Bette Midler was awarded a Best Performance by an Actress Tony for her starring role in "Hello, Dolly!" at the 71st annual Tony Awards on June 11, 2017 in New York City. During her lengthy acceptance speech, the diva was given the hint that it was time to wrap up with play-off music, to which she responded, "Shut that crap off!" Midler went on to praise the "Hello Dolly!" as a production that "has the ability to lift your spirits in these terrible, terrible times." "Hello, Dolly!" won four awards in all, including Best Revival of a Musical. - Billboard, 6/11/17..... Herb Alpert has recorded a jazzy take of the Beatles' "Michelle" which will be included in his upcoming album Music Vol. 1, which hits stores on July 28. When Alpert and his '60s band The Tijuana Brass played London in 1966, their concert was promoted by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and Alpert remains a professed Beatles fan. "When people ask me, 'Do you regret anything,' I was thinking, man, in 1962, after A&M (Records) started, the Beatles were hunting for a record company," Alpert says. "They were on VeeJay for a while and I guess nobody really was coming to the party. I was thinking, 'Man, if I had flown over to London just to see if we could do something...' but the timing was off. I didn't get them at that moment. I retrospect you think, 'Man, they were available...'" Music Vol. 1 includes a variety of other covers, including standards such as "Unforgettable," "Cheek To Cheek" and "C'est Si Bon," a new version of the Tijuana Brass' "Flamingo" and a rendition of Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." The set includes one original, "Sugarfoot." "My excitement has accelerated over the years," Alpert notes. "I'm getting more out of the trumpet with less effort. I'm just having a good time doing it, so I'm a lucky guy in that respect." - Billboard, 6/9/17...... An estimated 14,000 fans turned out to see Aretha Franklin perform a headline concert in her hometown of Detroit at the finale of the three-day Detroit Music Weekend festival on June 10. The generous 110-minute performance surveyed much of the Queen of Soul's 60-year recording career over the course of a dozen songs, including her classic soul period with "Chain of Fools," newer material including Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," and a vamped "Freeway of Love" that turned into a soaring gospel testimony. The previous day, Franklin was feted with a tribute concert -- which she was unable to attend for health reasons -- that featured Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, Kid Rock, Ariana Grande and others. Franklin, now 75, has hinted that the Detroit performance may be her last in her hometown. "It's still moving in that direction. It's winding down," she told Billboard recently. "There's a warranty on everything. Fifty-four years of traveling and flying... can be very tiring. I'm not happy, exactly, about doing something that you've been doing for 54 years that you really, really love. But nothing lasts forever." Although considering retiring from live performing, Franklin says she's hoping to release a duet album early in 2018 with contributions from such artists as Wonder, Elton John and Lionel Richie. She is continuing to develop a biopic and has a museum and nightclub/restaurant in mind as well. A street in Detroit was also renamed in Franklin's honor during the festival. - Billboard, 6/11/17...... Phil Collins has been forced to postpone a June 8 concert on his Not Dead Yet tour at London's Royal Albert Hall after suffering a serious head injury in his hotel room. Collins, 66, was preparing to play the fourth gig in a five-night run at the venerable venue when he slipped and fell the previous evening. "Phil suffers from 'drop foot' as a result of a back operation which makes it difficult to walk," read a statement on his Facebook page. "He rose in the middle of the night to go to the toilet and slipped in his hotel room, hitting his head in the fall on a chair. He was taken to hospital where he had stitches for a severe gash on his head close to his eye and is recovering well. He will be kept under observation for 24 hours." The former Genesis drummer/vocalist and solo star launched his first tour in over a decade earlier in 2017. The statement said he will reschedule the Royal Albert gigs for Nov. 26 and 27 and is planning to continue his tour on June 11 with a gig in Cologne before heading back to London for a headlining gig at BST Hyde Park on June 30. - Billboard, 6/8/17...... A hearing is set for the third week in June on a motion by the estate of Prince to void its $31 million deal with Universal Music Group for the rights to the late pop star's "vault" of unreleased tunes and other recordings, due to potential conflicts with Warner Music Group's rights. In a flurry of court filings earlier in June, Prince's eldest half sister Sharon Nelson objected