Posted by Administrator on Apr. 1st, 2016
The first of two David Bowie tribute concerts took place at New York's Carnegie Hall on Mar. 31, with Debbie Harry of Blondie, Ann Wilson of Heart, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and the Flaming Lips performing live in memory of the late rock legend. Also taking part were Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, '80s star Cyndi Lauper, and Laurie Anderson, the ex-wife of late Bowie collaborator Lou Reed, Rickie Lee Jones, and Bob Dylan's son Jakob Dylan. The concert, initially announced prior to Bowie's death, was originally intended to be a retrospective on his career. - New Musical Express, 4/1/16...... A 67-track, 4-disc Paul McCartney greatest hits compilation entitled Pure McCartney is being readied for a June 10 release via Hear Music. Billed as "the only comprehensive career collection released of Paul McCartney's solo works from his solo career," the collection has been curated by Sir Paul himself and includes songs later than 1989 which have so far not been included on any McCartney hits collection, including 2012's "My Valentine," 2014's "Hope For the Future," and 2015's "Say Say Say" remix. "Me and my team came up with the idea of putting together a collection of my recordings with nothing else in mind other than having something fun to listen to," McCartney said in a statement. "Maybe it's to be enjoyed on a long car journey or an evening at home or at a party with friends? So we got our heads together and came up with these diverse playlists from various periods of my long and winding career," he added. Also available the same day will be 2-CD version that includes his 12 Top 10 U.S. singles and 10 Top 10 U.K. singles. McCartney kicks off a U.S. tour on Apr. 13 in Fresno, Cal. - NME, 4/1/16...... A Mar. 28 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, which was a rescheduled due to the blizzard that struck the city in late January, provided a special treat for the Boss's fans: Springsteen's 90-year-old mother, Adele, was invited onstage to dance with her iconic rock star son. She's still got the moves," Springsteen declared about his mom, who started it all by buying her son his first guitar for $18 at a pawnshop. Adele Springsteen previously joined her son onstage for "Dancing In The Dark" at shows in Philadelphia in 2009 and 2012. The 32-song gig on his The River tour, which included a special "Meeting Across the River" that segued into "Jungleland," was attended by such celebrities as Bruce Willis, Danny DeVito, Brian Williams and U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Jr.. - Billboard, 3/29/16...... Representatives for Elton John are denying allegations first reported by the celebrity gossip cite TMZ.com that the Rocket Man sexually harassed his former security guard in 2014. Jeffrey Wenninger, who was employed by Elton as a security guard, claims he was groped by John on several occasions during that time. But Orin Snyder, a lawyer for John's Rocket Entertainment Group, has responded to the claims, strongly denying them and accusing Wenninger of making the story up to score a monetary settlement. "This baseless lawsuit is brought by a disgruntled former security officer seeking to extract an undeserved payment," Snyder told Digitalspy.com. "These claims are patently untrue and contradicted by numerous previous statements made by this plaintiff. We will not give into his latest abuse of the legal system," he added. In the lawsuit, Wenninger says he was harassed by Elton on three separate occasions in 2014, accuses the singer of putting his hands down the security guard's pants and attempting to grab his genitals and put his finger between his bum cheeks. The singer allegedly told him to "Get your todger out,", which is British slang for penis, and to "say hello to Uncle Elton." On another occasion, Wenninger claims John twisted his nipples and said, "You gorgeous thing, you." Wenninger claims he tried to resist Elton verbally and physically, but his attempts did not work.Wenninger, who was employed by Elton until Sept. 2014 when, according to him he was effectively fired from John's security detail because he had reported a fellow officer for overtime theft, is suing for sexual harassment and battery. He is a former LAPD officer and Medal of Valor recipient who now works for the security firms J Bondi, Inc. and Hamitsu. - WENN.com/AP, 3/29/16...... In a new interview Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was critical of artists like Adele and Rhianna who work with a team of songwriters for