Ozzy Osbourne announced on Feb. 19 he is canceling an additional string of dates in Australia, New Zealand and Japan on his "No More Tours 2" trek as he continues to recuperate from pneumonia. A spokesperson for Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne says "Ozzy recently developed pneumonia and has spent some time in hospital. Thankfully he is now through the worst part. His doctors have advised that he stay at home to recuperate for a full six weeks with no travel." Osbourne had been slated to play shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Christchurch, Australia, in early March, with an additional gig in Auckland, New Zealand on Mar. 16, followed by a gig at the Download Festival in Japan on Mar. 21. His next scheduled date is on May 24 at the Rocklahoma Festival in Pryor, Okla. The latest cancellations come less than a week after Sharon revealed that Ozzy had been released from the intensive care unit and was breathing on his own again after suffering complications from the flu, which forced the 70 year-old rocker to postpone a planned European tour. - Billboard, 2/19/19...... Yoko Ono used the occasion of her 86th birthday on Feb. 18 to announce that her third collaborative LP with husband John Lennon will be reissued in March. 1969's The Wedding Album will be released via Secretly Canadian and Chimera Music as part of the ongoing Yoko Ono Reissue Project on Mar. 22. The release, including wedding photos of the couple, drawings by John and Ono, a copy of their marriage certificate, photos of their iconic "Bed-In" honeymoon and more, will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Ono and Lennon's marriage, which took place on Mar. 20, 1969. It will also be available on limited-edition white vinyl and digital formats. - Billboard, 2/18/19...... In other Beatles-related news, rising singer Ariana Grande has just become the first artist since the Fab Four to take all three top spots on the Billboard Hot 100 pop single chart. Grande currently holds the number 1, 2, and 3 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart simultaneously, the first time anyone has achieved the feat since the Beatles in 1964. Grande's album. Thank u, next also debuted at number 1 on the Hot 200 albums chart after its release on Feb. 8. Between March and April 1964, the Beatles held the top three spots for five weeks before eventually claiming all the top five spots. - New Musical Express, 2/19/19...... The National Museum of African American Music is finally getting close to opening in the city of Nashville, Tenn. Located in downtown Nashville, already the home of the well established Country Music Hall of Fame, the museum space will occupy 56,000 sq. feet and have permanent and temporary exhibits that will take visitors from the influence of slavery on American music through present time, including "Wade in the Water," a gallery on religious music that highlights the 1940s-1960s; "Crossroads," an exhibit on blues and the Great Migration; "Love Supreme," a gallery on the emergence of jazz; "One Nation Under a Groove," an exhibit about R&B, funk, techno, disco, go-go and more from the 1960s-1990s/early 2000s; and "The Message," a space dedicated to hip-hop from its early iterations to today. The museum, first conceived of in 2002 and which has hosted events to honor the likes of Nile Rodgers of Chic and Pattie LaBele, will also boast a 200-seat theater and according to its president H. Beecher Hicks III will open either later in 2019 or in early 2020. - Billboard, 2/20/19...... In related news, cable channel BET's new series American Soul brandishes the beats of the '70s in a retelling of the iconic music show Soul Train. From producer Jonathan Prince, who charted the musical explosion of the '60s in the 2002 NBC drama American Dreams, American Soul features a celestial list of cameos-playing-cameos, including Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight and Michelle Williams as Diana Ross. BET is airing the series on Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. - Entertainment Weekly, 2/15/19...... Speaking of Diana Ross, the diva announced on Feb. 19 she'll be hitting the road this year for 8 live performances in 2019. Ross, who headlined a recent 75th birthday tribute to her at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, will perform for three nights at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on Feb. 20, 22 and 23, followed by shows at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa, Okla on Apr. 13 and the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans on Apr. 25. In June, she'll perform at New York's Radio City Music Hall on 6/22 and at The Barns in Vienna, Va., on 6/27, wrapping with a July 22 date at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, Col. - Billboard, 2/19/19...... The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced via their Twitter account on Feb. 18 that Queen + Adam Lambert will be performing at the upcoming 2019 Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles, when the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will be in the running for five Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Actor (for Rami Malek's portrayal of Freddie Mercury), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. "Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?" the account quoted from the band's song "Bohemian Rhapsody." The announcement included a compilation of clips that showed the band and current lead singer Lambert performing as Queen's hit "We Will Rock You" played. Queen, who also shared the news on its Twitter account, will join previously announced performers Jennifer Hudson, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Bette Midler, who will all perform songs nominated in the best original song category. Midler announced on Feb. 16 that she will be performing "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns. "So, (drum roll) Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be chanteusing (that's singing) on the Oscars on Feb 24...the nominated song from "Mary Poppins.".."The Place Where Lost Things Go" ...so excited!!" Midler posted. The 2019 Oscars will take place Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/PT. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/18/19...... A new exhibit dedicated to Prince called "Prince from Minneapolis" will be opening at the MoPOP museum in Seattle, Wash., on April 6, the museum announced on Feb. 15. It will be part of the museum's general admission and will feature work from four photographers -- Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen and Robert Whitman -- all of whom shot the late funk/rock icon in his early career. The exhibit will display almost 50 artifacts, including photos, artwork, a Prince guitar and outfits from the Purple Rain Tour and film. - Billboard, 2/15/19...... Producer/engineer/musican Joe Hardy, who worked on many ZZ Top albums from 1985's After Burner to playing bass on guitarist Billy Gibbon's 2018 release The Big Bad Blues, died on at his home in Memphis, Tenn., on Feb. 12 after a brief illness. He was 66. Since beginning his career in the late 70s, Hardy went on to work with a range of artists, from engineering and mixing The Replacements' Pleased To Meet Me and Steve Earle's Copperhead Road to producing The Georgia Satellites' Another Chance and Steve Earle and The Dukes' The Hard Way. He also worked with a spate of Canadian acts, including Colin James, Jeff Healey, Kim Mitchell and Tom Cochrane, producing Cochrane's U.S. solo breakthrough Mad Mad World featuring the Billboard Top 10 single "Life Is a Highway." His long history with ZZ Top began with engineering work on 1985's After Burner, and continued with 1994's Antennae, 1996's Rhythmeen, 1999's XXX, 2003's Mescalero, and 2012's La Futura. He also co-produced Gibbons' solo debut, Perfectamundo. Born in Kentucky, Hardy relocated to Memphis in 1972 when he recorded at Ardent Studios as a member of the band The Voice of Cheese. He then chose a career behind the board instead, working out of Ardent as one of their in-house engineers/producers. Hardy moved to Texas, home of ZZ Top, at the start of the millennium. He last worked with them on 2016's live album, Greatest Hits from Around the World, which he helped mix. "Our friend Joe Hardy played a huge role in our lives," ZZ Top posted on its Facebook page. "He was a true innovator in a field where many just did it 'by the book.' He threw away 'the book' and wrote his own." - Billboard, 2/13/19...... His "Midnight Rambler" days are apparently over -- Mick Jagger is reportedly ready to settle down with his current girlfriend Melanie Hamrick. A friend of the "Satisfaction" singer reportedly told the UK paper The Mirror that they believe Jagger, 75, has been "tamed" by the 31-year-old ballet dancer, after initially suggesting that the pair would not be "exclusive." The news comes after Hamrick gave birth to their son, Deveraux, in 2017, making the Rolling Stones frontman a father for the eighth time at the ripe age of 73. Since becoming a mother, American Ballet Theatre dancer Hamrick is thought to have reined in the music star's renowned adulterous behavior, though in a June 2018 interview she insisted that she doesn't think of herself as a "baby mama" despite not being married to the singer. "In the technical sense, I'm not married to the father of my child," she admitted. "But I am in a great, wonderful relationship with him. So I don't see myself like that." Four months later, Hamrick described herself and Jagger as "fantastic co-parents," suggesting that she gets "more support from him than some of my married friends get from their husbands." She went on to dismiss rumors surrounding the rocker's promiscuous reputation, stressing that she feels "secure" with her partner. - WENN/Canoe.com, 2/18/19...... Iconic Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the past 50 years, died on Feb. 19. He was around 85 years old. Though he spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy -- including all of 20 years at Chloe -- Mr. Lagerfeld's designs quickly trickled down to low-end retailers, giving him an almost unprecedented impact on the entire fashion industry. At Chanel, he served up youthful designs that were always of the moment and sent out almost infinite variations on the house's classic skirt suit, ratcheting up the hemlines or smothering it in golden chains, stings of pearls or pricey accessories. They were always delivered with wit. "Each season, they tell me (the Chanel designs) look younger. One day we'll all turn up like babies," he once told The Associated Press. In 1982, he took over at over Chanel, which had been dormant since the death of its founder, Coco Chanel, more than a decade earlier. "When I took on Chanel, it was a sleeping beauty not even a beautiful one," he said in the 2007 documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. A photographer who shot ad campaigns for Chanel and his own eponymous label, Mr. Lagerfeld also collected art books and had a massive library and a bookstore as well as his own publishing house. Following his widely known relationship with a French aristocrat who died of AIDS in 1989, Mr. Lagerfeld led a solitary life. "I have to be alone to do what I do," he told the New York Times. "I like to be alone. I'm happy to be with people, but I'm sorry to say I like to be alone, because there's so much to do, to read, to think." - AP, 2/19/19.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Monday, February 11, 2019
