Posted by Administrator on May 25th, 2015
A previously unknown letter written by George Harrison in May 1966 explaining why the Beatles pulled out of a recording session with famed Memphis Stax Studios producer Jim Stewart has surfaced and is now for sale for $20,000 by a Los Angeles-based rock collectibles dealer. The letter reveals that the Fab Four were seriously considering a session with Stewart, but it did not happen due to financial reasons. "We would all like it a lot," Harrison wrote in the letter to Atlanta DJ Paul Drew, "but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word 'Beatles,' and so it fell through!" It had previously been thought security issues were the reason the Beatles backed out of the session. As well, Stewart's possible involvement is a new revelation, over George Martin's who was the only producer the Beatles ever worked with until the end of the band's career three years later. Collectibles dealer Jeff Gold acquired the letter from Drew's widow after he passed away in 2013. "When I read the Stax part I was like, 'What the hell is this?' I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this stuff and I knew it was a major revelation," Gold told Rolling Stone magazine. The letter was written while the Beatles were at the early stages of recording Revolver and is postmarked May 7, 1966. It also reveals an understanding of the Beatles' and the album Yesterday and Today, which it had been thought was released largely without the Beatles' awareness. "The album we are making now should be out around October," Harrison wrote. "But I hear Capitol will make an intermediate album with unused tracks from Rubber Soul, a few old singles and about two or three of the new tracks we have just cut. Well I am off to the studio any minute, as soon as John and Ringo arrive." Harrison ends the letter with a thanks to Drew for sending him records records by Edwin Starr and Mrs. Miller. Drew was an influential radio DJ and program director who formed a friendship with the Beatles after traveling with the group on its 1964 and 1965 world tour. - Billboard, 5/25/15...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney was joined by his pal Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters at the first of a two-night stand at London's O2 Arena on May 23. Grohl appeared during the set to provide vocals and guitar on "I Saw Her Standing There," and the set was also noteworthy for another reason: McCartney performed "Temporary Secretary," a song from 1980's McCartney II, live for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Sir Paul has collaborated with Lady Gaga for a song on the soundtrack of the upcoming film High in the Clouds. McCartney has already written seven or eight songs for the film, which is based on his 2005 children's book of the same name. Lady Gaga previously revealed the pair had been working together when she posted an Instagram picture of the pair -- along with Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready -- in the studio together. - New Musical Express, 5/25/15...... A memorial event for late blues guitarist B.B. King was held in Las Vegas on May 23, with the likes of Carlos Santana, Bon Jovi member Richie Sambora and King's drummer Tony Coleman attending. King's closed casket lay framed by an array of floral arrangements, two of his guitars named "Lucille" and a tapestry showing him in eyes-clenched reverie picking a note from a section of the guitar frets dubbed by followers the "B.B. King Box." King passed away in his sleep aged 89 on May 14 and will be laid to rest in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi on May 30. His body will be flown on May 27 to Memphis, Tenn., the place where a young King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. Organizers in Memphis said a musical tribute is scheduled for 11 a.m. that day in W.C. Handy Park on Beale Street, near a blues club that bears King's name. After that, the body will be driven to Indianola, which King considered his hometown. In other King news, two of his heirs who have been most outspoken about the blues legend's care in his final days are accusing King's two closest aides of poisoning him. Daughters Karen Williams and Patty King allege that family members were prevented from visiting while King's business manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, hastened their father's death. "I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances," Patty King and Williams say in identically worded sections of affidavits provided to The Associated Press by their lawyer, Larissa Drohobyczer. "I believe my father was murdered," they say. Toney and Johnson each declined to comment. - NME/AP, 5/25/15...... In related news, Los Angeles prosecutors announced on May 22 that they won't file elder abuse charges against the widow of late radio personality Casey Kasem despite