Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Chicago, Cheap Trick and N.W.A. were formally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Apr. 8 during the Cleveland-based hall and museum's 31st annual ceremony at Barclays Center of Brooklyn. Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who gave David Bowie's Rock Hall induction speech in 1996, opened the ceremony with a tribute to the recently deceased Bowie by covering Bowie's first No. 1 hit, "Fame," with accompaniament from the Roots and Kimbra. Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine spoke of how his band "lived together, cried together, fought together and f---ed together." Then, as if he had shocked even himself, he added, "Did I really say that?," before Chicago performed a blistering rendition of their early hit "25 or 6 to 4." In his acceptance speech, Steve Miller encouraged the Rock Hall to "be more inclusive to women ... and more transparent to the public... And most importantly, to support music in our schools." Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich did the induction honor for Deep Purple, calling the band "a beautiful contradiction" and called out those who "might mistake them for a one-hit wonder" for their rock classic "Smoke on the Water." "They were equals for songwriting, recordings and accomplishments," Ulrich said. During his acceptance speech, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen called out Rob Thomas amidst the sea of gray and dyed hair on stage that night -- "Rob, you look too healthy to be around here." The grand finale featured all inductees jamming on a cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame," rendered in the arrangement from Cheap Trick's classic 1977 live album Cheap Trick at Budokan. Also inducted in the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement category was late songwriter/producer Bert Berns ("Hang On Sloopy," "Under the Boardwalk," "Here Comes the Night"). - Billboard, 4/9/16...... In related news, Kiss bassist/vocalist has responded to N.W.A. member MC Ren's statement at the ceremony, in which he called out Simmons for predicting that the "death of rap" is coming in the next 10 years and "that is all good and healthy." "I want to say to Mr. Gene Simmons that hip-hop is here forever. We're supposed to be here," MC Ren said. Now, Simmons has responded by tweeting: "Respectfully -- let me know when @JimiHendrix gets into the Hip Hop Hall Of Fame. Then you'll have a point." - New Musical Express, 4/10/16...... Speaking of Kiss, the band has just announced a massive 35-date summer "Freedom to Rock" Tour of the U.S. that will kick off on July 7 at Boise, Idaho's Taco Bell Arena. Other dates include Rockford, Ill. (8/20), Toledo, Oh. (8/24), Allentown, Pa. (9/1) and Bridgeport, Conn. (9/7) before wrapping in Huntington, W.V. on Sept. 10. Kiss will also be among the headliners at this year's Nancy Davis' annual Race to Erase MS gala on Apr. 15, which benefits research in Multiple Sclerosis. - Billboard, 4/8/16...... Former Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos will release a solo album of rock covers, Greetings From Bunezuela!, on June 24 via eOne Music. The 13-song set includes covers of songs by such artists as the Bee Gees ("Idea"), the Rolling Stones ("Tell Me") and the Who ("Armenia in the Sky"). - Billboard, 4/8/16...... The late Merle Haggard was laid to rest in a private funeral service on his Palo Cedro, Calif., ranch. Singer Marty Stuart officiated at the funeral, which began with a recording of Lefty Frizzell's "I Love You a Thousand Ways" and featured a performance of "Precious Memories" by Stuart's wife, Connie Smith. Also paying his respects to the country music legend was Kris Kristofferson, who performed a three-song set. Haggard died April 6 at age 79 after a battle with pneumonia. - Billboard, 4/11/16...... Bob Dylan has shared the track listing for his upcoming Great American Songbook covers album, Fallen Angels. Standards by the likes of Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and Sammy Cahn, including "Young at Heart," "All or Nothing at All," "It Had to Be You," "That Old Black Magic" and "Come Rain or Come Shine" will be included in Dylan's 12-track followup to his 2015 Frank Sinatra covers album, Shadows in the Night. Dylan recorded the new tracks with his backing band in Capitol Studios in Hollywood in 2015. Anyone who buys a ticket to his upcoming tour, which begins in June, will receive a CD copy of the album. - Billboard, 4/7/16...... Paul Simon announced he'll release his 13th solo studio album, Stranger to Stranger, on June 3 via Concord Records. The new LP finds the iconic singer/songwriter in an experimental mode, with