their smash hits. "Well, they can't rely on themselves, can they?," Richards said, adding that "We're in the midst of a heavy-duty 'showbiz' period, even stronger than when we killed it last time. The X Factor and all this competition shit. It's just for people who want to be famous. Well, if it's fame you wants, good luck. You'd better learn to live with it." In contrast, Richards said that he wrote the classic Stones track "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in "bed with a guitar" one night. - New Musical Express, 3/30/16...... Country music icon Merle Haggard has canceled his April concert dates as he recovers from a recurring bout of double pneumonia. Haggard, 78, said in a statement that "I want to thank my fans for their prayers and well wishes. I hope to be back on the road in May, but I'm taking it one day at a time." The "Okie From Muskogee" singer, who had a battle with lung cancer in 2008, had previously canceled dates in February and March. - AP, 3/30/16...... In other country music news, it was announced on Mar. 29 that country/pop crossover star Charlie Daniels will officially be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year. The induction of Daniels into the CMA's "Veterans Era" category is the crowning achievement in a career that dates back to the early 1960s. He wrote "It Hurts Me," a 1964 cut for Elvis Presley, and made a name for himself as one of the top instrumentalists in town -- playing on three of Bob Dylan's albums, including the seminal Nashville Skyline. His public breakthrough came in 1974 with the release of his Fire On The Mountain LP, and enjoyed his biggest hit with 1979's "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," which became the CMA single of the year. He continued to rack up hits in the 1980s and 1990s, with songs such as "In America" and "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye." Daniels, along with '80s/'90s country star Randy Travis and legendary producer Fred Foster, will be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a Medallion Ceremony in Fall 2016. - Billboard, 3/29/16...... Although Gene Simmons hasn't endorsed controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump so far, the Kiss bassist/singer did have several positive things to say about him in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine. "He is the truest political animal I've ever seen onstage," Simmons proclaimed. "He has no speechwriters, no editing, no nothing. He's actually on tape going 'motherf----r.' You cannot turn away." Simmons also said Trump is good for the political system" and pointed out that his non-politician status has allowed him to express beliefs most politicians wouldn't. On that note, he remarked, "Everybody is sick and tired of being politically correct." Simmons, who has expressed regret for voting for Barack Obama, also weighed in on Trump's proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico: "...walls actually work... It's unkind, but in terms of pragmatics, it actually works The Pope has said the wall is unkind, but it's interesting that at the Vatican there's a wall." - Rolling Stone, 3/31/16...... Black Sabbath is teaming up with UK clothing manufacturer Supreme for a new clothing line. The "Supreme x Black Sabbath" collection will consist of denim jackets, sweatshirts, t-shirts and hockey jerseys adorned with the band's artwork for their 1970 self-titled debut as well as the typography from their fourth album Vol 4. - NME, 4/1/16...... In other Heavy Metal news, Motörhead will release a live album and film from two shows during their last-ever tour. Titled Clean Your Clock, the release will come on colored double vinyl, as well as CD, DVD and Blu-ray. The release documents the band's two Munich gigs, which took place on Nov. 20 and 21 just five weeks before the death of frontman Lemmy Kilmister on Dec. 28, 2015, and before their final gig in Berlin on Dec. 11. - NME, 4/1/16...... Legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson, Jr., hailed as one of th greatest R&B bass players ever, died on Mar. 26. Jamerson, the son of Motown bassist James Jamerson, Sr. who died in 1983, was born in Detroit and was a member of the Temptations' road band in the late 1960s, soon developing into arguably the most sought-after bass player in the R&B world. He contributed to albums by such acts as Tavares, The Four Tops, The 5th Dimension, The Crusaders, Johnny Taylor, The Dramatics, Teena Marie and countless others. In the late 70s, Jamerson formed the group Chanson and landed a hit with "Don't Hold