A new sci-fi thriller set in a futuristic Berlin titled Mute was influenced by David Bowie's relationship with his son, says Bowie's son and the film's director, Duncan Jones. "An awful lot of the story revolves around the nature of parenthood. What makes a good parent?," says Jones, who says he wrote a draft of the script 15 years ago and showed it to his dad. Jones says he decided to return to the project "because there was too much personal stuff in there." Mute also pays homage to Bowie by using paintings the star made while living in Berlin in the '70s. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Mute will make its premiere on Netflix on Feb. 23. - New Musical Express, 2/16/17...... The Kinks co-founder Dave Davies launched a 2018 tour of the US on Feb. 14 at the Roxy on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. About halfway into his enthusiastically received set, the 71-year-old musician told the audience that "the music business takes its toll on people," then performed the meditative "Path Is Long" from his current sole album Open Road. Davies dedicated "Young and Innocent Days" from the Kinks' classic concept album Arthur to his older sibling Ray Davies, and remembered late-era Kinks (and Argent) bassist Jim Rodford, who passed away in England Jan. 20 after a fall, with a performance of "See My Friends." Backed by former Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken and Davies' familiar musical companion David Nolte on bass, Davies' 16-date tour will hopscotch the US through late April. As for a possible Kinks reunion, Davies told reporters that he and Ray have "been getting along okay now, trying to do something -- I don't know what, but after touring I'm going back to discuss -- something." - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and David Israelite have co-authored an editorial for Billboard urging Congress to pass the Pass the Music Modernization Act and fix how songwriters are paid. "Songwriters are the unsung heroes of the music industry; what improves their ability to create will improve the entire ecosystem. Today's songwriters face an uphill battle. If we don't fix how music creators are paid by digital streaming services, we may never hear the great songs of tomorrow. As people who have been in this industry for a long time, we've seen the songwriters affected first hand," the pair write. "Fortunately, there's hope in the form of the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The MMA is legislation that has brought everyone to the table like never before and now presents a promising future for songwriters and the digital companies who rely on their work. We just need Congress to pass it," they add. The pair went on to say many times ownership information for each song isn't located by digital music companies, and "there have been many lawsuits filed and instead of working together like business partners, songwriters have felt under attack. "The MMA establishes a new central database -- run by music publishers and songwriters -- which will house all ownership information and, in return for proper payment, allow a service to use any song they'd like," according to Tyler and Israelite. Israelite is the President & CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association -- the trade association representing U.S. music publishers and songwriters. - Billboard, 2/15/18...... Record producer Chris Moon, the co-writer of Prince's first ever single "Soft and Wet," is offering to sell his 50% share of the rights of the song for a cool $490,000. Since the rise of music streaming has devalued songwriting royalties, and "Soft and Wet" was only a modest hit in the first place (charting at number 92 and appearing on Prince's 1978 debut For You), Moon says that "anyone who buys this probably shouldn't be doing it for financial purposes... It's more about owning one of the most unique collectibles ever related to Prince." Moon, the former owner of the Minneapolis studio where a teenage Prince recorded his first demo tape, admitted that he made more money off the song when MC Hammer sampled it on his own "She's Soft and Wet" in 1990. - Billboard, 2/14/18...... Alice Cooper, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Feb. 4, is musing that "somebody was trying to keep me from getting to 70" after he was among the residents of Hawaii who were traumatized by a recent false nuclear attack alert, then two weeks later, being involved in a head-on car collision back home in Phoenix that totaled both vehicles. "Both of us walked out of it without a scratch," Cooper reports. "My car looked like a piece of art, but I did come out of it with a 1965 350 Shelby Mustang -- a real Detroit car. That's where the insurance money's going." About the false nuclear attack alert, Cooper says: "y theology told me I'm gonna go from one paradise to another one, but it's still a bit of a shock to think, 'In about 18 minutes, I'm gonna be fried.' When it blew over everybody was laughing about it, but believe me, it was scary." On Mar. 1, Cooper will kick off a new US tour behind his 2017 album Paranormal, promising three or four songs from the new album. Cooper and his longtime manager Shep Gordon are also planning a major new show that will probably hit the road during 2019. "There's a million ideas out there," Cooper notes. "It won't look like this (upcoming) tour and it'll be a bigger show. There's no way from getting away from the 15 songs for so you have to do, so it's, 'How do you approach them? What's the look of Alice? What's the look of the band?' That's what we're working on how. The creativity has not gone." Meanwhile, the Coop kicked off a mini-tour of the UK with his supergroup Hollywood Vampires on Feb. 7, and says the band will enter the studio to record its second album this summer. Cooper's other major project this year is continuing his acting career by playing King Herod for Jesus Christ Superstar Live on Easter Sunday, Apr. 1 on NBC. "I think I should play it like Alan Rickman, a very condescending kind of arrogance," says Cooper, who recorded a version of the track for a 1996 Superstar album in the U.K. "It's the only song in the whole show that's funny, and Herod is being so abusive, verbally, to Christ, even though he's treating him as a guest. There's a lot of ways to take that song." - Billboard, 2/15/18...... In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Neil Young reveals he thinks he knows why his Pono music player and download service crashed: "The record labels killed it by insisting on charging two to three times as much for the high-res files as for MP3s. Why would anybody pay three times as much?" Young launched his PonoMusic World store in early 2015, following the release of the actual player, with a catalog of 24-bit 192kHz tracks. Prices for full albums of hi-res files went from anywhere between $20 to $28 versus half that on iTunes and other download stores. Individual songs on PonoMusic usually cost between $1.99 and $2.99 a piece. Young noted that more than 1 million hi-res tracks were downloaded from the service before it shut down last year, but it wasn't enough to outrun overhead costs and the rising tide of streaming. "It's my feeling that all music should cost the same," he says. "The [hi-res] file doesn't cost any more to transfer. And today with streaming, you don't have the problem [of unauthorized file sharing]. Who wants to copy something if you can stream it? The record companies, by charging three times as much for hi-res music as they charge for regular music, they've killed hi-res music. It's the dumbest thing I've ever seen." Young has now turned his attention to establishing a hi-res streaming platform called XStream, which he is putting to use on his recently launched Neil Young Archives website. Currently free, Young says he plans on introducing a couple paid subscription options for fans who want continued access beyond six months. - Billboard, 2/15/18...... The Doors will release a new live DVD/CD, The Doors: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970, on Feb. 23 via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Also coming out on Blu-ray, Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 captures the L.A.