contributions from a group of Flamenco musicians and the Italian electronic dance music artist Clap! Clap!. "It's about making music that sounds old and new at the same time; music with a sense of mystery," Simon said in a statement. Simon will tour behind the new album this spring and summer with a trek of around 40 shows in North America. The first single, "Wristband," is already available for streaming. - Billboard, 4/7/16...... Lionel Richie will be honored with the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame's 47th annual induction ceremony in New York in June. The Mercer award is the Hall's highest honor and is reserved exclusively for past inductees -- Richie has been a member since 1994. "Lionel is more than well deserving of this honor as one the greatest and most prolific songwriters and identifiable music voices in our century," noted SHOF co-Chairmen Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. Previous recipients of the Mercer Award have included Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Phil Collins, Paul Anka, Kris Kristofferson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel and Paul Simon, among others. - Billboard, 4/11/16...... In other Motown-related news, Smokey Robinson will be honored at the 8th Annual Little Kids Rock Benefit and Auction, set for Oct. 4 in Manhattan. "We are so excited about the prospect of honoring such an iconic songwriter and musician," says David Wish, CEO and Founder of Little Kids Rock. "It is our mission to help kids unlock their inner music makers and there are few, if any, in the music industry who can inspire this more than Smokey Robinson." All the proceeds help Little Kids Rock bring instruments and free lessons to more than 250,000 disadvantaged public school kids in 30 cities. - Billboard, 4/8/16...... Sheet music for David Bowie's 1984 hit "Blue Jean" signed by the late artist will be auctioned off as part of the 2016 Rumble in the Jumble, the London-based charity jumble sale. The item is being auctioned as part of The Music Circle's annual celebrity jumble sale Rumble in the Jumble, which takes place on May 14 at east London's Oval Space. - NME, 4/11/16...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler stated that the band could be calling it quits for good as early as 2017. "I'm doing 30 [solo] shows from May until August. And then in 2017 we go out with Aerosmith," Tyler told the mag. "We're probably doing a farewell tour. Look, there's two bands that still have the original members, us and the Stones. I'm grateful for that," he added. Tyler is currently working on his country music side project, whilst Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has been working with Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp on the new band Hollywood Vampires. Meanwhile, Tyler has made a second TV spot for Skittles fruit candy, after the first one premiered during Super Bowl 50 in February. - NME, 4/11/16...... Bruce Springsteen announced on Apr. 8 that he and his E Street Band would be canceling a planned show in Greensboro, N.C., on Apr. 10 due to the state's controversial "bathroom" law. "[This law] dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use," Springsteen wrote on his site. "Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it's an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress." The Boss also offered his "deepest apologies to our dedicates fans in Greensboro," but added "some things are more important than a rock show." Organizers have announced all previously purchased tickets will be refunded at point of purchase. North Carolina's HB2 law, which passed this March, specifically overturns city ordinances designed to protect the right of transgender people to use the restroom of their choosing. In response to Springsteen's action, a U.S. congressman representing portions of Greensboro accused Springsteen of being a "bully." "It's disappointing he's not following through on his commitments," said Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican freshman congressman. "Bruce is known to be on the radical left," Walker continued, "and he's got every right to be so, but I consider this a bully tactic. It's like when a kid gets upset and says he's going to take his ball and go home." Canadian rocker Bryan Adams also canceled an upcoming show in Mississippi on Apr. 10 in protest of that state passing a similar law to North Carolina's. - Billboard, 4/8/16...... Carlos Santana will release Santana IV, a new album that reunites the lineup from 1971's classic Santana III LP, on Apr. 15. "We completed a whole album -- we did 16 songs in four days and they're killer," says Santana. The album features guest vocalists including Ronald