Posted by Administrator on Dec. 28th, 2015
After the Beatles made their back catalog available for streaming on all platforms on Dec. 24 as "a holiday gift to their fans," the Spotify service says their songs were added to 673,000 of their listeners' playlists in the first two days. And it appears it isn't only more mature music fans who are listening to the Fab Four -- Spotify reports that 65% of those listeners are under the age of 34. The top 10 Beatles tracks among U.S. listeners -- which include "Come Together," "Hey Jude," "Here Comes the Sun," "Let It Be," "Twist and Shout," "Blackbird," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "In My Life," "She Loves You," and "Help!" -- focus mainly on the hits, however "Blackbird" and "In My Life" were never exactly radio hits in America. Globally, "Love Me Do," "Yesterday" and "All You Need Is Love" appear in the top 10 Beatles streamers, with "Come Together" also topping the list. - Billboard, 12/26/15...... Guitarist Richard Lloyd, a founding member of the critically acclaimed '70s NYC band Television, has revealed he's leaving the Big Apple after residing there for 50 years and relocating to Tennessee. Speaking to The Village Voice, Lloyd said he plans to live on "a 54-acre farm that is no longer used as a farm." A nearby barn will serve as a music studio for the 64-year-old musician, who says he's "very emotional, of course, but... happy about it." "I love New York and I'm already homesick for it; it's always been so satisfying to live here," Lloyd noted. "So many of my friends who were so much a part of New York moved away, though. Now I'll be one of them," he added. Lloyd, who moved to New York's Greenwhich Village with his family in the 1950s, joined Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell to form Television in 1973. Although the band went on to great critical acclaim with its seminal 1977 album Marquee Moon, commercial success eluded it. Television, alongside contemporaries like Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones and the New York Dolls, were affiliated with the late '70s New York punk scene that emerged from the downtown club CBGB. Verlaine, who was named the 90th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2011, cited his need for addtional space to house decade's worth of equipment, along with the high cost of living in New York City, as reasons for the move. - Billboard, 12/24/15...... The Columbia House Record Club, known to many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers as a convenient way to amass a record collection but which fell out of favor with buyers after CDs became popular, will reportedly be revived soon with a focus on vinyl records. John Lippman the CEO of Filmed Entertainment Inc., bought the remains of the legendary mail-order brand for about $1.5 million in a chapter 11 bankruptcy sale in August (creditors of its $62 million in liabilites include Universal, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Anchor Bay and others) after no other suitors offered to buy it. "For a category that is meaningful and growing rapidly, you don't see a whole lot of choice," Lippman said of his plans to market vinyl records. He said the service may resemble a book-of-the-month club but with more choices, where subscribers will have "some ability to choose the records, genres of music and possibly other types of media they receive." As for pricing, Lippman hinted that he's considering a dialed-down (you're not getting 10 vinyl records for a dollar) version of Columbia House's old promotion schemes. According to the RIAA, vinyl sales were up over 50 percent in the first half of 2015. However that increased demand has put pressure on the limited number of record pressing plants, and in some cases it takes up to four months for record labels to get their vinyl orders back. - Billboard, 12/23/15...... William Guest, a former member of Gladys Knight and the Pips, died of congestive heart failure in Detroit on Dec. 24. He was 74. Guest performed with the Grammy-winning group from 1953 to 1989, singing background vocals on such hits as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Midnight Train to Georgia." After the group disbanded, Guest and another member, the late Edward Patten, formed a production company. He later served as CEO of Crew Records, and released his autobiography Midnight Train From Georgia: A Pips Journey in 2013 with his sister-in-law, Dhyana Ziegler. - AP, 12/25/15...... Famed basketball jester George "Meadowlark" Lemon, who entertained millions of fans around the world with his antics as a longtime member of the Harlem Globetrotters, passed away in his sleep on Dec. 27 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 83. Known as the "Clown Prince of Basketball," Mr. Lemon played 24 seasons and, by his own estimate, more than 16,000 games with the Globetrotters, the touring exhibition basketball team known for its slick ball-handling, practical jokes, red-white-and-blue uniforms and endless winning streaks against overmatched opponents. He also was one of a handful of Globetrotters whose fame transcended sports, especially among children during the team's heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Lemon was immortalized in a Harlem Globetrotters cartoon series and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, episodes of Scooby Doo, and many national TV commercials. Born in Wilmington, N.C., Mr. Lemon joined the Globetrotters in 1954 after serving two years in the Army. Over the next quarter-century, he and the team played almost everywhere, from high school gyms to Madison Square Garden to an exhibition in Moscow during the Cold War. After a salary dispute, Mr. Lemon left the Globetrotters in 1979 to form his own comedic basketball teams, which performed under the names Meadowlark Lemon's Bucketeers, the Shooting Stars, and Meadowlark Lemon's Harlem All Stars. He returned to the Harlem Globetrotters for a 50-game "comeback" tour in 1993. Mr. Lemon, who was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003, spent the last several years of his life serving as an ordained minister and motivational speaker. - CNN, 12/28/15...... Steven Wright, the frontman of the '60s Australian band The Easybeats, died of undisclosed causes in a New South Wales hospital on Dec. 26. He was 68. Wright formed The Easybeats in 1964, and the group became one of Australia's most beloved and popular acts soon after. The band's best known song, "Friday On My Mind," hit No. 1 in Australia in 1966 and also charted in other countries. It was also covered by David Bowie on his 1973 album, Pin-Ups. After touring with bands including the Rolling Stones in the late '60s, The Easybeats broke up, and Wright formed Vanda and Young, who charted a hit called "Evie" in 1974. Wright, who struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for decades and later suffered from liver and kidney problems, gave his last performance at the Legends of Rock Festival in 2009. - Billboard, 12/27/15.