A previously unreleased Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song called "For Real" was shared on Feb. 15 to announce a new greatest hits collection from the band. "For Real," unearthed from Petty's vault of never-before-heard material, will feature on the upcoming 2-disc, 38 track The Best of Everything - The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection. Another unreleased track, "The Best of Everything (Alternate Version)," will also be included on the Geffen Records release, which is the first hits collection to span the late rocker's entire career and hits stores on Mar. 1. The set will also be released in 4-disc vinyl and MP3 versions. Petty passed away on Oct. 2, 2017, at age 66, just one week after finishing the band's 40th anniversary tour. - Billboard, 2/15/19...... Led Zeppelin is teaming up with the California skateboarding shoes and clothing company Vans for the release of special Led Zep 50th anniversary apparel to help celebrate its 50th anniversary. In a Feb. 14 post on Twitter, the band displayed two versions of newly licensed Led Zep shoes, each featuring iconic images from their classic '70s albums, together with a T-shirt. Led Zeppelin, which formed in 1968 before disbanding in 1980, celebrated its 50th anniversary as a band in 2018 with the release of a new 50th Anniversary Interviews album, which is comprised of 34 new interview clips from the band's surviving members: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. Vans merchandise is available at several leading American retailers, including JCPenney and Kohl's. - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... The '60s pop/rock band The Zombies, which featured future Argent founder Rod Argent, have announced plans to release their complete studio recordings in a vinyl box set ahead of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Mar. 29 in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to containing their two original U.S. albums -- their 1965 self-titled album (also known as She's Not There/Tell Her No) and 1968's Odessey and Oracle -- the vinyl set contains two compilations of rarities: R.I.P., a collection complied by CBS Records as the follow-up to Odessey but never released, and I Love You, a compilation previously available only in Japan and the U.K. The 5-LP The Zombies: The Complete Studio Recordings arrives via Varese Saraband Records on Feb. 22. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... The Feb. 19 stop at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum on Elton John' "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" will be pushed back to Oct. 19 due to necessary "technical production adjustments," the venue tweeted on Feb. 14. "Elton is deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused by the rescheduling, but he's passionate about presenting the show in the best possible way for his fans," the venue said in a statement. "He thanks everyone for their patience, cooperation and ongoing support." Tickets for the original show will be honored on the new date and refunds will be available through the original point of purchase. John has announced more than 300 dates across the globe through 2021 before he retires from live performing. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... On Valentine's Day Paul McCartney and Capitol Records announced a limited deluxe edition of Sir Paul's 2018 album Egypt Station will be released on May 10. Housed in an embossed vintage-looking suitcase, Egypt Station - Traveller's Edition will feature vinyl pressings, additional audio and video performances, a cassette and paper items related to the album. Three unreleased tracks -- "Frank Sinatra's Party," "Sixty Second Street" and an extended version of "Who Cares" -- will be included in the set, along with four live album tracks taken from McCartney's performances at Abbey Road Studios, the Cavern Club, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and Grand Central Station in New York City. Additionally, the package will have a deluxe 180G vinyl album, an Egypt Station Concertina CD and an Egypt Station Blue Cassette. Egypt Station, which was released Sept. 7, entered the Billboard 200 LP chart at No. 1, the former Beatle's first chart-topping album since 1982's Tug of War and his first to enter the charts at No. 1. The release will follow a deluxe reissue of McCartney's 1971 Wings Wild Life album on Apr. 17. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, a "forgotten" pic of the Beatles has been discovered 55 year after it was originally taken. The negative of the picture, which shows the quartet playing a gig in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, U.K. at the height of their fame in 1963, lay undeveloped in the home of Peter Harrison, 75, who salvaged the negative when he was working as a 17-year-old apprentice in a photographer's studio. Harrison told a local paper that his manager, Mr. Fisher, had taken a number of publicity shots of the band when they came to play at the resort and while the majority of the negatives were discarded, Harrison managed to salvage one of them and intended to develop it at home. "I could do my own black and white prints at home but I never got around to it," he told the newspaper. "Originally, it was going to be thrown away. The professional photographer took more than one shot [of the Beatles] for a publicity [shoot] and he just had a spare one. I just thought, 'Oh, I'll have that please!'" - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... The producers of a new Michael Jackson musical entitled "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" announced on Feb. 14 that a recent strike by the Actors' Equity Association over compensation for developmental labs has forced the production to skip its debut in Chicago and instead open on Broadway in summer 2020. The AEA countered in statement that the producers' announcement was "disappointing" and questioned how the strike, which delayed the show's development for a "modest" 12 working days, could so impact the run. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is inspired by the late King of Pop's life and music and will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winning director Christopher Wheeldon. Meanwhile, a shopping mall in Denmark has just reversed its decision not to display a statue of Jackson at the Roedovre Centrum mall in suburban Copenhagen after receiving about 15 online complaints, mostly from families with children, over Jackson's controversial history of allegedly molesting boys. The manager of the mall posted on Facebook that the decision was "an overreaction" to remove the statue, adding the late singer "has never been found guilty of any of the accusations against him." The mall returned the statue of Jackson, one of many statues of celebrities it has on display, on Feb. 13. In more Jackson-related news, the singer's niece Brandi Jackson has revealed one of the men featured in the new documentary Leaving Neverland, Wade Robson, is her ex-boyfriend. "Wade and I were together for over 7 years, but I bet that isn't in his documentary because it would ruin his timeline. And did I mention, it was my uncle, #MichaelJackson, who set us up? Wade is not a victim, #WadeRobsonIsaLiar," Brandi tweeted on Feb. 11. Brandi added that Robson had "constantly talked about wanting to be 'relevant'." "You've burned so many bridges that now the only time you are #relevant is when you headline with my family's name next to yours. It's time to stop these lies and live your own life," she posted. She also shared a photo of herself and Robson as kids with Jackson. Both Robson and James Safechuck are featured in the 4-hour Leaving Neverland documentary, and both men brought civil suits against the Jackson Estate following Jackson's death. They were thrown out in 2017 by a judge who ruled that the Jackson estate could not be held liable for the singer's behavior. Britain's Channel 4 recently announced it will air the documentary in two parts on Mar. 6 and 7, rejecting complaints from Jackson's estate which condemned it as a "one-sided sensationalist programme." - AP/NME, 2/14/19...... Barry Manilow made a surprise appearance at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 13, closing out Michael Kors' Fall 2019 show with a glittering rendition of his hit "Copacabana." The show's theme was "dreaming," reflected in both the decor ('70s disco balls and chandeliers hung overhead) and 74 models, including '70s supermodel Patti Hansen, showcased everything from oversize fur jackets to sparkly evening gowns. It also featured garments with the famed Studio 54 nightclub logo and disco-inspired hits from Chic, Donna Summer and The Pointer Sisters, recruiting Manilow for an epic finale. Though Manilow had never been to a fashion show before, he says performing at Kors' show was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. "When Michael called and gave me his vision for his upcoming fashion show and asked if I would come perform 'Copacabana,' I was very flattered -- how could I say no?" Manilow said. "It was a thrilling experience, and I was happy to be a part of it." - Billboard, 2/13/19...... As the English hard rockers prepare to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, Def Leppard has announced it will begin a 12-show "Def Leppard Hits Vegas: The Sin City Residency" in Las Vegas starting Aug. 17. The band will be playing the Zappos Theater in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino through Sept. 7, the follow-up to its 2013 "Viva Hysteria!" run at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino during which it performed its 1987 blockbuster LP Hysteria in its entirety. Meanwhile Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says the band has been asked to perform three songs during the RRHOF ceremony, which will be filmed for subsequent broadcast by HBO, but he and the group "have no idea" as yet what they're going to do as far as acceptance speeches go. - Billboard, 2/13/19...... In related news, Aerosmith has just added 17 dates to their Las Vegas residency at the new Park MGM resort. The "Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild" show will launch on April 6 with several of their previously announced 18 shows already sold out. Promoted by Live Nation and MGM Resorts International, the show features never-before-seen visuals and audio from Aerosmith recording sessions, including a partnership with THX and L-Acoustics to deliver the world's first THX Certified live performance presented in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound. Along with the announcement of additional dates, the band has added special VIP packages for every show. - Billboard, 2/12/19...... Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly out of intensive care according to his wife Sharon Osbourne after being admitted to hospital earlier in February after experiencing complications from flu and bronchitis. Ozzy was later transferred to the intensive care unit when his condition deteriorated. Sharon confirmed her 70-year-old hubby is out of intensive care after being taken off a ventilator and that he's "breathing on his own." "I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who has reached out with good wishes. He's overcome by the response," Sharon posted. After deleting that tweet, Sharon wrote: "Thank you to everyone for all your get well messages and support for Ozzy. We are overwhelmed and truly touched by everyone's thoughtfulness." - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... Journey guitarist and co-founder Neal Schon took to Twitter on Feb. 11 to express his gratitude to fans who have supported his journey to recovering after his recent emergency surgery. The musician, who had an inflamed and infected gallbladder removed during an emergency room visit on Feb. 8, told fans he is grateful for their kind wishes and said he's recovering well. "Want to thank you all for your very kind wishes. This means everything to me .. your friend ship is what motivates me to continue to create for you all. Can't wait to hit the stage for NSJTT. I should be good to go but if I have to sit it will. Love you all ---- blessings," Schon posted. Schon also expressed thans to his family including his wife Michaele, doctors and staff who helped him during the ordeal in another post. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Kiss made their first appearance at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, Calif. in 20 years on Feb. 11 as part of SiriiusXM's "Party Continues" series. Kiss stopped by the legendary 500-capacity venue for a jam-packed show filled with Kiss favorites from the shock rockers' 45-year career as the band. "To go back and relive what we did once upon a time is pretty awesome," singer-guitarist Paul Stanley told the crowd after being introduced by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. "It all starts in the clubs. If you want to really make it, you don't do it by going on a talent musical show. You go into the streets and you play for people."" We've got a small, but mighty crowd tonight," Stanley added. "Let me hear you go crazy. Let me hear you go wild." The subscriber and invite-only show was hosted by SiriusXM which launched Kiss Army Radio, channel 30, on Feb. 4. The station will run through Feb. 17 on channel 30. The Whisky A Go Go performance will air on Feb. 12 at 5 pm ET on Kiss Army. Kiss continues their multi-year "The End fo the World" farewell tour this evening at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The tour kicked off earlier in February and include dates through December. - Billboard, 2/12/19...... In his continuing quest to adapt a healthier lifestyle, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has revealed that he's now trying to quit smoking, after announcing plans to give up drinking in 2018. But the notorious partier says giving up cigarettes is proving to be harder than kicking his former notorious heroin habit. "I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully. Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is," Richards told the UK mag Mojo. Describing the temptation to smoke, he added: "Quitting heroin is like hell, but it's a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you've always done it. I just pick 'em up and light 'em up without thinking about it." However, Keef says he's still intent on cutting down regardless and is smoking far less these days. "Lately, in fact -- spread the news -- I've managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day," the 79-year-old musician explained. "I've knocked the hard stuff on the head. I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two." - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... Former AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams might be rejoining the Aussie hard rock band for their much-anticipated new album. A newly-emerged picture shows Williams, who was in the band from 1977 to 2016, alongside the band's frontman Brian Johnson with a personal trainer at a Vancouver Hotel in December, which prompted the speculation. Williams left the band in 2016, the same year that Johnson was forced to quit the band and temporarily replaced by Guns 'N Roses singer Axl Rose for a world tour. It left guitarist Angus Young as the only remaining member of the band's so-called "classic" line-up to play in the group. In 2018, it was reported that the rock icons were working on a new album that will feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track," according to "a reliable source inside the AC/DC camp." Malcolm died in November 2017 after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. - NME, 2/11/19.
A rare recording of an interview with Michael Jackson and George Harrison conducted by BBC Radio 1 in 1979 has been discovered and restored. The two music icons appeared on the radio show to review new releases from the likes of Foreigner, Nicolette Larson and The Blues Brothers, and to share some of the stories behind their own songs, including Michael explaining how his record label Motown refused to let him write his own songs and George talking about being in the songwriting shadow of his former Beatles bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. David "Kid" Jensen, who conducted the interview, said both musicians were "lovely guys to talk to" and that "we knew we had a good show on our hands just by the general vibe in the studio before the mics went live." Only low-quality bootleg recordings of the program have been available until now after a producer at BBC Radio Solent asked around collectors' circles and was presented with a tape recording of the full show. The BBC aired the full "When George Met Michael" program on Feb. 9 to mark the 40th anniversary of the original broadcast. - New Musical Express, 2/7/19...... In other Michael Jackson news, the Jackson estate has sent a letter to the U.K.'s Channel 4 warning that the Leaving Neverland documentary on two men who accuse the singer of molesting them as boys violates the network's programming guidelines. The letter written by estate attorney Howard Weitzman states that Leaving Neverland, set to air in early March, makes no attempt at getting a response to the accusers from Jackson's estate, family, friends or others who have defended his reputation as required by the channel's standards for factual programming and basic journalistic ethics. Channel 4 responded to the letter in a statement on Feb. 11, saying that the allegations against Jackson are rebutted in the documentary by denials that Jackson made during his lifetime. It says the broadcast meets Britain's official broadcasting code by providing these denials. Weitzman's letter echoes a longer letter it sent to U.S. cable channel HBO on Feb. 8 calling the allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck "disgraceful" and urging investigation of the men's backgrounds. A copy of the HBO letter was included with the Channel 4 letter, and applies just as much to the U.K. station, the letter states. The two channels co-produced the documentary, and HBO has announced to air the four hour program in the U.S. in two parts, on Mar. 3 and Mar. 4. Meanwhile, a Danish shopping mall has removed a wax statue of the King of Pop out of fears it could offend customers and may be vandalized because of accusations that the late pop star molested boys. The mall's marketing manager told a Danish TV station that they had received about 15 complaints about the Jackson statue, mostly from families with children. Jackson's statue, one of several of major stars including Marilyn Monroe and Julia Roberts, was replaced with a statue of Brad Pitt. - AP, 2/11/19...... In more Jackson news, his record producer Quincy Jones will celebrate three of Jackson's most iconic albums -- Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad -- with a blow-out symphonic concert at London's O2 Arena on June 23. The one-off show will find Jones conducting the orchestra in performances of the three LP's back-to-back, with a number of special guests slated to join him, according to a statement from the venue. Meanwhile, Jones now has the most Grammy Awards of any living artist after his documentary Quincy won for Best Music Film at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 10. The win marks the 85-year-old legend's 28th Grammy, making him the living artist with the most trophies in Grammy history. Jones has won Grammys in more than 10 categories over his nearly 70-year career, but his win for Quincy is his first award for best music film. The award is also his first in 17 years, with his last win coming in 2001 for best spoken word album, Q - The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... The Rolling Stones have added a huge Canada Day weekend show at Burl's Creek an hour north of Toronto as their only stop in the country on their upcoming 2019 No Filter Tour. The "Canada Rocks with The Rolling Stones" show will take place June 29 at the 600-acre Burl's Creek Event Grounds, located in Oro-Medonte, and organizers hope the event will draw as many as 70,000 fans. Concert promoter Republic Live says "the Stones are the greatest rock and roll band in the world and this show will, without a doubt, put Burl's Creek on the map as a world-class destination." The No Filter tour launches in Miami on Apr. 20 and will be making stops in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Chicago before heading north to Burl's Creek for the Canada Day weekend. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Movie studio Sony Pictures Classics has announced it has acquired the worldwide rights to an upcoming documentary on singer/songwriter John Prine. Tentatively titled John Prine: Hello in There and directed by Zachary Fuhrer, the doc tells the story of Prine's beginnings as a mailman in the Chicago suburbs, then discovered by movie critic and Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert, who heard Prine sing at an open-mic gig and wrote about him in the paper. The article landed Prine a record deal and he was off on a decades-long career that has taken him from Radio City Music Hall to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. John Prine: Hello in There is currently in postproduction. Prine has previously announced he preparing to release his first album of new songs in 13 years. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/11/19...... Heart has announced a 39-city summer tour with openers Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile that will launch on July 9 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Mo. Heart's "Love Alive" tour will hit major markets including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Denver before closing out in Los Angeles on Sept. 9 at Hollywood Bowl. The tour will mark Heart's first road trip in three years, as sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson took a hiatus to pursue other musical endeavors. "Both Nancy and I have stretched our wings in life these last three years," Ann says. "We've both lived and loved. We have breathed and traveled and experienced life. We come to this tour with fresh energy and oxygen. It will be unlike any other Heart tour that has been. Some of the songs will be classic of course, but this tour will be a new animal." Heart released a live album from their legendary 2006 VH1 Decades Rock Live performance, Live In Atlantic City, on Jan. 25 on earMUSIC. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler continued his Grammy Awards viewing party tradition on Feb. 10 at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles with his second annual viewing party. The event, which benefited Janie's Fund, Tyler's philanthropic initiative that helps to bring hope and healing to young female assault victims. This year's gala attracted such guests as Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Alice Cooper, David Foster, Kelsey Grammer, Caitlyn Jenner, Duff McKagan and Jane Lynch, who hosted the night. Aerosmith also performed an 11-song set at the event that included such hits as "Janie's Got a Gun," "Love in an Elevator," "Back in the Saddle," "Sweet Emotion," "Dream On" and "Walk This Way." Sharon Stone even hopped up on stage at one point to bop around with Tyler and try her had at the harmonica. On Feb. 4, Tyler helped cut the ribbon -- one of his signature scarves, actually -- at the opening of a second Janie's House for neglected female youths in Bartlett, Tenn. Tyler, who donated nearly $500,000 to Youth Villages through Janie's Fund, also designed the artwork for the building. The first Janie's House opened in 2017 just outside of Atlanta, a third home is slated to open in Las Vegas later in 2019. Meanwhile, Aerosmith will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb. 14, according to an announcement by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 6. The Boston-based rockers will be recognized under the recording category, with the HWOF's 2,657th star. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m., at 6752 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Musicians Institute. Aerosmith will kick off a new residency at Park Theater at the new Park MGM resort on Apr. 6. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Nile Rodgers of Chic announced on Feb. 11 that he will guest curate this summer's Meltdown festival in London's Southbank Centre. Rodgers is set to produce a "hand-picked line-up of show-stopping music, art and free events" for the annual Meltdown festival, a days-long event that gives prominent musicians the ability to book acts and events at U.K.'s largest multi-venue arts center throughout the last 25 years. "To be able to curate and produce nine days of live music for the city of London, the U.K. and music enthusiasts visiting from all over the world is truly a dream come true," Rodgers said in a statement. Rodgers will take over Southbank Centre from Aug. 3 to 11 throughout its stages, including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the remainder of the 17-acre center. Rodgers joins the ranks of previous festival curators such as David Bowie, Yoko Ono, M.I.A and The Cure. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Aretha Franklin will be the next subject of the NatGeo channel's Genius series, it was announced on Feb. 10 at the Television Critics Association winter meeting. The channel says it is postponing its planned Genius tribute to Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, which it had originally announced to be the third focus of the Genius series, to feature the late Queen of Soul. Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso were the first two spotlights of the Genius series. Franklin's Genius program will feature recollections from music moguls Clive Davis and Craig Kellman of Atlantic Records, among others. Meanwhile, Franklin was also honored at the 2019 Grammy Awards show on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles with a salute by Andra Day, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams. The show also featured Motown legend Diana Ross who graced the stage with performances of "The Best Years of My Life" and "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)." As she walked through the crowd, Ross encouraged audience members to sing along into her mic, with Jaden Smith obliging for a line. As the performance ended, she left viewers with an inspirational message: "Learn, dream, unlock new doors. All is possible." The Grammy show also featured a performance by country legend Dolly Parton, who was joined by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kacy Musgraves and Little Big Town for a medley of some of Dolly's most iconic tunes. - AP/Billboard, 2/11/19...... Former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham is recovering at home following open heart surgery during the second weekend of February. Buckingham reportedly suffered some vocal cord damage, according to his wife Kristen Buckingham. "Each day he is stronger than the last," Kristen wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. "While he and his heart are doing well, the surgery resulted in vocal cord damage. While it is unclear if the damage is permanent, we are hopeful it is not." Though Kristen did not give specifics as to why Lindsey had to undergo emergency heart surgery, she did note that his family has a history of heart issues and all his upcoming shows would be canceled for the time being. "We feel so fortunate that he's alive," she wrote. Buckingham's health issue comes less than a year after he was kicked out of the band following some differences with Stevie Nicks. Despite their clashes, Buckingham's former band wished their former bandmate well on Twitter, writing, "We are saddened by this news. Our thoughts and love go out to Lindsey and his entire family. We are hopeful for his speedy recovery." - Billboard, 2/8/19...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack Osbourne says his dad is doing "much better" after being hospitalized for flu complications in early February. On Feb. 6, Ozzy's wife and Jack's mom Sharon Osbourne revealed that Ozzy had been admitted to hospital following some complications from the flu. "His doctors feel this is the best way to get him on a quicker road to recovery," Sharon wrote. A spokesperson for the 70-year-old rocker announced on Jan. 30 that after initially postponing the first four dates of his "No More Tours 2" outing because of the flu, a follow-up visit with a doctor revealed a diagnosis of a severe upper-respiratory infection, which resulted in the postponing of the tour's entire U.K. and European run. At the time, doctors feared that the infection could "develop into pneumonia given the physicality of the live performances and the extensive travel schedule throughout Europe in harsh winter conditions." Ozzy's Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi also wished Ozzy a "speedy recovery" on Twitter. Current plans call for Ozzy's tour to re-boot on Mar. 9 at the Download Festival in Sydney, Australia, though it is unclear if that show could be impacted by the hospitalization. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath was honored with their very own "heavy metal bench" in their hometown of Birmingham on Feb. 9. Tony Iommi attended the ceremony which was organized by Westside Business Improvement District. The idea of the bench, which incorporates the images of all four original Black Sabbath members, was started by super fan Mohammed Osama, who told the BBC he was "thrilled to see his plan to commemorate the band become a reality." The bench is placed under the newly renamed Black Sabbath Bridge over the canal on Broad Street. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/8/19...... The legendary '70s ska band The Specials have scored a new No. 1 album in the U.K. in one of the more dramatic chart returns of recent memory. Encore is The Specials' first album of new music for 37 years and their first-ever U.K. No. 1 album. It also features a new version of "Blam Blam Fever"' and a cover of The Equals' "Black Skinned Blue-Eyed Boys," along with the recent single "10 Commandments," which includes an appearance by activist Saffiyah Khan. "Recording the album has been one of the most amazing trips of our lives," The Specials said in a statement. "What can we say? It couldn't have been better timing. A real thanks to the fans who have stayed with us for all this time. We all share in this, thank you." The Specials have confirmed they'll launch a 25-date U.K. tour behind the new album on Apr. 15 in Bournemouth, wrapping with two shows at the London O2 Academy Brixton on May 16 and 17. - NME, 2/8/19...... Rod Stewart announced on Feb. 8 he has entered into a multi-year global touring partnership with Live Nation that will have the promotion company producing and promoting Stewart's concerts around the world, starting with a run of sold-out U.K. dates this summer. "First, last and always my job is giving fans the best show I have in me," said Stewart, in a statement. "With Live Nation's backing, I'm able to show up and sing knowing that everything that has led up to me taking the stage has been done with cracking perfection." Stewart will perform across the U.K. and Europe throughout 2019 and in 2020 will bring his concert tour to South America, Australia, Asia and New Zealand with Live Nation. The shows follow his 2017 and 2018 North American summer tours with special guest Cyndi Lauper. - Billboard, 2/8/19...... '70s R&B singer Chaka Khan will release Hello Happiness, her first album in 12 years, on Feb. 15. Its funky lead single, "Like Sugar," arrived last June and sparked the global #LikeSugarChallenge, a testament to the 65-year-old Khan's staying power after 46 years in the business. Meanwhile, Khan's current single, the new album's title track, is a testament to her sunnier state of mind. The LP marks Khan's first since she decided to enter rehab for prescription drug abuse following the death of her "brother," and former NPG Records boss, Prince. Khan fronted the group Rufus in the early '70s, and signed with ABC Records in 1973. The Stevie Wonder-penned and Rufus co-produced "Tell Me Something Good" provided the group's mainstream breakthrough in 1974. The song won the funk outfit its first Grammy, for best R&B vocal performance, and Rufus later scored six platinum albums and a string of timeless hits: "You Got the Love," "Sweet Thing" and "Ain't Nobody." After going solo in 1978, Khan sowed her own crop of classics, including the indefatigable anthem "I'm Every Woman," "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me" "Through the Fire," and her indelible cover of Prince's "I Feel for You." Her last solo album, 2007's Funk This, yielded two Grammy wins, for best R&B album and best R&B performance by a duo or group for "Disrespectful," featuring Mary J. Blige. More recently, she performed at the 2017 Essence Festival and the 2018 Jazz in the Gardens, and paid tribute to Aretha Franklin during the Queen of Soul's funeral service last August. She sang "Hello Happiness" during her appearance as grand marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade on New Year's Day, and will embark on a summer tour in 2019 with Michael McDonald. Also in the works: a biopic about her storied career. - Billboard, 2/8/19...... A 75th birthday tribute to Joni Mitchell, Joni 75, arrived in theaters for a one-night only screening on Feb. 7. The concert film was filmed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Nov. 7, 2018 in Los Angeles and featured performances from the likes of James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, Chaka Khan and Brandi Carlile. A companion album from the show is being released Mar. 8 by Decca Records featuring additional performances at the Nov. 7 show -- Mitchell's 75th birthday -- by a lineup that also included Graham Nash, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Rufus Wainwright and others. - Billboard, 2/7/19...... Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, John Legend and Boyz II Men will be among the star-studded lineup at a Grammy Salute to Motown's 60th Anniversary on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles. Last year's salute paid homage to Elton John, while previous celebrations have nodded Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles and the Bee Gees. The Motown special will be presented by CBS, although an air date has yet to be announced. - Billboard, 2/6/19...... In other Motown-related news, Motown Records has announced it will release a scrapped Marvin Gaye album from 1972, You're The Man, on vinyl and MP3 on Mar. 29 -- four days before what would have been Gaye's 80th birthday. You're The Man consists of Gaye's solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972. While the title track to the record was originally released, Gaye eventually scrapped the rest of the project, citing that his political views ran in direct opposition to that of then-Motown CEO Berry Gordy. - New Musical Express, 2/8/19...... A new investigation led by news outlet CNN suggests that soul legend James Brown may have been murdered. Brown passed away in the early hours of Christmas morning in 2006, after being admitted to the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta due to suffering from pneumonia. However, CNN's new investigation suggests the Godfather of Soul may not have died from natural causes. It details interviews with nearly 140 people, while tens of thousands of pages of police and court records are said to also be included. Forensics testing and 1,300 pages of text messages are also part of the investigation. The investigation began in 2017 after a CNN reporter was contacted by a circus performer and singer who told the network that she had information surrounding Brown's death. Jacque Hollander later revealed that she and Brown had worked together in the '80s, while also alleging that he raped her in 1988. Brown was never prosecuted following this accusation but Hollander revealed that she saved documents, tapes and more alleged evidence about Brown and his associates. Hollander also took a polygraph test with a former FBI agent in 1995 surrounding the accusations. A key subject in the report is Dr. Marvin Crawford, who signed Brown's death certificate at the Atlanta hospital where he passed away. The doctor says in the report that "he has always been suspicious of foul play." Speaking in a CNN interview, Dr. Crawford said: "He changed too fast. He was a patient I would never have predicted would have coded But he died that night, and I did raise that question: 'What went wrong in that room?'" - NME, 2/5/19...... Acclaimed British actor Albert Finney who made a worldwide name for himself in 1963's Tom Jones and maintained a strong career through the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, died on Feb. 7 in London following a chest infection. He was 82. Among Mr. Finney's Oscar-nominated performances were roles in Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano and Erin Brockovich. Other highlights of his shape-shifting career include Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) and The Bourne Legacy (2012). On the TV side, Mr. Finney made his debut for American television in 1984 with the starring role in Pope John Paul II and was Emmy-nominated for his role in the 1990 HBO movie The Image. Mr. Finney, who in 2011 disclosed he was undergoing treatment for kidney cancer, was married to British actress Jane Wenham from 1957-61 and, from 1970-78 to French actress Anouk Aimee. Since 2006 he was married to Penelope Delmage, who survives him, as does Simon Finney, a camera operator and his son with Wenham. - Deadline.com, 2/8/19.
Friday, February 1, 2019
Dressed in a dazzling white outfit, '70s R&B singer Gladys Knight kicked off Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3 with an elegant rendition of the national anthem. Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner, previously said in a statement that she saw the opportunity to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a chance to "unite and represent our country" after several African-American artists declined an offer to sing at the event in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was fired by the team for "taking a knee" during the natinal anthem in protest of the country's treatment of African-Americans. "I hope that this anthem will touch people in a different way," Knight said. "We've been singing it forever. But this time I would hope that they would feel it so deeply that it would lift them to a higher place. That's what I feel when I sing this song." Meanwhile, the much-ballyhooed series of Super Bowl commercials featured music by such '70s artists as Queen ("Don't Stop Me Now" in an Amazon spot), The Who ("Pinball Wizard" in a Toyota ad) and Bob Dylan ("Blowin' in the Wind" for Budweiser). - Billboard, 2/3/19...... After more than 50 years in the music business, Linda Ronstadt has released her first live album ever -- Live in Hollywood, a 13-track set from an April 1980 concert at Television Center Studios in Hollywood that was originally taped for an HBO special. Speaking to Billboard, Ronstadt recalled that the concert "was insufferably hot." "It was a small studio and we had an audience, so it heated the room up quite a lot. And then they had really hot, really big lights on us," she said. "It's something that should've been considered, but we were brave little soldiers and pushed through it. But it was really too hot to make music." Ronstadt says she didn't even know the recording existed until one of her producers, John Boylan, discovered the master tape in 2018, and even know is ambivalent about the recording seeing the light of day. "It was recorded for television, which is unfortunate because television compresses things so much," she explains. "So it didn't turn out to be a really hi-fi record. It turned out to be a television record." Ronstadt adds that she "just kind of smiled through it" when she heard the tapes. "I don't like to listen to stuff I've recorded," she says. "It's just another time, and it's a frozen in time kind of thing. I always think, 'Why did I sing that note like that? Why did I phrase it like that? Why wasn't it faster? Why wasn't it slower?' I always see things I would've corrected in the studio, so (listening to the recordings) is a fool's errand for me." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, who performed her last concert during 2009 after noticing she was having problems with her voice, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013 and now cannot sing at all, "not even in the shower." She recently told CBS Sunday Morning that she busies herself now with watching operatic performances on YouTube and working with the Los Cenzontles Mexican Arts Center in San Pablo, Calif., which helps teach Latin American youth about their culture. She'll be leading a trip to Mexico with the group later in February. She's also working on writing a project about the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border in the southwest. "These (projects) tend to come up naturally and in sort of an organic fashion. I don't go looking for them," she says, adding that she tries not to bemoan the loss of her music career. "It just seems so long ago, it was another person. I don't have the same life now. I tried my best. I like to think that I gave it an earnest shot but, y'know, you can never be completely satisfied. It's always what would you do the next time -- you can improve this, you can improve that. But I can't create new (music) anymore, so I think about other things. And to be honest I have more home life now, and I like that better." - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Several of Cher's elaborate costumes are set to go on display at a "Camp: Notes on Fashion" display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Longtime Cher fashion designer Bob Mackie, who is also the cosume designer for the Broadway musical "The Cher Show," tells Fashionista.com that the pieces will go on display in May at the exhibit, which was first announced in Oct. 2018. This year's accompanying Met Gala, which will have the same "Camp" theme, will be hosted by Lady Gaga, Harry Styles and Serena Williams. - Billboard, 2/5/19...... Paul McCartney has been awarded one of the UK's prestigious Blue Peter badges, in honor of his inspirational music career. Macca will accept his award during the Feb. 7 Blue Peter award show on CBBC. Upon receiving his badge, McCartney said: "That is beautiful, that's a great badge. I will wear it with great pride. Yes! I made it!" Meanwhile in other Beatles-related news, a set of legal letters that foretold the split of the Fab Four in 1970 are set to be sold for a total of $550,000. The pair of letters were sent to Paul's lawyers John and Lee Eastman in January and April that year. John and Lee were also the father and brother of Paul's late first wife Linda McCartney, whom he married in March 1969. In the first letter, all four Beatles members and Apple Corps head Neil Aspinall write to John Eastman to inform him that "we retain you and authorise you to act on our behalf in negotiations in respect of all contracts proposed." However the second piece of correspondence, which has become known as "the split letter," sees John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr end their working relationship with Lee Eastman to work with the Rolling Stones' managers Allan Klein, while McCartney would stay working with the Eastman family. Memorabilia auctioneers Moments In Time are selling the January 1969 letter for $225,000, and the April 1969 letter for $325,000. - New Musical Express, 2/5/19...... Canadian singer-songwriting legend Gordon Lightfoot has announced he is working on his first new album in 15 years. "It's kind of philosophical and it's kind of funny," the 80-year-old Lightfoot says of his 21st album. "It's got a great beat and my arrangements are real good too. I write all my own arrangements for my band." The still-untitled album is important to the "If You Could Read My Mind" singer, because he says he didn't get to properly finish his last studio collection, 2004's Harmony, due to a near-fatal ruptured artery. "Harmony was done by using just guitar and vocal tracks as a basic track. And it was stuff that I recorded a year before I became ill," he says. "So we looked way back in the file and we found a number of tunes I had recorded just using guitar and vocal. And the guys then overdubbed all their parts on the very last album. I wasn't actually able to complete that album in a professional way. The songs were good, but the production was not up to radio standard." Asked when the new album will be ready he says, "It's gonna take a year. It's there, but it will happen for sure because I already have the material." Lightfoot adds he's eager to share his new music with the world, and will hit the road in North American with his "80 Years Strong" tour on Mar. 4 in Sacramento, Calif. He'll play 26 dates in California, Ontario and selected cites in the eastern US before wrapping on May 19 in Boston. Though he is understandably cautious about his past serious illness, Lightfoot says he has a regular exercise regime he has kept up since 1980 which he credits that with a great part of his longevity. "The [album] I'm working on right now, provided I don't fall again or get sick again, I will be able to carry through and produce it in a highly professional manner. If I'm still walking around we'll finish it," he says, laughing at the last part. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Elton John announced on Feb. 5 that he'll be taking his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour to Australia and New Zealand beginning on Nov. 30 in Perth. The Australasian leg of the tour will span 18 arena and open-air shows and will be the veteran British rocker's "most extensive tour of the region to date," according to an announcement made by promoter Chugg Entertainment. As the itinerary stands, New Zealand will host three shows, the final at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium on Feb. 9, 2020. John is expected to announce additional shows in Australia and New Zealand later in the year. "I always love coming back to Australia," Elton said in a statement. "Ever since my first visit in 1971 it has held a very special place in my heart." - Billboard, 2/5/19...... An appeals court has ruled that Eddie Money's decision to fire his former drummer Glenn Symmonds is protected activity under California's anti-SLAPP statute. In June 2016, Money filed an anti-SLAPP motion in response to Symmonds' claims that he was fired because of his age and disabilities from bladder cancer and a back injury, arguing that playing music is a First Amendment right and Money's choice of bandmembers is protected activity stemming from that right. However Judge Rafael Ongkeko denied the motion, finding Symmonds' lawsuit arose from the alleged discriminatory conduct and not the decision to fire him. It didn't reach the second prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis, which addresses the plaintiff's probability of prevailing on the merits of his claim. Symmond's complaint also includes allegations that Money sexually harassed his fiancee. Those claims are not impacted by this decision. Opening arguments in the trial are currently set for August. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/5/19...... NBC has announced it is scrapping a planned live musical rendition of the Broadway play "Hair," which had been set to air on the network on May 19. The network says it hopes to find a more family-friendly title to compete against the season finale of ABC's American Idol and the series finale of the HBO series Game of Thrones. "Hair" -- the 50-year-old Broadway hit of the hippie generation -- explored topics including the Vietnam War, drugs, race, gender and sexual identity and included brief nudity in most of its previous stagings. NBC's previous live musicals have included "The Sound of Music," "Peter Pan," "The Wiz" and "Hairspray." - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/4/19...... Singer/songwriter Paul Anka has signed a long-term multimillion dollar deal with Primary Wave Music Publishing, the company announced on Feb. 4. In addition to Anka's music publishing, Primary Wave will also help manage Anka's name and likness to build brand awareness for his music, and oversee his daily digital marketing activies, including tour marketing, e-commerce and direct-to-fan initiatives. "Paul Anka is an American icon and has penned some of the greatest songs in American culture," said Lawrence Mestel, CEO and founder of Primary Wave Music Publishing, in a statement. "He transcends time and has the most engaging, youthful spirit. It's an honor to have Paul in the Primary Wave family." Anka is a recipient of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame's Johnny Mercer Award and the prestigious French award Chevalier de Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He has been appointed to the Order of Canada and he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2018. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Veteran rocker Suzi Quatro, who is preparing for the Mar. 29 release of her new album, No Control, says she is through being "polite" over being chronically snubbed for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The singer/songwriter/bassist made her first mark with the Pleasure Seekers and Cradle during the '60s in her native Detroit, but she really connected after moving to England during the early '70s and worked with producers Mickie Most, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman on records acknowledged as an influence for a slew of others -- most notably on Joan Jett's early band the Runaways. "(Jett) deserves to be in -- she's an excellent artist -- but it's disgusting that I'm not," Quatro says. "I'm a real stickler for the truth, and I'm pissed off that history is being rewritten. I was first, right? I was there before anybody else had a twinkle in their eye -- that's a fact of life. I'm happy that I opened a door because that door needed to be opened. I'm so proud of that, and I get thanked by everybody -- all the girls, they all say 'Thank you, thank you, thank you...' I said in in very early interviews there would be loads of (women) after me and there were. I'm happy about that, absolutely." Quatro continued: "I just don't like being ignored because that's not correct. It's a big fault. I hear from a lot of people -- they say, 'What? You're not in it?!' No -- and my biggest fan is, and that's not right. You can't rewrite history just to suit your organization." Quatro, who currently resides in England, had her greatest success in the U.S. with 1978's If You Knew Suzi, which peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart, and scored a top 5 duet with Chris Norman, "Stumblin' In", concurrent with her recurring late '70s run as Leather Tuscadero on the TV sitcom Happy Days. She's also had No. 1 singles in the U.K. and Australia with "Can the Can," "Devil Gate Drive" and "48 Crash," and Quatro acted in the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" in London during the mid-80s. "So my feelings are hurt," Quatro says of the Rock Hall exclusion. "I've been very polite about it for many years, and now I don't want to be polite anymore. It doesn't make sense. The truth is the truth, history is history, the timeline is the timeline. I need to be in that Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." In the meantime, she's planning to record and hit the road with dates in Australia in February and march, and her story will also be told in a new documentary by Liam Firmager that's expected out later in 2019. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... Queen guitarist Brian May is hitting out at claims that he and fellow Queen member Roger Taylor turned down an offer to perform at the 2019 Oscars, where the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is up for five Academy Awards, including best film and best actor for Rami Malek's portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Earlier in February, the UK paper The Daily Express had reported that May and Taylor rejected the chance to perform at the ceremony, but May took to Instagram on Feb. 2 to dispute the claim. "NOPE! We never turned down playing at the Oscars," May posted on Instagram. "We're just happy and proud that Bohemian Rhapsody has received 5 nominations, and we will be there in support !!!" May previously said of Bohemian Rhapsody: "It came out to s---ty reviews, as some of our work has before, but the public has embraced it magnificently. Everybody gave 200%, from the actors and technicians to the production team and hair and make up, everyone." - New Musical Express, 2/3/19...... Lynyrd Skynyrd have added 21 more dates to their "Last of the Street Survivors" farewell tour, which will kick off its 2019 edition in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on May 10. In addition to festival appearances at Stagecoach and KABOO Texas, the Southern Rockers will play arenas and amphitheaters in New Orleans, Seattle, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver and more. The current slate of dates will close out on Sept. 28 at the Warf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, Ala. They will be joined for select dates by special guests including Bad Company, Cody Jinks and Hank Williams Jr.. Following the Canadian run the band will head to the U.K. and Europe this summer. They will be joined by special guests, English rock band Status Quo, for U.K. dates and Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke for dates in Germany. - Billboard, 2/4/19...... The Grammy Awards' Recording Academy announced on Feb. 5 that the 2019 Grammys ceremony will feature a special tribute to country/pop music legend and eight-time Grammy winner Dolly Parton, who will also take to the Grammy stage for the first time in 18 years to perform her new music. Also paying musical tribute to Parton will be Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town and Maren Morris. Parton will then take center stage to sing her latest tunes from her 2018 album, Dumplin' -- the soundtrack to Netflix's original motion picture by the same name starring Jennifer Aniston. The 61st Annual Grammy Awards will take place live from the Staples Center on Feb. 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET, and will be broadcasted on CBS. - Billboard, 2/5/19...... Legendary funk/rock artist George Clinton has announced he'll be launching his final tour with his group Parliament-Funkadelic before retiring from the road after touring and recording for over 50 years. The 77-year-old musician's North American "One Nation Under a Groove" tour will feature Clinton and his funk/soul/rock troupe performing alongside some of the funkiest younger artists of today: Galactic, Dumpstaphunk, Fishbone and Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf. Clinton will kick off the tour on May 30 at the Miller High Life Theatre in Milwuakee, Wis., and hit Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver and Phoenix before wrapping up at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas on Aug. 18. Even after he retires from the road, Clinton promises the P-Funk tours will continue with a band that includes younger members of his family. "It's always been about the music and the band," Clinton said in a statement. "That's the real P-Funk legacy. They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." - Billboard, 2/5/19...... George Klein, the deep-voiced radio personality who became friends with Elvis Presley in high school and stayed close to the King of Rock 'n' Roll throughout his career, died on Feb. 5 at hospice in Memphis, Tenn. He was 83. Elvis's ex-wife Priscilla Presley said Mr. Klein had been suffering from illness, including pneumonia, for about two weeks prior to his death. Mr. Klein met Elvis in 1948 at Humes High School in Memphis and they were close friends until the rock 'n' roll icon died in 1977. Mr. Klein was part of Presley's entourage, known as the "Memphis Mafia," and enjoyed telling stories about the times he and Presley spent together. Priscilla said her former husband liked Mr. Klein's outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a "guy's thing," with their own inside jokes and "their own language." Elvis used to affectionately call Mr. Klein "GK." "Their friendship was golden, truly golden," Priscilla said. "I don't think I've ever heard George say anything bad about anybody." Presley served as Mr. Klein's best man, and Mr. Klein was a pallbearer at Presley's funeral. Mr. Klein also appeared in his friend's 1957 film, Jailhouse Rock. When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Mr. Klein made the acceptance speech. Mr. Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley's music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Mr. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla said. - AP, 2/6/19.