-based band's third-to-last concert, and the final one ever filmed, and occurred in the midst of frontman Jim Morrison's infamous trial for indecent exposure and obscenity during a 1969 concert in Miami. "It was a nervous time for us," Doors guitarist Robby Krieger says, "and it was pretty different than any of our other shows. "Jim was in the midst of the Miami thing, so he wasn't in the best of moods, and we were into the part of his career where he was way overweight and had the beard. He didn't really do a great show; He sang well, but he didn't move an inch, and usually he was real animated and all over the place, depending on how much drugs he had in him. And he insisted on green light only. He wanted it as dark as possible on stage, so they're lucky they got anything, really. But other than that, it was pretty fun." The Doors played just two more concerts after Isle of Wight, triumphantly in Dallas on Dec. 11, 1970, where the group premiered material from its upcoming L.A. Woman album, and catastrophically the following night in New Orleans. Krieger says that recordings exist of the Dallas show that are being prepared for future release. Meanwhile the Doors plan to continue releasing expanded 50th anniversary editions of its albums, with Waiting For The Sun on tap for 2018. "Some of my favorite songs that I wrote are on that album," says Krieger, who's says he's also working on a new solo instrumental LP. - Billboard, 2/13/18...... In a new interview with music mag Planet Rock, Jimmy Page admits that he does not expect any more live shows from the legendary band he co-founded, Led Zeppelin, but that there are some new "products" in the works. "You've just got to face facts. We've gone past the tenth anniversary of the O2 [show], where we managed to do one serious concert," Page said. "That's the only thing that we've done for such a long time, so I very much doubt we'll do anything else. I really think the time has gone." As for future Led Zep projects, Page said: "I can't give the game away, but there's a recording that's another multi-track that we'll release. It's so different to all the other things that are out there. It's another view compared to How The West Was Won or The Song Remains The Same. I'm looking forward to people hearing that. There's a lot of stuff to come out, a number of releases. I'd like to say that they'll be coming out over the next 10 years. There's more to come for sure." Page also comments on the new Led Zeppelin book due out this fall. "I'm really pleased that we're all doing it collectively because there are so many other people doing books. There's about ten that I know of that are coming, which is pretty ridiculous! It will be really good to have an authoritative book, where the band are actually contributing to it rather than being ripped off." - Billboard, 2/14/18...... Paul McCartney was named one of the recipients of Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize on Feb. 12. Each year the Wolf Foundation awards $100,000 prizes in five fields, which in addition to music include chemistry, agriculture, mathematics and physics. An organizer said the foundation had notified McCartney's representatives, and described the former Beatle as "one of the greatest songwriters of all time." It was not immediately known if McCartney will appear in Israel for the award ceremony in May. - AP, 2/12/18...... In other Beatles-related news, four of Korea's most well-known artists covered John Lennon's "Imagine" during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9. Taking to the center of the stadium, the singers held hands as they covered the Lennon classic, surrounded by spectators holding candles. An estimated 35,000 spectators were in attendance at the Olympic Stadium, with temperatures reaching as low as -6C during the two-hour ceremony. - New Musical Express, 2/10/18...... The Steve Miller band will reunite with fellow classic rocker Peter Frampton for another co-headlining summer trek this year, it was announced via a press release on Feb. 12. "We plan to travel between the psychedelic sixties through the future with a vengeance," says the 74-year-old Miller, who released his first LP Children of the Future 50 years ago, in June 1968. The tour will kick off June 12 in Evansville, In., and includes dates at Radio City Music Hall in New York (6/27), concluding in the Washington state city of Woodinville on Aug. 25 and 26 with a two-night run. The Steve Miller Band will also be closing out the final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in May prior to the tour's start. - Billboard, 2/12/18...... Elton John was the victim of "friendly fire" when he was struck by a flying necklace during a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day after he invited the front row of the crowd to come on stage as he performed his hit "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Footage of the performance shows John stopping his performing momentarily and checking his teeth for any damage. It is believed that one of the fans threw the Mardi Gras beads at Sir Elton. John recently announced he was canceling two of his Las Vegas residency performances in order to attend the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. - NME, 2/16/18...... Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton revealed on Feb. 12 that he intends to quit touring after being diagonosed with Parkinson's disease. Tipton, 70, joined the heavy metal band in 1974, shortly before they released their debut album Rocka Rolla. In a press release, Judas Priest said that "ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson's... From then until recently Glenn has lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he has always been, maintaining by his own definition a standard of quality and performance that is incredibly important." The band also revealed that Tipton has requested that guitarist Andy Sneap, who produced the Priest's latest album Firepower, replace him live. In January, former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland died at the age of 69. - NME, 2/12/18...... Country music legend Willie Nelson announced on Feb. 16 that he'll release his latest album, Last Man Standing, on Apr. 27, just two days before his 85th birthday. On the title track Nelson, who has been plagued with health issues over the past year which forced him to cancel numerous concerts, seems to play with this idea that he will live forever, singing "I don't want to be the last man standing. Oh wait a minute, maybe I do." In addition to the tracklisting of the 11-track LP, Nelson also shared a new video for "Last Man Standing" which features him and his band in the studio. - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Comedian Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, passed away from complications from pneumonia on Feb. 13. He was 95. Mr. Allen, known for his greeting and catchphrase "hello dere," first found fame as half of the duo Allen & Rossi with partner Steve Rossi, who died in 2014. Allen & Rossi appeared 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show, including the episodes where the Beatles performed and most of America watched. "Everyone remembers those shows with the Beatles, and they were great, but we appeared on all the shows," Mr. Allen said in 2014. "There wasn't a talk show on TV that didn't want Allen & Rossi." The duo appeared regularly on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show, also touring comedy clubs nationwide, headlining shows at major Las Vegas casinos, and releasing a series of hit albums until their amicable breakup in 1968. Mr. Allen then took on a series of serious roles on daytime television and made-for-TV movies, and was a regular on The Hollywood Squares and other celebrity-themed game shows. Mr. Allen, who kept making crows laugh with live performances well into his mid-90s, is survived by his wife Karon Kate Blackwell, a singer-songwriter who became his performing partner in his last decades and acted as the goofy Allen's "straight man" just as Rossi did half a century earlier. - Fox News, 2/13/18...... Singer Vic Damone, one of the last remaining crooners of the golden era, passed away from complications of a respiratory illness on Feb. 12. He was 89. Famously described as having the "best pipes in the business" by Frank Sinatra, Mr. Damone's performing career lasted five decades and spawned dozens of hits thanks to his smooth, mellow baritone and a style that was indisputably inspired by his compatriot Sinatra. Best known for lush, romantic ballads, Mr. Damone's career was launched in 1947 when he won first place in Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show, which led to regular radio gigs and a chance encounter with comedian Milton Berle, who helped the then-19 year-old performer land gigs at prominent nightclubs. With his matinee idol good looks, Mr. Damone also had a notable run on the big screen, signing a contract with MGM in 1951 and appearing in The Strip and Rich, Young and Pretty before his career was put on hold for two years when he was drafted into the military. One of Mr. Damone's signature songs was "On the Street Where You Live," the Lerner and Loewe song from "My Fair Lady", which the singer released in 1956, hitting No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 pop chart. In all, he recorded more than 2,000 songs over his five-decade career, which landed him an induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1997. The Brooklyn-born crooner continued to be a big draw in Las Vegas after his radio hits dried up in the late 1960s. - Billboard, 2/12/18.
Friday, February 16, 2018