Isley, who takes lead vocals on the tracks "Love Makes the World Go Round" and "Freedom in Your Mind." In addition to touring with his regular band, Santana is also gearing up for the debut concert by Supernova, an all-star jazz fusion collective featuring such artists as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller, which takes place at L.A.'s Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 24. - Billboard, 4/10/16...... Queen's Brian May has responded to a recent Howard Stern interview with actor Sacha Baron Cohen, in which Cohen said he pulled out of a planned biopic of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury because the band "wanted a PG-rated story that showed how Queen pulled together after Mercury's death." Cohen, however, said wanted to focus on Mercury's "wild" life in a darker story. "Sacha became an arse," May said in a new interview with Britain's Daily Mail. "We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas, but he went off and told untruths about what happened." May added that the band had no intention in cleaning up the story: "Why would he go away and say that we didn't want to make a gritty film?... Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth? I don't think so." May added that he and Queen bandmate Roger Taylor are currently eyeing another actor, Ben Whishaw, to portray Mercury in the film. "He's fabulous," May said, "a real actor." - Variety.com, 4/10/16...... Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks says fans can probably expect even more unreleased music from the band's vaults in the future, which will follow the band's recently released Live From A&R Recording, New York, August 26, 1971. "Don't be surprised if we come up with more," Trucks says. "We still have quite a lot of material, shows that were recorded in the early days." Live From A&R Recording captures the ABB shortly after the release of the classic At Fillmore East concert album, playing a special show for select fans. Meanwhile, Gregg Allman continues to tour the U.S. this summer and spring, with such coheadliners as Peter Frampton and ZZ Top. - Billboard, 4/9/16...... Graham Nash was one of the Sixties' great optimists. But there's a dark feel to his reflective new album, This Path Tonight. "The question haunting me/ 'Is my future just my past?'" he asks on the Blook on the Tracks-esque "Myself at Last." "Target" begins with a riff that mirrors ex-girlfriend Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," and "Golden Days" conjures memories of CSNY's long-lost harmony brotherhood with a lonely, unaccompanied voice. "What happened to 'All you need is love'?" Nash wonders. Corny perhaps, but still a damn good question. - Rolling Stone, 4/7/16...... Dennis Davis, the longtime drummer for David Bowie, died on Apr. 7 after a battle with cancer. Born and raised in Manhattan, Davis learned his craft under the tutelage of master jazz drummers Max Roach and Elvin Jones. His talents can be heard on seven Bowie albums -- including Heroes, Low, Lodger, the live album Stage and Scary Monsters -- as well as Iggy Pop's 1977 set The Idiot. He also recorded with the likes of Stevie Wonder, George Benson and Jermaine Jackson. Davis returned to the Bowie fold when he played percussion on Bowie's final trek, his A Reality Tour, in 2003. - Billboard, 4/8/16...... Sir Tom Jones' wife, Lady Melinda Rose Woodward (known as Linda), died on Apr. 10 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after a short battle with cancer. She is thought to have been 75 years of age. Jones had recently cancelled a number of tour dates overseas due to a "serious illness" in his family. Jones (real name Thomas Jones Woodward) met his wife (maiden name Trenchard) at secondary school in Treforest, near Pontypridd, south Wales. The pair married in 1957, both aged 16. Their only child, Mark, was born a month later. Jones, who recently described his wife as "an unbelievable woman...the most important thing in my life," had recently cancelled a number of tour dates overseas due to a "serious illness" in his family. A statement posted to Jones' official website said that Woodward was "surrounded by her husband and loved ones" at the time of her death, and offered no further information. - New Musical Express, 4/11/16...... Rock troubadour Tom Waits has joined the cast of a pilot for a new dramatic series from Hulu, Citizen. Waits will play Cesar, a priest, who is a walking anachronism of virtue and vice, joining a cast that includes Forrest Goodluck, Augusto Aguilera and Alex Gonzalez. Citizen is part of Hulu's ongoing bid to compete with awards-friendly original fare on Netflix and Amazon such as House of Cards and Transparent, respectively. Waits' previous