efforts by three of Casem's children to have her prosecuted. A charge evaluation sheet released by the L.A. County District Attorney's Office said Kasem had received consistent medical care in his final days and that it wouldn't be appropriate to charge Jean Kasem. "Because of Mr. Kasem's longstanding profound health issues, this case cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury," the decision read. Jean Kasem was married to the celebrity announcer for more than 30 years but was stripped of control over his medical care in the final days of his life. Casey Kasem died in June 2014 in Washington state, where Jean Kasem had taken him after checking him out of a Los Angeles-area medical facility where he was receiving around-the-clock care. The longtime "American Top 40" host had a form of dementia and a severe bedsore when he died. - AP, 5/22/15...... The Rolling Stones kicked off their North American "Zip Code Tour" on May 24 at Petco Park in San Diego, two days after playing a surprise set at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. At the inimate club show, the band performed its 1971 album Sticky Fingers in its entirety, bookended with "Start Me Up," "When the Whip Comes Down," and "All Down the Line" at the beginning and an encore set of B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose." The Stones will play 15 "Zip Code" dates to July 15 at the Festival D'ete de Quebec in Quebec City. The group is also releasing deluxe reissues of 1971's Sticky Fingers album on June 9, as well as a The Marquee -- Live in 1971 CD/DVD package on June 23 and a 12-inch vinyl version of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" on July 12 to mark its 50th anniversary. Also, Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood has just published How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary, a lavish recreation of a journal he kept -- with both prose and sketches -- during 1965, when he was playing in a British band called The Birds (which actually sued The Byrds when the American group visited Britain during 1965). Among How Can It Be?'s tales is how Wood's Birds failed their audition with the BBC on the same day The Who passed theirs. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/25/15...... Speaking of The Who, frontman Roger Daltrey called out a member of the audience for smoking pot when the band played Nassau Colliseum in New York on May 20. "The show will be over," Daltrey warned the fan. "It's your choice, I can't do anything about it. I'm doing my best." After other audience members shouted out "Eat it," Who guitarist Pete Townsend also got in on the action with a rather colorful remark. Immediately after the incident, Townsend went right back into concert mode. The incident reportedly took place three songs into the show and there had been an anti-smoking announcement prior to the show. According to the paper Newsday, the pot smoke had an almost immediate effect on Daltrey's voice, "which went from crystal clear and potent for the opening 'I Can't Explain' to something rougher and more limited during 'I Can See for Miles.'" "My voice is shutting down," said Daltrey, who is reportedly allergic to marijuana smoke. However, it seemed he recovered several songs later. - Billboard, 5/22/15...... In a lengthy and revealing interview with the UK paper The Telegraph on May 24, former Simon & Garfunkel member Art Garfunkel described his erstwhile partner Paul Simon as an "idiot" and a "jerk" for ending S&G and said that Simon had become a "monster." Garfunkel said that he found it "strange" that they went their separate ways not long after releasing their biggest hit record to date, the phenomenally successful Bridge Over Troubled Water. "I don't want to say any anti-Paul Simon things, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead," Garfunkel said. "(It's) Crazy. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry." Garfunkel added that he envisaged the duo taking a year's break from each other and resume duties as part of one of the world's biggest musical acts at that time. Garfunkel then goes on to agree with the interviewer's assertion that Simon may have had a Napoleon complex given his small stature and that became an issue between them. Garfunkel claims he became friends with Simon in school as he felt sorry for him because of his height, offering the shorter man friendship and love as compensation, he adds "that compensation gesture has created a monster." Since their breakup in 1971, Simon & Garfunkel performed together on and off over the years last appearing together in 2010, and Garfunkel is still open to touring together with Simon. "Will I do another tour with Paul? Well, that's quite do-able. When we get together, with his guitar, it's a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So, as far as this half is concerned, I would say, 'Why