Posted by Administrator on April 7th, 2014
After wrapping their overseas trek to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in March, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off their U.S. High Hopes Tour on Apr. 6 by closing out the NCAA's March Madness Music Festival in Dallas. The performance marked Springsteen's first full-length performance in the U.S. since wrapping the Wrecking Ball tour in late 2012, not to mention his first stateside date in support of 2014's High Hopes album. The band took the stage to the strains of the instantly recognizable Harlem Globetrotters theme, "Sweet Georgia Brown," then brought a referee onstage for an actual opening tipoff, who battled guitarist Nils Lofgren. Appropriately, that was followed by a cover of Van Halen's "Jump." Springsteen also shared the stage with several of his fans, and the band showed a newfound fire thanks to the addition of guitarist Tom Morello to the E Street lineup. - Rolling Stone, 4/7/14.
An exclusive "town hall" interview with Billy Joel conducted by Howard Stern will air at midday on Apr. 28 on Stern's SiriusXM station, Howard 100 (channel 100), Joel's own exclusive station on channel 4 and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio app. SiriusXM's Billy Joel Channel launched on Mar. 26 and will run through June 25. The channel features the musician's biggest hits alongside rarities, previously unreleased live and studio cuts and tracks from A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia, Joel's upcoming live album documenting his 1987 Russian tour. The channel is also scheduled to air new and archival interviews with Joel and members of his touring band as well as excerpts from his "Masters Class" sessions with music students around the world. - Rolling Stone, 4/7/14.
Sales of Fleetwood Mac albums have surged 33 per cent after the recent announcement by former member Christine McVie that she'll be rejoining the band she initially left in 1998. The group's back catalog sold 10,000 copies during the last week of March, up from the 8,000 in the previous week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band's 1988 Greatest Hits album received the biggest boost and re-entered the Billboard Hot 200 at No. 200, while digital sales of the band's songs grew by 52 per cent, rising from 20,000 to 30,000 in the same period. Their best-seller for the week was the Stevie Nicks-sung tune, "Landslide." With bassist John McVie also onboard after having fully recovered after undergoing treatment for cancer, Fleetwood Mac fans are hoping that the reunited line-up will write and record a new album, which would be the first featuring the "classic '70s" lineup of Fleetwood Mac since 1987's Tango in the Night. On Mar. 27, the band announced that later this year they'll be heading out on their first tour with Christine McVie in 16 years. - New Musical Express, 4/6/14.
Irreverent and outspoken former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (a.k.a. "Johnny Rotten") is set to star in a new production of the religious stage musical "Jesus Christ Superstar." Lydon will appear as King Herod in the touring production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, alongside Brandon Boyd of Incubus as Judas and Destiny Child's Michelle Williams as Mary. 'N Sync's JC Chasez will play Pontius Pilate. The 50-city, North American arena tour is set to launch on June 9 in New Orleans. Boyd, appearing on Good Morning America on Apr. 4, described the production as "completely new, and it's incredible... It's an arena rock show." Meanwhile, John Lydon is also set to publish a new autobiography this year. The hardback version of the book will hit shelves in October and will be written by Lydon along with music journalist Andrew Perry. - AP, 4/4/14.
Actor Will Ferrell is attached to star in a new movie called Match Maker about the legendary 1973 "battle of the sexes" tennis tournament between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King. Based on Don Van Natta Jr.'s ESPN.com article, "The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia and The Battle of the Sexes," the story follows the high profile rivalry between the two tennis pros and their iconic 1973 tennis match. The match was watched by 50 million Americans, who tuned in to see whether a 29-year-old female King could beat the retired 55-year-old Riggs. Ferrell, who was last seen in Paramount's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and The Lego Movie, is well known for being a major sports fan and is regularly seen on the sidelines of a USC football game or courtside for a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game. According to insiders, it was his passion for tennis that gave Chernin the idea to pursue him for the role of Riggs. - Variety, 4/3/14.
The Who's Pete Townshend has written his first original song for a television show, composing and performing "It Must Be Done" for FX's The Americans with the show's composer Nathan Barr. It will appear in the episode airing Apr. 30. The song, about three minutes long, appears in a scene for which it was not written. Townshend and Barr initially had the music playing under a scene involving a car being shadowed, which did not fit after the scene was edited. It was moved to a scene that is being described as "sex and murder." "It's really striking," Townshend said of the placement. Prior to The Americans airing, two different versions of Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door" will open and close the season opener of Showtime's Californication on Apr. 13. A re-mix from L.A. producer Philip Stier will open the show and the original version from 1980 will close the episode. - Billboard, 4/4/14.
