Graham Nash has scored his highest charting solo album since 1974 with his new studio effort This Path Tonight. Debuting on the Billboard Hot 200 at No. 93, the LP is Nash's first solo studio album since 2002 and his highest charting since 1974's Wild Tales, which rose to No. 34. Bonnie Raitt's latest album, Dig in Deep, has bowed at No. 100 on the chart by selling 6,000 units in pure album sales, only 1,000 less than Nash's album. Other '70s artists on the album charts include Ace Frehley, whose Origins, Vol. 1 has risen to No. 23, and Marie Osmond with her new LP Music Is Medicine, which has hit No. 10 on the Top Country Albums chart. It's her first solo top 10 on the tally since 1974's In My Little Corner of the World peaked at No. 10 that year. - Billboard, 4/29/16...... A new Beatles exhibition dubbed "The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition" began a 21-week run at The Henry Ford museum in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn on Apr. 30. Boasting 10,000 square feet of Fab Four memorabilia with more than 150 artifacts from the collection of Peter Miniaci & Associates, a Beatles memorabilia specialty firm, the exhibit interactive displays designed to give visitors a "unique approach" to the Beatles story, according to exhibit designer Geoffrey Curley. Although the exhibit hasn't been sanctioned by the Beatles and their Apple Corps., they're not standing in its way. "They basically, for all intents and purposes, said 'Good luck,'" said a rep for the St. Paul, Minn.-based Exhibits Development Group, which is producing the exhibit. The exhibit is set to run through Sept. 18, and is next slated for the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa starting March 9, 2017. - Billboard, 4/29/16...... At an all-star concert celebrating International Jazz Day at the White House in Washington on Apr. 30, Aretha Franklin paid tribute to Prince by performing the rock/funk legend's "Purple Rain." "He was definitely an original and a one-of-a-kind. There was truly only one Prince. He put his stamp [on his sound]," said Franklin, who earlier kicked off the proceedings with a performance of "A Song For You." Also performing at the event were Sting and Herbie Hancock, among others. Meanwhile, investigators in Minnesota are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the weeks before he was found dead at his home in suburban Minneapolis on Apr. 21. Authorities are reportedly interested in whether a doctor was on a plane carrying Prince from his final concert in Atlanta to his home that made an emergency landing in Illinois on Apr. 15, less than a week before he died. Prince's plane made an emergency stop in Moline, in western Illinois, and he was found unconscious on the plane. Investigators are also looking into what kind of drugs were on the plane and at Prince's house in suburban Minneapolis, and they have also obtained a search warrant to collect evidence at Prince's Paisley Park estate. One official said investigators are looking at whether Prince overdosed on the plane and whether an overdose killed him, and at what kind of drugs were involved. One possibility is the powerful painkiller Percocet or something similar, the official said. As this occurs, the National Enquirer tabloid has published a story with an unidentified source who claims Prince had been suffering from AIDS before he died at age 57. The story claims Prince weighed just 80 lbs. by the time of his death, had been diagnosed with the crippling disease six months earlier, and had "preparing to die for a little while." "Doctors told Prince his blood count was unusually low and that his body temperature had dropped dangerously below the normal 98.6 degrees to 94 degrees," the source stated. "He was totally iron-deficient, very weak and often disoriented. He rarely ate and when he did, it all came right back up. His face was yellowish, the skin on his neck was hanging off and the tips of fingers were a brownish-yellow," the source added. Meanwhile on Apr. 26, Prince's sister Tyka Nelson filed papers at the Minnesota probate court that indicated Prince died without executing a will. With Prince's estate worth a reported $300 million by current estimates, tax experts say it could be paying up to half of that in taxes. Also on Apr. 26, AMC theaters announced Prince's 1984 film Purple Rain will be expanding into more than 200 of its theaters in the U.S. as a way of giving grieving fans continue to look for ways to celebrate his life and career. - New Musical Express/AP/The Daily Mail UK, 5/1/16...... Elvis Costello and the Impostors were among the headliners at New Orleans Jazz Fest on Apr. 28, the fourth day of the event. Costello and his band wasted no time getting into his greatest hits, kicking off with "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" and "Watching the Detectives," "Mystery Dance" and "Radio Radio." The second half of Costello's set was dedicated to his late friend and New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint, with performances of Toussaint's piano-driven "Ascension Day" and the Lee Dorsey-sung/Toussaint-penned classic "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further?." - Billboard, 4/29/16...... A May 10 trial date has been set for a California jury to decide whether Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" unfairly