Posted by Administrator on March 29th, 2014
A "lost" album by the Alan Parsons Project that was recorded 33 years ago will finally see the light of day on April 1. In 1981, Alan Parsons and his late partner Eric Woolfson were locked in tense contract negotiations with their labed Arista Records that weren't going anywhere, so they decided to quickly record an album called The Sicilian Defence to fulfill contractual obligations, which was subsequently shelved when the two parties came to terms. Named after the title of a tactical move in the game of chess, The Sicilian Defence will get its first-ever release on Apr. 1 as part of The Alan Parsons Project - The Complete Albums Collection box set. "I'm happy that it's fulfilling a need to document, historically, the entire catalog of the Alan Parsons project, but it's not our finest hour by any stretch of the imagination," Parson says of the sparse, piano-dominated 10-song instrumental set. "It was an album made under pressure. It doesn't have the polish or finesse that all the albums that were released previously had. It's really not up to the standard of the real Project albums." Parsons adds that he appreciated "the chance to revisit and improve on the previous versions of the CDs" on the new box set, which houses APP's other ten albums, including the platinum titles I Robot, The Turn of A Friendly Card and Eye in the Sky. Though Woolfson passed away in 2009, Parsons has kept the group going as both a recording and concert concern. The Alan Parsons Live Project is currently in South America and has U.S. dates booked for May in San Francisco and at Disney World's Epcot Center in Florida, with more to come according to Parsons. The group recently released a new single called "Fragile" along with a downloadable live album, and Parsons says he is "thinking about putting out a full-blown album, but for the moment we're concentrating on live stuff." - Billboard, 3/27/14.
On March 27, the "classic '70s" lineup of Fleetwood Mac announced on NBC's Today Show that this year they'll be heading out on their first tour with keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie in 16 years. The 34-date/33-city "On With the Show" tour will start in Minneapolis on Sept. 30 and finish in Tampa on Dec. 20, visiting most major markets in the US and Canada in between. Fleetwood Mac have also said that they will be recording a brand new album with McVie, who revealed that she would be rejoining the band at the beginning of 2014. Drummer Mick Fleetwood told a Hawaiian paper that Christine McVie had been writing new songs for the group, and they would be recording together very soon. McVie, who is responsible for some of the band's biggest hits including "Say You Love Me," "Don't Stop" and "You Make Loving Fun," first joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 after marrying the group's bassist, John McVie. She continued on with the group for the next 28 years as main songwriter, vocalist and keyboard player in the band, which also includes Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Fleetwood Mac last mounted a full-scale tour in 2012, and this will be Christine McVie's first time on the road with the band since 1998's "The Dance" tour. McVie recently revealed that she decided to quit the band because of a "fear of flying." "It was a real phobia," she told Rolling Stone. "I also bought a house in England and decided, to a degree, I was really tired of the road. I wasn't just burned out, but I was tired of traveling and living out of a suitcase. I'm quite a domestic person by nature and the nomad thing had got a bit stale on me, really." - Billboard, 3/27/14.
Mick Jagger attended the small and private funeral service of his girlfriend L'Wren Scott on Mar. 25 in Hollywood. Jagger was joined by his daughters and grandchildren and also spoke briefly at the funeral, as did Scott's brother, talent agent and others. Longtime Rolling Stones backup singer Bernard Fowler performed "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" in honor of the 49-year-old fashion designer, with Dave Stewart contributing guitar to the song. Scott was found dead on Mar. 17 in her New York apartment, and a medical examiner later ruled her death a suicide by hanging. The next day, it was revealed that Scott left her entire $9 million estate to her longtime boyfriend Jagger. The filing in Manhattan's Surrogate's Court said Scott's main asset was her Manhattan condo worth approximately $8 million. Other items included her jewelry, clothing, household furnishings and personal automobiles. - Billboard/AP 3/25/14.