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Elton John has announced he's canceling two shows this spring set for Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in order to attend the upcoming royal wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle. "I spent some time with [Harry] in Sicily last summer and I could tell he was totally in love," Sir Elton said of Prince Harry in a recent interview. The Caesar's Palace shows affected by Elton's change of plans fall on May 18 and 19, with May 19 being Harry and Meghan's wedding date. John announced in January that he would mount an epic "farewell" tour beginning this fall that would visit around 300 cities and last three years. - New Musical Express, 2/7/18...... In a new extensive profile of Jimmy Buffett in the New York Times, the Parrothead-In-Chief revealed that he's been following a strict diet recently: "No sugar and no carbs... Except on Sunday." Buffett also said he has stopped smoking weed and instead opts for vape oils sometimes after working. But while he's no longer "searching for his lost shaker of salt," he says he still hasn't given up his beloved tequila, which he now imbibes with "a lot of water." - Billboard, 2/8/18...... Ozzy Osbourne held a press conference at his L.A. home on Feb. 6 to announce dates for the first North American leg of his farewell "No More Tours 2" tour, which takes its name from his hit album No More Tears. "I'm 70-something. I've missed my family over the years," Ozzy said, with wife Sharon Osbourne at his side. "I've always been out on the road the whole time with a few breaks here and there. It's just time," he added. Ozzy, a grandfather who recently welcomed his eighth grandchild, is looking to slow down after his final tour but insists it isn't the end for his music career. "I'm not retiring from the music business; I'm just not doing world tours anymore. I'll be doing gigs," he said. When asked about what kind of shows fans can expect from the heavy metal musician, Sharon responded, "Anything but Coachella." Ozzy confirmed that his Ozzfest tour, which was put together by himself, Sharon and son Jack Osbourne, will continue. He will play two dates in the US, on Apr. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla., and Apr. 29 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before traveling to Central America and then Europe and Israel in May, June and July. His No More Tears 2 tour will kick off on Aug. 30 in Allentown, Pa., playing 32 dates in mostly smaller markets before wrapping on Oct. 13 in Las Vegas. Ozzy and the band that made him famous as its frontman, Black Sabbath, wound up their farewell tour in Feb. 2017 in their hometown of Birmingham, UK. "It is the greatest love affair I've ever had in my life," he said of his days with Black Sabbath. - Billboard, 2/6/18...... Carly Simon has signed a global administration deal for the entirety of her song catalog with Universal Music Publishing Group, the company announced on Feb. 8. "From my generation to my daughter's, her music continues to be a source of inspiration and emotional resonance for people around the world," said UMPG chairperson and CEO Jody Gerson. "UMPG is thrilled to welcome her to our world-class family of songwriters." During her lengthy career the "You're So Vain" singer has won a total of three Grammys and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Grammy Hall Fame and named to the ASCAP Founders Award, among numerous other prestigious honors. - Billboard, 2/8/18...... Hollywood Vampires, the "supergroup" comprised of Alice Cooper, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, and actor Johnny Depp announced details of a four-city summer UK tour on Feb. 7. The band, making their live debut in the country, will play Birmingham's Genting Arena on June 16, the Manchester Arena on June 17, Glasgow's SSE Hydro on June 19, and London's SSE Arena in Wembley on June 20. Hollywood Vampires began back in the 1970s on the Sunset Strip at the Rainbow Bar & Grill's upstairs bar, and has welcomed a rotation of stars passing through LA throughout the years. "To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members," Alice Cooper once recalled of his drinking buddies. "I would walk in on a typical night and John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon would be there, then another time Bernie Taupin, Jim Morrison or Mickey Dolenz might be there." - New Musical Express, 2/7/18....... Film company Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights for the new Joan Jett documentary Bad Reputation, which follows the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee from her early years as the founder of The Runaways through her major mainstream chart success with songs like "I Love Rock 'n Roll" and "Crimson and Clover." Directed by Kevin Kerslake and written by Joel Marcus, Bad Reputation will likely be released by Magnolia sometime later in 2018. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/9/18...... Kiss singer/guitarist Paul Stanley exhibited his own paintings and sculptures on Feb. 9 and 10 at the Wentworth Gallery in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, respectively. "I enjoy going to the galleries. I enjoy meeting people. People acquire pieces and we get a chance to talk about those pieces and I'm interested in their take and what they're getting out of the piece," said Stanley, who studied art as a youth and returned to active painting a decade ago. "I'm a big believer that people are intimidated by art and theater because critics have intimidated them. Nobody needs to be told what good art is; Good art is what you like and bad art is what you don't like," he added. Stanley's Florida exhibitions included a variety of works, ranging from paintings (including pieces of he and Kiss co-founder Gene Simmons on stage) to an acrylic guitar sculpture that represents some of his most recent artistic interests. Stanley, who also fronts a 13-piece R&B group called Soul Station, says he has more time for painting hobby in what looks like a light year for Kiss. The group has a handful of festival and headlining dates during July in Spain and Portugal but will be spending most of the year off the road. Stanley and Soul Station recently played a dozen shows in Japan and says he'd like the band to "really bring Philly soul and Motown live, the way it was done, in the studio." He added that the group is also considering some original material. "I have some friends of mine who are some of the top producer/writers, and we may do some new material that's very much in that vein," he noted. - Billboard, 2/7/18...... The estate of late Steely Dan member Walter Becker has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Steely Dan's Donald Fagen over ownership of Steely Dan. In November, Fagen sued Becker's estate for full ownership of Steely Dan Inc. based on a Buy/Sell agreement drawn up between Becker and Fagen in 1972 that stated that if a member of Steely Dan dies or leaves the group, the other members would then buy their shares. Now Becker's estate has issued a statement criticizing Fagen for having "his lawyer send a demand letter" trying to claim total ownership of Steely Dan Inc. one day after his bandmate of 50 years passed away, on Oct. 29. Fagen's attorneys responded with a motion claiming that Becker's estate "already received its fair share of Steely Dan's revenues based on Becker's contributions to the band while he was alive," and argue that it would be unfair for Becker's estate to earn the revenue Fagen generates by continuing to tour as Steely Dan. Meanwhile, Fagen has announced plans to launch a new Steely Dan tour with the Doobie Brothers in May. - Spin.com, 2/7/18...... A new album featuring previously undiscovered poems and lyrics written by late country icon Johnny Cash is being planned for this spring. Johnny Cash: Forever Words will be released on Apr. 6 via Sony's Legacy Recordings and feature such artists as Cash's daughters Roseanne Cash and Carlene Carter, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Elvis Costello, Braid Paisley, Alison Kraus, Jewel and the late Chris Cornell. Cash's son John Carter Cash was a co-producer of the new project and described it as a "monstrous amassment" of undiscovered material. The track "You Never Knew My Mind" is sung and performed by Cornell as one of the late Soundgarden artist's final recordings. It will be released almost 21 years after Cash covered Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" for his acclaimed late career album, Unchained. - NME, 2/7/18...... Streams of '70s disco legend Donna Summer's 1982 single "State of Independence" have increased dramatically after producer Quincy Jones claimed in a recent interview that Michael Jackson "stole" the song for his own smash single, "Billie Jean." On Feb. 7, the day Jones' interview was published in Vulture, as well as Feb. 8, Nielsen Music reported that "State" racked up more than 150,000 on-demand audio and video streams -- up more than 12,000 percent compared to its on-demand streaming sum on Feb. 5 and 6 (less than 2,000 streams). Streams of "Billie Jean" also grew in streaming activity, to a lesser extent. Clearly, readers of Jones' interview were very curious to see if they could hear anything in "State" that sounded similar to "Billie Jean." Jones was the producer of Summer's "State of Independence," and he co-produced "Billie Jean" with Jackson. Meanwhile in the same Vulture interview, Quincy Jones claimed late comedian Richard Pryor once had sex with Marlon Brando "He'd f-- a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye," Jones said of Brando. And now, Pryor's widow Jennifer has apparently confirmed Jones' claim. "It was the '70s! Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes," she told the gossip site TMZ.com. "If you did enough cocaine, you'd f-- a radiator and send it flowers in the morning." Jennifer said she plans on publishing Pryor's diary entries -- which allegedly document his sexual escapades -- later in 2018. - Billboard/PostMedia News, 2/10/18...... Legendary rock guitarist Robin Trower has announced a one-off UK show at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on Feb. 27. Trower released his latest album, Time and Emotion, in 2017, and in the upcoming concert will be supported by the New York based blues vocalist Sari Schorr Trio featuring guitarist Ash Wilson and keyboardist Bob Fridzema (former King King). "I can honestly say I don't know when I have been happier with an album," the 72-year-old guitarist said of his last LP. "I feel Time and Emotion contains some of my very best work." Tickets for the show can be purchased at TheGigCartel.com or the venue's website, http://bit.ly/19KfXmW. - Noble PR, 2/8/18...... Memorabilia company Molecule8.com has announced it's first flagship release, a John Lennon 1:6 scale figure set, featuring Lennon's likeness captured by internationally celebrated sculptor and Molecule8 collaborator Ms. K.A.KIM. The "John Lennon: IMAGINE" figure set also incorporates Molecule8's internal Mark I Endoskeleton and soft skin technology. More info can be found on the Molecule8.com website. - Molecule8.com, 2/9/18...... Actor John Gavin, best known for appearing in such classic films as Psycho, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spartacus, Imitation of Life, Back Street and Midnight Lace, died on the morning of Feb. 9 died from complications with pneumonia. He was 86. The handsome thespian also served as Ambassador to Mexico under Pres. Ronald Reagan, and once accompanied First Lady Nancy Reagan on a tour to survey earthquake damage in Mexico City in 1985. Mr. Gavin won a Golden Globe for his role in the 1958 TV movie A Time to Love and a Time To Die, and was also a familiar face on TV, playing Harrison Destry in 1960s series Destry, and appearing on hit shows like Convoy, The Love Boat and The New Adventures of Heidi. His last credit came in the late 1970s series Fantasy Island. - WENN.com, 2/9/18..... Songwriter and digital rights advocate John Perry Barlow, who penned numerous songs for the Grateful Dead from 1971 to 1995, including "Cassidy," "Mexicali Blues" and "Black-Throated Wind," reportedly passed away in his sleep on Feb. 7. He was 70. The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir has paid tribute to Barlow on Twitter, writing: "This life is fleeting, as we all know -- the Muse we serve is not. John had a way of taking life's most difficult things and framing them as challenges, therefore adventures. He was to be admired for that, even emulated. He'll live on in the songs we wrote." As well as his work with The Grateful Dead, Barlow was known for his vocal activism and defense of Internet freedom, digital rights and online liberties, and helped establish the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 1990. "We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF. It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow's vision and leadership," the organization's Cindy Cohn said. - New Musical Express, 2/8/18.
Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne will be among the headliners at the 2018 Sasquatch! Festival in Washington state. Set for May 25-27, the event will also feature Bon Iver, Modest Mouse, Tyler and Spoon, among other artists. - Spin.com, 2/6/18...... Kool & the Gang and John Mellencamp will be among the inductees into the class of 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Feb. 6. Kool & the Gang members Robert "Kool" Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James "JT" Taylor will be inducted into the Hall during a June 14 ceremony, with country artists Alan Jackson and Bill Anderson and hip-hop act Jermaine Dupri also being recognized. "The 2018 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a prodigious representation of creators of cross-genre hits, certain to resonate with everyone," Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, the organization's co-chairs, and Linda Moran, its president and CEO, said in a joint statement. - AP, 2/6/18...... The famous ruffled, sparkly outfits worn by Prince along with his white "cloud" guitars will be among the memorabilia belonging to the late funk superstar in a two-day "music icons" sale, Julien's Auctions announced on Feb. 5. The Prince items are being sold by family members and former employees, and the auction will take place both online and live at the Hard Rock Cafe on May 18. A purple glitter outfit worn by Prince during tours in 1997 and 1998 could bring between $6,000 to $8,000, and a custom electric blue two-piece ensemble Prince wore onstage in a 1999 pay-per-view concert at Paisley Park has an estimated value of $40,000 to $50,000. Meanwhile, Prince's sister Tyka Nelson, says her late brother wouldn't have been mad at Justin Timberlake halftime Super Bowl tribute to Prince on Feb. 4 in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis. Some fans of Prince have complained that the musician wouldn't have approved of Timberlake covering Prince's "I Would Die 4 U" before a giant projected image of Minneapolis' finest, considering Prince once dinged Timberlake over his hit "SexyBack" with a quip about how "sexy never left," and Justin smacking back on "Give It To Me" with the line "Now if sexy never left, then why is everybody on my shit." But Tyka says that she was "pleasantly surprised" by JT's performance and enjoyed the tribute to her late brother, though the family was not previously aware that Prince would appear via a large video projection. Tyka added that her brother would have been fine with the tribute, and "said what he said and kept it moving." - AP, 2/5/18...... In related news, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler was featured in a surprisingly sad Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 4 for automaker Kia. In the ad, Tyler steps behind the wheel of a Kia Stinger on a dusty race track, throws the car into reverse and puts the pedal to the medal. When Tyler emerges from the car, he's 40 years younger (thanks to CGI), resembling the shaggy-haired hippie who belted out classics on Toys In the Attic and Rocks. The message? "Feel something again." - Billboard, 2/4/18...... Willie Nelson announced on Feb. 5 that he will be canceling the remainder of his shows set for the month of February as he recovers from the flu and needs "a few extra weeks to recover completely." Nelson, 84, was also forced to cancel shows due to illness in January and in 2017 also scrapped some shows in February and ended an August concert early. Nelson's next anticipated tour date is on Mar. 5 in Greenville, S.C. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... Queen + Adam Lambert announced on Feb. 5 that they'll mount another European tour in 2018 that kicks off on June 13 in Cologne, Germany, also visiting Berlin (6/19), Hamburg (6/20) and Milan, Italy (6/25) before wrapping at London's O2 Arena on July 2. It will be Queen + Adam Lambert's first European tour since a 25 date trek in November and December of 2017. - NME, 2/5/18...... A year after touring a hologram of late rocker Ronnie James Dio, production company Eyellusion has announced it will be launching a new hologram for Frank Zappa. "The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa" tour will include a hologram of the "Don't Eat Yellow Snow" singer who passed away in 1993, along with appearances by living musicians who performed with Zappa including Ray White, Mike Keneally, Scott Thunes and Robert Martin. They will be joined on the tour at various stops by Steve Vai, Warren Cuccurullo, Ian Underwood, Vinnie Colaiuta and Napoleon Murphy Brock. Eyellusion said it constructed the Zappa hologram using hours of never-before-seen Zappa performance footage taped in his Los Angeles studio in 1974 and witnessed only by camera operators until it was unveiled earlier this year in cooperation with the Zappa Family Trust. Eyellusion debuted the hologram technology for the "Dio Returns" tour of 2016. Meanwhile, a Roy Orbison hologram show put on by BASE Entertainment will kick off in the UK in April and reach North America in the fall. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... A source close to AC/DC, biographer Murray Engleheart, is claiming that the Aussie rockers will continue to tour and record with Guns N' Roses leader Axl Rose in the future. In a recent Facebook post, Engleheart wrote: "Speculate all you want but I've said it before and I'll say it again: AC/DC will continue with Axl on vocals -- new album, touring, the whole nine yards... What was a massive gamble by Angus (Young) turned out to be an equally enormous triumph that has set the scene for the future." Axl Rose joined AC/DC in 2016 after previous frontman Brian Johnson was forced to retire from performing after suffering from hearing loss. Guns N' Roses are currently scheduled to finish touring in July 2018, when their Not In This Lifetime world tour wraps up in Sweden. Before it concludes, they will headline Download Festival at Leicestershire's Donington Park on June 9. - New Musical Express, 2/5/18...... Paul Simon confirmed on Feb. 5 that he will indeed playing his farewell tour in 2018, announcing North American dates for what he is calling "Homeward Bound - The Farewell Tour." Simon, 76, posted that he's spent much time considering his decision to retire from live performing, and while he's emotionally torn of it, now feels like the right time to bow out gracefully. "I've often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I'd consider bringing my performing career to a natural end," he said. "Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief. I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly." Simon goes on to note that his band recently lost their lead guitarist and friend of 30 years: Vincent N'guini, who passed in December. "His loss is not the only reason I've decided to stop touring, but it is a contributing factor," Simon explained. "Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing." Simon's 19-city farewell tour will get underway on May 16 in Vancouver, BC, hitting several major cities including Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia before wrapping on June 20 in Nashville, Tenn. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... A new documentary about late David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson titled Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story has been released that sheds light on the crucial and creative member of Bowie's influential early '70s band the Spiders From Mars. Currently streaming through Amazon Prime and also available on Blu-ray, the 2017 documentary showcases the shaggy-haired guitar virtuoso whose "grit and energy cut through the room," as Bowie observes in the film. Interviews about Ronson with contemporaries and collaborators, including producer Tony Visconti, Lou Reed, Rick Wakeman and Bowie's first wife Angie Bowie are included in the documentary directed by Jon Brewer. Ronson died in 1993 of liver cancer, the disease that also claimed Bowie in 2016, at age 46. - Billboard, 2/5/18...... In other Bowie-related news, keyboardist Mike Garson who performed and recorded with the "Space Oddity" singer throughout his career has announced he will be publishing an updated edition of his 2015 biography Bowie's Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson on May 15 which contains stories he couldn't tell before, including an incident when Bowie met with a psychic during the late 70s who accurately forecasted his Jan. 2016 passing. "(The psychic) told him he was going to die exactly when he died," says Garson, who's preparing to lead the next leg of his all-star "Celebrating David Bowie" tour in North America. "There are a lot of psychics who are out of their minds and full of it, but this one was real," Garson added. "David knew it and didn't doubt it for a second. He told me about (the reading) with certainty, accepted it and planned his future out based on that. He had 30, 40 years to plan out his life." - Billboard, 2/2/18...... David Crosby's latest album Sky Trails features a song that is included in the new independent film Little Pink House, which centers on the Susette Kelo Supreme Court decision concerning eminent domain. Crosby says he wrote the song with his son James after they saw the film and were moved by it. "With eminent domain, where they take away your property, there's usually people being paid under the table," Crosby notes. "They took this woman's home away from her. It was brutal, underhanded and completely wrong, and everybody knew it. She fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. It was a tough tale to look at. It was a moving thing," he added. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/5/18...... The Beatles' companies Apple Corps Ltd. and Subafilms Ltd. filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit on Feb. 1 against a list of 48 internet dealers and aliases for promoting, distributing and selling items that bear counterfeit logos or imitations of their respective trademarks. The defendants in the suit include shirtsforyou.net, B.F. Store, Good luck to you, GreenMango Store and HOOK ON YOU. The lawsuit alleges trademark counterfeiting and infringement, "false designation of origins" to confuse potential buyers, common law unfair competition and common law trademark infringement. According to the lawsuit, the defendants are either located in or distribute their products from territories with lax trademark enforcement. Besides their own websites, the suit says the goods were also available from the sellers on commercial sites such as Amazon, eBay, Bonanza.com and Etsy. Apple Corps Ltd. -- owned by the two living Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the estates of the late John Lennon and George Harrison -- owns and controls the exclusive merchandising rights "and other intangible rights in the name of the Beatles," according to the complaint. Subafilms Ltd. is an associated company also owned by the Beatles related to the merchandising rights from the Fab Four's 1967 animated movie Yellow Submarine. - Billboard, 1/2/18...... Nile Rodgers of Chic says that Chic's long-awaited new album It's About Time is "absolutely coming this year." In 2015, Rodgers and his legendary act Chic was supposed to release its first album since 1992. Dubbed It's About Time, its title would turn out to be an ironic one considering it's been delayed since, with sudden passings (Chris Cornell, Prince, David Bowie) and Rodgers' medical issues getting in the way. But Rodgers says it's "100 percent" that the album will be released this year. "The reason I don't have a specific release date right now is because we're looking at visuals and concepts with different video directors," he says. "This album is sort of like a musical compendium, if you will. It really taught me a lot. It's me saying, 'This is how I got here, I'm so appreciative, it's so fun, this is how we do it and this is what I believe in.'" - Billboard, 2/1/18...... Retailer Best Buy announced on Feb. 2 that it plans to pull compact discs from its stores on July 1, and threatened to pay labels for CDs only when customers buy them. At one point, Best Buy was the most powerful music merchandiser in the U.S., but nowadays it's a shadow of its former self, with a reduced offering of CDs, which Best Buy says were down 18.5 percent in sales in 2017. While it says it's planning to pull out CDs, Best Buy will continue to carry vinyl for the next two years, keeping a commitment it made to vendors. The vinyl will now be merchandised with the turntables, sources suggest. - Billboard, 2/2/18...... Ozzy and Jack Osbourne's A&E show Ozzy & Jack's World Detour has been renewed for a third season, Jack Osbourne announced in a Facebook post on Feb. 1. "Everyone keeps asking if we're doing a season 3 of World Detour well guess what today is? Day 1 of season 3 baby!!! Woooohoooo," Jack wrote. The series follows the Osbournes they hit the road on a father-son journey they've waited years to take. Season 2 saw the duo visiting Disaster City, Texas, testing their battle skills while riding in a tank, and hunting for pythons in Florida, among other adventures. - Deadline.com, 2/1/18...... Actor Robert Wagner has been named a "person of interest" in the death of his late wife Natalie Wood, who disappeared from her family's yacht off the coast of Catalina Island in Nov. 1981 and was found floating in the water the next day in a red down jacket and flannel nightgown. Los Angeles County investigators say they believe Wood's then-husband Wagner is a "person of interest" in the case, which was reopened in 2011 after initially being ruled an accident. "[W]e know now that he was the last person to be with Natalie before she disappeared," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant John Corina says. Investigators noted the autopsy report indicates there were a number of bruises that appeared to be fresh on Wood's body, and that Wagner's "version of events just don't add up." Wagner, who maintains he had nothing to do with his wife's death, has refused to speak with them since the case was reopened. "We have not been able to prove this was a homicide. And we haven't been able to prove that this was an accident, either," an LA Sheriff's Dept. detective says. - Jezebel.com, 2/1/18...... The Temptations singer Dennis Edwards, who replaced David Ruffin in the Motown group in 1968, died at his home in Chicago on Feb. 2. He was 74. Edwards began his career as lead singer of another Motown group, The Contours, before being recruited to replace Ruffin after the singer's fallout with the group. Edwards' voice defined the sound of The Temptations through their funkiest period, in which he sang lead on major hits like "I Can't Get Next To You," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "Cloud Nine" and "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)". Edwards remained the lead singer of the group through 1977, when they left Motown Records, and was reinstated when they returned to the label in 1980. He also released three solo albums, and his 1984 Motown debut Don't Look Any Further and its title track charted in the top five of the R&B charts. Edwards continued to perform Temptations material as part of splinter group The Temptations Revue Featuring Dennis Edwards up until last year. - Spin.com, 2/2/18...... Ndugu Chancler, a session drummer who crafted the legendary intro to Michael Jackson's 1983 smash hit "Billie Jean" and worked with many of musics' most notable acts over a 50-plus year career, passed away on Feb. 3. He was 65. Chancler also played with the likes of Thelonius Monk, Frank Sinatra and Lionel Richie, and is co-credited as a songwriter on Dazz Band's Grammy-nominated 1982 record "Let It Whip." His cause of death has not yet been revealed. - Billboard, 2/5/18.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