borrowed from an instrumental track called "Taurus" by L.A. rockers Spirit that came three years before it. Apparently, lawyers representing Spirit are now willing to settle their case for the seemingly low price of one American dollar. The catch is, Zeppelin's Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, the co-writers of "Stairway to Heaven," would have to give songwriting credit to Spirit's Randy California, which would amount to much for than $1 towards the estate of the late California, who died in 1997. On April 25, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner decided the plaintiffs will not be able to present jurors with testimony involving Zeppelin's wealth and drug usage nor persuade them with evidence falling outside the original 1967 copyright of "Taurus." - Billboard, 4/27/16...... Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band wrapped the US leg of their The River tour on Apr. 25 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Attended by some 18,000 fans, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Springsteen and the band once again performed the 1980 double LP The River's 21 songs and 15 additional hits, which was, according to the Boss, the last time he and the band will perform The River from top to bottom. "Tonight this is going to be our last official performance of The River from start to finish... We're going to open up our set list overseas," Springsteen told the crowd. "We've had a great time performing this record for all of you. We hope you have enjoyed it in the United States. So let's go down to the River one more time and see what we find." The tour began on Jan. 16 in Pittsburgh. - Billboard, 4/26/16...... Bob Dylan has released a second track from his forthcoming second covers album of Frank Sinatra songs, Fallen Angels. "All the Way" follows "Melancholy Mood," which was unveiled in April. Fallen Angels, which also features the Sinatra standards "Young at Heart," "That Old Black Magic" and "Come Rain or Come Shine," drops on May 20. - NME, 4/29/16...... Elton John and Lady Gaga are partnering on a new line of exclusive fashion and accessories with a political bent called Love Bravery. According to a press release, Love Bravery will be "a high-spirited, limited-edition line of clothing and accessories that inspire compassion and combat prejudice" and will span several categories including shirts, sweats, outerwear, clutches, backpacks, scarves, beanies, keychains and pins. Sales will benefit the artists' respective charites, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Gaga's Born This Way Foundation. "I love the idea of fusing who you are on the inside -- your passions and dreams -- with what you wear on the outside," John said in the statement. - Billboard, 4/27/16...... On Apr. 29, Neil Young announced he will be releasing a new live album called EARTH that will feature recordings from his 2015 "The Monsanto Years" tour, along with the previously unreleased song "I Won't Quit." According to a press release, the album will also include highlights from Young's extensive discography, with new musical overdubs added to the mixes as well as a host of nature-inspired sounds including bears, birds, crickets, bees, horses, cows, and "sounds of the earth." Young will be playing the album in its entirety on May 6, ahead of its release on June 17, at the Natural History Museum Los Angeles County, as well as discussing the construction of the record. Meanwhile, Young's entire catalog -- 57 albums, including his 125-song Archives Volume I [1963 - 1972] set -- have been made available for streaming on the Tidal.com site. Tidal appears to have qualmed Young's well-known resistance to the inferior sound quality of streaming by offering a $19.99/month high-fidelity streaming option, which boasts better sound quality. But curiously, the catalog is also available via Tidal's standard (which it calls "premium") $9.99/month option, an about-face for the veteran rocker. In July 2015, Young posted on his website that "I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution." - New Musical Express/Billboard, 4/29/16...... A life-size statue of late AC/DC frontman was unveiled over the UK bank holiday (Apr. 30-May 2) during the annual BonFest at the singer's Scottish hometown of Kirriemuir, Angus. A bronze statue honouring Scott was presented at the festival site after a two year-long crowdfunding campaign raised £45,000. The unveiling was led by former AC/DC bassist Mark Evans, who described it as "very emotional." "To have something like this that's been funded by the fans, the people that he held in his heart is just great. It's just fantastic, it's a really warming experience," he said. This was the tenth year of the BonFest, which also featured AC/DC tribute acts from around the world performing live. - New Musical Express, 4/29/16...... Debbie Harry of Blondie has joined the list of artists who are demanding changes to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) in the U.S., which they say "threatens the continued viability of songwriters and recording artists to survive from the creation of music." On Dec. 31, the Copyright Office announced its intent to evaluate the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, which -- to an extent -- protects internet service providers