An official unveiling of a huge mural of David Bowie in Sarajevo, Bosnia took place on May 28 to pay tribute to Bowie's humanitarian work during the Bosnian war. Inscribed with the words "Fashion changes, but you'll always be my heroes" (a nod to the way Bosnia has changed since the 1992-95 conflict), the 13 meters (43 feet) high and 10.5 meters (34 feet) wide painting adorns a damaged university building in the capital, close to the infamous street once known as Sniper Alley. More than 300 people attended the unveiling, the brainchild of local musician Vedad Trbonja, as Bowie's "Space Oddity" played over loudspeakers. Bowie died at the age of 69 on Jan. 10. - Billboard, 5/31/16...... Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and his third wife Sally Humphreys are the proud parents of two twin girls who were born on May 30. "We are delighted to announce the birth of their twins Gracie Jane (6lb) & Alice Rose (5.7lb). The girls arrived on 30 May at 10.30pm and all are doing brilliantly. The babies are perfect," read a statement released by 69-year-old Wood and 38-year-old Humphreys. Wood met Humpreys, a theatre producer, at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane in London, where Wood was exhibiting his art. The twins are Wood's fifth and sixth children, who has a son with his first wife, ex-model Krissy Wood, and a daughter and one biological son and an adopted son from his second marriage to ex-wife Jo. - New Musical Express, 5/31/16...... As he performed in Moscow on May 30 before an enthusiastic crowd, Elton John says he regrets he didn't have the opportunity to meet with Russian president Vladimeir Putin during his current trip to Moscow, but said he's looking forward to meeting Putin in the future to discuss LGBT issues. John thanked Putin for inviting him to "discuss some serious issues in Russia, including LGBT and HIV and AIDS," expressing hope they could eventually meet. Elton has criticized a Russian law against gay "propaganda" and comments by Putin suggesting that "gay people prey on children." Putin had called John in Sept. 2015 to say he'd be willing to meet and talk about any issues that concern him, after Russian pranksters posing as Pres. Putin fooled John, prompting the musician to post an Instagram message thanking Putin for calling. - AP, 5/31/16...... As Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's The River tour rolled into Dublin, Ireland for two shows on the last weekend in May, fans were treated to a surprise as the American rocker jammed with Dublin's favorite son, U2's Bono, during the second show on a rendition of the Springsteen-Patti Smith songwriting collaboration "Because the Night." Bono's U2 and Springsteen have performed the song previously on more than one occasion, including a performance at MSG back in 2009 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Springsteen also made a guest appearance during the final show of U2's eight-night stand at New York's Madison Square Garden in July 2015. - Billboard, 5/30/16...... German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk have lost a court case against a German rapper named Moses Pelham who sampled a two-second drum sequence from Kraftwerk's 1977 song "Metal On Metal" for his 1997 song "Nur Mir," which Pelham wrote for fellow rapper Sabrina Setlur. Kraftwerk principal Ralf Hutter had first sued Pelham in 2012 over the song, whose title translates as "Only Me." Later a German court ruled that "Nur Mir" should be deleted, agreeing with Hutter that the repeated sample amounted to copyright infringement. However, Pelham took the case to Germany's court of appeal, which has now ruled that the song's impact on Kraftwerk should not supersede Pelham's "artistic freedom." "Metal On Metal" originally appeared on the 1977 album Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk, who have announced they'll perform all eight of their albums at a residency at the Norwegian Opera House in Oslo from Aug. 4-7, before embarking on a US tour in September. - NME, 5/31/16...... During his solo career years, Ozzy Osbourne once recorded a song titled "Crazy Train," and now the Black Sabbath frontman has a more sober tram in his English hometown of Birmingham named after him. During a ceremony in the central England city on May 26, Ozzy said his journey from his hometown to rocker to reality show star had been an "an incredible journey," but he'd never forgotten his Birmingham roots. "Once a Brummie, always a Brummie," he said. Osbourne, 67, then hopped aboard the Ozzy Osbourne Tram for its first journey to New Street Station. - AP, 5/26/16...... In a new interview with Britain's Q magazine, Paul McCartney said the popular alternative band Oasis' biggest mistake was once claiming they were "bigger than the Beatles." "Oasis were young, fresh and writing good tunes," McCartney told Q. "I thought the biggest mistake they made was when they said 'We're going to be bigger than The Beatles'. I thought 'So many people have said that, and it's the kiss of death.' Be bigger than the Beatles, but don't say it. The minute you say it, everything you do from then on is going to be looked at in the light of that statement." Oasis' Noel Gallagher, who made the claim in a 1996 MTV interview, later admitted he was "high" when he made the claim that the success of their Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory albums meant that they were bigger than the Fab Four. McCartney also revealed during the interview that he regularly travels on London's the Tube subway and doesn't bother disguising himself. "The thing about the Underground is that nobody looks at anyone," he said. Macca releases his new