A British TV show is claiming that it has discoverd the true cause of Elvis Presley's death in 1977, and it isn't overeating or overdosing on drugs. Channel 4's Dead Famous DNA suggests that the singer suffered from heart muscle disease after performing tests on a lock of the music legend's hair, which was acquired through a friend of Elvis' barber and the results were analyzed by Dr. Stephen Kingsmore in Kansas. Kingsmore contends that it could be the genetic disease and not Presley's unhealthy lifestyle in his later life that could be to blame for his early death. However, he states that they cannot be totally sure that the hair they were testing is from Elvis. "I'm massively confident that it's Elvis' DNA, but I can't prove it. I can't tell you 100 per cent that is Elvis' DNA. That's not possible." Meanwhile, an actor portraying Presley is featured in an odd new beer commercial for Bavaria Brewery's fruit-flavored Radler beer. In the minute-long clip, Presley, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe and more musicians and celebrities who died young party and relax on a remote island, drinking the lemon-esque beverage. Suddenly, a ship appears on the horizon, leading the island's natives to close up shop to avoid detection. Still, the ship's captain believes he's able to spot Elvis, whose potbelly is sticking out from behind a tree. The commercial has received nearly 70,000 views on YouTube since its release on Mar. 24. Surprisingly, much of the feedback on the video's YouTube page is positive, though many viewers point out how dissimilar to the figures they're supposed to portray many of the actors are. Bavaria Brewery is a beer company based in the Netherlands. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 3/25/14.
A collection of unfinished Bob Dylan songs from the 1960s are being reimagined by artists including Elvis Costello and members of the bands Mumford & Sons, My Morning Jacket, Dawes and Carolina Chocolate Drops. The all-star cast of musicians has convened to take two dozen Dylan tunes, purportedly written around 1967 during the singer's "Basement Tapes" period, and put them to music, with a planned album and Showtime TV special in the works. According to producer T-Bone Burnett who is helming the project, he and Costello set out to capture the magic of Dylan's original "Basement Tapes" session, which saw the folk singer and The Band record in a house in upstate New York, especially in terms of its creative process. All musicians involved were in on the process, often contributing multiple interpretations to the same lyric. While Dylan isn't involved in creating the music aside from his original songwriting contributions, he has given the project his blessing. The two dozen unfinished Dylan songs are being recorded in Los Angeles' Capitol Studios. - Billboard, 3/25/14.
New Wave icons Devo have just announced dates for a 10-city US summer tour, just a little over a month after the sudden death of their cofounding guitarist Bob Casale. The tour, which launches on June 18 in Baltimore, will focus on material the group recorded before signing to Warner Bros. in 1978. Also visiting New York City (6/19), Chicago (6/21), Denver (6/23), Seattle (6/25), Vancouver, BC (6/26), Oakland, Calif. (6/28), Los Angeles (6/29), Solana Beach, Calif. (6/30) and Austin, Tex. (7/2), the tour will mark the group's first performances without Bob Casale since he joined the group in 1974, just as many of the songs the group plans on playing on this tour were first recorded. - Rolling Stone, 3/27/14.
Forty years after the release of their debut album, Kiss have finally made the cover of Rolling Stone magazine on its Apr. 10 issue. Marking the band's upcoming induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the cover image is a classic 1975 photo of the band's original lineup: Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, plus Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, who were both gone from the band by the early Eighties. The cover story, by Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt, tells the sad, hilarious and triumphant story of one of the biggest rock bands ever, taking an in-depth look at the founding members' lives and careers. Stanley and Simmons also explain precisely why they won't be reuniting for a performance at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Stanley and Simmons offered to allow the former members to jam with Kiss' current lineup, featuring guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, but Ace and Peter found that proposition deeply insulting. "I won't be disrespected," Criss says. "How can you put me in the Hall of Fame and then tell me to go sit over there in the corner while another guy puts on my makeup and plays? That's an injustice. To the fans, too." Meanwhile, Frehley has announced he will release his first solo album in half a decade this summer. Space Invader, due on June 24, will feature "at least" nine new songs and a cover of the Steve Miller Band's "The Joker. It will be Frehley's first release under a record deal with eOne Music. - Rolling Stone, 3/27/14.
