Paul Simon announced on June 20 that he'll be finishing his current "Homeward Bound -- The Farewell Tour" at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, N.Y., on Sept. 22, in the borough where he spent most of his childhood. Simon will also play two additional shows in the Big Apple in the days before, at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 20 and 21. Tickets for the MSG shows are on sale now, and presale for the Corona Park show starts on June 25. - Billboard, 6/20/18...... Robert Plant, Michael McDonald, Modest Mouse and Kacey Musgraves will be among the 40-plus headliners at the 9th annual LouFest in St. Louis, Missouri's Forest Park on Sept. 8-9. Last year's LouFest drew more than 60,000 concertgoers. - Billboard, 6/19/18...... Former Free and Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of Free with a new live album and video, Free Spirit: Celebrating The Music of Free. The album was recorded at London's historic Royal Albert Hall, a venue Rodgers has played many times before. "It was wonderful and received so well," he says. "There's a lot of love for the music, and I was very touched by the response." Free Spirit also includes a rendition of Free's signature song, "All Right Now," which he says he didn't perform after leaving Free in 1972 "until about 1996, when I was touring with Jason Bonham, and we were supporting the tribute record we had done to Muddy Waters." "It was so refreshing to play, and it has wound up staying in the set," Rodgers says. "I am amazed at the song and its longevity." In addition to CD/DVD, streaming and Blu-ray on June 29, Free Spirit will be released on vinyl on July 6, a medium Rodgers says he still listens to quite a bit today. I still have a lot of my old records from back in the day... There's a warmth that you can still feel. I do think that the ear detects this on some level," he says. - Billboard, 6/21/18...... Stevie Nicks has collaborated with country singer LeAnn Rimes on a new rendition of Rimes' classic song "Borrowed."" I stopped in my tracks and sat down on the floor and started to cry," Nicks says of the time she heard Rimes sing the song on The Tonight Show in 2013. "I understood what she was singing about. I understood that the pain was real... and I understood that it had happened to me. When the song ended, I called my assistant to tell her that one day, I would sing this song with LeAnn. It was our destiny." The Nicks/Rimes duet is available along with a number of other alternate songs of Rimes' on her new EP, Re-Imagined. - Billboard/Rolling Stone, 6/21/18...... Development has begun on a new Michael Jackson musical based on the pop star's life, the Jackson estate and Columbia Live Stage announced on June 19. An offcial title has yet to be determined for the stage show, which will be directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon. The Broadway premiere of the show, which will feature a soundtrack full of Jackson's hits, is set for 2020. Meanwhile, an elephant that once lived at Jackson's Neverland Ranch briefly escaped its enclosure at a Florida zoo on June 17. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens posted on Facebook that Ali the bull elephant wandered through a gate that was accidentally left open and wound up in a courtyard behind the giraffe and elephant barn. The zoo said guests weren't endangered and they used food to entice the elephant back into the enclosure. - Billboard/AP, 6/19/18...... Promoting her new ABBA-inspired movie Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! on CBS's The Late Late Show with James Corden on June 19, Cher joined host James Corden for a game of "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts," in which guests are asked difficult questions or eat things that most people would never want on their plate. Asked if she "could say one nice thing about Pres. Donald Trump," Cher hesitated for a few seconds, then said "No, I can't think of a single nice thing to say about him." Then, Cher nibbled on a piece of a cow's tongue to fulfill her obligation. Meanwhile, the soundtrack for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again has been given a release date of July 13, a week before the film hits theaters in the US. It features a duet of "Fernando" between Cher and Andy Garcia, as well as other stars including Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan singing such ABBA hits as "Waterloo" and "When I Kissed the Teacher." Cher will play a new character in the movie. - Billboard, 6/20/18...... In other ABBA-related news, the Swedish quartet has shared definitive proof that they are currently recording together after announcing in April that they'd recorded their first new material in 35 years. ABBA posted a pic on their #abbaofficial Twitter account showing Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad recording together with a caption "...in RMV Studio Stockholm, recording the two new songs! Release end of this year. ??" ABBA are set to reveal both songs -- "I Still Have Faith In You" and another new song - on a TV special in November, ahead of a "virtual" hologram ABBA tour in 2019. A spokesperson for the band has denied rumours of a Glastonbury set in 2019. - New Musical Express, 6/18/18...... The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced it will be teaming with NBC-based Wilshire Studios to develop a new documentary series that will explore the artistic and cultural significance of some of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll legends. The current plan will be to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame open its collection of archival materials and artifacts and invite an acclaimed director to explore the impact of their favorite rock artist on their work and the cultural landscape as a whole. "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is such an amazing brand to be able to partner with," said BJ Levin, Senior VP of Development at Wilshire Studios. "Their wealth of untapped research material and resources will allow this series to stand among some of the great music doc series." While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's annual induction ceremony has been televised on HBO, Amazon will stream this year's induction to international audiences beginning on July 1. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/18/18...... After announcing a new double A-side single on Instagram on June 19, Paul McCartney issued a press release on June 20 announcing that his new album, called Egypt Station, will be released on Sept. 7 on Capitol Records. Named after one of his paintings, Egypt Station will be Macca's 17th solo effort and comes as welcome news for fans who have been waiting for new music from the former Beatle for almost five years. "Egypt Station starts off at the station on the first song and then each song is like a different location," McCartney noted. "So it gave us some idea to base all the song around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from." The two new singles, "I Don't Know," and "Come On To Me," indicate that Egypt Station could contain head banging rock, as well as heartfelt ballads. Sir Paul debuted a live version of "Come On to Me" in mid-June at the Philharmonic Pub in Liverpool. Both singles, along with the rest of the 14-track album, were produced by Greg Kurstin and recorded in L.A, London, and Sussex. - Billboard, 6/20/18...... In other Beatles-related news, writer and cartoonist Carol Tyler has just released a new Beatles-themed book Fab 4 Mania. The book is a joyous voyage back to the years when the band conquered America, complete with Tyler's thoughts and drawings from 1965 of seeing them in concert. It also features an introduction from Hunter Davies, author of the 1968 Fab Four tome The Beatles: The Authorised Biography. - Billboard, 6/19/18...... A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley that has sat on a runway in New Mexico for nearly four decades is back on the auction block. The plane, adorned with gold-tone woodwork, red velvet seats and red shag carpet has returned the market after its current owner bought it in 2017 for $430,000. It was once owned by Elvis and his father, Vernon Presley, and has been privately owned for 36 years and sitting on a tarmac in Roswell, N.M. The auction house IronPlanet is accepting online bids for the plane until July 27. - Billboard, 6/18/18...... Elvis Costello announced on June 19 that he'll kick off a 20-date North American tour this fall on Nov. 2 in Bethlehem, Penn., in support of his new album with his backing band The Imposters. The tour, called "Look Now and Then... It's Elvis Costello & The Imposters," will also visit such major markets as Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Memphis, St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, and wrap on Dec. 4 in Vancouver, B.C. While the new album's release date and official title have yet to be announced, details are "imminent," according to Concord Records. It will be Costello's first LP since 2010's National Ransom. - Billboard, 6/19/18...... Actor Peter Fonda apologized on June 20 for a late-night Twitter rant in which he suggested Pres. Donald Trump's 12-year-old son Barron Trump should be ripped from "his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles" in reaction to Pres. Trump's new policy of separating migrant children from their parents on the U.S.