After the US Supreme Court struck down a new abortion law in Louisiana on June 29 that banned doctors from performing the procedure unless they had admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, several female stars including Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler reacted on Twitter about the ruling. Streisand referred to the confirmation hearing of the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, who told Maine Sen. Susan Collins that he would respect a woman's right to choose, however Kavanaugh cast a dissenting vote on the latest ruling. "Senator Collins that he would respect precedence about a woman's right to choose. He was lying," Streisand wrote. The decision to strike down the Louisana law came after Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberal justices in the final vote. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... Willie Nelson was among the entertainers participating in a virtual fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden on June 29. Nelson, 87, posted about the event on his Instagram the previous day, tagging #TeamJoe to show his support for the former vice-president in his race against Pres. Donald Trump in November's election. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... Elton John's ex-wife Renate Blauel has announced she is seeking an injunction against her former husband after he mentioned her during several sections of his 2018 autobiography Me. It is thought that Blauel and John had agreed on what would be detailed in Me after she reminded him of a non-disclosure agreement signed by the pair after their split in 1988 and their lawyers had reportedly came to an agreement, but now Blauel is now seeking a High Court ruling against the singer in the UK. In Me, Elton wrote that "I'd broken the heart of someone I loved and who loved me unconditionally, someone I couldn't fault in any way. Despite all the pain, there was no acrimony involved at all.... For years afterwards, whenever something happened to me, the press would turn up on her doorstep, looking for her to dish the dirt, and she never, ever has." Blauel's lawyer says his client hopes her current legal action against the pop star can be resolved "amicably." Meanwhile, John has recently participated in a "Project Angel Food" COVID-19 fundraiser in Los Angeles with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Annie Lennox, CeeLo Green, Billy Idol and others which raised more than $700,000 for the charity. Elton and his husband David Furnish also provided a fundraising message in which they said, "We have always worked to make sure the most vulnerable people in the world are protected and cared for with love and compassion... We have supported Project Angel Food through the (Elton John AIDS) foundation before, and we are proud to support Lead With Love. For those watching from home, Project Angel Food needs your help urgently to keep doing what they do: serve others." Project Angel Food was first launched in 1989 in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is continuing to serve medically-tailored meals to those with life-threatening illnesses who are shielding during the COVID-19 pandemic. - New Musical Express/Music-News.com, 6/26/20...... The family of Tom Petty shared a previously unreleased home recording of Petty's song "You Don't Know How it Feels" from his 1994 solo album Wildflowers YouTube on June 26. Discovered by one of Petty's daughters as she was going through his archives, the song has slightly different lyrics from the released version, according to a post on Petty's Instagram account. "It shows an insight to Tom's writing process and introduces a line from another favorite Wildflowers track 'Crawling Back To You' stating, 'most things I worry about never happen anyway'," the post reads. "You Don't Know How It Feels," well known for the lyric "Let's get to the point, and let's roll another joint," reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, and served as the final Top 40 hit of the deceased rocker's illustrious career. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... With his new release Rough and Rowdy Ways, Bob Dylan has become the first artist with a Top 40 album in every decade since the 1960s on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart. Debuting at No. 2 with 53,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending June 25, Rough and Rowdy Ways is Dylan's highest charting album in the US in over a decade, and makes the rock legend the first act to have achieved at least one new top 40-charting album in every decade from the 1960s through the 2020s. Dylan's 2009 LP, Together Through Life, debuted and peaked at No. 1 on the chart for the week of May 16, 2009. It is also Dylan's 23rd Top 10 album and 50th Top 40 set. - Billboard, 6/28/20...... Dion Dimucci, a rock & roll pioneer known for such classics as "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue," dropped a new solo album, Blues With Friends, on June 5. The album, which features contributions from such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Billy Gibbons and Brian Setzer on its 14 original tracks, has debuted atop Billboard's Blues Albums chart, and one of the tracks, "Song for Sam Cooke (Here in America)," has can be streamed on YouTube. DiMucci says that Bruce Springsteen's wife Patti Scialfa arranged the track "Hymn to Him." "She has that soul voice," DiMucci says. "I thought, 'Man, if she does some harmonies with me on this, this is going to be dynamite.' She said, 'Let me try something' and started stacking vocals on it and she captured the sound like the mesmerizing holy spirit. Bruce came into the room and wanted to play a solo and he comes in with his gravitas guitar solo." DiMucci, 80, says he's currently quarantining on a lake in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with "kids roller-skating with their scooters and their bicycles," and that he's in good health. "I am, yes, thank God. One day at a time. I'm doing the deal, you know, like everybody," he says. - Billboard, 6/25/20...... One week after the family of Tom Petty filed a cease and desist notice to Pres. Donald Trump's campaign after one of his songs was played at a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20, the Rolling Stones have announced they are "taking further steps" to prevent the President from playing their music at his rallies after their 1969 Let It Bleed track "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was also played at the same rally. In a press release on June 27, a rep from the Stones' legal team said it is working with performing rights organization BMI, who notified the president's campaign that the use of their songs is unauthorized and would "constitute a breach of its licensing agreement." Further use "would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed." "This could be the last time Trump uses any Jagger/Richards songs on his campaigns," the statement read. The band has objected to Trump's use of their music since he made use of several of their songs beginning with his 2016 presidental campaign. - Billboard, 6/27/20...... The first episode of a new Lockumentary series by Queen + Adam Lambert was shared on YouTube on June 26. In the five-minute clip, we learn that Queen's crew celebrates Hawaiian Shirt Fridays and can watch soundchecks by Queen's roadies for concerts in Australia, South Korea and Japan. "Every time I'm on tour with Queen I really enjoy it - it's a fun tour to do. They are such lovely people and we have an amazing crew and we are surrounded by a lot of nice people," stage manager Andy Bews says in the clip. "It's a really well-oiled machine. It's a good thing to be a part of." - Billboard, 6/26/20...... On June 26, Sammy Hagar took to Facebook to clarify what he meant by the controversial "we all gotta die" coronavirus comments he made in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Hagar, 72, made headlines after speaking to the publication about how he'd feel touring during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which he said: "I'd rather personally get sick and even die, if that's what it takes... There may be a time where we have to sacrifice. I mean, how many people die on the Earth every day? I have no idea. I'm sorry to say it, but we all gotta die, man." Now, "the Red Rocker" has set the record straight on his Facebook page: "I did that interview May 8th when we were already several weeks into the stay-at-home, which my family and I took very seriously, and things were starting to look up, the curve was beginning flattening. So when I was asked if I'd be comfortable enough to get back on stage before a vaccine was out, I was cautiously optimistic. I said, 'Yeah, not too soon. I want to make sure it's not escalating. When it's declining and seems to be going away. Big picture, it's about getting back to work in a safe and responsible way and getting this economy rolling again. I will do my part. I stand by that. I employ 200 people directly and when we tour even more. Like everything today, it's a watch and see over the next few months but we remain cautiously optimistic that with the right improvements and safety measures in place, we might be able to play shows this year. That said, as things change, for the better or worse, we will appropriately adjust our plans." - WENN/Canoe.com, 6/26/20...... On June 26, it was announced that a new live album recorded by David Bowie in 1995 in Dallas, Tex., Ouvrez Le Chien (Live Dallas 95), will be released in July. "Ouvrez Le Chien" -- French for "open the dog" -- was recorded during a performance at the Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas, Tex., on Oct. 13, 1995. The show was part of Bowie's Outside tour with Nine Inch Nails in support. Ahead of the album's release, "Teenage Wildlife (Live Dallas 95)" from the album has been made available for streaming on Spotify.com. - NME, 6/26/20...... The legendary British blues rock band Savoy Brown has announced it will release Ain't Done Yet, a followup to its 2019 album City Night, on Aug. 28 via Quarto Valley Records. "The new album continues the approach I've been taking with the band this past decade," says founding member and guitarist/singer/songwriter Kim Simmonds, who formed the band in 1965 in London, England, and is one of the