acting credits include The Book of Eli, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Mystery Men and The Outsiders, among others. - Billboard, 4/7/16...... R&B singer-songwriter Leon Haywood, whose 1974 hit single "I Want'a Do Something Freaky to You" was memorably repurposed by rapper Dr. Dre's "Nuthin but a 'G' Thang," died on Apr. 6 in Los Angeles. He was 74. Born in Houston, Haywood moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and found work as a keyboardist, working with Sam Cooke's touring band. He notched a pair of minor R&B chart hits at the end of the decade, then reemerged in the mid-1970s as a reliable crafter of mid-tempo, string-drenched funk anthems on 20th Century Fox Records. "Stroking (Pt. II)," "Come and Get Yourself Some" and the Sly Stone-indebted "Keep It in the Family" were all hits on the R&B chart, while "I Want'a Do Something Freaky to You" reached No. 15 on the pop singles chart in 1975. In 1981, Haywood wrote a Grammy-nominated Top 40 hit for labelmate Carl Carlton, "She's a Bad Mama Jama," before seguing into a career as a producer. - 4/7/16...... Bill Henderson, a well-respected jazz vocalist and actor, died on Apr. 10 of natural causes in Los Angeles, according to Lynne Robin Green, president of LWBH Music Publishers. He was 90. A native of Chicago, Mr. Henderson sang with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, the Charlie Haden Quintet and many others. His 1963 album, Bill Henderson With the Oscar Peterson Trio, is considered a classic in the jazz vernacular. Mr. Henderson was a fixture on the Playboy circuit in the 1970s and appeared often at many festivals, including Playboy Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, Monterey Jazz and the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Connecticut. Later, he performed at The Kennedy Center and in New York at the Hotel Algonquin's Oak Room and at Lincoln Center. He also appeared in several films and TV series, including ER, Hill Street Blues, Happy Days, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons and Good Times - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/7/16.
Simon & Garfunkel's iconic 1966 single "The Sound of Silence" has entered the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart following its appearance in a YouTube video, titled "Sad Affleck," which features a portion of an interview with Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In the clip, Affleck is seen seemingly staring off in the distance as Cavill gives a lengthy answer to a question concerning the film's negative reviews as the Paul Simon-penned tune plays. The song also entered the Rock Streaming Songs chart at No. 2. Meanwhile, a cover of "The Sound of Silence" by Disturbed sits at No. 3 on the Hot Rock Songs chart since the band performed it on a Mar. 28 episode of TBS's Conan show. "The Sound of Silence" originally topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 1966. - Billboard, 4/6/16...... Gregg Allman's tour bus was involved in an accident in Jackson County, W.V., on the morning of Apr. 6 as it was traveling to a gig in Charleston, SC. Three members of the tour crew "were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and released shortly thereafter," according to a rep for Gregg Allman. Allman himself was not on the bus, which crossed into the northbound lane of I-77 and crashed into trees next to a creek running near the highway. The concert at Charleston's Clay Center will go on as scheduled, according to the rep. - Billboard, 4/6/16...... Heart's Ann Wilson will be featured in an upcoming episode of Connecticut Public Television's new series The Kate on TheKate.tv on Apr. 9 singing a raw, stunning cover of John Lennon's "Isolation." Wilson takes the stage as the leader of her Heart side project The Ann Wilson Thing that finds her reinterpreting various rock, soul and blues classics, including the Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth." Named after Katherine Hepburn, The Kate is filmed in front of a live audience at the historic 250-seat Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Conn. - Billboard, 4/6/16...