Musician/composer Arthur Smith, a multi-instrumentalist whose song "Feudin' Banjos" later became known as the popular "Dueling Banjos," passed away in Charlotte, N.C., on Apr. 3 of natural causes, just two days after his 93rd birthday. Mr. Smith wrote "Feudin' Banjos" in 1955 as a banjo instrumental, and the composition famously appeared in the 1972 film Deliverance, for which he was not properly credited -- leading to a lawsuit that eventually yielded him royalties and a songwriting credit. In addition to his musical prowess, Mr. Smith hosted a variety show Carolina Calling on Charlotte's WBTV station, with a nationally syndicated TV show, The Arthur Smith Show, following. The latter was the first of its kind in the country music world. Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison are among the dozens of artists who covered his material at some time. In related news, legendary actor Mickey Rooney died on Apr. 7 at the age of 93. Mr. Rooney's screen credits include 16 Andy Hardy films for MGM among his more than 200 films, and he also appeared opposite Elizabeth Taylor in 1944's National Velvet; as a Navy man in the James Michener adaptation The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954); as Audrey Hepburn's bucktoothed Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961); and as Anthony Quinn's trainer and cutman in Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962). He earned an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a mentally ill man who emerges from an institution and finds love for the first time in the emotional 1981 CBS telefilm Bill, and was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 1983. He landed on the cover of Time magazine in 1940 -- rare for any actor at the time -- and in 1941 was the biggest ticket-selling star for the third straight year, ranking ahead of such icons as Clark Gable, Bob Hope, Gene Autry, Bette Davis and Abbott & Costello. - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, 4/7/14.
Linda Ronstadt's classic 1974 LP Heart Like a Wheel is among 25 recordings selected this year for long term preservation by the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. The recordings are chosen for their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance, and Librarian of Congress James Billington notes that Ronstadt helped define the musical era of the 1970s. She was a tastemaker, Barton said, choosing an eclectic mix of early rock and country music for Heart Like a Wheel that could evoke what was happening in 1974. "You can hold up that album for someone. If you want to get an idea of what's happening, start here," he said. Other seminal sounds of the 20th century being inducted into the registry include Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" and the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown," the library announced on Apr. 2. Meanwhile, Ronstadt is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Apr. 10, and in an interview with the AP said she didn't think about making a hit album with Heart Like a Wheel and was naive about the business of music. "In retrospect, I don't think I realized it at the time how precarious my situation was in terms of my career where if I hadn't had a success with that particular record, I think it would have been game over," she said, adding she was surprised to learn the album had been selected for safekeeping at the library, but that it's nice to have a distinction. "I just wish I had done a little better job singing," she said. "If I listened to that record now, it would probably kill me. I never listen to my own stuff." Ronstadt says her battle with Parkinson's Disease, which has left her unable to sing, will prevent her from attending the upcoming R&RHOF ceremony in Brooklyn. "It wasn't anything I ever thought about. I never thought of myself as a rock' n' roll singer; I sang it, (but) it's just one of the things I sang. I sang a lot of different stuff. I didn't go the last two times I was nominated for a Grammy, either. I don't have anything against it; you just don't do things for those reasons. If you're working for prizes, you're in trouble. There's nothing wrong with it. I don't mind it. It's just not anything I ever gave a thought to." Those confirmed for the ceremony include Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Glenn Frey, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow. The full current lineup of Kiss, who are also scheduled to be inducted this year, will also attend. - AP/Billboard, 4/2/14.
The Rolling Stones have announced they will restart their world tour in May in what will be the group's first concerts since the death of Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott on Mar. 17. The Stones have announced 14 dates across Europe and Israel in May, June and July as part of their "14 On Fire" trek. The itinerary includes a mix of festivals, stadiums and arenas, and kicks off with a May 26 date at Telenor Arena in Oslo, Norway, also visiting Lisbon, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Dusseldorf, Rome, Madrid and Stockholm, wrapping with a July 3 headlining date at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. The band had postponed their tour of Australia and New Zealand after Scott's suicide, however talks are reportedly underway for the band to return to Oz in October/November. - Billboard, 4/1/14.