Back." He also toured with such artists as Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan and many others. - SoulTrax.com, 3/27/16...... Andy "Thunderclap" Newman, the pianist for the British band Thunderclap Newman, died at his home in London on Mar. 30. He was 73. Thunderclap Newman, which was founded by the Who's Pete Townshend, had their biggest hit in 1969 with the track "Something In The Air," from the album Hollywood Dream which was produced by Townshend. The song, which was later remade by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, spent three weeks at the top of the UK singles chart. Mark Mark Brzezicki, the former drummer for Thunderclap Newman and close friend of Newman's, said that after Townshend and producer Kit Lambert saw Newman play piano at art college, they were inspired to form Thunderclap Newman in 1968. "He was an incredibly talented musician. He had his own unique, very individual piano-playing style," Brzezicki said. Brzezicki and Newman were due to go back into the studio in April to work on more music. - 3/31/16...... Oscar-winning actress, sitcom star and singer Patty Duke died in a Coer D'Alene, Idaho, hospital after battling a ruptured intestine on the morning of Mar. 29. She was 69. "This morning, our beloved wife, mother, matriarch and the exquisite artist, humanitarian and champion of mental health, Anna Patty Duke, closed her eyes, quieted her pain and ascended to a beautiful place," read a family statement. "We celebrate the infinite love and compassion she shared through her work and throughout her life." Duke won an Oscar in 1962 for her performance in the Hellen Keller biopic The Miracle Worker, becoming the youngest ever to win the statue in a competitive category. Although she performed in films, theater and TV, Duke was most successful in television, winning three Emmy Awards among 10 nominations. Duke was also the youngest star at the time to have a TV series bearing her name, with her The Patty Duke Show running for three seasons beginning in 1963 on ABC, and she was nominated for an Emmy in 1964. Duke later starred in the film Valley of the Dolls (1967) where, countering her squeaky-clean image, she played a pill-popping alcoholic. Her other films included Happy Anniversary (1959), By Design (1981), Willy/Milly (1986), The Hitch-Hikers (1989), Prelude to a Kiss (1992), Bigger Than the Sky (2005) and Amazing Love (2012), appearing opposite her son, Sean Astin. Born Dec. 14, 1946, in Elmhurst, N.Y., Duke got her first part as a film extra in 1955 and made her first television appearance as a dancer on the The Voice of Firestone. She was married from 1972-85 to former The Addams Family star John Astin. He adopted Sean, and they had Mackenzie together. - Variety, 3/29/16...... Legendary Jamaican singer Jimmy Riley died on Mar. 23 in New York after a battle with cancer. He was 68. In 1967, Riley recorded several rock steady classics with The Uniques including "My Conversation," as well as renditions of Curtis Mayfield's "Gypsy Woman" and "My Woman's Love." Riley embarked on a solo career around 1969 and his greatest commercial success arrived in the early 1980s when his first No. 1 hit in Jamaica, "Love and Devotion," also reached the British pop charts in 1982. Riley was the father of Tarrus Riley, one of contemporary reggae's most in-demand artists, with whom he often recorded with in recent years. - Billboard, 3/28/16...... David Baker, a prolific jazz composer and musician who founded the jazz studies program at Indiana University, died on Mar. 26 at the age of 84. Mr. Baker wrote more than 2,000 pieces of music and was nominated for a Grammy in 1979 and a Pulitzer Prize in 1973. In 2000 he was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the United States' highest jazz honor. Mr. Baker performed in the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand and across Europe, including a 1960 tour with longtime friend Quincy Jones' big band. He also worked with bands led by Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson and George Russell. - Billboard, 3/28/16...... Actor James Noble, best known for his role as Governor Eugene Gatling on the '70s sitcom Benson, died on Mar. 28 in Connecticut. He was 94. - Variety, 3/30/16.