not, while we're still alive?' Garfunkel adds: "But I've been in that same place for decades. This is where I was in 1971." - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/25/15...... Gene Simmons of Kiss recently told a Dutch Kiss fansite that the group will record their 21st album sometime in 2016 after they "finish a whole slew of shows" this year, despite frontman Paul Stanley's apparent misgivings about releasing new music. "It will happen when we have time. I have music in me that needs to come out. I recently wrote a song called 'Your Wish Is My Command'. It feels like a Kiss song and it just needs to be released on a Kiss album," Simmons said. Simmons claims all four current members of the group are behind the project and that Stanley is set to produce, despite recently being quoted as saying releasing a new album didn't "feel necessary". "I'm glad [Paul is producing]," Simmons explained. "I no longer have the energy to come to the studio every day. Paul doesn't have so many other things in his life that demand attention, so he can concentrate fully on the project." - NME, 5/22/15...... Neil Diamond played two sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl on May 23 and 24, some 43 years after he recorded his iconic album Hot August Night at L.A.'s Greek Theater. Trim, bearded and clad in all-black (a sport coat and untucked shirt, no tie), Diamond emerged beneath a 3D projection of a massive, spinning diamond to whoops of appreciation from the generation-spanning crowd. He opened with the catchy "I'm a Believer," his 1966 composition made famous by the Monkees, and followed that with the deliciously maudlin "Love on the Rocks," one of three classics from his one attempt at movie stardom, 1980's The Jazz Singer. "How great it is to be back in my hometown," Diamond said of the city he's called home since 1968. "My hometown -- meaning that four of my doctors are here tonight... and my shrink." After a 20-song main set, his encore songs included performances of "Cracklin' Rosie," "Sweet Caroline," "America," "Heartlight" and an instrumental of "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show." - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/24/15...... Billy Joel received an honorary doctorate from Long Island's Stony Brook University during commencement ceremonies on May 22. The Piano Man received an honorary doctor of music degree, and said he's "one of the lucky ones." Joel told graduates that he knew he wanted to be a musician from a very young age, and wished them the commitment to make what they love their life's work. He also encouraged them to have the stamina to continue that work when they encounter resistance and tough times. - AP, 5/24/15...... A rep for Ozzy Osbourne's wife Sharon Osbourne recently revealed to People magazine that she is taking a one-month break from her co-hosting position on her TV show The Talk. Osbourne, 62, reportedly collapsed at her home on May 15 when she returned to Los Angeles from a trip to New York and Toronto. She "collapsed from mental and physical fatigue" Osbourne's rep told People. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath guitarist Geezer Butler said on May 21 that he had "absolutely no idea" if a rumoured Black Sabbath tour in 2016 would actually happen after Ozzy's announcement that the band will embark on a full farewell tour and release their final album next year. Butler said: "I'd love to keep going, I'd desperately want to keep going before I kick the bucket". Butler's bandmate, guitarist Tony Iommi added: "It'd be lovely to do a last tour, it'd be really nice to do that." - NME, 5/22/15...... Songwriter and current ASCAP president Paul Williams was recognized for his songwriting achievements at the Ivor Novello Awards in London on May 21. Presented by the nonprofit British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, Williams received the PRS for Music special international award recognizing his work on such classic songs as "The Rainbow Connection," "Evergreen," "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays." "I'm incredibly honored to receive this award," said Williams. "Over the course of my career I've been fortunate to build relationships and work with so many gifted songwriters and artists in the UK. I'm especially gratified to be recognized by my peers in this country." The Ivor Novello Awards celebrate excellence in British and Irish songwriting and composing. Other winners included Black Sabbath, recipient of the lifetime achievement prize. - Billboard, 5/22/15...... Neil Young has posted a new song online criticizing the Starbucks coffee chain for its alleged involvement with his longtime nemesis, the agrochemical company Monsanto and its use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The track, called "Rock Starbucks," is reportedly set to be included on Young's next album, a