The just-wrapped Journey and Def Leppard co-headlining summer tour played to over 1 million fans, good for the second spot in Billboard's Hot Tours roundup for the week ending Oct. 20. Journey and Def Leppard's extensive tour played 56 dates across the U.S., plus two shows in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. The tour grossed $97.1 million, with such classic rock acts as Peter Frampton, The Pretenders, Cheap Trick and Foreigner opening whenever stadium capacity exceeded 30,000. Other '70s acts making the top 10 in the survey were Queen + Adam Lambert (No. 5), Paul Simon (No. 7), and Jeff Lynne's ELO (No. 8). - Billboard, 10/18/18...... SiriusXM radio announced on Oct. 18 that the final three episodes of their Tom Petty radio show will air this fall. Part one of the pre-recorded series, which features Petty's own selections from his music library and his anecdotes, will air on the late rocker's birthday, Oct. 20. Parts two and three will premiere Nov. 19 and Dec. 17, respectively. The episodes feature music from Al Green, Neil Young, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and more. - Billboard, 10/18/18...... Bob Dylan's classic 1975 LP Blood on the Tracks is being adapted into a 1970s-based movie, according to Luca Guadagnino, the director of the Oscar-nominated film Call Me By Your Name. Guadagnino told The New Yorker magazine that a producer on Call Me By Your Name has acquired the film rights to the album, and that he agreed to direct it screenwriter Richard LaGravenese agreed to write it, which he did. Guadagnino says he and LaGravenese have invented characters for a story set in the '70s that draw on the album's central themes. Meanwhile, on Nov. 2 Dylan will be releasing a deluxe box set of Blood on the Tracks, More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14, featuring every take from the record. - Billboard, 10/15/18...... Todd Rundgren held his annual Toddstock festival on Oct. 13 in a picturesque setting deep in the redwoods of Northern California. Scheduled activities at the five-day event includind morning vocal warm-ups with Rundgren's wife and singer Michele Rundgren (of The Intoxicats), afternoon painting with Prairie Prince (of The Tubes) in the art barn, and a ukulele jam session with Greg Hawkes (of The Cars). The famously fan accessible Rundgren mingled with the crowd throughout Toddstock, spending time with the participants and accompanying a group on a tour of a local cannabis farm. On Oct. 15, Rundgren performed an unpredictable set that included a cover of Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense & Peppermints," Weezer's "Hash Pipe," and The Call's "The Walls Came Down" alongside tight versions of his own classics "I Saw The Light," "Love of the Common Man," and "Lucky Guy." Toddstock was born out of Rundgren's appreciation for his uniquely devoted fanbase: in 2008, he generously invited fans to camp out in his backyard in Hawaii to celebrate his 60th birthday for the first ever gathering. The tradition continued five years later, when Rundgren celebrated his 65th with fans in Nottaway, Louisiana. This year, for his milestone 70th birthday, Rundgren spread the love over four events in Virginia, Scotland, California and Australia. Rundgren was recently nominated for the first time ever for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and those in attendance were closely monitoring the Hall of Fame standings and reminding each other to vote over breakfast biscuits. - Billboard, 10/18/18...... Gospel/rock singer Mavis Staples of The Staples Singers fame has scored her first solo No. 1 song on Billboard Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart with her contribution to "Nina Cried Power" by Irish singer/songwriter Hozier. Staples first placed a solo song on the chart with "I Have Learned to Do Without You" in 1970. Staples has also appeared on the chart as a featured artist in songs by Natalie Merchant, Arcade Fire and Benjamin Booker. - Billboard, 10/18/18...... The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has revealed to the UK's Daily Mirror paper that he was made aware that he was the father of three children he never knew about after his 50th birthday. Daltrey, 74, says the children were born in the period between his divorce from first wife Jackie and marriage to his second wife Heather. "They all came into my life after my 50th birthday," Daltrey said. "It was great -- it's all worked out. They stay in touch and they're close, so that's great. I've tried to do my best about a situation that couldn't change because it happened a long time ago," he added. Daltrey is also the father of five other children: 55-year-old Simon Daltrey from his first wife Jackie; 50-year-old Mathias Daltrey born to Swedish model Elisabeth Aronsson; and Rosie, 46, Willow, 43, and Jamie, 37, with his second wife, Heather Taylor. - New Musical Express, 10/15/18...... Ozzy Osbourne has announced that he is rescheduling four U.S. dates on his "No More Tours 2" tour after canceling the final gigs on his North American leg due to an infection that required surgery on his right hand. Those four dates, which were originally slated for early October, have now been moved to July 2019. The dates include a July 20 concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas; a July 23 show at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, Calif.; a July 27 concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.; and a July 29 show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Osbourne underwent hand surgery on Oct. 6 