A Los Angeles judge sentenced David Cassidy to three months in rehab and five years of probation on March 24 on charges stemming from a drunken driving case in January. The '70s teen heartthrob's attorney, Steven Levine, entered an open plea on behalf of Cassidy, admitting that he was driving under the influence when he was arrested after making an illegal turn. Levine says his client has been in rehab and will remain for longer than his sentence requires. He says Cassidy is committed to his sobriety and wants to break the cycle that got him arrested for drunken driving twice in less than six months. A DUI case in New York was reduced from a felony to misdemeanor earlier in March. - AP
Southern Rock icon Charlie Daniels is releasing a tribute album to Bob Dylan, with whom he contributed session work for Dylan's 1969 album Nashville Skyline, as well as the rock bard's Self Portrait and New Morning LP's. Daniels says he's "always been a big fan" of Dylan's, and his new album, Off the Grid: Doin' it Dylan, features Dylan tunes "but we definitely did them in CDB style." Daniels says "The Times They Are A-Changin" has always been one of his favorite Dylan compositions. "I think if there was a quintessential Dylan song that personified what he has meant and what he has documented, I would say that would be it. The times really were changing." Also covered on Off the Grid is "You Gotta Serve Somebody," a song that Daniels says has always spoke to him. "I'm a Christian, and I think Dylan hit a nerve with that one. When it comes down to it, you are going to serve somebody. There's only two entities that you can serve. It might be the Devil or it might be the Lord. It puts it pretty plain." Off the Grid: Doin' it Dylan is due April 1. Meanwhile in other Southern Rock news, the Allman Brothers Band announced on Mar. 24 that they will postpone their remaining four dates at the Beacon Theatre on Mar. 25, 26 and 28 as Gregg Allman recovers from bronchitis. Allman was forced to sit out shows on the previous Friday and Saturday, and his manager says he is under a doctor's care. Allman, 66, has had health issues in the past, including a 2010 liver transplant. The band, which started its annual run at the Beacon on Mar. 7, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. - Billboard/AP, 3/24/14.
As his latest single "Can't Stay Alone Tonight" has entered the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart at No. 27, Elton John has extended his record run of appearances on that chart to 70, which is six higher than Barbra Streisand's 64 AC chart-toppers. "Can't Stay Alone Tonight" is the second single from John's 30th studio album The Diving Board, which has sold around 142,000 copies since its release in 2013. The Diving Board's first single, "Home Again," reached No. 14 on the AC chart in September. John first charted on the AC chart on Dec. 26, 1970, with the No. 9-peaking classic "Your Song." Along with holding the record for the most AC visits, John also boasts the most No. 1's (15, a mark he shares with the Carpenters) and Top 10's (39). Elton's new concert film, The Million Dollar Piano, opened in nearly 700 theaters on March 18. The movie spotlights his hit-packed Las Vegas residency show, which began in Sept. 2011. - Billboard, 3/24/14.
A collection of drawings and manuscripts by John Lennon will be auctioned by Sotheby's on June 4 in New York City. The items are being put up for sale by Tom Maschler, who worked with Lennon on his In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works books. Lennon wrote the books and created the drawings for them in the 1960s. Among the items in the auction is a manuscript from 1965 called "The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield," which is expected to sell for $40,000 to $60,000. On March 21, a letter from Lennon to Phil Spector blaming The Who drummer Keith Moon and singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson for urinating on a console at an LA recording studio went up for auction in London, with an estimated value of £6,000. The three musicians shared a studio in Los Angeles during Lennon's infamous "Lost Weekend" in the early 1970s, and Lennon was moved to complain to Spector, who was producing his latest album Rock 'N' Roll, about their behavior after Capitol Records threatened to evict them. Titled "A Matter Of Pee," the letter is written in red felt tip pen on lined paper, and was given by Lennon to session guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, who played on 1974's Walls And Bridges and 1975's Rock 'N' Roll. In related news, Paul McCartney has reportedly blocked an auction of his old clothes and a piece of paper with some lyrics written on it. A spokesperson for Omega Auctions of Liverpool says Macca's lawyers prevented a cape, suit and a scrap of paper with three lines of a song from being sold by them. The items are believed to have been given to McCartney's former housekeeper and nanny Rose Martin about 30 years ago by his late wife Linda McCartney. The family of Mrs. Martin, who died aged 92 in 2013, had hoped to raise £30,000 from the sale of the items. However, auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: "Unfortunately, the lawyers have claimed that Sir Paul would never have given any clothing away." Other items up for sale during the Mar. 20 auction included the 1907 Bechstein Concert Grand piano used to compose the title track to the 1965 film Help!, which was also used by McCartney to compose "Yesterday." The instrument sold for £57,500. Jackets worn by George Harrison and Ringo Starr in Help! went for £54,000 and £61,100. - AP/New Musical Express, 3/23/14.