concept album called The Monsanto Years. Young is reportedly making the album with Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah, with whom he played a surprise show in San Luis Obispo, Calif. earlier this year. The Monsanto Years is due out June 16. - NME, 5/22/15...... British pop star Cliff Richard has put his home up for sale following police raids last August in relation to alleged sexual offenses. "Cliff told me he's just put the flat on the market," said Richard's friend, singer Cilla Black. "It's the saddest thing for him, but he had to do it. He said he never wants to live there again. It's awful. Cliff is not all right, not at all." In February 2015, police confirmed that enquiries into "more than one allegation" of historical sex offenses involving Cliff Richard had "increased significantly in size." Richard was first interviewed by police in relation to an alleged historical sex offence in August 2014. He has never been arrested or charged. - NME, 5/22/15...... Former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters will play his first show in two years this summer at the Newport Folk Festival in Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island. Waters will headline the event, which runs from July 24-26. It will be his first performance at the US festival. Waters' last live show was in September 2013. - NME, 5/21/15...... Despite a sensational story in the UK tabloid The Daily Mail that multi-millionaire rock star Eric Clapton lets his Canadian half-brother "Fast Eddie" Fryer live in "sub-Dickensian squalor," Fryer says he's doing all right and bears no ill-will towards his famous sibling. "This writer came in and did a character assassination on the place where I live," Fryer told Vancouver's The Province, referring to the Downtown Eastside rooming house he calls home. It may be Canada's poorest neighbourhood, but Fryer -- who has late-stage cirrhosis of the liver -- says it's a good place for him to be. "Granted it is not the Hilton," Fryer said. "It is a shelter that has a medical team and they do a good job of looking after me." Fryer, who learned in 1998 that he and Clapton have the same biological father, shares some striking similarities with his brother. Both are musicians and both have struggled with heroin addiction. But while Clapton got clean and became world famous, Fryer's career never took off, and he's been on and off the wagon for years. He says he and his brother write letters sometimes, and Clapton once praised a demo tape Fryer mailed him. While he'd love to jam with Clapton one day, he told The Province he expects nothing from his half-brother. "I have never asked him for money," he said. "A person is not entitled to another person's achievements." - Postmedia Network, 5/22/15...... Funk/R&B bassist Louis Johnson, a former member of the '70s group the Brothers Johnson, died on May 21 at the age of 60. Johnson, a founding member of the Brothers Johnson and a longtime collaborator of Quincy Jones', worked with the legendary producer on albums like Michael Jackson's Thriller and Off the Wall, as well as Jones' own Mellow Madness. With the Brothers Johnson, the bassist would top the Hot R&B Charts three times with 1976's "I'll Be Good to You," 1977's "Strawberry Letter 23" and 1980's "Stomp!" Their highly successful 1976 debut Look Out for #1 was produced by Jones, and by the group's fourth album (also their fourth to go platinum) Light Up the Night, they counted King of Pop Michael Jackson as one of their backup singers. "Thunder Thumbs," as he came to be called, was also one of the pioneers of slap bass, making him an in-demand session player for everyone from Stanley Clarke to Donna Summer. Many of his classic grooves for artists like George Duke and Michael McDonald have also received a second life as some of hip-hop's most popular samples. "He was a dear and beloved friend and brother," Quincy Jones said, "and I will miss his presence and joy of life every day." - Billboard, 5/22/15...... Famed Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, who performed with such artists as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Joe Cocker, passed away from heart failure on May 21 in Ann Arbor, Mich., after battling heart and pulmonary disease for several years. He was 78. A Chester, Pa., native who settled in Detroit during the early '60s -- where he played on Motown hits such as "Dancing in the Street," "My Girl" and more -- Belgrave also worked with jazzbos Max Roach, Charles Mingus and Clark Terry, among others; in addition to his own albums, Belgrave's recording resume includes works by McCoy Tyner, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Henderson and B.B. King. Belgrave had been slated to perform at two upcoming Detroit festivals -- the Concert of Colors in July and the Detroit Jazz Festival over Labor Day Weekend. - Billboard, 5/24/15...... Actor