A rep for AC/DC has responded to recent reports that former Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose will fill in for Brian Johnson for the rest of AC/DC's 2016 tour after Johnson was advised by doctors to "stop touring immediately or risk total hearing loss." "Nothing official to announce. Will update you if that changes," the rep told New Musical Express, in response to a report from Atlanta DJ Jason Bailey, who claimed that a "very very good source" informed him that Rose will join the band for the rest of their tour dates after being "flown in" to the US city to audition with the group. Bailey also said that Rose has met with AC/DC, and "it's all but a done deal that Axl will front AC/DC for the ten remaining shows. All ten, including Atlanta." A Guns N' Roses fansite has also reported that Rose was spotted in Atlanta, further speculating that he might have been auditioning to link up live with AC/DC. Rose is a longtime AC/DC fan who has been known to cover such classics as "Whole Lotta Rosie" at Guns N' Roses concerts in the past. Meanwhile, Rose has also been confirmed to be joining his former bandmates Slash and Duff McKagan this summer for a series of live GNR dates, including a headline slot at the Coachella festival in April and warm up gigs in Las Vegas. - New Musical Express, 3/24/16...... David Gilmour of Pink Floyd opened his summer 2016 tour of North America behind his 2015 solo LP Rattle That Lock on Mar. 24 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Gilmour used the Bowl's specialized capability to have its searchlights converge in a perfect Dark Side of the Moon-style pyramid to full advantage, as he performed his guitar heroics before a capacity crowd on a tour that will also take him to Inglewood, Calif., Toronto, Chicago and New York. The Mar. 24 show was the 70-year-old Gilmour's first stage outing of any kind in 10 years. Also featured during the show was David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash, who was brought out be Gilmour his songs "A Boat Lies Waiting," "On and Island," and the encore, the 1979 Pink Floyd classic "Comfortably Numb." - Billboard, 3/25/16...... The Rolling Stones performed a historic free gig in Havana, Cuba on Mar. 25 before a 450,000-strong crowd in a country where rock and pop music had been banned for decades, until the early 2000s. "Hello, Havana. Good evening, my people of Cuba," frontman Mick Jagger said, before the band launched into "Jumpin' Jack Flash." It was the first time ever Jagger and bandmates Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood had performed in the Communist country since the Stones were formed in 1962, just three years after the Cuban revolution. The 18-song set consisted of many of the same hits and classics they've been playing in various sequences on their Amrica Latina Ol Tour -- "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "It's Only Rock 'n Roll," "Tumbling Dice," "Paint It Black," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Midnight Rambler," "Miss You," "Gimme Shelter," "Start Me Up," "Sympathy for the Devil," "Brown Sugar," and the two-song encore, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Satisfaction." Havana was the finale of the band's 2016 America Latina Ol stadium tour, which saw them previously playing in Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, and Colombia, and was filmed for a future Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD, to be titled Concert for Amity. - Billboard/NME, 3/26/16...... Tom Petty has reacted to the sudden death of his good friend, comedian Garry Shandling who passed away at age 66 on Mar. 24. "I've known Garry for a long time. We go back to the mid-80's," Petty said. "I just want people to remember what great work he gave us. The Larry Sanders Show just stands as some of the best TV work ever done. He was always quiet about his talent and just a really decent guy." Petty added that the two had a "very strong friendship" and they "kept in touch all that time." "You know, he'd come to our shows, and he'd hang out with us. I went to his house many times. And he would come to my house. It was a comfortable friendship where if he came over I didn't feel like I had to entertain him, and it was the same way back. He had an incredibly original talent, and as a man I can't say enough about him. He was more than a showbiz acquaintance to me, he was a dear friend, and I will miss him," he added. Born in Chicago, Shandling moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s to give comedy writing a shot, first earning a living writing ad copy. But his dry, cerebral wit quickly earned him staff-writer gigs on sitcoms and like Sanford and Son and Welcome Back, Kotter. After a near-death experience in a 1977 car accident, Shandling decided to concentrate on stand-up comedy, finding the constraints of traditional sitcom writing