Cher kicked off her 49-date North American "Dressed To Kill" tour at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz., on Mar. 22 with a selection of her classic hits and trademark outrageous costumes. Three songs into the show, the 67-year-old pop icon broke into a monologue where she confessed that some of her costumes didn't fit right, that she couldn't remember the words to two of her songs, and that she broke the nail on her middle finger. But the sold-out, multi-generational crowd still adored her every word and move, and her distinctive voice was in good form, aided by a collective of female backup singers. Cher arrived on stage atop a pedestal in a glittering goddess gown -- complete with an elaborate, feathery headdress -- while singing the feminist anthem "Woman's World" from her latest album, Closer to the Truth, keeping the audience entertained during costume changes with video clips from her films, and footage of her alongside her late, former husband Sonny Bono. The only sliver of disappointment came when Cher told them this truly was the last time she'd hit the road: "I swear to God, this is my farewell, farewell tour," she said. "I'll be my mother if I do another concert," which was met with a chorus of boos. Meanwhile on the same day another famous '70s diva, Aretha Franklin, held an exclusive and small party in New York City for her 72nd birthday, which came on Mar. 25. In attendance was Franklin's longtime musical collaborator, record exec Clive Davis, along with actor Denzel Washington,, who Franklin thanked for attending. Just hours earlier, she saw him onstage in the Broadway play, "A Raisin In the Sun." Speaking to reporters, the Queen of Soul said that she's working on new music with rapper Andre 3000 and singer-songwriter and Madonna producer Babyface. "Babyface is working on the tracks," she said. Earlier in March, Franklin performed at the White House alongside Patti LaBelle, Jill Scott and other soul singers. "What a shoutin' good time we had," she exclaimed. "The White House is still rocking right now!" - Billboard/AP, 3/23/14.
AC/DC singer Brian Johnson made a surprise appearance at Billy Joel concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on Mar. 21 for a jam of the AC/DC classic "You Shook Me All Night Long." Joel introduced Johnson about halfway through the show, saying Johnson was part of one of the best bands he'd ever seen live. The packed arena erupted when Joel and his band began playing the rock anthem with Johnson on lead vocals. The show was part of a series of concerts by the Piano Man at the Garden, who has been playing there monthly as an artist-in-residence. The show included a mix of Joel standards such as "Uptown Girl" and "Big Shot" as well as less-played songs, such as "The Ballad of Billy the Kid." Meanwhile, Joel has officially announced the launch of The Billy Joel Channel on SiriusXM featuring music and interviews from the singer's 50-year career. The channel goes live at 6 p.m. ET on Mar. 26 and will run through June 25 via satellite on channel 4, online and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App. The Billy Joel Channel will play music from throughout the pianist's career, starting with his mid-1960s work with The Echoes to the myriad classics he recorded as a solo artist. It will also feature cuts from his upcoming live album, A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia, documenting Joel's 1987 Russian tour. Fans will also get to hear Joel discuss his legendary career and historic, ongoing Madison Square Garden residency, which finds the musician playing the arena once a month for the indefinite future. - AP/Rolling Stone, 3/22/14.