After rumors began circulating on Dec. 18 that the Beatles would make their entire back catalog available for streaming starting Christmas Eve, on Dec. 23 the band confirmed that their fans' long wait was indeed over and that their catalog -- all 13 UK albums and 4 compilations -- will be available across all platforms on Dec. 24. The Fab Four, one of the most persistent holdouts in the digital age of music listening, had made their music available to Apple iTunes exclusively in 2010, but there's no such exclusivity in their new streaming plan: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Slacker, Microsoft's Groove, and Rhapsody (including its Napster service in the UK) will all have access to the band's library of classic songs. It took the band, which as an entity has been notoriously slow in adopting and adapting to new technology, six years to arrive on the iTunes, selling two million songs during its first week. The Beatles took 25 years, since its 1970 breakup, to issue the comprehensive Anthology documentary, and it didn't get involved with video games until The Beatles: Rock Band was released in 2009. Their music was released on CD in 1987, but the band didn't remaster their work until 22 years later. The Beatles join the streaming revolution just as music consumption on such platforms has begun to officially overtake downloads in revenue generation for major labels. They've sold 178 million albums in the U.S., according to the RIAA. - Billboard, 12/23/15...... In other Beatles-related news, Paul McCartney was a "special elf" brought onstage by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band during a yuletide performance on NBC's Saturday Night Live on Dec. 19. As the Boss played the Christmas classic "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" over the closing credits of the show, Macca joined the band on stage adding to the merriment with some jingle bells. "Tina, have you been good?" Springsteen asked Tina Fey, who shared hosting duties with Amy Poehler. "Amy? Paul?" It was the first time McCartney and Springsteen had shared the same stage since appearing together at a 2012 concert in London that went past curfew, resulting in the pulling of the plug. In a similar moment, NBC cut the performance of "Santa Claus" before the song concluded. Springsteen also performed "The Ties That Bind," from his album The River, on SNL. He will hit the road for his The River tour in January.
- Billboard, 12/20/15...... Brothers Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks performed live together for the first time since 1996 on Dec. 18 when Ray brought Dave onstage during a gig at the Islington Assembly Hall in North London. The pair performed the Kinks classic "You Really Got Me," with Dave later tweeting that he "had a blast with Ray." The siblings had not performed together since the Kinks split acrimoniously in 1996, and while rumours about a 50th-anniversary collaborative tour were rampant in 2014, the shows never materialized. Three months ago, Dave was also quoted as saying there was an "outside shot" of a Kinks reunion, with the Kinks-based musical "Sunny Afternoon" thought to have helped to ease tensions between the feuding brothers over the past couple of years. Ray has also commented on the future of the band, citing the "war between Dave and [original Kinks drummer] Mick Avory." I don't work for the United Nations, I'm just a musician," Ray said. "I had a drink with Mick last week, and I asked, What happened to you guys?' They shared a house in the 1960s. I think some things went on there that created a rivalry." He has also said that "I like playing the hits, I just did a solo tour, but when the Kinks get back together, I need to be inspired to write new material." Ray and Dave have not confirmed whether they plan on any further collaborative appearances following the Dec. 18 performance. - New Musical Express, 12/19/15...... The owner of a Danish replica of Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion home in Memphis, Tenn., has announced he is changing the name of his property from Graceland Randers after Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. demanded a name change and 1.5 million kroner ($220,000) in compensation. Henrik Knudsen opened his Elvis museum in 2011 in Randers, Denmark, which is situated 210 kilometers (130 miles) northwest of the capital, Copenhagen. It includes Knudsen's private collection of Elvis artifacts, an American diner-style restaurant and a souvenir shop. Knudsen said on Dec. 22 that he is changing the name of his museum, which is twice the size of the original Graceland, to Memphis Museum beginning Jan. 1, so that he can "focus on our business." Knudsen said more than 130,000 Elvis fans have visited the museum since it opened. - AP, 12/22/15...... A hologram tour showcasing late R&B legend Jackie Wilson will travel the US in 2017, Hologram USA announced on Dec. 22. "Everything you expect from an exciting rock star' stage show was invented by Jackie Wilson: the leaps, spins and back-flips, not to mention his amazing four-octave range," Hologram USA CEO Alki David said in a statement. Wilson, nicknamed "Mr. Excitement," influenced a host of future stars including Michael Jackson, who dedicated his 1984 Grammy for Album of the Year to the dynamic entertainer. Between 1958 and 1970, Wilson charted 16 top 10 R&B hits and six top 10 pop hits. He topped the R&B singles chart six times, starting with 1958's "Lonely Teardrops" (No. 7 on pop). Wilson, inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, slipped into a coma after collapsing onstage in 1975. He died in 1984. Hologram USA and its partner, FilmOn TV, are also creating hologram shows in association with the estates of Whitney Houston, Patsy Cline, Buddy Holly, Billie Holiday and Dean Martin. - Billboard, 12/22/15...... Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has released a new video, "Hope Is Everything," to benefit his new charity Janie's Fund, which raises awareness for young female victims of neglect and abuse. Named after the Aerosmith hit "Janie's Got A Gun," which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 almost 26 years ago, Janie's Fund will use 100 hundred percent of all donations to support proven programs at Youth Villages, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing effective solutions for over 23,000 children and families each year with emotional and behavioral changes. "An entire community was built around this song's message," Tyler wrote on the Janie's Fund website. "Over the years, I've been overwhelmed by the thousands of fans who have sent me letters, telling me their stories and how Janie's Got A Gun' affected and inspired them." With a $5 donation to Janie's Fund, participants may be entered to win The Ultimate VIP Rock Experience, which includes walking the red carpet and hanging with Tyler backstage at his first solo album release party. - Billboard, 12/22/15...... Chicago's Robert Lamm has issued a statement saying his former bandmate, Peter Cetera, will not be playing with the group when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April after he told Radio.com that Cetera would sing though not necessarily play bass with Chicago during the ceremony. "I've mistakenly said Cetera would be playing," Lamm says. "He has emphatically declined. My email exchanges with Cetera were misinterpreted by me, and I've apologized to him, and likewise apologize to the music press community and fans." Cetera, who left Chicago in 1985 to pursue a solo career, sang lead on Chicago favorites such as "25 or 6 to 4," "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" and "Just You 'n' Me" and shared vocals on "Saturday in the Park" and the two-part "Dialogue." He also wrote hits such as "Wishing You Were Here," "If You Leave Me Now" and "Baby, What a Big Surprise." It is unclear whether Cetera plans on attending the ceremony, and original Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine, who left the group in 1994, also hasn't confirmed whether he'll be joining the band at the ceremony. - Billboard, 12/22/15...... Aretha Franklin made a surprise appearance at the House of Swing concert at the Lincoln Center's Rose Theater on Dec. 17. Franklin, walking onstage to a standing ovation, said to the bandleader, "Wynton (Marsalis), I think maybe I'll change the program just a little bit." Accompanying herself on piano, she then sang the Christmas carol "O Tannenbaum" in English and German. She followed with a soulful, gospel-infused version of "My Cup Runneth Over," an outtake from her 1972 album Young, Gifted and Black, which she recently added to her concert repertoire. The 73-year-old Franklin, joking that "this happens to be my 50th year in the business and I'm feeling it," dedicated her performance to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who signed her to his label in 1967 and died in 2006. - AP, 12/19/15...... In an interview with the US edition of Britain's The Guardian paper, Kenny Rogers revealed he is a big fan of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. "I really like him," Rogers said of the controversial Trump, who has riled Mexicans, Muslims, and many women with his statements. "I think his problem is that he says what everyone wants to hear, but he doesn't say it well. I love what he says, I have to admit. He can be president and not owe anybody anything; he's one of the few people has the money to do it, and has the guts to do it," Rogers said. In September, the 77-year-old "The Gambler" singer announced he would retire from live performing at the conclusion of his 2016 world tour. - Billboard, 12/22/15...... Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is featured in a new charity Christmas song titled "Christmas Way by 19 and 7" from professional footballers James Milner and Stiliyan Petrov. Milner, Petrov and Iommi all hail from Birmingham, and Petrov was forced to retire from the Aston Villa team in 2013 in order to fight leukemia. Like Petrov, Iommi has also had to tackle leukemia. The title, "Christmas Way by 19 and 7," is a reference to the two players' shirt numbers. It was officially released on Dec. 18. - New Musical Express, 12/19/15...... Drummer Jason Bonham, the son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and who sat in on drums for his dad at Led Zeppelin's one-off reunion concert in late 2007, has said in a new interview that he believes Led Zep will perform together again someday on stage. "In my heart of hearts, I do believe we will play together again," Bonham said. "It remains to be seen if it will be in public or privately, but I do think we will play again." It appears any LZ reunion won't be happening anytime soon though, as guitarist Jimmy Page has