at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and though he was expected to return to the stage the same week, his doctors later said that the injury might require further surgery to treat multiple infections in his right hand. - Billboard, 10/18/18...... '70s soul singer Chaka Khan has been named grand marshall of the 2019 Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, Calif., for the 130th Rose Parade on New Year's Day. The "Tell Me Something Good" singer will ride through the city and participate in the celebration before the 105th Rose Bowl game, which will be a college football playoff semifinal. Khan, who sells hwer own line of gourmet chocolates called Chakalates, said she was honored to be chosen as the parade's grand marshall. - AP 10/17/18...... A 29-year-old British man has been arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a statue of David Bowie in Buckinghamshire, England, in the town of Aylesbury, where Bowie debuted his iconic persona Ziggy Stardust in 1972. The incident marks the second time the life-size bronze statue, titled "Earthly Messenger," has been vandalized since it was first dedicadted in March 2018. It features several of Bowie's personas (with Ziggy Stardust in the center) and speakers that play his music every hour, and was funded through local grants and a crowdfunding campaign organized by music promoter David Stopps, who issued a statement saying that the artwork will be "restored to its former glory as soon as possible. - Billboard, 10/17/18...... Bruce Springsteen's inspirational 2002 track "The Rising" is being used in a powerful new get-out-the-vote video for the Serve America PAC. The video, entitled "Women Rising," features a number of female candidates, including veterans of the U.S. armed forces, who are running for office for the first time. The video, published just a few days ago, has already gained attention from celebrities like Amy Schumer, Chelsea Handler, Katie Couric, Bette Midler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Debra Messing, and the Boss himself gave permission for his "The Rising" song to be used in the background of the clip ahead of the crucial Nov. 6 election. - Billboard, 10/15/18...... Paul McCartney participated in a very candid interview with iHeartRadio's Inside the Studio program on Oct. 16 in which he about his long musical journey with the Beatles and secrets of his emblematic career. Sir Paul insisted that despite being one of the most recognizeable rock stars in the world, he lives a normal life and enjoys just walking down streets. "I walk down streets. They're for walking down," he said. "I like to get out and about and people say, 'Oh no, you've got to have acres of security behind you and stuff,' but I like to just get out, just so as you feel like yourself, instead of like a rock star. So I like to just get out like I always did when I was a kid. It keeps me sane. I've got quite a lot of freedom, actually, and I value it," he added. On the subject of the Beatles, Paul commented: "The story sticks that John was the dark one, I was the light one, George was the mystic one, you know. To some degree that's true, but we each had aspects of all those kind of forces, and Ringo too." - Billboard, 10/16/18...... In other Beatles-related news, an acoustic demo recording of the band's 1968 song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has been officially released for the first time. The demo, recorded on July 25, 1968 by its author George Harrison, features George issuing instructions and singing lines that were cut from the track's final version, including: "I look from the wings at the play you are staging / As I'm sitting here doing nothing but aging." It will be included on the upcoming deluxe box set re-release of The Beatles ("The White Album"), which will celebrate the landmark record's 50th anniversary. - New Musical Express, 10/18/18...... The Royalty Exchange, an online marketplace that turns music loyalties into assets for investment, announced on Oct. 15 that it had completed a private syndicate offer for Dire Straits' former manager Ed Bicknell's portion of their catalog. "There's an entire generation of music industry veterans like myself and my colleagues who are looking for smart ways to organize our finances," said Bicknell in a statement. "For many of us, the royalties we earn are our most important asset. So it's important that we treat them with care, not just for ourselves as individuals, but for our families." - Billboard, 10/15/18...... Paul Stanley of Kiss said on Oct. 15 that Kiss's upcoming farewell tour (its second) could including former members performing with the current members onstage for one last time. Speaking to an AP reporter in Atlantic City where he was promoting his artwork, Stanley said the band's "End of the Road" 2019 world tour could include former members. Although Stanley did not single out anyone by name, the living ex-members of Kiss include Ace Frehley, Vinnie Vincent, Bruce Kulick and drummer Peter Criss. Since the tour was announced in September, Kiss fans have been clamoring for a farewell that includes former members. "I wouldn't discount any possibilities," said Stanley. "I learned long ago to never say never. Would I negate the possibility of former members making appearances? Absolutely not. I don't know in what capacity." Stanley then praised the current lineup of Kiss, which includes himself, bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer, as "the crux and the core of the band on tour." As for Stanley's art, he says he started painting several