Posted by Administrator on Jan. 7th, 2016
A new Michael Jackson documentary focusing on the King of Pop's career-changing 1979 album Off the Wall is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 24. Michael Jackson's Journey: From Motown to Off the Wall is co-produced by Spike Lee, John Branca and John McClain and documents the LP that established Jackson as an adult superstar, and along with Donna Summer's Bad Girls album of the same year, is credited with ushering in the modern era of pop music. Featuring archival footage of Jackson, contemporary interviews with his family and musicians including Pharrell, John Legend and Questlove, the doc will also air on the Showtime channel on Feb. 5 at 9:00 p.m. EST, and an Off the Wall CD reissue will also accompany the film. Off the Wall was the first album from a solo artist to chart four songs in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, and also spawned two Billboard No. 1 hits (Jackson's first solo chart-toppers since "Ben" in 1972). - Billboard, 1/7/16...... David Bowie has revealed a full-length video for "Lazarus," the second single from his new album Blackstar. Featuring the singer wearing an unsettling, white blindfold with eyeholes cut out, while writhing in a hospital bed, the creepy video is the second single from Blackstar, which hits stores on Jan. 8, the same day Bowie turns 69. "Lazarus" also features in the recent Bowie stage production of the same name, which opened in New York earlier in January. - New Musical Express, 1/7/16...... The Google Play streaming service is reporting that "Come Together" is the most popular Beatles song currently streaming on services worldwide after the Fab Four made their back catalog available for streaming on all platforms on Dec. 24 as "a holiday gift to their fans." The lead-off Abbey Road track is followed by "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Here Comes the Sun," "In My Life," "Twist and Shout," "All You Need Is Love," "Something," "Ticket To Ride," "She Loves You" and "Let It Be" in a list that skews toward the band's earlier material. Meanwhile, the Beatles' 10 most popular albums streaming globally on the premiere streaming service Spotify include the 2000 hits compilation 1, followed by Abbey Road, The Beatles (a.k.a. "The White Album"), Let It Be, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, Please Please Me and Help! - Billboard, 1/6/16...... A 30th Anniversary Farm Aid TV special will premiere on the AXS TV channel on Jan. 10, with performances from the Sept. 19, 2015, Farm Aid, as well as archive sets from previous concerts by such acts as the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks, Buddy Guy and John Mayer. The 30th anniversary Farm Aid included performances by Farm Aid organizers Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, along with Jack Johnson, Kacey Musgraves and Mavis Staples. Since 1985, the annual Farm Aid benefit has raised $48 million to help keep independent family-operated farms on their land. - Billboard, 1/6/16...... Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen was arrested after an altercation with his wife Libby Titus in the couple's Manhattan home on Jan. 4 after he allegedly shoved her into a marble window frame, causing her to fall. According to a complaint filed by Titus, she suffered bruising and swelling after the incident with her 67-year-old husband, who was charged with assault and harassment after a brief appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court on Jan. 5 and released without bail. Fagen was ordered to stay away from Titus, to whom he has been married for 20 years, and she was given an order of protection against the musician. Titus, who is 69 and a folk singer, told the New York Post's Page Six gossip column that she plans on divorcing Fagen. "I don't feel good. I'm very tired and I'm divorcing my husband," she said. Fagen and Titus met while attending Bard College in the 1960s, but Libby left school before graduating after marrying novelist Barry Titus, with whom she had a son. She later had a daughter with musician Levon Helm of the Band fame. Titus and Fagan reunited in the late 80s before marrying in 1993, and she is credited with helping inspire him again to dedicate himself to live performances. - New Musical Express, 1/6/16...... Fans of late Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister have launched a campaign to newly discovered form of heavy metal -- that's the substance and not the music genre -- after the musician. John Wright, a business support manager from New York, aims to rename Ununoctium 118, which is one of four radioactive "super-heavy" elements that were added to chemistry's periodic table in early January, to "Lemmium." The petition, which already has already gained 15,000 signatures, reads: "Heavy rock lost its most iconic figure over Christmas with the sudden and unexpected death of Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister. Lemmy was a force of nature and the very essence of heavy metal. We believe it is fitting that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) recommend that one of the four new discovered heavy metals in the periodic table is named Lemmium. An astrological object (a star) has been named