and comedian Anne Meara, who gained fame as half of the comedy team Stiller & Meara and the mother of actor Ben Stiller, died on May 23 at the age of 85. Ms. Meara was twice nominated for an Emmy award for her supporting role on Archie Bunkers Place, along with three other Emmy nods, most recently in 1997 for her guest-starring role on Homicide. Ms. Meara also won a Writers Guild Award for the 1983 TV movie The Other Woman. The Stiller family released a statement on May 24 which they described Jerry Stiller as Meara's "husband and partner in life," but no other details on her death were provided. "The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long," the statement said. The couple performed as Stiller & Meara on The Ed Sullivan Show and other programs in the 1960s and won awards for the radio and TV commercials they made together. Meara also appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, including a long-time role on All My Children and recurring roles on Rhoda, Sex and the City and The King of Queens. - The Guardian, 5/24/15.
Viking publishers announced on May 20 that they have acquired the rights to a Barbra Streisand autobiography to be published in 2017 in what is expected to be one of the biggest blockbuster celebrity memoirs of the year. "Barbra Streisand's memoir is the entertainment story that has been on the top of every publisher's wish list for years," Viking president Brian Tart said in a press release. "There are over fifty unauthorized biographies about Ms. Streisand that are full of myths and inaccuracies, and she is finally going to tell her own story." The singer/actress/director/producer, who once sang about misty water-colored memories" in her hit 1974 song "The Way We Were," will reminisce about her participation in such iconic films as Funny Girl, The Way We Were, Yentl, Meet the Fockers and Prince of Tides, as well as her two marriages, to Elliott Gould and James Brolin. Streisand is the only person to earn Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, and Peabody awards, as well as receiving Kennedy Center Honors and the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/20/15...... The Who's Pete Townshend marked his 70th birthday on May 19 by releasing a new track titled "Guantanamo," about the (in)famous American military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "I thought this song might never see the light of day, but now President Obama has relaxed sanctions in Cuba, it is a happy sign he might go further," Townshend said in a statement. "Technically this was created in rather a laborious way," he continued. "I recorded a long organ drone using my vintage Yamaha E70 organ (used many times by me on Who and solo recordings in the past), and then cut it into something that sounded like a song using a feature unique to Digital Performer called 'chunks'. This creates blocks of groups of tracks that can be assembled and disassembled easily, like cutting multi-track analogue tape with a razor blade, but with less blood. The lyric grew out of the implicit angry frustration in the organ tracks." "Guantanamo" will be featured in an upcoming new 17-song compilation of the musician's work set for release via UMC/Universal MG on June 30, Truancy: The Very Best Of Pete Townshend. The release also includes remastered versions of the Townshend singles "Rough Boys," "Let My Love Open The Door," "English Boy" and "Face The Face," among others. Shortly before the release, Townshend will play two UK dates, the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park on June 26, and the Glastonbury music fest on June 28. - New Musical Express, 5/19/15...... The Rolling Stones have announed an eclectic mix of opening acts on their forthcoming North American Zip Code Tour, which gets underway on May 24 in San Diego. Guy Clark, Kid Rock, Grace Potter, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Temperance Movement, Braid Paisley, AWOLNATION, Buddy Guy, Ed Sheeran, Avett Brothers and Walk the Moon will open for the venerable British band on their dates in San Diego, Columbus, Oh., Minneapolis, Atlanta, Orlando, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Mo., Raleigh, NC, and Detroit, respectively. The band will have no opener for their shows in Dallas, Indianapolis, Buffalo, NY, or the closer, a July 15 show in Quebec, Quebec. In conjunction with the tour, the Stones will release a deluxe edition of their classic 1971 set Sticky Fingers with bonus unreleased tracks. Meanwhile, Mick Jagger allegedly correctly predicted the results of the recent UK general election, according to political advisor Jim Messina, who served as campaign manager for US president Barack Obama. "One of the savviest political observers I've come across is Mick Jagger," Messina told Politico.com. "I was invited to a dinner that included the legendary rocker in London before the