longest running blues rock bands in existence. "The big difference with the new album is the multi-layer approach I took to recording the guitar parts. It's all blues-based rock music. I try to find new and progressive ways to write and play the music I've loved since I was a young teenager," he adds. Savoy Brown helped spawn the 1968 UK blues rock boom and through the year has headlined concerts at many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, the Fillmore West, and London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall. - Noble PR, 6/29/20...... Rock and soul singer/songwriter Benny Mardones, best known for the 1980s hit "Into the Night", died at his home in Menfee, Calif., on June 29 after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. He was 73. Born in Cleveland, Oh., Mardones was in the Navy during the Vietnam War and following his discharge became a staff writer for stars like Brenda Lee and Tommy James. Various other credits followed, and in the late '70s Mardones also became a performing artist, opening for folk-rocker Richie Havens on tour in 1977 and releasing his debut album, Thank God For Girls, the year after. Despite contributions from David Bowie sideman Mick Ronson and production from Rolling Stones go-to collaborator Andrew Loog Oldham, the album failed to produce a hit. But Mardones' next effort, 1980's Never Run, Never Hide, spawned what would quickly become his signature song: the mega-ballad "Into the Night." Co-penned with Robert Tepper (later a hitmaker on his own with the Rocky IV anthem "No Easy Way Out"), "Into the Night" was a soaring love song with an absolute wallop of a chorus. Though the opening lines ("She's just 16 years old/ 'Leave her alone,' they said") made many listeners uncomfortable coming from the then-33-year-old Mardones, he would later explain the song was inspired by his platonic relationship with a teenage neighbor of his whose father had left her. (The first line was supposedly meant as a rejoinder to his co-writer, who got a little leery when meeting her for the first time.) Elevated by Mardones' powerhouse vocal performance, "Into the Night" peaked at No. 11 on the pop chart in Sept. of 1980. But issues with his record label Polydor and with his own substance abuse took their toll on the singer-songwriter, who had largely washed out of the music industry within a couple years. In 1989, Mardones re-recorded a version of "Into the Night," influential L.A. radio personality Scott Shannon, put the song back into rotation, and the song became a hit again, reaching No. 20 and becoming one of just a handful of songs in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have two separate top 20 runs. In the early '00s, Mardones scored three Top 30 hits, and in 2000 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He still performed regularly until the mid-'10s, when his condition started to become more unmanageable, and in 2017, he announced that a performance of "Into the Night" at a New York nightclub would be his final time performing the song. He is survived by his wife Jane, as well as his son Michael and sister Louise. - Billboard, 6/29/20...... Milton Glaser, the groundbreaking graphic designer famous for designing the "I Love NY" logo, the "psychedelic hair" poster of Bob Dylan included in one of Dylan's greatest hits albums, and numerous other posters, logos, advertisements and book covers, died on June 26, his 91st birthday, of a stroke and renal failure. The bold "I (HEART) NY" logo -- cleverly using typewriter-style letters as the typeface -- was dreamed up as part of an ad campaign begun in 1977 to boost the state's image when crime and budget troubles dominated the headlines. Mr. Glaser did the design free of charge. Nearly a quarter-century later, just days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, he revised it, adding a dark scar to the red heart and "more than ever" to the message. His 1966 illustration of Bob Dylan, his face a simple black silhouette but his hair sprouting in a riot of colors in curvilinear fashion, put in graphic form the 1960s philosophy that letting your hair fly free was a way to free your mind. (For him, though, it wasn't a drug-inspired image: He said he borrowed from Marcel Duchamp and Islamic art.) The poster was inserted in Dylan's Greatest Hits album, and made its way into the hands of millions of fans. "It was a new use of the poster -- a giveaway that was supposed to encourage people to buy the album," Mr. Glaser told The New York Times in 2001. "Then it took on a life of its own, showing up in films, magazines, whatever. It did not die, as such forms of ephemera usually do." Mr. Glaser was born in 1929 in the Bronx and studied at New York's Cooper Union art school and in Italy. In 1954, he co-founded the innovative graphic design firm Push Pin Studios with Seymour Chwast and others. He stayed with it 20 years before founding his own firm. The Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum awarded Mr. Glaser a lifetime achievement award in 2004. In 2009, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Mr. Glaser's pictorial sense was so profound, and his designs so influential, that his works in later years were preserved by collectors and studied as fine art. "I just like to do everything, and I was always interested in seeing how far I could go in stretching the boundaries," he once said. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Glaser. - AP, 6/28/20...... Carl Reiner an American comedy legend who came on the scene as a writer for television pioneer Sid Caesar, partner of Mel Brooks, and creator and co-star of the classic sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, died at age 98 of natural causes on June 29 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. Mr. Reiner's career spanned seven decades and every medium from theater and recordings to television and movies, including directing Oh, God!, three collaborations with Steve Martin and a role as an elderly con man in the revived Ocean's Eleven series. Mr. Reiner was still taking voice roles in his 90s and had a key role in If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast, a documentary about people who keep busy into their 90s. Encouraged by his wife to develop a TV show as his own, Mr. Reiner began work on a sitcom pilot loosely based on his experiences with the Caesar shows, titled Head of the Family, casting himself as a TV writer with a wife and two kids. After network executives were unhappy with Reiner as the lead character, CBS ultimately picked up the series in 1961, after it was recast with Dick Van Dyke and retitled for its new star, The Dick Van Dyke Show. Mr. Reiner, who earned several Emmys writing and producing the hit series, played the recurring role of Petrie's boss, the temperamental variety show host Alan Brady. Besides helping transform its creator and star into household names, The Dick Van Dyke Show launched the career of Mary Tyler Moore, who played Rob Petrie's wife. The series, considered a TV sitcom classic, ended its run in 1966. A reprisal of his Alan Brady role three decades later, for a guest spot on the 1990s sitcom Mad About You, earned Reiner yet another Emmy. Starting in 2001, Mr. Reiner made a big-screen comeback playing elder con artist Saul Bloom in the Oceans Eleven movie series. Mr. Reiner continued to make guest appearances on various shows such as Two and a Half Men and Hot in Cleveland well into his 90s, as well as keeping up a busy Twitter account. A 9-time Emmy winner, he was also the author of four volumes of memoirs, including I Just Remembered, in 2014, as well as children's books. Mr. Reiner is survived by three children, including Rob Reiner, director of several hit movies and known for playing Archie Bunker's son-in-law "Meathead" in the hit TV comedy All in the Family. Mr. Reiner's wife of 64 years, Estelle, died in 2008. - Reuters, 6/30/20.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Late singer/songwriter John Prine has scored his first No. 1 song on a Billboard chart as "I Remember Everything" debuted on the top spot on the Rock Digital Song Sales tally for the week ending June 27. After being released on June 11, "I Remember Everything" moved 4,000 downloads, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Co-written by Prine and Pat McLaughlin, the song was the last recording done by Prine (in his living room) and tops Prine's prior best chart appearance, "In Spite of Ourselves" which went to No. 2 on the same chart for the week of Apr. 18. Prine died on Apr. 7 at age 73 of complications from COVID-19. - Billboard, 6/25/20...... Bob Dylan's latest album Rough and Rowdy Ways has become the legendary musician's ninth No. 1 on the UK's Official Album Chart. Dylan's 39th studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways outsold the rest of the Top 5 UK albums combined, and is his landmark 40th UK Top 10 album in a chart history spanning 56 years. - Music-News.com, 6/22/20...... In a new post on social media on June 23, Stevie Wonder opened up about systemic racism and the failings of Pres. Donald Trump. "This past Friday many of us celebrated Juneteenth," Wonder said about America's national holiday to celebrate the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the US. "I did. And yet, so many others didn't and haven't. As a matter of fact, there are three states that still do not recognize it: North Dakota, South Dakota, and Hawaii. How did it feel to celebrate freedom that we're still fighting for? It felt, and feels, too familiar." After noting that it took 18 years to declare Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday, Wonder quoted lyrics from his track "Visions' ("I'm not one who makes believe/I know that leaves are green ) to explain how change can come about. "If life can have an ending, all things can have an ending. Systemic racism can have an ending. Police brutality can have an ending," said Wonder. He also urged Americans to vote for the right candidate in the upcoming Presidential primaries if Trump is stand a chance of defeat at the ballot box come November. "I've heard the person in the highest place of this nation say there are fine people on both sides. That sounds noncommittal to me," Wonder noted. - New Musical Express, 6/24/20...... Surfaces, a rising pop duo, has unveiled a