limiting. He started performing at the Comedy Store in L.A. a year later, capitalizing on his real-life neuroses. - Billboard, 3/25/16...... Paul McCartney is set to appear in the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, according to reports. Filming had apparently already concluded on the movie when Sir Paul was added to the cast, with an extra scene featuring him added to allow him to make his cameo. His appearance follows Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards' roles in the third and fourth POTC films, as Captain Teague. The fifth film, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is due for release on May 26, 2017, and will star Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Javier Bardem and Geoffrey Rush. - New Musical Express, 3/24/16...... In other Beatles-related news, a rare record record recorded by the Fab Four that was found in the loft of Gerry and the Pacemakers keyboardist Les Maguire was auctioned off for #163;77,500 on Mar. 21. The 10-inch acetate of "Till There Was You" and "Hello Little Girl" from 1962 was the first Beatles disc to be cut before the band broke into the national charts and featured the handwriting of their manager Brian Epstein. The 78 rpm record, made at the former HMV record store on Oxford Street in London, was mislabelled by Epstein as "'Til There Was You" and described as being the work of "Paul McCartney & The Beatles." "Hello Little Girl," on the flipside, was again mislabelled as "Hullo Little Girl" and was described as being the work of "John Lennon & The Beatles." The record was submitted to late Beatles producer George Martin in an effort to secure a recording contract, and had been locked away in Maguire's Liverpool loft, where it had been wrapped in paper for more than 50 years. - NME, 3/22/16...... Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band helped promoters say goodbye to the L.A. Sports Arena with a Mar. 19 concert at the venue, which had hosted major concerts and other events for more than five decades. Springsteen and his band first performed at the arena, which is being demolished for the construction of a new soccer stadium, during his original The River tour in 1980. "We're so glad to be here in the beautiful Sports Arena tonight," Springsteen said from the stage at the first of the three sold-out shows. "They're gonna knock this beautiful building down." He then introduced "Wrecking Ball," a song written for the Meadowlands when his hometown stadium in New Jersey was demolished, as "One for the Sports Arena." It was Springsteen's 34th and final stop at the famed venue, which has also hosted such acts as David Bowie, the Kinks, U2 and AC/DC. - Billboard, 3/25/16...... A London-based law firm is suing the estate of Michael Jackson for more than $200,000 that it claims it is owed in legal fees it did for the King of Pop in the two years leading up to his 2009 death. Atkins Thomson Solicitors is suing prominent entertainment attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, executors of Jackson's estate, for breach of contract in a state claim filed on Mar. 21 in California. In Nov. 2009, the firm filed a creditors claim for $204,204.36 and claims defendants refused to pay, finally rejecting the invoice in writing in Dec. 2015. "The Estate doesn't believe the attorney's claim for work allegedly done for Michael Jackson is valid and we intend to contest this lawsuit," Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman said in response to the suit. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/23/16...... The Bee Gees' Barry Gibb is reportedly set to join Coldplay during their headlining set at the 2016 Glastonbury Festival, which will take place at Worthy Farm over the week of June 22-26. According to the UK tabloid The Sun, Gibb had been asked to perform but didn't have time to perfect a full set with his touring band, and "as soon as Coldplay frontman Chris Martin got wind, he asked Barry if he wanted to come on stage with Coldplay." Gibb quickly agreed, and the musicians are putting a Bee Gees medley together cramming in all of their classics. "It's going to be really special. There are likely to be a few other surprise guests on the night too, which are still to be decided," according to a source. Barry Gibb is the last surviving member of the Bee Gees. - NME, 3/25/16...... Timeless pop tunes from the 1960s and 1970s, including Billy Joel's "Piano Man," Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go," and Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" have been selected for