years ago while in the midst of a divorce. "Anyone who's been through a divorce probably spent a lot of time either banging their head on the wall or crying a lot," he said. "It's a very tumultuous time. My best friend said to me, 'You should paint.' I never painted. But my life is pretty much built on the premise of 'why not?' instead of 'why?' I had no idea how or what I was going to do. And I started painting." Stanley's pieces include self-portraits, paintings of fellow Kiss band members, as well as Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, and more abstract art. He has sold over $10 million worth of art through the Wentworth Gallery in the past five years. - AP, 10/15/18...... In other Kiss news, Gene Simmons revealed in a recent interview with OK! magazine that he hates performing the classic Kiss disco-influenced song "I Was Made For Lovin' You" live, despite its popularity. Simmons said that when bandmate Paul Stanley first introduced him to the track, which featured on the band's 1979 album Dynasty, he was very taken by Stanley's opening lyrics, but then became very disappointed when his part in performing the song was revealed to him. "You're killing me. I'm going to sing like my grandmother?," he says he told Stanley when informed he would be singing the catchy chorus melody. "I hate playing that song today," Simmons added. "Stadiums full of people jumping up and down like biblical locusts. They go nuts jumping up and down and I'm going, 'Do, do, do, do, do, do, kill me now.'" - New Musical Express, 10/18/18...... Billy Joel announced on Oct. 15 that he will perform a concert at London's iconic Wembley Stadium on June 22, 2019. The show will mark the Piano Man's first performance in the U.K. in over three years, and is the only U.K. date he has scheduled for next year. Tickets for the concert go on sale to the general public on Oct. 19, 9:00 am GMT, and will be available through the Wembley Stadium official website. - Billboard, 10/15/18...... A reboot of the 1976-1985 sitcom Alice is reportedly in the works, with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno, Tully) and Liz Astrof (2 Broke Girls, The King of Queens) writing and executive-producing the new sitcom. The original Alice, which starred Linda Lavin in the title role, told the story of a widow who moves cross country with her teenage son, and starts her life over as a waitress in a roadside diner in Phoenix. It won a total eight Golden Globes, including Best Television Series and Best Actress for Lavin, and was nominated for three Emmys during its run. Cody and Astrof's reboot will change Alice's backstory from widow to divorcé. - CominSoon.net/Deadline.com, 10/18/18...... The Canadian rock band Glass Tiger will be performing at the Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park in North London on Oct. 19. The band's London show will be followed by the Rockingham Festival at Nottingham Trent University on Oct. 21. To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, earlier in 2019 Glass Tiger, best known for its 1986 hit "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)," released a new album entitled 31 which includes two new songs and re-imagined recordings of all their hit singles. - Noble PR, 10/18/18.
Paul Simon was surprised by the cast and crew of NBC's Saturday Night Live on Oct. 13 with a birthday party celebrating his 77th birthday. After performing "Can't Run But" off his 1990 LP The Rhythm of the Saints and an exceptionally moving rendition of the Simon & Garfunkel classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Simon was presented him with a birthday cake by the cast and crew at the end of the show when it came time for everyone to take a bow. Simon has been a regular on SNL since the show's inception in 1976, having hosted the show himself (on its second-ever episode) and been the featured musical guest several times over the course of the show's 43 years. Simon recently wrapped his "farewell tour" in his native Queens, N.Y. - Billboard, 10/14/18...... Former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham filed a lawsuit on Oct. 9 in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking damages against his former bandmates for lost wages from the band's current tour and more. Buckingham alleges Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie and John McVie conspired to kick him out of the band without just cause, and estimates his earnings from the current Fleetwood Mac tour would have been upwards of $14 million. While the common belief is Buckingham was ousted from the band because he refused to tour with them this year and instead wanted to focus on his solo career, in his suit the musician claims that is untrue. While Buckingham, 69, admits to asking his bandmates to tour later in the year so he might release and promote his own album first, he says he conceded to their timeline when they refused to budge. He also claims he was willing to accommodate Nicks' demand the band perform no more than three shows a week. And even though he was looking to fill the rest of his schedule with solo performances on an accompanying side tour, he states the Fleetwood Mac tour would have been his priority. Buckingham says he was booted unceremoniously and without warning just days after Fleetwood Mac's performance at the 2018 MusiCares ceremony in January. In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Buckingham said he was informed he was being fired from the band during a phone call with Fleetwood Mac manager Irving Azoff, who told him "Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again." Buckingham claims Nicks took issue with him during the MusiCares performance, saying that he "smirked" during her speech and had an "outburst" during their introduction music. In the lawsuit, Buckingham states that, "After 43 years of camaraderie and friendship, not a single member of Fleetwood Mac has returned any of Buckingham's phone calls to provide him with an explanation for his purported expulsion from Fleetwood Mac." Ironically, the band did postpone the tour to accommodate Buckingham's replacements, guitarist Mike Campbell and vocalist Neil Finn. On Oct. 12, a rep for Fleetwood Mac issued a statement saying the band "strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr. Buckingham's complaint and looks forward to their day in court" and that they've retained attorney Dan Petrocelli to handle the case. - Billboard, 10/11/18...... Elton John paid homage to late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin during his concert in Franklin's hometown of Detroit at the Little Caesars Arena on Oct. 12 by telling the audience during his introduction of his 1970 single "Border Song" that his song publisher told him one day in the early '70s that someone had covered the song. "We asked who. They said Aretha Franklin," John recalled. "Can you imagine two young writers, white boys from England...We were gobsmacked. In fact, we nearly pissed our pants in sheer delight at the fact the woman we loved so much then and grew to love even more afterward would actually record one of our songs." Franklin recorded "Border Song" for her Young, Gifted and Black album in 1972, billing it as "Border Song (Holy Moses)." Franklin's version climbed to No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, 55 points higher than John's original recording. John also told the crowd that he and Franklin eventually became friends who happened to share the same birthday (March 25). "I loved her so much," he said. "I used to call her on her birthday sometimes and wish her a happy birthday, to say thank you -- not just for being Aretha, but for every piece of music she made that inspired me." John, who is currently in the midst of his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, also dedicated the latest episode of his "Rocket Hour" Apple Music Beats 1 show to Detroit, playing music by Franklin, Bob Seger and other famous Detroit musicians and interviewing Detroit's own Eminem. Meanwhile, the auction house Bonhams has announced it is putting the handwritten lyrics of Elton's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin for John's 1971 breakthrough hit "Your Song" up for auction on Nov. 19 in Manhattan. Taupin once recalled that he was waiting for John on a London rooftop when he wrote the now-famous line: "I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss." After getting the verses, it took John just 10 minutes to come up with the melody. Its 1970 release helped launch John and Taupin into stardom. Bonham's estimates the lyrics, which are currently owned by Taupin's ex-wife Maxine Taupin could sell for a sum "in the six-figure range." - Billboard/AP, 10/13/18...... Roberta Flack was honored by the Jazz Foundation of America on Oct. 13 with its lifetime acheivement award during the organization's annual loft party at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Flack sang her first public performance in at least a year, after suffering a stroke more than two years ago and suffering a collapse that led to a brief hospitalization for the 81-year-old singer earlier in 2018. Participants included Flack's longtime friend, Valerie Simpson, along with Macy Gray. "I'm very excited that they want to give me an award, and I'm excited about the cause of the award, and the whole thing. I'm hyped about it," Flack said before the event. Flack also lauded the Jazz Foundation, which provides assistance of all types to musicians who have suffered setbacks, whether they're medical, financial or both. "It seems like we get a lot of musicians who don't need help, who do it themselves or do it on their own, and that's not true, that's not true, they need a lot of help," she said. "I'm happy to help." - AP, 10/12/18...... Britain's Official Charts Company announced on Oct. 13 that the Beatles' 1967 psychedelic masterpice Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most popular British album in history. The OCC based their conclusion on physical sales, downloads and streams in the U.K. Sgt. Pepper's edged out Adele's monster hit album 21, which came in second, and the 1995 Oasis album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? Meanwhile in other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono released a minimalist cover of her late husband John Lennon's "Imagine" on Oct. 9 to mark what would have been John's 78th birthday. The stripped-back "Imagine" is taken from Ono's forthcoming album Warzone which drops on Oct. 19. "'Imagine' was the only one I was totally nervous about, because everyone in the world knows about it and I could be criticised, but I thought it was very important to do it and my nervousness must be secondary... John and I created a lot together and he would be very happy that I did it," Ono remarked. In 2017, Ono finally received a co-songwriting credit for "Imagine" more than 45 years after its original release. The album's title track was the first single released from the LP in July. Warzone follows a new six-disc box set in celebration of Lennon's Imagine LP which was released on Oct. 5. It features a never-before-heard version of "Imagine" as well as scores of previously unheard demos, rare outtakes and a new track-by-track documentary which explores the journey of the songs from demo to master recording. - AP/New Musical Express, 10/13/18...