new collaboration with Elton John titled "Learn to Fly" on YouTube. In the upbeat single, recorded in quarantine and produced via Zoom, Surfaces and Elton share an optimistic message in the midst of the havoc wreaked on the world by the global pandemic. "All the broken people, put your hands up high/ If you lift them up, you might just touch the sky/ All the lonely people, put your hands up high/ If you loosen up, you might just learn to fly/ Learn to fly," Surfaces vocalists Forrest Frank and Colin Padalecki croon on the track's sunny chorus over piano by John, who also jumps in on the second verse. "Working with Elton felt like the idea of winning a Grammy," the two said in a statement. "He was so passionate and driven and we couldn't have wished for a more effortless collaboration. We hope this song will spread love in a time when the world could really use some and inspire people to open up their hearts," they added. - Billboard, 6/25/20...... Mick Jagger has paid tribute to movie producer Steve Bing on social media after Bing jumped to his death from a Century City apartment building on June 22. "It's so sad to hear of Steve Bing's passing. He was such a kind and generous friend and supported so many good and just causes. I will miss him very much," Jagger posted. The 55-year-old Bing, a producer, philanthropist and screenwriter, helped finance the Martin Scorcese-directed 2008 Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light and was reportedly suffering from depression amid a lack of human contact during the coronavirus lockdown. Jagger's Rolling Stones bandmate, Ronnie Wood, and his wife Sally, also paid their respects to Bing on Instagram, posting a photo of the couple's twins with Bing. - Music-News.com, 6/24/20...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has recorded a socially distanced take on Pink Floyd's "Two Suns in the Sunset," the closing track from the band's 1983 album The Final Cut, and posted the clip on YouTube. Before the performance, the black-and-white-video kicked off with a message: "We're at one hundred seconds to midnight on the doomsday clock. This is the the closest the Human Race has ever been to nuclear catastrophe." Waters continued: "I had an idea to make an album of all the songs we did as encores on the 'US and Them' tour. We did 'Mother' first. Had to do it remotely because of Covid 19. 'Two Suns in The Sunset is #2. Hope you like it. I love it," Waters added in the caption. As a footnote, he added, "PS. That we allow Nuclear Weapons to exist in a world controlled by deranged sociopaths is, in itself, a deranged arrangement. We are many they are few. We could just say no, to the whole MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) insanity. It makes zero sense and is potentially omnicidal." Meanwhile, Waters has been accused of anti-semitism due to recent comments he made about Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson while speaking with the Middle East Media Research Institute. During the interview, Waters called Adelson "the puppet master pulling the strings of Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and what's his name... the Ambassador [to Israel]. "And Sheldon Adelson is a right-wing fascist racist bigot who doesn't understand the first thing about the idea that human beings might have rights. Sheldon Adelson believes that only Jews -- only Jewish people -- are completely human. That they are attached in some way." Continuing the rant, Waters said: "He is crazy. This is a crazy, crazy, crazy guy. Unfortunately. This crazy, crazy, crazy guy is also incredibly rich and has the tiny little -- I nearly said the P-word that is used to describe the male genitals -- prick of Donald Trump in his pocket." Elsewhere in the interview, Waters claimed that Israel should be held indirectly responsible for the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota last month, a killing that has sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protests. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 6/25/20...... In a new interview with The Atlantic magazine, Bruce Springsteen said US Pres. Donald Trump is a "threat to our democracy" and painted a dire picture of what he feels could happen to the US if Pres. Trump gets re-elected in November. "I don't think anybody truly knows where we're going from here yet," Springsteen said in response to a question about whether he's feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the protests that have been going on for the past three weeks in the wake of George Floyd's killing at the hands of the Minneapolis police. "It depends on too many unknowns. We don't know where the COVID virus is going to take us. We don't know where Black Lives Matter is going to take us right now. Do we get a real practical conversation going about race and policing and ultimately about the economic inequality that's been a stain on our social contract?," he added. Asked about how he feels about the job the president is doing in the wake of the racial justice and COVID-19 outbreak, The Boss said: "I believe that our current president is a threat to our democracy. He simply makes any kind of reform that much harder. I don't know if our democracy could stand another four years of his custodianship. These are all existential threats to our democracy and our American way of life." The interview is accompanied by Springsteen's "Playlist for the Trump Era," which includes such landmark songs of protest and uplift as Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," Patti Smith's "People Have the Power" and his own "That's What Makes Us Great." It can be streamed on Spotify.com. - Billboard, 6/24/20...... The family of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Tom Petty filed a cease and desist notice to Pres. Donald Trump's campaign after one of his songs, "I Won't Back Down," was played at the President's campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20. In a statement issued on social media shortly after the rally, Petty's estate and rights holders -- daughters Adria and Annakim, ex-wife Jane, and widow Dana, issued a joint statement saying that Trump "was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind." The Petty family also expained that Pres. Trump's beliefs were far out of line from the late musician's. "Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE," the family wrote. "We want to make it clear that we believe everyone is free to vote as they like, think as they like, but the Petty family doesn't stand for this. We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage." Numerous other artists, including R.E.M., Guns N' Roses, The Rolling Stones, Steven Tyler and Rihanna, have previously called out the President for using their music without permission. - Billboard, 6/21/20...... Emily Eavis, organiser of the legendary Glastonbury festival in the UK, says she's planning to combine two festival line-ups for next year's Glastonbury and is "hoping" that Paul McCartney will return in 2021 for the festival's 50th anniversary celebration, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. "Logistically, it's a little bit complicated, because we'd already planned quite a few acts for 2021. It was one of those unusual years where you're quite far ahead on the line-up. So we're trying to work out how much we can fit in to next year," Eavis told BBC 6 Music. The festival's edition 2020 edition was set to kick off on June 24 with McCartney among the confirmed headliners, but was cancelled as a direct result of coronavirus. - New Musical Express, 6/25/20...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson has shared unseen footage of her father Michael, as well as debuting her own music for the first time. The new footage comes as part of a trailer for Paris's new reality series Unfiltered: Paris Jackson and Gabriel Glenn, which is set to debut via Facebook Watch on June 30. Alongside the trailer on Facebook, Jackson has debuted new music as part of The Soundflowers, a duo with her boyfriend Gabriel Glenn. "When I met Gabe, I immediately just vibed and started making music, Paris says of the collaboration. "I feel like we're the same level of damaged. Gabe understands the pain I've gone through in my life and he's helped me realise this is what I was born to do," she added. The album can be streamed via Spotify.com. - New Musical Express, 6/24/20...... Britain's Royal Mail has announced that Queen will appear on the face of 13 postage stamps featuring eight of their album covers beginning on July 9. In addition to the album covers -- 1974's Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack, 1975's A Night at the Opera, 1977's News of the World, 1980's The Game, 1981's Greatest Hits, 1984's The Works and 1991's Innuendo -- the stamps will feature four live group shots and a classic group photo. "It's hard to put into words what I feel when looking at these beautiful stamps, Queen guitarist Brian May said in a press release. "Since we four precocious boys started out on our quest 50 years ago, our lives have been devoted to making our impossible dream come true. Sometimes it's strange to wake up and realise the position in which we are now held -- we have become a national institution!" Queen drummer Roger Taylor echoed May's sentiments: "We must be really part of the furniture now! Thanks Royal Mail for stamping on us! In gratitude." The stamps are available to pre-order now through Royal Mail's website in a variety of different collections. "The Presentation Pack," which includes the entire set of 13, will cost £16. - New Musical Express, 6/23/20...... In related news, Aussie headbangers AC/DC have authorized for of their album covers -- 1976's High Voltage, 1981's For Those About to Rock, 1987's Blow Up Your Video and 1995's Ballbreaker -- for release as 500-piece jigsaw puzzles. The puzzles will be released on Sept. 4 via the company Zee Productions' "Rock Saw" series and can be ordered on the Zee Productions website. Zee Productions has previously released puzzles for such rock bands as Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Metallica and Rush. - NME, 6/22/20...... Willie Nelson and his sister, Bobbie, have announced a co-written memoir, Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band, will be published on Sept. 15. Detailing the