-Mexico border. "I tweeted something highly inappropriate and vulgar about the president and his family in response to the devastating images I was seeing on television," Fonda said in the statement, released by both his manager and his publicist. "Like many Americans, I am very impassioned and distraught over the situation with children separated from their families at the border, but I went way too far. It was wrong and I should not have done it. I immediately regretted it and sincerely apologize to the family for what I said and any hurt my words have caused." In another tweet, the Easy Rider star suggested people opposed to the border policy should track down the addresses of federal agents and "surround their homes in protest," adding: "We should find out what schools their children go to and surround the schools in protest." Pres. Trump's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Fonda is "clearly a sick individual" who behaved "like a bully and a coward," and called on Sony Pictures Classics to stop the release of its film Boundaries, in which Fonda has a small role. The company condemned Fonda's tweets as "abhorrent" but said the film would be released as planned. - AP, 6/21/18...... In related news, Bruce Springsteen broke from his usual script during his "Springsteen on Broadway" show on June 19 to condemn the "inhumane" treatment of thousands of children who have been separated from their families by the strict immigration policies set up by the Trump administration. He used his show to particularly call out "senior people in government" who he believed blasphemed in suggesting that they had a duty to separate families. "For 146 shows, I have played pretty much the same set every night. Tonight demands something different," Springsteen said. He then played his 1995 protest song "The Ghost of Tom Joad," which over the last ten years has featured guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, transforming the acoustic song into an impassioned call to activism. The night before, Springsteen performed onstage during the Grand Re-Opening of Asbury Lanes in his hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., a 1960s bowling alley that his been refurbished into a music venue. The Boss jammed for about 30 minutes with Tangiers Blues Band on such blues-rock classics as "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," "Down the Road Apiece" and "Twist and Shout." "It's been a joy -- watching the rebirth of Asbury," Springsteen told the crowd. - Billboard/AP, 6/20/18...... Archaeologists from Binghamton University's Public Archaeology Facility have recently conducted a five-day dig at the site of the original 1969 Woodstock music festival on Max Yasgur's old farm about 80 miles (128 kilometers) north of New York City, where The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker and Jimi Hendrix wowed the crowds 49 years ago. "The overall point of this investigation is to kind of define the stage space," said project director Josh Anderson, kneeling beside a hole that showed evidence of a fence that kept 400,000 fans from the stage area. "We can use this as a reference point," Anderson added. "People can stand on that and look up at the hill and say, 'Oh, this is where the performers were. Jimi Hendrix stood here and played his guitar at 8:30 in the morning.'" "This is a significant historic site in American culture, one of the few peaceful events that gets commemorated from the 1960s," added Wade Lawrence, director of The Museum at Bethel Woods. He said the archeologists' work will help the museum plan interpretive walking routes in time for the concert's 50th anniversary next year. The excavation revealed some non-mind blowing artifacts: parts of old aluminum can pull tabs, bits of broken bottle glass, and possibly the spot where a chain-link fence on the side of the stage area met the wooden "Peace Fence" that ran in front of the stage. Now they can match concert photos to a specific spot in the field. That could help them estimate where the corners of the stage were 49 years ago. "There's just something about this place that -- and I'm not the only one -- that draws people here," 67-year-old Woodstock veteran Charles Maloney said as he stood by the plaque. "I mean, this area here could have 200 people. And you can still hear the silence." - AP, 6/21/18...... John McElrath, a cofounder and former member of the '60s rock group The Swingin' Medallions, died on June 17, after a battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 77. McElrath was the group's keyboardist and one of the vocalists, and though he was no longer performing with the band, his two sons had joined the group over the years. The Swingin' Medallions' "Double Shot of My Baby's Love," released in 1966, climbed briefly into Top 10 on the Billboard charts, and it remains popular today. A memorable part about the record is the background "party noise" that duplicated the sound of fraternity parties the band would play on weekends while its members were still in college. The band made 2,000 copies of the song and sold them at parties. A copy found its way into the hands of a disc jockey in Birmingham, Ala., and when a national label picked it up, the band was on the brink of a natinal breakthrough. Some radio stations wouldn't play the record because of the phrase "worst hangover that I ever had" so another version was made. The announcement of McElrath's death came as the current incarnation of the group was scheduled to perform in Sandy Springs, Ga., on June 17.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Monday, June 11, 2018
Four surviving members of the Jackson 5 were honored with keys to the city of Detroit on June 15 during a high-ticket private party that launched the second Detroit Music Weekend festival. Detroit police chief James Craig, who presented the honors to Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon Jackson, declared the iconic Motown group "truly Detroiters." Jermaine told the crowd that "coming back to Detroit is like coming home," and Marlon said in an interview later that though it was Motown that made the Jackson 5 famous, the brothers already had a special relationship with the city before they signed to the label. A city key was also awarded posthumously to the late Michael Jackson, who Jermaine said "we miss dearly." Prior to the presentation the group and the city were mired in controversy over the naming of a street in downtown Detroit. In May it was announced that a Michael Jackson Ave. would be dedicated during the festival, much to the surprise and displeasure of the other brothers. A Detroit city ordinance requires streets to be named only after individuals, and no compromise was reached during the four weeks following the announcement, scuttling the plan entirely. But the Jacksons' management said on June 15 that the street naming would be revisited next year as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Jackson 5's first recordings for Motown, which will also include a world tour and other projects. "It's all going to be rectified and done and we're going to celebrate it and come back and unveil the street and do a 50th year celebration here," Marlon said. The four Jacksons -- who will headline Detroit Music Weekend on June 16 -- also attended a 90-minute tribute concert featuring the hits of the Jackson 5. The Detroit Music Weekend is also scheduled to feature a performance from Grand Funk Railroad co-founder Mark Farner. - Billboard, 6/16/18...... Steve Miller, currently in the midst of his second co-headlining summer tour with Peter Frampton, has announced he and Frampton will release a live album of jams that they perform together during the tour. Miller says that every show is being recorded and that the two are "putting a record together now" that will showcase their performances of songs from such blues icons asd Freddie King, Elmore James, K.C. Douglas, Otis Rush, and more. "Jamming together has turned out to be a real interesting thing," Miller says. "We're just having fun. It's an added bonus to the tour, just a really, really great musical combination... [The record] is pretty much everything we've jammed from last year up through this year. ... As we go on we'll add more tunes." Meanwhile, Miller says he's been going through his vaults for unreleased material to mark the 50th anniversary of his first two albums. "We're trying to gather all the outtakes and interesting bits that weren't released and songs that were recorded that were never released, and we found some really good stuff," he says. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Neil Diamond was honored with the Johnny Mercer Award during the 49th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner at New York City's Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14. Diamond, who was officially inducted into the Hall in 1984, closed the with a rousing, extended rendition of "Sweet Caroline," even though the 77-year-old has announced he has retired from touring due to being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Diamond barely spoke at the event, where Kool and the Gang, John Mellencamp, Alan Jackson and Jermaine Dupri were inducted into the SHOF class of 2018. - AP, 6/15/18...... Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman has released a new LP of what he describes as "cosmic-influenced" ringtones. Cosmic Ringtones & Sonic Realms - Your Universe Is Calling is a 29-track album conceived and produced by Holzman and recorded by his son Adam Holzman, a known keyboardist and synthesizer artist. While the LP is available for download on all streaming services, the CD release contains liner notes that detail the origin story for each of the tracks. The cosmos-inspired titles include everything from the straightforward "The Big Bang" and "String Theory" to the whimsical "Primordial Cosmic Soup" and "Pluto Sheds a Tear." In the 1960s, as Holzman was discovering and signing such bands as the Doors and Bread to his fledgling record label, he released the groundbreaking album series Authentic Sound Effects in the 1960s. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Paul McCartney will reportedly be joining late night talk show host James Corden in a new episode of Corden's popular "Carpool Karaoke" series. Sir Paul's episode will see the pair go on a Beatles tour in Liverpool. The series has previously featured a wide range of artists including Christina Aguilera, Foo Fighters, Linkin Park and Pink. While in Liverpool, McCartney also performed a secret gig for fans at Liverpool's Philharmonic pub. - New Musical Express, 6/13/18...... Willie Nelson issued a statement on June 14 denouncing Pres. Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in the separation of hundreds of migrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border. "What's going on at our southern border is outrageous," the Texas native wrote. "Christians everywhere should be up in arms. What happened to 'Bring us your tired and weak and we will make them strong?' This is still the promise land." The reference to "promise land" in the statement is a reference to the David Lynn Jones written song "Living in the Promiseland," which appeared on Nelson's 1986 The Promiseland album. Nelson is among a growing chorus of artists, activists, religious figures and politicians who are decrying the zero tolerance policy. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Barry Manilow was forced to put the debut of his "Manilow Live -- The Hits Come Home" Las Vegus run on the third weekend in June on hold on June 14 after the 74-year old star was admitted to a local hospital and prescribed antibiotics. Manilow is scheduled to be released from the hospital in the next few days and is planning to resume his Vegas series on June 21. "Our new show is ready, we're all ready, and we were all looking forward to tonight," he tweeted shortly after his diagnosis. - Billboard, 6/15/18...... Speaking of Las Vegas, lawmen there are searching for two suspected burglars at Vegas icon Wayne Newton's home several miles southeast of the Las Vegas Strip after Newton and his wife Kathleen scared away the men as the arrived home after a June 14 Newton performance at Bally's hotel-casino. The Newtons told police the intruders fled when as they arrived at their their 20-acre home and believe that home surveillance video will help police identify the suspects. The also said they've bolstered security at the estate. The Newtons moved to their current house in 2013 following the bankruptcy sale of their nearby 40-acre estate, Casa de Shenandoah. The gilded property, which features gardens, pools, stables for Newton's Arabian horses, is now a tourist attraction and museum. - AP, 6/14/18...... The Def Leppard and Journey co-headlining summer tour hit New York's Madison Square Garden on June 13. After openers Journey performed their '80s anthems "Any Way You Want It," "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" and "Faithfully" with current frontman Arnel Pineda on vocals, Def Leppard came out swinging with "Rocket," following up with hits including "Let's Get Rocked" and "Armageddon It" during their 90-minute set. The band also covered the David Essex hit "Rock On," and ended the night with "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph." - Billboard, 6/14/18...... Paul Simon has scored his first entry on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Album Sales chart with a remixed version of his acclaimed 1986 LP Graceland. Graceland: The Remixes reinterprets all 11 of the original album's tracks, including "Al," by Groove Armada, as well as cuts by Paul Oakenfold, Sharam, Thievery Corporation and Joris Voorn. The original Graceland reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 in Apr. 1987, won the Grammy Award for album of the year and spun off three Hot 100 hits: "You Can Call Me Al" (No. 23), the title cut (No. 81) and "The Boy in the Bubble" (No. 86). - Billboard, 6/14/18....... The B-52s are in the midst of an extensive North American tour which was launched in May to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The "tacky little dance band from Athens, Ga.," as the band calls themselves, are playing arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums, joined by another LGBTQ pioneer, Boy George. The band formed in 1976, with singer Cindy Wilson's older brother, guitarist/principal songwriter Ricky Wilson (who died in 1985), and his best friend, drummer-guitarist Keith Strickland (who retired from touring with the band in 2012). Rounding out the lineup are Fred Schneider and Kate Pierson. Four of the band's five original members did, in fact, identify as LGBTQ: Ricky, Schneider and Strickland as gay men, and Pierson, who was involved with a man until the early 2000s, is now married to a woman. But Schneider says they didn't set out to explicitly write queer anthems, as later acts like Erasure would. "We just did our own thing," he says now. "I guess subconsciously we were trying to say something. But it was sort of stream of consciousness, it was so out there." - Billboard, 6/14/18...... Fleetwood Mac has been added to the lineup of the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival, set for Sept. 21 and 22 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. "It is an honor to be performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival for our very first time," Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks said in a statement. "The beauty of an event like this is that it is a true representation of the power of radio. It's an opportunity for artists across all genres to share one stage and what we all love most -- music!" The band will be marking its first time playing together as a new band since Lindsey Buckingham's exit in April, and will be joining previously announced headliners including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco and Kelly Clarkson at the two-day event. - Billboard, 6/12/18...... David Byrne announced on June 12 that he'll launch a lengthy 2018 UK and Ireland arena tour this fall with cities to include Leeds, Glasgow, Dublin, Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Brighton and Manchester. "We'll be doing some new songs, and many others that will, I assume, be familiar," the former Talking Heads frontman said on his current production. "I'm excited. This is the most ambitious show I've done since the shows that were filmed for Stop Making Sense, so fingers crossed." - New Musical Express, 6/12/18...... Barbra Streisand announced on June 11 that she's inked a new content deal with the streaming giant Netflix, bringing 6 of her classic TV shows and a special edition of her 1976 film A Star is Born to the site soon. The diva's vintage specials set to stream on Netflix will include My Name Is Barbra (1965), Color Me Barbra (1966), Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park (1968), Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments (1973), Barbra Streisand: The Concert (1994) and Barbra Streisand: Timeless (2001). Her A Star is Born movie will reportedly feature never-before-scene footage in an extended cut. Streisand recently participated in an interview with actor Jamie Foxx on the closing night of the 2018 FYsee event. - Billboard, 6/11/18...... The Allman Brothers Band released a four-disc set of rarities on June 15 entitled Peach Picks: Cream of the Crop 2003. It features 36 performances from the Allmans' July 25-Aug. 10, 2003 run, including shows in Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., Hartford, Conn., and Darien Center. N.Y., all during a tour supporting that year's Hittin' The Note, the Allmans' first new album in 10 years. "It was a really good time period for the band," says guitarist Warren Haynes, who served as supervising producer for the set. "We had all the new material and we were reinventing a lot of old material and the band was on a high note at that point, so it just seemed like a good thing to go back and make [the recordings] available to folks." Haynes says he was already working on Peach Picks when Gregg Allman's health took a turn for the worse in 2017, and listening to the material provided a bit of relief for him. "It's really interesting to hear how energized the band was at that point in time," says Haynes, who co-wrote "Desdemona" with Allman for the Hittin' The Note album. "Everybody was so psyched to make a new record and so proud of the record we had just made it just seemed like the band was really hitting it stride. Not having heard any of the stuff in a long time, when I went back to start listening to it. It was just really refreshing to get a snapshot of where the band was at that moment." The release also includes a selection of covers, including Derek and the Dominos' "Layla," as well as guest appearances by Susan Tedeschi, Karl Denson and Branford Marsalis, the latter of who plays saxophone on epic renditions of "Dreams" and "Whipping Post." - Billboard, 6/12/18...... Sylvester Stallone is currently under investigation for sex crimes by authorities in Los Angeles, a spokesperson for the LA District Attorney's office announced on June 13. It's unclear what allegations 71-year-old Rocky star faces, but according to CNN, the complaint was originally filed to the Santa Monica Police Department in Nov. 2017, and concerns an alleged sexual assault take took place in the 1990s. In December, the Santa Monica Police Department was investigating a claim that Stallone raped a teenager in the 1990s, an allegation that the actor denied at the time, although he admitted to spending three days with the woman in Israel on a shoot in 1987. Another instance of sexual assault allegations against Stallone has circulated in recent years -- this one involving a 1986 police report in which a 16-year-old alleges she was forced into a threesome with Stallone and his bodyguard, Michael De Luca, in Las Vegas. Stallone denied the allegations through his attorney Martin Singer, who called the announcement "outrageous" because "it makes the public think that there's something there." - Jezebel.com, 6/14/18...... Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta portrays infamous mob boss John Gotti in a new film called Gotti, which made its premiere on June 14. Speaking at the premiere, Travolta said Gotti's widow Victoria Gotti "made us a gorgeous spread one afternoon. It was awesome." Travolta's actress wife Kelly Preston appears as Victoria in the film which was sanctioned by the family, and some critics say it's too sympathetic and favourable toward a mafia boss. Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, was head of the Gambino crime family and was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992. The film has been in the works for years, with even Lindsay Lohan in the running to play the mobster's daughter in an early iteration. - AP, 6/15/18...... D.J. Fontana, who acheived rock 'n' roll immortality as Elvis Presley's first and longtime drummer, died in his sleep in Nashville, Tenn., after suffering complications from breaking his hip in 2016. He was 87. Mr. Fontana, a member of the Rock Hall of Fame, was the last surviving member of Elvis' original core of musicians. He met Presley and the others on the Louisiana Hayride, a popular and influential radio and TV country music program based in Shreveport. Staff drummer Fontana asked to join his group for a session broadcast in October 1954. A regional act at the time, the 19-year-old Presley had been recording and touring since the summer with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, the musicians Sun Records founder Sam Phillips brought in after Elvis turned up at the Memphis, Tennessee-based label's studio. Fontana was there for Presley's first wave of success, from such hit singles as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock" to his increasingly frenzied live shows and hip-shaking appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV programs. He played on many soundtracks -- and was occasionally seen on camera -- for Presley's '50s and '60s movies. He was on the "comeback" Christmas TV special of 1968 that featured Presley and fellow musicians jamming on a tiny stage before a studio audience, with Fontana keeping time on a guitar case. Widely cited for reviving Presley's career, that show was his first live performance in years and the last time Moore and Fontana worked with Elvis, who died in 1977. In 2000, Mr. Fontana played on Paul McCartney's cover of an early Presley hit, "That's All Right." - AP, 6/14/18...... Nick Knox, the former drummer of the band The Cramps, has died at the age of 60. Knox, born Nicholas Stephanoff, had played in the Electric Eels with Cramps frontman John D. Morton before becoming a member of the influential punk outfit. - New Musical Express, 6/16/18.
Elton John has called for a boycott of major social media companies who allow homophobic hate speech to exist on their platforms. "I don't know why they allow it. It's supposed to be free speech, but the things that are on social media are so disgusting that there has to be action taken by the people who own these companies," Sir Elton said in an interview with BBC News on June 8. "People say, 'well, what about my freedom of speech?' Well, sod your freedom of speech," he added. John says a boycott, and the resulting lack of revenue it would cause, would force the social media giants to "sit up" and take a stance against homophobic hate speech on their platforms. "Companies like Facebook and Instagram cannot pretend they are purely private enterprises. I believe they have a public role and responsibility," he said. "But if we found ways to automatically respond to hatred with fact, good could be all the way around the world before falsehood even got its boots on." Shortly before the interview, Elton delivered the "Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture" on HIV in London, when called on the British government and private sector to take necessary actions in order to rid the country of the disease. - Billboard, 6/11/18...... Paul Simon treated fans to a performance of his 1970 Simon & Garfunkel smash "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as his "Homeward Bound: Farewell Tour No Longer" trek stopped in Detroit at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on June 10. Simon explained to the crowd that he hadn't played the Grammy-winning song that he wrote yet on the tour, which began on May 16 in Vancouver, because "it has a strange deterrent for me... that's not much of an introduction is it?" SImon added he was "setting expectations low" for this rendition, but after the performance received a rapturous response, he quipped that "maybe I'll sing it again sometime." Simon is scheduled to wrap up the first American leg of the tour on June 20, then head to Europe 10 days later, then return to the U.S. for one final leg in September, closing with two shows at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 20-21 and a third, on Sept. 22 at a location to be announced. - Billboard, 6/11/18...... Bruce Springsteen performed a stripped-down spoken word rendition of his 1984 Born In the USA track "My Hometown" during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10 in New York City. After being presented with a special Tony honor by his pal Billy Joel and receiving a warm introduction from his actor friend Robert DeNiro, who quipped how hard it was to get tickets to the Boss's "Springsteen on Broadway" show, Springsteen strode over to the piano and began reciting childhood memories of his home on Randolph Street in Freehold, N.J. He played softly as he reminisced, speaking of growing up "surrounded by God and all my relatives" near St. Rose's Cemetery, where people did the best they could to "hold off the demons, outside and inside, that sought to destroy them." His spoken word gave way to lyrics from "My Hometown," a song that ruminates on the places most familiar to us. The musician was nominated for a special Tony for his Broadway show, which kicked off at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Oct. 3, 2017. The show is currently scheduled to wrap in Dec. 2018. - Billboard, 6/10/18...... In related news, Paul McCartney and CBS Late Late Show host James Corden made a surprise visit to Paul and the other Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, England on June 9 when they toured such sites as Sir Paul's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road and the roundabout immortalized in the Fab Four's classic "Penny Lane." The pair also made a stop at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms, where Paul played a set with members of his band. Meanwhile, the sudden disappearance of McCartney's profile pics on his Twitter and Instagram pages have prompted rumours that the superstar could be getting ready to make a big announcement very soon, possibly a release date for a new album he's been working on for some time or a special 50th anniversary release of "The White Album." - Billboard, 6/9/18...... Speaking of 50th anniversaries, Led Zeppelin have posted on their offical Twitter account that they have reunited to work on a new book about the band to mark the 50th anniversary of their formation. John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are pictured with the official announcement, with Plant holding a draft copy of a new book they've been working on together. "Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin is the first and only official illustrated book to be produced in collaboration with the members of the band," according to the description. "It is being produced to celebrate 50 years of the iconic rock group and will feature photographs of Jones, Page, Plant, and Bonham "on and offstage, in candid moments and in the recording studio. This definitive 400-page volume includes previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world," the description adds. Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin is currently available for pre-order and will hit stores in October via Reel Art Press. - New Musical Express, 6/8/19...... The estate of Prince has announced that a previously unheard home studio cassette recording of Prince performing at his piano in 1983 will be released as Piano & a Microphone on Sept. 21. The nine-track, 35-minute project from the Prince Estate in coordination with Warner Bros. Records is planned for what would have been the rock icon's 60th birthday, and is currently available for pre-order on CD, LP, deluxe CD+ LP, digital release and pre-save for streaming. Tracks include Prince working through "Purple Rain" and "17 Days," both of which would be released the following year, a cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," and a rare recording of the pre-Civil War spiritual "Mary Don't You Weep." - Billboard, 6/7/18...... Authorities in Los Angeles have charged Redmond O'Neal,, the son of actor Ryan O'Neal and the late actress Farrah Fawcett, with a long list of offenses including attempted murder after he went on what they describe as a "violent crime spree" between May 2 and May 8. O'Neal, 33, is currently in jail after being arrested in May for an alleged armed robbery, and after his June 8 court appearance the LA District Attorney filed multiple charges against the former voice actor, including one count of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of criminal threats, one count of brandishing a knife and one count of battery. O'Neal, who has struggled with drug addiction for years, allegedly "randomly attacked five men in unprovoked confrontations," in early May, the LAPD said in a statement, with two of the five men being seriously injured. O'Neal has yet to enter a plea in relation to the new charges. - MSN.com, 6/9/18...... As the new Beach Boys-authorized release The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra hit stores on June 8, BB co-founder Al Jardine says "the symphony doesn't get in the way of the vocals." "The vocals are the star of the show," Jardine says. "When the mixes are a little weird or someone tries to do something with a well-known song, it never seems to work out. But this one actually takes you to another level. It's like a punctuation mark on an entire career." The band didn't have a hands-on role in the recording, but simply let one of the world's most prestigious symphony orchestras do their thing over original recordings of "California Girls," "Help Me, Rhonda," "The Warmth of the Sun" and other highlights from the band's body of work. "It doesn't sound like Mahler or anybody, where it takes hours to listen to," adds BB member Bruce Johnston. "It's beautiful seasoning. It didn't ruin Brian (Wilson)'s production magic." Brian Wilson added that "it's a great honor and privilege that we could be associated with that great of an orchestra... I'm very proud of it." - Billboard, 6/8/18...... Peter Stringfellow, a British nightclub owner who was an early backer of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix, has died after a secret battle with cancer. He was 77. Stringfellow once booked a little-known Fab Four to play the Azena Ballroom in his hometown of Sheffield, but in the interim between the booking and the performance Beatlemania exploded, and Stringfellow recalled in a 2014 interview that Beatles manager Brian Epstein "gave me his word and stuck to it... It was just pandemonium when the Beatles came on stage. It was the most exciting night of my life." Other groups performing at Stringfellow's various Sheffield venues included Wilson Pickett, The Small Faces, Stevie Wonder, The Searchers, Elton John, The Who, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Pink Floyd. After running venues in Manchester and Leeds, Stringfellow relocated to London and opened the first of his eponymous chain of topless strip clubs in London's West End in 1980, which were frequented by the likes of Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and professor Stephen Hawking. - Billboard, 6/7/18...... Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist/vocalist Danny Kirwan died in London on June 8 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 68. Kirwan joined Fleetwood Mac in 1968 and contributed to several albums, including Then Play On, Blues Jam at Chess, Kiln House, Future Games and Bare Trees. The first song he recorded with the group was 1968's instrumental single "Albatross." Kirwan was asked to leave the band while on tour in 1972, reportedly due to his alcoholism. He went on to release a handful of solo albums, and in 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with other members of Fleetwood Mac. Posting on the band's official Facebook page, Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood noted Kirwan was "a huge force in our early years" and "his legacy... will forever live on in the music he wrote and played so beautifully as a part of the foundation of Fleetwood Mac, that has now endured for over fifty years." - Billboard, 6/9/18...... Eunice Grayson, who was the first "Bond girl" in OO7's on-screen debut in 1962's Dr. No, has died at the age of 90. Ms. Grayson starred as Bond's love interest, Sylvia Trench, in Dr. No, as well as the follow-up, 1963's From Russia With Love. As Sylvia Trench, Ms. Grayson elicited one of Bond's most famous catchphrases at the beginning of Dr. No. Over a game of cards at the Le Cercle Club casino, Bond asks her for her name. "I admire your courage, Miss, er" She replies: "Trench, Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr..." "Bond, James Bond," Connery replies. Ms. Trench said in a 2012 interview that Connery was very nervous in the scene, and she was asked by director Terrence Young to "take him away for a drink" to calm him down, which she did. Ms. Trench, whose lines were rerecorded over by voiceover artist Nikki van der Zyl (like many other Bond girls in the 60s and 70s), had originally been cast as Miss Moneypenny, but the part went to Lois Maxwell instead. The Surrey-born actress had been due to be a recurring character in the Bond franchise, but the idea was dropped by the director of Goldfinger, Guy Hamilton. "An amazing lady who left a lasting impression on everyone she met. She will be very much missed. Our sincere thoughts are with her family," Bond franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli tweeted on June 8. - The Guardian.com, 6/9/18...... Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, has died at a San Diego nursing care facility. He was 98. Mr. Maren memorably welcomed Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) to Munchkinland as part of the Lollipop Guild, the middle Munchin in a trio donning green and presenting Garland with a giant candy. The actor later appeared in TV bits on popular shows over the years including The Twilight Zone, Seinfeld and Bewitched. His most recent role was in 2010, when he appeared in the movie Dahmer vs. Gacy. Mr. Maren was close to his nieces and nephews after his wife Elizabeth, who was also a little person, died in 2011 at age 69. "I've done so many things in show business, but people say, 'You were in The Wizard of Oz? It takes people's breath away," Maren recalled during an interview in 2011. "But then I realized, 'Geez, it must have been a hell of a picture, because everyone remembers it everywhere I go.'" - MSN.com, 6/6/18.
Friday, June 1, 2018
In a new interview with the Swedish newspaper Expressen, Gene Simmons of KISS revealed that his band is preparing to announce a three-year world tour that he promises will be "the most spectacular KISS tour ever." He added that it would also take in "all continents," and will be kicking off in January 2019. - New Musical Express, 6/6/18...... Bruce Springsteen will be taking the stage at the Asbury Lanes in his hometown of Asbury, N.J., on June 18 as a "special guest" performer celebrating the transformation of the city's beloved bowling alley into a music venue. A donation will be made by iStar to the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County. In 2010, developer iStar invested $100 million to renovate the areas on and around the boardwalk, and the new Asbury Lanes venue opened to the public over Memorial Day Weekend. - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Puerto-Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano will be performing the U.S. national anthem for 20 new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington on June 14, Flag Day. The event will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Feliciano's performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" during game five of the 1968 World Series at Detroit's Tiger Stadium, which ignited a controversy that reflected the tense atmosphere in the United States in the era of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement, after Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated earlier that year. Boos could be heard in the audience, and many television viewers called in to NBC to complain about Feliciano's "hippie" version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." During the naturalization ceremony on June 14, Feliciano will speak to immigrants from 17 countries gathered to officially become Americans, and then sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Feliciano, who immigrated to the U.S. with his family from Puerto Rico at age 5, will also donate the Concerto Candelas guitar he played during the recording of his Top 5 breakout hit "Light My Fire" to the Smithsonian, along with other items from his personal archives. "I could be a sarcastic bastard and say it's too little too late," he says, referring to the initial reaction to his "Star-Spangled Banner." "But I'm grateful to the Smithsonian. This is a beautiful thing." Feliciano will also be among the headliners at a free concert in New York City's Central Park on Aug. 12. - Billboard, 6/6/18...... Olivia Newton-John and country singer Hunter Hayes are set to surprise two couples in the Disney series Fairy Tale Weddings, which returns on cable TV's Freeform channel on June 11 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The new episodes follow 11 new couples with hidden-camera engagements, fairytale weddings and everything in between filmed at different Disney locations around the world. One couple, Christina and Jarrod, tie the knot at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, with Newton-John -- a cancer research crusader after being diagnosed with breast cancer herself -- performing at their ceremony. - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Attorneys for concert promoter AEG have filed a motion to dismiss Ozzy Osbourne's anti-trust lawsuit challenging the concert promoter's block-booking policy, which requires artists playing the O2 arena in London to also play Staples Center in Los Angeles. According to a recent filing from AEG, Osbourne doesn't have standing to sue the company over a proposed Staples Center commitment letter from earlier in 2018 because the rocker was not a party to the agreement, and the deal was between AEG and Live Nation. Osbourne's attorney Dan Wall counters that argument is "flat wrong." "The Staples Center Commitment letter binds the artist," Wall says. "They're trying to have it both ways and say the letter is signed on an artist's behalf, but (also say) the artist will be bound by it and can't do anything if they think it's unlawful." - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Cable TV's A&E channel will air a new David Cassidy documentary, David Cassidy: The Last Session, on June 11, and in the doc Cassidy is reportedly quoted as saying he was still drinking in the last years of his life and he did not have dementia, which was reported at the time. Cassidy, according to People magazine, called producers of the documentary after he fell ill last year and told them that he had liver disease. In the recorded conversation, the former teen idol said there was no sign of dementia and it was "complete alcohol poisoning," adding that he had lied by telling friends and family he had stopped drinking. "He wanted to be honest once and for all," says documentary producer John Marks. Cassidy died of organ failure in Nov. 2017 at age 67, and his late father, actor Jack Cassidy also had a well publicized battle with alcoholism. - AP, 6/6/2018...... Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, two co-founders of the seminal '60s country/rock band The Byrds, have announced they will embark on a 50th anniversary tour commemorating the release of their influential 1968 LP Sweetheart of the Rodeo on July 24 at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. The tour will also visit Saratoga, Calif. (7/29), Albany, NY (9/18) and Hopewell, Va. (9/20) before wrapping at the Akron Civic Center in Akron, Oh. on Oct. 3. "On March 9, 1968, Roger McGuinn and I along with many fantastic musicians began recording the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album at Columbia Studios in Nashville," Chris Hillman said in a statement. "It was truly a pivotal moment in our lives taking a turn toward the music we always felt a strong kinship with. We are honored that it has left a strong, long lasting impression on country and rock music." With new member Gram Parsons, the Byrds' 1968 album melded country and rock to bring about a new Nashville sound. As pioneers of the blended genre, Hillman and McGuinn will share stories of how the album came together while onstage. Roger McGuinn adds that he and Hillman "are looking forward to taking the fans through the back pages of the recording," and that the concert "will include songs that led up to that groundbreaking trip to Nashville and all the songs from that album." The duo will be joined on tour by country artist Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. To warm up for the tour, McGuinn and Hillman played a short set at Stuart's Late Night Jam on June 6 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. - Billboard, 6/4/18...... Neil Diamond will be the recipient of the Johnny Mercer Award during the 2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame gala at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on June 14. The award is named for the "Moon River" tunesmith who co-founded the SHOF in 1969 with with music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. Ahead of the ceremony, Diamond reflected on one of his biggest hits, 1969's "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)." "That song was like a lucky gift. I needed it desperately in my career," Diamond says. "I was about to go hungry. I had a new baby. There were all kinds of things that were counting on this record, and I just had an hour to do it. It was the day before the session, and that beautiful girl came to me and I was a happy guy. You never know with a song; I never knew with 'Sweet Caroline' it would become such a beloved song." Also among the honorees at the gala will be Robert "Kool" Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James "JT" Taylor, John Mellencamp and Bill Anderson. - Billboard, 6/5/18...... With June being Gay Pride Month, Carole King is one of the artists requested by Billboard to write a "love letter" to the LGBTQ community. The legendary singer/songwriter says that she is "old enough to remember friends growing up in the last century who thought being L or G or B or T or Q made them 'the other' not only to others but to themselves. Sadly, in this century, too many people (who may themselves be suffering) are turning to fear, hatred, and blame rather than to love." King continued: "After years of fighting for AIDS research and against arbitrary barriers defining "normal," you, and consequently all of us, have come a long way.... My hope for the future is that every being will live in harmony, peace, joy, love and light." - Billboard, 6/5/18...... Music producer/composer/arranger Giles Martin, the son of the late Beatles producer George Martin, has been tapped by the Aussie alternative rock outfit INXS to be their executive music producer. In that role, Martin will have creative reins on all audio aspects of INXS's plans, which include musicals and movies and the reissue of their studio albums, which will be repackaged, remixed and expanded for release through Universal Music Group (UMG) in partnership with Petrol Records. Martin first collaboarated with INXS in 1994, and has worked with the band across several of their releases, including a greatest hits compilation and a Dolby Atmos mix of their classic Kick album for its 30th anniversary reissue in 2017. Formed in Perth in 1977, INXS has racked up six U.K. Top 10 albums and five U.S. Top 20 albums, a BRIT Award (in 1991 for best international group) and, in 2001, they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 6/5/18...... Queen is curently occupying three of the top 20 spots on Billboard's Hot Rock Songs chart for the week ending June 2, thanks to streaming and sales gains for the band's catalog after the May 18 arrival of the first trailer for its upcoming biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The film's namesake song has risen to No. 8 from No. 10 on the chart, drawing 4.7 million U.S. streams and sold 4,000 downloads in the tracking week. "Rhapsody" is followed by "Another One Bites the Dust" (No. 13; 3.3 million streams, 2,000 sold) and "We Will Rock You" (No. 17; 2.7 million streams, 3,000 sold), with all three songs appearing in the trailer. Additionally, the band's Greatest Hits LP, originally released in October 1981, has jumped to No. 2 from No. 4 on the Hard Rock Albums chart. Bohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, is set to premiere Nov. 2 in the U.S. - Billboard, 6/1/18...... After two TV-movies based on Dolly Parton songs aired on NBC, streaming giant Netflix has picked up an eight-episode scripted Parton anthology with the same premise. The as yet untitled anthology will see each episode based on a song by the country music icon. Parton will serve as singer-songwriter, exec producer and will also appear in the series. "As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support." - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/4/18...... Prince fans will celebrate what would have been the music legend's 60th birthday with a three-day music festival beginning on June 7 in Henderson, Minn., where the iconic movie Purple Rain was filmed. The festival will include a bus tour of Purple Rain filming locations, a screening of the 1984 movie and live music. In honor of Prince's 60th birthday, 60 butterflies will be released at the event, and members of Prince's family will be present. Meanwhile, another copy of Prince's super rare "The Black Album" has surfaced. The album was supposed to be released in 1987 as The Funk Bible, Prince's 16th album. However, the singer had a "spiritual epiphany" and demanded all 500,000 copies be destroyed, as he said the content was "evil." Prince later gave permission for it to be released on CD and cassette -- but never vinyl. Five vinyl copies surfaced in the States in 2017, and now another has appeared in Canada, after a Canadian former employee of Columbia Records' pressing plant held onto one of the records. The owner has listed the record online on Discogs.com for $27,500, and a pristine edition of the album once sold for $42,298. In more Prince news, sources close to the investigation of his 2016 death from an accidental drug overdose have revealed that the pop star often "videotaped himself having sex with lots of his lovers and was quite kinky in his porn tastes." "The evidence is in his vaults and on the computers seized by police," says the source, who stressed that none of the material was illegal. The music legend's porn preferences were described as "wild" by another source, based on the search history and downloads on laptops taken from Prince's home. "Cops had enough respect for Prince that they didn't want to mar his legacy by revealing he was a secret sex-tape and porn addict!" the insider claimed.