induction into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Recording Preservation Board, selects 25 recordings each year to be preserved. They must be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and at least 10 years old. The Curtis Mayfield-led Impressions hit "People Get Ready," Santana's 1970 album Abraxas, and George Carlin's 1972 comedy LP Class Clown were also among the 25 recordings inducted this year. - Billboard, 3/23/16...... A previously unreleased David Bowie demo called "To Be Love" recorded in 1970 at the Roxbury Road Studios in Los Angeles during Bowie's first trip to the US with sound engineer Ron de Strulle has been made available for streaming online via de Strulle's MindBodyNetwork.com website. "My first impression of David was that he was warm, open, friendly, and not looking for star treatment like most of the other artists who came to RR Studios," de Strulle told The Huffington Post. "He was interested in the production process and excited about anything creative." De Strulle added that Bowie "could pick up an instrument and play anything. He would say 'I never played this instrument before,' and then he would cut loose and play. Pure genius." In other Bowie news, a mural of the late iconic rocker that became a shrine after his death is set to be listed by the South London city council to ensure it remains protected.The mural is on the side of Morleys department store, a stroll from the legendary Brixton Academy and just opposite the Tube station for Brixton, the south London area where Bowie was born in 1947. The artwork, created by Australian artist Jimmy C in 2013 after researching Bowie's life, has been visited by thousands of people, many of whom left flowers, message or gifts, in the days after Bowie passed away Jan. 10 following a battle with cancer. - NME/Billboard, 3/24/16...... Legendary rocker Robin Trower will release a new studio album, Where You Are Going To, on May 6 via Manhaton Records. The guitarist, whose 1974 album, Bridge of Sighs, is regarded by many rock pundits as a blues milestone, describes his new studio album as a continuation of his previous album Something's About To Change. "It ranges from rock to funky soul, with some epic blues grooves," Trower says. "The title track is me reflecting on my life and career, and how we have no idea how our lives might unfold." Trower adds the album also features two very emotional tracks, "We Will Be Together Someday" and "I'm Holding On To You," which are "both dedicated to the memory of my late wife." - Noble PR, 3/23/16...... A deluxe reissue of the Beach Boys' influential 1966 album Pet Sounds will hit stores on June 10 to mark the LP's 50th anniversary. A 4 CD/Blu-ray Pet Sounds - 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will feature stereo, mono, and high resolution recordings of the album, plus instrumentals, 5.1 surround mixes, session outtakes, alternate mixes, previously unreleased live tracks, and more. A 2 CD edition pairing the remastered album in stereo and mono with highlights from the collectors edition's additional tracks, as well as a vinyl release, will also be released. Band mastermind Brian Wilson began a 50th anniversary Pet Sounds world tour to also commemorate the album on Mar. 26 in Auckland, New Zealand. - Billboard, 3/23/16...... Elton John has met with rapper Young Thug at John's residence in Atlanta, Ga., on Mar. 23 to reportedly begin collaborating on new music. That day, the "Slime Season" rapper shared a photo of himself standing next to Johr on Instagram. In the photo, Elton is wearing a gold and black tracksuit and a cap with "THUGGER"' written on it. The two musicians have not revealed the nature of their meeting, saying only that they are "fans of one another." Young Thug has reportedly also recording a song using an instrumental of "Rocket Man" that Elton sent to him earlier in March, and in a December interview Elton said he was a fan of the Atlanta rapper. - NME, 3/23/16...... The estate of late M*A*S*H star Wayne Rogers is being sued for child support by a woman who claims he fathered her child. Melinda Naud filed a creditors claim against Rogers' estate on Mar. 21, a follow-up to a civil suit she first filed in Aug. 2013 before the actor's death last December. Naud, an actress who had roles on the TV shows Happy Days and The Dukes of Hazzard, claims Rogers made promises to financially provide for the child, including the creation of a $500,000 trust fund, a $1,000,000 life insurance policy, plus provision for college expenses and child support, a total she claims amounts