The Recording Academy announced on Jan. 31 that Diana Ross will give a "very special performance" at the upcoming Grammy Awards, set for Feb. 10 at Los Angeles' Staples Center .Ross, who has racked up more than 100 in sales and streams over the course of her career, received the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. The 61st annual awards show will be broadcast on CBS beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. - Billboard, 1/31/19...... Paul Simon performed two tracks from his latest album In the Blue Light on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Jan. 28 and talked about the making of the record, which features re-recordings of Simon's lesser-known songs. Although Simon joked that his 2018 farewell tour was "to bump the prices up," he explained that he is indeed done touring, but will continue to perform and donate the proceeds to causes that he believes in, such as ecological groups and music education. He added that In the Blue Light was a way to revisit some of the songs he wrote in years prior -- not only to cover them, but to "fix them." "I picked 10 songs that I thought were really interesting and good songs that didn't get much attention when they first came out, either because they were on an album that had a bunch of hits or they were on an album that had no hits," Simon told Colbert. "It's really quite a treat as a composer and have the opportunity to go back and fix your mistakes." - Billboard, 1/29/19...... As the Beatles mark the 50th anniversary of their iconic final concert on the rooftop of their Apple Corps headquarters in London on Jan. 30, 1969, the band announced on Twitter on Jan. 30 that The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson will collaborate with them on a new as-yet-untitled film using 55 hours of previously unreleased footage of the group recording what would become its Grammy Award-winning album Let It Be in January 1969. "We are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson," the band tweeted. "These studio sessions produced The Beatles' Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song... The album was eventually released 18 months later in May 1970, several months after the band had broken up. Peter Jackson said the 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate fly on the wall experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about," the tweet continued. British director Michael Edward Lindsay-Hogg had originally intended to use the footage he filmed half a century ago, alongside 140 hours of audio, for a television special. But as the Beatles' Twitter account noted, it "organically" morphed into Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary Let It Be. "It's simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there's moments of drama -- but none of the discord this project has long been associated with," Jackson added. "Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating -- it's funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate." - Huffingtonpost.com, 1/30/19...... Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine Jackson has pleaded for people to "let Michael rest" in the first televised interview from a Jakcson family member after the premeire of the controversial King of Pop biopic Leaving Neverland at the Sundance film festival on Jan. 25. Jermaine, appearing on the UK TV program Good Morning Britain on Jan. 27, upheld his family's stated position that Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the documentary subjects who claim to be survivors of Michael's abuse, are "admitted liars." "Just leave us alone," a choked up Jermaine said. "Leave him alone. Let him rest. Please, let him rest. He deserves to rest." Jermaine said he's "1,000 percent" sure of his brother's innocence and called the allegations in Finding Neverland "nonsense." Finding Neverland director Dan Reed hit back at Jackson's family and estate on Jan. 28, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the Jackson camp has "a very precious asset to protect." "Every time a song plays, a cash register goes 'ka-ching.' It doesn't surprise me that they've come out fighting in defense of their asset," Reed said. In the bitter war of words, the estate previously called his film "a tabloid character assassination" and insisted it "isn't a documentary" while the family called him and the film's two accusers "opportunists." Meanwhile Dame Jame Goodall, one of the world's most foremost primatologists, has said she believes Jackson assaulted his pet chimpanzee Bubbles while living with the pop icon at his Neverland ranch. Despite appearing to live a life of pampered luxury, Goodall claims that Bubbles was frequently attacked and that Jackson lost his temper when she personally presented the theory to him. "I went to see him and we talked about Bubbles. I ticked him off," she told TMZ.com. "Bubbles is still alive and he's beautiful. But when he was with Michael he was being beaten," she added. Michael famously adopted the unlikely pet from an animal trainer in the late 1980s, before it became a frequent companion that travelled with him across the globe. - Jezebel.com/New Musical Express, 1/30/19...... Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley is claiming his former bandmate, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, once "groped" his wife in a scathing social media post that also accuses his former band members of control freakery, untrustworthiness and much, much worse. In the 330-word screed, Frehley claims Simmons "groped" his wife and "propositioned" her some time ago, and blasts Simmons and Paul Stanley for undermining his career through the years. "Your slanderous remarks about my bad habits over the years has cost me millions of dollars and now that I'm over 12-years sober you're still saying I can't be trusted to play a whole nights show," Frehley writes. "Well that's exactly what I've been doing for the last 12-years with different configurations of 'The Ace Frehley Band' to you and Paul's dismay." Frehley, who split twice from Kiss twice (1982, 2001), also states the pair "tried to derail my solo career multiple times over the years unsuccessfully," and reckons newly-published comments by Simmons "have made me realize you're just an asshole and a sex addict who's being sued by multiple women, and you're just trying to sweep it all under the carpet." Although some Kiss fans had hoped Frehley and the band had buried the hatchet when they performed together for the first time in 16 years at a Hurricane Harvey benefit show in St. Paul, Minn., it is unlikely they will appear together anytime soon. Paul Stanley says that Kiss' "End of the Road World Tour," which kicked off on Jan. 31 in Vancouver, is going to last a few years but "is in no way a reunion tour." "It's been 45 years," Stanley says, "and we want to be able to do this with the fortitude and with the respect for our legacy that it deserves. We felt it was time to make a conscious decision that this is the last tour and go out in a blaze of glory and take a victory lap and spend a very special evening with fans around that world." Kiss has currently has dates booked through Dec. 3, including a Kiss Kruise setting sail on Oct. 30. - Billboard, 1/30/19...... According to the American rock band Terrorizer, AC/DC will be releasing a new album in 2019 featuring vocalist Brian Johnson. "We ran into Brian Johnson from AC/DC at the airport today after the flight home," the band posted on Facebook. "We asked him about the rumours of him being on the new AC/DC album and he said 'yes' and that he is 'sick of denying it.' So that was a cool surprise ending to the tour." In 2018, it was reported that AC/DC were working on a new album that will feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track," according to "a reliable source inside the AC/DC camp." Malcolm died in November 2017 after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. Johnson meanwhile was forced to quit the band in 2016 after suffering hearing loss and was replaced on the band's tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose. Johnson was then rumoured to be reuniting with the rock legends for a new record after being spotted with the band's former drummer Phil Rudd in Vancouver. - New Musical Express, 1/30/19...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters is urging Maroon 5 to show solidarity with NFL player Colin Kaepernick and "take a knee" during Maroon 5's halftime show at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta on Feb. 3. In a statement, Waters said: "My colleagues Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Big Boi are performing during the halftime show at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, I call upon them to 'take a knee' on stage in full sight. I call upon them to do it in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, to do it for every child shot to death on these mean streets, to do it for every bereaved mother and father and brother and sister." There is also a petition on Change.org/takeaknee aimed at persuading the three music acts to take a knee during their performances. - New Musical Express, 1/31/19...... In other Pink Floyd-related news, David Gilmour has announced he is auctioning several of his iconic guitars for charity, including his cherished black Stratocaster. "These guitars have been very good to me," Gilmour said in a statement. "They're my friends. They have given me lots of music. I just think it's time that they went off and served someone else. I have had my time with them. And of course the money that they will raise will do an enormous amount of good in the world, and that is my intention." Among the approximately 120 guitars that will go on auction at Christie's in New York this June include his signature black Fender Stratocaster "The Black Strat" -- a guitar that he played on "Comfortably Numb," "Money," and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Also included in the sale is his 12-string Stratocaster that he wrote "Wish You Were Here"' as well as the Ovation six-string that he's played for nearly every live performance of "Comfortably Numb." Gilmour says he's also selling the guitars to declutter his house. "I didn't want to get too ancient and have a whole stash of guitars sitting around doing nothing," he said. "And frankly, too many of them are guitars I just don't have time to play often enough. They will give joy to other people." - NME, 1/30/19...... Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has told Rolling Stone magazine that the Stones are now set to head back into the studio for a week before embarking out on their first US tour in five years. Richards said that he had spent the holiday period assessing the material they'd already written. "Sometimes it's not as much writing as listening to what's been written and figuring it out, and honing and all kinds of stuff," he said. "It's very boring. It's like a carpentry shop." Asked about the band's upcoming tour and the feeling of playing live after so many years doing so, Richards said that he was "not at all" tired of life on the road. "I mean, hey, how bad can it be?" he said. "You get up there and do what you love to do, and fortunately so do millions of others. It's not something to turn your nose up at, you know." Meanwhile, Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood's horse is said to have a good chance of winning the British Grand National Run, the world's most grueling steeplechase competition. Organizers say Wood's horse, Sandymount Duke, is among 112 entries that will be whittled down to 40 runners for the race on Apr. 6. Sandymount Duke has won 10 of 30 races and runs in the 71-year-old Wood's red and white silks. Wood bred the 10-year-old gelding, which is trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland. Race organizers hope Wood can attend the 4 1/2-mile (6,400-meter) race near Liverpool in northwest England because the band doesn't begin their tour of the U.S. until Apr. 20. - New Musical Express/AP, 1/28/19...... The Who announced on Jan. 28 that they'll play a huge show at London's Wembley Stadium on July 6 with openers Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and English indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs. In a cryptic video shared on Twitter teasing the concert, a line from their hit "My Generation" flashes up on a venue banner screen and the Who's iconic target bullseyes are displayed either side. Some fans have speculated that the announcement could be linked to the 40th anniversary of Quadrophenia, their 1979 seminal film which chronicled the '60s clashes between Mods and Rockers on Brighton Beach. The news of the concert comes on the heels of the band recently announcing their 2019 North American "Moving On!" tour, which kicks off on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich. - Billboard/NME, 1/28/19...... Olivia-Newton John is among the native Australian performers who have been recognized in the Australia Day Honours. In a statement, Newton-John said she was "excited and delighted and honored" after she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest award in the awards system, for her service to community health. "I am so proud to be an Aussie and this couldn't have come at a better time," says the artist, who is currently battling cancer for a third time. Newton-John previously received an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 1979. - Billboard, 1/30/19...... Wayne Newton is marking the 60th anniversary of his first Las Vegas hotel appearance with a return to the Caesars Palace casino-resort. His Caesars residency started Jan. 28 with dates scheduled through May. "It's hard for me to articulate, much less think about it," Newton told the AP, referring to the anniversary. "I was here when Caesars (Palace) was built. This hotel for me has always represented the flagship of the Strip." The "Danke Schoen" crooner will be backed by a live band during his "Wayne Newton: Up Close and Personal" shows. He will perform some of his favorite tunes and share personal career highlights through songs, film clips, anecdotes and questions from the audience. Newton, 76, asked the casino operator to lift the venue's age restriction to allow young people to attend. "I promised myself when I left the lounges that I would never be in a room again that had those kinds of restrictions. There's nothing in our show that would offend anyone, even the youngsters," Newton said. "That doesn't mean that the show is geared to particularly that group, but it is geared not to exclude that group demographically." Newton's show was previously at a showroom at Bally's casino-resort, but it ended in December as the venue shifted toward magic acts. - AP, 1/27/19...... John Travolta is sporting a new look these days -- the Saturday Night Fever star debuted a completely shaved head to ring in 2019 -- and he says his new look is here to stay for a while. "[It] feels great," Travolta told People magazine at the G'Day USA Black Tie Gala sponsored by Qantas airlines on Jan. 26. "Listen, my new look came on a whim. It was a New Year's Eve idea. Because everyone liked it so much, I decided to keep it for a while. So, we'll see." Travolta, 64, debuted his new look on Jan. 6 in an Instagram selfie with his 18-year-old daughter Ella Travolta and wife Kelly Preston, then thanked fans for their supportive comments in a video with his 8-year-old son, Benjamin. "Hey there, Ben Travolta, John Travolta here. We're dirt biking today and we just got the great news that it's hit over a million followers on Instagram," the actor said while wearing a cap on his head. "We love you and we thank you and also, thanks for liking the new hairdo," he added, momentarily lifting his hat up to show off his new look. "Yeah." Travolta previously had lock longs throughout the month of December. - People.com, 1/28/19...... Once thought to be erased and lost forever, the first ever TV performance of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust has been unearthed for a new documentary. In June 1972, Bowie made his TV debut as his new and most legendary incarnation on ITV's Lift Off with Ayshea -- a month before his now iconic Top Of The Pops appearance. It was feared that the footage would never been saved again, as it was not stored by the station. However, it has now emerged that the performance was recorded by one viewer and has been found on old computer tape. It will be televised as part of the BBC's new documentary David Bowie: The First Five Years - Finding Fame. Speaking to the Radio Times, director Francis Whately said that the tape was in very bad condition after slowly being "baked" in high temperatures and degrading over decades. "For fans, it is something of a Holy Grail," said Whately. "It would fall apart if we played it, so it's had to be very carefully restored. It will be a real coup if it comes off." - New Musical Express, 1/29/19...... In other Bowie-related news, Bowie's movie director son Duncan Jones is hitting out at plans for a new Bowie biopic starring Johnny Flynn. It was confirmed on Jan. 31 that Flynn will portray Bowie in Stardust, which traces the star's 1971 trip to America that inspired the creation of Ziggy Stardust. However, Jones has now confirmed that the film is going ahead without the approval of Bowie's family -- and there has been no approval to feature his music in it. "Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic & I would know," Jones posted on Twitter. He added: "I'm not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn t know. I'm saying that as it stands, this movie won't have any of dads music in it, & I can't imagine that changing." - NME, 2/1/19...... Character actor Dick Miller, who starred in Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood and whose six-decade career included all of Joe Dante's movies, died on Jan. 30 in Toluca Lake, Calif. He was 90. His resume includes more than 150 film and TV credits ranging from 1950s westerns to 2000s features including Dante's Looney Tunes: Back in Action and Burying the Ex. Along the way he appeared in films by such acclaimed directors as Martin Scorsese (New York, New York), James Cameron (The Terminator) and Jonathan Demme. On the small screen, he guested in such memorable series as Dragnet, The Untouchables, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Mannix, McCloud, Police Woman, Police Story, Soap, Alice, Taxi, Police Squad!, NYPD Blue, ER and Star Trek: The Next Generation. - Deadline.com, 1/30/19...... R&B singer James Ingram, who scored two No. 1 hits and earned two Grammy Awards during his decades-long career, died on Jan. 29 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 66. "I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir. He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity," Ingram's friend and creative partner Debbie Allen posted on Twitter. "I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name," she added. Ingram collected two Grammys during his career, for his song "One Hundred Ways" which won best male R&B performance in 1981 and for his duet with Michael McDonald, "Yah Mo B There," which won best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals in 1984. Ingram charted nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including a pair of No. 1s: "Baby Come to Me," with Patti Austin, in 1983, and "I Don't Have the Heart" in 1990. Other top 20-charting Hot 100 hits included "Just Once" (No. 17 in 1981, Quincy Jones featuring Ingram), "Yah Mo Be There" (No. 19 in 1984, with McDonald) and "Somewhere Out There" (No. 2 in 1987, with Linda Ronstadt). The Akron, Oh., native also logged 19 hits on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart and 18 entries on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. He also tallied hits as a songwriter, co-penning Michael Jackson's top 10 Hot 100 hit "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," from the Thriller album, as well as songs recorded by The Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Ray Charles, Shalamar and others. - Billboard, 1/29/19...... Former ABC News and Good Morning America anchor Steve Bell died on Jan. 25 in Muncie, Ind. He was 83. Mr. Bell was the first anchor for ABC News' Good Morning America in 1975 and covered a slew of historical events over the years. During his time as a reporter in the early '70s, Mr. Bell covered the Vietnam War, where he was once captured by the Viet Cong and held at gunpoint, the Watergate scandal, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy. Following his tenure in the field, Mr. Bell went on to teach journalism at Ball State University's College of Communication Information and Media in Muncie, where he taught telecommunications from 1992 until his retirement in 2007. Mr. Bell, who graduated from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, is survived by wife Joyce, and daughters Allison and Hillary. - PopCulture.com, 1/27/19.