announed that he'll be heading out on a solo tour in 2016, and singer Robert Plant has scoffed at future reunion plans, saying a LZ tour would be "an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that's shitty about big-time stadium rock" and that he doesn't want to be "part of a jukebox." - Billboard, 12/19/15...... The legendary New York punk club CBGB, a breeding ground for the city's '70s punk and new wave scene, will be reopening as a restaurant at a New York area airport. The venue, which originally opened in 1973 by Hilly Kristal and closed on Oct. 17, 2006, with Patti Smith's band playing the venue final concert, will be rechristened the CBGB LAB (Lounge and Bar) at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport. It will be managed by chef Harold Moore and serve "American fare in a fun environment recalling the legendary music venue." In 2013, a movie tracing the history of CBGB was released, and in recent years New York has hosted a CBGB Festival, which Jane's Addiction headlined in 2014. - New Musical Express, 12/22/15...... Academy Award-winning composer Burt Bacharach has signed on to score Po, a feature film about a widowed father raising his 10-year old son with autism. Bacharach, whose daughter Nikki is afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome, says he met Po's director John Asher by chance on a flight in 2014 and agreed to let Asher use his classic, "Close to You," made famous by the Carpenters. Upon seeing the film, he agreed to compose the music. "I was so touched by the film that scoring it was a labor of love," Bacharach said in a statement. A release date for Po has yet to be announced. - Billboard, 12/18/15...... James Taylor says he is "gonna miss" Pres. Barack Obama when the president leaves office in Jan. 2017. "It makes a surprising amount of difference to me who the country has chosen to represent it, and in the case of Barack Obama, it just makes me feel good about being an American," Taylor recently told Billboard. "In my opinion, he is a wonderful president and a great leader. I'm gonna miss him." Taylor, who wrapped the first leg of a U.S. tour in August, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by Pres. Obama on Nov. 24. He will be seen performing on TV during CBS' broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 29, as well as PBS' In Performance at the White House on Jan. 8. Taylor, who this year scored his first No. 1 album on the Billboard Hot 200 with Before This World, has 2016 performances lined up including shows at Carnegie Hall in New York and concerts at Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. - Billboard, 12/18/15...... Veteran pop and country music producer/entrepreneur Thomas Lesslie "Snuff" Garrett, who made his mark on the charts in the 1960s and '70s with such music as the No. 1 singles "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" by Cher, and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence, died on Dec. 17 at his ranch in Arizona. He was 76. Garrett, a onetime disc jockey from Dallas, Tex., joined Liberty Records as a staff producer in 1959, first producing Johnny Burnette's "Settin the Woods on Fire." Among other artists he worked with at Liberty and later Kapp and MCA Records were Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Buddy Knox, Walter Brennan, Sonny & Cher, Dean Martin, Sonny Curtis, Tanya Tucker and others. He was also responsible for hiring Phil Spector to do work for Liberty Records and employing Leon Russell as his assistant. Garrett also released a series of instrumental albums that featured the guitar work of Tommy Tedesco of the legendary studio musican band The Wrecking Crew. In 1976, Garrett bought the rights to 800 old Republic and RKO Films titles and quickly built a multi-million dollar annual business in the early days of home video....... Luigi Creatore, a songwriter and record producer who teamed with his cousin Hugo Peretti to create hits for artists such as Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Perry Como and others, died on Sunday in Boca Raton, Fla., from complications of pneumonia. He was 93. The son of a renowned Italian immigrant bandmaster, Mr. Creatore began his career by writing advertising jingles and graduated to books, plays and, most notably, songs. His regular partner -- they both wrote music as well as lyrics -- was Mr. Peretti, who died in 1986; they were occasionally joined by George David Weiss, who died in 2010. Known professionally as Hugo & Luigi, the duo had their greatest success in the 1960s at RCA Victor Records, where they were among the first producers to have their names prominently displayed on album jackets, complete with their own logo. Their most noteworthy work at RCA, however, was not with a middle-of-the-road pop artist but with one of the great rhythm-and-blues singers of the era, Sam Cooke, who had success with Creatore-Peretti productions like "Chain Gang," "Twistin' the Night Away" and "Wonderful World." As composers, they wrote two songs that were hits for Elvis Presley in 1961: "Wild in the Country," from the movie of the same name, and "Can't Help Falling in Love," from the movie Blue Hawaii, which they wrote with Weiss. After leaving RCA Victor in 1964, Mr. Creatore and Mr. Peretti worked with, among other artists, Van McCoy, whose "The Hustle" was a No. 1 single in 1975 and one of the first disco hits.