Lemmy to meet the IUPAC naming recommendations." Ununoctium 118 and three other elements were discovered by scientists in America, Japan and Russia. The four new additions were formally verified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on December 30. However some of the band's fans are angry about the petition, with many declaring that Motörhead was not a heavy metal band. "Let's not," one fan posted. "Lemmy himself said in 2010, 'We were not heavy metal. We were a rock'n'roll band. Still are. Everyone always describes us as heavy metal even when I tell them otherwise. Why won't people listen?' Why won't you listen?" Meanwhile, a memorial service honoring Kilmister on Jan. 9 in Hollywood is set to be streamed across the world. The service will go out on the band's official YouTube channel from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PST. It will be held across the entire Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. Kilmister passed away on Dec. 28 following a short battle with cancer, and since his death the band's signature tune, "Ace of Spades," is on track to become Motörhead's first Top 10 song ever in the U.K. "Ace of Spades" peaked at No. 15 on the U.K.'s Official Singles Chart following its release in 1980, and last entered the Top 40 when it reached No. 23 as a reissue in Sept. 1993. - NME/Billboard, 1/6/16...... Bonnie Raitt has released her first ever lyric video, for "Gypsy In Me," which appears on her upcoming album, Dig In Deep. Created by Black Balloon, the clip is an on-the-go look at the restless traveling Raitt expresses within the song. "I'm excited to finally have my first lyric video coming out along with the release of our first single, 'Gypsy In Me,' later this week," Raitt said. "New album, Dig In Deep, comes out Feb. 26th, followed by our two-year world tour. Can't wait to hit the road!," she added. - Billboard, 1/6/16...... After Pres. Barack Obama delivered a tearful speech about guns in the U.S. on Jan. 5, one of his biggest foils, rocker Ted Nugent, shared some colorful new insults about the president on his Facebook page. "I will write a comprehensive piece on the Chicago scam artist in chief on his latest lies about tyranical trampling of the 2nd Amendment but know it ye all goodmen everywhere that his ongoing criminal oath violating INFRINGEMENTS would NOT have stopped nor will ever stop ANY mass shootings or crime that anyone is aware of. He is a psychopathic America hating liar," Nugent groused, also suggesting that his fans should buy NRA memberships for everyone they know. The Nuge also responded to selected Facebookers, including one Brit who who suggested "Come to England, we have no guns, but plenty of knives and stabbings!" Nugent's response? "& no freedom. no thankU." - Billboard, 1/5/16...... Former Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice and current Disney star Ryan McCartan have been tapped to star in the network's upcoming remake of the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Justice and McCartan will portray Janet and Brad, respectively, in roles made famous by Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick in the original film. Reeve Carney (Penny Dreadful) has also signed on as Riff-Raff, while singer Staz Nair will portray Rocky Horror and Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) will play Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The two-hour Fox special, which will be directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega (High School Musical), is due in fall 2016. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/4/16...... The Playback.fm website has isolated Freddie Mercury's vocal track on the Queen classic "We Are the Champions," and the results are stunning. "We love Queen and Freddie Mercury, so we've edited 4 concert films including a rare recording session of 'We Are the Champions' and synced them all up to the isolated vocals in honor of the late, great, Freddie Mercury," reads the YouTube description for the video. "This video showcases his presence and consistency as the ultimate stage man. RIP Freddie. You are a rock god." - Billboard, 1/4/16...... Former UFO and Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker will release a new double A-side single, "Rock City" b/w "Good Times," on Jan. 11 to coincide with his forthcoming 9-city U.K. tour. The single is taken from Schenker's Temple of Rock album Spirit On A Mission. The tour, which gets underway in Bilston Robin on Jan. 20, will see Schenker perform tracks from the album, plus UFO, Scorpions and MSG classics. - Noble PR, 1/5/16...... Noted music producer and manager Robert Stigwood, who acted as manager of Cream and the Bee Gees before producing some of the all time great rock musicals including Saturday Night Fever and Grease, passed on Jan. 4 at the age of 81. The Australian-born Mr. Stigwood's first major career success came representing English singer/actor John Leyton in 1961, which helped kick off a new era of independent British music production. In 1966, Mr. Stigwood became the Who's booking agent by reportedly paying the band's managers £500. This deal also empowered him to lure the band away from Brunswick Records to record the now famous single "Substitute" on his own