British election (I took about 9,000 selfies), when I discovered that Mick has been a bit of a political junkie his whole life." Messina said Jagger predicted David Cameron's Tories would regain control because "the average guy thinks Cameron makes tough decisions and things are getting a bit better... They won't change from that." Although Jagger is a keen observer of both the UK and US political scenes, he is not known as an activist and doesn't take sides. - Billboard/NME, 5/20/15...... Bob Dylan was the musical guest of David Letterman on the penultimate episode of his long-running CBS talk show on May 19. Letterman introduced Dylan as "the greatest songwriter of modern times," before the delivered an intimate performance of "The Night We Called It a Day," from his latest album Shadows in the Night. Dylan last graced the stage of Letterman's iconic program back in 1993, having first appeared on it in 1984. Shadows, a collection of covers of songs Frank Sinatra recorded in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, topped Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart, opened at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200, and peaked at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart. - Billboard, 5/20/15...... David Crosby has apologized to his onetime Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate Neil Young for remarks he made about Young's girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah, in a September 2014 interview with the Idaho Statesman newspaper, calling her a "purely poisonous predator." "I was completely out of line," Young said on Howard Stern's Sirius radio program on May 18. "I'm screwed up way worse than that girl. Where do I get off criticising her? She's making Neil happy. I love Neil and I want him happy." Crosby continued: "Daryl, if you're out there, I apologise. Where do I get off criticising you? There are people I can criticise: politicians, pond scum. Not other artists that have gone through a hard life, same as me. She hasn't had it easy either." Crosby also revealed that Young had contacted him after the comments' publication. "He wanted me to print a retraction," he said. "I said, 'I don't know about that.' The first thing that I did was apologize right away. I said, 'Neil, I shouldn't have shot my mouth off. I'm sorry.'" When Young appeared on Stern's show in October, he was adamant that CSN&Y would never reunite. "We were together for a long time. We did some good work. Why should we get together and celebrate how great we were? What difference does it make?," he said. - NME, 5/19/15...... The UK's Screen Daily magazine is reporting that a planned biopic of the Kinks, directed by Julien Temple, has been cast. Johnny Flynn of the UK TV series Scrotal Recall and George Mackay (of the 2014 film Pride), will portray Kinks founding brothers Ray and Dave Davies, respectively. "The project, which will focus on the tension between genious [sic] songwriter rivalry Ray Davies and his rebel rousing [sic] brother Dave Davies will hit your face sometime next year," Temple previously posted on his official website. Temple is also the director of the Kinks' popular video for their 1980's hit "Come Dancing" and directed the 1988 film Earth Girls Are Easy as well as the 1980 Sex Pistols mockumentary The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. The Kinks biopic is expected to be released sometime in 2016. - Billboard, 5/19/15...... In an interview with London's Evening Standard paper on May 16, Paul McCartney said he felt "lucky" and "flattered" to have recently worked with controversial hip-hop star Kayne West. "It's good to connect with different artists," said McCartney, who collaborated with West on three tracks on West's forthcoming album. "The secret is I keep myself very open to suggestions -- I still feel like I'm about 30." Sir Paul continued" "I'm lucky that someone like Kanye would go, 'Yes I would like to work with Paul McCartney'. I was quite flattered -- I thought, 'Why does he want to work with me?' It was a few months later when I was starting to think, 'should I ring him and ask him did anything come of the stuff we did?' But then I thought 'I can't do that -- that's too soppy!' I'll just leave it and try and act cool." - NME, 5/20/15...... In other Beatles-related news, a Maton Mastersound guitar owned by George Harrison and played by him at nearly a dozen gigs in July and August 1963, including a hometown show in Liverpool, sold for $485,000 at a Julien's auction on May 17. According to Julien's, the Maton guitar was loaned to Harrison by Barratt's Music Store to use while his famous Gibson Country Gentleman was being repaired. It was later bought by Roy Barber, guitarist with Dave Berry and The Cruisers, who was informed of its previous owner. Barber played the instrument for several years until he retired it to storage where it stayed for two decades. Following Barber's death, his widow auctioned the guitar at Sotheby's in 2002. - NME, 5/17/15...