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood said on Apr. 4 that the band is planning to release a new album, possibly in 2016, which will be the followup to 2005's A Bigger Bang. "We went in to cut some new songs, which we did," the 68-year-old Wood said. "But we got on a blues streak. We cut 11 blues in two days. They are extremely great cover versions of Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter, among other blues people. But they really sound authentic." The Stones recently wrapped a tour of Latin America, with a free show in Cuba on Mar. 25. Wood's statement comes after his bandmate Keith Richards also recently said the band plans on releasing new music. "There's one coming. I can't say no more. My lips are sealed," he said. After their Bigger Bang tour ended in 2007, the Stones resumed touring in 2012 to mark their 50th anniversary, but have only released a couple of new songs since then. - AP, 4/4/16...... In other Rolling Stones news, a huge exhibit showcasing five decades of the band's history entitled "Exhibitionism" has opened at London's Saatchi Gallery. The vast exhibition, which covers 20,000 square feet, features more than 500 artifacts borrowed from the band's archive and private collectors, include musical instruments, lyrics, sketches, film clips, outfits, posters, album artwork and stage designs. A whole room is devoted to designer John Pasche's famous lips-and-tongue Stones logo, inspired by a picture frontman Mick Jagger had seen of the Hindu goddess Kali, and another room is a life-size recreation of an apartment the band members shared in 1962-63 in the Chelsea neighborhood of London. "Exhibitionism" runs to Sept. 4, with an international tour planned to follow the London run. - AP, 4/5/16...... Meanwhile, Mick Jagger has weighed in Britain's upcoming referendum to remain in the European Union. In an interview with Britain's Sky News, Jagger says he can see leaving the European Union to be "beneficial" to the UK in the long term. "I wonder if David Cameron, if he was asked today, whether he would actually want to put this out for a referendum now," Jagger said. "To me personally, I don't think [the result] is going to make a huge difference. I think to the country in the short term [leaving the EU] will be detrimental. In the longer term, in a twenty-year term, it might turn out to be beneficial," he added. In May 2015, the Conservatives' political adviser Jim Messina claimed that Jagger correctly predicted the results of the UK general election. "One of the savviest political observers I've come across is Mick Jagger," Messina said. "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." - New Musical Express, 4/6/16...... Guitar legend Jeff Beck will release a new studio album on July 15, the followup to his 2010 Grammy Award-winning LP Emotion and Commotion. The title of the album is yet to be announced, or whether two new songs Beck included on his 2015 live album, Jeff Beck Live+, "Tribal" and "My Tiled White Floor," will be included. Beck has also announced he will be releasing a memoir, BECK01, three days before the new album on July 12. The book will explore his "passions for hot rodding and rock & roll," with the limited-edition title signed and individually numbered by Beck and hand-bound in leather and aluminum. Beck will mount a summer US tour behind his new album and book, co-headlining with blues legend Buddy Guy. - New Musical Express, 4/4/16...... Remastered versions of the Beatles' three Anthology volumes from 1995 and 1996 debuted on all streaming services at midnight on Apr. 4. Anthology, Volumes 1-3 originally released in two-disc sets in 1995 and 1996, included rare and previously unreleased recordings, plus studio outtakes, alternate versions and singles "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love. Upon their original release, the collections went multi-platinum in several countries and "Free as a Bird" (completed by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr from 1977 demos recorded by John Lennon) became the band's 34th top 10 hit in the U.S. The tracks can be heard on major international services including Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play, Microsoft Groove, Prime Music, Rhapsody, Slacker Radio, Spotify and Tidal, as well as dozens of local streaming partners around the world. The Anthology tracks come less than four months after the Beatles released their catalog of hit music to streaming services for the first time. - Billboard, 4/4/16...... In other Fab Four news, a live "musical documentary" stage show which closely recreates the sound of the bnd's famous Abbey Road recordings is now on tour in the UK. "The Sessions - A Live Restaging of The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios" includes performances of songs from their albums Please, Please Me and Abbey Road as they were originally recorded, with four actors potraying John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, while screens around them display recording details and live musicians recreate the vocals, music and arrangements that were originally used. Another actor will narrate the show in role of the "fifth Beatle," producer George Martin, who died in March aged 90, and to whom the show is dedicated. The show is inspired