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney has just released a music video for "Come On to Me," the third single from his new album Egypt Station. The video first focuses on a bored security guard who is lounging in his office. He glares at the speaker in the roof playing a lackluster song and decides to jam to "Come On to Me" instead. He dramatically dances through the department store, lip-synching to the song and moving his arms and swinging his hips. A dog walker slowly joins in, bopping his head in time with the music, and the pair jams to the track together in the humorous conclusion. - Billboard, 10/10/18...... Steve Perry has revealed why he decided to retreat from the spotlight for nearly 25 years until the release of his new album Traces, saying it was out of necessity even though he knew his fans would be disappointed. "It was something I had to do because I had lost my passion for the music that I love so much and I wasn't gonna just keep going with some empty sort of connection," the former Journey lead singer says. "I didn't know if it was gonna come back, to be honest with you. So, I just kept going and then years go by and the further away I got from it, the more I thought I'll just keep going that way." Perry also explained how his late girlfriend Kellie Nash, who passed away from breast cancer, inspired his new album, saying, "I purposefully walked away years ago and the easiest thing for me to do was to not let my heart experience anything remotely close to trying to touch that emotional side of me." Perry says that Nash changed his life: "I found myself with not only just a broken heart but an open heart. And from that came rock and roll. Came happy songs about reunions and also some couple of loss songs." Perry added that after recording the new LP he needs a vacation, and after that, he will start thinking about planning some live shows. - Billboard, 10/12/18...... The estate of Prince has asked Pres. Donald Trump to cease and desist from using the late rock star's signature tune "Purple Rain" at Trump campaign rallies. A statement retweeted on behalf of the estate by Prince's half-brother Omarr Baker on Oct. 12 said, "The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or the White House to use Prince's songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately." "Purple Rain" has frequently been on Trump's playlist at recent rallies, including one earlier in October in South Haven, Miss. Neither an attorney for the estate nor a White House spokeswoman immediately responded to messages from the AP. Meanwhile, Beach Boys singer Mike Love was among the musicians present on Oct. 11 at the White House when Pres. Trump hosted a signing event for the 2018 Music Modernization Act. The law is a historic piece of legislation that is the culmination of years of advocacy on Capitol Hill that represents the biggest overhaul of copyright legislation in a generation. It changes some of the considerations used in setting music publishing rates, and also compels digital and satellite radio to pay a royalty on pre-1972 master recordings to labels and artists and it codifies the procedure by which SoundExchange can pay producers and engineers royalties for the records it works on. - AP/Billboard, 10/12/18...... Ozzy Osbourne announced on Oct. 11 that he is canceling the final four shows of his North American "No More Tours 2" tour. Ozzy's farewell tour was supposed to close out with three shows in California and one in Las Vegas, when the former Black Sabbath front man had to undergo hand surgery on Oct. 6. The three California shows, in Mountain View on Oct. 6, Chula Vista on Oct. 9, and the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. on Oct. 11, were recently rescheduled due to the surgery, but now all four shows will move to 2019. "I'm so fu--ing bummed about cancelling these shows," Osbourne said in a press release. "The tour had been going great and we were really looking forward to these last few gigs. We're hoping everyone will be patient and we'll look forward to seeing them at the shows next year." Osbourne underwent hand surgery on Oct. 6 at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and was expected to return to the stage the same week. His doctors are now saying he may require another surgery to treat multiple infections in his right hand. The next leg of his No More Tours 2 tour is set to kick off on Jan. 19 in Dublin, Ireland, and run through March 16 when he'll conclude in Auckland, New Zealand. - Billboard, 10/11/18...... Former The Police frontman Sting and his latest collaborator Shaggy have releaesed a music video for "Gotta Get Back My Baby," from the duo's joint album 44/876. The video stars Sting and Shaggy as two Miami detectives getting into hijinks and other iffy situations in the tradition of classic buddy-cop movies. Golden Globe-nominated actor Steven Bauer plays their police captain. Sting and Shaggy are currently touring behind 44/876. - Billboard, 10/11/18...... Barbra Streisand released her latest single, a mash-up of John Lennon's "Imagine" and the pop classic "What a Wonderful World," a hit by the late Louis Armstrong, on Oct. 12. The single is taken from Streisand's latest album Walls, which is her 36th album and hits stores on Nov. 2. "Imagine / What a Wonderful World" follows Streisand's first single from the new album, "Don't Lie to Me," which skewers Pres. Donald Trump. - Billboard, 10/12/18...