We Deliver, a non-profit that provides meals and nutrition counseling for people living with severe illnesses. "John Varvatos and I are so honored and excited that Ann and Nancy Wilson are kicking off their epic nationwide reunion tour with a special appearance at Love Rocks NYC," said Greg Williamson, the show's co-executive producer, in a statement. The Love Rocks NYC event will take place at New York's Beacon Theatre. Heart previously announced a 39-city "Love Alive" summer tour with openers Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile will kick off on July 9 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Mo. - Billboard, 2/25/19...... Harry NilssonStreams for Harry Nilsson's 1971 hit "Gotta Get Up" have surged 2,466% after the song was prominently featured in the new Netflix series Russian Doll, which premiered on Feb. 1. The show stars Natasha Lyonne as a New Yorker who gets stuck in a mysterious Groundhog Day-style loop and repeats the same day over and over. "Gotta Get Up" is the Russian Doll equivalent to Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe," repeated in Groundhog Day. In the tracking week ending Feb. 7, "Gotta Get Up" logged 216,000 on-demand U.S. streams, up 2,466% from the previous week, when it logged 8,000. The song also sold 1,000 downloads, up from a negligible figure. As the show has continued to draw buzz, the latest tracking week (ending Feb. 14) found "Gotta Get Up" up to 294,000 streams (up 36%), and another 1,000 downloads sold. If "Gotta Get Up" reaches a Billboard chart, it would mark Nilsson's first entry on a songs survey since 1974's "Daybreak," nearly 45 years ago. Nilsson last appeared on any ranking in 2013, with Nilsson: Sessions 1967-1975: Rarities From the RCA Albums Collection, which reached No. 13 on Vinyl Albums and No. 18 on Americana/Folk Albums. Nilsson, who died of a heart attack in 1994 at age 52, earned 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits in his career, including one No. 1: "Without You," for four weeks beginning on Feb. 19, 1972. - Billboard, 2/22/19...... The estate of Michael Jackson and Optimum Productions filed suit against cable channel HBO and its parent company Time Warner on Feb. 21, claiming breach of a non-disparagement clause in an old contract over their scheduled airing of the new documentary Leaving Neverland in March. The estate cites a 1992 contract for the first-ever televised Jackson concert after the release of his album Dangerous which specifies that "HBO shall not make any disparaging remarks concerning Performer or any of his representatives, agents, or business practices or do any act that may harm or disparage or cause to lower in esteem the reputation or public image of Performer." Among the complaints is how Leaving Neverland expressly suggests "Jackson was abusing children in connection with and on the Dangerous World Tour," pointing to a scene where the mother of Wade Robson, one of the minors in Leaving Neverland Jackson is accused of molesting, is shown discussing the children taken on that tour. - Billboard, 2/21/19...... In related news, a former maid who worked at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch for four years has made fresh allegations of child abuse against the late singer. Adrian McManus, who testified against Jackson in his 2005 trial where he was not found guilty on all 14 charges which had been made against him, told 60 Minutes Australia that Jackson was "a manipulator" and alleged that she saw Jackson "fondling" young boys at the residence. "When I would go in the next day, there were little boys' underwear either on the floor with Michael's, or they were in the jacuzzi," McManus alleged, before then claiming that she witnessed the abuse first-hand. "I just saw a lot of fondling, him running his hands in kids' hair, kissing them," she added. "I didn't think it was appropriate because they weren't his children." McManus' allegations follow on from the recent premiere of Leaving Neverland, which centers on allegations of sexual abuse made by two men against Jackson. - New Musical Express, 2/25/19...... Cher was on hand at the VH1 Trailblazer Honors ceremony inside Wilshire's Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb. 20 to honor Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, while taking a swipe at Pres. Donald Trump. The 72-year-old superstar knows she's often referred to as an "icon," but this night was quick to pass the title on to Speaker Pelosi. "We hear the word 'icon' a lot, you know, describing people like me, and as far as I'm concerned, the one true icon in this room tonight is the woman we're honoring," she said, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of four women feted during a seamless taping of the ceremony. "Since the days of our founding fathers, since they signed the Declaration of Independence, our country has been run almost exclusively by old white guys. Thankfully, because of Nancy and other strong women, this is changing. Nancy is a fighter who won't back down. She muscled through the [Affordable Healthcare Act], and [she] isn't afraid to go toe to toe with a bully and beat him at his own game," referring to Pres. Trump. "When I see Trump spew his hate and tell his gazillion lies, I get pissed off and I feel uneasy at the same time. I see Nancy come on TV and I think, 'OK, this is all good, Nancy is in the house,'" she added. "Let us thank Cher for honoring us with her presence this evening," Speaker Pelosi said in accepting her trophy to a standing ovation. "I'm honored to receive this Trailblazer award from a trailblazer -- the goddess of rock. Thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place." Meanwhile, Cher continues her Vegas residency with her "Here We Go Again Tour," with nine final dates from Mar. 13-30 before returning to her touring production for much of 2019. - Billboard, 2/21/19...... A documentary about country music legend Charley Pride premiered on many PBS stations across America on Feb. 22. Charley Pride: I'm Just Me is part of PBS's American Masters series and shows how Pride navigated the racial tensions that raged throughout the South in the 1960s to become the first prominent African-American country music artist and the biggest-selling artist on the RCA Records label since Elvis Presley. - Billboard, 2/22/19...... Robert 'Kool' BellKool & the Gang will be celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2019 with "a tour, a book, a documentary, a movie" and "a large box set" according to Khalis Bell, brother of the group's frontman Robert "Kool" Bell. They'll kick off the tour on Feb. 23 in Indio, Calif., also hitting cities including Detroit (3/8), Pittsburgh (3/9), Atlantic City, NJ (3/15) and Biloxi, Miss. (4/19) before wrapping in Tampa, Fla. on Apr. 27. Two dates in Japan and one in Italy are also scheduled. Robert says the film is "the story of our lives, our document. Going back to when my father would play albums in the house. He was a boxer and people like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, back in the day, they would come to see us. The fighters and musicians would hang out, almost like today with Mike Tyson and Jay-Z and all those guys. There's a lot of different stories to tell." - Billboard, 2/21/19...... Country music producer and Country Music Hall of Fame member Fred Foster, who helmed many iconic country records including seminal albums from Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and Ray Stevens, died in his sleep Feb. 20 following a short illness. He was 87. The North Carolina native founded Monument Records in 1958 and also founded Combine Music, which published Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" (co-written with Foster) and "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Orbison's "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)" and Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie." Mr. Foster was a member of the North Carolina Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016. His last project was Dawn Landes' 2018 album, Meet Me at the River. "I am heartbroken that my friend Fred Foster has passed on," Dolly Parton said in a statement. "Fred was one of the very first people to believe in me and gave me chances no one else would or could. We've stayed friends through the years, and I will miss him. I will always love him." A memorial service will be planned in March with additional details announced in the coming days. - Billboard, 2/21/19...... Bluegrass legend and Country Music Hall of Fame member Mac Wiseman died on Feb. 24 of natural causes. He was 93. Known as "The Voice with a Heart," Mr. Wiseman was one of the founders of the CMA in 1958, also serving as the association's Board of Directors' first secretary. He left an indelible mark on the genre for over 60 years as a recording artist, radio DJ and record label executive. The Virginia native, recognized for his diverse high tenor and ability to interpret bluegrass standards, also worked with artists including Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs to help change the course of modern day bluegrass and country music. The final surviving member of Flatt & Scruggs' original Foggy Mountain Boys, Mr. Wiseman was also a member of Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and Molly O'Day's band, as well as an esteemed solo performer. - Billboard, 2/25/19...... Songwriter Earl Shuman, whose lyrics can be heard on dozens of songs recorded by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones, among others, and who nearly topped the Hot 100 in 1970 with the lush track "Hey There Lonely Girl," died on Feb. 13 at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was 95. In the early 1960s he and Leon Carr wrote "Hey There Lonely Boy," cut by Ruby and the Romantics, though it later found success as Eddie Holman's "Hey There Lonely Girl," reaching No. 2 on the Hot 100. Mr. Shuman also scored a Top 10 country hit in the 1950s with Bonnie Lou's version of "Seven Lonely Days," which was subsequently performed by Jean Shepard, Lynn Anderson and others. He also worked in publishing, and was instrumental in the success of Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell album. - Billboard, 2/21/19...... Mark Hollis, frontman of '80s hitmakers Talk Talk, died on Feb. 25 after a short illness at age 64. "Talk Talk," released as the lead single to Talk Talk's debut album The Party's Over, was a fiery synth-pop missive that hit No. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982. The group's greatest commercial success would come with the anthemic title track to its second LP, It's My Life, hitting No. 31 on the Hot 100 in 1984 and enduring as one of the most iconic singles of the new wave era, also receiving a hit cover from '80s acolytes No Doubt in 2003. - Billboard, 2/26/19...... Peter TorkPeter Tork, the oldest original member of the '60s pop group The Monkees, died on Feb. 21 at age 77. It's unclear exactly how the musician died, but in 2009 he publicly revealed he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma. In 1966, Tork became the oldest member of The Monkees, joining Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones as a fictitious band meant for an NBC TV sitcom created by producer/writers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider intended to capitalize on the success of the Beatles's A Hard Day's Night. Even though the TV show ended in 1968, the band maintained a cult following and continued performing for years after. Tork performed live with the group through 1971 and on various reunion tours aftewards. He mainly played bass and keyboard for The Monkees, but he also sang lead vocals on multiple tracks including "Auntie Grizelda," and contributed the memorable piano opening to their hit "Daydream Believer." Born Peter Halsten Thorkelsonin Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 1942, Tork showed early promise as a multi-instrumentalist moved to New York's after college, becoming enmeshed in the city's burgeoning Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 1960s. It was there that he befriended fellow folk singer Stephen Stills, who passed along a tip to his pal about a new musical variety show that was being developed that he might be interested in. Tork performed on a 1986 20th reunion Monkees anniversary tour and an accompanying album, Then and Now, as well as on a 1987 album, Pool It! and on a 2012 45th anniversary tour in tribute to late singer Davy Jones, who died in February of that year at age 66. He also performed with his various side projects, Shoe Suede Blues, The Dashboard Saints and The Peter Tork Project throughout the 1980, '90s and early 2000s. Peter Tork"There are no words right now...heartbroken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork," Mickey Dolenz posted on Facebook. It was only eight days ago, on Feb. 13, that Dolenz posted a 77th birthday wish on social media for Tork, saying "Happy Birthday to my Monkee brother, Peter Tork!" Michael Nesmith initially posted "I am heartbroken" on Facebook, then issued a longer statement: "Peter Tork died this AM. I am told he slipped away peacefully. Yet, as I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken. Even though I am clinging to the idea that we all continue, the pain that attends these passings has no cure. It's going to be a rough day.... I can only pray his songs reach the heights that can lift us and that our childhood lives forever -- that special sparkle that was the Monkees. I will miss him -- a brother in arms. Take flight my Brother." Following Tork's death, Monkees music saw an increase of 1,172%, according to initial reports from Nielsen Music. - Billboard, 2/21/19...... Actress Beverly Owen, best known as the "original Marilyn" on the '60s sitcom The Munsters, died on Feb. 21 at age 81. Ms. Owen appeared in the program's first 13 episodes, replaced midway through the first season by Pat Priest, who appeared in the rest of the series' 57 episodes. The Munsters originally aired on CBS from 1964 to 1966, and while the series was not a ratings hit during its first run, it has lived on in syndication for decades. The character of teenaged niece Marilyn was played by a stunning actress, juxtaposed by the ghoulish appearance of the rest of the family, who often referred to her, ironically, as "the plain one." Both Marilyns were blondes; Ms. Owen donned a wig for the role. The program ranked #18 for the 1964-1965 season, but ratings fell precipitously in January 1966 when ABC counter-programmed it with the live action series, Batman, and The Munsters was cancelled after its 1965-1966 season. Butch Patrick, who played young Eddie Munster in the series, posted a short tribute on his Facebook page on Feb. 24: "Beautiful Beverly (sic) Owen has left us. What a sweet soul. I had the biggest crush on her. RIP Bev and thanks for your 13 memorable Marilyn Munster episodes." Ms. Owen was born May 13, 1937 in Ottumwa, Iowa. She was 27 when she left The Munsters cast to marry Jon Stone, an original crew member on Sesame Street. The two were divorced in 1974. She leaves two daughters, Polly and Kate. Patrick and Priest are the series' only survivors. Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) died in 1993 at age 66; Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster) died in 2006 at 82; and Yvonne De Carlo (Lily Munster) died in 2007 at 84. - 2/25/19.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Ozzy Osbourne announced on Feb. 19 he is canceling an additional string of dates in Australia, New Zealand and Japan on his "No More Tours 2" trek as he continues to recuperate from pneumonia. A spokesperson for Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne says "Ozzy recently developed pneumonia and has spent some time in hospital. Thankfully he is now through the worst part. His doctors have advised that he stay at home to recuperate for a full six weeks with no travel." Osbourne had been slated to play shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Christchurch, Australia, in early March, with an additional gig in Auckland, New Zealand on Mar. 16, followed by a gig at the Download Festival in Japan on Mar. 21. His next scheduled date is on May 24 at the Rocklahoma Festival in Pryor, Okla. The latest cancellations come less than a week after Sharon revealed that Ozzy had been released from the intensive care unit and was breathing on his own again after suffering complications from the flu, which forced the 70 year-old rocker to postpone a planned European tour. - Billboard, 2/19/19...... John Lennon and Yoko OnoYoko Ono used the occasion of her 86th birthday on Feb. 18 to announce that her third collaborative LP with husband John Lennon will be reissued in March. 1969's The Wedding Album will be released via Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music as part of the ongoing Yoko Ono Reissue Project on Mar. 22. The release, including wedding photos of the couple, drawings by John and Ono, a copy of their marriage certificate, photos of their iconic "Bed-In" honeymoon and more, will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Ono and Lennon's marriage, which took place on Mar. 20, 1969. It will also be available on limited-edition white vinyl and digital formats. - Billboard, 2/18/19...... In other Beatles-related news, rising singer Ariana Grande has just become the first artist since the Fab Four to take all three top spots on the Billboard Hot 100 pop single chart. Grande currently holds the number 1, 2, and 3 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart simultaneously, the first time anyone has achieved the feat since the Beatles in 1964. Grande's album. Thank u, next also debuted at number 1 on the Hot 200 albums chart after its release on Feb. 8. Between March and April 1964, the Beatles held the top three spots for five weeks before eventually claiming all the top five spots. - New Musical Express, 2/19/19...... The National Museum of African American Music is finally getting close to opening in the city of Nashville, Tenn. Located in downtown Nashville, already the home of the well established Country Music Hall of Fame, the museum space will occupy 56,000 sq. feet and have permanent and temporary exhibits that will take visitors from the influence of slavery on American music through present time, including "Wade in the Water," a gallery on religious music that highlights the 1940s-1960s; "Crossroads," an exhibit on blues and the Great Migration; "Love Supreme," a gallery on the emergence of jazz; "One Nation Under a Groove," an exhibit about R&B, funk, techno, disco, go-go and more from the 1960s-1990s/early 2000s; and "The Message," a space dedicated to hip-hop from its early iterations to today. The museum, first conceived of in 2002 and which has hosted events to honor the likes of Nile Rodgers of Chic and Pattie LaBele, will also boast a 200-seat theater and according to its president H. Beecher Hicks III will open either later in 2019 or in early 2020. - Billboard, 2/20/19...... In related news, cable channel BET's new series American Soul brandishes the beats of the '70s in a retelling of the iconic music show Soul Train. From producer Jonathan Prince, who charted the musical explosion of the '60s in the 2002 NBC drama American Dreams, American Soul features a celestial list of cameos-playing-cameos, including Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight and Michelle Williams as Diana Ross. BET is airing the series on Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. - Entertainment Weekly, 2/15/19...... Speaking of Diana Ross, the diva announced on Feb. 19 she'll be hitting the road this year for 8 live performances in 2019. Ross, who headlined a recent 75th birthday tribute to her at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, will perform for three nights at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on Feb. 20, 22 and 23, followed by shows at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa, Okla on Apr. 13 and the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans on Apr. 25. In June, she'll perform at New York's Radio City Music Hall on 6/22 and at The Barns in Vienna, Va., on 6/27, wrapping with a July 22 date at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, Col. - Billboard, 2/19/19...... Brian MayAdam LambertThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced via their Twitter account on Feb. 18 that Queen + Adam Lambert will be performing at the upcoming 2019 Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles, when the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will be in the running for five Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (for Rami Malek's portrayal of Freddie Mercury), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. "Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?" the account quoted from the band's song "Bohemian Rhapsody." The announcement included a compilation of clips that showed the band and current lead singer Lambert performing as Queen's hit "We Will Rock You" played. Queen, who also shared the news on its Twitter account, will join previously announced performers Jennifer Hudson, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Bette Midler, who will all perform songs nominated in the best original song category. Midler announced on Feb. 16 that she will be performing "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns. "So, (drum roll) Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be chanteusing (that's singing) on the Oscars on Feb 24...the nominated song from "Mary Poppins.".."The Place Where Lost Things Go" ...so excited!!" Midler posted. The 2019 Oscars will take place Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/PT. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/18/19...... A new exhibit dedicated to Prince called "Prince from Minneapolis" will be opening at the MoPOP museum in Seattle, Wash., on April 6, the museum announced on Feb. 15. It will be part of the museum's general admission and will feature work from four photographers -- Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen and Robert Whitman -- all of whom shot the late funk/rock icon in his early career. The exhibit will display almost 50 artifacts, including photos, artwork, a Prince guitar and outfits from the Purple Rain Tour and film. - Billboard, 2/15/19...... Producer/engineer/musican Joe Hardy, who worked on many ZZ Top albums from 1985's After Burner to playing bass on guitarist Billy Gibbon's 2018 release The Big Bad Blues, died on at his home in Memphis, Tenn., on Feb. 12 after a brief illness. He was 66. Since beginning his career in the late 70s, Hardy went on to work with a range of artists, from engineering and mixing The Replacements' Pleased To Meet Me and Steve Earle's Copperhead Road to producing The Georgia Satellites' Another Chance and Steve Earle and The Dukes' The Hard Way. He also worked with a spate of Canadian acts, including Colin James, Jeff Healey, Kim Mitchell and Tom Cochrane, producing Cochrane's U.S. solo breakthrough Mad Mad World featuring the Billboard Top 10 single "Life Is a Highway." His long history with ZZ Top began with engineering work on 1985's After Burner, and continued with 1994's Antennae, 1996's Rhythmeen, 1999's XXX, 2003's Mescalero, and 2012's La Futura. He also co-produced Gibbons' solo debut, Perfectamundo. Born in Kentucky, Hardy relocated to Memphis in 1972 when he recorded at Ardent Studios as a member of the band The Voice of Cheese. He then chose a career behind the board instead, working out of Ardent as one of their in-house engineers/producers. Hardy moved to Texas, home of ZZ Top, at the start of the millennium. He last worked with them on 2016's live album, Greatest Hits from Around the World, which he helped mix. "Our friend Joe Hardy played a huge role in our lives," ZZ Top posted on its Facebook page. "He was a true innovator in a field where many just did it 'by the book.' He threw away 'the book' and wrote his own." - Billboard, 2/13/19...... Melanie HamrickMick JaggerHis "Midnight Rambler" days are apparently over -- Mick Jagger is reportedly ready to settle down with his current girlfriend Melanie Hamrick. A friend of the "Satisfaction" singer reportedly told the UK paper The Mirror that they believe Jagger, 75, has been "tamed" by the 31-year-old ballet dancer, after initially suggesting that the pair would not be "exclusive." The news comes after Hamrick gave birth to their son, Deveraux, in 2017, making the Rolling Stones frontman a father for the eighth time at the ripe age of 73. Since becoming a mother, American Ballet Theatre dancer Hamrick is thought to have reined in the music star's renowned adulterous behavior, though in a June 2018 interview she insisted that she doesn't think of herself as a "baby mama" despite not being married to the singer. "In the technical sense, I'm not married to the father of my child," she admitted. "But I am in a great, wonderful relationship with him. So I don't see myself like that." Four months later, Hamrick described herself and Jagger as "fantastic co-parents," suggesting that she gets "more support from him than some of my married friends get from their husbands." She went on to dismiss rumors surrounding the rocker's promiscuous reputation, stressing that she feels "secure" with her partner. - WENN/Canoe.com, 2/18/19...... Iconic Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the past 50 years, died on Feb. 19. He was around 85 years old. Though he spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy -- including all of 20 years at Chloe -- Mr. Lagerfeld's designs quickly trickled down to low-end retailers, giving him an almost unprecedented impact on the entire fashion industry. At Chanel, he served up youthful designs that were always of the moment and sent out almost infinite variations on the house's classic skirt suit, ratcheting up the hemlines or smothering it in golden chains, stings of pearls or pricey accessories. They were always delivered with wit. "Each season, they tell me (the Chanel designs) look younger. One day we'll all turn up like babies," he once told The Associated Press. In 1982, he took over at over Chanel, which had been dormant since the death of its founder, Coco Chanel, more than a decade earlier. "When I took on Chanel, it was a sleeping beauty not even a beautiful one," he said in the 2007 documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. A photographer who shot ad campaigns for Chanel and his own eponymous label, Mr. Lagerfeld also collected art books and had a massive library and a bookstore as well as his own publishing house. Following his widely known relationship with a French aristocrat who died of AIDS in 1989, Mr. Lagerfeld led a solitary life. "I have to be alone to do what I do," he told the New York Times. "I like to be alone. I'm happy to be with people, but I'm sorry to say I like to be alone, because there's so much to do, to read, to think." - AP, 2/19/19.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A previously unreleased Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song called "For Real" was shared on Feb. 15 to announce a new greatest hits collection from the band. "For Real," unearthed from Petty's vault of never-before-heard material, will feature on the upcoming 2-disc, 38 track The Best of Everything - The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection. Another unreleased track, "The Best of Everything (Alternate Version)," will also be included on the Geffen Records release, which is the first hits collection to span the late rocker's entire career and hits stores on Mar. 1. The set will also be released in 4-disc vinyl and MP3 versions. Petty passed away on Oct. 2, 2017, at age 66, just one week after finishing the band's 40th anniversary tour. - Billboard, 2/15/19...... Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin is teaming up with the California skateboarding shoes and clothing company Vans for the release of special Led Zep 50th anniversary apparel to help celebrate its 50th anniversary. In a Feb. 14 post on Twitter, the band displayed two versions of newly licensed Led Zep shoes, each featuring iconic images from their classic '70s albums, together with a T-shirt. Led Zeppelin, which formed in 1968 before disbanding in 1980, celebrated its 50th anniversary as a band in 2018 with the release of a new 50th Anniversary Interviews album, which is comprised of 34 new interview clips from the band's surviving members: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. Vans merchandise is available at several leading American retailers, including JCPenney and Kohl's. - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... The '60s pop/rock band The Zombies, which featured future Argent founder Rod Argent, have announced plans to release their complete studio recordings in a vinyl box set ahead of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Mar. 29 in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to containing their two original U.S. albums -- their 1965 self-titled album (also known as She's Not There/Tell Her No) and 1968's Odessey and Oracle -- the vinyl set contains two compilations of rarities: R.I.P., a collection complied by CBS Records as the follow-up to Odessey but never released, and I Love You, a compilation previously available only in Japan and the U.K. The 5-LP The Zombies: The Complete Studio Recordings arrives via Varese Saraband Records on Feb. 22. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... The Feb. 19 stop at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum on Elton John' "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" will be pushed back to Oct. 19 due to necessary "technical production adjustments," the venue tweeted on Feb. 14. "Elton is deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused by the rescheduling, but he's passionate about presenting the show in the best possible way for his fans," the venue said in a statement. "He thanks everyone for their patience, cooperation and ongoing support." Tickets for the original show will be honored on the new date and refunds will be available through the original point of purchase. John has announced more than 300 dates across the globe through 2021 before he retires from live performing. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... Paul McCartneyOn Valentine's Day Paul McCartney and Capitol Records announced a limited deluxe edition of Sir Paul's 2018 album Egypt Station will be released on May 10. Housed in an embossed vintage-looking suitcase, Egypt Station - Traveller's Edition will feature vinyl pressings, additional audio and video performances, a cassette and paper items related to the album. Three unreleased tracks -- "Frank Sinatra's Party," "Sixty Second Street" and an extended version of "Who Cares" -- will be included in the set, along with four live album tracks taken from McCartney's performances at Abbey Road Studios, the Cavern Club, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and Grand Central Station in New York City. Additionally, the package will have a deluxe 180G vinyl album, an Egypt Station Concertina CD and an Egypt Station Blue Cassette. Egypt Station, which was released Sept. 7, entered the Billboard 200 LP chart at No. 1, the former Beatle's first chart-topping album since 1982's Tug of War and his first to enter the charts at No. 1. The release will follow a deluxe reissue of McCartney's 1971 Wings Wild Life album on Apr. 17. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, a "forgotten" pic of the Beatles has been discovered 55 year after it was originally taken. The negative of the picture, which shows the quartet playing a gig in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, U.K. at the height of their fame in 1963, lay undeveloped in the home of Peter Harrison, 75, who salvaged the negative when he was working as a 17-year-old apprentice in a photographer's studio. Harrison told a local paper that his manager, Mr. Fisher, had taken a number of publicity shots of the band when they came to play at the resort and while the majority of the negatives were discarded, Harrison managed to salvage one of them and intended to develop it at home. "I could do my own black and white prints at home but I never got around to it," he told the newspaper. "Originally, it was going to be thrown away. The professional photographer took more than one shot [of the Beatles] for a publicity [shoot] and he just had a spare one. I just thought, 'Oh, I'll have that please!'" - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... The producers of a new Michael Jackson musical entitled "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" announced on Feb. 14 that a recent strike by the Actors' Equity Association over compensation for developmental labs has forced the production to skip its debut in Chicago and instead open on Broadway in summer 2020. The AEA countered in statement that the producers' announcement was "disappointing" and questioned how the strike, which delayed the show's development for a "modest" 12 working days, could so impact the run. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is inspired by the late King of Pop's life and music and will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winning director Christopher Wheeldon. Meanwhile, a shopping mall in Denmark has just reversed its decision not to display a statue of Jackson at the Roedovre Centrum mall in suburban Copenhagen after receiving about 15 online complaints, mostly from families with children, over Jackson's controversial history of allegedly molesting boys. The manager of the mall posted on Facebook that the decision was "an overreaction" to remove the statue, adding the late singer "has never been found guilty of any of the accusations against him." The mall returned the statue of Jackson, one of many statues of celebrities it has on display, on Feb. 13. In more Jackson-related news, the singer's niece Brandi Jackson has revealed one of the men featured in the new documentary Leaving Neverland, Wade Robson, is her ex-boyfriend. "Wade and I were together for over 7 years, but I bet that isn't in his documentary because it would ruin his timeline. And did I mention, it was my uncle, #MichaelJackson, who set us up? Wade is not a victim, #WadeRobsonIsaLiar," Brandi tweeted on Feb. 11. Brandi added that Robson had "constantly talked about wanting to be 'relevant'." "You've burned so many bridges that now the only time you are #relevant is when you headline with my family's name next to yours. It's time to stop these lies and live your own life," she posted. She also shared a photo of herself and Robson as kids with Jackson. Both Robson and James Safechuck are featured in the 4-hour Leaving Neverland documentary, and both men brought civil suits against the Jackson Estate following Jackson's death. They were thrown out in 2017 by a judge who ruled that the Jackson estate could not be held liable for the singer's behavior. Britain's Channel 4 recently announced it will air the documentary in two parts on Mar. 6 and 7, rejecting complaints from Jackson's estate which condemned it as a "one-sided sensationalist programme." - AP/NME, 2/14/19...... Barry ManilowBarry Manilow made a surprise appearance at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 13, closing out Michael Kors' Fall 2019 show with a glittering rendition of his hit "Copacabana." The show's theme was "dreaming," reflected in both the decor ('70s disco balls and chandeliers hung overhead) and 74 models, including '70s supermodel Patti Hansen, showcased everything from oversize fur jackets to sparkly evening gowns. It also featured garments with the famed Studio 54 nightclub logo and disco-inspired hits from Chic, Donna Summer and The Pointer Sisters, recruiting Manilow for an epic finale. Though Manilow had never been to a fashion show before, he says performing at Kors' show was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. "When Michael called and gave me his vision for his upcoming fashion show and asked if I would come perform 'Copacabana,' I was very flattered -- how could I say no?" Manilow said. "It was a thrilling experience, and I was happy to be a part of it." - Billboard, 2/13/19...... As the English hard rockers prepare to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, Def Leppard has announced it will begin a 12-show "Def Leppard Hits Vegas: The Sin City Residency" in Las Vegas starting Aug. 17. The band will be playing the Zappos Theater in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino through Sept. 7, the follow-up to its 2013 "Viva Hysteria!" run at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino during which it performed its 1987 blockbuster LP Hysteria in its entirety. Meanwhile Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says the band has been asked to perform three songs during the RRHOF ceremony, which will be filmed for subsequent broadcast by HBO, but he and the group "have no idea" as yet what they're going to do as far as acceptance speeches go. - Billboard, 2/13/19...... In related news, Aerosmith has just added 17 dates to their Las Vegas residency at the new Park MGM resort. The "Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild" show will launch on April 6 with several of their previously announced 18 shows already sold out. Promoted by Live Nation and MGM Resorts International, the show features never-before-seen visuals and audio from Aerosmith recording sessions, including a partnership with THX and L-Acoustics to deliver the world's first THX Certified live performance presented in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound. Along with the announcement of additional dates, the band has added special VIP packages for every show. - Billboard, 2/12/19...... Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly out of intensive care according to his wife Sharon Osbourne after being admitted to hospital earlier in February after experiencing complications from flu and bronchitis. Ozzy was later transferred to the intensive care unit when his condition deteriorated. Sharon confirmed her 70-year-old hubby is out of intensive care after being taken off a ventilator and that he's "breathing on his own." "I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who has reached out with good wishes. He's overcome by the response," Sharon posted. After deleting that tweet, Sharon wrote: "Thank you to everyone for all your get well messages and support for Ozzy. We are overwhelmed and truly touched by everyone's thoughtfulness." - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... Neal SchonJourney guitarist and co-founder Neal Schon took to Twitter on Feb. 11 to express his gratitude to fans who have supported his journey to recovering after his recent emergency surgery. The musician, who had an inflamed and infected gallbladder removed during an emergency room visit on Feb. 8, told fans he is grateful for their kind wishes and said he's recovering well. "Want to thank you all for your very kind wishes. This means everything to me .. your friend ship is what motivates me to continue to create for you all. Can't wait to hit the stage for NSJTT. I should be good to go but if I have to sit it will. Love you all ---- blessings," Schon posted. Schon also expressed thans to his family including his wife Michaele, doctors and staff who helped him during the ordeal in another post. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Kiss made their first appearance at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, Calif. in 20 years on Feb. 11 as part of SiriiusXM's "Party Continues" series. Kiss stopped by the legendary 500-capacity venue for a jam-packed show filled with Kiss favorites from the shock rockers' 45-year career as the band. "To go back and relive what we did once upon a time is pretty awesome," singer-guitarist Paul Stanley told the crowd after being introduced by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. "It all starts in the clubs. If you want to really make it, you don't do it by going on a talent musical show. You go into the streets and you play for people."" We've got a small, but mighty crowd tonight," Stanley added. "Let me hear you go crazy. Let me hear you go wild." The subscriber and invite-only show was hosted by SiriusXM which launched Kiss Army Radio, channel 30, on Feb. 4. The station will run through Feb. 17 on channel 30. The Whisky A Go Go performance will air on Feb. 12 at 5 pm ET on Kiss Army. Kiss continues their multi-year "The End fo the World" farewell tour this evening at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The tour kicked off earlier in February and include dates through December. - Billboard, 2/12/19...... In his continuing quest to adapt a healthier lifestyle, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has revealed that he's now trying to quit smoking, after announcing plans to give up drinking in 2018. But the notorious partier says giving up cigarettes is proving to be harder than kicking his former notorious heroin habit. "I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully. Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is," Richards told the UK mag Mojo. Describing the temptation to smoke, he added: "Quitting heroin is like hell, but it's a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you've always done it. I just pick 'em up and light 'em up without thinking about it." However, Keef says he's still intent on cutting down regardless and is smoking far less these days. "Lately, in fact -- spread the news -- I've managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day," the 79-year-old musician explained. "I've knocked the hard stuff on the head. I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two." - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... Cliff WilliamsFormer AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams might be rejoining the Aussie hard rock band for their much-anticipated new album. A newly-emerged picture shows Williams, who was in the band from 1977 to 2016, alongside the band's frontman Brian Johnson with a personal trainer at a Vancouver Hotel in December, which prompted the speculation. Williams left the band in 2016, the same year that Johnson was forced to quit the band and temporarily replaced by Guns 'N Roses singer Axl Rose for a world tour. It left guitarist Angus Young as the only remaining member of the band's so-called "classic" line-up to play in the group. In 2018, it was reported that the rock icons were working on a new album that will feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track," according to "a reliable source inside the AC/DC camp." Malcolm died in November 2017 after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. - NME, 2/11/19.