by the memoir of former Abbey Road Studios sound engineer Geoff Emerick. "The Sessions" debuted at London's Royal Albert Hall on Apr. 1 and will tour other UK cities and some European countries. - NME, 4/2/16...... Elton John is set to appear as himself in an upcoming episode of ABC's country music drama Nashville, producers announced on Apr. 4. The "Rocket Man" singer will perform alongside up-and-coming singer and songwriter Gunnar (Sam Palladio) in the May 18 episode of the series, which serves as the penultimate episode of season four. Nashville follows several fictional country music stars, and has prevously welcomed other real hit makers, including Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line and Sara Evans. The role will be a rare scripted series appearance for Sir Elton, who most recently appeared on his good friend Lady Gaga's 2013 Christmas special. John will appear in the May 18 episode of the 10:00 p.m. EDT Wednesday night series. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/4/16...... Toni Tennille, the better half of the '70s hitmaking duo The Captain and Tennille, released her autobiography, Toni Tennille: A Memoir, on Apr. 1. The "Love Will Keep Us Together" singer takes readers through the more difficult moments of her life that many Captain and Tennille fans may be unaware of, including her upbringing in the segregated south to "fighting a lonely struggle against the controlling and often bizarre behavior of her emotionally inaccessible husband," Daryl "The Captain" Dragon. - Billboard, 4/4/16...... Elvis Costello kicked off a summer tour of America on Apr. 2 with two sold-out shows at L.A.'s Theatre at Ace Hotel on Apr. 2. Although the tour isn't technically a "book tour" -- he did one of those in the fall of 2015 replete with speaking engagements and signings for his memoir Unfinished Music & Disappearing Ink -- the effects of the book were felt throughout his part-scripted, part-freestyle "Detour" show, as he told droll stories while snarling and cooing his way through his famous rock songbook. Costello filmed one of his "Detour" concerts during the 2015 fall leg of his European tour, which was screened in January as a one-night theatrical release in dozens of U.S. cinemas, followed by a DVD release. - Billboard, 4/3/16...... David Bowie has scored three of the Top 10 albums on the UK's Official Charts Company chart following his death in January. Only Adele' with her new album 25 sold more albums in England than Bowie's final LP, Blackstar, with the late rock legend also coming in at No. 4 with The Best of Bowie and No. 10 with another hits collection, Nothing Has Changed - The Very Best of David Bowie.. In other Bowie-related news, Bowie's widow Inman has lost her mother, Maryan Abdulmajid, just three months after the death of her husband. Inman confirmed the news of her mother's passing in an Apr. 1 Facebook post, in which she shared an image of her wedding to David: "Saddened by death of my mom Maryan Baadi. May Allah grant her the highest jennah. I beg that you respect my family's privacy during our time of grief #ripmaryanbaadi." - New Musical Express, 4/6/16...... Scientists at the University of South Australia have used AC/DC's hit "Thunderstruck" to help in cancer research, it was announced on Apr. 3. The scientists used the bone-jarring tune to help adapt the delivery of chemotherapy-related drug Camptothecin, improving delivery direct to cancer cells. It's thought the research could also be used in other areas of drug delivery. The researchers have also released a paper on the subject, titled "Thunderstruck: Plasma-Polymer-Coated Porous Silicon Microparticles As a Controlled Drug Delivery System." The project comes after AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young successfully battled lung cancer and subsequently retired in 2014. - NME, 4/3/16...... Bonnie Raitt played the first of two sold-out shows at Manhattan's Beacon Theatre on Apr. 1 behind her new LP, Dig In Deep. The 66-year-old Grammy winner opened the set with a cover of INXS's 1987 chart-topping hit "Need You Tonight," followed by the blues-rocker "Gypsy in Me," "The Comin Round Is Going Through," Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line," the Willie Dixon blues classic "Round and Round," and an exquisite acoustic "Angel From Montgomery." Raitt will be on a world tour throughout 2016 and 2017. - Billboard, 4/2/16...... Aerosmith's Steven Tyler gave a big Aerosmith fan who was born with Down syndrome free backstage passes to both of Aerosmith's shows at the Fallsview Casino after the two bumped into each other by chance at a medical suppies store earlier in the day, where Tyler was shopping for a back brace. Tyler asked the fan, Anthony Yorfido, if he was going to the Mar. 30 show, but Yorfido told Tyler he couldn't get tickets. "Oh, don't worry about that, you guys are coming with me. I'll get you backstage passes," Tyler said to Yorfido and his mother. Yorfido was also brought on stage during the concert, and he played maracas during "Sweet Emotion." - The Niagara Falls Review, 4/3/16...