from third parties who illegally share content online. Other artists who are onboard demanding changes to the law include Billy Joel, Steven Tyler, Lionel Richie, Jon Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera. - Billboard, 4/25/16...... Tom Jones has spoken out for the first time since the death of his longtime wife Lady Melinda Rose Woodward, known as Linda, who passed away on Apr. 10. "A heartfelt Thank You to all who sent notes of their sympathy and support to me and my family over the last couple of weeks," the famous Welsh singer posted on his site. "So many beautiful and meaningful things were said, and reading these genuine and lovely messages has lifted us all. See you soon," he added. The pair married in 1957, both aged 16. Their only child, Mark, was born a month later. - NME, 4/28/16...... Canadian entrepreneur Philip Kives, the founder of the world-famous K-Tel brand and a pioneer of late-night television direct marketing, died of natural causes on Apr. 27 in Winnipeg, Canada. He was 87. With his products Veg-O-Matic, Dial-O-Matic, the Feather Touch Knife and the category-founding K-Tel music compilations, the Saskatchewan-born Mr. Kives virtually invented late night TV marketing after holding such jobs as taxi driver, short-order cook, and door-to-door salesman, even working as a "barker" on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. In the spring of 1962, Mr. Kives appeared on television for the first timing, presenting a live, late-night commercial selling teflon pans. Around four years later, he tried selling music on late night TV, selling compilations -- at that time a new format, and a new income stream for the record business. He started off with 25 Country Hits, following up with his first million-seller, 25 Polka Greats, according to his biography on the K-Tel website. In the late '60's Mr. Kives launched K-Tel and continued to sell both household appliances like the Miracle Brush, while beginning music compilation lines like Hooked On Classics. Along the way, the company built a large headquarters in Minneapolis, where it remained for many years. The site had a block named after it, K-Tel Drive, which is still there today. Sales grew from $23 million in 1971 to $178 million in 1981, according to his daughter Samantha Kives. "He had a profound effect on pop culture -- SNL and SCTV did skits on K-Tel." While K-tel initially began in the music business by putting together compilations of licensed hits and other music, it also began having original artists re-record their hits, but also bought the rights to some original versions of hits. Today, it has a catalog of 6,000 original hit recordings and re-recordings that are used to license for commercials and in movies. They are also available on most digital services too, with the company now run by Kives' children. Mr. Kives is survived by his wife, Ellie to whom he was married for 45 years; his children Samanta, Kelly and Danial; and three grandchildren. - Billboard, 4/29/16.
On Apr. 21 Joe Walsh canceled a concert in Cleveland set for July 18 after learning that it had ties to the Republican National Convention as the GOP meets in the city to pick its presidential candidate. "It was my understanding that I was playing a concert which was a non-partisan event to benefit the families of American veterans on Monday, July 18 in Cleveland," Walsh posted on his website. "The admat I approved said this specifically. Today it was announced that this event is, in fact, a launch for the Republican National Convention. In addition, my name is to be used to raise sponsorship dollars for convention-related purposes. Therefore, I must humbly withdraw my participation in this event with apologies to any fans or veterans and their families that I might disappoint." Walsh, who launches a 25-date tour with Bad Company on May 12 in Dallas, added that he is "very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns." "It is both isolationist and spiteful. I cannot in good conscience endorse the Republican party in any way. I will look at doing a veteran related benefit concert later this year," he added. - Billboard, 4/21/16...... The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Minneapolis, Minn., announced on Apr. 22 that it had completed an autopsy on Prince, who shockingly died the previous day at the age of 57, but the results will likely not be released for several weeks. Prince was found dead in his Chanhassen, Minn., compound, slumped unconscious in an elevator, and was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. (11:07 EST), about 15 minutes after emergency personnel responded to a call for help. Medical personnel were unable to revive the Grammy-winning musical icon, who performed his final show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on April 14. He was then secretly cremated in an intimate ceremony at a nondescript funeral home in Minneapolis shortly after the autopsy was completed. Britain's The Daily Mail paper is reporting that Prince's longtime drug dealer, who asked to be named only as "Doctor D," said Prince had a "secret major drug addiction" and would spend up to $40,000 a time on six-month supplies of Dilaudid pills and Fentanyl patches -- both highly addictive opioid pain killers -- and according to sources Prince overdosed on the opiate