Stevie Nicks will be honored with the prestigious BMI Icon Award at the organization's 62nd Annual Pop Awards ceremony on May 13 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. The invitation-only ceremony will also recognize the songwriters and publishers of the past year's most performed pop songs in the country. The BMI Pop Song, Songwriter and Publisher of the Year will be named during the ceremony as well as an all-star musical tribute to Nicks. The Fleetwood Mac songstress will join the ranks of previous winners including Paul Simon, Carole King, David Foster, John Fogerty, Kris Kristofferson, The Bee Gees, Willie Nelson, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana and Dolly Parton, among others. "Stevie Nicks is an extraordinary songwriter and pedigree artist of stunning genius and unwavering grace, on and off the stage. She has defined an era of pop and rock culture around the world with her brilliance and unforgettable magnificence," said BMI exec Barbara Cane. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/31/14.
A posthumous Michael Jackson album called Xscape featuring 8 previously unreleased songs will be released on May 13, Epic Records and the Jackson estate has announced. Lead producer of the project was Timabaland, with additional work courtesy of Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome "Jroc" Harmon and John McClain. Executive producer L.A. Reid said in a statement that Jackson "left behind some musical performances that we take great pride in presenting through the vision of music producers that he either worked directly with or expressed strong desire to work with... We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world." Xscape's title track was written and produced by Jackson and Jerkins, who recorded the original with the singer. Epic will release a deluxe edition of the album that will include all the sourced recordings in their original form. Both the standard and Deluxe Editions were made available on Apr. 1 for pre-order on iTunes and elsewhere. In other new release news, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will release their 13th studio album, Hypnotic Eye, this summer. Frontman Tom Petty recently told Rolling Stone that the new LP sounds like his earlier chestnuts Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers from 1976 and You're Gonna Get It from 1978. "I knew I wanted to a do a rock and roll record. We hadn't made a straight hard-rockin' record, from beginning to end, in a long time," Petty said. Petty and the Heartbreakers are expected to announced a tour behind the new album soon. Petty also commented that the band are far from finished. "This band just grows and grows, and that's an incredible gift, I can't see us calling it off," he said. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/31/14.
Elton John and his longtime partner David Furnish will wed in an English registry office in May, according to an interview Furnish gave to a Las Vegas newspaper. He added that the ceremony will be intimate, with their two kids -- Elijah, 3, and Zachary, 16 months -- in attendance along with a few friends. "We don't feel the need to take an extra step legally," Furnish said. "But since were committed for life, we feel it's really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example." Furnish, 51, broke the news Friday at John's 67th birthday party at Fizz Las Vegas at Caesars Palace, where John continues to perform regularly. It became legal for gay couples to marry in the UK on Mar. 28. John and Furnish have been together for two decades. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/31/14.
A two-hour, 23-song tribute to Paul Simon was held at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan on Mar. 31. The career-spaning overview of Simon's 50-plus year career as a songwriter and performer featured such artists as Allen Toussaint, Judy Collins, Bob Mould, Richard Marx and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. The first part of the evening featured an array of Simon & Garfunkel standards, and the second half of the set drew mostly from albums like There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Still Crazy After All These Years. For the encore, all of the evening's performers gathered on stage for a sloppy, joyful take on "The 59th Street Bridge Song." - Rolling Stone, 4/1/14.
'70s TV icon Shirley Jones announced she has some "high-flying" plans for her milestone 80th birthday on Mar. 31 -- her very first skydive. "That's something I wanted to do all my life," the Oscar-winning Jones said on Mar. 28. Jones says she was inspired by former Pres. George H.W. Bush, who made several skydiving jumps on several birthdays, including when he turned 85 in 2009. "When I saw him do it I thought, 'Wow, if he can do this, I can,'" Jones said. Jones will be jumping in tandem with an instructor in Perris, a popular Southern California skydiving spot, according to her husband, comedian Marty Ingels. Jones, who starred in TV's The Partridge Family in the 1970s, gained fame with the 1950s film versions of the Broadway musicals "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel." She won an Oscar for the 1960 drama Elmer Gantry. But Shirley says she isn't too thrilled to be entering her eighth decade. "I'm not very happy about" turning 80, she said. "The number scares me to death. I don't even like to say it. Eighty years old, it can't be." - AP, 3/29/14.