Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers closed out the three-day KAABOO festival in Del Mar, Calif. on Sept. 17 with a two-hour set that highlighted his catalog of hits like "Free Fallin'," "Refugee" and "Don't Come Around Here No More," as well as delving into album territory with tracks like "Crawling Back to You" from Petty's 1994 solo release Wildflowers. Coincidentally, the date marked the same week 40 years earlier when Petty and the Heartbreakers' eponymous LP debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Sept. 24, 1977. "Thanks for 40 years," Petty shouted to the crowd at the end of the marathon set. - Billboard, 9/18/17...... John Fogerty has signed an exclusive record deal with BMG for a new solo album and to reissue his solo catalog, the label announced on Sept. 18. The deal kicks off on Nov. 17 with a 20th anniversary release of the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman's Grammy-winning 1997 solo album Blue Moon Swamp in various configurations and with a new cover, with re-releases of his solo LPs Centerfield, Eye of the Zombie and Deju Vu (All Over Again), as well as his live album Premonition and a new greatest hits collection curated from his solo catalog. "We couldn't be more proud to sign a cultural and musical icon like John Fogerty, and become part of his legacy as he continues to create extraordinary and timeless music," BMG exec John Loeffler said. Meanwhile, Fogerty is also at work on a new solo LP due in 2018, the followup to his 2013 album Wrote a Song for Everyone, a collaboration with such artists as Foo Fighters, Bob Seger and Miranda Lambert, among others. Fogerty will begin a residency at Las Vegas' Wynn's Encore Theater this fall, with upcoming runs set for Sept. 20-Oct. 7 and Jan. 10/20, 2018. - Billboard, 9/18/17...... Paul McCartney treated fans at New York's Madison Square Garden to an assortment of solo and Beatles hits, humor and humility as his "One on One" tour hit the Big Apple on Sept. 15 for the first of two shows at the legendary venue. "You must be bored by now," McCartney said to a fan holding up a sign that read this was their 113th McCartney show. "Tonight we're going to have some fun," the 75-year-old music legend said as he opened with the Fab Four's 1964 hit "A Hard Day's Night" that segued into "Save Us" from his 2013 solo album New. "This is going to be a night full of memories for me," Paul said in a social media post earlier in the day. After bringing out Bruce Springsteen for an encore jam of "I Saw Her Standing There" (not once but twice, at the Boss's suggestion), Macca closed the three-hour set in a fitting manner with the Abbey Road medley of "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End." - Billboard, 9/18/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr told the BBC's Newsnight on Sept. 13 that he made the decision to vote in favour of the Brexit referendum in 2016 because the EU was a "shambles." "The people voted and, you know, they have to get on with it," Starr said, then urged the British government to move ahead with the Brexit negotiations. "Suddenly, it's like, 'Oh, well, we don't like that vote.' What do you mean you don't like that vote? You had the vote, this is what won, let's get on with it." Ringo added that "being in control of your country is a good move... but don't tell [Brexit opponent] Bob Geldof" about his opinion. Starr's Brexit opinion also differs from his former bandmate Paul McCartney, who previously told the Washington Post that "I think I would have come down on the remain side because people like the Governor of the Bank of England, a lot of financial experts, were saying that." - New Musical Express, 9/13/17...... Country star Dolly Parton reunited with her 9 to 5 pals Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda to present the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 17. "I have been waiting to a 9 to 5 reunion since we did the movie," Parton said. Tomlin and Fonda then took a few shots at Pres. Donald Trump, comparing him to Dabney Coleman's portrayal of the caddish Franklin Hart Jr. from the 1980 film. "In 1980, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss," Fonda said, with Tomlin adding "...and in 2017 we still refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss." The trio then announced the winner, Alexander Skarsgard, for his work in Big Little Lies. - Billboard, 9/17/17...... Alan Parsons has collaborated on a remix of his 1982 hit "Eye in the Sky" by the Disco Demolition troupe to celebrate the 35th anniversary reissue of his album of the same name. The track -- which the Chicago Bulls used for player introductions during their 90s championship run, with other sports teams subsequently adopting it -- will not be included on the upcoming deluxe anniversary edition of the album, but Parsons says he still finds the prospect of remixing one of his iconic pieces intriguing. "We communicated first by phone and then went online and were able to actually work together in real time, listening to how the mix developed," says Parsons. "I think it ended up great. The first (remix) was steering a little too far away from the original. I think we've captured the spirit of the original in this one," he added. The Eye In The Sky 35th Anniversary Collector's Edition, due Nov. 17, features three CDs, including bonus tracks and collaborator Eric Woolfson's dictated songwriting diaries, as well as a Blu-ray disc with 5.1 Surround Sound and Stereo HD mixes of the album. Parsons says the new "Sirius" has opened him to allowing and working on other remixes of his material. "[Today's youth] want a different style, a different kind of music in their clubs and in their homes, on their trains with their iPhones. So, yes, I have to be open to that," he noted. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir has been appoined as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for his work with an outfit called Tribal Planet, which became the official technology provider for the United Nations Development Programme. Weir was honored with the position at the 8th annual Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Weir will work with the UNDP to raise awareness of the UN's Global Goals and work to combat climate change. "I'd like to see climate change and the ongoing diminishing of biodiversity arrested and dealt with to the point where the sustainability of life on earth isn't threatened," Weir told Billboard. He added he will help the UNDP advocate for climate initiatives and projects that promote renewable energy, preserve coastlines, combat deforestation and ensure a healthy planet for generations to come. - Billboad, 9/17/17...... The 32nd Annual Farm Aid benefit concert was held in Burgettstown, Penn., on Sept. 16, with longtime co-headliners Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, and accompanied by an all-star bill that included Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, the Avett Brothers and more. "America is already great," said Neil Young pointedly in an onstage press conference that preceded the concert, the first Farm Aid of the Donald Trump era. "We don't need to apologize. We don't need to feel bad," he added. At the end, all of the performers came onstage for a medley of "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "I'll Fly Away" and "Living in the Promisedland." Farm Aid has raised some $50 million in its three decades of existence to help family farmers remain on their land, making it music's longest-running concert for a cause. - Billboard, 9/17/17...... Disco hitmakers Village People are set to close the 2017 Internet streaming "Streamy" Awards on Sept. 26, which will be airing live on Twitter at 9:30 p.m. ET to 6:30 p.m. Original Village People "Cop" member Victor Willis will be returning to perform with the group for the first time in over 30 years, however he's completely replacing the group's lineup, including two Village People who have been a part of it since its inception in 1977. Those two members, "Native American" Felipe Rose and "GI" Alex Briley, are reportedly furious that Willis is ousting all of them to form a practically new group. Willis, who left the group in 1979, is the recognizable voice behind the group's most iconic hits, including "Y.M.C.A.," "Macho Man," and "In The Navy." Willis says that he "felt the former touring version of the group... looked old and tired... So a revamp or repositioning of the group was required to bring it back into the mainstream. The addition of an Asian American for the first time in the group's history is part of that reposition." Willis went on to criticize the lineup for being what he deemed a "karaoke" act, and blasted them for using backing tracks during their live performances rather than a live band. The new (and improved?) Village People are set to close the Sept. 26 show with a medley of the group's greatest hits. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... After attorneys representing record companies who manage late country legend Johnny Cash's discography sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Internet radio station Stormfront, the white nationalist organization stopped using Cash's cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" as its theme music. In August, Cash's children, Rosanne and John Carter Cash, said their dad abhorred racism and were "sickened" to learn that a neo-Nazi wore a shirt bearing their father's name at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Stormfront has reportedly pivoted to the Confederate standard "The South Will Rise Again" as its theme song. Cash covered Petty's "I Won't Back Down" on his 2000 covers album American III: Solitary Man. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... Foreigner has announced it will film its forthcoming 40th anniversary reunion at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich. on Oct. 6-7 for a TV special, DVD and live album. Foreigner founder and leader Mick Jones will be joined by original frontman Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, along with the group's second bassist Rick Wills. Mick Jones says he repaired his fractured releationship with Lou Gramm when the pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013, and that he's "kept his voice." "All the musicians are getting on very well together and it's just refreshing and we're really enjoying it," Jones added. Foreigner currently has North American dates and a concert in Mexico booked into mid-November, while a European tour set to launch May 8 in Bulgaria. The 40th anniversary reunion show is expected to be released in 2018. - Billboard, 9/14/17...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ozzy Osbourne responds to rumors that he's planning to retire. "People around my age go, 'I'm 65 now. I'm retired.' Then they f-----g die," Ozzy said. "My father got a bit of cash from the job he had, did the garden and died. And I'm going, 'That's a bit of an anticlimax after working so many years in a factory.' I ain't retiring. People still want to see me, so what's there to retire from?" On the subject of Black Sabbath, Osbourne said: "They've retired but I haven't. It's like I'm jumping off one boat onto another. People forget, I was with Sabbath from '68 to '79, but I've been on my own from '79 'til now." - NME, 9/15/17...... Speaking of Rolling Stone magazine, founder/publisher Jann S. Wenner told the New York Times on Sept. 17 that he's putting his stake in the publication up for sale. "I love my job, I enjoy it, I've enjoyed it for a long time," the 71-year-old Wenner said, adding that his move was a business decision and "just the smart thing to do." Wenner and his son Gus, 27, recently sold Wenner Media's other two magazines, Us Weekly and Men's Journal, to American Media. As reported by the Times, they also sold a 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone in 2016 to a Singapore-based music tech company called BandLab Technologies. Both Wenner and his son said they would like to continue working for the magazine, but acknowledged that decision would be up to the new owner. Founded in 1967, Rolling Stone became famous for covering rock and pop music and counter-culture as well as politics and gonzo-style journalism, with the likes of such esteemed writers as Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Lester Bangs. It is not known whether the company is already in talks with potential buyers. - Billboard, 9/17/17...... Steely Dan's Donald Fagen announced on Sept. 13 that he's been forced to cancel four solo dates due to an undisclosed illness. The news comes just 10 days after the death of Fagen's longtime Steely Dan partner Walter Becker at age 67. The shows in question were set to take place in Portland on Sept. 12, Seattle on Sept. 13, Saratoga, Calif. on Sept. 15 and San Francisco on Sept. 16. It is unclear if Fagen's health will effect the recently announced run of Steely Dan dates scheduled to take place across October. - Spin.com, 9/13/17...... Gene Simmons of Kiss has announced he'll release a box set of previously unreleased solo material this year known as The Vault on 10 CDs in a big vault-like box. The catch is The Vault will only be available to those who spend an exorbitant amount of money for one of three different "experiences": for $2,000 you can meet up with Simmons at one of 21 events around the world where you can pick up your box set and chat with Simmons for 5 minutes; for $25,000 you can meet up with Simmons at one of 11 studios around the world where you can pick up The Vault and spend an hour with him listening to its tracks; and for $50,000 Simmons will hand-deliver The Vault to your very home, where you and up to 25 friends can spend two hours with him. However, it is stipulated he will not be in full makeup and costume, nor will he supply food and drink. - Stereogum.com, 9/13/17...... Harry Dean Stanton, the quintessential American actor with a gaunt, bedraggled look who labored in virtual obscurity for decades until a series of roles increased his visibility, died of natural causes on Sept. 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 91. Rarely a leading man, Mr. Stanton delivered memorable performances in such films as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), John Carpenter's Escape From New York (1981) and John Hughes' Pretty in Pink (1986). He was eerily creepy as evil polygamist and self-proclaimed Mormon prophet Roman Grant on HBO's Big Love, and he partnered regularly with David Lynch, appearing in the director's Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), the 1993 miniseries Hotel Room, The Straight Story (1999) and Inland Empire (2006). With great pal Jack Nicholson, Mr. Stanton worked in The Missouri Breaks (1976), Man Trouble (1992), The Pledge (2001) and Anger Management (2003). In Cool Hand Luke, Mr. Stanton coached Paul Newman's character on the song "Plastic Jesus," and sang rendition of the gospel standard "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" himself in the film. Born on July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Ky., Mr. Stanton served in the Navy as a cook on an ammunitions ship in the Pacific during World War II -- he was in the Battle of Okinawa -- then enrolled at the University of Kentucky to study journalism and radio arts. Since 2011, the Kentucky city of Lexington each year has hosted a Harry Dean Stanton Festival. Except for a brief marriage, Stanton was a bachelor who in the 2013 Stanton documentary Partly Fiction spoke about the lost love of his life, actress Rebecca De Mornay. "She left me for Tom Cruise," he says in the film. Blondie's Deborah Harry, whom he also dated, recorded a 1989 song for him, "I Want That Man." His agent said that Mr. Stanton "is survived by family and friends who loved him." - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/15/17.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Saturday, September 9, 2017