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters caused a stir during his Oct. 9 concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil after calling the leading candidate in October's presidential election a "neo-fascist." A big screen behind the stage at Waters' concert showed the words "Resist neo-fascism." And then it displayed a list of names -- including that of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. The crowd of more than 40,000 fans at the Allianz Parque stadium was split, with some cheering Water's position, while others booed. Waters also displayed "Not Him" on the big screen, the slogan of a movement against the right-wing former army officer. Waters' action drew more than 2,800 comments n the singer's Facebook channel debating the criticism of Bolsonaro. "Roger Waters, just sing your song. Don't put your finger where you don't know," said one post. "When you go to another country don't talk about politics, you don't know anything about Brazil or what happens in the country." Bolsonaro won the first-round of Brazil's presidential elections with 46 percent. His adversary in the Oct. 28 runoff is left-leaning Fernando Haddad, who finished second in the opening round with 29 percent. Waters will be performing in Brazil until Oct. 30 during his 2018 "Us + Them" tour. - AP, 10/10/18...... Late soul/pop/country legend Ray Charles was given a rare salute by the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 8 as a diverse cast of singers including Darius Rucker, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Wilson, Boyz II Men and LeAnn Rimes honored the music genius during a taping that will be the subject of a new PBS television special airing in Feb. 2019. "The Opry meant everything to him. He loved everybody at the Opry," Ray Charles Foundation president Valerie Ervin said. "He loved country music, so to have it here, it just seals it for me. I felt what he felt back in 1962 when he really wanted to be a part of the country world and there was no better place to do it than the Opry." Charles' landmark 2-LP set, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, is credited for changing country music in the 1960's. Recorded in New York with lush strings and backing choir, Charles doesn't just reinvent several classic country songs, he left his unique mark on them, fusing soul and jazz, country lyrics and orchestral pop. Fifty years later, the album still holds up as one of the greatest of the genre. The record spent 14 weeks on the top of the Billboard albums chart. "I Can't Stop Loving You" spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts and 16 weeks at No. 1 on the R&B charts and won the 1962 Grammy Award for best rhythm and blues recording. The tribute, 14 years after his death, raises questions about why Charles has been left out of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Most of the performers on the special believe he deserves a spot among the country legends for exposing the genre to a much broader world. "I would never tell the Country Music Hall of Fame who to put in, but I think all the artists, if they let Ray in, they would understand and believe that Ray should be there," Darius Rucker said. - AP, 10/10/18...... Legendary '70s disco producer Giorgio Moroder announced on Oct. 10 that he is embarking on his first-ever live tour in Europe in 2019, beginning on Apr. 1 at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, UK. "I'm excited to be finally doing this," Moroder told the UK paper The Guardian. "It is something I have always wanted to do. Fans kept reaching out to me, asking if I would ever do a real tour. Back in the day, it was unthinkable for producers to ever leave their studios -- that territory was reserved for the singers. Today, DJs and music producers have become the superstars of popular dance music, so the time feels right," he added. The 15-city tour, which also Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy before wrapping in Amsterdam on May 21, will feature the artist performing on the piano, vocoder and synths alongside a full live band and vocalists. A pioneer in the pop world, Moroder began DJing and producing in the '60s and made it big with his top-charting collaboration with Chicory Tip, "Son of My Father." Later in 1977, the Italian producer would change the pop game by adding a touch of disco to it with Donna Summer's legendary "I Feel Love," becoming one of the first and most renowned producers in what would later turn into dance music. - Billboard, 10/10/18...... Blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonomassa will be participating in a "Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea: Mediterranean" sea cruise entertainment event that will set sail from Barcelona, Spain on Aug. 21, 2019 and include stops in Monte Carlo, Monaco and Valetta, and Malta. The Mediterranean voyage will feature non-stop music across multiple stages as guests immerse themselves in five days of music-filled events and one-of-a-kind collaborative sets from many additional artists, including Peter Frampton,J oanne Shaw Taylor, Larkin Poe, Eric Bibb, Bernie Marsden, Curtis Harding and Philip Sayce. In addition to a plethora of live performances, guests will enjoy a variety of music-centric activities, including one activity each with both Bonamassa and Frampton, plus autograph sessions with select Blues stars and opportunities to jam with fellow cruisers. Interested Fans can pre-register now at bluesaliveatseaeurope.com. - Noble PR, 10/12/18.