Rush has announced they are planning a worldwide tour in 2015 to celebrate their 40-plus years as a band. Little is known in terms of specifics about the tour, other than its potential spring 2015 start date. That said, guitarist Alex Lifeson notes that he thinks the band is "probably going to lean towards making it a real sort of fan event, and really try to put something together that's very pleasing for the fans across the board. That's always been difficult, for us to sort of balance things." Though it formed in 1968, Rush didn't release a proper album until 1974, its self-titled effort -- 40 years ago. Drummer Neil Peart also joined the band that year. Rush wrapped up its tour behind its latest album Clockwork Angels in 2013, and opted to take 2014 off. - Rolling Stone
The Rolling Stones have been confirmed as the third headliners of Denmark's Roskilde festival, which takes place from June 29 to July 6, 2014. The Stones will be joining previously announced headliners Arctic Monkeys at the annual bash, which this year will also feature Outkast, Deerhunter, Earl Sweatshirt, Haim, Kasabian and Rob Zombie, among others. The band recently postponed a series of upcoming shows in Australia and New Zealand until October, following the suicide of Mick Jagger's partner, fashion designer L'Wren Scott. Scott's death has been officially ruled as a suicide by hanging by the New York City medical examiner's office, and Jagger said he was "struggling" to understand what had happened and that he had been "touched" by tributes and messages of support he has received. - New Musical Express, 3/24/14.
Legendary stoner duo Cheech and Chong have announced they are teaming up again with director Jay Chandrasekhar (a veteran of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe) for a new film, their first in more than two decades. "[Jay is] working on a script right now for us," Tommy Chong recently told Rolling Stone magazine. "We've had some preliminary meetings. It looks really good. It looks really funny. It will be about us going to a festival called the Burning Joint. All sorts of shenanigans happen. It's going to be a lot of fun." Though the pair have appeared together in various films over the years, this would mark the first official Cheech & Chong movie since their 1983 sequel Still Smokin'. Given Chandrasekhar's stoner-friendly resume, which includes Broken Lizard vehicles like Super Troopers and Beerfest, the director seems like an ideal match for the doper duo. Chong says he hopes the as-yet-untitled project will begin filming this summer. Cheech and Chong also announced that they have recorded a new song with veteran funk band War and will tour with the group this summer. "That L.A. Sunshine" will be featured on Evolutionary, War's first new studio album in 20 years, which is due May 13. The tour kicks off April 5 in Corpus Christi, Tex., with additional dates listed on the pair's website. - Rolling Stone, 3/24/14.
Foreigner will kick off a 2014 UK tour on Apr. 3 at the Manchester 02 Apollo. The band will also perform a special acoustic concert -- "An Evening With Foreigner: Unplugged" -- at London's O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire on April 12. With openers Europe and FM, Foreigner is also set to play Newcastle (4/4), Glasgow (4/5), Nottingham (4/7), Sheffield (4/8), Portsmouth (4/9), Bristol (4/11), London (4/13) and Wolverhampton (4/15). - Noble PR
Elvis Presley's concert in Memphis in March 1974, when he returned to the city during a U.S. tour to perform in his hometown for the first time in 13 years, is featured in a new two-CD set. Elvis Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis includes a re-mastered version of the full concert, including songs that weren't on the original July 7, 1974 release on vinyl. The 1974 album featured the song "How Great Thou Art," which would win Presley a gospel Grammy. The set also includes a recently located recording of a test run for a show in Richmond, Va. when he returned to the city during a U.S. tour to perform in his hometown for the first time in 13 years, is featured in a new two-CD set. - AP
A representative for Mick Jagger is slamming rumors that the Rolling Stones frontman split from his current girlfriend, fashion designer L'Wren Scott, before she apparently committed suicide on Mar. 17. Scott, 47, as found hanging from a scarf in her Manhattan, New York apartment, and a report in the New York Post tabloid suggested Jagger had ended the relationship before the tragedy. "The story in the New York Post [about] a split between Mick Jagger and L'Wren Scott is 100 per cent untrue. There is absolutely no basis in fact to this story. It is a horrible and inaccurate piece of gossip during this very tragic time for Mick," the rep for Jagger said in a statement. The 70-year-old Jagger, who has been dating Scott since 2001, was in Australia for a Rolling Stones' tour Down Under when she passed away. The band arrived in Perth on Mar. 16, but cancelled a show scheduled there three days later after hearing of the tragedy, also postponing the remainder of their "14 On Fire" tour of Australia and New Zealand, "I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way," Jagger said in a post on his official website, mickjagger.com. "She had great presence and her talent was much admired, not least by me." News of Scott's tragic death also shocked friends, clients and fellow designers. It was unclear if Scott had shown any signs in her work or personal life indicating she was depressed or suicidal. Although Hollywood stars such as Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams and Penelope Cruz were pictured in the designer's sleek, form-fitting creations on the red carpet, her company reportedly had mounting debts. - WENN.com, 3/18/14.