The Rolling Stones kicked off their 2017 European tour in Hamburg, Germany on Sept. 9 before 82,000 fans at the Festwiese am Stadtpark. It was the first live music event at the German venue in 28 years, and the Stones played a 23-song set of fan favorites including the opener "Sympathy for the Devil," lesser performed album tracks "Just Your Fool" and "Dancing with Mr. D," and encores "Gimme Shelter" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The band has 13 additional dates planned, including stops in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Holland before wrapping with three dates in France in late October. Meanwhile, the band is reportedly considering headlining a new UK festival at Knebworth in 2018. Sonisphere 2014 was the last major music event to take place at Knebworth, after the 2015 edition of the festival was cancelled. - New Musical Express, 9/10/17...... Bob Dylan announced on Sept. 11 that he'll hit the road with opening act Mavis Staples for a 21-date fall tour set to kick off on Oct. 13 at Harrah's Resort SoCal in Valley Center, Calif. The tour will visit many cities than Dylan missed during his recent Outlaw Music Festival Tour with Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and more, including Omaha, Neb.; Ames, Iowa; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Akron, Oh.; Uniondale, NY.; and Richmond, Va. The tour wraps on Nov. 16 in Boston. - Billboard, 9/11/17...... As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ravaged the southern US and several Carribean islands in recent weeks, Barbra Streisand has penned an editorial for HuffingtonPost.com demanding that Pres. Donald Trump acknowledge climate change. "Donald Trump can visit all the disaster areas he wants -- but what can you do when he and his administration don't acknowledge the science behind climate change, even removing information from the Environment Protection Agency website," the diva wrote. Streisand, who noted she had begun her "The Music... The Mem'ries... The Magic! Tour" in Houston (her first ever show in the city), and ended the North American run with three dates in Florida last fall, also called on her fans to "write your representatives" and "call the White House" to "tell them to face the facts -- ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising -- climate change is real!" Streisand was one of the performers in a Hand in Hand Telethon benefiting the hurricane victims on Sept. 12, which raised $44 million in hurricane relief. Stevie Wonder also performed on the telethon and before launching into his set, he delivered a powerful message about equality and environmental responsibility. "We've come together today to love on the people that have been devastated by the hurricanes," he said. "When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences, and no political persuasions. It just loves." After his set, he said that "anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent... Lord, please save us all." - Billboard, 9/13/17...... In related news, several top '70s artists including Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt will headline an all-star "Harvey Can't Mess with Texas: A Benefit Concert" planned for Sept. 22 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Tex. Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians and Ryan Bingham will also be among the performers, as well as appearances by such Texas-born celebrities as Matthew McConaughey, Dan Rather, Rene Zellweger and Luke Wilson. The event will be broadcast at 9:00-10:00 p.m. on 11 Texas TEGNA stations and stream internationally on YouTube.com/Texas Strong. - Billboard, 9/13/17...... Tom Waits gave his first live performance in two years a Lagunitas Brewery in California on Sept. 12, his first public performance since appearing on The David Letterman Show in May 2015. At the Lagunitas Brewery show, Waits joined Mavis Staples for a rendition of the Staples Singers classic "Respect Yourself." - New Musical Express, 9/13/17...... As a new Eric Clapton documentary called Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 11, the legendary guitarist says he isn't bothered that guitar sales are down. "My kids listen to classic rock, but that may only be because of me, because that's what I've played to them," Clapton said during a press conference earlier in the day. "I mean, from the time of their conception, they've been listening to music through the womb. I played them playlists, just brainwashed my kids, and at the back of it was always the guitar or some kind of solo instrument or a singer. My belief in music is it's all good. It's all good. Even stuff that doesn't appear to be so, it's all good." According to a recent story in the Washington Post, sales of guitars were down to 1 million a year from 1.5 million, and major manufacturers (Gibson and Fender) are having financial difficulties, as is the retail outlet Guitar Center. "I don't know. Maybe the guitar is over," Clapton said, laughing. "Good question though." - Billboard, 9/11/17...... A new music festival in Memphis, Tenn. set for Oct. 6-7 at Shelby Farms will showcase Stax Records veterans Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper on the closing day. The ten-piece act Booker T Presents: A Stax Revue & Journey Through Soul, Blues, and R&B will perform the main stage, with an All-Star performance from Steve Cropper & Friends to follow. Other performers headlining the Memphofest show include Dave Mason, Eddie Floyd (who wrote "Knock on Wood" with Cropper), John Popper of Blues Traveler, Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band. - Billboard, 9/13/17...... Billy Joel made an appearance on Harry Connick Jr.'s syndicated talk show Harry on Sept. 11. The Piano Man performed his 1980 Glass Houses album track "Don't Ask Me Why" with Connick Jr. as well as "Vienna" from The Stranger. He also took time to poke fun as his buddy Elton John. - Stereogum.com, 9/12/17...... Speaking of Elton, the Rocket Man's Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) will return for its annual New York Fall Gala on on Nov. 7 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The gala -- which celebrates the foundation's 25th anniversary this year -- will pay tribute to founder John and his contributions to his foundation and beyond. "Elton's philanthropic endeavors and activism for human rights and the arts have inspired millions and made a positive difference in people's lives around the world," said EJAF Chairman David Furnish in a press release about the event. "But without a doubt, Elton's greatest contribution as a humanitarian is his 25-year commitment to building one of the most important institutions in the effort to end AIDS -- the Elton John AIDS Foundation." Entertainers and celebrities expected to attend include Ozzy Osbourne, Aretha Franklin, Sharon Stone and Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Actor/comedian Mike Myers is reportedly set to co-star in the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. While it remains unclear who Myers will play in the long-awaited movie -- especially since the director Bryan Singer is still in the midst of filling out the cast -- his casting makes perfect sense, as he and partner Dana Carvey famously rocked out to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the comedy Wayne's World in 1992. Myers once told Rolling Stone that his family was "obsessed" with "Bohemian Rhapsody." "I'd gone to England in '75 with my family and heard 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on the radio," he said. Bohemian Rhapsody is set to be released in the US on Dec. 25, 2018 with Mr. Robot actor Rami Malek portaying