to $3,418,000. She is also alleging reach of contract, fraud, concealment and false promise. Naud claims Rogers asked her to keep the news of the birth of "their child," Luigi Calabrese, in 1985, quiet and hid his existence from his second wife Amy Hirsh. In January a judge gave the go ahead for the suit to continue after the actor's passing. Rogers' estate is reputed to be worth $75 million. - WENN.com, 3/21/16...... Baseball Hall of Fame member Joe Garagiola, who later became a well known baseball announcer and sometime substitute host for Johnny Carson, passed away at the age of 90 on Mar. 22 in Arizona. Mr. Garagiola played nine seasons as catcher for four teams including the New York Giants, but he was most famous as an announcer for NBC Sports television and radio over nearly three decades beginning in 1961, trading the roles of play-by-play announcer and color commentator with Kurt Gowdy and, later, Tony Kubek. He also teamed with Vin Scully for three World Series in the 1980s. Mr. Garagiola also was a popular presence as a panelist on NBC's Today show and as host or panelist on various game shows, including He Said, She Said, To Tell the Truth and The Match Game. One of his fans was Johnny Carson, who had Mr. Garagiola serve as guest host several times on The Tonight Show. Mr. Garagiola had the distinction of presiding over the program when John Lennon and Paul McCartney stopped by in May 1968, marking the only appearance by any of the Beatles on the program. He was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and was the 2014 recipient of Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to pro baseball. - Deadline.com, 3/23/16...... Acclaimed writer Earl Hamner, Jr., best known for drawing upon his Depression-era upbringing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to create the beloved 1970s family series The Waltons, died in Los Angeles on Mar. 24 after a battle with pneumonia. He was 92. Although best remembered for The Waltons, which aired for nine seasons and won more than a dozen Emmys, that show barely scratched the surface of Mr. Hamner's literary accomplishments. Mr. Hamner was also a bestselling novelist (Spencer's Mountain), the author of eight episodes of the classic 1960s TV show The Twilight Zone and, as a screenwriter, adapted the popular children's tale "Charlotte's Web," into a hit 2006 film. He also created the popular, long-running TV drama Falcon Crest and wrote for such other TV shows such as Wagon Train, Gentle Ben and The Wild Thornberrys. Like The Waltons' John Boy character which he modeled on himself, Mr. Hamner was born in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, on July 10, 1923. Also like John Boy, he was the eldest of eight children and named after his father. The show aired for more than 200 episodes, with Mr. Hamner providing brief voiceover narration in each one, telling his audience about his family's years in the Blue Ridge Mountains and how it had shaped him. Mr. Hamner had decided to become a writer at age six, however, after getting a poem published on the children's page of a Richmond, Va., newspaper. After graduating from Schuyler High School at the top of his class, Mr. Hamner attended the University of Richmond on a scholarship until being drafted into the Army during the Second World War. He returned to Richmond in 2013 just a few days before his 90th birthday, to accept a resolution from the state Legislature declaring him a "Virginia treasure." Mr. Hamner, who was surrounded by family when he died as his favorite music, John Denver's Rocky Mountain Collection, was played, is survived by his wife, Jane; son, Scott; and daughter, Caroline. - AP, 3/25/16...... Ken Howard, the tall, barrel-chested actor konwn for starring in the CBS late '70s drama The White Shadow, died on Mar. 23. He was 71. Howard also appeared in the NBC drama Crossing Jordan and, more recently, on 30 Rock. He was also a former president of the SAG-AFTRA actors guild. - Variety, 3/23/16...... David Smyrl, the Emmy-winning actor best known for his role as retired firefighter Mr. Handford on Sesame Street, died after a bout with lung cancer on Mar. 22 at Lankenau Medical Center outside Philadelphia. He was 80. Mr. Smyrl moved to California to work on the sitcom Benson in the 1970s, where he earned a People's Choice Award. He also worked as a writer and actor on The Cosby Show, playing contractor Sam Lucas. From 1990 to 1998, Mr. Smyrl played the smiling, singing store-owner on Sesame Street, succeeding Leonard Jackson, who played a grumpier Handford. - AP, 3/25/16.