siblings' relationship and musical collaborations, the book will "weave together Willie and Bobbie's journeys as they experienced them both side-by-side and apart, with powerful, emotional never-before-told recollections from their personal lives and careers," according to a press release. Bobbie is two years Willie's senior and is an accomplished pianist. She has featured on a handful of his albums, including The Troublemaker and Shotgun Willie. Meanwhile, rapper Snoop Dogg has announced that he will release another collaboration with Willie in the near future. The duo previously collaborated on the 2009 single "My Medicine." - NME, 6/23/20...... There may never be another Johnny Carson to dominate the late night talk show field, but as CNN's new 6-part series The Story of Late Night reminds us, there will always be a place for after-hours conversation and comedy. Airing over six Sundays beginning June 28 at 9:00 EDT (barring breaking news), the series traces a trajectory that began with Steve Allen and matured with the prickly intelligence of his successor, Jack Paar. Famous feuds (Jay Leno vs. David Letterman, Leno vs. Conan O'Brien) reveal how much drama lurks withing these lucrative laugh factories. Although today's practioners walk a more precarious tightrope of humor in these politically polarized times, going to bed without them is unthinkable. - TV Guide, 6/22/20...... Director Joel Schumacher, best known for helming such hits as St. Elmo's Fire, The Lost Boys and Falling Down as well as two Batman films, died on New York City on June 22 after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 80. The costume designer-turned-director brought his fashion background to directing a run of stylish films throughout the 1980s and 1990s that were not always critically acclaimed, but continue to be well-loved by audiences for capturing the feel of the era. Mr. Schumacher was handed the reins of the Batman franchise when Tim Burton exited Warner Bros.' Caped Crusader series after two enormously successful films. The first movie by Mr. Schumacher, Batman Forever, starring Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey and Nicole Kidman, grossed more than $300 million worldwide. - Variety.com, 6/23/20.
Elton John said on June 17 that he was "blown away" after watching a cover of his 1983 hit "I'm Still Standing" recorded by a group of British students in lockdown. Students at Telford Priory School in Shropshire have been creating remote videos together since March, and their cover of "I'm Still Standing" was sent to Elton by musician Ron Sexsmith. John then posted a video message on YouTube saying he "watched it three times in a row because I couldn't believe how good you sang and played it." "You did something brilliant and made a brilliant version of I'm Still Standing. I hope you all have a great career and music plays a big part in it because you have certainly got talent," he said. The Rocket Man also promised that the students would be guests at one of his future UK concerts when live music commences again. The students' teacher, Ben Millington, says he "just couldn't believe it when I received contact from Sir Elton... When I showed the students there was screaming, crying, hands over mouths. I had to mute the microphones so we could actually hear what Elton was saying!" Meanwhile, Elton recently participated in a chat with rising singer Rina Sawayama on FaceTime and said her debut album is "my favorite record of the year so far." - New Musical Express, 6/17/20...... A new version of Aretha Franklin's "Never Gonna Break My Faith" was shared on Juneteenth holiday (June 19), which celebrates the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people in the United States learned they had been freed from bondage. Sony's RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings released the song to YouTube, which features lyrics like: "You can lie to a child with a smiling face/Tell me that color ain't about a race." "The world is very different now. Change is everywhere and each of us, hopefully, is doing the best he or she can to move forward and make change as positive as possible," Clive Davis, Sony Music's chief creative officer and Franklin's close friend and collaborator, said in a statement. "Never Gonna Break My Faith" won best gospel performance at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, marking Franklin's 18th and final Grammy win. It was originally featured in the film Bobby, about U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 assassination, and features background vocals from The Boys Choir of Harlem. "This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive was making a film on Aretha's life, I sent this version to him," says Grammy-winning singer Bryan Adams, who co-wrote the song. "The world hasn't heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard... I'm so glad it's being released, the world needs this right now," he added. Aretha Franklin died in 2018 at age 76. - AP, 6/19/20...... The artist-advocacy nonprofit organization Artist Rights Alliance Council has been joined by a group of 93 artists that include Bette Midler, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and T Bone Burnett. The artist-run council announced on June 18 that it will "provide perspective and advisory input" to ARA while helping to foster awareness of current issues facing content creators. The Artist Rights Alliance, founded in 2013, has been on the front lines of a host of recent issues, including passage of the Music Modernization Act and current efforts to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The organization also unveiled its "Artists' Bill of Rights" which aims to help musicians to receive fair pay from streaming services and rein in tech platforms "that unfairly profit from music." - Billboard, 6/19/20...... German electronic pop pioneers Kraftwerk have announced a series of new digital reissues of five of their studio albums - Trans Europa Express, Die Mensch-Maschine, Computerwelt, Techno Pop and The Mix -- will be made available to stream and download for the first time beginning July 3. Kraftwerk fans will also be abel to experience the Dolby Atmos/HD Surround mix of the group's 2017 audio/video documentary 3-D The Catalogue, which will be available to stream for the first time through Amazon HD and Tidal. A stereo version of the documentary's German language original form will also be made available across the globe. The new releases follow the death of group co-founder Florian Schneider, who died in May aged 73. - New Musical Express, 6/18/20...... Queen + Adam Lambert announced on June 18 that it will host a "Tour Watch Party" on its YouTube channel on June 21 starting at 3:00 p.m. EDT that combines highlight moments from previous tours, festival gigs and intimate concerts. The all-day bash features standout performances spotlighting Queen's biggest hits, such as "Love Kills" and "I Was Born To Love You" at the Rock in Rio festivals in Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro and "Fat Bottomed Girls" at a Dallas, Texas show featuring the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Earlier in 2020 Queen was forced to cancel the European leg of their Rhapsody Tour, which would have ended on June 21 at London's The O2 arena. - Billboard, 6/18/20...... On June 19, Bob Dylan broke an 8-year-long drought of new material with the release of his latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. The 79-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's latest effort spans 10 tracks and includes the previously-shared songs "Murder Most Foul," "I Contain Multitudes" and "False Prophet." In a recent rare interview, Dylan told the New York Times that the songs came from a stream of consciousness. "Most of my recent songs are like that. The lyrics are the real thing, tangible, they're not metaphors," Dylan said. "The songs seem to know themselves and they know that I can sing them, vocally and rhythmically. They kind of write themselves and count on me to sing them," he added. Dylan also noted that he wished he had written the Rolling Stones' 1973 hit "Angie." Rough and Rowdy Ways can be streamed on Spotify.com. - Billboard, 6/19/20...... Appearing on the morning show The Talk on June 17 via Zoom, Ozzy Osbourne said that he's feeling pretty good these days as he recovers from surgery in 2019 to repair an old injury he sustained during a 2003 ATV accident, and after a year of health issues and repeatedly postponed tour dates. "I'm getting better -- it's a slow process, but I'm getting there slowly but surely," said the 71-year-old heavy metal legend, who also described what it's been like living in quarantine during the pandemic. "It's been good actually, because I've been recovering from the surgery I had last year. I've never been at home this long in my whole career," said Ozzy, who had his arm slug over wife Sharon Osbourne's shoulder during the whole interview. "I've had the chance to see my wife's side of the fence more than me being on the road. It's had its moment though, I must confess," he added in the interview, which can be viewed on Twitter.com. Ozzy had been slated to get medical treatment in Switzerland earlier this year for his Parkinson's disease, but that was postponed due to the coronavirus. For now, he's still scheduled to hit the UK and Europe on Oct. 23 in Newcastle, England, on a tour in support of his recent studio album, Ordinary Man. In other Ozzy-related news, Black Sabbath has officially put up a Black Lives Matter T-shirt with a logo in the style of the group's Master of Reality LP for sale after Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello was seen rocking out in a shirt just like it which received a huge fan response. Black Sabbath announced on Instagram that it will be donating 100% of the proceeds of the shirt, which will be available beginning in mid-July, to Black Lives Matter. - Billboard, 6/18/20...... Julien's Auctions announced on June 18 that it is teaming with the MusicCares Foundation for an online auction benefitting the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund on Sept. 9. The auction will feature one-of-a-kind items and memorabilia from the likes of Robert Plant, Bill Wyman, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson, Tony Iommi, Blake Shelton