Scott Asheton, drummer for legendary punk-rock band the Stooges, died on the evening of March 15 of as yet undisclosed causes. He was 64. Asheton's death was confirmed by Stooges frontman Iggy Pop the following day via a statement on his Facebook page. "My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night," Pop said. "Scott was a great artist, I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Asheton's have always been and continue to be a second family to me. My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life." Asheton co-founded the Stooges in 1967 along with Pop, bassist Dave Alexander, and his brother, guitarist Ron Asheton, who died in 2009. The band released three raw, genre-defining albums -- 1969's The Stooges, 1970's Fun House and 1973's Raw Power -- before splitting in 1974. The band eventually reformed in 2003 and released a new album, The Weirdness, in 2007. Asheton remained the Stooges' drummer until 2011, when a stroke caused his temporary retirement from live duty. Asheton, along with the rest of the band, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. - Billboard, 3/16/14.
Veteran comic David Brenner, one of the most frequent visitors on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show in the 1970s and 1980s, died in his New York City home on Mar. 15 after battling cancer. He was 78. Brenner, who was raised in working-class south Philadelphia and graduated with honors from Temple University, was a former documentary filmmaker who decided to give comedy a try in 1971, and his career soared after his first appearance on The Tonight Show in January of that year. Brenner went from being nearly broke to overwhelmed by a then-hefty $10,000 in job offers the day after he was on the show, and he went on to appear on the show more than 150 times both as a guest and subsitute host. Brenner took a brief stab at upping his TV fame with the 1976 sitcom Snip, and the lanky, always sharply dressed comedian also briefly hosted his own syndicated talk show in 1987 and starred in four HBO specials. Brenner wrote five books, including the post-9/11 I Think There's a Terrorist in My Soup, published in 2003. His last HBO special, David Brenner: Back with a Vengeance, debuted live in 2000. In a statement, his family said he left a last laugh: A final request that $100 in small bills be placed in his left sock "just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going." Besides son Cole, Brenner is survived by his wife, Ruth, sons Wyatt and Slade and a grandson, Wesley, according to a statement from the family. - AP, 3/16/14
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page announced on March 14 that the band will reissue its first three albums as deluxe editions, including previously unreleased tracks, on June 3 as part of its self-described extensive reissue program of all nine of its studio albums. Page has remastered each of the albums, which will be released as a single CD, two-disc deluxe edition, single LP on 180-gram vinyl (with a sleeve that replicates the original Led Zeppelin III moving wheel), deluxe-edition vinyl and digital download. The group is also making a limited-edition "Super Deluxe Boxed Set" of each album available that includes all of the audio on CD and vinyl, as well as a high-definition audio download card, a hard-bound book containing rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia and a high-quality print of the album cover, the first 30,000 of which will be numbered. The Super Deluxe edition of Led Zeppelin will also contain a replica of the band's original Atlantic press kit. "The material on the companion discs presents a portal to the time of the recording of 'Led Zeppelin,'" Page said in a statement. "It is a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions and new material recorded at the time." The catalog was last remastered 20 years ago, according to Page. In addition to the Led Zeppelin albums, Page also said that he would be releasing "some of my own material from the archives," but has yet to detail those releases. Meanwhile, Page is set to be honored by the prestigious Berklee College of Music during its May 10 commencement ceremony. "It's truly an honour to be the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate at Berklee as the music of America has been a primary driving force in my early years and pivotal to my musical development," Page said. Past Berklee honorees include David Bowie, Carole King, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler and George Clinton. - The Hollywood Reporter/Rolling Stone
As a "40th Anniversary Super Deluxe" version of Elton John's 1973 masterpiece Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is being readied to hit stores on Mar. 25 featuring unheard demos and a live concert from 1973, John recently told Rolling Stone that writing and recording the album "was a very exciting time in my life." "It was a time that we had no fear, nothing was beyond us. It's a wonderful thing the young have when they get on a roll. We were running on momentum and adrenaline. And then if you're a talented enough artist, you find your place within the playing field. And this was our example of being at the height of our creative powers," Elton told the magazine. "We could have put out other singles like 'Harmony,' and sold even more records... but we'd already finished Caribou by the time 'Bennie and the Jets' came out as a single. We were ready to move on," he added. - Rolling Stone