to the proposed rescission of the deal on grounds that it would harm the estate's business reputation. UMG is also seeking a refund of the $31 million it paid the estate for a recorded-music package. Meanwhile, a new charitable foundation is being launched in Prince's honor. The nonprofit PRN (Prince Rogers Nelson) Alumni Foundation -- whose board of directors is comprised of former Paisley Park employees -- is dedicated to aiding the various causes and charities that Prince supported over the years. - Billboard, 6/9/17...... An upcoming book entitled Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life will explore the spirituality of Bob Dylan. Author Scott Marshall says it's "tough to ignore the impact of Dylan's Jewish roots and the impact that Jesus has had on Dylan -- they're both a part of his story." Marshall continued: "He just turned 76, seemingly past retirement age, but he's still on the road and in the studio. And last October there was plenty of controversy when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Trust me when I say it's a similar situation going on when it comes to his spiritual journey over the decades: plenty of intriguing stories, competing voices, humor, conflict. Dylan sings and speaks when he feels like it. When he feels like going silent, he does that." Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life will drop on June 20. - Billboard, 6/8/17...... Lawyers representing Led Zeppelin have asked a 9th circuit appeals court to consider forcing the plaintiffs in the 2016 "Stairway to Heaven" trial to pay for their litigation fees in the case, in which a jury found guitarist found guitarist Jimmy Page did not copy the song's iconic riff from a 1968 instrumental piece by Spirit called "Taurus." On June 2, Led Zeppelin attorney Peter Anderson filed a brief that argued that an appeal of the verdict filed by attorneys for late Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe's estate "has absolutely no merit." Anderson also asserts, "In addition, and including because Skidmore continues to advance frivolous arguments and misstate the law ... defendants should recover their costs and attorneys' fees on appeal." - Billboard, 6/8/17...... A 2016 Carole King concert filmed at Hyde Park in London will be screened at about 600 movie theaters across the U.S. for one night only on July 11. The concert was King's first U.K. performance in 27 years, where she performed her iconic album Tapestry in its entirety for the first time ever. It includes guest appearances from such friends and collaborators as David Crosby, Lou Adler, Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar, Graham Nash, Elton John and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The screening will also feature an interview with King, and tickets for Carole King: Tapestry -- Captured Live at Hyde Park London are available online at www.FathomEvents.com and at participating theater box offices. - Billboard, 6/8/17...... Queen guitarist Brian May has released a new video detailing and promoting the forthcoming Queen Monopoly game which substitutes properties for iconic Queen moments. The Queen Monopoly game has been in the works for a year in a half, which May compares to the time-frame of making an album. May says in the video: "You've got your band on the road and you have a career, and all the milestones that happen in real life will happen to you. All the good stuff and all the bad stuff, too." The 18-minute-long video also contains a comprehensive discussion of the game rules, an unboxing of the game pieces and board and explains how this collaboration came to be. Queen's Monopoly will be available in the U.K. beginning June 23. - New Musical Express, 6/8/17...... Country music songwriter/producer Norro Wilson, whose work includes Charlie Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl" and "A Very Special Love Song," George Jones' "A Picture of Me (Without You)," Tammy Wynette's "He Loves Me All The Way," and Charley Pride's "Never Been So Loved (In All My Life)," passed away on June 8 after a recent stay in hospice care. He was 79. The Scottsville, Ky. native was a Grammy winner who began his music career as a Gospel singer, performing in the group The Southlanders, and began to record more often as a solo artist in the late 1960s. His own country chart appearances included "Only You" and 1970's "Do It To Someone You Love," which peaked at No. 20. In the 1980s, Wilson stayed busy producing records, and working in the A&R department at RCA. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame, and was also a 2008 inductee into the Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame. - Billboard, 6/9/17...... Ed Victor, an A-list literary agent who brokered recent bestselling memoirs by the likes of Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Andrew Lloyd Webber, died on June 7 in London of a heart attack. He was 77. Other clients include Pete Townshend, U2, Carl Bernstein and Candice Bergen. A New York City native, Victor moved to Britain in the early 1960s after receiving a scholarship from the University of Cambridge. He attempted to start a newspaper and was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf and at Weidenfeld & Nicolson before launching his own literary agency in 1976. - Billboard, 6/9/17...... Actor Adam West, who rose to fame portraying Batman in the 1960s TV series that lifted the Caped Crusader into pop culture consciousness, died on June 10 after a "short but brave battle with leukemia," according to a post on Facebook by his family. He was 88. Mr. West, who played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults, initially chaffed at being typecast after Batman went off the air after three seasons, but in later years he admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character's wide appeal. Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Wash., Mr. West moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced. He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla, and after serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West and began appearing on a number of television series, including Bonanza, Perry Mason and Bewitched. Mr. West initially chaffed at being typecast after Batman went off the air after three seasons, but in later years he admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character's wide appeal. More recently, he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running Family Guy series. Mr. West is survived by his third wife, Marcelle, and six children. - AP, 6/10/17.
The remastered 50th anniversary edition of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band re-entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending June 1, coming in at No. 3 with 75,000 equivalent album units sold. The No. 3 ranking is Sgt. Pepper's' highest since the Dec. 30, 1967-dated chart, when it also placed at No. 3, and is also the highest rank for a Beatles album in more than 16 years. The album also helped the legendary quartet re-enter the Billboard Artist 100 chart at a new peak of No. 5. The Artist 100 chart blends album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction. The band previously peaked at No. 14 on that chart on Oct. 1, 2016. - Billboard, 6/7/17...... Gregg Allman was laid to rest on June 3 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Ga., near the U.S. "Highway 41" that was immortalized in the Allman Brothers Band hit "Ramblin' Man." The legendary Southern rocker was buried near his late brother Duane Allman in the same cemetery where, according to Allman, they used to write songs among the tombstones. Thousands of fans lined the streets of Macon to honor Allman, as a bagpiper played a somber tune. Family and friends, including musicians who played in the ABB over the years, gathered on a hillside overlooking his grave, which is shaded by huge oak trees. Many shared memories of concerts, and some blared the band's songs from their cars and trucks. One carried a sign saying "You made our soul shine. We'll miss you brother Gregg." Before the burial, a private funeral service was held inside a small chapel with mourners, including Allman's ex-wife Cher, filing past as five black stretch limousines waited outside for the short trip to the cemetery. Allman's famous fellow Georgian, former U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter, also mourned the keyboardist who drew large crowds to campaign events during his 1976 presidential race. Allman died May 27 at the age of 69 of liver cancer at his home near Savannah, Ga. Allman's manager, Michael Lehman, told the AP that the night before Allman passed away, he was able to listen to some of the tracks being produced for his final album, Southern Blood, which is scheduled to be released in the fall. "He was looking forward to sharing it with the world and that dream is going to be realized," Lehman said. "I told him that his legacy is going to be protected, and the gift that he gave to the music world will continue to live on forever." On June 6, Allman was also honored with an all-star tribute during the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., which opened with a performance of ABB songs by Derek Trucks, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean and Darius Rucker. - AP, 6/3/17...... Meanwhile, Cher has confirmed on Twitter that a Broadway musical based on her life is coming to The Great White Way in 2018. On June 6, Cher tweeted, "Just got off phone w/Writer & Director of musical. There will be performance in theatre with actors, dancers, singer It'll be on Broadway 2018." Jason Moore, who previously directed the stage musical "Avenue Q" as well as the popular a cappella film Pitch Perfect, is directing the show, which is based on the singer's life and career, according to reports from the New York Post. It features a book by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), with songs selected from Cher's greatest hits. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/6/17...... In related news, a new Meat Loaf musical opened on June 5 in London's West End at the Coliseum. "Jim Steinman's Bat Out of Hell -- The Musical" had its world premiere earlier in 2017 at the Opera House in Manchester, England, and is scheduled to open in Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre on Oct. 25. The musical is directed by Jay Scheib and stars Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington as Strat and Raven, respectively. Originally conceived by Steinman for the stage in 1975 and performed once under the name Neverland, in 1977, the musical is about some rebellious teens in post-apocalyptic Obsidian, ruled by the tyrannical Falco. Strat falls in love with the leader's daughter, Raven, and sets out to rescue her. - Billboard, 6/5/17...... A new Prince musical will be touring the UK in 2018. The creators of Michael Jackson-themed musical "Thriller Live" are behind the show, where Prince's greatest hits will be turned into a musical. The show will be taken to theatergoers across the UK and will include hits "Raspberry Beret," "Kiss," "When Doves Cry," "Little Red Corvette" and titular track "Purple Rain." A cast of 26 will tour the show, with dates kicking off in Bromley on Feb. 1 before heading to Manchester, Plymouth, Birmingham and Blackpool. There will also be dates in Edinburgh, Hull, Ipswitch and Belfast. - New Musical Express, 6/4/17...... Chicago founding member Jimmy Pankow and his bandmate Robert Lamm are scheduled to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 15. Pankow, the songwriter and trombone virtuoso who's responsible for threading Chicago's signature horns throughout five decades of music, says that "inspiration is a constant thing" for his own songs, which include the smash "Just You 'n' Me." "You can be inspired with an idea in any given moment... There have also been songs in my catalog that are instrumentally challenging for the band and for the horn section, and I enjoy that as well," Pankow says. He added that "there's a few really cool possibilities for the next chapter for Chicago that I'm not at liberty to discuss at the moment." Chicago is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a band in 2017, and was recently inducted in the 2016 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 6/7/17...... Meanwhile, Motown legend Berry Gordy, Jr. will also be inducted with the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame class on June 15. The 87-year-old Gordy, who deferred his induction from last year, says that he's most proud of "all the artists, writers, musicians and producers, who had so much faith and trust in me and the courage to follow me down roads that didn't even exist... They are the people who worked, laughed, cried, lived and died to help make the Motown legacy what it is today, and I'll always be grateful to them." - Billboard, 6/5/17...... The site of the legendary 1969 Woodstock music festival has been given national historic recognition after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on June 6 that Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in the Hudson Valley town of Bethel has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Cuomo says the festival that drew nearly half a million people to Max Yasgur's dairy farm was a "pivotal moment in both New York and American history," and the recognition will preserve the landmark for future generations. Bethel Woods Center CEO Darlene Fedun says the recognition furthers educational and cultural initiatives at the museum and surrounding grounds that embody the "spirit of the '60s." The 800-acre Bethel Woods campus is 90 miles north of New York City. - AP, 6/7/17...... Bob Dylan finally delivered his Nobel Prize lecture in the form of a 30-minute recording on June 4. The iconic singer/songwriter accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature while in Sweden back in April, but did not deliver the lecture that was required in order to claim his 8 million kroner (£725,000) prize money. Dylan traced the literary and musical influences behind his work in the speech, among them Buddy Holly (who Dylan saw shortly before his death), and the classic novels Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front and The Odyssey. In conclusion, Dylan stated the following: "Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They're meant to be sung, not read. The words in Shakespeare's plays were meant to be acted on the stage. Just as lyrics in songs are meant to be sung, not read on a page. And I hope some of you get the chance to listen to these lyrics the way they were intended to be heard: in concert or on record or however people are listening