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson has honored her late dad by turning one of his touching notes into a tattoo. Paris, 18, headed to the Timeless Tattoo parlour in Hollywood to get the tribute, the words "Queen of my Heart", which was written in Michael's handwriting, etched on the outer side of her lower left arm. "'Queen of My Heart' in his handwriting," she wrote in the caption of an Instagram post. "To everyone else he was the King of Pop. To me, well, he was the king of my heart. Thank you dermagraphink, you're a legend." It is thought Paris got the tattoo to mark her 18th birthday, which was on Apr. 3. She celebrated the occasion on social media by posting an image of herself locking lips with rocker boyfriend Michael Snoddy and taking a trip to Disneyland in California. Michael Jackson died in June 2009 at age 50 from an overdose of prescription drugs. - WENN.com, 4/6/16...... Cable TV's BET channel has acquired more than 1,000 vintage episode of the dance show Soul Train, which aired from 1971 into the 2000s, from InterMedia Partners and the Yucaipa Companies. BET has aired the Soul Train Awards show since 2009 and has aired older Soul Train episodes of the show on BET and Centric in the past. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius sold the company in 2008, four years before his death in 2012. - Variety, 4/4/16...... Influential country music singer/songwriter Merle Haggard died in Palo Cedro, Calif., on the morning of Apr. 6, his 79th birthday, after a battle with pneumonia. Born Apr. 6, 1937, in Oildale, Calif., outside Bakersfield, Haggard often ran into trouble with the law and he spent time in juvenile detention centres and served jail sentences during the 1950s. It was as an inmate at San Quentin prison that Haggard first saw Johnny Cash perform, an event he later characterized as life-changing. Following his release from prison in 1960, Haggard went on to record a number of hit country singles. His first top 20 hit, "Sing Me a Sad Song," came out in 1963, and he scored his first No. 1 single with 1965's "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive." By 1967, Haggard was one of country music's biggest stars with 37 songs charting in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country singles chart that year. He went on to have 38 No. 1 country singles over his career, third only to George Strait (44) and Conway Twitty (40), and logged eight No. 1 singles in 1966-69 alone. Haggard's most famous songs include "Mama Tried," "The Bottle Let Me Down," The Fightin' Side of Me," and "Okie From Muskogee," which became a touchstone for debate at the height of the Vietnam War era. After garnering considerable coverage in 2003 with "That's the News," his sharply critical song about media coverage of the Iraq war, Haggard founded his own independent label Hag Records. Haggard's last album was 2015's Django and Jimmie, a collaboration with his longtime friend Willie Nelson. Haggard was the recipient of two Grammys, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, and celebrated as a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in December 2010. His most recent solo studio album was 2011's Working In Tennessee, released on Vanguard. Haggard underwent surgery for lung cancer in 2008, and had been hospitalized for various ailments over the past few years -- most notably for pneumonia, which forced several concert postponements and cancelations in 2015 and 2016. He is survived by fifth wife Theresa Ann Lane and his six children. - Billboard/NME, 4/6/16...... Latin Jazz saxophonist Leandro "Gato" Barbieri, who composed the Grammy-winning music for the steamy Marlon Brando film Last Tango in Paris and recorded dozens of albums over a career spanning more than seven decades, died on Apr. 2 in a New York hospital from pneumonia. He was 83. The Argentine-born musician recorded some 35 albums between 1967 and 1982, when he stopped consistently making new records. He toured regularly and went on to record four more albums, including 1997's smooth jazz Que Pasa, which reached No. 2 on Billboard's contemporary jazz charts. Though in poor health, Mr. Barbieri, still sporting his trademark black fedora hat, had been performing monthly at the Blue Note jazz club in New York since 2013. He last performed at the club on Nov. 23. - AP, 4/2/16.