The Rolling Stones played China on March 12 for the first time since their debut there in 2006, headlining the Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena with a setlist altered due to government censorship. The band had been set to play the country for the first time in 2003 but the gigs were cancelled due to the Sars crisis. When they did play there, in 2006, songs including "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Women" and "Let's Spend The Night Together" were banned by the Chinese Ministry Of Culture. The band's Shanghai setlist included their 1971 song "Dead Flowers" and their classic "Street Fighting Man," the latter having been chosen by fans on the Stones' social media channels. Former member Mick Taylor is on tour with the band and joined them in Shanghai for songs including "Slipping Away" and "Midnight Rambler." Their "14 On Fire Tour," which kicked off with their first ever gig in the Middle East in February, will hit Singapore on Mar. 15 as they make their way through Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile, Stones guitarist Keith Richards has announced he's writing a children's book. Richards, 70, says the book will be called Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, and will published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. "Gus" is Gus Dupree, Richards' beloved musician-grandfather. In a statement issued by the publisher, Richards said the book was based on his experience with Dupree. "I have just become a grandfather for the fifth time, so I know what I'm talking about," says Richards. "The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me." One of Richards' daughters, Theodora Richards, will provide illustrations for the book. - New Musical Express/AP
In a recent interview with Guitar World magazine, Gene Simmons of Kiss claimed he once had to talk Eddie Van Halen out of leaving his namesake band and joining up with Kiss. "He was so unhappy about how he and [David Lee] Roth were -- or weren't -- getting along. He couldn't stand him. And drugs were rampant," Simmons said. Simmons says Van Halen took him out to lunch at a diner across the street from New York's record plant studio. "Eddie said, 'I want to join Kiss. I don't want to fight anymore with Roth. I'm sick and tired of it. But I told him, 'Eddie, there's not enough room. You need to be in a band where you can direct the music. You're not going to be happy in Kiss.' I talked him out of it. It didn't fit." Meanwhile, Simmons' bandmate Paul Stanley recently told Billboard that "95 percent of the autobiographies by any of my contemporaries would be better suited on a roll of soft paper, so at least you could use it for something." Stanley, who will soon release his own autobiography, Face the Music: A Life Exposed on April 8, went on to describe others' works as "nothing more than self-serving fantasies or delusions or love letters to themselves." Stanley also didn't limit his scorn to other bands, saying he thought Gene Simmons' book "was told from his point of view, but Gene puts himself in the epicenter of everything, and that might be because he's an only child." "After reading some of it and having been present at much of what went on in that book, it just wasn't accurate so I didn't read it," Stanley added. Kiss announced on Mar. 17 that they'll embark a co-headlining tour of North America this summer with Def Leppard this summer, beginning on June 23 in West Valley City, Utah. The 42-city jaunt will hit many major markets and wrap Aug. 31 in Woodlands, Tex. - Rolling Stone/Billboard
The world's leading chimp expert has claimed that Michael Jackson's pet monkey, Bubbles, was beaten while in the care of the pop superstar. Jane Goodall, a British primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist, made the claim following a recent public speaking appearance in Washington, D.C. According to TMZ.com, Goodall said that she did not know who was responsible for "brutalizing" the animal but that she had confronted Jackson about it prior to his death in 2009 and that it had "ticked off" the musician. Meanwhile, TMZ is also reporting that Jackson's personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray he has now found a new position following his release from prison last year. Murray has been hired as a volunteer consultant by the Trinidad Ministry of Health. The website reports Murray will be advising heart surgeons and offering up his services for free. Murray spent nearly two years in jail on an involuntary manslaughter charge stemming from the death of his most famous patient in 2009. His medical license was revoked in Texas and suspended in both California and Nevada. - NME/WENN.com