late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. - Billboard, 9/13/17...... Country singer Hank Williams Jr., who parted ways with ESPN's Monday Night Football amid controversy in 2010 after comparing former president Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler, has returned to the broadcast with a revamped performance of "All My Rowdy Freinds Are Here on Monday Night" alongside Jason Derulo and Florida Georgia Line. "Monday Night Football has the most famous music video in sports television. It's time to bring it back," Stephanie Druley, the network's senior vice president for events and studio production, told The Washington Post after Williams' return was announced. The song had served as MNF's intro song to ESPN's sports broadcast for more than 20 years before Williams' six-year hiatus. The newly-recorded song was played before the MNF game between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Former Doobie Brothers member and '80s solo star Michael McDonald will release Wide Open, his first album of original material in 17 years, on Sept. 15. McDonald says most of the songs on Wide Open "have to do with sobriety, that journey in my life of getting sober.... If they're about anything, they're about my coming to terms with my living out in the open and learning to live without substances to fill the hole, without self-medicating." McDonald adds that he became sober in 1986 and that "I think every ounce of pain in just living always ends up being the best thing that happened to me. It's always a growth period. I learn at the speed of pain." McDonald says that recording his background vocals for Steely Dan's "Peg" was "very difficult... because the harmonies are so close" and that Kenny Loggins' "This Is It" is his favorite non-Steely Dan song he sang background vocals on. "It was always fun for me to sing with Kenny -- still is. He's such a phenomenal singer and has such great ideas in terms of backgrounds," McDonald says. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Speaking of Steely Dan, the band has just announced its first tour since the death of Walter Becker on Sept. 3. The modest 8-date trek will begin Oct. 13 in Thackerville, Okla., also hitting Grand Rapids, Mich. (10/16), Buffalo, NY (10/17), Orilla, Ontario (10/19), Windsor, Ontario (10/20), Wallingford, Conn. (10/22), and Baltimore (10/24) before wrapping in National Harbor, Maryland on Oct. 25. The tour marks Steely Dan's first performances since July's Classic East and Classic West festivals in New York and Los Angeles, respectively. Becker missed those shows due to an unspecified illness; he last played with the group on May 27, 2017. - Billboard, 9/11/17...... Melissa Manchester released her 21st studio album, The Fellas, on Sept. 9 via Long Run Entertainment. The Fellas is the Grammy-winning singer's "tribute to several of the great men singers who rocked my world and informed my soul," she says, noting that she has wanted to record such a set since she released her female companion album Tribute back in 1989. Not suprisingly, the LP features a contribution from Manchester's former love interest, Barry Manilow, for a duet of "For Me and My Gal." Melissa says Barry came up with the scrumptious idea of paying tribute to Gene Kelly with one of Kelly's most famous tunes. "We both loved the original version, sung by Kelly and Judy Garland, from the film of the same name," Manchester says. "Peter Hume did a wonderful orchestration." Manilow says that "I jump at any chance to sing (or just be) with my dear friend Melissa... She has one of the greatest voices and singing styles in music today. And she's a wonderful songwriter. I loved being a part of creating and singing 'For Me and My Gal' with her." - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Sabrina Sutherland, the executive producer of the Twin Peaks reboot Twin Peaks: The Return, has confirmed that David Bowie "gave producers permission" to use his clips in the new series. Sutherland is referring to the doctored footage of Bowie's scene in "Fire Walk With Me" that appears in episodes of The Return. Bowie played mysterious FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in the original series, and in the new series, Jeffries returns to give cryptic advice to two versions of Dale Cooper with a metallic Southern accent. There's been no word yet about whether the plans for Jeffries' transfiguration were generated before or after Bowie's death, or whether Bowie knew about them. - Spin.com, 9/11/17...... Bob Seger confirmed on Sept. 10 that he'll be releasing a new album in November, with the first single from the new set debuting later in September. Seger says he has been working on the album primarily in Nashville, and it will be his 18th studio album and first since Ride Out in 2014. A formal announcement about the project is expected before the end of September. Seger recently added six new shows on his "Runaway Train Tour," including stops in Oakland, Boise, Portland, Seattle and St. Paul before the trek wraps up on Nov. 17 in Chicago. - Billboard, 9/10/17...... Prog-rockers Yes announced on Sept. 12 that they're scrapping the remaining dates on their Yestival Tour with openers Todd Rundgren and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy following the unexpected death of Yes guitarist Steve Howe's son, Virgil. Virgil, who played drums for the British power-rock outfit Little Barrie, played behind the kit, sang and performed keys on his father's 1993 album The Grand Scheme of Things. Details surrounding Virgil's death have not been disclosed. Yes, whose current lineup also features Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood, issued a statement thanking "all their fans for their support and understanding at this time" and asked that the Howe family's privacy "be respected during this difficult time." On the Yestival Tour, the band mined its first nine albums, from 1969's Yes through 1978's Tormato, with at least one song from each. - Billboard, 9/12/17...... Former Thin Lizzy member Brian Downey has added a second London date to his "Alive and Dangerous" concert in London. Downey will perform at Nells Jazz & Blues in London on Nov. 24 with his new band Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous to mark the 40th anniversary of one of Thin Lizzy's classic concert LP, Live and Dangerous. The album was recorded live in 1977 at London's Hammersmith Apollo and Toronto's Seneca College, though it wasn't officially released until a year later in 1978. Downey's band features Brian Grace (best known as the guitarist for the Commitments' Andrew Strong), and former Low Rider members Matt Wilson (lead vocals, bass) and Phil Edgar (lead guitar). - Noble PR, 9/12/17...... Don Ohlmeyer, a legendary TV sports producer and executive who helped lead NBC's "Must-See TV" revival in the 1990s, died on Sept. 10 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 72. Ohlmeyer's death was announced by his longtime friend Al Michaels during the Sunday Night Football telecast on NBC. "He was truly special and one of a kind," said Michaels. Ohlmeyer had a long run as a sports producer at ABC and NBC in the 1970s and 80s before he moved to NBC as West Coast president in 1993. - Variety, 9/11/17.