- AP/RadarOnline.com, 6/3/18...... James Taylor and Sheryl Crow's co-headlining summer tour hit a jam-packed Hollywood Bowl on May 31, with Taylor stepping onstage to a standing ovation -- one of several throughout the evening. Centering on well-known entries in his repertoire, including "Fire & Rain," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," "Handyman," "Sweet Baby James," Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" and "You've Got a Friend, Taylor also took the audience all the way back to 1968 with "Something in the Way She Moves" -- the song he auditioned for Paul McCartney and George Harrison before he signed with Apple Records. Earlier in the evening, Taylor joined Crow onstage for a rousing rendition of Crow's hit "Everyday Is a Winding Road," with Crow joining Taylor during his encore for duets of "Mockingbird" and "Close Your Eyes." Taylor and his band will next head to Sacramento (6/10), Portland, Ore. (6/12) and Seattle (6/13) before Bonnie Raitt rejoins the tour for seven shows beginning in St. Paul, Minnesota (6/22). - Billboard, 6/1/18...... Actor Bill Phipps, a prolific character actor who starred in several sci-fi movies of the 1950s and provided the voice of Prince Charming in the Disney classic Cinderella, died on May 31 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica after a battle with lung cancer. He was 96. His other roles include a servant to Marlon Brando's Antony in Julius Caesar (1954), the French Impressionist painter Emile Bernard in Kirk Douglas' Lust for Life (1956) and the old man Quentin in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993). Mr. Phipps left show business in the late 1960s to live in Maui but returned to portray Theodore Roosevelt in the 1976 ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, winner of 11 Emmy Awards. He then reprised the role in a commercial for Maxwell House coffee. He also showed up on TV shows like The Twilight Zone (the 1960 episode "The Purple Testament"), Perry Mason, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Gunsmoke, F Troop, Batman, The Virginian and Mannix. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/3/18.
The Who's Roger Daltrey released his first solo LP in 25 years, As Long As I Have You, on June. 1. A soulful grab bag of originals and covers, the album was described by Daltrey in a statement as "a return to the very beginning, to a time when we were a teenage band playing soul music to small crowds in church halls." - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Posts by Mick Jagger on his son Lucas Jagger's Instagram account have gone viral as the legendary Rolling Stones frontman apparently left a series of "dorky dad" comments to tease his son. "Looks like fun. Ha!" read one comment underneath a photo of Lucas at the Lollapalooza festival. "Watch out for the water," said another, written in the comments section on a photo of Lucas standing ankle deep in the ocean. Meanwhile, the Stones returned to London in late May for their first show in the city in five years. - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Former The Monkees members Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will kick off their "The Monkees Present The Mike & Micky Show Tour" in Arizona on June 1. Both Dolenz and Nesmith said the tour developed out of a mutual friendship and respect for each other that began early in the Monkees' career and has lasted through the years. "I've always been a fan of his and he's been a fan of mine," Dolenz says. "We always got along great creatively. (We have) similar tastes in music and style and stuff like that. I've had an enormous amount of respect for him as a musician, singer and songwriter." Nesmith says that he and Dolenz always "got on so well." "He could make me laugh hard and I could make him laugh hard. So we were playmates on that level," he said. "The Mike & Micky Show Tour" is also scheduled to hit California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and includes two dates in Canada. Nesmith, meanwhile, has just released his new memoir, Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff, in which he remembers his Monkees days as well as his tenure with the First National Band, along with his Christian Science philosophy and meeting the Beatles. - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Elton John spoke out about the recent successful referendum in Ireland to repeal the country's ban on abortion during a recent visit to Ukraine to raise awareness about AIDS. "Believe me, I love this country. We will do everything we can to continue the fight against AIDS," John said at an event organised by the Elena Pinchuk Foundation. "It takes a long time for things to happen as I said," Elton continued. "Look what just happened in Ireland: the vote for abortion. Things change. People | they change their mind. And with a younger generation coming up, they are different kind of people, and they're our future." It has also been announced that the pop star will be further establishing his alliance with people living with HIV and AIDS by delivering the "Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture" on HIV on June 8 in London. The lecture is presented with the mission to end AIDS, calling on the government and private sector to take necessary actions in order to rid the country of the disease. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures has given a May 17, 2019 opening date for the upcoming Elton biopic Rocketman. The movie has been billed as a "larger than life movie musical spectacle that tells the story of a child prodigy turned music legend" and will star Eddie the Eagle actor Taron Egerton as John. - New Musical Express/Billboard, 5/30/18...... The Jimmy Buffett Broadway musical "Escape to Margaritaville" has announced it will have its final performance on July 1 after the tequila-infused jukebox musical has struggled to build audiences since opening earlier in 2018. The romantic comedy, set at a Caribbean island getaway threatened by an erupting volcano, has been a modest earner at the box office since it began previews in February, suggesting that Manhattan is not a high-density Parrothead metropolis as it played to just 56 percent capacity. Built around songs drawn primarily from Buffett's back catalog but also including more recent material, the musical drew more consistent crowds in Houston and Chicago, suggesting that it might fare better on tour, and producers have announced a road company will kick off in Oct. 2019 at Rhode Island's Providence Performing Arts Center. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/31/18...... The estate of Michael Jackson filed a copyright infringement suit against the Walt Disney Co. on May 30, alleging that the television special The Last Days of Michael Jackson which aired on ABC on May 14 used Jackson's songs and videos without permission. Jackson's estate alleges that the producers used songs including "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "The Girl Is Mine," along with music videos such as "Thriller," and clips from This Is It, the concert documentary, without asking for permission before the show aired. The suit says when the estate raised objections, Disney asserted that the show was a "documentary" and was entitled to use the material under the "fair use" doctrine. Howard Weitzman, the attorney for the Jackson estate, argued that was "patently absurd," especially in light of Disney's aggressive enforcement of its own copyrights. - Variety.com, 5/30/18...... A career-spanning documentary focusing on former The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive member Randy Bachman had its world premiere at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, Canada, in May and will air on Canada's CBC Documentary Channel later in 2018. Incorporating numerous present-day interviews with Bachman's family, management, and fellow musicians, the documentary touches on everything from Bachman's childhood to his various rock bands -- The Guess Who, BTO, Brave Belt, Bachman-Turner -- and solo work. Bachman says it's "pretty strange" seeing his life condensed into a 75-minute documentary. "It's like your dad doing a surprise and inviting out all your friends and showing all your old family home movies of going on vacation and the clothes you wore, and then have all your friends complaining about what a poor playmate you were or what a brat you were," he says. A number of musicians who cite Bachman as an influence, including Neil Young, Paul Shaffer, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Alex Lifeson and Peter Frampton, also contribute to the documentary. Bachman is also promoting his new album, By George By Bachman -- Songs of George Harrison, which he has described as "his last all-original studio work." and a new movie called Taking Care of Business is currently in the works. Bachman says his son, Tal Bachman, who scored an alternative rock hit with "She's So High," has also joined his band and "they're talking about re-recording it for the women's movement because "the women in the audience don't sing 'she's so high'; they sing 'we're so high, we're high above you,' but they're pointing to the men." - Billboard, 5/31/18...... A private retreat in the Turks & Caicos Islands that is believed to be the only remaining property in Prince's real estate portfolio is being put up for sale. A New York auction house is taking sealed bids on the 5.7-acre (23,000 sq.