Monday, February 11, 2019

A rare recording of an interview with Michael Jackson and George Harrison conducted by BBC Radio 1 in 1979 has been discovered and restored. The two music icons appeared on the radio show to review new releases from the likes of Foreigner, Nicolette Larson and The Blues Brothers, and to share some of the stories behind their own songs, including Michael explaining how his record label Motown refused to let him write his own songs and George talking about being in the songwriting shadow of his former Beatles bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. David "Kid" Jensen, who conducted the interview, said both musicians were "lovely guys to talk to" and that "we knew we had a good show on our hands just by the general vibe in the studio before the mics went live." Only low-quality bootleg recordings of the program have been available until now after a producer at BBC Radio Solent asked around collectors' circles and was presented with a tape recording of the full show. The BBC aired the full "When George Met Michael" program on Feb. 9 to mark the 40th anniversary of the original broadcast. - New Musical Express, 2/7/19...... Michael JacksonIn other Michael Jackson news, the Jackson estate has sent a letter to the U.K.'s Channel 4 warning that the Leaving Neverland documentary on two men who accuse the singer of molesting them as boys violates the network's programming guidelines. The letter written by estate attorney Howard Weitzman states that Leaving Neverland, set to air in early March, makes no attempt at getting a response to the accusers from Jackson's estate, family, friends or others who have defended his reputation as required by the channel's standards for factual programming and basic journalistic ethics. Channel 4 responded to the letter in a statement on Feb. 11, saying that the allegations against Jackson are rebutted in the documentary by denials that Jackson made during his lifetime. It says the broadcast meets Britain's official broadcasting code by providing these denials. Weitzman's letter echoes a longer letter it sent to U.S. cable channel HBO on Feb. 8 calling the allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck "disgraceful" and urging investigation of the men's backgrounds. A copy of the HBO letter was included with the Channel 4 letter, and applies just as much to the U.K. station, the letter states. The two channels co-produced the documentary, and HBO has announced to air the four hour program in the U.S. in two parts, on Mar. 3 and Mar. 4. Meanwhile, a Danish shopping mall has removed a wax statue of the King of Pop out of fears it could offend customers and may be vandalized because of accusations that the late pop star molested boys. The mall's marketing manager told a Danish TV station that they had received about 15 complaints about the Jackson statue, mostly from families with children. Jackson's statue, one of several of major stars including Marilyn Monroe and Julia Roberts, was replaced with a statue of Brad Pitt. - AP, 2/11/19...... In more Jackson news, his record producer Quincy Jones will celebrate three of Jackson's most iconic albums -- Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad -- with a blow-out symphonic concert at London's O2 Arena on June 23. The one-off show will find Jones conducting the orchestra in performances of the three LP's back-to-back, with a number of special guests slated to join him, according to a statement from the venue. Meanwhile, Jones now has the most Grammy Awards of any living artist after his documentary Quincy won for Best Music Film at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 10. The win marks the 85-year-old legend's 28th Grammy, making him the living artist with the most trophies in Grammy history. Jones has won Grammys in more than 10 categories over his nearly 70-year career, but his win for Quincy is his first award for best music film. The award is also his first in 17 years, with his last win coming in 2001 for best spoken word album, Q - The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... The Rolling Stones have added a huge Canada Day weekend show at Burl's Creek an hour north of Toronto as their only stop in the country on their upcoming 2019 No Filter Tour. The "Canada Rocks with The Rolling Stones" show will take place June 29 at the 600-acre Burl's Creek Event Grounds, located in Oro-Medonte, and organizers hope the event will draw as many as 70,000 fans. Concert promoter Republic Live says "the Stones are the greatest rock and roll band in the world and this show will, without a doubt, put Burl's Creek on the map as a world-class destination." The No Filter tour launches in Miami on Apr. 20 and will be making stops in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Chicago before heading north to Burl's Creek for the Canada Day weekend. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Movie studio Sony Pictures Classics has announced it has acquired the worldwide rights to an upcoming documentary on singer/songwriter John Prine. Tentatively titled John Prine: Hello in There and directed by Zachary Fuhrer, the doc tells the story of Prine's beginnings as a mailman in the Chicago suburbs, then discovered by movie critic and Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert, who heard Prine sing at an open-mic gig and wrote about him in the paper. The article landed Prine a record deal and he was off on a decades-long career that has taken him from Radio City Music Hall to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. John Prine: Hello in There is currently in postproduction. Prine has previously announced he preparing to release his first album of new songs in 13 years. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/11/19...... Heart has announced a 39-city summer tour with openers Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile that will launch on July 9 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Mo. Heart's "Love Alive" tour will hit major markets including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Denver before closing out in Los Angeles on Sept. 9 at Hollywood Bowl. The tour will mark Heart's first road trip in three years, as sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson took a hiatus to pursue other musical endeavors. "Both Nancy and I have stretched our wings in life these last three years," Ann says. "We've both lived and loved. We have breathed and traveled and experienced life. We come to this tour with fresh energy and oxygen. It will be unlike any other Heart tour that has been. Some of the songs will be classic of course, but this tour will be a new animal." Heart released a live album from their legendary 2006 VH1 Decades Rock Live performance, Live In Atlantic City, on Jan. 25 on earMUSIC. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Steven TylerAerosmith frontman Steven Tyler continued his Grammy Awards viewing party tradition on Feb. 10 at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles with his second annual viewing party. The event, which benefited Janie's Fund, Tyler's philanthropic initiative that helps to bring hope and healing to young female assault victims. This year's gala attracted such guests as Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Alice Cooper, David Foster, Kelsey Grammer, Caitlyn Jenner, Duff McKagan and Jane Lynch, who hosted the night. Aerosmith also performed an 11-song set at the event that included such hits as "Janie's Got a Gun," "Love in an Elevator," "Back in the Saddle," "Sweet Emotion," "Dream On" and "Walk This Way." Sharon Stone even hopped up on stage at one point to bop around with Tyler and try her had at the harmonica. On Feb. 4, Tyler helped cut the ribbon -- one of his signature scarves, actually -- at the opening of a second Janie's House for neglected female youths in Bartlett, Tenn. Tyler, who donated nearly $500,000 to Youth Villages through Janie's Fund, also designed the artwork for the building. The first Janie's House opened in 2017 just outside of Atlanta, a third home is slated to open in Las Vegas later in 2019. Meanwhile, Aerosmith will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb. 14, according to an announcement by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 6. The Boston-based rockers will be recognized under the recording category, with the HWOF's 2,657th star. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m., at 6752 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Musicians Institute. Aerosmith will kick off a new residency at Park Theater at the new Park MGM resort on Apr. 6. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Nile Rodgers of Chic announced on Feb. 11 that he will guest curate this summer's Meltdown festival in London's Southbank Centre. Rodgers is set to produce a "hand-picked line-up of show-stopping music, art and free events" for the annual Meltdown festival, a days-long event that gives prominent musicians the ability to book acts and events at U.K.'s largest multi-venue arts center throughout the last 25 years. "To be able to curate and produce nine days of live music for the city of London, the U.K. and music enthusiasts visiting from all over the world is truly a dream come true," Rodgers said in a statement. Rodgers will take over Southbank Centre from Aug. 3 to 11 throughout its stages, including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the remainder of the 17-acre center. Rodgers joins the ranks of previous festival curators such as David Bowie, Yoko Ono, M.I.A and The Cure. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Aretha Franklin will be the next subject of the NatGeo channel's Genius series, it was announced on Feb. 10 at the Television Critics Association winter meeting. The channel says it is postponing its planned Genius tribute to Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, which it had originally announced to be the third focus of the Genius series, to feature the late Queen of Soul. Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso were the first two spotlights of the Genius series. Franklin's Genius program will feature recollections from music moguls Clive Davis and Craig Kellman of Atlantic Records, among others. Meanwhile, Franklin was also honored at the 2019 Grammy Awards show on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles with a salute by Andra Day, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams. The show also featured Motown legend Diana Ross who graced the stage with performances of "The Best Years of My Life" and "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)." As she walked through the crowd, Ross encouraged audience members to sing along into her mic, with Jaden Smith obliging for a line. As the performance ended, she left viewers with an inspirational message: "Learn, dream, unlock new doors. All is possible." The Grammy show also featured a performance by country legend Dolly Parton, who was joined by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kacy Musgraves and Little Big Town for a medley of some of Dolly's most iconic tunes. - AP/Billboard, 2/11/19...... Lindsey BuckinghamFormer Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham is recovering at home following open heart surgery during the second weekend of February. Buckingham reportedly suffered some vocal cord damage, according to his wife Kristen Buckingham. "Each day he is stronger than the last," Kristen wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. "While he and his heart are doing well, the surgery resulted in vocal cord damage. While it is unclear if the damage is permanent, we are hopeful it is not." Though Kristen did not give specifics as to why Lindsey had to undergo emergency heart surgery, she did note that his family has a history of heart issues and all his upcoming shows would be canceled for the time being. "We feel so fortunate that he's alive," she wrote. Buckingham's health issue comes less than a year after he was kicked out of the band following some differences with Stevie Nicks. Despite their clashes, Buckingham's former band wished their former bandmate well on Twitter, writing, "We are saddened by this news. Our thoughts and love go out to Lindsey and his entire family. We are hopeful for his speedy recovery." - Billboard, 2/8/19...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack Osbourne says his dad is doing "much better" after being hospitalized for flu complications in early February. On Feb. 6, Ozzy's wife and Jack's mom Sharon Osbourne revealed that Ozzy had been admitted to hospital following some complications from the flu. "His doctors feel this is the best way to get him on a quicker road to recovery," Sharon wrote. A spokesperson for the 70-year-old rocker announced on Jan. 30 that after initially postponing the first four dates of his "No More Tours 2" outing because of the flu, a follow-up visit with a doctor revealed a diagnosis of a severe upper-respiratory infection, which resulted in the postponing of the tour's entire U.K. and European run. At the time, doctors feared that the infection could "develop into pneumonia given the physicality of the live performances and the extensive travel schedule throughout Europe in harsh winter conditions." Ozzy's Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi also wished Ozzy a "speedy recovery" on Twitter. Current plans call for Ozzy's tour to re-boot on Mar. 9 at the Download Festival in Sydney, Australia, though it is unclear if that show could be impacted by the hospitalization. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath was honored with their very own "heavy metal bench" in their hometown of Birmingham on Feb. 9. Tony Iommi attended the ceremony which was organized by Westside Business Improvement District. The idea of the bench, which incorporates the images of all four original Black Sabbath members, was started by super fan Mohammed Osama, who told the BBC he was "thrilled to see his plan to commemorate the band become a reality." The bench is placed under the newly renamed Black Sabbath Bridge over the canal on Broad Street. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/8/19...... The legendary '70s ska band The Specials have scored a new No. 1 album in the U.K. in one of the more dramatic chart returns of recent memory. Encore is The Specials' first album of new music for 37 years and their first-ever U.K. No. 1 album. It also features a new version of "Blam Blam Fever"' and a cover of The Equals' "Black Skinned Blue-Eyed Boys," along with the recent single "10 Commandments," which includes an appearance by activist Saffiyah Khan. "Recording the album has been one of the most amazing trips of our lives," The Specials said in a statement. "What can we say? It couldn't have been better timing. A real thanks to the fans who have stayed with us for all this time. We all share in this, thank you." The Specials have confirmed they'll launch a 25-date U.K. tour behind the new album on Apr. 15 in Bournemouth, wrapping with two shows at the London O2 Academy Brixton on May 16 and 17. - NME, 2/8/19...... Rod Stewart announced on Feb. 8 he has entered into a multi-year global touring partnership with Live Nation that will have the promotion company producing and promoting Stewart's concerts around the world, starting with a run of sold-out U.K. dates this summer. "First, last and always my job is giving fans the best show I have in me," said Stewart, in a statement. "With Live Nation's backing, I'm able to show up and sing knowing that everything that has led up to me taking the stage has been done with cracking perfection." Stewart will perform across the U.K. and Europe throughout 2019 and in 2020 will bring his concert tour to South America, Australia, Asia and New Zealand with Live Nation. The shows follow his 2017 and 2018 North American summer tours with special guest Cyndi Lauper. - Billboard, 2/8/19...... Chaka Khan'70s R&B singer Chaka Khan will release Hello Happiness, her first album in 12 years, on Feb. 15. Its funky lead single, "Like Sugar," arrived last June and sparked the global #LikeSugarChallenge, a testament to the 65-year-old Khan's staying power after 46 years in the business. Meanwhile, Khan's current single, the new album's title track, is a testament to her sunnier state of mind. The LP marks Khan's first since she decided to enter rehab for prescription drug abuse following the death of her "brother," and former NPG Records boss, Prince. Khan fronted the group Rufus in the early '70s, and signed with ABC Records in 1973. The Stevie Wonder-penned and Rufus co-produced "Tell Me Something Good" provided the group's mainstream breakthrough in 1974. The song won the funk outfit its first Grammy, for best R&B vocal performance, and Rufus later scored six platinum albums and a string of timeless hits: "You Got the Love," "Sweet Thing" and "Ain't Nobody." After going solo in 1978, Khan sowed her own crop of classics, including the indefatigable anthem "I'm Every Woman," "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me" "Through the Fire," and her indelible cover of Prince's "I Feel for You." Her last solo album, 2007's Funk This, yielded two Grammy wins, for best R&B album and best R&B performance by a duo or group for "Disrespectful," featuring Mary J. Blige. More recently, she performed at the 2017 Essence Festival and the 2018 Jazz in the Gardens, and paid tribute to Aretha Franklin during the Queen of Soul's funeral service last August. She sang "Hello Happiness" during her appearance as grand marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade on New Year's Day, and will embark on a summer tour in 2019 with Michael McDonald. Also in the works: a biopic about her storied career. - Billboard, 2/8/19...... A 75th birthday tribute to Joni Mitchell, Joni 75, arrived in theaters for a one-night only screening on Feb. 7. The concert film was filmed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Nov. 7, 2018 in Los Angeles and featured performances from the likes of James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, Chaka Khan and Brandi Carlile. A companion album from the show is being released Mar. 8 by Decca Records featuring additional performances at the Nov. 7 show -- Mitchell's 75th birthday -- by a lineup that also included Graham Nash, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Rufus Wainwright and others. - Billboard, 2/7/19...... Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, John Legend and Boyz II Men will be among the star-studded lineup at a Grammy Salute to Motown's 60th Anniversary on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles. Last year's salute paid homage to Elton John, while previous celebrations have nodded Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles and the Bee Gees. The Motown special will be presented by CBS, although an air date has yet to be announced. - Billboard, 2/6/19...... In other Motown-related news, Motown Records has announced it will release a scrapped Marvin Gaye album from 1972, You're The Man, on vinyl and MP3 on Mar. 29 -- four days before what would have been Gaye's 80th birthday. You're The Man consists of Gaye's solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972. While the title track to the record was originally released, Gaye eventually scrapped the rest of the project, citing that his political views ran in direct opposition to that of then-Motown CEO Berry Gordy. - New Musical Express, 2/8/19...... James BrownA new investigation led by news outlet CNN suggests that soul legend James Brown may have been murdered. Brown passed away in the early hours of Christmas morning in 2006, after being admitted to the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta due to suffering from pneumonia. However, CNN's new investigation suggests the Godfather of Soul may not have died from natural causes. It details interviews with nearly 140 people, while tens of thousands of pages of police and court records are said to also be included. Forensics testing and 1,300 pages of text messages are also part of the investigation. The investigation began in 2017 after a CNN reporter was contacted by a circus performer and singer who told the network that she had information surrounding Brown's death. Jacque Hollander later revealed that she and Brown had worked together in the '80s, while also alleging that he raped her in 1988. Brown was never prosecuted following this accusation but Hollander revealed that she saved documents, tapes and more alleged evidence about Brown and his associates. Hollander also took a polygraph test with a former FBI agent in 1995 surrounding the accusations. A key subject in the report is Dr. Marvin Crawford, who signed Brown's death certificate at the Atlanta hospital where he passed away. The doctor says in the report that "he has always been suspicious of foul play." Speaking in a CNN interview, Dr. Crawford said: "He changed too fast. He was a patient I would never have predicted would have coded But he died that night, and I did raise that question: 'What went wrong in that room?'" - NME, 2/5/19...... Acclaimed British actor Albert Finney who made a worldwide name for himself in 1963's Tom Jones and maintained a strong career through the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, died on Feb. 7 in London following a chest infection. He was 82. Among Mr. Finney's Oscar-nominated performances were roles in Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano and Erin Brockovich. Other highlights of his shape-shifting career include Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) and The Bourne Legacy (2012). On the TV side, Mr. Finney made his debut for American television in 1984 with the starring role in Pope John Paul II and was Emmy-nominated for his role in the 1990 HBO movie The Image. Mr. Finney, who in 2011 disclosed he was undergoing treatment for kidney cancer, was married to British actress Jane Wenham from 1957-61 and, from 1970-78 to French actress Anouk Aimee. Since 2006 he was married to Penelope Delmage, who survives him, as does Simon Finney, a camera operator and his son with Wenham. - Deadline.com, 2/8/19.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Dressed in a dazzling white outfit, '70s R&B singer Gladys Knight kicked off Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3 with an elegant rendition of the national anthem. Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner, previously said in a statement that she saw the opportunity to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a chance to "unite and represent our country" after several African-American artists declined an offer to sing at the event in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was fired by the team for "taking a knee" during the natinal anthem in protest of the country's treatment of African-Americans. "I hope that this anthem will touch people in a different way," Knight said. "We've been singing it forever. But this time I would hope that they would feel it so deeply that it would lift them to a higher place. That's what I feel when I sing this song." Meanwhile, the much-ballyhooed series of Super Bowl commercials featured music by such '70s artists as Queen ("Don't Stop Me Now" in an Amazon spot), The Who ("Pinball Wizard" in a Toyota ad) and Bob Dylan ("Blowin' in the Wind" for Budweiser). - Billboard, 2/3/19...... Linda RonstadtAfter more than 50 years in the music business, Linda Ronstadt has released her first live album ever -- Live in Hollywood, a 13-track set from an April 1980 concert at Television Center Studios in Hollywood that was originally taped for an HBO special. Speaking to Billboard, Ronstadt recalled that the concert "was insufferably hot." "It was a small studio and we had an audience, so it heated the room up quite a lot. And then they had really hot, really big lights on us," she said. "It's something that should've been considered, but we were brave little soldiers and pushed through it. But it was really too hot to make music." Ronstadt says she didn't even know the recording existed until one of her producers, John Boylan, discovered the master tape in 2018, and even know is ambivalent about the recording seeing the light of day. "It was recorded for television, which is unfortunate because television compresses things so much," she explains. "So it didn't turn out to be a really hi-fi record. It turned out to be a television record." Ronstadt adds that she "just kind of smiled through it" when she heard the tapes. "I don't like to listen to stuff I've recorded," she says. "It's just another time, and it's a frozen in time kind of thing. I always think, 'Why did I sing that note like that? Why did I phrase it like that? Why wasn't it faster? Why wasn't it slower?' I always see things I would've corrected in the studio, so (listening to the recordings) is a fool's errand for me." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, who performed her last concert during 2009 after noticing she was having problems with her voice, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013 and now cannot sing at all, "not even in the shower." She recently told CBS Sunday Morning that she busies herself now with watching operatic performances on YouTube and working with the Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center in San Pablo, Calif., which helps teach Latin American youth about their culture. She'll be leading a trip to Mexico with the group later in February. She's also working on writing a project about the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border in the southwest. "These (projects) tend to come up naturally and in sort of an organic fashion. I don't go looking for them," she says, adding that she tries not to bemoan the loss of her music career. "It just seems so long ago, it was another person. I don't have the same life now. I tried my best. I like to think that I gave it an earnest shot but, y'know, you can never be completely satisfied. It's always what would you do the next time -- you can improve this, you can improve that. But I can't create new (music) anymore, so I think about other things. And to be honest I have more home life now, and I like that better." - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Several of Cher's elaborate costumes are set to go on display at a "Camp: Notes on Fashion" display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Longtime Cher fashion designer Bob Mackie, who is also the cosume designer for the Broadway musical "The Cher Show," tells Fashionista.com that the pieces will go on display in May at the exhibit, which was first announced in Oct. 2018. This year's accompanying Met Gala, which will have the same "Camp" theme, will be hosted by Lady Gaga, Harry Styles and Serena Williams. - Billboard, 2/5/19...... Paul McCartney has been awarded one of the UK's prestigious Blue Peter badges, in honor of his inspirational music career. Macca will accept his award during the Feb. 7 Blue Peter award show on CBBC. Upon receiving his badge, McCartney said: "That is beautiful, that's a great badge. I will wear it with great pride. Yes! I made it!" Meanwhile in other Beatles-related news, a set of legal letters that foretold the split of the Fab Four in 1970 are set to be sold for a total of $550,000. The pair of letters were sent to Paul's lawyers John and Lee Eastman in January and April that year. John and Lee were also the father and brother of Paul's late first wife Linda McCartney, whom he married in March 1969. In the first letter, all four Beatles members and Apple Corps head Neil Aspinall write to John Eastman to inform him that "we retain you and authorise you to act on our behalf in negotiations in respect of all contracts proposed." However the second piece of correspondence, which has become known as "the split letter," sees John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr end their working relationship with Lee Eastman to work with the Rolling Stones' managers Allan Klein, while McCartney would stay working with the Eastman family. Memorabilia auctioneers Moments In Time are selling the January 1969 letter for $225,000, and the April 1969 letter for $325,000. - New Musical Express, 2/5/19...... Gordon LightfootCanadian singer-songwriting legend Gordon Lightfoot has announced he is working on his first new album in 15 years. "It's kind of philosophical and it's kind of funny," the 80-year-old Lightfoot says of his 21st album. "It's got a great beat and my arrangements are real good too. I write all my own arrangements for my band." The still-untitled album is important to the "If You Could Read My Mind" singer, because he says he didn't get to properly finish his last studio collection, 2004's Harmony, due to a near-fatal ruptured artery. "Harmony was done by using just guitar and vocal tracks as a basic track. And it was stuff that I recorded a year before I became ill," he says. "So we looked way back in the file and we found a number of tunes I had recorded just using guitar and vocal. And the guys then overdubbed all their parts on the very last album. I wasn't actually able to complete that album in a professional way. The songs were good, but the production was not up to radio standard." Asked when the new album will be ready he says, "It's gonna take a year. It's there, but it will happen for sure because I already have the material." Lightfoot adds he's eager to share his new music with the world, and will hit the road in North American with his "80 Years Strong" tour on Mar. 4 in Sacramento, Calif. He'll play 26 dates in California, Ontario and selected cites in the eastern US before wrapping on May 19 in Boston. Though he is understandably cautious about his past serious illness, Lightfoot says he has a regular exercise regime he has kept up since 1980 which he credits that with a great part of his longevity. "The [album] I'm working on right now, provided I don't fall again or get sick again, I will be able to carry through and produce it in a highly professional manner. If I'm still walking around we'll finish it," he says, laughing at the last part. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Elton John announced on Feb. 5 that he'll be taking his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour to Australia and New Zealand beginning on Nov. 30 in Perth. The Australasian leg of the tour will span 18 arena and open-air shows and will be the veteran British rocker's "most extensive tour of the region to date," according to an announcement made by promoter Chugg Entertainment. As the itinerary stands, New Zealand will host three shows, the final at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium on Feb. 9, 2020. John is expected to announce additional shows in Australia and New Zealand later in the year. "I always love coming back to Australia," Elton said in a statement. "Ever since my first visit in 1971 it has held a very special place in my heart." - Billboard, 2/5/19...... An appeals court has ruled that Eddie Money's decision to fire his former drummer Glenn Symmonds is protected activity under California's anti-SLAPP statute. In June 2016, Money filed an anti-SLAPP motion in response to Symmonds' claims that he was fired because of his age and disabilities from bladder cancer and a back injury, arguing that playing music is a First Amendment right and Money's choice of bandmembers is protected activity stemming from that right. However Judge Rafael Ongkeko denied the motion, finding Symmonds' lawsuit arose from the alleged discriminatory conduct and not the decision to fire him. It didn't reach the second prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis, which addresses the plaintiff's probability of prevailing on the merits of his claim. Symmond's complaint also includes allegations that Money sexually harassed his fiancee. Those claims are not impacted by this decision. Opening arguments in the trial are currently set for August. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/5/19...... NBC has announced it is scrapping a planned live musical rendition of the Broadway play "Hair," which had been set to air on the network on May 19. The network says it hopes to find a more family-friendly title to compete against the season finale of ABC's American Idol and the series finale of the HBO series Game of Thrones. "Hair" -- the 50-year-old Broadway hit of the hippie generation -- explored topics including the Vietnam War, drugs, race, gender and sexual identity and included brief nudity in most of its previous stagings. NBC's previous live musicals have included "The Sound of Music," "Peter Pan," "The Wiz" and "Hairspray." - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/4/19...... Singer/songwriter Paul Anka has signed a long-term multimillion dollar deal with Primary Wave Music Publishing, the company announced on Feb. 4. In addition to Anka's music publishing, Primary Wave will also help manage Anka's name and likness to build brand awareness for his music, and oversee his daily digital marketing activies, including tour marketing, e-commerce and direct-to-fan initiatives. "Paul Anka is an American icon and has penned some of the greatest songs in American culture," said Lawrence Mestel, CEO and founder of Primary Wave Music Publishing, in a statement. "He transcends time and has the most engaging, youthful spirit. It's an honor to have Paul in the Primary Wave family." Anka is a recipient of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame's Johnny Mercer Award and the prestigious French award Chevalier de Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has been appointed to the Order of Canada and he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2018. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Suzi QuatroVeteran rocker Suzi Quatro, who is preparing for the Mar. 29 release of her new album, No Control, says she is through being "polite" over being chronically snubbed for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The singer/songwriter/bassist made her first mark with the Pleasure Seekers and Cradle during the '60s in her native Detroit, but she really connected after moving to England during the early '70s and worked with producers Mickie Most, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman on records acknowledged as an influence for a slew of others -- most notably on Joan Jett's early band the Runaways. "(Jett) deserves to be in -- she's an excellent artist -- but it's disgusting that I'm not," Quatro says. "I'm a real stickler for the truth, and I'm pissed off that history is being rewritten. I was first, right? I was there before anybody else had a twinkle in their eye -- that's a fact of life. I'm happy that I opened a door because that door needed to be opened. I'm so proud of that, and I get thanked by everybody -- all the girls, they all say 'Thank you, thank you, thank you...' I said in in very early interviews there would be loads of (women) after me and there were. I'm happy about that, absolutely." Quatro continued: "I just don't like being ignored because that's not correct. It's a big fault. I hear from a lot of people -- they say, 'What? You're not in it?!' No -- and my biggest fan is, and that's not right. You can't rewrite history just to suit your organization." Quatro, who currently resides in England, had her greatest success in the U.S. with 1978's If You Knew Suzi, which peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart, and scored a top 5 duet with Chris Norman, "Stumblin' In", concurrent with her recurring late '70s run as Leather Tuscadero on the TV sitcom Happy Days. She's also had No. 1 singles in the U.K. and Australia with "Can the Can," "Devil Gate Drive" and "48 Crash," and Quatro acted in the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" in London during the mid-80s. "So my feelings are hurt," Quatro says of the Rock Hall exclusion. "I've been very polite about it for many years, and now I don't want to be polite anymore. It doesn't make sense. The truth is the truth, history is history, the timeline is the timeline. I need to be in that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." In the meantime, she's planning to record and hit the road with dates in Australia in February and march, and her story will also be told in a new documentary by Liam Firmager that's expected out later in 2019. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Queen guitarist Brian May is hitting out at claims that he and fellow Queen member Roger Taylor turned down an offer to perform at the 2019 Oscars, where the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is up for five Academy Awards, including best film and best actor for Rami Malek's portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Earlier in February, the UK paper The Daily Express had reported that May and Taylor rejected the chance to perform at the ceremony, but May took to Instagram on Feb. 2 to dispute the claim. "NOPE! We never turned down playing at the Oscars," May posted on Instagram. "We're just happy and proud that Bohemian Rhapsody has received 5 nominations, and we will be there in support !!!" May previously said of Bohemian Rhapsody: "It came out to s---ty reviews, as some of our work has before, but the public has embraced it magnificently. Everybody gave 200%, from the actors and technicians to the production team and hair and make up, everyone." - New Musical Express, 2/3/19...... Lynyrd Skynyrd have added 21 more dates to their "Last of the Street Survivors" farewell tour, which will kick off its 2019 edition in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on May 10. In addition to festival appearances at Stagecoach and KABOO Texas, the Southern Rockers will play arenas and amphitheaters in New Orleans, Seattle, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver and more. The current slate of dates will close out on Sept. 28 at the Warf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, Ala. They will be joined for select dates by special guests including Bad Company, Cody Jinks and Hank Williams Jr.. Following the Canadian run the band will head to the U.K. and Europe this summer. They will be joined by special guests, English rock band Status Quo, for U.K. dates and Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke for dates in Germany. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... The Grammy Awards' Recording Academy announced on Feb. 5 that the 2019 Grammys ceremony will feature a special tribute to country/pop music legend and eight-time Grammy winner Dolly Parton, who will also take to the Grammy stage for the first time in 18 years to perform her new music. Also paying musical tribute to Parton will be Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town and Maren Morris. Parton will then take center stage to sing her latest tunes from her 2018 album, Dumplin' -- the soundtrack to Netflix's original motion picture by the same name starring Jennifer Aniston. The 61st Annual Grammy Awards will take place live from the Staples Center on Feb. 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET, and will be broadcasted on CBS. - Billboard, 2/5/19...... George ClintonLegendary funk/rock artist George Clinton has announced he'll be launching his final tour with his group Parliament-Funkadelic before retiring from the road after touring and recording for over 50 years. The 77-year-old musician's North American "One Nation Under a Groove" tour will feature Clinton and his funk/soul/rock troupe performing alongside some of the funkiest younger artists of today: Galactic, Dumpstaphunk, Fishbone and Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf. Clinton will kick off the tour on May 30 at the Miller High Life Theatre in Milwuakee, Wis., and hit Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver and Phoenix before wrapping up at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas on Aug. 18. Even after he retires from the road, Clinton promises the P-Funk tours will continue with a band that includes younger members of his family. "It's always been about the music and the band," Clinton said in a statement. "That's the real P-Funk legacy. They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." - Billboard, 2/5/19...... George Klein, the deep-voiced radio personality who became friends with Elvis Presley in high school and stayed close to the King of Rock 'n' Roll throughout his career, died on Feb. 5 at hospice in Memphis, Tenn. He was 83. Elvis's ex-wife Priscilla Presley said Mr. Klein had been suffering from illness, including pneumonia, for about two weeks prior to his death. Mr. Klein met Elvis in 1948 at Humes High School in Memphis and they were close friends until the rock 'n' roll icon died in 1977. Mr. Klein was part of Presley's entourage, known as the "Memphis Mafia," and enjoyed telling stories about the times he and Presley spent together. Priscilla said her former husband liked Mr. Klein's outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a "guy's thing," with their own inside jokes and "their own language." Elvis used to affectionately call Mr. Klein "GK." "Their friendship was golden, truly golden," Priscilla said. "I don't think I've ever heard George say anything bad about anybody." Presley served as Mr. Klein's best man, and Mr. Klein was a pallbearer at Presley's funeral. Mr. Klein also appeared in his friend's 1957 film, Jailhouse Rock. When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Mr. Klein made the acceptance speech. Mr. Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley's music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Mr. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla said. - AP, 2/6/19.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Recording Academy announced on Jan. 31 that Diana Ross will give a "very special performance" at the upcoming Grammy Awards, set for Feb. 10 at Los Angeles' Staples Center. Ross, who has racked up more than 100 in sales and streams over the course of her career, received the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. The 61st annual awards show will be broadcast on CBS beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. - Billboard, 1/31/19...... Paul Simon performed two tracks from his latest album In the Blue Light on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Jan. 28 and talked about the making of the record, which features re-recordings of Simon's lesser-known songs. Although Simon joked that his 2018 farewell tour was "to bump the prices up," he explained that he is indeed done touring, but will continue to perform and donate the proceeds to causes that he believes in, such as ecological groups and music education. He added that In the Blue Light was a way to revisit some of the songs he wrote in years prior -- not only to cover them, but to "fix them." "I picked 10 songs that I thought were really interesting and good songs that didn't get much attention when they first came out, either because they were on an album that had a bunch of hits or they were on an album that had no hits," Simon told Colbert. "It's really quite a treat as a composer and have the opportunity to go back and fix your mistakes." - Billboard, 1/29/19...... The BeatlesAs the Beatles mark the 50th anniversary of their iconic final concert on the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters in London on Jan. 30, 1969, the band announced on Twitter on Jan. 30 that The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson will collaborate with them on a new as-yet-untitled film using 55 hours of previously unreleased footage of the group recording what would become its Grammy Award-winning album Let It Be in January 1969. "We are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson," the band tweeted. "These studio sessions produced The Beatles' Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song... The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up. Peter Jackson said the 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate fly on the wall experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about," the tweet continued. British director Michael Edward Lindsay-Hogg had originally intended to use the footage he filmed half a century ago, alongside 140 hours of audio, for a television special. But as the Beatles' Twitter account noted, it "organically" morphed into Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary Let It Be. "It's simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there's moments of drama -- but none of the discord this project has long been associated with," Jackson added. "Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating -- it's funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate." - Huffingtonpost.com, 1/30/19...... Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine Jackson has pleaded for people to "let Michael rest" in the first televised interview from a Jakcson family member after the premeire of the controversial King of Pop biopic Leaving Neverland at the Sundance film festival on Jan. 25. Jermaine, appearing on the UK TV program Good Morning Britain on Jan. 27, upheld his family's stated position that Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the documentary subjects who claim to be survivors of Michael's abuse, are "admitted liars." "Just leave us alone," a choked up Jermaine said. "Leave him alone. Let him rest. Please, let him rest. He deserves to rest." Jermaine said he's "1,000 percent" sure of his brother's innocence and called the allegations in Finding Neverland "nonsense." Finding Neverland director Dan Reed hit back at Jackson's family and estate on Jan. 28, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the Jackson camp has "a very precious asset to protect." "Every time a song plays, a cash register goes 'ka-ching.' It doesn't surprise me that they've come out fighting in defense of their asset," Reed said. In the bitter war of words, the estate previously called his film "a tabloid character assassination" and insisted it "isn't a documentary" while the family called him and the film's two accusers "opportunists." Meanwhile Dame Jame Goodall, one of the world's most foremost primatologists, has said she believes Jackson assaulted his pet chimpanzee Bubbles while living with the pop icon at his Neverland ranch. Despite appearing to live a life of pampered luxury, Goodall claims that Bubbles was frequently attacked and that Jackson lost his temper when she personally presented the theory to him. "I went to see him and we talked about Bubbles. I ticked him off," she told TMZ.com. "Bubbles is still alive and he's beautiful. But when he was with Michael he was being beaten," she added. Michael famously adopted the unlikely pet from an animal trainer in the late 1980s, before it became a frequent companion that travelled with him across the globe. - Jezebel.com/New Musical Express, 1/30/19...... Ace FrehleyFormer Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley is claiming his former bandmate, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, once "groped" his wife in a scathing social media post that also accuses his former band members of control freakery, untrustworthiness and much, much worse. In the 330-word screed, Frehley claims Simmons "groped" his wife and "propositioned" her some time ago, and blasts Simmons and Paul Stanley for undermining his career through the years. "Your slanderous remarks about my bad habits over the years has cost me millions of dollars and now that I'm over 12-years sober you're still saying I can't be trusted to play a whole nights show," Frehley writes. "Well that's exactly what I've been doing for the last 12-years with different configurations of 'The Ace Frehley Band' to you and Paul's dismay." Frehley, who split twice from Kiss twice (1982, 2001), also states the pair "tried to derail my solo career multiple times over the years unsuccessfully," and reckons newly-published comments by Simmons "have made me realize you're just an asshole and a sex addict who's being sued by multiple women, and you're just trying to sweep it all under the carpet." Although some Kiss fans had hoped Frehley and the band had buried the hatchet when they performed together for the first time in 16 years at a Hurricane Harvey benefit show in St. Paul, Minn., it is unlikely they will appear together anytime soon. Paul Stanley says that Kiss' "End of the Road World Tour," which kicked off on Jan. 31 in Vancouver, is going to last a few years but "is in no way a reunion tour." "It's been 45 years," Stanley says, "and we want to be able to do this with the fortitude and with the respect for our legacy that it deserves. We felt it was time to make a conscious decision that this is the last tour and go out in a blaze of glory and take a victory lap and spend a very special evening with fans around that world." Kiss has currently has dates booked through Dec. 3, including a Kiss Kruise setting sail on Oct. 30. - Billboard, 1/30/19...... According to the American rock band Terrorizer, AC/DC will be releasing a new album in 2019 featuring vocalist Brian Johnson. "We ran into Brian Johnson from AC/DC at the airport today after the flight home," the band posted on Facebook. "We asked him about the rumours of him being on the new AC/DC album and he said 'yes' and that he is 'sick of denying it.' So that was a cool surprise ending to the tour." In 2018, it was reported that AC/DC were working on a new album that will feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track," according to "a reliable source inside the AC/DC camp." Malcolm died in November 2017 after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. Johnson meanwhile was forced to quit the band in 2016 after suffering hearing loss and was replaced on the band's tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. Johnson was then rumoured to be reuniting with the rock legends for a new record after being spotted with the band's former drummer Phil Rudd in Vancouver. - New Musical Express, 1/30/19...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters is urging Maroon 5 to show solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick and "take a knee" during Maroon 5's halftime show at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta on Feb. 3. In a statement, Waters said: "My colleagues Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi are performing during the halftime show at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, I call upon them to 'take a knee' on stage in full sight. I call upon them to do it in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, to do it for every child shot to death on these mean streets, to do it for every bereaved mother and father and brother and sister." There is also a petition on Change.org/takeaknee aimed at persuading the three music acts to take a knee during their performances. - New Musical Express, 1/31/19...... In other Pink Floyd-related news, David Gilmour has announced he is auctioning several of his iconic guitars for charity, including his cherished black Stratocaster. "These guitars have been very good to me," Gilmour said in a statement. "They're my friends. They have given me lots of music. I just think it's time that they went off and served someone else. I have had my time with them. And of course the money that they will raise will do an enormous amount of good in the world, and that is my intention." Among the approximately 120 guitars that will go on auction at Christie's in New York this June include his signature black Fender Stratocaster "The Black Strat" -- a guitar that he played on "Comfortably Numb," "Money," and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Also included in the sale is his 12-string Stratocaster that he wrote "Wish You Were Here"' as well as the Ovation six-string that he's played for nearly every live performance of "Comfortably Numb." Gilmour says he's also selling the guitars to declutter his house. "I didn't want to get too ancient and have a whole stash of guitars sitting around doing nothing," he said. "And frankly, too many of them are guitars I just don't have time to play often enough. They will give joy to other people." - NME, 1/30/19...... Keith RichardsRolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has told Rolling Stone magazine that the Stones are now set to head back into the studio for a week before embarking out on their first US tour in five years. Richards said that he had spent the holiday period assessing the material they'd already written. "Sometimes it's not as much writing as listening to what's been written and figuring it out, and honing and all kinds of stuff," he said. "It's very boring. It's like a carpentry shop." Asked about the band's upcoming tour and the feeling of playing live after so many years doing so, Richards said that he was "not at all" tired of life on the road. "I mean, hey, how bad can it be?" he said. "You get up there and do what you love to do, and fortunately so do millions of others. It's not something to turn your nose up at, you know." Meanwhile, Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood's horse is said to have a good chance of winning the British Grand National Run, the world's most grueling steeplechase competition. Organizers say Wood's horse, Sandymount Duke, is among 112 entries that will be whittled down to 40 runners for the race on Apr. 6. Sandymount Duke has won 10 of 30 races and runs in the 71-year-old Wood's red and white silks. Wood bred the 10-year-old gelding, which is trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland. Race organizers hope Wood can attend the 4 1/2-mile (6,400-meter) race near Liverpool in northwest England because the band doesn't begin their tour of the U.S. until Apr. 20. - New Musical Express/AP, 1/28/19...... The Who announced on Jan. 28 that they'll play a huge show at London's Wembley Stadium on July 6 with openers Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and English indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs. In a cryptic video shared on Twitter teasing the concert, a line from their hit "My Generation" flashes up on a venue banner screen and the Who's iconic target bullseyes are displayed either side. Some fans have speculated that the announcement could be linked to the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia, their 1979 seminal film which chronicled the '60s clashes between Mods and Rockers on Brighton Beach. The news of the concert comes on the heels of the band recently announcing their 2019 North American "Moving On!" tour, which kicks off on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich. - Billboard/NME, 1/28/19...... Olivia-Newton John is among the native Australian performers who have been recognized in the Australia Day Honours. In a statement, Newton-John said she was "excited and delighted and honored" after she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest award in the awards system, for her service to community health. "I am so proud to be an Aussie and this couldn't have come at a better time," says the artist, who is currently battling cancer for a third time. Newton-John previously received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1979. - Billboard, 1/30/19...... Wayne Newton is marking the 60th anniversary of his first Las Vegas hotel appearance with a return to the Caesars Palace casino-resort. His Caesars residency started Jan. 28 with dates scheduled through May. "It's hard for me to articulate, much less think about it," Newton told the AP, referring to the anniversary. "I was here when Caesars (Palace) was built. This hotel for me has always represented the flagship of the Strip." The "Danke Schoen" crooner will be backed by a live band during his "Wayne Newton: Up Close and Personal" shows. He will perform some of his favorite tunes and share personal career highlights through songs, film clips, anecdotes and questions from the audience. Newton, 76, asked the casino operator to lift the venue's age restriction to allow young people to attend. "I promised myself when I left the lounges that I would never be in a room again that had those kinds of restrictions. There's nothing in our show that would offend anyone, even the youngsters," Newton said. "That doesn't mean that the show is geared to particularly that group, but it is geared not to exclude that group demographically." Newton's show was previously at a showroom at Bally's casino-resort, but it ended in December as the venue shifted toward magic acts. - AP, 1/27/19...... John TravoltaJohn Travolta is sporting a new look these days -- the Saturday Night Fever star debuted a completely shaved head to ring in 2019 -- and he says his new look is here to stay for a while. "[It] feels great," Travolta told People magazine at the G'Day USA Black Tie Gala sponsored by Qantas airlines on Jan. 26. "Listen, my new look came on a whim. It was a New Year's Eve idea. Because everyone liked it so much, I decided to keep it for a while. So, we'll see." Travolta, 64, debuted his new look on Jan. 6 in an Instagram selfie with his 18-year-old daughter Ella Travolta and wife Kelly Preston, then thanked fans for their supportive comments in a video with his 8-year-old son, Benjamin. "Hey there, Ben Travolta, John Travolta here. We're dirt biking today and we just got the great news that it's hit over a million followers on Instagram," the actor said while wearing a cap on his head. "We love you and we thank you and also, thanks for liking the new hairdo," he added, momentarily lifting his hat up to show off his new look. "Yeah." Travolta previously had lock longs throughout the month of December. - People.com, 1/28/19...... Once thought to be erased and lost forever, the first ever TV performance of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust has been unearthed for a new documentary. In June 1972, Bowie made his TV debut as his new and most legendary incarnation on ITV's Lift Off with Ayshea -- a month before his now iconic Top Of The Pops appearance. It was feared that the footage would never been saved again, as it was not stored by the station. However, it has now emerged that the performance was recorded by one viewer and has been found on old computer tape. It will be televised as part of the BBC's new documentary David Bowie: The First Five Years - Finding Fame. Speaking to the Radio Times, director Francis Whately said that the tape was in very bad condition after slowly being "baked" in high temperatures and degrading over decades. "For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail," said Whately. "It would fall apart if we played it, so it's had to be very carefully restored. It will be a real coup if it comes off." - New Musical Express, 1/29/19...... In other Bowie-related news, Bowie's movie director son Duncan Jones is hitting out at plans for a new Bowie biopic starring Johnny Flynn. It was confirmed on Jan. 31 that Flynn will portray Bowie in Stardust, which traces the star's 1971 trip to America that inspired the creation of Ziggy Stardust. However, Jones has now confirmed that the film is going ahead without the approval of Bowie's family -- and there has been no approval to feature his music in it. "Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic & I would know," Jones posted on Twitter. He added: "I'm not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn t know. I'm saying that as it stands, this movie won't have any of dads music in it, & I can't imagine that changing." - NME, 2/1/19...... Character actor Dick Miller, who starred in Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood and whose six-decade career included all of Joe Dante's movies, died on Jan. 30 in Toluca Lake, Calif. He was 90. His resume includes more than 150 film and TV credits ranging from 1950s westerns to 2000s features including Dante's Looney Tunes: Back in Action and Burying the Ex. Along the way he appeared in films by such acclaimed directors as Martin Scorsese (New York, New York), James Cameron (The Terminator) and Jonathan Demme. On the small screen, he guested in such memorable series as Dragnet, The Untouchables, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Mannix, McCloud, Police Woman, Police Story, Soap, Alice, Taxi, Police Squad!, NYPD Blue, ER and Star Trek: The Next Generation. - Deadline.com, 1/30/19...... James IngramR&B singer James Ingram, who scored two No. 1 hits and earned two Grammy Awards during his decades-long career, died on Jan. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 66. "I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir. He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity," Ingram's friend and creative partner Debbie Allen posted on Twitter. "I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name," she added. Ingram collected two Grammys during his career, for his song "One Hundred Ways" which won best male R&B performance in 1981 and for his duet with Michael McDonald, "Yah Mo B There," which won best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals in 1984. Ingram charted nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including a pair of No. 1s: "Baby Come to Me," with Patti Austin, in 1983, and "I Don't Have the Heart" in 1990. Other top 20-charting Hot 100 hits included "Just Once" (No. 17 in 1981, Quincy Jones featuring Ingram), "Yah Mo Be There" (No. 19 in 1984, with McDonald) and "Somewhere Out There" (No. 2 in 1987, with Linda Ronstadt). The Akron, Oh., native also logged 19 hits on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart and 18 entries on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. He also tallied hits as a songwriter, co-penning Michael Jackson's top 10 Hot 100 hit "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," from the Thriller album, as well as songs recorded by The Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Ray Charles, Shalamar and others. - Billboard, 1/29/19...... Former ABC News and Good Morning America anchor Steve Bell died on Jan. 25 in Muncie, Ind. He was 83. Mr. Bell was the first anchor for ABC News' Good Morning America in 1975 and covered a slew of historical events over the years. During his time as a reporter in the early '70s, Mr. Bell covered the Vietnam War, where he was once captured by the Viet Cong and held at gunpoint, the Watergate scandal, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy. Following his tenure in the field, Mr. Bell went on to teach journalism at Ball State University's College of Communication Information and Media in Muncie, where he taught telecommunications from 1992 until his retirement in 2007. Mr. Bell, who graduated from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, is survived by wife Joyce, and daughters Allison and Hillary. - PopCulture.com, 1/27/19.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Two men featured in the new Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland who accuse the late King of Pop of molesting them when they were boys received a standing ovation following the screening of the film at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 25. Wade Robson, who says Jackson abused him from ages 7 to 14, and James Safechuck came forward as adults with their abuse allegations after Jackson's death in 2009. The four-hour film is a sprawling account of how the two boys' lives intersected with Jackson's at the height of his fame in the '80s and early '90s, and then later as adults when the trauma of what happened in their youth started to emerge in serious ways. In addition to accounts from Robson and Safechuck themselves, the film also interviews family members including the boys' mothers, wives and Robson's brother and sister. Jackson's voice is heard in the film, through voicemails he left for Robson and an "interview" Safechuck did with Jackson aboard his private plane, and the film also shows some of the many faxes he sent to Robson. The film has stirred up controversy since it was announced just a few weeks ago, with the Jackson estate condemning it for rehashing "discredited allegations." Extra police were dispatched outside Sundance's Egyptian Theater after reports there could be massive demonstrations, however only a handful of people showed up Friday holding posters with the word "innocent" displayed over Jackson's mouth. Leaving Neverland will air in two parts on Britain's Channel 4 and on the US premium cable channel HBO this spring. - AP, 1/25/19...... In other Michael Jackson news, the Jackson estate and Columbia Live Stage revealed more information on the new musical inspired by Jackson's life on Jan. 23. The production will be titled "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" and is currently in development. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage will create the book, while Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph. The musical will premiere in Chicago with its first performance on Oct. 29 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre and run through Dec. 1. "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" is set to make its Broadway debut in 2020. - Billboard, 1/23/19...... Willie NelsonWillie Nelson is scheduled to return to the PBS series Austin City Limits on Jan. 26 after helping to launch the series in 1974. The country/pop icon will perform a 16-song mix of his hits and classics, starting with his perennial opener "Whiskey River." "There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson -- simple as that," ACL executive producer Terry Lickona said in a statement. "He launched ACL into the television universe in 1974, and has helped keep us going for 45 years. It was truly emotional to witness such an outpouring of love from the audience. This show is Willie Nelson, pure and simple." The episode will premiere on Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. EST on participating PBS stations. - Billbaord, 1/25/19...... Queen guitarist Brian May has apologized for defending fired Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer, who has been accused of sexually assaulting four men when they were teens, after May was called out on Twitter for defending the controversial director. On Jan. 23, a fan recommended that May unfollow Singer after a new article about Singer in The Atlantic magazine, to which May responded by posting, "you need to look after your own business and stop telling me what to do. And you need to learn to respect the fact that a man or woman is innocent until proven guilty." The next day, May posted a lengthy apology on Instagram, explaining that his initial attempt to apologize to the fan for his "hasty and inconsiderate IG reply" disappeared, so he reposted it on IG. "Dear Sue, I'm so sorry that I responded to your post so snappily and inconsiderately. My response was a result of my perception that someone was telling me what to do," he wrote. "I now realise that I was completely wrong in thinking that. You were actually just trying to protect me, for which I thank you... The only reason I followed Bryan Singer was that we were working with him on a project. That situation came to an end when Mr Singer was removed during the shooting of the film, but I suppose unfollowing him never occurred to me as a necessity. Now, because of this misunderstanding, I have unfollowed. I'm so sorry. This must have caused you a lot of upset." Singer has vehemently denied the allegations in the Atlantic article, telling E! News that the writer of the story "rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention." Singer was replaced as director on the Oscar-nominated Queen biopic by Dexter Fletcher with just a few weeks left in filming. Although Bohemian Rhapsody scored five Academy Award nominations on Jan. 22, including the highest honor for Best Picture, it was removed from the GLAAD Media Awards nominees two days later after the Atlantic expo surfaced. The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues that accelerate acceptance. - Billboard, 1/25/19...... Although Pres. Donald Trump ended the 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, on Jan. 25, a number of artists came forward before his decision to offer free tickets, meals and even jobs to more than 800,000 federal employees. Nile Rodgers of Chic offered 600 free tickets to furloughed workers and their families or friends for his Jan. 26 concert at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, while Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS posted a video to their Rock & Brews Restaurant Facebook page last week, announcing that they would be giving free meals to TSA employees. The producers of the Carole King musical "Beautiful" also offered federal employees free admission to upcoming presentations of the Broadway show. Although Pres. Trump ended the shutdown, he has threatened to restart his fight for a border wall along the U.S. southern border in three weeks depending on how negotiations with congress go. - Billboard, 1/22/19...... After The Who recently announced they'll kick off a new "Moving On!" U.S. tour on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich., specially designed double-decker buses recalling their 1969 hit "Magic Bus" have been spotted cruising around New York, Los Angeles and Chicago promoting the tour and offering fans the chance to win a pair of premium tickets in a sweepstakes from concert promoter Live Nation. Fans who see the buses can post a photo of them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MagicBusEntry and tagging @LiveNation in the image. The contest runs through Feb. 10, and a winner will be selected at random for a pair of tickets in the tour stop closest to them. The Who, accompanied by a 52-piece orchestra at each stop, will play 29 shows in two legs, one in spring and one in fall, with shows in iconic venues such as New York's Madison Square Garden, Boston's Fenway Park and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The Who have also teased that a "big UK announcement" is coming on Jan. 28 as they shared a cryptic video on Twitter. The clip features snippets of their legendary career while "Baba O'Riley" plays in the background. With rehearsals still three or so weeks away, guitarist Pete Townshend recently told Billboard "I don't know what the f--- is going to happen" when the Who hits the road in May. "It's quite exciting." Townshend and frontman Roger Daltrey are also planning a new Who album, the band's first since 2006. Townshend says he spent from May to August working on 15 tracks for the set, some new and some "rescued from ancient history." With the instrumental tracks currently being recorded, Townshend describes it as "a mixture of stuff... some songs which cater for the part of the Who audience that have a preconception about what is a Who track but are also willing to take some chances." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/26/19...... Jimmy PageOn Jan. 23 the Fender guitar company revealed a prototype of its recreation of Jimmy Page's famous "Dragon" guitar, a long-lost piece of six-string history that marked the guitar hero's last days in the Yardbirds and first days in Led Zeppelin. The instrument with the psychedelic green-and-red serpent on its body represents "a pivotal moment for the guitar and music," said Paul Waller, the master builder who worked side-by-side with Page to make him a spot-on match of the guitar before making 50 more by hand to sell to the public. The reboot was hatched when Page was looking through photographs for a book celebrating last year's 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin. The dragon guitar, which he says was once his "Excalibur," kept popping up in them, and he started to think it was time to get past his bitterness about its fate. Page would use the guitar to write and record songs like "Dazed and Confused" for the first Led Zeppelin album, but a clueless house-sitter, not thinking much of Page's painting, put his own mosaic artwork over the dragon and presented it to Page as a gift. Page said it was all he could do not to hit the guy over the head with it. Instead, he stripped it bare and angrily threw it into storage, where it sat for 50 years. Page wanted to recreate not just the design, but the form, feel and sound of the original, so Waller went to his house in London and the two took out the old guitar and took it apart piece-by-piece so they could recreate each part for the rebuild. Page even made a trip to Fender's California plant -- the rocker's first time inside a guitar factory -- to inspect and help with the finished products. "All the employees lost their minds," Waller said with a laugh, "to watch somebody like Jimmy Page be totally enthralled with the machinery and act like a kid and be taking pictures." The 75-year-old Page painted at least a stroke on each of the 50 instruments Waller built. "He was adamant about applying paint to every one," Waller said. Fender is also selling assembly-line models of the guitar that are more affordable than the many thousands the handmade ones are likely to bring in. - AP, 1/24/19...... Bob Dylan's iconic 1963 protest anthem "Blowin' in the Wind" is set to be featured in a new ad for Budweiser during the upcoming Super Bowl showdown between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. The spot, which stars an adorable dalmation, tells the story of "Budweiser's commitment to renewable electricity for a more sustainable future" and features the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales, the Budweiser dalmatian April alongside wind turbines," set to the Dylan song, according to a release announcing the spot, which notes that Budweiser is now brewed with 100 percent renewable electricity from wind power. Super Bowl 53 is slated for Feb. 3 in Atlanta, Ga. - Billboard, 1/24/19...... Paul McCartney has previewed artwork for his first children's book, Hey Grandude, which is due later in 2019. "I'm excited to share the cover of my new children's book 'Hey Grandude!' which will be out later this year," Sir Paul explains in a message posted to his official website on Jan. 24. "I've worked on this with a great illustrator called Kathryn Durst and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do." Hey Grandude follows the adventures of a magical man named Grandude and his four grandchildren, who he calls "Chillers." McCartney originally got the idea for the book after one of his eight grandchildren began to refer to him as "Grandude," and the nickname stuck. "I wanted to write it for grandparents everywhere, so it gives them something to read to the grandkids at bedtime," McCartney said. Hey Grandude, announced late last year, will be published in September 2019 under the Random House Books for Young Readers imprint in the U.S. and the Puffin imprint in the U.K. McCartney's "Freshen Up" tour of the Americas kicks off in March. - Billboard, 1/24/19...... In other Beatles-related news, a newly discovered letter written by a Capitol Records executive to Apple Records reveals that the legendary quartet's "Hey Jude" was almost shelved as a single thanks to its "pornographic" label. Capitol Records' president Stan Gortikov had warned the Beatles' imprint on Aug. 28, 1968 not to release the record because its vinyl logo -- the profile of a sliced apple -- resembled a vagina. Gortikov was worried that traders would not want to stock the single. "Here's a wild and unanticipated problem to brighten up your day I just received a call from a very large and influential rack jobber in the western United States," Gortikov wrote. "He opened the conversation by saying, 'Are you guys serious? Do you know what you're doing? Do you really intend to sell products bearing the new Apple label?'" Gortikov went on to explain that the trader in question felt that the new Apple label was pornographic and depicted a vagina. Despite concerns, the logo was unchanged and "Hey Jude," with its B-side "Revolution," went on to sell 8 milion copies worldwide. - New Musical Express, 1/25/19...... Tom WopatThe Dukes of Hazzard stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat have announced they'll be reuniting this spring along with their famous car "The General Lee" for a "Good Ole Boys" concert tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1979-1985 series. The MuscleKingz Car Show & Concert Series will debut on Apr. 13 at Bakersfield, Calif.'s Kern County Raceway and will visit at least 10 markets in 2019. The events will take place in outdoor facilities that can accommodate a car show. Wopat, a.k.a. "Luke Duke," will open the concert, followed by Schneider, a.k.a. "Bo Duke," and then the pair will sing together. Up to five acts will appear at each event. Other members of the cast are also expected to participate. In addition to The General Lee, a bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger that became synonymous with the action/comedy series, the car show will also feature hot rods, muscle cars, "Uncle Jesse" pick-up trucks and "Daisy Duke" Jeeps. In addition to their acting careers, both Wopat and Schneider have found success in music. Schneider had a string of country hits in the '80s, including chart-toppers "What's a Memory Like You (Doing In A Love Like This)" and "You're The Last Thing I Needed Tonight." In 2018, he released a new album, Odyssey, as well as releasing a new single each week online. Wopat has also released country records over the years and most recently has recorded jazz projects and songs from the Great American Songbook. Both Schneider and Wopat say they are proud of the show's enduring fan base. "It was one of those shows that really had a multi-generational appeal," says Wopat. "Grandparents could watch. The little kids could watch. Everybody would find something to enjoy in it." - Billboard, 1/24/19...... After a run on the cable TV network Showtime in 2018 and a release on CD and DVD, the Jimi Hendrix documentary Electric Church is set for a 36-city theatrical run beginning on Jan. 31 at the ArcLight Hollywood, with a post-screening discussion with director John McDermott, record producer/engineer Eddie Kramer and Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix. Other openings will take place into early April, and the Feb. 25 screening in Nashville will feature a Q&A with longtime Hendrix bassist Billy Cox. Besides Hendrix's performance, Electric Church also features interviews with bandmates Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, along with the likes of Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. - Billboard, 1/22/19...... It has been revealed that former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters recently used his private jet to reunite a mother with her kidnapped children. Felicia Perkins-Ferreira had not seen her children in over four years after they were kidnapped and taken to Syria by their father in 2014. After hearing of their plight, Waters flew Perkins-Ferreira out to the Iraq-Syria border so she could be reunited with her children, Ayyub and Mahmud. The children have been looked after in a camp where a friend of Waters', Clive Stafford-Smith, became aware of their plight. When asked about Waters, he said: "[Roger] agreed to pay for it all and flew the mother over from Trinidad. We're going to make sure that they get on with a really productive, decent life." Perkins-Ferreira later thanked Waters and all those who helped to reunite her with her children saying that she was "really, really grateful" and would like to meet them "and embrace them" to express her thanks. - NME, 1/23/19...... Actress Kaye Ballard, the boisterous comedian and singer who appeared in Broadway musicals and nightclubs from New York to Las Vegas and starred with Eve Arden in the 1960s TV sitcom "The Mothers-In-Law," died on Jan. 23 at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a fight with kidney cancer. She was 93. The Mothers-In-Law, in which Ms. Ballard starred with Arden (of the 1950s sitcom Our Miss Brooks), aired from 1967 to 1969. It marked a high point in a career that began when Ms. Ballard was 12 and lasted into the 21st century. The Mothers-In-Law was set in a Los Angeles suburb and featured its stars as women who become thorns in their married children's lives, with comedic results influenced by the screwball style of I Love Lucy. Desi Arnaz, who starred with wife Lucille Ball in that classic sitcom, produced and directed 24 episodes of the Ballard-Arden show. Ms. Ballard made a mark in every form of show business except movies. She did appear as a secondary player in a few films, including 1958's The Girl Most Likely and in 1964's A House Is Not a Home, but her high-octane personality may have been too potent for the big screen of that era and its more restrictive portrayals of women. Ms. Ballard was also a regular on The Doris Day Show in the 1970s and the 1990s TV series Due South, and she also became a favorite of talk show hosts, making repeat appearances with Jack Paar, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson. Ms. Ballard, who never married, was on hand earlier in January when a documentary on her life and career premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. - AP, 1/23/19...... Michel LegrandOscar-winning French composer Michel Legrand, known for his 1968 song "The Windmills of Your Mind" and movie scores for such films as Summer of '42 and Yentl, died in the early hours of Jan. 26 at his home in Paris. He was 86. During his career, Mr. Legrand became one of the world's most highly regarded composers, and worked with musical giants such as Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli and Edith Piaf. After earning his first Oscar for Best Original Song in 1968 for "The Windmills of Your Mind," Mr. Legrand achieved further Academy Awards success with the scores to 1971's Summer of 42 and Yentl starring Barbra Streisand. He also scored five Grammys from 17 nominations and became an integral part of French New Wave Cinema in the 1960s as he worked with iconic film directors including Jacques Demy and Jean-Luc Godard. Paying tribute, French composer Vladimir Cosma told AFP: ""For me, he is immortal, through his music and his personality. He was such an optimistic personality, with a kind of naivety in optimism, he saw everything in rosy colours!" Mr. Legrand is survived by three children and his third wife, Macha Meril. - NME, 1/26/19...... Edwin Birdsong, the 1970s funk and jazz keyboardist whose songs earned a second life via samples by Daft Punk, De La Soul and Gang Starr, died on Jan. 21 at age 77. Following a stint in Vietnam, Birdsong moved to New York, where he began developing his unique jazz/funk hybrid, signing to Polydor Records in 1971 and releasing his debut, What It Is, in 1972, followed up by Supernatural in 1973. Birdsong's jazz-influenced playing on songs such as 1979's "Phiss-Phizz" and co-writing and co-producing alongside funk/soul icon Roy Ayers earned him cult status. Birdsong also appeared on "Spiritual Walkers" on Stevie Wonder's 1985 In Square Circle album. - Billboard, 1/23/19...... Maxine Brown Russell of the country trio The Browns has died at age 87. A songwriter and singer, Ms. Russell and her siblings launched their careers on the Louisiana Hayride in the 1950s and had a several chart-topping songs in the 50s and 60s, including "The Three Bells," "The Old Lamplighter," "Scarlet Ribbons," and "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On." They also appeared on TV on shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand and The Jerry Lewis Show. - AP, 1/22/19.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

David Bowie has been named by the British public as the greatest entertainer of the 20th century in a BBC Two poll for its historical TV series Icons. American actress Kathleen Turner submitted Bowie along with Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Billie Holiday in the series' entertainer category, and advocated passionately for all names. Speaking of Bowie, Turner said: "[He] raised the creative bar for all entertainers and that is why he truly deserves to be crowned the ultimate icon of the 20th century by the British public." Bowie, who died in Jan. 2016 at age 69 after a battle with cancer, will now compete against the likes of Nelson Mandela and Ernest Shackleton in an additional final poll for the greatest icon of the 20th century overall. - New Musical Express, 1/17/19...... Singing the U.S. national anthem at the start of the NFC Championship game between the LA Rams and the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 20, Jimmy Buffett capped his performance with an unexpected mic-drop. Before the teams took the field, the "Margaritaville" singer sang his rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and tossed his mic to the ground, clutching a Saints hat in his other hand. Prior to the performance, Buffett tweeted a photo of himself loading his gear into the back of the car, writing, "Sunday Funday! Who dat!! We are excited to share that Jimmy will be singing the National Anthem before the Saints/Rams game this Sunday afternoon." Gladys KnightIn related news, Gladys Knight has been confirmed to sing the National Anthem at the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta on Feb. 3, and the seven-time Grammy winner says she's proud to use her voice to "unite and represent our country" in her hometown of Atlanta despite many artists, including Rihanna and Cardi B, refusing to perform at the NFL event to show support for Colin Kaepernick who alleges he has been blacklisted from playing for his "take a knee" protests during the pre-game national anthem. "I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice," Knight, 74, told Variety. "It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone. I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good -- I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country's Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII." - Billboard, 1/20/19...... ABBA spokesperson Grel Hanser revealed on Jan. 21 that new music from the Swedish quartet will be delayed until later in 2019. In 2018, the group announced their intention to record and release their first new music in over 35 years prior to a digital ABBA avatar tour that they said they hoped to release by Christmas, but the songs have yet to materialize. "The songs will definitely not come before the summer, possibly afterwards," Hansel told the UK's The Daily Star. "There will be two songs released. No album." A new song titled "I Still Have Faith In You" was due to premiere on the BBC back in December. Another new song is called "Don't Shut Me Down." This comes after ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus hinted that the band's recent recording sessions could lead to "a new album, possibly." "Or four songs or something like that - that's possible," he continued, before repeating his insistence the band would not tour. "But for us to perform on stage that's just not going to happen. That's a definite." - New Musical Express, 1/21/19...... Former Jackson Five member Jermaine Jackson is claiming his ex-wife Halima Rashid has been collecting his music royalties without his knowledge for over a year and even diverted $250,000 of their money without his permission. In newly filed court documents in his divorce case, Jakcson claims to have discovered late in 2018 that his royalties were being diverted from him to his ex-wife at her direction. Jackson claims since December 2017, Rashid has collected a total of $93,991.12 which he says is his money. He also accuses his ex of transferring $250k from their community assets to a company without permission. He believes Rashid has sold off a few of their cars, despite them both having rights to them. In a letter written by his lawyer to hers, he calls her actions "criminal" and advises them to work out a resolution over the money and property being transferred or sold. Jackson also says he is behind $29k in child support to another woman. Rashid filed for divorce in 2016 following a domestic violence incident between the two where she allegedly bit his leg. The criminal case was dismissed by prosecutors. The two were married in 2004 and have no kids together. - TheBlast.com, 1/21/19...... Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne is celebrating the 37th anniversary of his infamous 1982 bat-biting incident with a "detachable head" bat plush toy. "Today marks the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f---ing bat! Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head," the former Black Sabbath leader posted on Jan. 20. The 12" $40 toy bat -- whose first edition has already sold out -- features the Ozzy logo and a Velcro detachable head. The toy celebrates Ozzy's Jan. 20, 1982 show at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, IA, where he grabbed what he thought was a rubber bat thrown on stage by a fan and bit its head off, not realizing until later that it was a live animal. Osbourne recently added a new summer leg to his 2019 North American "No More Tours 2" final tour which is slated to kick off on May 29 in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Osbourne recently sent some of his platinum records to a former bandmate who wanted to own them before he died. Lee Kerslake, who was the drummer on Ozzy's first two solo albums, revealed in December that he has terminal cancer. One of his bucket list wishes was to receive the platinum discs of the records he worked on. So Ozzy posted on his social media pages that he sent the platinum discs for Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman to Kerslake. "I'm so glad that Lee Kerslake is enjoying his Blizzard and Diary platinum albums. I hope you feel better. Love -- Ozzy Osbourne," he tweeted on Jan. 18. Ironically Kerslake, who along with bassist Bob Daisley, sued Ozzy and his wife Sharon Osbourne for proper royalties on the same two albums, but eventually lost their case. Kerslake told The Metal Voice magazine in December that the litigation had left him "bankrupt." Both records were re-recorded in the '00s with Faith No More's Mike Bordin and Metallica's Robert Trujillo, who were members of Osbourne's solo band at the time. Despite losing the case, Kerslake said that he still wrote to the Osbournes to request they send him the discs, "to hang on my wall before I die. It's on my bucket list." - Billboard/NME, 1/21/19...... Yet another Aretha Franklin tribute concert is set for Feb. 1 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. "A Celebration of The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in Song and Dance" will be headlined by organizer Joan Belgrave, wife of late jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Other scheduled Detroit artists include Thornetta Davis, Mark Scott of The Miracles, Emmanuel EJ Johnson of Enchantment and the Motown Legends Gospel Choir. Meanwhile, the Isley Brothers paid tribute to the late Queen of Soul during the duo's first performance in her home town of Detroit since her death last August. Ronald Isley, who sang at Franklin's funeral, shed tears while introducing "Jesus Loves Me," recalling for the crowd at the Motor City Casino Hotel's Sound Board that he met Franklin during 1959. "I thought she was the best singer I ever heard in my life," Isley said. "She was my best friend in show business from that day in 1959 all the way up to 2018. Isley recalled how he and Franklin "used to stay up all night and talk about Sam Cooke," and he credited Franklin with turning him on to Whitney Houston. The Isleys dedicated "Jesus Loves Me" to both Franklin and Houston, and the next song, "For the Love of You," to Franklin alone. - AP/Billboard, 1/20/19...... Billy JoelBilly Joel announced on Jan. 19 that he'll play eight stadiums in the U.S. in 2019, including four ballparks he has not played in the past. The Piano Man will also play his first ever concert at Camden Yards in Baltimore on July 26, which will end a 20-year ban on music concerts at the venue. That date sold out in less than 30 minutes. Joel is also playing his first concerts at Denver's Coors Field on Aug. 8 as well as Globe Life Park, home to the Texas Rangers, in Arlington on Oct. 12. He'll kick off the run on March 9 at Chase Field in Phoenix, before playing Miller Stadium in Milwaukee, his first performance at the home of the Milwaukee Brewers and his only Midwest show this summer. Joel is also playing Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia on May 24 and Fenway Park in Boston on Sept. 14, his sixth concert at the stadium and already sold out. Joel, who will reach his milestone 70th birthday on May 9, is also making his only appearance in Europe this year, performing at London's Wembley Stadium on June 22. He's also continuing his successful residency at Madison Square Garden in New York, which shows booked through July. - Billboard, 1/19/19...... Filmmaker Rudi Dolezal, who enjoyed a close friendship with the late Freddie Mercury and shot the 1991 video to Queen's "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" which would prove to be Mercury's final appearance with the band before his death later that year, has revealed that Mercury, Elton John and Rod Stewart once considered forming a supergroup. In an interview with the New York Post, Dolezal said the unlikely idea was discussed when both John and Stewart were in attendance at one of Mercury's now-legendary parties at his Kensington home. "Freddie invited me to his private functions often, and, at one dinner party, the guests included Rod Stewart and Elton John," Dolezal recalled. "I remember there was a lot of bitching about other artists, and about themselves. I think Rod came up with the idea of forming a group called Nose, Teeth & Hair, because Rod had a big nose, Elton had problems with his hair and Freddie had his teeth!" Dolezal's comments come after Rod Stewart previously discussed the idea in his autobiography and explained how it was initially touted during a meeting in Los Angeles. "The band Queen rented a house in Bel Air, Los Angeles, for a while, and Elton and I spent a long evening there with Freddie Mercury, a sweet and funny man whom I really adored, discussing the possibility of the three of us forming a supergroup," Stewart said. "The name we had in mind was Nose, Teeth & hair, a tribute to each of our most remarked-upon physical attributes. The general idea was that we could appear dressed like the Beverley Sisters. Somehow this project never came to anything, which is contemporary music's deep and abiding loss." - New Musical Express, 1/18/19...... Clydie KingBackup singer Clydie King, whose earthy, gospel-rooted voice was heard on dozens of rock classics, including the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," died on Jan. 7 of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 75. Along with Merry Clayton, Venetta Fields and Shirley Matthews, King was one of the most in-demand backup and session singers of her time. "I don't remember all the people who I sung for," she said in a 1971 interview in which she estimated she's sung on 300 records by then. In addition to several tracks on the Stones' Exile on Main St., the list included hits like Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good," Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans," Graham Nash's "Chicago," and Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back." King also sang on albums by Steely Dan, Humble Pie, Joe Walsh, Phil Ochs, Carly Simon, Neil Diamond and Ringo Starr as well as the soundtrack to Barbra Streisand's A Star Is Born remake. (King appeared in the film as well as one of The Oreos alongside Fields.) King also recorded with both Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, the latter during his born-again years. "She was my ultimate singing partner," Dylan once told Rolling Stone. "No one ever came close. We were two soulmates." Born Aug. 21, 1943, King grew up in Dallas and sang in a gospel choir as a child. She was considered so gifted that she even appeared, at age 8, on Art Linkletter's national TV talent show. King and her family moved to Los Angeles soon after, where she recorded a number of singles for the Specialty, Philips, Imperial and Minit labels. For three years starting in 1966, she and her longtime friend Clayton were in The Raelettes, Charles' backing singers. "We thought we knew how to sing, but he taught us both how to do it in a group," Clayton remembered. "We learned to do what we do and how to be a beautiful woman and how to stand and sit." Leaving Charles after three years to travel less and spend more time with her children, King became one of the go-to voices starting in the late Sixties and throughout the Seventies. King talked Clayton into performing on "Sweet Home Alabama" after Clayton initially refused ("I'm not singing about Alabama! I remember those poor little girls killed by racists") and after the session, King told Clayton, "We did our part and this song will live in infamy, Merry. And we'll continually get paid." King would attempt to carve out her own solo career with several solid, but commercially unsuccessful, albums and returned to singing backup. She stopped recording in recent years to deal with unspecified health issues, but Clayton remembers her as sweet, but tough. "She didn't take any crap," Clayton says. "She knew how to put you in your place, but she was so sweet you didn't know you were there until a week later." - 1/11/19...... Larry Cunningham, singer for the R&B group The Floaters, has died at age 67. The Floaters had one crossover hit, "Float On," filled with astrological signs and cheesy pickup lines. The group evolved from The Detroit Emeralds, formed in 1968, and "Float On" was a 1977 release. The band recorded the song in a garage recording studio. Cunningham had reportedly been suffering from health problems for years and was hospitalized with chest pains in December. - 1/11/19.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Barbra Streisand will be honored for her environmental activism at the 2019 Hollywood for Science Gala, set for Feb. 21 at a private estate. The event is sponsored by the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES), which works to alleviate environmental problems and educate the next generation of leaders to ensure a healthier planet. "When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in Ohio," Streisand said in a statement. "Then public support and a number of farsighted politicians passed legislation to clean up our air and water. Now we face a planetary crisis of climate change. It is imperative for all humanity that we act now." - Billboard, 1/16/19...... SantanaCarlos Santana announced on Jan. 16 that he'll be commemorating the anniversaries of his smash 1999 Supernatural album and his 1969 Woodstock appearance with a 29-date North American tour that will get underway on June 29 in Phoenix, Ariz. Santana will be playing classics from his back catalog, and adding new songs from his forthcoming EP In Search of Mona Lisa, which is set to drop on Jan. 25. "We're always moving forward, and we have incredible new songs and melodies that will inspire you," Santana said in a statement. "I feel like a 20 year old on stage playing with this band, and they deliver on every song. When we hit the stage, we know we will touch your heart and make you dance, sing, cry, laugh and leave your baggage behind." The tour will hit most major American markets, including Los Angeles (6/24), Seattle (6/29), Denver (7/3), Dallas (7/6), St. Louis (7/12), Chicago (8/4), Detroit (8/11), Washington, D.C. (8/14) and Boston (8/20) before wrapping on Aug. 25 in Wantagh, N.Y. - Billboard, 1/16/19...... Aretha Franklin was honored with a star-studded "Aretha! A GRAMMY Celebration For The Queen Of Soul" tribute concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Jan. 13. Jennifer Hudson, who will star in Franklin's biopic Respect, kicked off the tribute with an energetic "Think," before Alicia Keys and SZA performed a duet of "Day Dreaming." Celine Dion received a standing ovation before she performed Franklin's version of "A Change is Gonna Come," and Patti LaBelle's voice soared on "Call Me." Smokey Robinson took a moment to remember his good friend Franklin, who he called his "little sister." He told the packed auditorium that he still misses his longtime friend who he grew up with in Detroit. The tribute was presented by the Recording Academy and music mogul Clive Davis, who told the crowd "There will never ever be another Aretha Franklin." Franklin died at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer in 2018 in her Detroit apartment. Some of her family members including her grandson who spoke at her funeral were in attendance at the tribute, which was hosted by filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry. - AP, 1/14/19...... In other Aretha Franklin news, a Detroit TV station is reporting that a criminal investigation has been opened as a result of the Queen of Soul's Bloomfield Township home allegedly being burglarized prior to her passing. The criminal probe reportedly also includes unauthorized use of Franklin's funds. While it's unclear exactly how much money is missing, the report was filed in June. The news comes on the heels of the IRS claiming Franklin left almost $8 million in tax debt ($3 million of which her estate asserts has been paid since her passing), in addition to legal bills and other expenses that remain unpaid. - TheRoot.com, 1/13/19...... The Rolling Stones will be among the headliners at the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. The two-weekend event runs April 25-28 and May 2-5 at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, with a diverse lineup also featuring Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Seger, Santana, Van Morrison, Al Green, John Fogerty, Tom Jones, Aaron Neville, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Matthews Band, Gladys Knight, Alanis Morissette and Chaka Khan. The New Orleans Jazz Fest was first produced by Newport Folk Festival co-founder George Wein in 1970. For the first time, this year the event is expanding to four days each weekend. - Billboard, 1/15/19...... Keith RichardsIn other Rolling Stones news, Keith Richards has announced he'll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of his 1988 debut solo LP Talk Is Cheap with a deluxe reissue on Mar. 29. The release will include unseen photos, an 80-page hardback book and rare memorabilia, including lyric sheets, posters and a guitar pick. Talk Is Cheap features contributions from such artists as Bootsy Collins, Patti Scialfa and Richards' former Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Taylor. - AP, 1/16/19...... Classic rockers Toto's 1982 hit "Africa," which has in recent years become one of the most streamed songs in the world, will play eternally in an African desert thanks to Namibian artist Max Siedentopf who recently set up a solar-powered sound installation in the Namib Desert that will continue to play the tune on repeat. "[I] wanted to pay the song the ultimate homage and physically exhibit 'Africa' in Africa," Siedentopf told the BBC. "Some [Namibians] love it and some say it's probably the worst sound installation ever. I think that's a great compliment." Siedentopf built six speakers adjacent to each other, attached to an MP3 player with only the catchy hit on it. While the set up is incredibly durable, Siedentopf says he expects the desert's harsh weather conditions to eat away at the installation over time. As for the exact location of the exhibit, the 27-year-old artist is keeping it undisclosed for only the most dedicated Toto fans to find. So "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you." - Billboard, 1/14/19...... Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at a recent screening of the film version of his hit musical "Springsteen on Broadway." Springsteen attended the free screening Sunday at Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre. According to the Asbury Park Press, the Boss entered the 700-seat theater about 10 minutes after the show started and sat near the back with the film's director, Thom Zimny. Most people didn't notice the rock icon, who wore a baseball cap and left through a backdoor after the film ended. Springsteen used the Pollak Theatre for two rehearsal shows before he began his Broadway run in the fall of 2017. The show ran until this past December. Monmouth University also plays host to the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music. - AP, 1/14/19...... In related news, Carole King made a surprise appearance at a fifth anniversary presentation of her Broadway show "Beautiful" at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Jan. 12 in New York. The packed house erupted into thunderous cheers and applause as King appeared sitting at a baby grand piano and showing all the love in her heart as she sang "Beautiful," the final song. "It's kind of miraculous that this show has lasted for five years because not many do. And it's a testament to, I think, people say the music... but the book is so good and the direction and the lighting and the sets. It's really a well put together production," King told reporters after the show. King has sung onstage during curtain calls during the show's long run but has never appeared in the show itself. In the show's final scene -- set during her famous 1971 Carnegie Hall concert -- the 76-year-old King played a much younger version of herself as she took over for Chilina Kennedy, who recently returned to the Broadway production of "Beautiful" after playing the King role in the North American tour. King and the cast then performed the show's encore number, "I Feel the Earth Move," at the curtain call as the audience danced and clapped along. The singer-songwriter held hands with Kennedy as the two took several bows and accepted flowers from the cast. "Beautiful" opened on Broadway on Jan. 13, 2014, and won the 2014 Tony Award for best actress in a musical for Jessie Mueller; the 2015 Grammy Award for best musical theater album; and two 2015 Olivier Awards, Britain's version of the Tonys. Productions have played in London, Japan and Australia and toured the United Kingdom. The North American tour is celebrating its third anniversary of sold-out runs and is currently playing at Philadelphia's Academy of Music. - AP, 1/13/19...... Elton John and his husband David Furnish have recruited rockers The Killers to headline their 27th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Academy Awards viewing party. IMDb.com will serve as this year's presenting sponsor, and as part of the sponsorship arrangement, the website for the first time will broadcast its annual "IMDb Live" streaming show. The four-hour show will be co-hosted by Aisha Tyler and Dave Karger. EJAF's viewing party will take place during the Academy Awards on Feb. 24, and is once again being held at West Hollywood Park. Since its inception, EJAF's Oscar party has raised more than $68.2 million for the foundation, which uses the funds to help those living with HIV/AIDS or to help fund treatment and prevention programs. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/14/19...... Brian WilsonBeach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, Grateful Dead veteran Bob Weir, and country music icon Willie Nelson will headline L.A.'s first ever coastal music festival, the BeachLife Festival, set for May 3-5 at the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach. "We've painstakingly curated this lineup to capture what we believe is the unique spirit of BeachLife," reads a statement from co-founders Allen Sanford and Rob Lissner. Sanford is the owner of the popular Saint Rock nightclub in Hermosa Beach, and Sanford and Lissner are the brains behind LiveList, a tech platform to stream live music performances around the world. The festival will also feature an innovative 50-seat, pop-up restaurant on the main stage with reservations starting at $150, available to be booked March 1. Organizers say the Side Stage concept will "give festival-goers access to an unprecedented upscale dining experience "just feet from headliner performances." The festival will also feature a Beyond Side Stage area with a curated wine village, a massive craft beer bar focused on LA breweries and food by celebrity chef David LeFevre. - Billboard, 1/14/19...... Country music legend Loretta Lynn's upcoming 87th birthday will be celebrated on Apr. 1 with an all-star concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, it was announced on Jan. 14. Among the artists participating in "Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert" are Alan Jackson, Brandy Clark, Darius Rucker, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jack White, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Margo Price, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies and Trisha Yearwood. When asked during the press conference about her status as a pioneer within the industry, Lynn responded emphatically, "It feels great. I love all of the artists coming on [the show]; I don't know all of them, but I've listened to all of [their music], and this all just feels great." Lynn, a four-time Grammy winner, has long been the undisputed Queen of Country Music, with more than 50 years of recording and touring to her name. With 17 Billboard Hot Country Songs No. 1 singles to her credit, she is also one of the most awarded musicians of all time. - Billboard, 1/14/19...... Led by such major classic rock acts as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, vinyl album sales in the U.S. have hit their 13th consecutive year of growth. Vinyl album sales continue to be a bright spot among an otherwise bleak album sales picture. 16.8 million vinyl albums were sold in 2018, according to Nielsen Music (up 14.6 percent) -- marking the 13th consecutive year of growth for the format. 16.8 million is also a new yearly high for vinyl album sales since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. The top-selling vinyl albums artist in 2018 was the Beatles, with 321,000 copies sold of their catalog on vinyl. Their biggest seller was Abbey Road, which finishes the year as the No. 4 largest-seller, with 76,000 copies. The Fab Four also have two more titles among the year's top 15-sellers: their self-titled The Beatles ("White Album") is No. 11 (56,000) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is No. 13 (50,000). The top 10-biggest selling vinyl acts of the year are rounded out mostly by classic and veteran rock acts: Pink Floyd (177,000), David Bowie (150,000), Panic! at the Disco (148,000), Fleetwood Mac (139,000), Led Zeppelin (138,000), Michael Jackson (131,000), Jimi Hendrix (119,000), Metallica (116,000) and Queen (113,000). The CD format continues to be the leader for all album purchases, while the digital format is the runner-up with 53.4 million digital albums sold in 2018 (down 20.7 percent). - Billboard, 1/12/19...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson has reportedly checked into a treatment facility to seek professional help regarding her "physical and emotional health," taking time off after a busy working year. "After a busy year of work engagements that took her all over the globe, Paris decided that she needed to take some time off to reboot, realign and prioritise her physical and emotional health," a source close to Paris told the UK outlet Metro. "She checked herself into a treatment facility to aid in her wellness plan and is looking forward to coming out of this revitalised and ready to tackle the exciting new projects that await her," the source added. Paris was hospitalised due to depression and anxiety in 2013. In 2018, she denied reports that she had checked into rehab due to a "mental breakdown." - New Musical Express, 1/16/19...... Jimmy PageA neighbor of Jimmy Page and Robbie Williams in west London has claimed Williams once blasted music by Led Zeppelin's rivals and dressed up as frontman Robert Plant in a bid to annoy the iconic Led Zepp guitarist. The two musicians have been at odds with each other since Williams submitted plans to add a basement gym and swimming pool to his home in west London five years ago. Page was concerned the work could damage his Grade I-listed mansion and has objected to planning proposals on several occasions. According to The Telegraph, a local resident called Johnny wrote to Kensington and Chelsea council to report Williams' behaviour, after councillors had given him planning permission. "The committee may not have been aware that Robbie Williams has been playing loud '70s rock music on outside speakers when he views Jimmy Page outside his home," the letter read. "What's been most annoying is that Mr. Williams has played rock arch-rival bands Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. He obviously knows this upsets Mr. Jimmy Page. There have also been some reports that Robbie Williams has dressed up to imitate iconic Led Zeppelin frontman and lead singer Robert Plant." A spokesperson for Williams told the paper the claims were "a complete fabrication and nonsense." - NME, 1/12/19...... It appears Paul McCartney won't be among the headliners at the U.K.'s Glastonbury festival, which takes place from June 26-30, after Sir Paul recently announced he'll be performing two U.S. shows at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on June 26, before heading to Las Vegas' T Mobile Arena on June 29. The Beatles legend was previously among the favourites rumoured to be headlining at the Worthy Farm classic this summer. Meanwhile in the UK, a pothole in Lancashire has become an unlikely sensation online after its questionable resemblance to Macca was first noticed. The hazardous crack in the road surface was first spotted by the Lancashire Evening Post, who were keen to point out the similarities in appearance to the Beatles icon. Upon first inspection, the gravel surrounding the hole looks extremely similar to Macca's famous mop-top hairstyle, and there's even individual stones that are making up his eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth. Responding to the unusual photo, one user joked: "Why is no-one Fixing A Hole?" Another quipped: "Is this one of the 4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire?" - NME, 1/15/19...... Shirley Boone, the wife of '50s music legend Pat Boone and mother of "You Light Up My Life" singer Debby Boone, died at her Beverly Hills residence on Jan. 11. She was 84. Ms. Boone, who was married to Pat for nearly 65 years, had been diagnosed with vasculitis, a condition characterized by the inflammation of one's blood vessels, under a year ago. Shirley and Pat wed in 1953, when they were both 19. She came from a country music family, as her father Red Foley is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and her mother Judy Martin was also a prominent singer within the genre. "We lived a wonderful, blessed life together for 65 years," Boone, 84, told People magazine. "I've parted with my better half for a little while... but we don't die, we just move on to another place, and today was moving day. She's changed her address is all and moved to a different mansion that I expect to join her in one day." Ms. Boone was reportedly surrounded by Pat, Debby, and the couple's other three daughters when she died. She and Boone had 16 grandchildren. - New York Daily News, 1/12/19...... Carol ChanningVeteran actress/singer/comedian Carol Channing, the lanky, ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences over almost 5,000 performances as the scheming Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly" on Broadway and beyond, died of natural causes on Jan. 15 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 97. Besides "Hello, Dolly," Ms. Channing starred in other Broadway shows, but none with equal magnetism. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and a national tour. Her outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably The First Traveling Saleslady with Ginger Rogers and Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews. Over the years, Ms. Channing continued as Dolly in national tours, the last in 1996, when she was in her 70s. Critic Tom Shales of The Washington Post once called Ms. Channing "the ninth wonder of the world." Born Jan. 31, 1921, in Seattle, Ms. Channing majored in drama and dance at Bennington College in Vermont, and later found a job in a New York revue. For several years she worked as an understudy, bit player and nightclub impressionist, taking jobs as a model, receptionist and sales clerk during lean times. Landing in Los Angeles, Ms. Channing was the hit of "Lend an Ear" in a small Hollywood theater, and she captivated audiences and critics when the show moved to New York. As the innocent gold digger in the musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," her stardom was assured. One reviewer reported "she hurls across the footlights in broad strokes of pantomime and bold, certain, exquisitely comical gestures." The show's hit song, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," became her signature number. But she returned over and over again to the surefire "Hello, Dolly," which earned her $5 million on one tour. She considered Dolly Levi "a role as deep as Lady Macbeth," but added that the essence of her character was her unquenchable thirst for life. That description fit Carol Channing, who attributed her sunny optimism to her lifelong faith in Christian Science. Ms. Channing had two early marriages that ended in divorce -- to novelist Theodore Naidish and pro footballer Alexander Carson, father of her only child, Channing. Her son became a successful political cartoonist. Ms. Channing had reportedly suffered two strokes in the past year. - AP, 1/15/19...... Verna Bloom, the actress who portrayed the wife of the dean in the hit '70s movie Animal House, died on Jan. 9 in Bar Harbor, Maine, of complications from dementia. She was 80. In the 1978 John Landis-directed film, Ms. Bloom played Marion Wormer, who flirted with and had a drunken romp with fraternity president "Otter" Stratton. Other roles included Clint Eastwood's lover in High Plains Drifter and Mary in The Last Temptation of Christ. Ms. Bloom was born in Lynn, Mass., and graduated from Boston University in 1959. She is survived by her husband, former film critic and two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jack Cocks, and a son. - AP, 1/10/19.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Seventies artists Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf), John Prine and Eagles collaborator Jack Tempchin are among the inductees for the class of 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame. Stevens' songwriting credits include "The First Cut Is The Deepest," which he wrote five decades ago and has become a hit for multiple artists, including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow. Country-folk icon Prine (who recently was nominated but didn't make the cut for the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) has become an affable songwriting guru for many of Nashville's talented younger artists, and Tempchin co-wrote songs for the Eagles and Glenn Frey's solo albums. Other 2019 SHOF inductees include Tom T. Hall, who Johnny Cash called his "all-time favorite songwriter," and Dallas Austin, who has written hits for Madonna, Boyz II Men and Pink. The new class of songwriters will officially be inducted on June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. - AP, 1/12/19...... David BowieParlophone Records announced on Jan. 8 it is releasing a new David Bowie 7" vinyl singles box set this spring in celebration of what would have been Bowie's 72nd birthday. Spying Through a Keyhole (Demos and Unreleased Songs) features nine previously unreleased recordings, including the earliest known version of one of his most beloved songs, "Space Oddity." Though most of the tracks in the collection have familiar titles, these versions had never been released before 2018, with most comprised of solo vocal and acoustic home demos. It will be the first physical release of the songs, which were briefly available on streaming services for a limited time in December. - Billboard, 1/8/19...... Previously unseen artifacts marking the 60th anniversary of The Motown Museum will go on display at the iconic Detroit recording studio and museum in 2019. The museum announced on Jan. 11 that it will begin to display several new items the following day, including documents that show Motown label founder Berry Gordy Jr.'s repayment of the $800 family loan that helped launch the company with a recording in 1959. Scores of stars, including The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded hits there before the label moved its operations to California in 1972. The museum also said it has plans for more new displays throughout the year. - AP, 1/11/19...... Speaking of Detroit, hometown buddies Bob Seger and Kid Rock continued their long history of jamming with each other onstage when Kid Rock joined headliner Seger and his Silver Bullet Band for a rendition of "Rock N' Roll Never Forgets" at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Jan. 11. "I've known (Rock) since he started in music," Seger told the crowd, while Kid Rock said that it was "an honor to be here tonight, joining my friend and absolute musical hero here... Over 50 years, one of the best singer-songwriters in American history. Maybe his last time in Nashville. I sure hope not." Seger will continue with his North American "Final Tour" at least into May, but it could stretch into the summer and perhaps beyond. - Billboard, 1/12/19...... Movie studio MGM announced on Jan. 10 that the long-gestating Aretha Franklin biopic Respect will finally begin production in 2019 with stage director Liesel Tommy set to direct. In the lead role will be Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson, who was chosen by Franklin to portray her in Jan. 2018 shortly after Hudson performed a medley of Franklin's songs at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy bash. Liesel Tommy was nominated for a Tony Award for directing the 2016 Broadway production of "Eclipsed," and she is also set to direct a film adaption of Trevor Noah's autobiography. Callie Khouri, who penned 1991's acclaimed Thelma & Louise, will write the script. In other Aretha Franklin news, The Grammy Awards' Recording Academy announced on Jan. 9 that Smokey Robinson will be among the headliners of an "Aretha! A GRAMMY Celebration For The Queen Of Soul" tribute concert set for Jan. 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Robinson is the latest addition to the all-star list of performers that also includes Hudson, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Patti LaBelle and BeBe Winans, among others. The special will be taped and broadcast later in 2019 on the CBS Television Network. - AP/Billboard, 1/11/19...... Movie studio Twentieth Century Fox announced on Jan. 9 that the Golden Globe-winning Queen biopic will be released as a sing-along in more than 750 theaters in North America beginning Jan. 11. The film, which includes some of the band's most popular songs including "We Will Rock You," "We Are the Champions" and the title track, is also being expanded from 1,000 theaters to more than 1,300 the same day. "We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to see this outstanding Golden Globe-winning film featuring Rami Malek's amazing Golden Globe-winning performance in theaters all over the U.S. and Canada in both its original form and in a never-before-experienced 'sing-along' version," said Chris Aronson, Fox's president of domestic distribution in a statement. Meanwhile, Queen guitarist Brian May has accused British critics of sending a subtle message that Bohemian Rhapsody is not worthy of its recent awards success, despite being nominated for seven BAFTA awards (Britain's equivalent of the Oscars). May congratulated Malek on his BAFTA nomination for "Leading Actor" via Instagram on Jan. 10, but was quick to point out the film's glaring omission from the "Best Film" category days after it won the equivalent accolade at the Golden Globes. May also said he was disappointed to learn that the film wasn't nominated for its special effects. "I can only conclude that these people don't really understand what was achieved by our team. There are no explosions or rocket ships, but the re-creation of Wembley Stadium as it was in 1985 is a massive triumph." he wrote. Bohemian Rhapsody is the worst-rated film to win a Best Picture award at the Golden Globes since 1986, achieving a rating of only 62% on the Rotten Tomatoes site (the lowest Best Picture winner since Out of Africa in 1986). Nevertheless, Bohemian Rhapsody has become the highest-grossing music biopic of all-time, overtaking the Abba movie Mamma Mia! after making $600 million (£478m) at the box office. - AP/NME, 1/10/19...... Michael JacksonLeaving Neverland, a documentary about the lives of two boys who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse, has been added to the lineup of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Produced and directed by Dan Reed, Leaving Neverland tells the stories of two boys, aged 7 and 10, who began long-running relationships with Jackson at the height of his stardom. Now in their 30s, they tell the "gut-wrenching" story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later. The two-part, 236-minute documentary, is slated to premiere on Jan. 25 in the festival's Special Events Category. Michael Jackson's estate has released a statement in response to the news, blasting the doc as "yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," adding "this so called 'documentary' is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It's baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project." On Jan. 10, the King of Pop's nephew Taj Jackson also came to his late uncle's defense, posting on Twitter that he is "so tired of these lies about my uncle... I doubt the media wants to learn the truth or is even interested in it. Negativity sells. But please post below on what we all can do to expose this documentary." Sundance runs from Jan. 24 to Feb. 4 in Park City, Utah. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 1/9/19...... Revered director Martin Scorsese has revealed he will be directing a new concert documentary for Netflix that chronicles the famous 1975-76 Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story will trace the tour in which Dylan gathered an ensemble of collaborators and musicians including Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett and Mick Ronson. Scorsese previously helmed the Dylan project No Direction Home, a 2005 Grammy-winning documentary which detailed Dylan's evolution between 1961 and 1966. The announcement comes three months after director Luca Guadagnino said that he planned to adapt Dylan's classic 1975 album Blood On the Tracks into a film. - The Hollywood Reporter/NME, 1/10/19...... The previously unseen Paul McCartney movie The Bruce McMouse Show is set to be shown in cinemas in selected cities in the UK, US, Australia and Canada beginning Jan. 21. The part concert film/part animated feature tells the story of how McCartney and his band Wings initially met Bruce McMouse, the film's animated protagonist. It also features unseen footage from Wings' 1972 European tour in support of the Red Rose Speedway album, along with animated footage that shows the family of mice who are living under the stage. - New Musical Express, 1/10/19...... Joe JacksonJoe Jackson realized a while back that 2019 would mark 40 years since the release of his debut, Look Sharp. And yet, he says,"still don't really believe it." Perhaps that's because the acclaimed British singer-songwriter behind hits like "Steppin' Out" and "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" has been busy readying his crackling new album Fool for release on Jan. 18. Recorded at the end of his recent tour, the record, Jackson's 20th, finds him in both ruminative and rocking moods. "I'm at the point where I've been around the block a few times," he says."think I have a grip on the things that are most important in life." To commemorate the new release and his milestone, Jackson will embark on the Four Decade Tour in February, drawing on one main album to represent each 10-year period: Look Sharp, Night and Day, Laughter & Lust, Rain and Fool. He's looking forward to the trek, but still wondering where the time has gone. "Some days it feels like it's been a long time," he says, adding with a laugh, "but it doesn't seem like 40 bloody years!" - Entertainment Weekly, 1/4/19...... Billy Joel will be performing the first concert at the Baltimore Orioles' home ballpark at Camden Yards since the venue opened in 1992. Joel, who turns 70 in May, will take the stage on July 26. In a news conference on Jan. 10, Orioles Executive Vice President John Angelos expressed hope that Joel's show will be the "first of many" concerts at Camden Yards. Joel last performed in Baltimore in July 2015 at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Ravens. It was his first stage show in the city since 1977. - AP, 1/10/19...... Several Elvis Presley items including jewelry and clothing were sold at auction at The Guest House Graceland in Memphis on Jan. 10, netting more than $600,000. The items include a red velvet shirt likely worn on stage by Presley at a 1956 show in Tupelo, Miss., which sold for $37,500. A gold and diamond ring that Presley wore on stage and gave to his father sold for $30,000. A ring Presley gave to singer J.D. Sumner sold for $22,500. - AP, 1/10/19...... On Jan. 9, original Woodstock co-founder and co-producer Michael Lang announced a 50th anniversary Woodstock concert will be held on Aug. 16-18, competing against another Woodstock tribute approximately 150 miles away. Lang says his Woodstock concret will be held at the Watkins Glen International Speedway, and claims his event will be the "only authorized commemoration of the iconic 1969 festival." In December, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announced that it was staging its own Woodstock tribute event at its 15,000-seat amphitheater built on the site of the original Woodstock. In a press release, Lang said, "the original site in Bethel is wonderful, but much too small for what we're envisioning" and promises his event will have a much different feel than Bethel Woods. "The Watkins Glen speedway gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock," Lang said. He also noted that Watkins Glen International was also the site of Summer Jam in 1973, headlined by theAllman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band in front of 600,000 people -- a record at the time. "The Woodstock 50th Anniversary will be about sharing an experience with great artists and encouraging people to get educated and involved in the social issues impacting everyone on the planet," said Lang. "It's so inspiring to see young people today channeling their passion into causes they care about. That's something that's always been a part of Woodstock's mission, and it's a big focus at the 50th festival." - Billboard, 1/9/19...... Cher and Bette Midler were among the Pres. Donald Trump critics sounding off on Twitter following Pres. Trump's Jan. 7 Oval Office address on his demand for over $5 billion to construct a fence along the southern U.S. border. "Trump had 2 years...all branches of gov, and total corrupt power...where was his crisis then...what humanitarian crisis is he speaking of, the one where he ripped babies from mom's arms or where his administration killed 2 7 yrs. old?," Cher posted, while Midler said, "#munchausensbyproxy We're living it every day. It might be called something else; a person holds an entire nation hostage so that they will pay attention to him. What is that called?? Anyone??" - Billboard, 1/9/19...... Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta took to Instagram on Jan. 7 to share a photo of himself sporting a new shaved hair look alongside daughter Elle Bleu. "I hope everyone had a great New Year!" the actor captioned the photo. It's unclear as to whether Travolta's new bald look is for a movie role, but either way, it caught the Internet's attention. - Billboard, 1/8/19...... Roger DaltreyPete TownshendThe Who have announced they are planning a new album and tour for 2019. In an interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Pete Townshend disclosed that he told promoters Live Nation that he wouldn't agree to a new tour unless they band had a new songs in the works. "I said I was not going to sign any contracts unless we have new material," Townshend explained. "This has nothing to do with wanting a hit album. It has nothing to do with the fact that The Who need a new album. It's purely personal. It's about my pride, my sense of self-worth and self-dignity as a writer." The upcoming new record will be the British rockers' first since 2006's Endless Wire, which came 24 years after their previousl full studio effort, 1982's It's Hard. The untitled album, which Townshend describes as a "dark ballads, heavy rock stuff, experimental electronica, sampled stuff, and cliched Who-ish tunes," currently exists as 15 demos, all of which were written and recorded by Townshend last year. Bandmate Roger Daltrey is expected to record vocals for the tracks later this year, with a 2019 release currently planned. Daltrey, also interviewed in the same article, added: "They're all great songs. But sometimes I hear them and I think, 'I can't add anything to this to make my job as singer worthy of doing anything better than what Pete has already done.' There's at least five or six I can lay into and I'm sure they'll come out incredible. Now that I'm healed up, I'm going to spend time getting into them. Okay, so I didn't get back to him quickly at first. It doesn't mean anything! I was deaf for about three weeks. It wasn't even possible for me to bloody hear what was in them!" The US tour dates have yet to be officially announced but the jaunt will consist of a total of 31 dates and will kick off at New York's Madison Square Garden in April, with a local symphony orchestra joining the band for each performance. "I'll be 75 years old in March and this feels like a dignified way to go and do music," Daltrey said about the tour. "That's all we're really left with. We're old men now. We've lost the looks. We've lost the glamour. What we're left with is the music and we're going to present it in a way which is as fresh and powerful as ever." The first leg of the tour will see The Who play 14 shows from April onwards, with the tour resuming in September and October to visit cities in Canada and the western US. As for their UK tour plans, Townshend confirmed that the band will play festivals in the UK over the summer, with a possible tour planned on these shores for the end of 2019. Daltrey says he's still working on a biopic of late The Who drummer Keith Moon, but "it's so difficult because biopics generally don't work." "The only one I've seen that really works was the one on Brian Wilson (2014's Love & Mercy), where they used two different actors. I loved that one because it had the balls to be a movie, and I want to make a movie, not just a biopic." - New Musical Express, 1/11/19.