compilation, Pure McCartney, on June 10. - NME, 5/31/16...... Late '70s/'80s New Wave faves The Tubes will launch a 12-city UK tour this fall beginning with a show at London's Under the Bridge on Oct. 7. "We're thrilled to be coming back to the country that started it all for us," says Tubes frontman Fee Waybill. "I embrace my British heritage; the beer and the fish and chips and the best rock and roll fans in the world. (Our) all-new Mondo Pulp Tour will be big fun," he added. Waybill says the San Francisco-based band will perform all its hits and fan favorites -- including "She's a Beauty," "Talk To Ya Later," "Sushi Girl" and "White Punks on Dope" -- during the tour, which will also visit Manchester, Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff, Brighton, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Holmfirth, and Sage before wrapping in Glasgow on Oct. 22. - Noble PR, 5/27/16..... Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose, who is currently handling lead vocal duties for AC/DC on the Aussie rockers' summer tour, has reportedly said he wants to do more lead singing with AC/DC, but the band isn't sure if they want to keep him on. "He keeps saying, can he do more [shows]? But we don't really know at the end. This tour, which we were committed to doing, we want to finish it," AC/DC guitarist Angus Young told a German publication. After AC/DC wrap up the tour on June 4 in Manchester, UK, Guns N' Roses will kick off its "Not In This Lifetime" tour of North America on June 23. - NME, 5/27/16.
A series of new U.K. postage stamps honoring Pink Floyd was announced by the Royal Mail on May 26. The limited edition, 10 stamp collection will pay tribute to the legendary prog rockers' 50 years as professional musicians. Due to go on sail at U.K. post offices on July 7, the stamps will feature classic Floyd album covers, including The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Endless River, as well as concert photos. "We're celebrating Pink Floyd, one of the most influential and successful British bands of all time, with a superb range of stamps, limited edition souvenirs and gifts," declares Royal Mail, which says it "worked closely" with the band on its collection. Pre-orders for the stamps began on May 26 at the RoyalMail.com website. - Billboard, 5/26/16...... To commemorate what would have been jazz legend Miles Davis' 90th birthday on May 26, Sony/Legacy Recordings has collated data from more than 2,000 Wikipedia pages mentioning Davis for The Universe of Miles Davis, a new immersive, interactive website. Users can interact with the platform by scrolling down, hovering over images and utilizing the search bar within the infographic. Davis' birthday is further commemorated with a new album featuring reimagined reinterpretations of his music. Everything's Beautiful features contributions from such artists as Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu and former Davis band member, jazz guitarist John Scofield. - Billboard, 5/26/16...... A two-day tribute to Bob Dylan, who turned 75 on May 24, was held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., on May 23 and 24. More than 30 artists, including Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Ann Wilson, Wynonna, Kesha and Boz Skaggs, performed Dylan tunes to mark the folk icon's diamond jubilee. Proceeds from the concerts went to aid Thistle Farms, a Nashville-based charity that helps women who've survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. - Billboard, 4/12/16...... It appears Elton John won't be meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin this spring after all, due to a conflict in their schedules. In 2015, John fell victim to TV talk show pranksters who impersonated Russia's leader on the phone, an incident that led to John being officially invited to meet Putin the next time he performs in Russia, which will be May 30 in Moscow. However a spokesman for President Putin says that "this time, the meeting won't take place, unfortunately... Their schedules do not match up... But this does not mean that such a meeting won't take place next time." - New Musical Express, 5/26/16...... Bruce Springsteen was one of the first musicians featured on LiveXLive.com's new multi-channel digital network as it launched on May 21, ahead of its live streaming of all five days of the Rock in Rio Lisboa festival, which began on May 26 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Rock in Rio coverage marks the beginning of what LiveXLive hopes will position the company as "the ESPN of music events." The network, two years in the making, says it is working to secure more of music's biggest festivals, concerts and more. The company also plans to launch a mobile app later this year for on-the-go concert viewing. - Billboard, 5/25/16...... On May 25, the London Meltdown music festival announed that Robert Plant will not be able to perform his previously-scheduled June 19 Meltdown gig at Southbank Centre due to his participation in the upcoming "Stairway to Heaven" copyright case. Plant is expected to appear in a California court alongside former bandmates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, which is now set to get underway on June 14. Since Plant will not be able to attend Meltdown, the fest canceled his "The Boat We're In" benefit performance for the British Red Cross and is refunding all tickets via their original payment methods. First held in 1993, Meltdown features a different musician curating its entire lineup annually. Plant is still set to perform a slew of European tour dates between July 1-Aug. 7, according to his website. - Billboard, 5/25/16...... In an interview with