Percocet. Doctor D said the musician regularly bought drugs from him between 1984 and 2008, and that Prince suffered crippling stage fright and could not get on stage and perform without the drugs -- but had a phobia of doctors so could not obtain a prescription legally. "He needed the drugs because he was so nervous -- he could be nervous in a room with just five people in it. He was scared to go out in public, he was scared to talk to people and didn't like to go on stage -- he had the worst case of stage fright I'd ever seen," the drug dealer added. On Apr. 23, Prince was remembered at a private memorial service held at his Paisley Park estate, with family, representatives and friends handing out purple hat boxes to well wishers and friends including Sheila E at the gates. Meanwhile, Prince's 1984 smash "Purple Rain" has returned to the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, as well as the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Five of his tracks also appear on the Hot Rock Songs chart. Prince also claims the Nos. 1 and 2 spots on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart with his The Very Best of Prince and Purple Rain soundtrack, respectively. Also AMC Theatres has announced the Purple Rain film will play in 87 of its theaters across the US on Apr. 23 through Apr. 28. Musicians paying tribute to the legendary musician include Bruce Springsteen, who sang "Purple Rain" at a concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Apr. 23, and David Gilmour, who suprised the crowd during a London concert on Apr. 24 by mashing up "Comfortably Numb" with "Purple Rain." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 4/25/16...... Although Peter Frampton says he thinks recent controversial anti-LGBT laws that have been passed in Mississippi and North Carolina are "absurd," he is defending his decision to go ahead with scheduled concerts in those states, citing a need to honor his commitment to fans who have already purchased tickets. "Performing live has been one of the most important opportunities I've been given and I am lucky to share my music with so many of my amazing, loyal and diverse fans," Frampton said in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. "My band and I will uphold our commitment to play our scheduled shows there this summer and honor fans who have already purchased tickets and/or made travel plans." However Frampton says he has no intention of playing those two states in the future, unless they reconsider the laws. "We will not play again until these laws are changed... I will be making a donation in support of the rights and protections of the LGBTQ community." Frampton joins several other artists, including Gregg Allman and Jimmy Buffett, who have also chosen not to cancel their concerts, but are speaking out about the controversial laws. - Billboard, 4/22/16...... Kraftwerk has announced it will launch a new run of 3D concerts in the US this fall, beginning on Sept. 3 in North Bethesda, Maryland. In 2015, the German electronic pioneers played 12 dates of 3D shows in America in smaller markets like Portland, Calgary and Nashville. Kraftwerk will also be visiting Atlanta (9/3), Memphis (9/6), New Orleans (9/8), Dallas (9/10), San Antonio (9/12), Phoenix (9/15), and San Diego (9/16) before wrapping in Los Angeles on Sept. 18. The band is also set to headline the Movement Electronic Music Festival from May 28-30 in Detroit, Mich. - Billboard, 4/25/16...... Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire wrapped their joint Heart and Soul tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Apr. 18. The two acts. Speaking about Chicago's recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, frontman Robert Lamm joked to the crowd that "I have a feeling it's thanks to the Chicago-style voting: five people voting 37 million times." The most moving portion of the concert, though, was EW&F's tribute to the group's recently deceased founder Maurice White. As the band played "In the Marketplace (Interlude)," a picture of White was projected on the background. - Billboard, 4/21/16...... ZZ Top has put its North American tour on hold as bassist Dusty Hill recuperates from a fractured shoulder he sustained before an Apr. 14 show in Lubbock, Texas. Hill, according to a statement from the band, tripped on a dimly-lit step while walking to the stage for the show, and Hill says his doctors are "doing their best to get me back in the game as soon as possible." Since the injury, ZZ Top canceled its April 15 show in Shawnee, Okla. and will not be able to perform again until a May 28 festival date in Frisco, Tex. - Billboard, 4/20/16...... Legendary music producer Phil Spector, who is currently serving a 19 years to life sentence at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, Calif., for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, has allegedly filed for divorce from his wife Rachelle Short, amid reports that she is spending all of his estimated $35 million fortune. Spector, who will be 88 before he is eligible for parole, filed legal documents on Apr. 22 alleging that Short has been "spending like a mad woman," with a list of extravagant purchases that included a $350,000 airplane, an Aston Martin and a Ferrari. Short has also apparently treated herself to expensive plastic surgery and