Monday, January 7, 2019

A British Facebook user known as "Be Reet" has launched a campaign to have Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks work a shift at a McDonald's restaurant in Fleetwood, England, next fall. The campaign already has more than 3,300 people pledging to line up to be served by Miss Nicks herself, with at least 19,000 interested in attending. Nick's proposed shift is scheduled for Sept. 28 from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. "We've heard some rumours that Stevie Nicks might be keen to visit our own Fleetwood Macs," a spokesman for McDonald's says. "Next time she's in the area we'd be delighted to welcome her for some sweet little fries before she goes her own way," a nod to the Fleetwood Mac tunes "Sweet Little Lies" and "Go Your Own Way." Nicks is yet to respond to the campaign. Fleetwood Mac is scheduled to tour Europe in the summer, playing Berlin on June 6, Dublin on June 13, and two dates at London's Wembley Stadium on June 16 and 18. - DailyMail.co.uk/New Musical Express, 1/5/19...... Freddie MercuryIn somewhat of an upset, the hit 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody beat out the latest Lady Gaga-starred remake of A Star Is Born for "Best Picture - Drama" at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 6 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Bohemian Rhapsody actor Rami Malek also won Best Actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, and during his acceptance speech Malek tipped his hat to the original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who were in the audience, for "ensuring authenticity and inclusivity exist in music and in the world and all of us" before honoring Mercury with "Thank you to Freddie Mercury. I love you, you beautiful man, this is because of you, gorgeous." Backstage, Brian May praised Malek and the others involved in the film, saying "We found the right people at the right time, or we wouldn't be standing here." Bohemian Rhapsody's big night at the Golden Globes was just the latest achievement for the movie, which has already grossed nearly $200 million in the U.S. alone, becoming the highest-grossing musical biopic film ever released, and also spawned a hit soundtrack, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart. Meanwhile, the upcoming DVD and Blu-ray release of Bohemian Rhapsody is set to include an extended and previously unseen 22-minute scene from Queen's seminal 1985 "Live Aid" performance, which sees them also playing "We Will Rock You" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." The release, which is due March 4, also comes with behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew, plus members of Queen. A Bohemian Rhapsody "sing-a-long" experience is also set to launch in cinemas across the UK on Jan. 11. - Billboard/NME, 1/6/19...... Paul McCartney kicked off the start of 2019 on Jan. 2 with a new song called "Get Enough." Co-produced by McCartney, Ryan Tedder and Zach Skelton, "Get Enough" features the former Beatle experimenting with the Auto-Tune recording process, beginning with a straightforward piano intro before McCartney's Auto-Tuned vocals kick in as he sings "I can't get enough of you." "Get Enough" was co-written by McCartney and Tedder, and comes a little less than four months after the release of his latest solo album, Egypt Station. McCartney also posted a short video of himself on Instagram having a good old time singing along to the track. "Happy New Year!" he wrote to his followers in the clip's caption on Jan. 5. "Can't get enough of you! Love Paul #getenough." - Billboard, 1/6/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono has reflected on her contribution to the John Lennon song "Jealous Guy." Originally titled "Child of Nature," the song featured the lines "I'm just a child of nature / I don't need much to set me free", which later at Yoko's suggestion became "I was feeling insecure / You might not love me anymore / I was shivering insideI didn't mean to hurt you / I'm just a jealous guy." "Well, if it was just John, [he] would have given me the right credit, but it was a difficult time. No famous songwriter would have thought of splitting the credit with his wife," Ono told New Musical Express. Speaking of her influence on the track, she added: "I think it's a good song from a women's point of view as well [as a man's] John was [initially] trying to create a fun song about going on a trip to Rishikesh. That might have been great too, but it ended up not being that." Ono also hinted that further details could emerge in the future regarding tracks she contributed to. "I think in maybe ten years I can tell it all," she said. "But I don't know if I want to." - New Musical Express, 1/2/19....... Donny Osmond70s teen idol Donny Osmond has released a whopping 61 total albums during his nearly 50 years in show business -- either as a solo artist, with sister Marie Osmond, or as a member of The Osmonds -- and on Jan. 6 he shared a "little secret" as he put it with his fans on Twitter. "I've officially started working on my 62nd album! -- I'll keep you posted throughout the year as I continue creating it, but I have a feeling you're going to love it," he tweeted along with an illustration of himself wailing on a keytar. Osmond says the LP will be a compilation of notable covers, including his take on Michael Jackson's "Ben" and the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road." - Billboard, 1/6/19...... Neil Young shared a tribute to his late ex-wife Pegi Young, who passed away on New Year's Day after a yearlong battle with cancer, on Jan. 5. The post, titled "Such A Woman: Pegi Young 1952-2019," includes lyrics from Young's song "Such A Woman," inspired by Pegi, with lines like "our love will live until the end of all time." Neil and Pegi Young were married for 36 years prior to their divorce in 2014, and they have two children, Ben and Amber. In 1986, they started the Bridge School non-profit to help children with severe physical and speech impairments, inspired by their own experiences trying to find schools for their son Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy. Pegi's own music career began in 1994 -- at the nationally televised Academy Awards ceremony, singing backup for Neil Young on his Oscar-nominated song "Philadelphia." She eventually became a regular backup singer on his tours and sang and played occasional acoustic guitar on some of his albums, including Greendale, Prairie Wind, Chrome Dreams II and more. She also took photographs for Neil's Silver & Gold and for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1999 comeback album Looking Forward. Graham Nash, a longtime friend and musical partner of Neil Young, said "Pegi was a very strong woman in many ways, certainly a lady to be admired." She passed away "surrounded by friends and family in California," according to an official statement, and memorial plans are pending. - Billboard, 1/6/19...... Cher has chimed in on a new viral video by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez which shows the newly elected Democratic congresswoman dancing on a roof during her student days at Boston University. "Know The Feeling @AOC SOMETIMES---JUST GOTTA DANCE, Good Thing You Can, Sponsor a Bill, Put On, & Kick Ass At The Same Time," Cher tweeted on Jan. 5. Ocasio-Cortez's video became a meme in record time, as different songs were paired with the visual continued to pick up steam. Ocasio-Cortez was understandably pleased to see Cher's tweet, posting "The Queen has spoken!" soon afterward. - Billboard, 1/5/19...... Bob SegerBob Seger, who has said he may be retiring from the road in 2019, told fans at his Jan. 3 farewell concert at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Mich., that "in 2020 I'll be available for weddings...Keep me in mind." The quip has been the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's parting line since his "Final Tour" with his Silver Bullet Band began in November. Seger said goodbye with high-octane, 22-song two-hour show that included a few surprises. "Since I'm retiring soon I figured we better roll out some of the ones we've never played," said Seger who's also been opening some shows with his chart-topping Beverly Hills Cop II hit "Shakedown." "I'm pulling 'em out. Now's the time." He accompanied some of the songs with video screen montages of vintage images and lingered a bit longer on stories about "Like a Rock," "Her Strut" and "Turn the Page." He dedicated "We've Got Tonight" to his late mother, explaining that it's her "favorite song I ever wrote," while a cover Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" was a homage to the late Eagles' founder Glenn Frey, a close friend, and "some other people that we lost along the way," with photos of Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman and Chuck Berry scrolling on the screen during the performance. He wrapped with his familiar encore set of "Against the Wind," "Hollywood Nights," "Night Moves" and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." Seger's Final Tour is currently booked through May 2, but there's talk of more dates into the summer. - Billboard, 1/4/19...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason recalled Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett's mental breakdown in 1968 owing to acid-induced schizophrenia. Mason described how the band were "young and immature" with regard to "coming to grips" with Barrett's mental health issues. "So many songs were written by Syd in such a short time period. It was less than two years from out first public show in October of 1967," Mason said. "At that time we had only two or three original songs. And just about a year later, it was already sort of burning out," he added. Barrett died from complications arising from diabetes in 2006, aged 60. - Rolling Stone/NME, 1/3/19...... Olivia Newton-JohnOlivia Newton-John reassured fans in a new video shared on Jan. 2 that recent rumors of her having only weeks to live "have been greatly exaggerated." Newton-John, 70, had announced in September that she is battling cancer for the third time after doctors discovered a tumor at the base of her spine, but in her video the healthy looking singer wished everyone a happy new year and said "rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated, to quote a very famous quote." "I'm doing great. I want to wish all of you the happiest, healthiest 2019 possible," she continues. "Thank you all for your wonderful love and support for me and my Olivia Newton John Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia." Several Australian media outlets had picked up a Radar Online story claiming that a "ravaged" Newton-John was "clinging to life," and that her "bodily functions appear to be shutting down." The story also cited several doctors, none of whom have treated Newton-John personally, who insisted on the seriousness of her condition. "She almost certainly is going to die!" exclaimed one in what reads a lot like glee. A rep for Newton-John called the report "crap." - Billboard/Jezebel.com, 1/2/19...... Oscar-winning English actor Gary Oldman has confirmed he will be providing narration on a forthcoming app based on the David Bowie "Is" exhibition. The exhibition -- which explored "the broad range of the late artist's collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art, and film" -- shut permanently back in July, five years after it debuted at the V&A in London (where it became the renowned institution's most-visited touring exhibition). Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh curated the exhibition, which drew over 2 million visitors across 12 cities. Bowie and Oldman enjoyed a close and enduring friendship in the years preceding Bowie's death in 2016, with Oldman appearing in Bowie's controversial video for "The Next Day." The Augmented Reality (AR) app will be available in iOS and Android, and will grant fans access to the show's hundreds of costumes, videos, handwritten lyrics, original works of art and much more. Dozens of items not featured in the original exhibition will also be included, including some entirely new and exclusive to the AR version of the app. It will arrive on Jan. 8 at a cost of £7.99. - New Musical Express, 1/3/19...... Dean Ford, the former frontman with the Scottish guitar-pop band Marmalade, has died at age 72. Ford, whose real name was Thomas McAleese, grew up in Airdrie and formed his first band, the Tonebeats, aged 13 before joining local band the Cravats aged 16. He went on to front Dean Ford and the Gaylords, who became established in the nascent "swinging London" scene of the mid-60s, before changing their name to Marmalade. The band became the first Scottish group to top the UK singles chart, with their cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" in December 1968. They had another seven UK Top 10 hits, including "Reflections of My Life," co-written by Ford, which also reached the US Top 10 and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The band toured with the Who and Ford once duetted with country star Bobbie Gentry. Ford went solo after Marmalade split and released an unsuccessful album in 1975. Eventually he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a limousine driver to stars including Michael Jackson, Tom Waits, Susan Sarandon and Bob Dylan, as well as delivering pizza and flowers. He also developed an alcohol problem before going sober in 1986. "The only thing that spoiled my life was alcohol," he said in a 2015 interview. "I spent a lot of money on alcohol. And drinking took me away from what I should be doing." - 1/2/19...... Daryl DragonKeyboardist Daryl Dragon, best known as the hat-wearing "Captain" in the '70s pop group The Captain and Tennille, died due to renal failure in Prescott, Ariz. on Jan. 2. He was 76. A classically trained pianist, L.A.-born Dragon played keyboard for the Beach Boys from 1967-1972, where he was given the nickname "Captain" by lead singer Mike Love due to Dragon's penchant for wearing a captain's hat onstage. In 1971, Dragon met his future wife, Toni Tennille, when she hired him to play piano for a musical called "Mother Earth. "Shortly thereafter, Dragon suggested that Tennille join the Beach Boys on their next tour as an acoustic pianist. While on the tour, Dragon and Tennille soon began a romantic and musical relationship, performing in smaller venues together when not on tour with the Beach Boys. Going by the stage name the Captain and Tennille, the duo quickly formed a following. On the strength of the song "The Way I Want to Touch You," the team scored a record deal with A&M Records in 1974. Their song "Love Will Keep Us Together", the title track from the duo's 1975 debut album, climbed to No. 1 in Nov. 1974, where it remained for eight weeks. It won the Grammy for record of the year the following year. "Do That to Me One More Time," the last of their big hits, also reached the top of the chart, in 1979. In the interval, the Captain & Tennille reached the top 10 with "Muskrat Love," "The Way I Want to Touch You," "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" and "Shop Around." Married in 1975, Dragon and Tennille remained together until finalizing their divorce in 2014, but remained close friends. "He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly. I was at my most creative in my life, when I was with him," Toni Tennille said in remembrance. She was with him when he died. Dragon is survived by his older brother Doug and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn. There are no services planned, by request of Dragon. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/2/19...... Comedian/actor Bob Einstein, a two-time Emmy winner who has recurred on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm series since its launch and created the wacky Super Dave Osborne character, died on Jan. 2 in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 76 and recently had been diagnosed with cancer. Einstein's career dates to the 1960s, when he won his first Emmy as part of the writing team for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, whose staff also included Steve Martin. Einstein, who also appeared on the show, went on to earn Emmy noms as a writer for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in 1972 and 1974 and two more for writing on Dick Van Dyke's mid-'70s series Van Dyke and Company. Einstein won his other Emmy as a producer for the series, sharing the 1977 award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Einstein also was a guest on numerous late-night and comedy shows spanning a half-century, including The Steve Allen Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Hollywood Squares. "R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever," his younger brother, actor-director Albert Brooks, tweeted. - Deadline.com, 1/2/19.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Elvis Presley has appeared in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for the first time since 1981 as his classic 1957 rockin' carol "Blue Christmas" debuted at No. 40 on the chart for the week ending Jan. 5. Powered by streaming, "Blue Christmas" also zoomed to 32 on the Streaming Songs and drew 9.6 million in airplay audience. Presley, who passed away in 1977, had last ranked in the Hot 100's top 40 on the chart dated March 28, 1981, when "Guitar Man" peaked at No. 28. Also notably, Chuck Berry and Frank Sinatra have returned to the Hot 100 chart after several decades with "Run Rudolph Run" (No. 45) and "Theme From New York, New York" (No. 49), respectively. - Billboard, 1/1/19...... Woodstock logoThe Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y., announced on Dec. 27 that it is planning a golden 50th anniversary Woodstock festival in 2019. Set for Aug. 16-18 at the concert venue built on the original Woodstock site, the Center says the festival will feature "live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades, and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts." "Festival goers will also be able to visit the Museum at Bethel Woods, which tells the story of the 1960s through immersive media, interactive engagements, and artifacts from the 1969 festival, as well as experience the special 2019 exhibit We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for an Aquarian Future," the statement continues. The original Woodstock, on Aug. 15-18, 1969, took place on a diary farm in the Catskill Mountains north of New York City. It quickly grew from a ticketed event to a massive free-for-all that drew more than 400,000 to a muddy 600-acre diary farm for one of the most iconic rock events of all time, featuring sets from Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Who, The Band, Joe Cocker and Santana, among others. At least three Woodstock tributes have been held since: a 25th anniversary concert in Saugerties, New York, in 1994, with performances from Cocker, Sheryl Crow, Aerosmith, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and Bob Dylan; a Woodstock '99 concert in Rome, N.Y., which drew 400,000 people to a former Air Force base for a chaotic three-day gatherng marred by excessively hot weather, fan rioting and reports of sexual assault; and a smaller event on the site of the original Woodstock in 2009, with sets from a number of the original show's performers, including Country Joe McDonald, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, Jefferson Starship, Mounatin and the Levon Helm Band. The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a concert venue built on the original Woodstock site in the town of Bethel in Sullivan County, a rural area 85 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of New York City. A newspaper in nearby Middletown has reported that many motels, bed-and-breakfasts and AirBnB rentals in Sullivan County have been sold out for some time. Officials in Sullivan County recently said they plan to install 36 fiberglass dove statues to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary in a nod to the original event's iconic logo. Original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang has said he has "definite plans" to put on his own 50th anniversary Woodstock celebration, though it won't be on the site of the original and no further details have been released. - Billboard, 12/28/18...... Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan, and Monty Python icon Michael Palin are among the leading personalities from the world of entertainment who have been recognised in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year honours list. Mason will be receiving a CBE for his services to music. Mason, who founded Pink Floyd in 1965, is the only member to feature on every one of their albums. Palin meanwhile bagged a Knighthood for his diplomatic service to travel, culture and geography. Commenting on his time with the Monty Python troupe, Palin said: "Discovering there were five other people who had the same sort of sense of humour as myself and we all appreciated each other's work and that the work that we did, both on television and film, is still being replayed and still being appreciated, that's quite something, really, after 50 years. It will be 50 years since Python started, next year. That's something that hit a high spot that will last forever, so I'm very grateful to all the other Pythons and I am very proud of Python." - NME, 12/29/18...... Jimi HendrixLegislators in Washington state have voted unanimously to rename the Renton Highlands Post Office in the Seattle suburb of Renton "The James Marshall 'Jimi' Hendrix Post Office." The post office is located less than a mile from the Jimi Hendrix Memorial in Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery, where Seatlle native Hendrix is buried. "I am honored to join in paying tribute to rock and roll icon and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix with the renaming of the Renton Highlands Post Office as the James Marshall 'Jimi' Hendrix Post Office Building," Rep. Adam Smith, who sponsored the bill to rename the post office, said in a statement. "This designation will further celebrate Hendrix's deep connection to the Puget Sound region and help ensure that his creative legacy will be remembered by our community and inspire future generations." In 2018, a deluxe Electric Ladyland box set was released to celebrate the album's 50th anniversary. - Billboard, 12/30/18...... An American adventurer named Colin O'Brady has revealed that he got a phone call from Paul Simon during his two-month, 900-mile journey to become the first-ever person to cross Antarctica from coast to coast alone and unaided by wind. O'Brady, 33, completed his journey on Dec. 26, and told the New York Times he listened to Simon's Graceland LP on repeat for a whole day, and even received a phone call from Simon himself on day 35 of his trek (Dec. 7). "We had a wonderful conversation for 30 minutes over my satellite phone," O'Brady posted on Instagram. "We talked about many things, but setting aside celebrity and fame, what struck me most was talking to him about his process of creativity and bringing a masterpiece like Graceland into the world." Paul Simon also posted a note about the conversation on his website. "He was almost half-way through his arduous journey. I asked him if he felt lonely in the desolate landscape with no companionship," Simon says. "He said he spoke with his wife, Jenna, every evening. He told me that he wasn't lonely and had a lot of time to think on all sorts of matters from the mundane to the spiritual, with more time lately on the spiritual. O'Brady is 33 years old and a Yale graduate, an experienced endurance athlete and adventurer," he continued. "We promised to meet when he comes home and is rested. I'm looking forward to seeing him and hearing more about his amazing achievement." - Billboard, 12/28/18...... Sly StoneA documentary showcasing the life and legacy of iconic funk musician Sly Stone and his band Sly and the Family Stone has been announced for 2019. Directed by Brady Spensor, the film will also delve into Stone's money troubles and the U.S. Music Modernization Act that ultimately saved him from financial turmoil. In 2015, Stone won a lawsuit against his former manager Gerald Goldstein and lawyer Glenn Stone after Sly alleged that they had diverted money away from him to them for 11 years from 1989 to 2000. The jury ended up awarding £1.6 million ($2.5 million) in damages to the singer against Even St Productions, the company with with which they made him sign an employment and shareholder agreement, as well as £1.6 million ($2.45 million) against Goldstein and £32,932 ($50,000) against Stone. In 2011 Stone entered rehab to seek treatment for drug addiction after revealing that he had been living out of a van in the LA neigborhood of Crenshaw. It was then that he opened the case against Goldstein, suing him for $50 million. Brady Spensor says he conducted several interviews with the reclusive artist for the documentary in what's described as a decade-long process. "It took months before Sly even remembered my name," Spensor told Deadline.com. "But soon after, I would get called at all hours, day or night. When Sly finally collected his royalties after years of being financially strapped and homeless, it warmed my heart." No official release date for the documentary has been set but it's scheduled to drop sometime in 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/29/18...... The Osmond Family member Jimmy Osmond was treated for a stroke on Dec. 27 following his performance as Captain Hook in the Peter Pan pantomime at the U.K's Birmingham Hippodrome. "On the evening of Thursday 27 December, after pushing through the evening's performance of Peter Pan at Birmingham Hippodrome, Jimmy Osmond was driven straight to hospital and diagnosed with a stroke," his spokesperson told the BBC. "He is grateful for all the well wishes and will be taking time out in the new year." Speaking of his role in the panto in November, Osmond told a local paper: "For me, I kind of took to panto well. I'm from this vaudevillian background. I grew up doing TV variety shows. I started as a three-year-old kid on the Andy Williams TV show and worked with Bob Hope and Andy Williams and all of those great people. And then when I came over here as a kid, it made me feel British because I would watch pantomimes. I never thought I'd be so lucky as to be in them. I think my background helps me because in variety TV you have to learn how to do the jokes and communicate with an audience. I was always a performer." - NME, 1/1/19...... Ray SawyerRay Sawyer, a former member of Dr Hook & The Medicine Show, died peacefully in his sleep on Jan. 1, his wife Linda Sawyer posted on social media. He was 81. Mr. Sawyer, known for wearing an eye-patch after losing his eye in a car crash, found fame in the 1970s with Dr Hook, which charted such hits as "Cover Of The Rolling Stone" "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman." Born on Feb. 1, 1937 in Chickasaw, Ala., Mr. Sawyer had previously formed a rock trio called the Chocolate Papers and after they split in the 1960s, he decided to become a logger. It was during this period that he lost an eye in a car crash -- which pushed him to return to music, joining Dr Hook & the Medicine Show, which had been formed in 1968 in Union City, N.J. While he mainly sang backing vocals and played percussion, he took the lead on their legendary 1972 hit "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," a satirical look at rock culture which rose to No. 6 on the pop chart. They appeared on the front of the magazine a year later, interviewed by writer and future director Cameron Crowe. Later, Mr. Sawyer parted ways with the group in 1983 to go solo, but toured as "Dr Hook featuring Ray Sawyer" until 2015. "It's with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to one of the iconic performers of the 1970s who literally had his smiling face on the cover of Rolling Stone," his agent Artists International Management said in a statement. "Ray was the consummate 'road dog' performing all over the world to thousands and thousands of fans covering hundreds of shows and logging thousands of miles across the globe. He lived the rock and roll life right up to the age of 81, and he was proud of it -- and that's quite a feat. Rest peacefully Ray you will be sadly missed," they continued. Mr. Sawyer's wife Linda added: "My heart is broken; Ray passed away this morning peacefully in his sleep. We thank you all for your continued support and prayers. Ray loved you all." In addition to his wife he is survived by a son, Cayse Sawyer. - New Musical Express, 1/2/19.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Two holiday solo classics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney have reached the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for the first time in 2018. Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1971 Plastic Ono Band track "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" debuted at No. 45 on the Streaming Songs chart (13.2 million, up 33 percent) dated Dec. 29, while gaining by 10 percent to 16.6 million in airplay audience. Meanwhile, McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," first released in 1979, has also made its first Hot 100 appearance, debuting at No. 50 on Streaming Songs (12.1 million, up 27 percent) and increases by 13 percent to 18.5 million in radio reach. Lennon and McCartney last appeared on the Billboard chart as solo artists for the week ending March 1, 1975 when Lennon's "#9 Dream" ranked at No. 13 and McCartney's "Junior's Farm"/"Sally G" was at No. 64. - Billboard, 12/25/18...... Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen, who earlier in 2018 told fans he hopes to release a new solo album in 2019, has made recordings of his "No Nukes 1979" two-night stand concert at New York's Madison Square Garden available for the first time on the live music archive site Nugs.net. Held on Sept. 21 and 22 of 1979, the shows found Springsteen in between his fourth and fifth studio albums, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River. Both nights open with a trio of songs from the former and feature then-unreleased songs from the latter, like "Sherry Darling" and "The River," which got its live debut at his No Nukes shows. Both concerts feature Springsteen and the E Street Band covering Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' "Stay," a '60s doo-wop song that had been reworked by Jackson Browne in 1978 for his classic Running On Empty album. Browne (who helped organize the No Nukes benefit) joins alongside Rosemary Butler both nights, while Tom Petty comes along for the second show. Complete recordings of both nights are available in a variety of formats. $2 from every purchase will benefit MUSE (Musicians United For Safe Energy), the coalition formed by Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall and Harvey Wasserman in response to 1979's Three Mile Island nuclear disaster. Earlier in December, Nugs.net also shared Springsteen's 1975 Roxy concerts. - Billboard, 12/27/18...... Record producer Phil Spector, who is currently serving his sentence for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, settled his divorce with his third wife, Rachelle Short, on Dec. 4 and secured several items of his celebrity memorabilia in the settlement. According to court documents, the many priceless celebrity treasures Spector was awarded include a John Lennon electric guitar with an accomanying handwritten note by Yoko Ono; Grammy Awards, including an "Album of the Year" award for 1972's The Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison; a Best Original Song Score Oscar statue for the 1970 Beatles film Let It Be; and diamond cufflinks gifted to him by Elvis Presley. Spector's ex-wife Rachelle meanwhile got to keep many of her vehicles, including a 2009 Vespa GTS 250 and 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish, and a 2007 Columbia 400 airplane. The documents also state that Spector and Rachelle must sell his infamous residence, Pyrenees Castle, in Alhambra, Calif., where Clarkson was killed for a 50/50 split. The house will be listed for $5.5 million. Short and the "Wall of Sound" creator wed on Sept. 1, 2006, as Spector was awaiting trial. They split in 2016, with Spector claiming Rachelle was bleeding him dry by spending money on lavish items like planes and homes. - TheBlast.com, 12/24/18...... Dionne WarwickThe federal judge presiding over pop singer Dionne Warwick years-long legal battle with the IRS has set a court date for Mar. 6, 2019 in New Jersey, it was revealed on Dec. 27. Warwick filed for bankruptcy in 2013, with assets totaling only $25,500 but liabilities in the amount of $10,727,429, which includes an almost $7 million tax debt to Uncle Sam. At the time she blamed a business manager for her finances being in a mess. The case has dragged on for years due to the singer suing the government over her issues with the tax division. Warwick was seeking a court order discharging her $7 million tax debt from 1990-2008 and for a judge to order the IRS not be allowed to seize her assets over the debts. The debt was discharged in her bankruptcy, but the feds maintain the wiping clean of her debt was not valid. The judge has reportedly cleared four days off the calendar when the two sides face off in March, in case it takes that long for both sides to present their case. - TheBlast.com, 12/27/18...... In related news, the attorney for Aretha Franklin's estate said on Dec. 27 that the estate has paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS since the Queen of Soul's death in August. Franklin's estate is being audited by the IRS, which filed a claim earlier in December in a county probate court north of Franklin's hometown of Detroit. TMZ.com reported on Dec. 20 that legal documents it obtained showed the IRS claimed Franklin owes more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties. "We have a tax attorney. All of her returns have been filed," the estate lawyer, David Bennett, told the AP. "We have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don't understand how the business works." Bennett added that Franklin had a lot of expenses whenever she toured. Documents filed in an Oakland County court after Franklin's death did not mention the value of her estate, which could run into the tens of millions. Franklin's estate also has paid money to the state of Michigan and other jurisdictions "where she would have had some income," Bennett said. Franklin had been the target of a number of lawsuits by creditors during the late 1980s and 1990s, and The Detroit Free Press reported in 2008 that Franklin owed a total of $19,192 in back taxes on the property through 2007. - AP, 12/28/18...... Meanwhile in other Aretha Franklin news, The Grammy Awards' Recording Academy will pay tribute to the 18-time Grammy winner with an "Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul" tribute concert on Jan. 13. Among the artists performing songs from Franklin's legendary repertoire will be Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle and John Legend. The live concert, hosted by actor/filmmaker Tyler Perry, will tape on Jan. 13, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. PT at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The special will be broadcast later in 2019 on the CBS Television Network. - AP, 12/27/18...... Jason BonhamDrummer Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, says he's hatching plans for his own Led Zep golden anniversary celebration during 2019. "Next year I feel is an even bigger year because [1969] was the first two albums, the first concerts, all of that," Bonham says. "So I've got a few more plans with how I'd like to do things. I'd love to play the Royal Albert Hall and do the set they played back in '69. That would be something I'd love to achieve. Bonham, who has been carrying the torch for Zep and his father with a tribute live show that he started during 2009 as Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, continued: "And all of this, I think, will continue as the years go on, because each year coming up will be 50 years since Led Zeppelin III, whatever. I can imagine the celebrating of Led Zeppelin IV will be a big one. I just can't believe it was that long ago, and it still sounds so good and so timeless. People still love to hear this [music], and I'm happy to be able to go out and play it for them with some authenticity and a real connection to it all." Bonham -- who also plays in the all-star Black Country Communion and in Sammy Hagar's band The Circle -- took his "Led Zeppelin Evening" show on the road with Foreigner and Whitesnake this past summer, and played his own shows in the fall. - Billboard, 12/21/18...... Britain's Prince Charles has revealed some of his favourite music artists in a new interview with Radio 3's "Private Passions" program to mark the prince's 70th birthday. On the show, Prince Charles chose to play Leonard Cohen's "Take This Waltz," saying: "I've always loved Leonard Cohen's voice and his whole approach to the way he sang. He was obviously incredibly sophisticated in the way he sang, but also wrote." The prince continued: "I find it very moving, the words are so extraordinary, sort of Salvador Dali-like - they lead you into this remarkable Dali-like world." Charles' appearance on "Private Passions "is not the first time the prince has praised Cohen. He previously described him as a "remarkable man" and hailed his orchestration and lyrics as "fantastic." Elsewhere in the programme, he talked about 'Scylla et Glaucus', a rare 18th-century opera by Jean-Marie Leclair, the final movement of Beethoven's fifth symphony, and more. - New Musical Express, 12/27/18.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

As the iconic Motown record label in Detroit celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019, plans are underway to expand the Motown Museum after it announced on Dec. 22 it has received a number of grants, including a $1.3 million grant from the Kresge Foundation, $500,000 from The Elaine & Leo Stern Foundation, $225,000 from AARP and $55,000 from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The gifts will support development of a public plaza and renovation of three nearby buildings for education and community programs. The expansion will be built around the existing museum which was founded by label head Berry Gordy and includes the original studio and famous "Hitsville U.S.A." sign. - AP, 12/22/18...... Carl PalmerDrummer Carl Palmer, the sole surviving member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, is hatching plans to commemorate the legendary prog-rock trio's 50th anniversary in 2020 with more catalog re-releases and a special live ELP tribute concert. "I'm looking right now at putting a show together, probably in America, with some A-listers," Palmer says. "I can't tell you who they are, but in principle as a project it looks like it's going to go through." Palmer also hopes to revisit a lengthy ELP documentary film that's been sitting on the sideline for some years. "When we were signed to Sanctuary, ELP released a documentary that was six hours long. That got lost in the wash, so we're going back and re-editing that and putting together another couple hours of documentary stuff that hasn't been seen," Palmer adds. ELP, which formed in 1970, played its first concert in August of that year, followed by a slot at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival six days later. The group released 10 studio albums during its two tenures (1970-79 and 1991-98) and last performed together to commemorate its 40th anniversary at the 2010 High Voltage Festival in London. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake both passed away during 2016. Palmer, who says he "wakes up every morning and says to myself, 'Thank God I'm here and I'm still playing'," noted that "you don't really live it as it's happening 'cause things are moving so fast... You only appreciate it afterwards. So now I'm appreciating what we did way back then." Meanwhile, Palmer has been carrying the ELP torch since 2001 with his Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy shows, leading a trio that substitutes guitar for Emerson's keyboards in order to pay tribute to the group's songs. Palmer was also a member of the 1980's prog-rock supergroup Asia, and says "there's nothing planned at the moment" for the band, which is curently on hiatus. "Depending on how meetings go, Asia might even be touring next summer," Palmer says. I'm going to link it and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy into the same tour; I'm not sure how it's going to happen yet, but we'll make some proposals and see. I like the idea of doing some double-dipping." - Billboard, 12/21/18...... Neil Young announced on Dec. 20 that he'll launch a new paid subscription service and app for his vast, years-in-the-making Neil Young Archives (NYA). Young, in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, launched the NYA site in beta in 2017 for completists and hardcore fans. "If you want to hear my music and would like to have the option to listen to it with all the depth and glory of high resolution, it will be there," Young says. "All my new records can be heard there first, before they get released anywhere else. New, unreleased albums from the archives and old, unreleased albums from the archives will always be heard there first. Our machine is a monster." The NYA subscription service will cost $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a full year and includes unlimited access to Young's ever-expanding archives, including hi-resolution streams of all available recordings, plus a timeline filled materials related to his music, movies, videos, books, photographs, manuscripts and press notes. The new paid subscription service, accessible via his website and an iOS app (Android soon), includes other perks like first dibs on concert tickets, livestreams of other live shows, early access to new and unreleased music, and full access to Young's personal news outlet, the "NYA Times Contrarian." A free version of the subscription will let users peruse the timeline and includes access to a featured album and song of the day, both using Xstream by NYA. - Billboard, 12/20/18...... David Lee RothSpeaking to the New York Times on Dec. 19 in his first full-length interview in nearly 10 years, Van Halen's David Lee Roth revealed he's moving into the celebrity skincare game with his surprising new line "Ink the Original," which is designed specifically for people with tattoos. Roth says the line includes products like an SPF stick, SPF spray, and a "tattoo-brightening balm," and was inspired by Roth's own tattoos, which he says he spent over 300 hours getting for $300 an hour. Diamond Dave says he wasn't only thinking of himself with his new cosmetics line though but also "power women": "Tina Fey can take this out of her bag at a full table of the most stellar, dynamic wits in the business. She takes this out of her bag, and the guys will want to borrow it." (Tina Fey has no visible tattoos.) - The New York Times/Jezebel.com, 12/19/18...... Despite naming his "farewell tour" the "No More Tours 2" tour, Ozzy Osbourne is assuring fans that he still plans to tour in the future -- just not as much. Osbourne, who turned 70 on Dec. 3, told the Pasedena Star-News on Dec. 22 that his upcoming shows aren't actually a farewell tour at all. "People have gotten that all wrong," he said. "The tour should have been the Ozzy Osbourne 'Slowing Down Tour'. What I'm actually doing is not going out on January 1 and coming back on December 31. I'll still tour, but not as extensively like I have been for the last 50 years. I mean, I have grandchildren now and I'm 70 years old and I don't want to be found dead in a hotel room somewhere. I'm going to do it at a more leisurely pace and do some shows in Vegas -- but I'll never stop. The whole lifestyle I have lived, it has all come down to the fact that there are people who want to hear me and as long as they want to hear me, I'm there." Meanwhile, Ozzy's former band Black Sabbath and '70s funk rockers George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic are among the artists set to receive the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2019 Grammys awards show. Dionne Warwick, Donny Hathaway, Julio Iglesias, soul duo Sam & Dave and late jazz singer Billy Eckstine will also be receiving the award during the ceremony set for May 11 in Los Angeles. The Grammys' non-performance Trustees Award will be presented to Lou Adler, Ashford & Simpson and Johnny Mandel. - New Musical Express, 12/22/18...... The first leg of Elton John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" has earned a total of $42 million, enough to handily top the Billboard Hot Tours recap for the week ending Dec. 22, 2018. John began the trek playing to 8,983 fans at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., on Sept. 8, 2018, and has played 41 arena dates across North America. In the new year, Elton will resume the FYBR tour in Boise, Idaho, on Jan. 11 and continue in North America through March 18 in Orlando. More European and North American dates are scheduled through the end of 2020, with even more to potentially be added. John has grossed $1.2 billion since Billboard Boxscore began tracking touring data in 1990. With approximately 250 dates left before the curtain closes, his final gross could climb past the $1.5 billion mark. - Billboard, 12/18/18...... Mike LoveThe Beach Boys singer Mike Love has teamed up with teen pop idols Hanson for a new Christmas video entitled "Finally It's Christmas," a track from his new yuletide LP Reason For the Season. "I love the song because it pays homage to some of the cultural mythology of Christmas as well as the spiritual part of it, too," says Love, who was introduced to Hanson via Reason For the Season co-producer Steve Greenberg. The album features a mix of originals and holiday favorites, including a remake of the Beach Boys' "Little St. Nick," and Love's four children sing on five of the tracks, along with his sister Maureen. Meanwhile, Love and the Beach Boys are wrapping up a holiday tour in December behind Reason For the Season, and are planning the usual full schedule of touring for 2019. Love is also awaiting word from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, where he's been nominated as a Performing Songwriter for the class of 2019. "It's really cool and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. That would be a very nice thing to be part of," says Love, who would also view it as a vindication as well after having to sue during the mid-'90s to receive songwriting credit (and royalties) for 35 Beach Boys songs. "It's rough when your uncle (Murry Wilson) handles the publishing and he purposely eliminated my participation on 'Help Me, Rhonda" and 'California Girls' and 'I Get Around' and the others," Love says. "But it got rectified for the most part, and my participation was confirmed and affirmed and even Brian himself said, 'No, Mike wrote that.'" - Billboard, 12/18/18...... Queen guitarist Brian May announced on Dec. 19 that he'll release "New Horizons," his first solo single in 20 years, on New Year's Day live from NASA's Control Center. May, who is also an astrophysics doctor in addition to one of the world's most renowned guitarists, will drop the track in tribute to NASA's on-going New Horizons mission - which will achieve the most distant spacecraft flyby in history on New Year's Day. The track also features words spoken by the late astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. "This project has energised me in a new way," said May. " For me it's been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together - Astronomy and Music... I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand of Man has ever reached - it will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the space craft will beam back to Earth. To me it epitomises the human spirit's unceasing desire to understand the Universe we inhabit." "New Horizons" will be available on NASA's website from 12:02 am EST on Jan. 1, 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/19/18...... Book publisher Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced on Dec. 18 that Olivia Newton-John's autobiography Don't Stop Believin', released in the fall of 2017 in her longtime home Australia, will be released in the U.S. on March 12, 2019. The U.S. edition will include a new afterword by the 70-year-old award-winning singer and actress, who announced in September that she was again being treated for breast cancer. She was first diagnosed in 1992. - AP, 12/18/18...... Officials in the U.K. have granted pop star Robbie Williams permission to develop an underground swimming pool at his London home, ending a feud with his next door neighbor, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, that began five years ago. The plans for Williams' underground gym and swimming pool at his Grade II listed home were given the green light during a Kensington Town Hall meeting on Dec. 18. Page had previously raised concerns that the construction work could severely damage the foundations of his gothic revival mansion, which is located next door. Councillors now say that work will only be allowed to take place once suitable assurances are received on both vibration levels and the movement of the property's foundation. Williams could also be asked to pay a bond, which will be forfeited if the damage occurs or any planning conditions are subsequently breached. The feud originated in 2013 when Williams purchased the property, which is the former home of late film director Michael Winner. Page has lived next door since 1972. Appearing before a planning committee earlier in 2018, Page said: "My home was designed by William Burges, one of the greatest architects of the 19th Century. I'm here to plea that you take all necessary measures to protect the Tower House from the threat of harm it faces." In 2017, Williams issued an apology for referring to Page as "mentally ill," having previously accused the legendary guitarist of sitting in his car and recording workmen to test noise levels at the property. - New Musical Express, 12/19/18...... International blues/rock/soul guitarist, singer and songwriter Ben Poole has announced a second leg of his "Anytime You Need Me Tour" in February 2019. The tour kicks off on Jan. 31 at The Maltings in Farnham and wraps on Feb. 16 16th February at The Leopard in Doncaster. Tickets for all concerts can be booked from http://benpooleband.com/live. - Noble PR, 12/18/18...... Penny MarshallActress/director Penny Marshall, the nasally and good-natured Bronx native who starred on the popular ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley before shattering records as a top-grossing female director in Hollywood with such films as Big, A League of Their Own and Awakenings, died from complications from diabetes at her Hollywood Hills home on Dec. 17. She was 75. The younger sister of the late writer-director-producer Garry Marshall and the first wife of actor-director Rob Reiner, Marshall had been diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in 2009. Marshall rose to fame in the mid-'70s for playing the wisecracking Laverne DeFazio on the Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley, created by her brother. Laverne & Shirley, which aired for eight seasons from 1976-83, centered on the escapades of two romantically challenged Milwaukee brewery workers, with Cindy Williams co-starring as Marshall's idealistic roommate, Shirley Feeney. Marshall also directed a handful of episodes of the sitcom, then was approached to step in as a last-minute replacement for Howard Zieff to helm the feature comedy Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), starring Whoopi Goldberg. For her next film, she hit comedic pay dirt with Big (1988), the Tom Hanks vehicle about a boy who wakes up in the body of an adult. Co-produced by James L. Brooks, who brought the script to her, it was the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million (about $198 million in today's dollars) domestically. Another successful Marshall comedy, A League of Their Own (1992), was a fictional account about the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League organized during World War II that also starred Hanks (as well as Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna) and broke through the $100 million barrier as well. In between those films, the director dramatically changed course with the fact-based Awakenings (1990), which starred Robert De Niro as a middle-aged man who has been catatonic for 30 years and Robin Williams as a painfully shy doctor determined to "awaken" him. With Awakenings, Marshall became the second woman ever to helm a best picture Oscar nominee. She also is only one of seven to achieve that without landing a directors nom as well. Born Carole Penny Marshall on Oct. 15, 1943, Marshall and her family lived on the Grand Concourse, a major thoroughfare in the Bronx. Following high school, she fled to the University of New Mexico to study psychology, got married in 1961, dropped out and had a daughter, Tracy, her only child (who later was adopted by Reiner). Divorced after two years, Marshall supported herself with an array of jobs, including a stint as a choreographer for the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera Association, before heading to Los Angeles in 1967. Supporting herself as a secretary while studying acting, she appeared in commercials, including a Head & Shoulders ad where she played the "plain" girl opposite the gorgeous and then-unknown Farrah Fawcett. After appearing on such shows as That Girl and Love, American Style, she and Reiner -- mere months before they were to marry -- auditioned for a new CBS sitcom. But while Reiner was cast as Michael Stivic, it was Sally Struthers who ended up playing his wife, Gloria, on All in the Family. Marshall also appeared in such sitcoms as The Odd Couple (as Oscar Madison's flighty secretary, Myrna Turner), The Bob Newhart Show andThe Mary Tyler Moore Show and had a regular role on the short-lived sitcom Friends and Lovers, created by Brooks and Alan Burns. More recently, Marshall directed a couple of episodes of Showtime's United States of Tara and appeared on IFC's Portlandia, and the Fox sitcom Mulaney. One of Hollywood's most fervent Los Angeles Lakers fans, Marshall regularly was seen courtside at the Forum and then Staples Center, with her trademark tinted glasses perched precariously on her nose. Marshall, who published her candid autobiography My Mother Was Nuts in 2012, was twice married, the first time to Michael Henry from 1961-63, the second time to actor-director Rob Reiner from 1971-79. Both marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by a daughter by Henry who was adopted by Reiner, actress Tracy Reiner and sister Ronny Hallin, a TV director. Garry Marshall died in 2016. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/18/18.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Paul McCartney released a new anti-bullying video for his latest single "Who Cares" featuring actress Emma Stone as an Apple Music exclusive on Dec. 17. Shot entirely on 65mm Kodak Film with Panavision Cameras, the video was produced by the social change non-profit Creative Visions, and spreads a universally positive message along with colorful details. Sir Paul also launched a #WhoCaresIDo campaign based on the song and film. "My hope is that if there are kids being bullied, and there are, maybe by listening to this song and watching this video, they might just think it's not as bad," McCartney said in a statement. "It's the kind of thing you can just stand up to and laugh off and get through." Paul McCartney"Who Cares" is taken from Macca's 17th studio album, Egypt Station, became the musician's first No. 1 album debut on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart in over 36 years. Meanwhile, McCartney's former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood teamed up with Paul for a rendition of the Beatles' song "Get Back" during McCartney's concert at London's O2 on Dec. 16. The impromptu performance happened during the encore, with Ringo later tweeting a pic of the performance with the caption "Having a great time at the O2 London freshen up tour With Paul Ronnie and Ringo a great night love you man peace and love." In more McCartney news, police in London are are investigating a break-in at Paul's London home in St John's Wood. Authorities launched an investigation after the home was reportedly targeted at approximately 6:20 PM on Dec. 7. A Scotland Yard spokesperson confirmed that police were called to the property and discovered signs of forced entry. No arrests have yet been made and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said. It is currently unknown if McCartney or his wife Nancy Shevell were home at the time of the break-in, which occurred only a day after he performed the second of two shows in Vienna on the "Freshen Up" tour. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/17/18...... In other Beatles-related news, pop star Miley Cyrus has recorded a cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's iconic yuletide song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Cyrus, who enlisted Mark Ronson and Lennon's son Sean Lennon to record the cover, told radio host Howard Stern that the song "is just so magic every time we sing it goosebumps all over the place." "This song the way that it is so true to where we are right now and these lyrics of 'what have we done?' Are we doing enough, are we actually active? All we do is complain and we don't actually get out there and do enough in our communities. I think it's so timely for right now," she said. "Happy Xmas" was originally released in 1971 by John and Yoko's Plastic Ono Band in 1971 and has been covered numerous times over the years by the likes of Neil Diamond, Diana Ross and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. - New Musical Express, 12/14/18...... Bruce Springsteen delivered the final performance of his successful "Springsteen on Broadway" show at New York's Walter Kerr Theatre on Dec. 15. The Boss marked the closing of the show with an Instagram post the same day in which he called his Tony-winning Broadway run, which opened on Oct. 12, 2017, as "one of the most creatively memorable" of his life before bidding his audience adieu for now: "Our closing is bittersweet but more adventures await down the road. I'll see you there." Meanwhile, a "Springsteen on Broadway" documentary directed by Thom Zimny premiered on Netflix on Dec. 16, and a companion Springsteen on Broadway album dropped via Columbia Records on Dec. 14. - Billboard, 12/15/18...... The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has become the number one music biopic of all-time, according to the entertainment website Deadline.com. The Rami Malek-starring film has grossed a total of more than $600 million worldwide, also breaking music biopic records in the U.S. ($175.7 million) as well as internationally ($433 million) for a global take of $608.7 million. The massive haul has pushed Bohemian Rhapsody past the 2015 N.W.A rap-music biopic Straight Outta Compton, which raked in $161 million domestically and $40 million overseas for a worldwide total of nearly $202 million. Rhapsody hasn't just crushed it at the box office, it is also emerging as an awards season favorite, with two Golden Globes and two SAG Award nominations. - Billboard, 12/14/18...... Geddy LeeRush frontman Geddy Lee says he decided to release his new massive coffee table-style book Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass, which hit stores on Dec. 4, after he "realized there wasn't a sort of definitive book about the bass guitar." "I felt the bass guitar was not only under-represented in terms of books, but the beauty of some of these instruments has never been properly captured. So that's when the idea of the book sort of came to me... as not only a rationalizing for why I collect all these basses but also perhaps a useful reference book for people looking to find a particular bass," he said. Lee documents the history and characteristics of his basses, from mainstream Fenders, Gibsons and Rickenbackers to more obscure and lesser-known brands that pop up in his collection. Lee says the best part for him was interviewing other famous bass players and collectors, including the Rolling Stones' Bill Wyman, Metallica's Robert Trujillo, U2's Adam Clayton, Primus' Les Claypool and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, among others. "Using this idea of the book as a calling card and some of those conversations became my favorite moments in the making of this book," Lee says. Lee adds that after he finishes promoting the book he'll "figure out what my next step is going to be... I do miss playing, and I miss playing with my bandmates." However he adds a Rush reunion is "highly unlikely." "Neil [Pert] has retired and has no interest to play anymore. Alex [Lifeson] and I... it's possible. We'll see. I'm sure something else will come along for me to do." - Billboard, 12/14/18...... Oscar and Grammy-winning songwriter Paul Williams, who created original music for the Jim Henson holiday special Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, says he still doesn't know why Henson chose him to provide the songs for the Emmet Otter character, "because it certainly wasn't typical of what I was doing at that time." "I think between writing [Three Dog Night's 1971 hit] "An Old Fashioned Love Song" -- which I know he loved -- and the humorous appearances I was making across TV at that time, he just connected me with the project," Williams says. "He gave me the opportunity, and it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship," he added. The classic special, which has been almost forgotten by the public at large, has become a word-of-mouth Christmas tradition that continues to grow in popularity each year, and was beamed into U.S. theaters for the first time on Dec. 16. A companion Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas CD finally saw its first proper release in any format this past November, including a limited vinyl pressing for Record Store Day that sold out nationally within two days, and was the top seller at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. - Billboard, 12/15/18...... Roger Waters' two shows at Estadio Unico Ciudad de la Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Nov. 6 and 10 earned the former Pink Floyd member $5.3 million and sold 80,693 tickets, giving him the top spot on the latest Billboard Boxscore tally. Combined with earlier reports from Brazil that hit the Nov. 10 Boxscore chart, the South American leg of Waters' "Us + Them" tour has grossed $29.6 million across 10 shows, with Waters playing to 416,759 fans. Waters began the trek on May 26, 2017, at Kansas City's Sprint Center and played throughout North America for much of that year, ultimately raking in $92.7 million. Since then, he has traveled throughout Oceania and Europe before arriving in Sao Paolo in October. With the tour's final reports still to be submitted, the tour has grossed $142.6 million, globally. Also making the top 10 in the new tally were concerts by '70s artists Elton John (No. 3), David Byrne (No. 5), Def Leppard (No. 7), and Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (No. 8). - Billboard, 12/14/18...... Jose FelicianoJosé Feliciano, whose "Feliz Navidad" happens to be the world's best-loved bilingual Christmas song, performed the tune and other seasonal favorites in Rome, Italy on Dec. 15 during The Vatican's annual holiday concert. The charity concert was filmed for a Christmas Day broadcast. Feliciano will also travel to Austria to perform at The Vienna Boys' Choir's Christmas celebrations on Dec. 20 and 21. On Christmas Eve, Feliciano will make his annual appearance at the Church of the Assumption in Westport, Conn., the latino singer-songwriter's home town. "Feliz Navidad" is a perennial favorite on the pop charts, and is currently No. 3 on Billbaord's Latin Streaming Songs chart, and No. 12 on the Holiday Chart. - BIllboard, 12/14/18...... A tour van owned by former Wizzard frontman and ELO co-founder Roy Wood has been returned to Wood after it was stolen during a ram-raid on a warehouse in Leeds, UK on Dec. 12. The robbery forced Wood, who is currently touring with his Roy Wood Rock 'n' Roll Band, to cancel the band's scheduled show in Hull on Dec. 13, which they now hope to reschedule. They had feared that "about £100,000 of gear, with PA equipment, three or four guitars, and Marshall amps" had gone for good as a result of the robbery, however the van -- with all of the equipment inside -- was discovered by West Yorkshire Police in East Ardsley on Dec. 13. Wood and his band are set to conclude their latest tour with a live show in Sheffield on Dec. 20. The "Rockmas" gigs take place around the time that the Wood-penned festive hit, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday," enjoys its annual surge in popularity. - New Musical Express, 12/14/18...... The Grateful Dead spinoff band Phil Lesh and Friends will be among the headliners for the four-day Peach Music Festival, set for July 25-28, 2019 at Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pa. Lesh and his band and Trey Anastasio Band will each play two sets, while String Cheese Incident will play three. Among the 50 other acts also performing will be the Allman Betts Band (featuring Devon Allman, Duane Betts and Berry Oakley, Jr.), Blues Traveler, Stephen Marley and Joe Russo's Almost Dead. - Billboard, 12/14/18...... Bob Dylan and Neil Young have announced a second co-headlining show together, this one in Ireland, after Young previously announced that he will go ahead with his co-headlining Hyde Park show in London on July 12 with Dylan, with Barclays Bank no longer as a sponsor. Dylan and Young will also now team up at Kilkenny's Nowlan Park in Ireland on July 14. - NME, 12/13/18...... Elvis Presley Enterprises and concert promoter Live Nation have announced a partnership to bring concerts to Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tenn. The concerts will be held at the 2,000-capacity Graceland Soundstage, which is located at the Elvis Presley's Memphis entertainment complex, and the 464-capacity theater inside the Guest House at Graceland Hotel. Per the partnership, the two entities plan to host 50-75 shows in 2019 with more in 2020. The first slate of performers, who are expected to range from legacy acts to up and comers, are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. According to EPE, 600,000 people already travel annually to the former home of Elvis Presley. While most bookings in the past at Graceland were Elvis-centric, Live Nation plans to expand the destinations in both number and scope. - Billboard, 12/13/18...... German electronic pop pioneers Kraftwerk have gained leverage in an epic European copyright battle after an Advocate General of the European Court of Justice ruled on Dec. 12 that even limited sampling of a recording can constitute copyright infringement. The case involves a two-second sample from "Metall auf Metall," which the producers Moses Pelham and Martin Haas used as a continuous background loop in the 1997 song "Nur Mir." Advocate General opinions are not binding, but they're watched closely, since they often predict the way the high court of Europe will decide cases. The European Court of Justice generally issues rulings several weeks after the Advocate General issues an opinion. Whatever the court's decision, it will not resolve the dispute between Kraftwerk and the producers of "Nur Mir" -- just clarify the questions of law at the heart of the case. - Billboard, 12/13/18...... SantanaCarlos Santana revealed on social media on on Dec. 17 that he will be offering online guitar lessons through MasterClass.com, sharing his best tips and anecdotes throughout his 53-year career ."My intentions, motives, and purpose, with this online class, are to help ignite a new wave of creative spirit around the world and inspire you to create music and carry yourself on and off stage the same way we try to navigate life -- with passion and joy," the 71-year-old guitarist says in a video announcement posted to Facebook. "In the class, you will learn about the influences, as well as the musical and spiritual moments in my life that have shaped my playing, songs, and heart throughout my career," he adds. The program, which costs $180 per year and is available on mobile or desktop, includes 13 lessons with exclusive access to videos, materials. Meanwhile, the Grammy-winning guitarist has announced he'll release an EP titled Mona Lisa on Jan. 25, before releasing a full album later in 2019 produced by Rick Rubin. Santana says Mona Lisa is a three-part suite that was inspired by a visit to see the actual Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre in Paris. The EP opener "Do You Remember Me," which was produced by Rubin, is an elegant tone poem that incorporates some of the onstage improvisations Santana has made a part of his live performances of the Supernatural hit "Smooth." "In Search of Mona Lisa" -- produced by Narada Michael Walden -- is more upbeat and "more radio friendly, along with Bo Diddley," according to Santana. Jazz bass legend Ron Carter guests on "Besame Mucho" as well. The full album, meanwhile, will be out "between spring and summer," according to Santana, the product of 10 days in the studio with Rubin during which he and his band recorded 49 songs. Santana adds that he may consider playing the Supernatural album in its entirety at some point, but the one point of nostalgia he is focused on is his legendary appearance at the original 1969 Woodstock festival. "We've talked to (Woodstock co-founder) Michael Lang, but we don't know if he has secured a place," Santana says. "If they invite me, I'm in." In the meantime he's booked his own show at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the site of the original festival. - Billboard, 12/17/18...... In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the classic 1978 film Superman, original producer Ilya Salkind revealed that late heavyweight boxing legend Muhammad Ali was "this close" to portraying the iconic superhero in the film. "One of the conditions with DC Comics was I had to make a list of actors to play Superman that they had to approve," Salkind said. "I had a made a list ... that was absolutely hilarious because they had approved people like Cassius Clay [later known as Muhammad Ali] then, they had approved Al Pacino, they had approved Dustin Hoffman," he continued. "They had approved them, they could play Superman." Although Christopher Reeve was eventually chosen for the role, Ali did end up appearing in a collector's item comic book released by DC the same year entitled Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/16/18...... CherCher announced on her Twitter feed on Dec. 12 that she will be penning her memoir for a "book due out in the first part of 2020." As if that weren't enough, the iconic diva also added that a Cher biopic will follow the book's release. "Writing Life Story--Book Due Out First Part Of 2020--Bio Pic To Follow," she posted. Cher previously released a book called The First Time, a collection of essays that recounted major first-time events in her life, in 1998. In related news, Cher and her late husband Sonny Bono's famed Owlwood Estate in Los Angeles has significantly dropped its price after being on the market for over a year. The 10-bathroom, 9-bedroom, 12,000 square foot Italian Renaissance home can now be scooped up for $115 million, a bargain compared to its original asking price of $180 million. The estate, designed by renowned architect Robert D. Farquhar in the 1930s, was originally built for the ex-wife of Arthur Letts Jr. -- the first owner of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion. Since then, it's been passed around by actor Tony Curtis, and 20th Century Fox co-founder Joseph Schenck, a Superior Oil founder and the founder of the Hotel Bel-Air. - Billboard/TheBlast.com, 12/12/18...... Joe Osborn, a legendary bass player for the L.A. studio supergroup of session players known as the Wrecking Crew, died on Dec. 15 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81. Mr. Osborn played a a string of indelible hits in the 1960s and 1970s, including Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'," America's "Ventura Highway," the Carpenters' "Close to You" and The Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You." He also played on dozens of albums by country stars such as Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard and Reba McEntire, among many others, and is also credited with being the first person to record a teenage Karen and Richard Carpenter, when he tracked the soon-to-be pop superstars on his home four-track deck in his studio. Born in Mound, La., on Aug. 23, 1937, Mr. Osborn switched from electric guitar to bass early in his career, joining up with Ricky Nelson's band in 1960 for a four-year stint that led to steady session work in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. In 1974, he moved back to his southern roots, setting up in Nashville, where he played on albums by Hank Williams Jr., Chet Atkins and Mel Tillis. His final release was the just-released Carpenters With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which paired his classic playing and the Carpenters' original vocals with new orchestral arrangements by Richard Carpenter. - Billboard, 12/17/18...... Gilda RadnerCable news channel CNN has announced it will premiere Love, Gilda, a documentary of influential Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, on Jan. 1, 2019 at 9:00 P.M. EST. Radner played a pivotal role in shaping SNL, forever changing the course of comedy, and the special explores the dramatic story of the legendary comedian. CNN, 12/7/18...... Jazz singer Nancy Wilson, the Grammy-winning "song stylist" and torch singer whose polished pop-jazz vocals made her a platinum artist and top concert performer, died on Dec. 13 in Pioneertown, Calif., near Joshua Tree National Park. She was 81. Influenced by Dinah Washington, Nat "King" Cole and other stars, Ms. Wilson covered everything from jazz standards to "Little Green Apples" and in the 1960s alone released eight albums that reached the top 20 on Billboard's pop charts. In the 1970s and after, Ms. Wilson continued to record regularly and perform worldwide, at home in nightclubs, concert halls and open-air settings, singing at jazz festivals from Newport to Tokyo. She officially stopped touring with a show at Ohio University in Sept. 2011. In accordance with Ms. Wilson's wishes, there will be no funeral service, a family statement said. A celebration of her life will be held most likely in February, the month of her birth. - AP, 12/14/18...... Oscar-nominated actress Sondra Locke, best known for the six films she made with Clint Eastwood in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including The Outlaw Josey Wales, Every Which Way But Loose and Sudden Impact, died on Nov. 3 at her home in Los Angeles of cardiac arrest stemming from breast and bone cancer, it was formally announced on Dec. 13. She was 74. Locke, who had a 13-year romantic relationship with Eastwood, was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for 1968's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, her first film. Although her death was promptly reported to authorities, it was not publicized until a RadarOnline.com story on Dec. 13, for reasons that have yet to come to light. - The Daily Mail UK, 12/13/18.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Stevie NicksJoe ElliottBryan FerryOn Dec. 13 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame revealed seven acts who will be inducted into the Cleveland-based hall and museum next spring, including first-time nominees Def Leppard, Roxy Music and Stevie Nicks, who is already inducted as a member of Fleetwood Mac, as a solo artist. With her solo induction, Nicks becomes the first female artist to be voted into the RRHOF on two occasions. "I have a lot to say about this, but I will save those words for later," Nicks said in a statement. "For now I will just say, I have been in a band since 1968. To be recognized for my solo work makes me take a deep breath and smile. It's a glorious feeling." Also slated for induction are The Zombies (who were previously nominated three times) Janet Jackson (who has been up for induction twice before), The Cure and Radiohead (each nominated once before). The induction of The Cure and Def Leppard seems to signal a bit of shift in voters' tastes, as both bands had been eligible for induction for over a decade and signals the Rock Hall, which is comprised of 1,000 artists, historians, and industry luminaries, is starting to seriously consider a number of bands whose late '70s/'80s heydays had been previously undervalued (the 2018 induction of Bon Jovi and The Cars seems to trend toward this as well). Roxy Music's induction is perhaps the biggest surprise, but undoubtedly a welcome one considering the art-rockers were responsible for several classic albums during the '70s. As for the fan votes, which is also considered by the Rock Hall, four of the five artists who topped that tally are getting inducted: Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, The Zombies and The Cure. The seven acts who were also up for induction in 2019 but passed over include Devo, John Prine, Kraftwerk, LL Cool J, MC5, Rage Against the Machine, Todd Rundgren and Rufus & Chaka Kahn. The 34th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on March 29, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tickets will go on sale in January. The ceremony will have its edited broadcast premiere on HBO in the spring, with a radio broadcast on SiriusXM. - Billboard/avclub.com, 12/13/18.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Elton John has released a live cover of American singer/songwriter Khalid's 2017 single "Young Dumb & Broke" as part of the popular Spotify Singles series on Spotify.com. "I discovered Khalid's music a few years ago, and have been a fan ever since," John said in a statement. "We finally met when I played his home town of El Paso last year. It's a thrill to be a small part of any new artists' journey, and it's been wonderful to see his star continue to rise and rise. 'Young Dumb & Broke' is a fabulous song, one of my favorites and I'm really pleased that he liked my cover enough to contribute vocals." Elton has also re-released a live version of his huge 1974 hit, "Bennie and the Jets," which like "Young Dumb & Broke" was recorded live at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. - Billboard, 12/12/18...... Lindsey BuckinghamFormer Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham revealed that he's settled his lawsuit with his former band during an interview with Anthony Mason on CBS This Morning on Dec. 8. In his first interview since he was fired from the band before it launched a run of concerts in North America this summer, Buckingham said the firing cost him millions of dollars in lost earnings. Though he did not disclose terms of the settlement agreement, Buckingham noted, "We've all signed off on something.... I'm happy enough with it." Buckingham, who was replaced in Fleetwood Mac's touring band by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House, launched his civil suit in October, claiming band members Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie sacked him without just cause. Buckingham claimed he was informed just five days after their performance at the 2018 MusiCares event in January that the group would be hitting the road without him, which he says caused him to miss out on upwards of $14 million in earnings. His suit refuted the band's claim that he was fired from the band due to his "refusal to tour in 2018 and focus on his solo career." Buckingham singled out Stevie Nicks for causing his departure from the band, maybe because she thought he "smirked" during a speech she gave on stage, or maybe because he requested to push back the tour by several months. "It appeared to me that she was looking for something to hang on me, in order to instigate some kind of coup," he told Mason. At the time, Fleetwood Mac disputed Buckingham's claims and said it "looks forward to their day in court." During his CBS interview, Buckingham also said there's little chance he could reunite with Fleetwood Mac, which he and Nicks first joined in 1975, when asked if a reunion could happen. "I'm pretty much figuring that I won't," he said. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... Neil Young has scored a victory in his fight to drop Barclays bank from sponsoring his upcoming British Summer Time festival due to its, according to Young, funding projects that have "accelerated climate change." "I believe in science. I worry about the climate crisis and am deeply concerned about its massive global ramifications," Young posted on his Neil Young Archives website of his opposition to the affiliation with the bank and its credit card division Barclayscard. Young claims that the concert set for July 12 in London was announced without his knowledge, and on Dec. 12 concert promoter AEG announced that Barclays would not be sponsoring Young's upcoming concert with Bob Dylan and that the event would no longer be part of the British Summer Time series. "Neil Young has made the decision to move away from the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time concert series. Neil Young and Bob Dylan will play a stand-alone concert in Hyde Park on the same date, 12th July. All tickets will remain valid. The Barclaycard presents British Summer Time concert series remains unaffected and will continue as normal with more headliners to be announced in early 2019," a statement from AEG reads. On Dec. 11, Young posted that he was "happy to announce that the Hyde park show will proceed without Barclays as a sponsor." "We are overjoyed, so happy to be playing the show!" says Young, who played the festival series in 2014 with his band Crazy Horse and didn't raise any objections to the sponsorship at the time. Barclaycard announced its concerts with Robbie Williams, Florence + The Machine and The National will not be affected. Young has a personal stake in his decision -- he and wife Daryl Hannah lost their Malibu home in the recent Woolsey wildfire in Malibu. Barclays was listed as top financier of oil drilling and fracking in a 2018 report by the non-profit group Banking on Climate Change, receiving a "D+" rating. - Billboard, 12/12/18...... Keith RichardsIn a new interview with Rolling Stone, Keith Richards has revealed that he has cut back drastically on his drinking, admitting that "it was time to quit." Richards, who will turn 75 on Dec. 18, says that he's been curbing his drinking for "about a year now" revealing that he "pulled the plug on it... I got fed up with it." While the guitarist conceded that still has "a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer," he said that now was the right time to make the change: "It was time to quit. Just like all the other stuff." Asked if it had been an adjustment to his lifestyle, he quipped: "You can call it that, yeah. But I don't notice any difference really -- except for I don't drink. I wasn't feeling [right]. I've done it. I didn't want that anymore." Richards' bandmate Ronnie Wood, who was also sitting in on the interview, said that he'd noticed changes in Richards since he cut back on his drinking. "He's a pleasure to work with. Much more mellow, Wood observed. "He's open to more ideas, whereas before I'd kind of grit my teeth and go, 'He's gonna give me some shit for saying this.' Now, he'll say, 'That's cool, man.'" Richards and Wood gave the interview ahead of the Stones' upcoming North American leg of its 2019 "No Filter" tour, which kicks off in Miami in April. - New Musical Express, 12/12/18...... Universal Music Group announced on Dec. 10 that Queen iconic 1975 song "Bohemian Rhapsody" is "officially the most-streamed track from the 20th century, achieving more than 1.6 billion global streams." "Bohemian Rhapsody" is also the most-streamed Classic Rock track of all time, edging out Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine" and "November Rain" and a-ha's "Take on Me" in both categories. Queen guitarist and founding member Brian May responded to the announcement in a statement: "So the River of Rock Music has metamorphosed into streams! Very happy that our music is still flowing to the max!" Since its release in 1975 as the penultimate track on the album A Night at the Opera, "Bohemian Rhapsody" has proven a resilient hit. On May 9, 1992, it peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, more than 16 years after its original release, thanks to the success of the movie Wayne's World and its head-banging sequence to the song. In 2004, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In November, following the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the song re-entered the Hot 100 at No. 33, marking its third appearance on the chart. It also landed at No. 41 on the Streaming Songs chart with a 77 percent surge to 13.3 million U.S. streams on the chart dated Nov. 17. UMG exec Lucian Grainge described "Bohemian Rhapsody" as "one the greatest songs by one of the greatest bands in history" and "we are so proud to represent Queen and are thrilled to see the song still inspiring new fans around the world more than four decades after its release." - Billboard, 12/10/18...... Stevie WonderStevie Wonder held his annual House Full Of Toys Benefit Concert at Staples Center on Dec. 9, 2018 in Los Angeles. In addition to the Motown legend, fans were gifted with performances by special guests including Ella Mai, Anderson .Paak, Sheila E., PJ Morton and Leon Bridges. In keeping with the tradition of donating unwrapped toys and gifts on behalf of children, people with disabilities and families in need, concertgoers also aided another good cause -- supporting families who suffered losses in the catastrophic fires in Northern and Southern California, the firefighters who saved lives and homes, and first responders. "This has been a crazy year, as we all know," Wonder declared at the show's outset before he and daughter Aisha Morris broke into a rollicking rendition of his holiday song "What Christmas Means to Me." Afterward, Wonder thanked the concert's team of sponsors, including Bank of America, Bank of the West and Salesforce, the latter of which donated $1 million to the We Are You Foundation. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... Some of the biggest names in the 1970's punk movement will be featuring in an upcoming docuseries on the Epix channel next year called Punk. The docuseries will focus on the music, art, fashion and overall misfit culture that defined the punk movement, and also include original interviews with America's punk pioneers and the U.K.'s most notorious bands, rare photos, archival film and videos, as well as a soundtrack of punk hits and misses. Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols), Marky Ramone (Ramones), Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (Blondie), Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses) and more are among the prominent artists featured in Punk, which will premiere on the channel starting Mar. 11 at 10:00 p.m. EST. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... The estate of Prince and Legacy Recordings announced on Dec. 10 that the first three albums in a planned roll-out of Prince catalog material will be released on CD and, for the first time, vinyl, on Feb. 8, 2019. The albums slated for physical release are part of a trilogy from the early 2000s, including the Grammy-nominated Musicology (2004), 3121 (2006) and Planet Earth (2007). According to a statement announcing the re-issues, the vinyl versions will be pressed on collectable, limited-edition purple vinyl, with new exclusive merchandise tied to each album on sale in the official Prince store website. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... The celebrity gossip website TheBlast.com is reporting that Gene Simmons of Kiss is being sued for claims of "sexual battery." According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, the unnamed woman is alleging that the singer-bassist "forcefully placed his hand on her vagina" during the opening of Simmons' "Rock & Brews" restaurant in 2016. The women who has made the allegations was working as a dishwasher in the restaurant two years ago when Simmons is alleged to have touched the claimant. The woman claims that she didn't know who Simmons was but was asked to appear in a photo with him at which point she alleges: "he reached over and forcefully placed his hand on her vagina, completely covering it." Simmons has yet to make any official comment on the allegations. In 2017, Simmons was sued for sexual battery by another woman who alleged that the star made "unwanted, unwarranted sexual advances" during an interview. In July, he reportedly settled the case for an undisclosed amount of money. Meanwhile, Kiss previously announced they are bringing their 45-year career to a close with their "End Of The Road" farewell tour. The world tour, expected to last three years, will begin in January 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/7/18...... Dean MartinAfter the classic Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside" was banned from an increasing number of US radio stations in November after listeners complained that it was inappropriate in the age of #MeToo, several versions of the song have surged in sales and streaming and continued to draw airplay in the latest tracking week, according to Nielsen Music. At the end of November, Adult Contemporary chart reporter WDOK drew attention for its announcement to ban the song. "I gotta be honest, I didn't understand why the lyrics were so bad...until I read them," WDOK air talent Glenn Anderson told Cleveland.com. "I do realize that when the song was written in 1944 [by Frank Loesser], it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place." On Billboard's Holiday Digital Song Sales chart dated Dec. 15, three interpretations of "Baby" appear, the most of any title, and they make the survey's three largest gains, respectively -- Dean Martin's version, recorded in 1959; Idina Menzel's 2014 version with Michael Bublé; and Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel's 2003 duet, from the Elf soundtrack. However programmers still playing "Baby" maintain that the song remains a seasonal fit. "We love it here. I have not had any listener complaints," says Emily Boldon, program director of WWLI Providence, R.I., which has played multiple versions of the song, led by Menzel and Bublé's (18 spins). Interviewed on the morning news show FOX & Friends on Dec. 10, Dean Martin's daughter Deana Martin said: "I know my dad would be going insane right now. He would say, 'What's the matter with you? Get over it. It's just a fun song.' Because he was so sweet." The ban was also at odds with many other listeners, who strongly disagreed with the decision in a Facebook poll. - Billboard, 12/11/18.

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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 Billboard.com, New Musical Express, Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, Rolling Stone.com, Canoe.com, TheBlast.com, Miles High Productions, and Noble PR.






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