Reuters, Neil Young said that although he's opposed to much of what Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stands for, he's no longer against Trump using his music on the campaign trail. "He actually got a license to use it," Young said. "I mean, he said he did and I believe him. So I got nothing against him. You know, once the music goes out, everybody can use it for anything." Young's about-face came almost a year after Trump inspired Young's ire by blasting "Rockin' in the Free World" at the June 2015 rally where he announced his candidacy. Young has came out in support of Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, who he says is "the only one talking about the issues, about issues that matter to me, the issues on my mind." Although Young now lives in California, he is still a Canadian citizen, so he won't be voting in the 2016 election. Young's May 24 statement drew ridicule from his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young bandmate David Crosby, who tweeted on May 25 that "Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. There's one." - Billboard/NME, 5/26/16...... Paul McCartney is set to appear in a new six-part virtual reality documentary to promote the new Macca compilation album Pure McCartney. Presented by the British Tourist Authority and the GREAT Britain campaign, PURE McCartney VR is directed by Grammy-winning director Tony Kaye and filmed in McCartney's home as the rock legend recounts memories and anecdotes related to various tracks ("Dance Tonight," "Coming Up," "My Valentine," "Mull of Kintyre" and "Early Days"), while sharing archived and never-before-seen footage. Each track will be released in the Jaunt VR App, which is available for iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Desktop 360. Meanwhile, a new Mastertapes interview conducted by the BBC's Radio4 with Sir Paul will be aired on the network on May 28, and the full filmed interview is live on the Radio 4 website. In it, McCartney reveals he was depressed after the Beatles broke up. "I was depressed. You would be. You were breaking from your lifelong friends. So I took to the bevvies [drinks]. I took to a wee dram. It was great at first, then suddenly I wasn't having a good time. I wanted to get back to square one, so I ended up forming Wings." - Billboard/NME, 5/24/16...... A 1968 David Bowie cover version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is just one of several Bowie rarities making their official premiere in an upcoming episode of BBC4's four-part doc, The People's History of Pop. It will also contain alternate versions of the Bowie standard "Space Oddity" and his 1967 single "The Laughing Gnome." "The program is still being made, but we can confirm that there will be some rare and special Bowie material in it," a BBC spokesperson said. The Bowie episode is the second installment in the series, which began in April. Meanwhile, a "rock opera-style" ballet interpreting the works of Bowie is currently in the works and is set to debut at the Music Hall in Detroit, Mich., on June 18. The Music Hall commissioned the ballet as part of a tribute to the late artist, and the night will also feature interpretations of the music of Metallica. - Billboard/NME, 5/23/16...... Rhino Records will release a three-CD/one-LP deluxe 40th anniversary collector's edition of the Ramones' 1977 self-titled debut album on July 29. Housed in an LP-sized box, the 40th anniversary edition has a remastered version of the album plus a new mono mix on the first disc. Also included in the set are demos and a live concert recorded at Los Angeles club The Roxy on Aug. 12, 1976. Other extras include an essay by album producer Chris Leon, plus photos by Roberta Bayley, whose portrait of band is featured on the cover of the sleeve. - New Musical Express, 5/23/16...... On May 24, the husband of actress Beth Howland, who played the ditsy, accident-prone waitress Vera Louise Gorman on the '70s/'80s sitcom Alice, revealed that she died on Dec. 31, 2015, after a battle with lung cancer. Her husband, actor Charles Kimbrough, said that he had refrained from announcing her death earlier in keeping with her wishes, and that she had not wanted a funeral or memorial service. She was 74. Howland was a modestly successful television actress when she was cast in the Alice series, which was based on the 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Howland won the role, and for nine seasons, from 1976 to 1985, she kept television audiences amused with her wide-eyed, jumpy performances. Asked to describe her character, she told Knight Newspapers in 1979: "Insecure and vulnerable. Probably works the hardest of anybody in the diner. Very gullible, very innocent." Born on May 28, 1941 in Boston, Howland studied dance at the Hazel Boone Studio and, after graduating from high school at 16, headed to New York, where she landed a replacement role as Lady Beth in "Once Upon a Mattress" and a role as a dancer in "Bye Bye Birdie." After being cast as the wife of a character played by Bert Convy on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she moved to Los Angeles to work in television. She appeared on Love, American Style, Cannon, The Rookies and other shows before taking the role of Vera on Alice. She acted sporadically after Alice went off the air, with small guest roles on Eight Is Enough, Little House on the Prairie, Murder, She Wrote, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and The Tick. A documentary she co-produced in 1989, You Don't Have to Die about a 6-year-old boy's successful battle against cancer, won an Academy Award for best short-subject documentary. - The New York Times, 5/25/16.