The upcoming SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Tex. in mid-March will feature the premiere of a new Western movie titled Paradox and starring Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah Nelson. Music from Young, as well as his sometime backup band Promise of the Real which features Lukas and Micah, will also be included in the film, which is described on the official SXSW website as "a far-fetched, whimsical western tale of music and love." The SXSW Film Festival, an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences, kicks off on Mar. 9. - New Musical Express, 2/1/18...... The estate of John Denver announced on Jan. 30 it was launching a Patreon.com page on where fans of the late singer-songwriter can listen to a bounty of previously unreleased tracks and sample unique content, including Denver's artwork and photography, much of which has never been seen before. "John Denver's Estate continually seeks new ways to bring John's fans content in a way we feel John would have supported," Brian Schwartz, the manager of Denver's estate, told Billboard. "Patreon is an innovative way for the estate to do just this. We can offer rare and exclusive content to excited consumers with ease and in the true spirit of John Denver, in a way that supports environmental causes." Patreon.com is a membership platform that allows content creators to house subscription sites for their followers. To date it claims to have more than 50,000 active creators, which include musicians, videographers, animators, podcasters and game developers, who are paid directly by a reported 1 million customers interested in their art. In October, Denver's estate released a previously unheard version of Judy Collins' "The Blizzard" that was recorded during the early 1990s but never released. - Billboard, 1/30/18...... Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has posted a playlist of Carribbean and African music titled "The Beautiful Shitholes" on his official website DavidByrne.com in response to Pres. Donald Trump's recent comments during a meeting at the White House in which he purportedly said, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here? Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out." "I assume I don't have to explain where the shithole reference came from," Byrne said in his playlist's description. "Here's a playlist that gives just the smallest sample of the depth and range of creativity that continues to pour out of the countries in Africa and the Caribbean. It is undeniable. Can music help us empathize with its makers?" Byrne added that "Trump is not the issue... We know and have known for a long time that he is racist... What is truly disturbing is the Republicans who go along with this person" and urged his fans to "remember that at voting time." - NME, 2/1/18...... The B-52s were among the honorees at the sixth annual She Rocks Awards, held on Jan. 26 at the House of Blues in Anaheim, Calif. The B-52s' Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson accepted the Vanguard Award, and other female artists recognized during the event included Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge. - Billboard, 1/27/18...... Lionel Richie has announced he'll be heading back to the UK this summer for a 12-city tour, performing in towns that he's never previously visited including Lincolnshire, Shrewsbury, Leigh, Carlisle, Scarborough, Chesterfield and Hove. The tour will kick off on June 1 in Northampton and also hit London on June 6. "I've been missing the UK and cant wait to make my long awaited return and to see parts of the country I've never made it out to before," Richie said in a press release. - New Musical Express, 1/30/18...... Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain will release his memoir, titled Don't Stop Believin' after the famous Journey song, on May 1 to coincide with Journey's upcoming co-headlining tour with Def Leppard which begins three weeks later. Cain says he started writing the book "10 years ago" and that it's "a musical, songwriter's book." "It's about dealing with the setbacks of the music business -- the ups and downs, the dedications, the rejection, dealing with everybody that says 'You're not good enough' and carrying on," he says. "Just because somebody tells you you can't write and you can't sing doesn't mean you've got to quit, it just means you haven't gotten to the right position yet. So it's a book of hope and faith." Cain credits his late dad Leonard Friga for telling him to not to stop believing and that Jonathan's tenure with The Babys before hitting it big with Journey was "just a stepping stone." Cain also details the inner-workings of Journey in the book, providing insights into his relationship with former frontman Steve Perry, both as a songwriter and a friend. As for the upcoming tour, Cain says Journey is "clicking" even though the tensions between him and guitarist Neal Schon that surfaced last year via social media haven't been fully rectified. - Billboard, 1/31/18...... In a new interview with GQ magazine, legendary producer Quincy Jones dissed pop sensation Taylor Swift by saying, "We need more songs, man. F---ing songs, not hooks." "Some people consider her the greatest songwriter of our age," to which the producer laughed and commented, "Whatever crumbles your cookie." Jones added that "a great song can make the worst singer in the world a star. A bad song can't be saved by the three best singers in the world. I learned that 50 years ago." In the same interview, the 84-year-old producer also opened up about his very active love life, admitting he has been enjoying romances with women of all different backgrounds, with none of them older than 42. "I got 22 girlfriends," the father-of-seven smiled. Asked if he was serious, he replied, "Hell yeah. Everywhere. Cape Town. Cairo. Stockholm -- she's coming in next week. Brazil -- Belo Horizonte, Sao Paulo, and Rio. Shanghai -- got a great girl over there from Shanghai, man. Cairo, whew." - Billboard/WENN.com, 1/30/18...... An upcoming documentary and biopic on the life of legendary rock 'n' roller Chuck Berry, who passed away in March 2017, is being planned in cooperation with his estate and widow Themetta Berry. Cardinal Releasing Ltd, which has previously produced films on music legends including Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King and Nat King Cole, has already begun work on the documentary titled Chuck! The Documentary. "I am very privileged to be able to produce and direct this fully authorized and official story of the legendary Chuck Berry," Chuck! director Jon Brewer said in a statement. - Billboard, 1/30/18...... Paul Simon has apparently announced that his final show, at least in the United Kingdom, will be on July 15 at the Barclaycard British Summer Time Festival. According to a post on the festival's website, the 76-year-old, 12-time Grammy winner will close out the event in what is being billed as "Paul Simon: Homeward Bound The Farewell Performance" with special guests James Taylor & His All-Star Band and Bonnie Raitt. The massive summer fest will kick off on July 6 with headliner Roger Waters, and other nights will feature the likes of Eric Clapton, Santana, Steve Winwood, Guy Clark Jr. and Bruno Mars. - Billboard, 1/30/18...... A Grammy viewing party hosted by Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler to benefit his Janie's Fund charity was held on Jan. 28 at the historic RED Studios in Hollywood. The event drew the likes of Alice Cooper, Caitlyn Jenner, Sharon Stone, Olivia Wilde and Randy Jackson, all dressed in their best "rock star chic." "My dreams are to do this next year and the year after and the year after," Tyler said prior to the event. "And if I die in the meantime, we'll have someone