-meter) property which is surrounded by water on three sides and includes several structures totaling more than 10,000 square feet (930 sq. meters). It includes two private beaches, a marina and a long, winding driveway painted purple. Prince bought the property in 2011 for $13 million, and it is expected to bring as much as $15 million. - AP, 5/29/18...... Former Police frontman Sting and his wife Trudie Styler were presented with honorary degrees during the 250th commencement at Brown University in Providence, R.I., on May 27. Sting and Styler were recognized for their work with the environmental organization the Rainforest Fund, to protect the world's rainforests, which they co-founded. - AP, 5/28/18...... Willie Nelson was forced to leave the stage before playing a note at a concert in Charlotte, N.C., on May 26 at the PNC Music Pavilion after the country/pop legend complained he was ill. After picking up his trusty acoustic guitar Trigger and briefly putting it on, Nelson set it back down, flung his cowboy hat into the crowd and left the stage. The 85 year-old singer could be seen walking out of the stage door after what was reportedly his second attempt to take the stage that night. A spokesman for Nelson said the following day that he was suffering from a "stomach bug" that prevented him from performing and that the Charlotte show will be rescheduled at a later date. The concert promoter also issued a statement saying "Fans are asked to please hold on to their tickets until the new date is announced." - Billboard, 5/28/18...... Graham Nash is prepping a 2-disc compilation of his solo material and work with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young entitled Over the Years. The release, which hits stores June 29, features 15 tracks of Nash's greatest solo material, up to 2016's Myself At Last on one disc, and an equal number of demos from 1968-80. The latter disc includes rarities such as "Horses Through A Rainstorm," co-written with Terry Reid and originally targeted to join "Our House" on CSNY's Deja Vu, as well as "Man In The Mirror," "I Miss You," "Simple Man" and "Right Between The Eyes." "I realized there hadn't ever been a 'greatest hits' album of my music," Nash says, "so I decided that I would find out what my 15 most popular songs are and put them on. And then I thought, 'Well, everybody's got those,' so I decided I would put demos on here because I think people are kind of interested in what happens from a demo to an actual record." As for a potential CSN and/or Y reunion (the band has been dormant since 2015), Nash says "I don't know what's going on." "All I know is I'm here on my own trip now and having a great time. If someone comes to me, if Neil (Young) calls again and says, 'Hey Willy, man, I've got six great songs here. What do you want to do?' then we're off and running again. But until that happens, nothing's going on." - Billboard, 5/31/18...... Ginger Baker's son Kofi Baker, Jack Bruce's son Malcolm Bruce and Eric Clapton's nephew Will Johns have announced they will come together for the first time in the UK to pay homage to Cream's extraordinary legacy with "The Music Of Cream - 50th Anniversary World Tour." The four-date UK tour, which starts at the Glasgow O2 Academy on Nov. 23, celebrates 50 years since the original line-up's farewell UK concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov. 26, 1968. Other dates include the Leamgton Spa, Assembly (11/24), London's O2 Forum (11/25) and the Manchester Ritz on Nov. 26. The trio will share personal stories and perform songs such Cream classics as "Sunshine of Your Love," "Crossroads," "Spoonful" and White Room" performed across a comprehensive set, which will also see the three interplay with footage of their fathers and mentors on the big screen, along with never-before-seen footage and photos. Tickets are available via www.themjrgroup.com/moc50th/. - Noble PR, 5/29/18...... The iconic 80s Canadian rock band Glass Tiger, best known for their 1986 UK Top 40 hit single "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" and 1991's "My Town" featuring Rod Stewart, return to the UK for the first time in 27 years to play two rare concerts. The band last came to the UK when they supported Roxette on their 1991 nationwide UK tour. Glass Tiger play the University of London Union on Oct. 19, followed by the Rockingham Festival at Nottingham Trent University on Oct. 21. Tickets for the University of London concert can be booked from Eventbrite, Eventim, and Gigantic. Tickets for Glass Tiger's Rockingham Festival performance are available from Ticketsource. To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, earlier this year Glass Tiger released a new album entitled 31 which includes two new songs and re-imagined recordings of all their hit singles. - Noble PR, 5/29/18...... Russ Regan, the "golden-eared" A&R music exec best known for signing the likes of Elton John, Neil Diamond and Barry White, among many others, has died following a series of health problems. He was 89. The 30-year industry veteran had been hospitalized this spring following surgery for a pacemaker, and his battles with cancer and other ailments even led to a GoFundMe campaign to help his family cover hospital expenses. In 1965, Mr. Regan joined the Warner Bros. soul imprint Loma as general manager, and two years later took over at the fledgling Uni Records, owned by MCA, where he proceeded to transform it into a powerhouse by signing both Diamond and John, as well as guiding other artists like Strawberry Alarm Clock ("Incense and Peppermints") and Hugh Masekela to mainstream success. Mr. Regan signed John to Uni in 1970 and played an integral part in introducing the British piano man to U.S. audiences during the elaborate promotional campaign for his second studio album (but first in the U.S.), which included breakthrough single "Your Song." On Twitter, Elton John paid tribute to Mr. Regan, saying thanks for "believing in me and helping launch my career." In 1972, Mr. Regan jumped ship to 20th Century Records where he launched then producer Barry White's singing career, and in 1977 he launched Parachute Records in a working partnership with Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records. He also did extensive work as a music supervisor or consultant for numerous films including The Karate Kid, Breakin', All the Right Moves and Flashdance, among others. - Billboard, 5/29/18...... Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page has persuaded authorities in the affluent Holland Park area of West London to postpone a decision on pop star Robbie Williams' plan for an underground gym and swimming pool. Page and the former Take That boy band member have been feuding for years over Williams' plans to extend his home, which Page says could damage his own 19th-century Gothic-revival mansion, Tower House, which features ornate tiling, plasterwork and stained glass. Page says Tower House could be damaged by vibrations from construction work. Page says he's careful to only play acoustic guitars in the home, which he bought in 1972 from actor Richard Harris, however Williams counters the construction work "will result in absolute minimal impact" to neighboring properties. At a meeting on May 30, the Kensington and Chelsea Council's planning committee decided not to grant Williams planning permission until it received further legal assurances. Page said he was "really pleased at the outcome" and the council's consideration for the house. "I'm only the custodian to pass it on to the next person in the same way I bought it from Richard Harris," he said. - AP, 5/30/18...... Australian guitar legend Phil Emmanuel died on May 24 in the Australian town of Parkes after a sudden asthma attack. He was 65. Revered for his versatility on the electric guitar, Emmanuel shared a stage with the greats of country, jazz and rock 'n' roll over 50-year-plus career, from Dolly Parton to Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Dire Straits, The Shadows, Midnight Oil, Jimmy Barnes, Carlos Santana and many more. The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games provided a career highlight for Emmanuel and his younger brother and regular bandmate Tommy Emmanuel as they performed at the Closing Ceremony, and the pair reunited again in late 2010 for a 50th anniversary tour. In 1991, Phil was inducted into Australia's Country Music Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 5/28/18...... Former US astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth man to walk on the Moon, has died in a Houston, Tex. hospital at the age of 86, his family has said. Mr. Bean also commanded the second Skylab crew in 1973 and went on in retirement to become an accomplished artist, producing paintings that were inspired by space. A former US Navy test pilot, Mr. Bean was selected by NASA as a trainee in 1963 and went into space twice, the first time in Nov. 1969 as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 Moon-landing mission. He later described how complex and risky the mission had been: "It was more science fiction to us, I think, than it was to the average public." Mr. Bean retired from NASA in 1981 and carved a successful career as an artist. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust. The three astronauts who preceded Alan Bean to the moon's surface were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in July 1969, and Charles Conrad who was also on the Apollo 12 mission. Of the four men, only Aldrin is still alive, now aged 88. Mr. Bean is survived by his wife Leslie, a sister and two children from a previous marriage. - BBC.com, 5/27/18.