and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. "In this new world of social distancing and isolation, music and the arts has brought us together and given us hope and salvation from the despair and loss that we've all felt these last months," said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien's Auctions in a statement announcing the event, which will be held in Beverly Hills and online at www.julienslive.com. Robert Plant has teased that he's offering up a guitar for the auction that he's used to practice in his bedroom for 55 years. - Billboard, 6/18/20...... In related news, former Police frontman Sting will be among a group of musicians that also includes Michael Copley, Clea Friend, Steven Osborne and Kathryn Tickell for a special event to help people grieve for their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic on June 21 over Zoom and Facebook beginning at 2:00 p.m. Although the "Saying Goodbye" event had started primarily for those in the N.E. of England, it has now spread organically across the UK with the organisers no longer being able to cover it just over Zoom but extending it over Facebook live, so others around the UK can join too at www.facebook.com/paraswellbeing/live. The event will be a non-religious ceremony (but multi-faith in spirit) and music. - Music-News.com, 6/18/20...... Bruce Springsteen once again blasted U.S. Pres. Donald Trump on the June 17 edition of his SiriusXM radio show "From My Home to Yours," this time for the president's stubborn refusal to wear a mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic. After noting that "100,000-plus Americans" have died over the last few months and its "shamed response from our leaders," The Boss said "I'm simply pissed off." "Those lives deserve better than just being inconvenient statistics for our president's re-election efforts. It's a national disgrace," he said. Springsteen then went on to address Trump directly. "I'm going to start out with sending one to the man sitting behind the Resolute Desk," he said before throwing to the first song. "With all respect, sir, show some consideration for your countrymen and your country. Put on a f--king mask." - Billboard, 6/17/20...... Premium cable channel HBO announced on June 17 that it will present a filmed version of former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne's acclaimed Broadway show "American Utopia" which will be directed by Spike Lee. "David Byrne's American Utopia is a uniquely transformative experience and a perfect example of how entertainment can bring us together during these challenging times," said HBO Programming executive vp Nina Rosenstein said in a statement. "Spike's brilliant direction adds a level of intimacy to this powerful performance, and we're so thrilled to share this groundbreaking show with our audience." The show features Byrne and 11 musical artists from around the world performing songs from the 2018 album of the same title, as well as songs from the Talking Heads and Byrne's solo catalog. "American Utopia" ran from Oct. 2019 to Feb. 2020, earning rave reviews, with The Hollywood Reporter calling it "pure bliss." The filmed American Utopia is set to premiere sometime later in 2020, with a specific date to be announced. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/17/20...... An "angel cloud" guitar used by Prince on his Purple Rain tour fetched over £450,000 ($563,000) at a Juliens auction on June 19. The custom electric blue instrument was one of four "cloud" guitars used between 1984 and 1985 in support of the "When Doves Cry" hitmaker's seminal sixth studio album. The guitar was thought to be lost when it disappeared in the '90s until it was found in 2019. The owner was given it by Prince but was not aware of its exact history. A vintage Yamaha DX7 synthesizer used by Prince on his Purple Rain album is also being auctioned on the RR Auction website. - New Musical Express, 6/20/20...... Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and Arcade Fire will perform as part of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band live-stream on June 20 beginning at 8 pm EST (1am BST), taking their "Midnight Preserves" festival jam sessions online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The group will host a live-stream from their respective homes and are set to be joined by a number of special guests. McCartney, Grohl and Arcade Fire appeared alongside Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, Beck, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Nathaniel Rateliff and more. Fans can tune in on YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook. Some performances will be pre-recorded. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band was founded in 1961 as a way to promote New Orleans jazz. They often hold their own 'Midnight Preserves' sessions at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which sees them joined by a host of special guests. - New Musical Express, 6/19/20...... Production on director Baz Lurhmann's Elvis Presley biopic, featuring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, is expected to restart in Australia soon after it halted when the star and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for COVID-19. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a press conference on June 18 she had met with Luhrmann to discuss the production's return, set to film at the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. "We want to ensure that this can happen as soon as possible while making sure that the cast and crew can operate safely," Palaszcuk said. Her comments refer to new guidelines in Australia, which require all film and television productions to draw up their own "COVID-Safe Risk Mitigation Program." The currently untitled biopic, with Austin Butler in the lead role, will chart Presley's rise to fame and examine his relationship with Parker. According to Warner Bros, the story will be set "against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and the loss of innocence in America." - NME, 6/18/20...... Fleetwood Mac announced on June 18 that it is reissuing its 1969 album Then Play On, the band's final release with co-founder and guitarist Peter Green. Then Play On was Fleetwood Mac's third studio album, and the first of the band's albums to feature Danny Kirwan, who passed away in 2018. The reissued record will be drop Sept. 18 via BMG and contain four bonus tracks, liner notes from the band's biographer Anthony Bozza, and a foreword from Mick Fleetwood. - NME, 6/18/20...... Roger Waters has released his Us + Them concert film on Amazon video, which captures the Pink Floyd co-founder's 2018 tour of the same name. Comprised of footage from the four nights Waters and his band played at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome in June 2018, as well as footage shot on location in the U.K., the film also showcases the tour's state-of-the-art visual production and features a set list that spans Waters' entire career. You can also rent or buy the film on YouTube. - NME, 6/16/20...... A new biopic about late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister is reportedly in the works. Kilmister's early, pre-Motörhead life as a Jimi Hendrix roadie as well as his time in Hawkwind will be explored in a film called Lemmy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The project is set to be helmed by Greg Olliver, who directed a 2010 documentary of the same name. "We've been carefully developing this biopic since 2013, making sure to stay true to Lemmy, Motörhead band members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, and all the other folks that played important roles in Lemmy's life," Olliver said in a statement. Lemmy, whose real name was Ian Fraser Kilmister, passed away in Dec. 2015 at the age of 70. Meanwhile, the surviving members of Motrhead recently marked the 40th anniversary of their landmark album Ace Of Spades with a day of special celebrations. - NME, 6/16/20...... Judges at South Carolina's Supreme Court have ruled James Brown's final partner is not entitled to a share of his fortune because their marriage was not legally binding. Tomi Rae Hynie has been fighting for a cut of the Godfather of Soul's estate ever since his death on Christmas Day in 2006, even though it was his dying wish to leave nearly all of his assets to bosses at a children's education foundation to fund scholarships. Hynie, who had a son with Brown, maintained their 2001 nuptials were legal, even though she was still married to another man at the time. The South Carolina judge overseeing the estate battle previously decided she was the star's legal wife as her ex-husband had committed bigamy, therefore voiding the union and paving the way for her to lay claim to a chunk of the musician's riches, previously estimated to be around US $100 million. However, on June 17 Supreme Court justices issued a unanimous verdict, declaring Hynie has no right to the soul icon's money, because she failed to annul her previous marriage. "The ongoing litigation since Brown's passing has thwarted his expressed wish that his estate be used for educational purposes... a point we find both extraordinary and lamentable," the judges wrote in their ruling. The current value of Brown's estate is unknown, but finances are believed to have taken a huge hit as a result of the long-running legal drama. - WENN/Canoe.com, 6/18/20...... Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) is currently caring for his wife Nora Forster full-time as the 78-year-old battles Alzheimer's disease. Lydon, 64, married the German heiress in 1979, and first revealed she was suffering from dementia last year. In an intervew with Britain's Daily Mirror, Lydon said he is now caring for his wife full-time, as he feels love is the best way to care for her. "Nora has Alzheimer's... I am her full-time carer and I won't let anyone mess up with her head," the rocker explained. "For me the real person is still there. That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life. It's unfortunate that she forgets things, well, don't we all?" Detailing her condition, he added: "I suppose her condition is one of like a permanent hangover for her. It gets worse and worse, bits of the brain store less and less memory and then suddenly some bits completely vanish." - WENN/Canoe.com, 6/8/20...... Actor Danny Masterson, best known for his role on That '70s Show, was charged with three counts of rape, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on June 17. Masterson was arrested and released shortly after on a $3.3 million bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department. He is charged with forcibly raping three women in separate incidents occurring between 2001 and 2003, a press release from the District Attorney's Office said, with his arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 18, 2020. In a statement, Masterson's attorney Tom Mesereau said: "Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we're confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify. Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out." All of the alleged crimes took place at Masterson's Hollywood Hills home, authorities said. Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Masterson faces a possible sentence of up to 45 years to life in state prison. Masterson, who has been married to actress Bijou Phillips since 2011, was written out of the Netflix comedy series The Ranch in Dec. 2017 when a police investigation on the allegations against him first came to light. - CNN, 6/18/20...... British entertainment legend Dame Vera Lynn, who helped raise morale during the Second World War with such songs as "We'll Meet Again" and "The White Cliffs of Dover," has died at the age of 103, her family announced on June 18. "The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers at the age of 103," they said in a statement. Dame Lynn earned the nickname "the Forces' Sweetheart" during the war for her regular visits to troops on the front line, while she also performed in countries such as India and Egypt as part of the Entertainments National Service Association. "We'll Meet Again" re-entered the UK charts in May as the song enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day, while its enduring message of resilience also spoke to many people during the coronavirus lockdown. The singer, songwriter and actress also became the oldest singer to score a UK top 40 album last month when her greatest hits collection 100 re-entered the UK albums chart, beating the record she previously set back in 2017. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those to pay tribute to Lynn, saying her "charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours." "Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come," he said. - New Musical Express, 6/18/20.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Paul McCartney announced on June 12 a special re-release of his 1997 solo album Flaming Pie as the 13th installment of his Archive Collection series, which he began back in 2010 with the purpose of remastering and reissuing all his solo records. Flaming Pie, co-produced by McCartney, Beatles producer George Martin, and ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne, was McCartney's 10th solo LP. It will be available in "Deluxe", "Collectors", and various regular CD and vinyl editions beginning July 31. A promo video for the reissue has been shared on YouTube. In addition two EP's, The World Tonight and Beautiful Night,, will arrive on June 26 and July 17, respectively. Meanwhile, Sir Paul is criticizing the Italian government for their "outrageous" decision to implement a policy that prevents music fans from receiving a full refund for concerts that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Macca's "Freshen Up" tour had been scheduled to stop at a number of European cities this summer, including Naples on June 10 and Lucca on June 13 before they were scrubbed due to the virus. McCartney, in a post written in Italian (via The Guardian), said that "the Italian organiser of our shows and the Italian legislators must do the right thing in this case... We are extremely sorry that the shows cannot take place, but this is a real insult to fans." The concert promoters say they are working to reschedule almost all the cancelled shows for 2021. - New Musical Express, 6/12/20...... In other Beatles-related news, Penny Lane in Liverpool is in danger of being renamed if links to slavery are discovered, the city's regional mayor says. Road signs at Penny Lane were vandalized earlier in June after it was claimed the location was named after the notorious 18th century slave trader James Penny. The mayor says the naming "needs to be investigated" and "I would say that sign and that road may well be in danger of being renamed," although he added there is no hard evidence that is the fact. The mayor said the road could instead have been associated with a toll that was once paid in pennies to cross the road. Meanwhile, the release of the Peter Jackson-directed documentary The Beatles: Get Back has been delayed for one year by its distributor Disney. On June 12, Disney announced Get Back will now arrive on Aug. 27, 2021 instead of its original scheduled date of Sept. 4. In still more Beatles news, a recording of a 1962 jam session by the Beatles at London's Abbey Road studios is at the center of a $6.3 million court battle that is set to begin on June 16. Songs recorded on the demo at the Beatles' very first Abbey Road session are believed to include their early hit "Love Me Do," and the tape was discovered in late Beatles sound engineer Geoff Emerick's home in a safe, after Emerick was ordered to destroy the tapes by EMI who deemed the recording to not be of good enough quality to be released. Emerick's estate is arguing that they are entitled to the recording under a "Finders Law," but Universal Music, which bought EMI in 2012, counter that law does not count in this case since Emerick was told he should destroy the recording by EMI. - Variety/WENN/Canoe.com, 6/12/20...... Jackson Browne was among the headliners at a virtual charity concert for Los Angeles' Saban Community Clinic on June 14. The clinic has supported L.A.'s low income residents and the homeless population since 1967 when it opened as the Los Angeles Free Clinic. Usually held in November, the gala was moved to June to raise money to fight the spread of COVID, which is taking a toll on areas of the homeless population. - Billboard, 6/12/20...... Carlos Santana has been tapped to deliever the 2020 commencement address at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music on June 19. In a statement, Santana said he feels "honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars" and that "the class of 2020 is resilient and their voices are needed now more than ever... I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times." - Billboard, 6/9/20...... Growth Rings, a short film narrated and co-written by legendary late Rush drummer Neil Peart, has been shared on YouTube. Created in collaboration with drum manufacturer DW Drums, Growth Rings "honors the way in which music marks moments in our lives," according to a press release. Peart passed away on Jan. 7 in Santa Monica, Calif., after a three-year battle with brain cancer. - Billboard, 6/14/20...... On June 12, Bob Dylan revealed the tracklist of his forthcoming new studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. Featuring 10 tracks, Rough and Rowdy Ways will be bookended by its first two singles, "I Contain Multitudes" and the 17-minute JFK assassination epic, "Murder Most Foul." Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan's first album of original material since 2012's Tempest, will drop June 19 via Columbia. Meanwhile, in a rare new interview with the New York Times, Dylan discussed his new album, as well as the impact of the coronavirus and the death of George Floyd. Dylan told the Times that "it sickened me to no end to see George tortured to death like that... it was beyond ugly... let's hope that justice comes swift for the Floyd family and for the nation." The rock bard also stated he believes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is "a forerunner of something else to come," saying "Extreme arrogance can have some disastrous policies." - New Musical Express, 6/12/20...... Bruce Springsteen has shared a performance of his song "Reason to Believe," recorded at a show in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005, on YouTube. The performance comes from Springsteen's 2005 solo acoustic tour "Devils and Dust," and has been shared as a part of an ongoing series of archive performances the Boss is making available to fans during the coronavirus quarantien. The song originally appeared as the final track on Springsteen's 1982 album Nebraska, and the haunting Stockholm performance sees him performing into a bullet microphone to distort his vocals. - New Musical Express, 6/13/20...... Barbara Streisand has gifted shares of Disney stock to Gianna Floyd, the young daughter of the slain George Floyd. Streisand, 78, privately sent Gianna a letter and certificate notifying her of the gift, and also enclosed copes of her 1960s album Color Me Barbra and My Name Is Barbra. Gianna shared the news in a series of photos posted on Instagram on June 13, which she captioned, "Thank You barbrastreisand for my package, I am now a Disney stockholder thanks to you." The number of shares Streisand bought for Gianna has not been disclosed, but Disney stock is currently trading at around $115 per share. - Music-News.com, 6/15/20...... A "cloud" guitar used by the late Prince on his "Purple Rain" tour is expected to fetch over $1 million when it is auctioned by Julien's Auctions on June 19-20. The custom blue instrument was one of four "cloud" guitars used by the artist between 1984 and 1985 in support of his seminal Purple Rain LP. It was also used through his "Parade" tour in 1986, the "Sign 'o The Times" tour in 1987, and the "Lovesexy" tour in 1988 and 1989. The guitar is expected to fetch over $1 million when it goes to auction. As for the whereabouts of the other three "cloud" guitars, one was handed out in a prize competition, one is privately owned, and the other sits in the Smithsonian Institution in New York. - NME, 6/13/20..... Neil Young has shared a new song called "Vacancy" from his latest album Homegrown which can be streamed on YouTube. Homegrown, a previously unreleased album recorded in 1975, is due June 19 via Reprise Records. - NME, 6/13/20...... In a new interview with a UK TV program, Ted Nugent explained why he loves Pres. Donald Trump, why "hard-earned tax dollars shouldn't be used for abortions," and called the director of the FBI "the biggest punk-ass crook in America." "Donald Trump was sent here by God," the outspoken conservative musician told LondonRealTV. "Because man was not created to live under the control of kings and emperors and tyrants.... They think they have authority over free people, and they're wrong... Donald Trump was sent here to prove that we the people identify the negativity of the status quo..." Nugent continued: "The taxation without representation, the refusal to be accountable with our hard-earned tax dollars, the open and glaring examples of giving it to Planned Parenthood. It's to pay for people's abortions that we don't believe in. If you want an abortion, buy one, but don't charge me." Nugent went on to call a few US government officials out, including CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who have been critical of Trump recently. "They're liars and scammers and criminal punks," Nugent scoffed. He closed by saying "So we said, F--- you. I like this Donald Trump s----kicker. Let's put him in charge. Let him manage it like a business. That's what life is -- it's a business." - New Musical Express, 6/13/20...... Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour is set to release "Yes I Have Ghosts," his first new song in five years, as part of a new audiobook by his best-selling author wife Polly Samson. Gilmour and Samson collaborated for the audiobook version of Samson's A Theatre For Dreamers, which will be published by W.F. Howes on June 25 and feature original music written by Gilmour throughout. Set on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960, the book captures the hazy, sun-drenched days of a bohemian community of poets, painters and musicians. "Yes I Have Ghosts" will be released in June ahead of the arrival of the full A Theatre For Dreamers audiobook. - NME, 6/12/20...... A live recording of the last concert performed by The Stooges' original lineup will be released on Aug. 7 via Third Man Records. Live at Goose Lake: Aug. 8 1970 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the concert which happened on Aug. 8, 1970. Third Man Records, founded by Jack White of The White Stripes, says the recording was found buried in the basement of a Michigan farmhouse and restored by Vance Powell, best known for his work with The White Stripes and Chris Stapleton. "T.V. Eye," a song from the concert, has been shared on YouTube. The Stooges performed their 1970 album, Fun House, in its entirety during the concert and is said to be "the only known soundboard recording of The Stooges' original lineup." - NME, 6/11/20..... With June 14th marking the 25th anniversary of the passing of Irish rocker Rory Gallagher, the Irish music and culture magazine Hot Press is producing a special edition to honor Gallagher, and together with Fender Musical Instruments is producing a special edition of the magazine with contributions from many of Gallagher's admiring peers, including new interviews with Slash, Johnny Marr and others. 2020 has already been a successful year for Gallagher's legend, with the release of the Check Shirt Wizard album (a live collection of Rory’s early 1977 UK performances), which saw the artist return to the album charts, notably, claiming the No.1 spot in Billboard's Blues chart for three consecutive weeks. "This is a crowning honour in celebrating my brother, in his anniversary year and especially an acknowledgement of his devoted following," said Dónal Gallagher, Rory’s brother and manager. - Noble PR, 6/11/20...... Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne says she "feels free" after deciding to ditch her famous red locks in February for a new platinum grey look. Osbourne says she decided to make the change when she realized she resented having her hair colored every week. "It'd just bleed. On my collars. On my pillow cases. Everywhere. And when you'd wash and dry it, it'd be a different shade of red," Sharon told People magazine. "I was really resenting being tied by a color of hair. But, when you dye your hair red, it's really hard to get the color out." So Sharon seeked out hair stylist Jack Martin, who working his magic on her formerly red hair, and after an eight-hour session, the transformation was complete. "I would pass a mirror and be like, 'Who is that? Oh, it's me!'," she laughed, adding she appreciates how simple it is to upkeep her new hair. "I love the freedom it has given me. I've got nothing to prove. It's not like I'm trying to look younger, I'm just trying to look my best." - Music-News.com, 6/7/20...... Singer Bobby Lewis, best known for the No. 1 1961 hit "Tossin' & Turnin'," died on Apr. 28 after contracting pneumonia, it was formally announced on June 13 by his granddaughter Sabreen LaRae Simmons on Facebook. He was 95. The R&B rave-up "Tossin' & Turnin'" with its restless lyrics of insomnia, exploded commercially in 1961, staying at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for seven weeks. "Tossin' & Turnin'" also endured in the cultural memory in large part due to its prominent use in two hit comedy movies of the 1970s, American Graffiti (1973) and Animal House (1978). The song has also been covered by acts ranging from the the girl groups The Marvelettes and The Supremes to rockers Peter Criss and Joan Jett. Mr. Lewis, who scored one more Top 10 hit, "One Track Mind," continued to play live will into his 80s, though vision problems made performing a challenge. The Indianapolis-born Mr. Lewis spent the last four decades of his life in New Jersey, with his final years spent in a Newark healthcare center. He is survived by three children and 11 grandchildren. - Billboard, 6/13/20.
Jimmy Buffett's latest album Life on the Flip Side has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for the week ending June 13. The album sold around 75,000 equivalent album units and marks Buffett's third Top Country Albums No. 1, as well as his third No. 1 debut, behind 2004's License to Chill and 2006's Take the Weather With You. The LP's sales were helped by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer tied to upcoming Buffett shows from mid-May through mid-October, but ome of those shows were ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, while the remaining dates were postponed and rescheduled to July 10 through Sept. 2, 2021. On Billboard's all-genre Hot 200 album chart, Life on the Flip Side bowed at No. 2, marking the "Margaritaville" singer's best rank since License to Chill became his first No. 1 in 2004. - Billboard, 6/9/20...... Paul McCartney took to social media on June 5 to share an encouraging message on the fight for social justice as protests over the death of George Floyd continue around the United States and other countries. "I know many of us want to know just what we can be doing to help. None of us have all the answers and there is no quick fix but we need change," Sir Paul posted on his official Twitter account. "We all need to work together to overcome racism in any form. We need to learn more, listen more, talk more, educate ourselves and, above all, take action." McCartney, 77, then recalled a 1964 incident with the Beatles refused to play a concert with a segregated audience in Jacksonville, Fla. "It felt wrong. We said 'We're not doing that!' and the concert we did do was to their first non-segregated audience," Macca wrote. "We then made sure this was in our contract. To us it seemed like common sense." Paul added that he is "sick and angry" that racial tension still exists after so many years. "I feel sick and angry that here we are almost 60 years later and the world is in shock at the horrific scenes of the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of police racism, along with the countless others that came before," he tweeted. McCartney also shared links to several organizations seeking to fight racism, including Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, the NAACP, Stand Up to Racism, and Campaign Zero. - Billboard, 6/6/20...... Meanwhile, the post-Beatles 1971 peace anthem by McCartney's late bandmate John Lennon, "Imagine," was referenced in a speech by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on June 3. Comparing calls to defund the New York Police Dept. to the lyrics of "Imagine," de Blasio said, "I think everyone who hears that song in its fullness thinks about, 'What about a world where people got along differently? What about a world where we didn't live with a lot of the restrictions that we live with now?' But we're not there yet." A cultural fixture in the almost 50 years since its 1971 release, "Imagine" was once described by Lennon as "the concept of positive prayer... without this my-God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing." "Imagine" has been covered by an endless list of notable musicians including Joan Baez, Diana Ross and Neil Young and become a kind of "go-to anthem for the detached," and some have criticized how it is too often "re-molded" by politicians and other public figures to fit certain political and social goals. - Billboard, 6/5/20...