Roadcase Royale, the new "supergroup" featuring Nancy Wilson of Heart and Liv Warfield (formerly of Prince's New Power Generation Band) will perform at The Gramercy Theatre in New York on Sept. 10. Roadcase Royale also has gigs scheduled at Milwaukee's Pabst Theater on Sept. 24; Charlotte, N.C.'s Neighborhood Theatre on Oct. 1; Knoxville, TN's Bijou Theatre on Oct. 4; Nashville's City Winery on Oct. 8; and the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City, OK, on Oct. 15. On Sept. 22, Roadcase Royale will release its debut album, First Things First, which was produced by by fellow Roadcase Royale band member Dan Rothchild, who has also played with Heart, along with the band. - Miles High Productions, 9/8/17...... Barbra Streisand will be among the headliners of a Hurricane Harvey benefit telethon set for Sept.12 at 8:00 p.m. ET on the four major broadcast networks and cable channel CMT. The Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief, organized by Houston rapper Bun B and SB Projects head Scooter Braun, will be based in Los Angeles at the Universal Studios lot, with stages also at New York's Times Square, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, and San Antonio's Majestic Theater. Other musicians set to appear inlcude Beyoncé, The Black Eyed Peas, Justin Bieber, Drake, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and George Strait, among others. Non-music celebrities include George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, Ryan Seacrest, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Matthew McConaughey, among others. Organizers have also announced that the telethon will be expanded to help those affected by the impending Hurricane Irma in Florida. - Billboard, 9/6/17...... Rising actress Lucy Boynton, most recently seen in the music-themed and critically acclaimed film Sing Street, has signed on to portray Freddie Mercury's lifelong companion Mary Austin in the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. While Austin and Mercury lived together in London for several years, he later had relationships with male lovers, and told Austin of his homosexuality. The pair remained friends however, and Mercury wrote several songs about Austin, including "Love of My Life." Shooting is scheduled to begin on Bohemian Rhapsody this month, and the film, with Rami Malek portraying Mercury and Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello and Gwilym Lee playing band members Roger Taylor, John Deacon and Brian May, respectively, is slated for U.S. release on Dec. 25, 2018. In other Queen news, Brian May met with UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for the first time on Sept. 4 at the Lush Summit 2017 in London, and described the politician as "very impressive" and afterward tweeted that Corbyn "speaks like a human being rather than a politician." May, an animal rights activist, has been a local Labour supporter in the past and recently criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's stance on fox hunting. May also praised Corbyn for "talking good sense on attacking wildlife crime." - The Hollywood Reporter/New Musical Express, 9/7/17...... David Crosby has shared the title track from his forthcoming solo album Sky Trails, set to drop on Sept. 29. Crosby says he wrote the "Sky Trails" track with Becca Stevens, drawing on both of their experiences as touring artists. "When you're on the road, after the second or third week you don't know where you are," Crosby notes. "You're out there somewhere, and all the cities look roughly the same, and you lose track. I know it sounds funny, but it happens to us road musicians all the time, and that leads to a kind of disorientation." Crosby will hit the road behind Sky Trails in late October with a two-night stand at the City Winery in Chicago on Oct. 30 and 31. As for Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), Crosby says he has "no idea" if either the personal or professional relationships among the four can be repaired for future recording and touring. Crosby also recently commented on his love for social media, saying: "I like talking to people. I like Facebook and Instagram, too, but I function best on Twitter because I'm a words guy. I like communicating with people. It's fun for me. I don't answer questions if they're too dumb. I get in trouble there, mind you. I get in trouble there saying Kanye West has absolutely no talent and is a complete poseur. I get in trouble there saying Donald Trump is a walking intelligence-free zone. But I have fun." - Billboard, 9/6/17...... The Rolling Stones have just unveiled a new psychedelic video of "She's a Rainbow" for their upcoming 50th anniversary release of their landmark 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. "She's a Rainbow" was a minor hit for the band in the year of the Summer of Love, and along with "2000 Light Years From Home," remain the only tracks from the trippy LP that the Stones have ever played live. Their Satanic Majesties Request arrives as a limited edition deluxe double vinyl and double hybrid Super Audio CD package on Sept. 22. Meanwhile, the Stones kick off a European tour in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 9, a 14-date jaunt that will also see them visiting Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark and France, wrapping with three shows in Paris on Oct. 19, 22 and 25. - New Musical Express, 9/8/17...... Cher says she was livid when Pres. Donald Trump announced he was going through with his plan to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program put in place by Pres. Obama in 2012 to protect "DREAMers" (named for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), who came into the country as children from being deported. The pop singer has labeled Trump a "complete coward" for his action, is vowing to take in some of those affected, and is encouraging her fans to do the same. "Those who can must take a DREAMER in2 their home & protect them!!" she tweeted on Sept. 5. "I'm ready 2 do this." - Billboard, 9/6/17...... A posthumous release from Gregg Allman, Southern Blood, was released on Sept. 8 on Rounder Records, and is the followup to the former Allman Brothers Band frontman's 2011 Grammy-nominated Low Country Blues. Producer Don Was says the root of Southern Blood was Allman's 1973 solo debut Laid Back. "Laid Back had that great pedal steel on it and incorporates a little more of Gregg's roots than maybe what you heard from just the Allman Brothers," Was explains. "One of the things Gregg and I did speak about was making the texture of this record something along the lines of what Laid Back would have sounded like if it were recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals in 2017." - Billboard, 9/6/17...... An enhanced version of Michael Jackson's legendary 1983 video for his smash "Thriller" called "Michael Jackson's Thriller 3-D" was screened at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4, alongside a behind-the-scenes "Thriller" documentary that has never been shown in cinemas before. Director John Landis, who helmed the original video and the new version, says the backstage documentary about the 1983 video shows Jackson "happy and joyous" and at his creative peak. "It's a celebration of Michael I didn't expect, and very emotional for me," says Landis, who added that Jackson's 2009 death was a tragedy that robbed the world of a brilliant performer. He said: "I was horrified, and I'm still upset about it." Meanwhile, a new Jackson Halloween-themed compilation entitled Scream was announced on Sept. 5. The release will be a 13-track greatest hits collection that brings together Jackson's most danceable tracks across his discography, including the title track, a '90s duet with sister Janet Jackson, as well as "Thriller," "Dirty Diana," "Dangerous," "Leave Me Alone" and "Is It Scary." The album will also include bonus track "Blood On The Dance Floor X Dangerous," a mash-up from The White Panda of MJ's "Blood on the Dance Floor." Scream will drop on Sept. 29. - AP/New Musical Express, 9/4/17...... The CBS television network announced on Sept. 7 that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Carol Burnett Show with a two-hour special set for Dec. 3. The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special will film on Stage 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, the show's original soundstage. Hosted by Burnett, who will reminisce about her favorite sketches, her memorable wardrobe and bloopers, and Q&As with the studio audience, the