jewellery, as well as buying her mother two homes. In addition, Short has reportedly only given Spector a $300-a-month stipend during his time behind bars. Spector cited irreconcilable differences in the divorce papers, and also has requested that his daughter Nicole control his fortune. - WENN.com, 4/23/16...... A rare version of David Bowie's Hunky Dory album is expected to fetch £36,000 at auction when it goes up for sale in late April. The record in question is an acetate disc created after the album was mastered but before it was released to the public as a finished vinyl. It was used as the precursor for a limited run of 500 promotional copies of Bowie's 1971 fourth album. Versions of this white label record, which is known amongst collectors as the 'BOWPROMO' are themselves tremendously valuable, with one selling for around $10,000 on eBay in 2012. The acetate was owned by late Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, who played with Bowie's backing band at the time, before being passed through family and friends until it arriving in the hands of its current owner, Dennis Graham, in 1973. "It's quite a funny story on how I came to own it," Graham says. "The record had been given to my neighbour as a gift from Mick Ronson's mum and he ended up giving it to me in exchange for a bottle of beer! I kept it for all these years and it's unbelievable to see how much it's now worth." - NME, 4/22/16...... The Who's Roger Daltrey has confirmed that the Who will definitely be playing an upcoming "mega festval" in Indio, Calif., this year between Oct. 7-9, along with such icons as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and the Rolling Stones. "I think it's us and Roger Waters on the same day," Daltrey told Canada's Postmedia Network. "It's a fantastic idea for a festival. It's the greatest remains of our era." Daltrey also weighed in on the recent announcement that Guns 'N Roses singer Axl Rose will be joining the band to replace vocalist Brian Johnson on the the remainder of AC/DC's Rock or Bust World Tour after Johnson was forced to retire from performing music for good or face permanent hearing loss. "I mean, go and see karaoke with Axl Rose? Give me a break," Daltrey said. In another recent interview with the London Free Press, Daltrey said that he "really feels badly for Brian" and that "it must be heartbreaking for him after all the service he's given that band over the years." "I thought their farewell statement to the press and to Brian was fairly curt to say the least. I felt for him. That must have hurt," he added. Meanwhile, the singer of an AC/DC tribute band called Thunderstruck is claiming he was auditioned by AC/DC to be their new frontman. Thunderstruck's Lee Robinson recently told Blabbermouth that the band flew him into Atlanta during March to audition for them. He says AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams had found out about the tribute act after stumbling upon Youtube clips of their performances. - New Musial Express, 4/22/16...... '70s soul singer Billy Paul, best known for his No. 1 1972 single "Me and Mrs. Jones," died on Apr. 24 at his home in Blackwood, N.J., after what a statement described as a "serious medical condition." He was 82. Born Billy Paul Williams in Philadephia on Dec. 1, 1934, Mr. Paul began singing at an early age, even sharing a bill at Club Harlem in Philadelphia with Charlie Parker when he was only 16 years old, later saying he "learned in a week what would normally take two years to pick up" thanks to Parker. His recording of "Me and Mrs. Jones" topped the Hot 100 in late 1972, and it earned the singer a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1973. The single was written by the hit Philly songwriting team of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who also wrote and produced albums for Mr. Paul including Ebony Woman and Going East. Later in his career, Mr. Paul sued Gamble and Huff and other industry officials over unpaid royalties, and was awarded $500,000. Throughout his career, Mr. Paul released 15 albums, the most recent being 1988's Wide Open. His manager, Beverly Gay, said the musician had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and hospitalized during the previous week at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. A statement on his website called him a "pioneer of today's R&B music [who] will be truly missed." Gamble and Huff released a statement upon hearing of Mr. Paul's passing, calling "Me and Mrs. Jones" "one of the greatest love songs ever recorded" and their recording of the song with Mr. Paul "our proudest moment." "He was one of the greatest musicians ever to come out of Philadelphia," the duo added. - Billboard, 4/24/16...... Lonnie Mack, a veteran guitarist whose instrumental recordings influenced guitar players including Stevie Ray Vaughan, died in a Nashville, Tenn., hospital on Apr. 21 of natural causes. He was 74. Born Lonnie McIntosh in West Harrison, Indiana, Mack played sessions for record labels in Cincinnati with blues and R&B greats such as James Brown, Hank Ballard and Freddie King. Mack's 1963 recording of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" became a radio hit, and he followed that with "Wham!," which inspired the nickname "whammy bar" for the tremolo bar he had on his Gibson Flying V. - AP, 4/22/16.