to songs these days. I return once again to Homer [character in The Odyssey], who says, 'Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.'" Dylan was announced as the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in Oct. 2016, but did not acknowledge as much for over two weeks. He did not attend the prize giving ceremony back in December, with Patti Smith performing in his stead. - New Musical Express, 6/5/17...... Barbra Streisand's "The Music The Mem'ries The Magic Tour" has grossed over $53 million after wrapping in May, with an additional $6.8 million in revenue added after the diva played two sold out final concerts in the New York metropolitan area -- at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 4 and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on May 6. The tour initially concluded in December 2016 with $46 million earned from a fall trek through North American cities, but in February, Streisand announced two further May dates. In total, Streisand's tour sold 203,423 tickets at 16 shows in 14 North American cities. The diva launched the trek in support of her last album, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, which topped the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. - Billboard, 6/7/17...... David Bowie's widow Iman posted a tribute to her late husband on Twitter on June 6, what would have been the couple's 25th wedding anniversary. The supermodel posted a photo of Bowie kissing her forehead that included the words, "I would walk forever, just to be in your arms again." She tweeted, "June 6th #BowieForever," with the picture. Bowie and Iman officially married in Switzerland in Ap.1992, but held a church ceremony in Italy on June 6 of that year. They had one daughter together, who's now 16. Bowie died in January 2016 at age 69, following a battle with cancer. - AP, 6/7/17...... To mark the 50th anniversary of the worldwide success of Englebert Humperdinck's 1967 hit "Release Me," Decca/UMe released a new Humperdinck compilation Engelbert 50 in the U.S. on June 2. The two-CD collection includes Humperdinck's long list of hits as well as two new songs. "Release Me" is also notable for spending six weeks at No. 1 in the U.K., and preventing the Beatles from hitting the top spot with one of their greatest double-sided singles, "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever." When asked if he ever discussed his triumph over "Penny Lane" with any of the Beatles, Humperdinck says, "When I met Paul [McCartney] and Ringo [Starr], they were too much the gentlemen to even bring it up." Humperdinck added that he heard Ray Price's version of the song after he recorded his. "[Ray] used to tell his audiences, 'This used to be my song'... He always mentioned my name in his shows," Humperdinck says. Asked if he ever believed he'd one day be celebrating 50 years in the music industry, Humperdinck said: "If you don't put out material that's going to last, you're not going to last. Over the years, I sold over 150 million records. My music has been my passport to the world, and it's been amazing for me. - Billboard, 6/2/17...... Actor Roger Smith, best known for his role as Jeff Spencer in the TV detective show 77 Sunset Strip and later the husband/manager of Ann-Margaret, died at a Los Angeles hospital on June 4 after battling myasthenia gravis, a long-term neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness. He was 84. Mr. Smith first began his acting career in the 1950s after being spotted by James Cagney, who put him forward for various movie roles including his part in 1957 film Man of a Thousand Faces. Mr. Smith landed his part in 77 Sunset Strip in 1958, and continued on the ABC series until 1963. The program, which focused on the work of two private detectives, played by Smith and co-star Efrem Zimbalist Jr., is widely considered to have been a game changer in reviving the crime drama television genre. It also lead to a host of spin-offs, including Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6 and Bourbon Street Beat. Mr. Smith is also known for his part on NBC series Mister Roberts, which ran from 1965 to 1966. Mr. Smith married Ann-Margaret in 1967, and he later quit the acting business to manage her career. The couple had no children, with the actress admitting in the 1980s that she had unsuccessfully tried to become pregnant for over a decade. - WENN.com, 6/7/17...... Comedian Jerry Lewis is recovering after being treated at a Las Vegas hospital for a urinary tract infection, according to his publicist. The 91-year-old Lewis was admitted to the hospital on June 2 so that he could get antibiotics immediately to treat the condition. His publicist says he is doing fine and is expected to be released shortly. Lewis has dealt with a variety of health issues in the past, including hospitalizations in 2012 for his blood sugar and in 2011 for being overly tired. - AP, 6/5/17.