Reaction Records label. That same year, Mr. Stigwood became the manager of a new band called Cream made up of the best musicians from two groups he had under contract -- guitarist Eric Clapton from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker from the Graham Bond Organisation. The following year, he began managing the Australian teenage vocal group the Bee Gees. Though the U.K. release of the band's first Australian charting topping hit "Spicks and Specks" was a flop, an intensive promotional campaign helped make "New York Mining Disaster 1941" the sibling trio's first international hit, with many more to come. Mr. Stigwood made the leap into film and TV production by the early '70s, and his first hit was an adaptation of "Jesus Christ Superstar" in 1973, followed by the film version of the Who's Tommy in 1975. Massive success came next with Saturday Night Fever in 1977, which included a two-LP soundtrack written and featuring his client the Bee Gees, and then the beloved rock and roll musical Grease in 1978. Though several commercial failures followed, he did find success later with the Madonna-starring musical Evita, which won the 1997 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. The news of Mr. Stigwood's death was announced by Spencer Gibb, son of late Bee Gees member Robin Gibb, via Facebook. Musicians and actors paying tribute to the influential figure on Twitter include the Who, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Sir Tim Rice and musical theatre star Elaine Page. - Billboard/NME, 1/5/16...... Nicholas Caldwell, a founding member of R&B group The Whispers, died on Jan. 5 at his home in San Francisco. He was 71. Known for its trademark silky smooth harmonies, The Whispers scored its first R&B hit in 1970 with the No. 6-charting "Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong." Caldwell, along with twin brothers Wallace and Walter Scott, Gordy Harmon and Marcus Hutson, established the group in the early '60s. The popular concert act, which charted such hits as "And the Beat Goes On" and "Rock Steady," most recently played in Los Angeles -- its hometown -- at the Microsoft Theater on Dec. 19, 2015, with Stephanie Mills and The Temptations Review, featuring Dennis Edwards. - Billboard, 1/6/16...... Blues guitarist Long John Hunter, who recorded seven solo albums in a 60-year career and was known internationally for his onstage showmanship, died in his sleep on Jan. 4 at his home in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 84. The Texas-born Mr. Hunter was also a singer-songwriter whose best-known tracks are "El Paso Rock" and "Alligators Around My Door." Artists including James Brown, Buddy Holly, Etta James and Albert Collins reportedly attended shows by Mr. Hunter, who also became a mentor to then-teenager Bobby Fuller of "I Fought the Law" fame. Mr. Hunter, known for holding his guitar by the neck in one hand while continuing to play, released independent CDs in 2003 and 2009 and reportedly continued to play regularly until he was 80. - AP, 1/5/16.
It appears the Grateful Dead spinoff band Dead & Company will extend its tour into 2016, even though the second night of a two-night stand at Los Angeles' The Forum on New Year's Eve was supposed to cap off the band's first and perhaps only tour. "At the risk of rocking any boats -- known and unknown -- we'll see you next year," Dead & Company member John Mayer told the capacity crowd at the end of the last of the evening's three-set shows. Mayer, a Grammy-winning guitarist and singer, has been guesting in the band, which features original GD members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman (along with Oteil Burbridge on bass and Jeff Chimenti on keyboards). Dead & Co. performed a rollicking cover of the '60s soul classic "In the Midnight Hour" at midnight as the new year rang in, appropriately enough, and encored with a slower-paced "Brokedown Palace." "Thank you or accepting me into this beautiful home," Mayer said as the band prepared to leave the stage. - Billboard, 1/1/16...... Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin brought down the house, and even brought a tear to Pres. Barack Obama's eye, when she paid tribute to Carole King during the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. on Dec. 30 by performing a rendition of the King-penned "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Draped in fur at the piano, the 73-year-old legend was moved at all the dignitaries seated around her, including Pres. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama and Kennedy Center Honoree King. When Franklin left the piano and stood at center stage halfway through the performance, she brought the president and his wife to their feet, along with King and her fellow honorees George Lucas, Cicely Tyson, Seiji Ozawa and Rita Moreno. King was also paid tribute by artists including James Taylor, who performed "Up on the Roof," and Janelle Monae, who sang the King tunes "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" and "One Fine Day." - Billboard, 12/30/15...... Original Star Wars creator/director George Lucas has criticized the "retro" tone of the latest episode of the space saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is the first film made without his involvement. In an interview with US TV host Charlie Rose, Lucas described the 1977 original and prequel trilogy as his "kids" and compared the Disney studio, which bought the rights to the franchise, "to white slavers that take these things." Lucas also revealed that the film studio had not wanted his input in the new installment. "They wanted to do a retro movie. I don't like that," he said. "They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway, but if I get in there, I'm just going to cause trouble, because they're not going to do what I want them to do. And I don't have the control to do that any more, and all I would do is muck everything up. And so I said, 'OK, I will go my way, and I'll let them go their way.'" Star Wars: The Force Awakens has shattered opening box office records around the world, and is on track to top the all-time ticket sales record of $2.78 billion which is currently held by Avatar. - NME, 12/31/15....... Two October shows from Paul McCartney's 2015 Out There tour have placed the Beatles legend in second place on the latest tally of Billboard's Hot Tours list. Sold out performances by Sir Paul at Penn State University's Bryce Jordan Center on Oct. 15 and First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. on Oct. 22 added $4.7 million in sold ticket revenue to the tour's overall gross of $196 million based on 60 concerts. The Buffalo performance marked the final stop for McCartney's tour, which was attended by more than 1.4 million fans over its two-and-a-half year run. A total of 15,552 tickets were sold for the tour's finale. - Billboard, 12/29/15...... In other tour news, AC/DC's Rock Or Bust tour sold the most tickets worldwide in 2015, with the Aussie rockers selling a staggering 2.31 million tickets over the course of the year and grossing $122 million. AC/DC released their 17th album, Rock Or Bust, in November 2014, and the LP climed to No. 3 on both the UK and US charts, as well as topping the charts in their homeland of Australia. AC/DC has announced plans for two additional huge UK dates, in Manchester and London, in June 2016, however there are doubts about the band performing live beyond those dates. Early in 2015, frontman Brian Johnson spoke about the possibility of retirement, and suggested that Rock Or Bust could be the band's last album. - New Musical Express, 1/1/16...... Cher has reacted to the controversial Dec. 28 decision by an Ohio grand jury in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot dead by two Cleveland police officers after they mistook his pellet gun for a real pistol. "ANOTHER"NOT SO GRAND" GRAND JURY. TAMIR RICE'S DEATH WAS TRAGEDY OF ERRORS, INCOMPETENCE & TOTAL DISREGARD OF A 12 YR OLD CHILD'S HUMAN RIGHTS," Cher tweeted after learning of the decision. Timothy Loehmann, an officer-in-training, fatally shot Rice on Nov. 22 outside a Cleveland recreation center after seeing him with a pellet gun and receiving spotty information from the 911 dispatcher. - Billboard, 12/28/15...... Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, the daughter of legendary crooner Nat "King" Cole who carried on her late father's musical legacy and, through technology, shared a duet with him on his pop standard "Unforgettable," died on the evening of Dec. 31 at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles due to compilations from ongoing health issues. She was 65. Cole, who was inspired by her dad at an early age and auditioned to sing with him when she was just 11 years old, was just 15 when her dad died of lung cancer in 1965. She began as an R&B singer but later gravitated toward the smooth pop and jazz standards that made her father famous, with her greatest success being the 1991 album Unforgettable ... With Love, which paid tribute to her father with reworked versions of some of his best-known songs, including "That Sunday That Summer," ''Too Young" and "Mona Lisa." The album sold some 14 million copies and won six Grammys, including album of the year as well record and song of the year for the title track duet. Cole had battled drug problems and hepatitis that forced her to undergo a kidney transplant in May 2009. "Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived ... with dignity, strength and honor. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever," read the statement from her son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole. - Billboard, 1/1/16...... Heavy metal icon and Motörhead frontman Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister died on the evening of Dec. 28 after a brief fight against cancer. He was 70. Born Dec. 24, 1945, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, Kilmister took up the guitar at an early age and as a young man saw the Beatles perform at Liverpool's legendary Cavern Club. He moved to London in the early 1960s and performed with several bar bands, and worked as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix in 1968. He switched to bass to join the space-rock group Hawkwind in 1972, and was with the band during its most fertile era. His first work for the band was to record the vocals for "Silver Machine," which went on to become a hit single in the U.K. and the group's defining song. He enjoyed a three-year run