else do it. I'll get Slash involved or someone," he joked. The evening concluded with Tyler taking the stage with his Nashville-based band, Loving Mary, to perform a 10-song set, which included such Aerosmith classics as "Sweet Emotion," "Jaded," and "Dream On." Tyler raised an estimated $2.4 million for his Janie's Fund charity, which helps girls heal after suffering abuse and neglect, and an auction included a chance to spend a week at his Maui home (which went for $55,000). - Billboard, 1/29/18...... Meanwhile the actual Grammys event, which took place on Jan. 28 in New York City's Madison Square Garden, featured a performance of "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John with a beautifully dressed Miley Cyrus. The pair was all smiles as they sang the tear-jerking, sweeping pop ballad, with Cyrus imbuing the song -- which already has a touch of twang -- with some Southern vocal tone. Elton was also the subject of a Grammy salute on Jan. 30, which will air at a later date. Also performing during the show were Sting and Jamaican-American hitmaker Shaggy, who described themselves as "the not-so-odd couple." Sting opened with his jazzy 1987 reggae song "Englishman In New York," which they segued into their joint single "Don't Make Me Wait," and then back to "Englishman." The pair consider themselves besties and have announced they have a joint album coming out soon. - Billboard, 1/28/18...... In other Grammy-related news, late actress Carrie Fisher was awarded a posthumous Grammy in the Best Spoken Word category for her memoir The Princess Diarist, which gives a peek behind the curtain of her life while filming the first Star Wars movie. - Billboard, 1/28/18...... Aretha Franklin has chosen Jennifer Hudson to play her in an upcoming biopic on her life. Music mogul Clive Davis, a former mentor of Franklin's, made the announcement at his annual pre-Grammy bash on Jan. 28. Hudson reportedly sang Franklin classics like "Think" and "Respect" as part of her performance during Davis' gala. - Deadline.com, 1/28/18...... Cable TV's Showtime channel will premiere the Eric Clapton documentary Life in 12 Bars on Feb. 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The 135-minute rock doc, directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, relies solely on voice-overs to tell the story of the legend's life, with his memorable ups, like being the only three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and tragic downs, including the death of his young son. - Entertainment Weekly, 2/2/18...... Songwriter-composer Robert Arthur, who famously tweaked the lyrics to the Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together" so the band could perform it on the iconic CBS variety program in 1967, died on Jan. 21 at his Topanga Canyon home in Los Angeles. He was 89. A songwriter and composer, Mr. Arthur worked with newspaper columnist-turned-TV host Ed Sullivan from 1952, on Sullivan's earlier show Toast of the Town, until the renamed Ed Sullivan Show left the airwaves for good on June 6, 1971. Mr. Arthur handled all the music for Sullivan, arranging and composing songs for and working with such guests as The Beatles, Judy Garland, Sly Stone, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Kate Smith, Count Basie, Perry Como and Diana Ross, among many others. Recalling his notorious reworking of "Let's Spend the Night Together," which could not pass CBS's censors, Mr. Arthur once said: "So I was sent to deal with them, because I was also a songwriter -- and I came up with a phrase that was almost the same thing and sounded almost the same, and it was, 'Let's spend some time together.' Mick Jagger agreed." Jagger appeared to roll his eyes as he sung the substituted line, however few in the screaming audience probably noticed the difference. After The Ed Sullivan Show went off the air, the Flushing, N.Y. native moved to Los Angeles, where he helped Dick Clark launch the American Music Awards. He also produced videos that Michael Jackson showed during his concerts; co-wrote the Natalie Cole hit "All About Love;" and had his tunes performed by Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis. - 1/27/18.
Fleetwood Mac was presented with the MusiCares Person of the Year honor by former president Bill Clinton at the annual pre-Grammys gala at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Jan. 26. "I've had 'Don't Stop' played more for me than 'Hail to the Chief'," Pres. Clinton mused, referring to the song that became his 1992 presidential campaign's theme song. All members of Fleetwood Mac, except bassist John McVie spoke after receiving their award, with Lindsey Buckingham acknowledging the dysfunction that fueled so many of the band's hits, but added, "not very far below the level of dysfunction, what we are feeling more than ever in our career is love." Stevie Nicks took time to remember her late "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" duet partner Tom Petty during her speech, saying Petty's loss "has just about broken my heart" and "he was one of my best friends. Petty, who died of an accidental drug overdose on Oct. 2, was the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year honoree. The ceremony featured performances of popular Fleetwood Mac songs by such artists as Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban and Miley Cyrus, with Fleetwood Mac performing their hits "The Chain," "Little Lies," "Tusk," "Gold Dust Woman" and "Go Your Own Way." The event raised nearly $7 million for the MusiCares charity, according to Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow. - Billboard, 1/27/18...... Neil Diamond posted a statement on his official website on Jan. 22 announcing he was retiring from touring due to his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. "I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come," the Grammy-winning singer wrote. "My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you," he added. Diamond had planned to launch a tour of Australia and New Zealand in March, but now he is canceling the tour on the advice from his doctor. Thousands of fans down under who had bought Diamond concert tickets opted to donate their refunded ticket money to Parkinson's research, animal rescue groups and victim funds, among other charities. Diamond's wife and manager, Katie, then took to Twitter to express her gratitude to the fans. "My heart is so full of joy to see this silver lining. Faith in humanity = restored," she wrote. News of Diamond's retirement from live performing also prompted his friend and former labelmate, Elton John, to pay tribute to the "Solitary Man" singer: "I would like to pay my respects to him," John told reporters on Jan. 24. "He introduced me off his own back at the [iconic Hollywood venue] Troubadour because he loved my record -- he was a huge star then, and he's a huge star now. And I know that he's said he's not going to tour any more because he has Parkinson's. I'm going to contact to him personally, but I would like to say publicly that I love him and I can't thank him enough for what he did for me along the way." - Billboard, 1/22/18...... Speaking of Elton John, the Rocket Man held a press conference at New York's Gotham Hall on Jan. 24 to announce that he'll kick off a 300-city, three-year "farewell" tour this fall, beginning in September with stops including Allentown, Penn., New York City, Orlando, and Los Angeles. The event opened with a dazzling, psychedelic video going through some of John's biggest hits before cutting to him performing a live version of "Tiny Dancer" and "I'm Still Standing." "I'm not going to be touring anymore, apart from this global tour which launches in September," Elton told CNN's Anderson Cooper, noting he will be saying goodbye with a 300-date, three-year worldwide Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour promoted by AEG Presents. "My priorities have changed in my life," John told Cooper, noting the impact of his 2005 marriage to advertising executive David Furnish, as well as the birth of their two sons. "My priorities in my life are now my children, my husband and my family," he added. After the US leg, John will head to Europe in May 2019 and will add additional dates in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Elton added that unlike Cher, who has launched several "farewell tours" in the past decades, he will not be returning to the road once his tour wraps: "I'm not Cher, even though I like wearing her clothes -- this is the end." - Billboard, 1/24/18...... Also planning a farewell tour are Southern Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers announcing on Jan. 25 that their final tour will begin May 4 in West Palm Beach, Fla., with special guests including .38 Special, ZZ Top, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Bad Company, Hank Williams, Jr. and Kid Rock. Rossington added that the band is "just winding it down a little bit" and "even if the touring ends we'll still do special shows and special guest things here and there with the whole band." "I just want to go out on a high note and