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr has also shared his views on the current Black Lives Matter protests, saying he is sending "peace, love and continuous support" to them. In a June 5 tweet, Ringo referenced his bandmate Paul McCartney's own message: "As my brother Paul said The Beatles always stood for equal rights&justice and I've never stopped working for peace&love ever since," he wrote on his official Twitter account. "I send my peace love&continuous support to everyone marching & speaking up for justice & a better world." Starr also called for justice for George Floyd's family and "for all those who have died and suffered." "Saying nothing is not an option," he added. - New Musical Express, 6/6/20...... Meanwhile, '70s disco greats The Village People are ordering Pres. Trump to stop playing a couple of their biggest hits, "Y.M.C.A." and "Macho Man," at recent events. Posting on Facebook, VP leader Victor Willis said, "If Trump orders the U.S. military to fire on his own citizens (on U.S. soil), Americans will rise up in such numbers outside of the White House that he might be forced out of office prior to the election. Don't do it Mr. President!" Willis then requested the president "no longer use any of my music at your rallies especially 'Y.M.C.A.' and 'Macho Man'... Sorry, but I can no longer look the other way." Both songs have been a frequent feature of Trump's public appearances for several years, and were most recently played when he attended the SpaceX rocket launch alongside Vice President Mike Pence. Willis had previously said he had no problem with Trump using the songs because it was "not being used for a specific endorsement" which is "perfect[ly] legal." But he seemingly changed his stance after Trump's controversial tweet, which was flagged by Twitter for violating the site's rules against glorifying violence. "These thugs are dishonouring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen," Trump tweeted. - NME, 6/9/20...... On June 8, Neil Young doubled down on his criticism of US Pres. Donald Trump in a new letter of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Starting out by saying he was hopeful in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Young added that "although it could get a lot worse... I think we all learn together." "Some of us will get sick, especially those who protested, their families, those of us who care and feel. We know black lives matter," Young posted before turning his attention to the president. "Although I think our president is responsible for a lot of this unrest we feel today as he has fanned the flames and tried to turn us against one another for his political reasons, I am thankful that we are all standing for what we believe, and I think we will be a better country for this," Young said. "He is, in the end, just a poor leader who is building walls around our house. I believe he will be powerless soon and I wish him the best in his next life. That sorry man will not destroy the American Dream," he added. Young also confirmed that he would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, having previously backed Sen. Bernie Sanders before the Sanders withdrew from the race in April. - NME, 6/9/20...... Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson performed a rendition of his 1988 song "Love and Mercy" on the late night CBS talk show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on June 4. "Hi, this is Brian Wilson everyone," Wilson says as he sat before his piano. "I just want you guys to know that we're all in this together." "Love and Mercy," a song that calls for peace and understanding in trying times, features such lyrics as "I was lying in my room / And the news came on TV / A lotta people out there hurtin' / And it really scares me", and: "Love and mercy, that's what you need tonight." The performance can be viewed at The Late Show's Twitter page. - NME, 6/5/20...... Carlos Santana will be the guest of honor during the 2020 commencement ceremony at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA on June 19, delivering a commencement address to a virtual audience of aspiring musician graduates. "I feel honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars," Santana said in a statement. "The class of 2020 is resilient and their voices are needed now more than ever. I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times." The 2020 commencement will take place online on June 19 at 4:00 p.m. PDT; it will also include music and remarks by graduating students and a performance by the Herbie Hancock Institute for Jazz Performance at UCLA. - Billboard, 6/9/20...... Elvis Costello has shared a new song called "No Flag" on YouTube that he says was recorded in February but is fitting for the current world unrest. "No time for this kind of love" / "No flag waving high above," Costello sings. "No sign for the dark place that I live / No God for the damn that I don't give," he adds. Elvis said in a press released that "No Flag" as recorded over three days in Helsinki, Finland at Suomenlinnan Studio. "I wanted to go somewhere nobody knew me, so this is "The Helsinki Sound," he said. "No Flag" is the first new Costello material since he and his backing band The Imposters released their 2018 album Look Now. On June 11, Costello is scheduled to co-headline a "Present Perfect: Songs of Protest and Memory" concert with the likes of Rosanne Cash, Brandi Carlisle, Guy Clark, Jr. and Ry Cooder. - NME, 6/5/20...... In a magnanimous gesture, Elton John has covered the cost of a knee replacement for an old flame he was engaged to marry more than 50 years ago. Before shooting to international fame in the early '70s and a few years later coming out as gay, Elton once dated Linda Hannon, who paid many of the "Your Song" singer's bills as he was a struggling artist. John and Hannon were engaged to be married, but three weeks before the wedding at his bachelor party, John's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin and blues-rock singer Long John Baldry talked him out of it. Elton, 73, and Hannon, 76, had not been in contact since the split but, after being informed she would need a knee replacement operation entailing a five-week period off work, which she couldn't afford, Linda remembered all of the financial assistance she gave the star before he found fame and decided to call in a favour. Hannon attempted to email bosses at John's management company but, after she got no reply, she turned to the publication for help, and eventually managed to get in contact with the Rocketman himself. According to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "When the Mirror related her story to Elton's team, they responded almost immediately -- saying he would be delighted to help." "When Elton heard about Linda's plight, he didn't hesitate for a second to help out," a source close to Elton also shared. "He remembers how good she was 50 years ago, when he and Bernie needed the support, and is really pleased to be able to help her in her hour of need." Hannon added, "I am so touched by Reg (Elton's birth name). After all these years, it's so kind. I am thrilled to bits that he is offering to help." - WENN/Canoe.com, 6/7/20...... Rock producer Rupert Hine, who put his stamp on classic albums dating back five decades by working alongside the likes of Rush, Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks and who later carved out an enduring recording career of his own, has died at age 72. The London born Hine started out in the music business in the mid-1960s as half of folk duo Rupert & David before launching a solo career in the early '70s and later stints with the bands Quantum Jump and Spin 1ne 2wo. As a solo artist he cut six albums under his name and three under the alias Thinkman, according to his website. While the 1970s were a busy time for Hine as he produced such acts as Camel, Anthony Phillips (ex-Genesis) and Kevin Ayers (ex-Soft Machine), he reached even bigger success during the New Wave '80s by becoming the go-to producer for such popular groups as The Fixx, Howard Jones and The Thompson Twins. Hine also had a hand in crafting Tina Turner's 1984 juggernaut Private Dancer, having produced the single "Better Be Good to Me," a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 that earned a Grammy Award -- for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female -- in 1985. He also co-wrote and produced "Break Every Rule," the title track to Turner's 1986 album, and again collaborated with the rock legend on 1989's Foreign Affair. Other production credits include Stevie Nicks' The Other Side of the Mirror and albums by Underworld, Saga and Chris De Burgh. An early adopter of electronic music production techniques, Hine was a founding member of Music Producers Guild, the International MIDI Association and a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the US. He is survived by his wife Fay and son Kingsley. - Billboard, 6/5/20...... Bonnie Pointer, a founding member of the legendary Motown group The Pointer Sisters, died on June 8 after experiencing cardiac arrest. She was 69. "It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of The Pointer Sisters that my sister, Bonnie died this morning," Anita Pointer said in a statement. "Our family is devastated, on behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time." Bonnie and June Pointer, who grew up singing gospel music in West Oakland, Calif., started their eponymous group in the late '60s, first performing as Pointers, A Pair. By 1972, both Anita and Ruth Pointer had also joined the fold, bringing the sibling group to a quartet. With a unique sound that blended jazz, soul, funk, rock and country, the group signed to Blue Thumb Records and released their self-titled debut album in 1973. The Pointer Sisters rose to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 200 and spawned a pair of hits, the Allen Toussaint-penned "Yes We Can" (No. 11) and "Wang Dang Doodle" (No. 61). The group's 1974 sophomore effort spawned another top 20 hit in the country ballad "Fairytale" (penned by Bonnie and Anita and later covered by Elvis Presley), which also won the quartet their first Grammy, for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. Their third LP, Steppin' spawned their third Hot 100 top 20 hit (and first R&B Songs No. 1) "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)." In 1977, Bonnie left the group (along with June, who shortly rejoined) to start a solo career, signing with Motown -- where she met in-house producer and future husband Jeffrey Bowen, who she was married to from 1978 until the mid-'10s -- and scored a disco crossover hit in 1979 with the rapturous, No. 11-peaking The Elgins cover "Heaven Must Have Sent You," off her self-titled debut LP. Bonnie's solo success slowed down as the decade turned to the '80s, while the refortified Pointer Sisters experienced some of their biggest pop hits, but she still notched six entries on the Top R&B Songs chart between 1979 and 1985, and rejoined her sisters twice in the '90s -- when they received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and for a Las Vegas live performance of '80s Pointer Sisters hit "Jump (For My Love) in 1996. Her fourth and final solo album, Like a Picasso, was released in 2011. "Bonnie was my best friend and we talked every day, we never had a fight in our life," Anita Pointer told TMZ.com of her sister. "I already miss her and I will see her again one day." - Billboard, 6/8/20.