with Hawkwind but was ejected in 1975 after being busted on tour for possession of cocaine (which turned out to be amphetamines). Kilmister, who was famously gruff, quick with his fists and did not suffer fools gladly, later said that he'd been kicked out of the LSD-centric band not for using drugs, but the "wrong kinds of drugs." The musician's decades of hard living -- he was rarely seen without a whiskey and/or a cigarette -- began to catch up with him in recent years, and he once half-seriously said he'd switched from whiskey to vodka "for health reasons." In 2013, Lemmy suffered a haematoma, which caused the cancellation of gigs in Italy and Austria, and was fitted with a pacemaker after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. The following year, Motörhead pulled out of a European tour citing Lemmy's health as the reason behind the decision. The band due to tour the UK in January 2016, starting in Newcastle and ending in London, in support of its new album Bad Magic, released in Aug. 2015. "Noble friend Lemmy passed away today after a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer," Motörhead said in a statement. "He had learnt of the disease on December 26th, and was at home, sitting in front of his favorite video game from The Rainbow which had recently made it's way down the street, with his family. We cannot begin to express our shock and sadness, there aren't words," the statement continued. Ozzy and wife Sharon Osbourne were also close friends of Kilmister's, with Sharon tweeting "My dear friend, Lemmy, passed away today. I've known him for 38 years. He will be so missed but he will never be forgotten," on Dec. 29. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 12/29/15...... Drummer John Bradbury, a member of the UK Two Tone group The Specials, died at the age of 62 on Dec. 29. "Brad's drumming was the powerhouse behind The Specials and it was seen as a key part to the Two Tone sound," his family said in a statement. "He was much respected in the world of drumming and his style of reggae and ska was seen as genuinely ground breaking when The Specials first hit the charts in 1979." After joining The Specials in 1979, Bradbury had a top 10 hit with the band, "Free Nelson Mandela," in 1984. The Coventry-based band then split, but reunited for a 2009 tour to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Bradbury had remained part of the group since then. - New Musical Express, 12/29/15...... Actor and entrepreneur Wayne Rogers, best known for playing Capt. "Trapper John" McIntyre on the classic Korean War-era sitcom M*A*S*H, died of complications from pneumonia on Dec. 31 in Los Angeles. He was 82. Mr. Rogers' army surgeon Trapper John was one of the most beloved characters -- and half of one of the most beloved duos which included Alan Alda as "Hawkeye Pierce" -- in TV history, despite his appearing in only the first three of the show's 11 seasons on CBS. An Alabama native and Princeton University graduate, Mr. Rogers had parts on many short-lived shows early in his career, specializing in westerns like Law of the Plainsman and Stagecoach West, and also had a bit part in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman. In the years after M*A*S*H, Mr. Rogers returned to TV regularly, including a recurring role in the early 1990s on Murder, She Wrote. Mr. Rogers then moved beyond acting to see serious success later in life as a money manager and investor. In 1988 and 1990, he appeared as an expert witness before the House Judiciary Committee to speak in favour of maintaining the Glass-Steagall banking laws of the 1930s, and in recent years he was a regular panelist on the Fox News stock investment show Cashin' In. Mr. Rogers is survived by his wife Amy, two children, Bill and Laura, and four grandchildren. - AP, 1/1/16...... Prolific character actor Jason Wingreen, who portrayed Harry the bartender on the All in the Family spinoff Archie Bunker's Place and provided the voice of the bounty hunter Boba Fett in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, died at his home in Los Angeles on Christmas Day. He was 95. A recognizable character actor with almost 200 big and small screen credits, Mr. Wingreen was a Brooklyn native whose resume includes three episodes of The Twilight Zone, most notably portraying the real train conductor in the 1960 episode in "A Stop at Willoughby." He also played a Chicago police caption on The Untouchables, a major on 12 O'Clock High and Judge Arthur Beaumont on Matlock; did six episodes apiece of The Fugitive, The FBI and Ironside, appearing as 18 different characters; and died a memorable death as Dr. Linke on the 1968 Star Trek episode "The Empath." And in Airplane (1980), he played a doctor from the Mayo Clinic who is seen talking on the phone as a beating heart bounces all over his desk. Born Oct. 9, 1920 in Brooklyn, Mr. Wingreen made his movie debut in The Bravados (1958), starring Gregory Peck, and also appeared on the big screen in A Guide for the Married Man (1967), Marlowe (1969), They Only Kill Their Masters (1972), The Terminal Man (1974), Oh, God! You Devil (1984). He retired after appearances on Seinfeld and In the Heat of the Night in the 1990s. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/1/16.