special will also feature original cast members Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner, costume designer Bob Mackie, as well as other comedians, comic actors and friends, including Bernadette Peters, Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno and Martin Short, among others. - Deadline.com, 9/7/17...... In a new interview on the celebrity gossip show Entertainment Tonight, Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne says she and her 68-year-old hubby have learned to laugh about the veteran rocker's recent infidelities to help them heal following a brief separation. "We speak about it, we laugh about it! Because it helps you get through it," Sharon said, admitting keeping her feelings bottled up would otherwise drive her crazy. "You know, you have to find some humour in something," she continued. "The bottom line is that I love him, he loves me..." Earlier in the week, Sharon told Britain's Daily Telegraph that the musician had cheated on her with a total of six different women, but they have worked through their problems by addressing the situation head-on. "We've worked for so much together, we've achieved so much together," the 64-year-old Sharon said. "Our family, our friends, and I just don't want to give that up (sic)!" Meanwhile, the History Channel has just announed it will renew Ozzy and son Jack Osbourne's new reality show World Detour for a second season, and move it to its sister channel, A&E. - WENN.com, 9/7/17...... Wilko Johnson, the original guitarist for Dr. Feelgood, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Wilko Johnson Band and his 70th birthday with a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 26. Johnson, known for his distinctive chopping guitar style, recently found further fame on TV in Game Of Thrones, and also rose up the charts once more after teaming up with the Who frontman Roger Daltrey on the hit 2014 album Going Back Home, which features incendiary re-workings of songs from Wilko's Dr. Feelgood days, including "All Through The City" and "Going Back Home." Johnson's bestselling memoir Don't You Leave Me Here has recently been published in paperback edition. - Noble PR, 9/6/17...... Former Tower of Power singer Rick Stevens, who sang lead on the group's first two albums, including on the hit songs "Sparkling in the Sand" and "You're Still a Young Man," died on Sept. 5 after a short battle with cancer. He was 77. Stevens, who joined the Oakland-based Tower of Power in 1969, was convicted of murder for killing three people in 1976 during a drug deal gone wrong. He spent 36 years in prison, and was paroled in 2012. Current Tower of Power leader Emilio Castillo called Stevens a soulful singer who had a strong personality. "He went above and beyond the call of duty and carried his message of faith and redemption to many," Castillo posted the same day. - Billboard, 9/5/17...... Country music legend Don Williams, who scored 17 No. 1 singles and 45 Top 10 singles on the country charts including "Tulsa Time," "Good Ole Boys Like Me" and "I Wouldn't Want To Live If You Didn't Love Me," passed away on Sept. 8 after what his reps describe as a "short illness." He was 78. Born on May 27, 1939 in Floydada, Tex., Williams began his solo career in 1971, and wrote for the publishing company of legendary Nashville producer Jack Clement. A crooner as much as a country singer, Williams topped the country chart in 1979 with "It Must Be Love" and "Love Me Over Again," and recorded the 1981 crossover hit "I Believe in You," which hit No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in addition to hitting the top of the Hot Country Songs chart. "Tulsa Time," perhaps Williams' most rockin' performance, was released in 1978 and covered by many artists, most notably Eric Clapton, who released the song as the B-side to "Cocaine" in 1979. Williams' star shined throughout the '80s decade with hits such as "Stay Young," "Desperately," and "Old Coyote Town," keeping his records in the top 10 through label changes to Capitol (1986) and RCA (1989), where he notched his final top 10 hit, 1991's "True Love." All in all, Williams' Hot Country Songs chart numbers include 45 top 10 hits and 17 No. 1s, with his final chart-topper being 1986's "Heartbeat in the Darkness." The laid-back artist, known as "The Gentle Giant" for his broad six-foot-plus frame and big, smooth baritone voice, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, and retired from music in 2016. - Billboard, 9/9/17...... Holger Czukay, co-founder of legendary German '70s experimental act Can, passed away on Sept. 5 at the age of 79. Though his cause of death is unknown, Czukay was found dead in Can's studio in Weilerswist, near Cologne, according to a German newspaper. Czukay, born in Poland in 1938, formed Can with bandmate Irmin Schmidt in 1968. Can pioneered the "Krautrock" movement, mixing rock, electronic and world music, and released numerous albums, including 1973's notable Future Days. "I Want More," Can's biggest hit, peaked at No. 26 on the U.K. singles chart in 1976, but the group's sound proved influential to many artists. Czukay also released several solo albums, with his latest being 2015's Eleven Years Innerspace. - Billboard, 9/5/17...... Famed tour manager and rock photographer Harry Sandler passed away on Sept. 2 after a brief fight against cancer. He was 73. Sandler spent much of his career as a tour manager working with Irving Azoff, assisting with the careers and tours of artists like John Mellencamp, Eagles, Katy Perry, Billy Joel, Jewel, Van Halen, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks. "Harry Sandler worked for me for 32 years," said John Mellencamp. "We fought many a round together against unscrupulous promoters, record companies, managers, merchandisers, and tried to keep ticket prices fair from dishonest ticket scalpers. Harry even produced a movie for me. He gave many people their start in this business. Harry was part of my family. All my kids grew up knowing him, and we traveled the world together. I don't recall having any serious arguments with Harry. He was generally correct about most things. But mostly I remember just laughing with him." Sandler had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 29 and died 66 days later. - Billboard, 9/3/17.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Walter Becker, the guitarist/songwriter and cofounder of Steely Dan, died on Sept. 3 of an unspecified illness. He was 67. His passing was confirmed by a post on his official website, which simply displayed two images of the musician in his childhood and in later life along with the dates "feb. 20 1950 -- sept. 03 2017." Becker and Donald Fagen formed Steely Dan, taking the name of a dildo mentioned in William S. Burroughs' novel Naked Lunch, after the pair moved to California in the early 1970s. They had met in 1967 at Bard College in upstate New York, where they played in amateur bands whose material included everything from jazz to rock to pop to progressive rock. In L.A., they met independent producer Gary Katz who enlisted them as staff songwriters at ABC/Dunhill Records, and who hatched the idea of what would become Steely Dan. Becker, born on Feb. 20, 1950 in Queens, played both guitar and bass in Steely Dan, while also contributing backing vocals. Along with lead vocalist and keyboardist Fagen, the two remained Steely Dan's only core members throughout their career. Less a band than a concept, Steely Dan became one of the most sophisticated, successful and mysterious pop outfits of the Seventies. The band, which in early incarnations also included guitarist Denny Dias, drummer Jim Hodder, keyboardist David Palmer and guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, combined pop hooks with jazz harmonies, complicated time changes and cryptic, often highly ironic lyrics, to form its own unique sound. It's debut, Can't Buy a Thrill, was released in 1972 and yielded two hit singles, "Do It Again" (No. 6), and "Reeling in the Years" (No. 11). The album sold well and was hailed by critics, but Becker, Fagen and Katz were put off by a singles-oriented audience, and the followup, 1973's Countdown to Ecstasy, perhaps consciously contained no hit singles. On their next effort, 1974's Pretzel Logic, the band were joined by singer/keyboardist Michael McDonald, who sang mostly backup vocals. That album featured a top five hit, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," and more pronounced jazz leanings. Steely Dan then retired from touring and became a studio-only outfit, releasing Katy Lied in 1974 with its minor Top 40 hit, "Black Friday." 