make sure the band's name stays in high regard instead of going out and playing fairs and casinos and things like that... I want to live it still filling arenas and sheds like we still can," he said. Formed in Jacksonville in 1966, Lynyrd Skynyrd was struck by tragedy in 1977 when a plane crash killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines and several members of the road crew. The lineup now includes Rossington and Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie's brother. Rossington says the group has "a lot of big plans (for) last kind of goodbye things here and there, special things," including a CMT-produced documentary and a new studio album, the follow-up to 2012's Last Of A Dyin' Breed. - AP/Billboard, 1/25/18...... Led Zeppelin will reissue their classic 2003 live LP How The West Was Won on Mar. 23, with remastered sound supervised by Jimmy Page. How The West Was Won features original performances from two dates on the band's 1972 US concert tour: Los Angeles Forum on June 25, 1972 and Long Beach Arena on June 27, 1972. Part of the band's 50th anniversary celebrations, the reissue will also include a "Super Deluxe Boxed Set" version featuring three CDs, four vinyl LPs, a download of the entire album, plus a book "filled with rare and previously unpublished photos of the band at each of the concert locations." - NME, 1/24/18...... In an interview with a Louisville radio station on Jan. 25, former Genesis member Tony Banks said he "wouldn't rule out" Genesis reuniting for more live shows. Banks said that he and former bandmate Mike Rutherford, and Rutherford as well as Phil Collins have also expressed interest in reforming the band in the past couple of years. "We don't rule it out. It'd be fun to try," Banks said. "But Phil's gotta survive his tour first of all and we'll see where it goes." Acknowledging the one "slight problem" that the band would have to navigate, Banks added: "Phil's our drummer and he can't drum anymore." Genesis last performed together in 2007 to mark the band's 40th anniversary, and Collins has announced he'll kick off a tour of South America in February in the next leg of his "Not Dead Yet" world tour. - New Musical Express, 1/25/18...... The 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival announced on Jan. 24 that its headliners this year will include Aretha Franklin, Sting, Aerosmith, Lionel Richie, Jack White and Beck. The 2018 festival, held at the N.O. Fair Grounds Race Course, is scheduled for two weekends this spring -- April 27-29 and May 3-6. In addition, the festival is planning a tribute to Fats Domino and a celebration of New Orleans' 300th anniversary. - AP, 1/24/18...... Jackson Browne will be recognized with the Les Paul Innovation Award during the 33rd annual NAMM Technical Excellence and Creativity (TEC) Awards in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 27. "Jackson Browne's success as a singer, songwriter and guitarist has had a prolific impression on the music industry throughout his successful career," says Michael Braunstein, executive director of the Les Paul Foundation. "Like Les Paul, Jackson has never shied away from expressing his emotions or thoughts through his music. I have no doubt that Les would have liked to have shared a few jams with Jackson along the way." Four veteran sidemen -- guitarist Danny Kortchmar, keyboardist Craig Doerge, bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Russ Kunkel -- collectively known as The Section and known for their work with Browne, James Taylor, Carole King and Crosby, Stills & Nash will be inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame and will perform at the awards. Earlier in the day, the four sidemen will participate in a panel discussion on the making of Browne's best-selling 1977 album Running on Empty. - Billboard, 1/23/18...... Stevie Wonder reportedly called actor Raphael Saadiq to congratulate him on his Oscar nomination for co-writing "Mighty River" from the film Mudbound. "He just said, 'Congratulations, my Taurean brother,' because we're both Tauruses," Saadiq told Billboard. "Mighty River" is a gospel-tinged song that plays over the movie's end credits, and was co-written with Mary J. Blige and Taura Stinson. - Billboard, 1/23/18...... George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison has played a key role in the making of M.I.A's upcoming biography documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in January. The score of the documentary, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A, was co-written by Harrison and his Thenewno2 bandmate Paul Hicks. - New Musical Express, 1/24/18...... A paper cup used by Elvis Presley that dates back to a 1956 tour stop in Tulsa, Okla., by the King when it ended up in the hands of a fan sold has sold at auction for $3,300. The buyer of the decades-old cup owns the Icon Hotel in Luton, England, and the seller was aiming to get only $1,000 for it. - TMZ.com, 1/23/18...... Former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland died at age 69. Holland played in a series of pop and rock band including Finders Keepers and Trapeze, which also featured future Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes. After leaving Trapeze to play with Priest, Holland appeared on a number of the group's best-selling albums, including 1980's British Steel, 1981's Point of Entry, Screaming for Vengeance, Defenders of the Faith, Turbo and 1988's Ram it Down; he was replaced by drummer Scott Travis on 1990's Painkiller. "It is with regret that we hear of the passing of Dave Holland," Judas Priest wrote in a statement. "Despite his actions since working with the band, his time with us was amongst the most productive and successful in the band's career and for that alone he shall be missed." - Billboard, 1/23/18...... Legendary South African musician Hugh Masekela died on Jan. 23 after a long battle with cancer, the South African government announced on its official Twitter page. He was 78. Known as the father of South African jazz, Masekela channeled the struggle against apartheid into soulful compositions that championed the experiences of ordinary South Africans. His 1986 song "Bring Him Back Home," written for Nelson Mandela, became an anthem of the 1980s anti-apartheid movement. The Grammy-nominated artist also toured with Paul Simon and was a major player on the jazz and world music scene for decades. "A loving father, brother, grandfather and friend, our hearts beat with profound loss," the family said in a statement released by his agents Dreamcatcher. In the 1960s, he went into exile in the United Kingdom and the United States, where he collaborated with American jazz legend Harry Belafonte and used his music to spread awareness about the oppressive system of white-minority rule in South Africa. He also scored an international number one hit in 1968 with "Grazing In The Grass," and was married to South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba for two years. In October 2017, Masekela issued a statement that he had been fighting prostate cancer since 2008 and would have to cancel his professional commitments to focus on his health. He said he started treatment after doctors found a "small 'speck'" on his bladder, and had surgery in Mar. 2016 after the cancer spread. South African President Jacob Zuma expressed his condolences, saying Masekela "kept the torch of freedom alive globally, fighting apartheid through his music and mobilizing international support for the struggle for liberation and raising awareness of the evils of apartheid... His contribution to the struggle for liberation will never be forgotten." - CNN, 1/23/18...... Actress Olivia Cole, an Emmy-winner best known for her performances in the 1970s miniseries Backstairs at the White House and Roots, died on Jan. 26 at her home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 75. Cole also portrayed the gossipy Miss Sophie alongside Oprah Winfrey on the 1989 ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place and on a subsequent, short-lived series. She received her supporting actress Emmy for her turn as Matilda, the wife of Ben Vereen's Chicken George and mother of Georg Stanford Brown's Tom in Roots, which was broadcast on ABC in January 1977 on eight consecutive nights and watched by an estimated 140 million people. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/24/18...... Actress Connie Sawyer, known as Hollywood's oldest working actress, has died peacefully at the age of 105 at her in Woodland Hills, Calif. To many, she is recognized as the lady in Dumb and Dumber who stole Jim Carrey's character's wallet. She also appeared in The Pineapple Express, as well as When Harry Met Sally. Ms. Sawyer also has numerous TV credits which span six decades, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Hawaii Five-O, Dynasty, Murder, She Wrote, Archie Bunker's Place, Home Improvement, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, ER, The Office, and How I Met Your Mother. Most recently she appeared in Showtime's Ray Donovan as James Woods' mother. - MSN.com, 1/23/18.