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the site of the band's famous 1968 spiritual retreat in northern India, where the band visited for a transcendental meditation experience conducted by guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and allegedly wrote 48 songs for 'The White Album" while staying there, has reportedly become overgrown by forest and wildlife. "Today the ashram is a ghostly relic of [The Beatles'] days," BBC correspondent Soutik Biswas, who recently visited the site, writes. "Mildewed and grotty stone and concrete buildings peep out of overgrown bushes and thick forests in a national park where some 1,700 elephants live, alongside tigers and leopards." The article points out that the ashram, which was opened by Maharishi in 1957, was abandoned in the mid-70s. The site has since become a place of pilgrimage for Beatles fans, but one local resident says that "The gods have left the place, but the devotees keep on coming." - NME, 5/16/15...... David Bowie has announced he will re-release his smash 1983 single "Let's Dance" as a limited-edition single on yellow vinyl on July 16 to mark the opening of Bowie's "David Bowie Is" exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. The AA-side seven-inch will include the original single version of the track, along with a live recording of the song taken from Bowie's Serious Moonlight Tour date in Vancouver, Canada. Both tracks have been remastered especially for the release, and will be limited to just 550 copies at the Australian Centre For The Moving Image (ACMI) gallery. Bowie has also announced plans to re-release his 1975 No. 1 single "Fame" for its 40th anniversary on July 24, backed with an alternate mix of its fellow Young Americans track "Right." - NME, 5/19/15...... Members of the heavy metal bands Black Sabbath, Megadeth and Stone Sour marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Ronnie James Dio on May 16 during a musical tribute at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills on May 16. Dio, who played in Black Sabbath, DIO, Heaven & Hell and Rainbow, died of cancer in 2010. - NME, 5/18/15...... Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters, who has long lobbied for musicians to boycott Israel due to, in his view, the country's mistreatment of Palestinians and occupation of their land, has responded to criticism from pop singer Dionne Warwick over his political views. Warwick, who performed a concert in Tel Aviv on May 19, recently told The Jerusalem Post that "art has no boundaries" and that she "would never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel." Now Waters has written a piece for Salon.com in which he rebuffed the singer's comments. "It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here," Waters wrote. "The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government." Waters continued: "I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art does know boundaries. In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights -- social, political and religious -- on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet." - NME, 5/19/15...... Cable TV's CNN will launch a new eight-part documentary series on the Seventies, simply titled The Seventies, on June 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. "The Seventies will examine the individuals and events that influenced and shaped a decade that had a profound impact on America," CNN says. "Through the use of raw and rarely seen archival footage, as well as interviews with journalists, historians, musicians and television artists who were eyewitnesses to history, The Seventies paints a vivid portrait of a period of lasting consequence." The premiere episode, "Television Gets Real," explores how television matured into the medium people know today with network programming like MASH, the half-hour comedies of Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons), and new formats including the made-for-TV movie, miniseries (Roots), and two of the most successful franchises in television history (Monday Night Football and Saturday Night Live). The episode features commentary from TV titans Tom Hanks, Garry Marshall, Norman Lear, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, Valerie Harper, and LeVar Burton among many others. The Seventies, which will also be simulcast on the Internet via CNNgo, follows in the footsteps of the top-rated, critically-acclaimed series The Sixties, which was also produced by Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone Productions, and precedes the recently announced The Eighties, which will air in 2016. The premiere episode of The Seventies will be available for free on CNN.com for one week beginning June 12. - CNN, 5/15/15.