1976's Royal Scam, which sold relatively well, featured some of Becker and Fagen's most acerbic lyrics, but it was 1977's Aja that would become recognized as their masterpiece, a seven-song tour de force of FM favorites featuring session work by such expert sidemen as Wayne Shorter and Lee Ritenour. Aja went Top Five within three weeks of its release and became the band's first platinum album. After releasing the long-awaited followup, Gaucho, in 1980, Becker and Fagen announced they were going their separate ways, but reunited in 1993 to resurrect Steely Dan. They released two more albums -- the most recent being 2003's Everything Must Go -- while also resuming touring duties in recent years. During his hiatus from Steely Dan, Becker produced such artists as Rickie Lee Jones and China Crisis, and handled production work for the New Age label Windham Hill the jazz label Triloka. He also released two solo albums, 11 Tracks of Whack (1994) and Circus Money (2008). Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, taking the opportunity at the ceremony to take questions from the audience. Becker overcame substance-abuse problems in the 1980s after his girlfriend died from an overdose, with her mother claiming he fostered the young woman's drug problem and attempting to sue him. Becker was absent at both of Steely Dan's performances during the July 2017 Classic West and Classic East concerts due to an unspecified illness. In August, Fagen said in an interview that his longtime collaborator was "recovering from a procedure," but didn't elaborate further. In a statement published on RollingStone.com, Donald Fagen paid tribute to his dear friend and bandmate in a thoughtful lengthy post, which included: "Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967... He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny... His habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with [my wife] Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band. I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band." - Billboard/Rolling Stone, 9/3/17.
Irish rockers U2 invited Patti Smith onstage at their Sept. 3 concert at Detroit's Ford Field to jam on the band's The Joshua Tree finale "Mothers of the Disappeared." Introducing the punk poetess at the end of the song, frontman Bono told the audience that "There is no one to compare. We don't have anyone to compare with Patti Smith. We wouldn't have written The Joshua Tree without her. What an honor it is to have her on the stage." It was the opening night of U2's Joshua Tree Tour 2017, as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of the acclaimed 1987 LP. Although a New Yorker, Smith has close ties to the Motor City, living in the Detroit suburb of St. Clair Shores from 1980-96 while married to the late MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and giving birth to her two children there. - Billboard, 9/4/17...... '70s soul singer Gloria Gaynor has rewritten the lyrics to her inspirational 1979 No. 1 smash "I Will Survive" to honor the victims of Harvey. "The lyrics just came flowing out in about five minutes," Gaynor said in an interview with CNN. Gaynor's charitable website, IWillSurvive.org, is also offering a line of custom Texas-themed "I Will Survive" T-shirts, with proceeds going to the state's Salvation Army relief efforts. In related news, Paul Simon and his wife Edie Brickell issued a press release on Sept. 1 with a pledge to donate $1 million dollars towards the relief effort for those affected by the recent devastating Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The couple said the money will go to help smaller towns in the area surrounding Houston, with medical emergencies and restoration of homes given top priority. - Stereogum.com, 9/1/17...... Tom Jones tweeted on Sept. 2 that his fall tour will be delayed "following medical advice," without providing further details about why the decision was made. The 77-year-old Welsh crooner previously announced he would launch a lengthy U.S. tour in Pennsylvania on Sept. 6, but now the tour has been postponed until May and June of 2018. Jones, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006, added his "sincere apologies" to his American fans who were planning to attend the shows. - AP, 9/2/17...... Pattie LaBelle was honored with a BMI Icon Award on Aug. 31 during the performing rights organization's annual R&B/Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta. LaBelle's five-decade career was toasted by such artists as Grammy winner BeBe Winans (who sang "On My Own," LaBelle's Hot 100 No. 1 duet with Michael McDonald), Ledisi (who sang "Lady Marmalade"), Avery Sunshine, Kierra Sheard and Tasha Cobbs-Leonard. After being called to the stage by Ledisi at the end, LaBelle surprised the audience with an impromptu performance of "Over the Rainbow." Previous BMI Icon Award honorees include Nile Rodgers, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, James Brown and Snoop Dogg. - Billboard, 9/1/17...... Robert Plant has previewed a second track from his upcoming solo album, Carry Fire, titled "Bones of Saints." More traditionally rocking than the previously shared track, "The May Queen," "Bones of Saints"' rics seem to nod at the current political situation, with lines about "guns, fences and fires in the sky" over a shuffling rockabilly beat and, of course, Plant's signature plaintive wail. - Spin.com, 9/1/17...... A Chuck Berry tribute concert planned for the 2017 LouFest in the pioneering rock & roller's hometown of St. Louis will be headlined by artists including Dave Matthews Band, Cage the Elephant, members of The Roots, and Britt Daniel of Spoon. Dubbed "Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!," the all-star tribute will take place Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. on the festival's Bud Light Stage. The concert has the blessing of Berry's family, which is using the occasion to announce the formation of the Chuck Berry Foundation, which will focus causes in the arts and music education. Concert organizers say the Berry tribute will "ultimately become an everlasting piece of the festival for years to come." Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90. The LouFest 2017 is set for Forest Park at a new event space adjacent to the historic Muny Amphitheater. - Billboard, 9/1/17...... Several artists who recorded for the legendary Stax Records participated in a 50th anniversary tribute to the famed 1960's Stax/Volt Records tour, which took the U.K. and Europe by storm in 1967, as part of the 2017 BBC Proms season at London's Royal Albert Hall on Sept. 1. From that tour, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd and Sam Moore all took part in the concert, along with Stax labelmate William Bell. The concert took place as Stax continues the year-long Stax 60 commemoration of the company's 1957 inception. "It was a family at Stax," Cropper noted before the concert. "We were like brothers and sisters, and we worked together for the same purpose, to get hit records for everybody." - Billboard, 9/1/17...... Bruce Springsteen has added 10 weeks to his upcoming Broadway residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre, which is set to get officially underway on Oct. 12. Springsteen announced on Aug. 31 he will perform five shows a week beginning Oct. 3, and his run is now scheduled through Feb. 3. The extension announcement was made on Aug. 30, the same day tickets for "Springsteen on Broadway" went on sale exclusively through Ticketmaster Verified Fan, a new technology that aims to combat bots and get tickets into the hands of real fans who intend to go to the event. The entire initial 10-week run sold out within the day, with tickets hitting the secondary market shortly afterward -- some offered at up to nearly $10,000 a seat. "I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible," stated Springsteen when he officially announced the run. "I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind." - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/31/17...... On Aug. 31, Elton John remembered the 20th anniversary of the untimely death of Princess Diana, who perished in 1997 after being involved in a car crash in a Paris tunnel. "20 years ago today, the world lost an angel #RIP," Sir Elton posted on Instagram, including a photo of the pair together. John, who was good friends with Diana, reworked his 1973 song "Candle In The Wind" in her memory. He performed it at her funeral and released it as a charity single that has gone on to sell more than 33 million copies worldwide. - New Musical Express, 8/31/17...... A note written by Jimi Hendrix to an "awestruck" British fan 50 years ago is set to be auctioned this fall. The legendary axman gave the then 19-year-old Anthea Connell the message written on the back of a pack of guitar strings at a concert in March 1967. "To Anthea -- Love and kisses to you forever," Hendrix wrote, adding "I wish I could really talk to you. Stay sweet, Jimi Hendrix." "I'd love to tell you we had a deep and meaningful conversation -- I must have mumbled something," Connell told the BBC. "I was totally awestruck. Jimi Hendrix was a complete icon." Conwell is now selling the note, which is framed with autographs from Hendrix band members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, at Hansons in Etwall, Derbyshire. It will go on sale on Oct. 23 and is expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000. - New Musical Express, 8/31/17...... Comedian Shelley Berman, the wildly popular "sit-down" comic of the late 1950s and '60s, died on Sept. 1 at his home in Bell Canyon, Calif., after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 92. Mr. Berman was a standout in a golden era of comedy that included other observational masters like Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and Bob Newhart. The Chicago native trained as a serious actor before jumping into comedy as a nightclub performer. His signature bit was to sit cross-legged on a bar stool, act as if he were on the telephone and improvise long, complicated, one-sided conversations. His Inside Shelley Berman album, a live record released in 1959, became the first comedy album to go gold (reaching sales of 500,000 units) and was the first non-musical recording to win a Grammy Award. The Chicago-born Mr. Berman's acting credits include The Best Man (1964), when he played a guy who has some dirt on presidential candidate Cliff Robertson, and on the small screen, he appeared in a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone as the misanthropic Archibald Beechcroft, who wills everyone in the world to be just like him (to his eventual dismay). More recently, he appeared as a hilariously senile judge on Boston Legal. He also showed up on episodes of Peter Gunn, Bewitched, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Night Court, MacGyver, Grey's Anatomy and Hawaii Five-0, among others. For more than 20 years, Mr. Berman taught humor writing at USC. In 2013, his collection of poetry, To Laughter With Questions, was published. - The Hollywood Reporter, 9/1/17...... Author Jimmy McDonough, who previously penned the bestselling Neil Young biography Shakey, released an Al Green biography entitled Soul Survivor on Aug. 29. The book, the first in-depth biography of Green, chronicles the legendary singer's road from gospel to secular and back again, and also uncovers the story of his label, Hi Records. McDonough conducted countless in-depth interviews with major players in Green's story, some speaking for the very first time. - De Capo Press, 8/31/17...... Richard Anderson, the tall, handsome actor best known for costarring simultaneously in the popular 1970s television shows The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman, died of natural causes at age 91 on Aug. 31. Mr. Anderson was best known to TV viewers as Oscar Goldman, Lee Majors' boss at the secret government spy agency the astronaut went to work for after becoming a cyborg. The Six Million Dollar Man began as a TV movie in 1973 and when it proved a hit it was turned into a weekly series the following year. Its popularity led to the 1976 spinoff show, The Bionic Woman, starring Lindsay Wagner. Mr. Anderson took on the Oscar Goldman role in that show, too, sometimes appearing from week to week in both series. "Richard became a dear and loyal friend, and I have never met a man like him... He loved his daughters, tennis and his work as an actor," Lee Majors said in a statement, adding the two first met when they filmed several episodes of another hit television show, the 1960s western The Big Valley. Mr. Anderson was also a frequent guest on TV series and had regular roles on Bus Stop, Perry Mason, Dan August and The Fugitive. Other television credits included Slattery's People, Dr. Kildare, The Virginian, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Mannix and The Mod Squad. He is survived by three daughters, Ashley Anderson, Brooke Anderson and Deva Anderson. - AP, 8/31/17...... Skip Prokop, drummer/vocalist with seminal Canadian rock/jazz ensemble Lighthouse, died on Aug. 30 from heart complications. He was 73. Formerly with The Paupers, Hamilton, Ont. native Prokop went on to be the band leader with Lighthouse in 1968 along with keyboardist Paul Hoffert and guitarist Ralph Cole. Known as Canada's answer to Chicago, Lighthouse launched as a 13-piece, rock/funk/jazz group making their debut at Toronto's Rockpile on May 14, 1969. One of their first gigs was at New York's Carnegie Hall and they also played Bill Graham's Fillmore East and Filmore West during that first year. They won the Juno Award for Top Canadian Group three consecutive years in 1972-73 and 74. After three relatively unsuccessful albums on RCA, Lighthouse finally clicked as a recording group when, after enlisting Bob McBride as lead vocalist, they recorded One Fine Day on GRT/Evolution Records in 1971 earning North American radio exposure for the title track (No. 24 on the U.S Billboard charts) and enjoyed equal exposure with "Hats Off To The Stranger." They enjoyed further success with "Sunny Days," but when McBride failed to show up for recording sessions for their 1972 release, Can You Feel It, producer Jimmy Ienner convinced both Prokop and Cole to split the vocals and the album was released with "Pretty Lady" charting as a hit single. After splitting up in 1976, Lighthouse staged a number of reunions with Prokop also venturing out to be a deejay and also formed a Christian rock/funk band called Mercy Train. Prokop, Hoffert and Cole relaunched Lighthouse in 1992 as a 10-member unit and have continued to tour, appearing on the Moody Blues' Cruise Ship event in 2014. - AP, 8/31/17...... British singer-songwriter and guitarist Michael "Mick" Softley, a figurehead during the Sixties British folk scene who worked with performers such as Donovan, Mac MacLeod and Maddy Prior, died on Sept. 1. He was 78. Donovan covered two of Softley's songs ("Goldwatch Blues" and "The War Drags On") on his early recordings. - 8/31/17.