Moviemaker J.J. Abrams is teaming up with author/broadcaster Tavis Smiley to adapt the latter's new book, Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days, into a TV series. Smiley's book, which hits stores on June 21, is described as a taut novelistic rendering of the final months in the life of Michael Jackson, examining his highs and lows as he endured the pressures of fame that made him socially fragile and almost unable to live. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and Tavis Smiley TV & Film have yet to sign a network deal for the series yet, and are expected to shop it to broadcast, cable, premium cable and streaming services. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/20/16...... Posting on his Facebook page, musician/producer Brian Eno has urged his fellow British citizens to vote "remain" in the upcoming EU Referendum. "I have a lot of misgivings about the way the EU is run, but they don't make me want to ditch the whole idea," Eno explained. "I feel the EU is one of the only restraints on the kind of neo-liberal market fundamentalism that has seen inequality rising throughout the world. I feel that it has been a net force for good in promoting enlightened social and environmental agendas. It could and should be doing a better job at all these things, but to do any job at all it needs our support. The only good outcome of this referendum is that it might remind us what the original mission of the EU was, and might motivate us to actually make it happen," Eno added. "So...please vote. And please ask your friends to do the same." - NME, 6/19/16...... Rocker Meat Loaf was hospitalised on June 16 after collapsing on stage during a concert in Edmonton, Alberta. A video of the incident shows Meat Loaf dropping his mic and falling to the floor. As his band members walked over to help, the music eventually went silent, and the audience members were asked to vacate the Jubillee Auditorium venue. The 68-year-old Meat Loaf, whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday, had canceled two other concerts recently citing ill health. A hospital spokesman declined to provide an update on Meat Loaf's condition, citing patient privacy. - AP, 6/17/16...... Phil Collins announced on June 15 that he will publish his autobiography, entitled Not Dead Yet: The Memoir, in October 2016. Collins, 65, promises to "talk honestly" about his three failed marriages, his alcoholism and his ill health, as well as discuss the highs and lows of his long career as a member of Genesis and a superstar solo artist in the 1980s. "In many respects I've had a dream life," Collins said in a press release. "I've been incredibly lucky, but I've also worked extremely hard. I've collaborated with some of my heroes, written songs that people have liked, and wildly surpassed my initial hope to make a living as a drummer. Throughout, there have been lots of highs, and more than a few lows. I'm being completely honest about all of them, embarrassingly so in some cases. Some things might amuse people, some will surprise them. Horrify them, even." Collins announced that he was "no longer officially retired in Oct. 2015, and in March, he played his first solo gig in six years at a charity event in Miami. Collins' book will be published by Century publishers in hardback, audio and Ebook form on Oct. 20. - New Musical Express, 6/15/16...... Speaking of Genesis, former frontman Peter Gabriel released a new seven-minute song celebrating the late Muhammad Ali on June 16. In the track, titled "I'm Amazing," Gabriel sings "Look at me, look at me, can you see what I can do?" Gabriel sings. "'Cause I'm amazing." Posting on Facebook, Gabriel explained that he wrote the song a few years ago and it was, in part, "inspired by Muhammad Ali's life and struggles." "At the time of his death, when so many people are celebrating his life and thinking about all he achieved, it seemed the right time to release it," he wrote. - Billboard, 6/16/16...... Lawyers representing Led Zeppelin are asking the judge presiding over the "Stairway to Heaven" trial to halt the proceedings, arguing that Michael Skidmore, the trustee for the late Spirit guitarist Randy California, has failed to establish burden of proof during three days of testimony. "Although the parties' pre-trial filings identified what plaintiff Michael Skidmore needed to prove to establish his claims, Skidmore failed to prove required elements of his claims for direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement," Led Zeppelin's attorney Peter J. Anderson said in a statement. During the trial, Skidmore's attorney, Francis Malolfiy, played Spirit's "Taurus" alongside "Stairway To Heaven" and tried to ascertain that Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had heard Spirit's track before writing the Led Zeppelin classic. Taking the stand, Page denied this, claiming he only first heard "Taurus" a few years ago. "Something like that would stick in my mind. It was totally alien to me," he said. However, Page did acknowledge that he owned three Spirit albums in his personal collection and that Led Zeppelin used a riff from another Spirit track in a medley played during their first tour in Scandinavia. Taking the stand on June 17, Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones said he never heard the band Spirit play, never met them and didn't own any of their albums. On June 15, former Spirit member Mark Andes shared his view that that riffs from both songs were the same. If Judge R. Gary Klausner gets past arguments of non-ownership of "Taurus," he will also have to decide whether there's enough evidence to let a jury decide whether Randy California's song has been infringed. - New Musical Express, 6/20/16...... Former Deep Purple and Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore played his first rock gig in 19 years on June 17 at Germany's Monsters Of Rock festival in Loreley, then the following evening another performance at Bietghiem-Bissingen. Since 1997, Blackmore has played traditional-style baroque folk music with his band Blackmore's Night, the duo he formed with his partner Candice Knight. Blackmore has rejected playing traditional venues to perform in small clubs. Performing under the name Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, his set was divided between six Deep Purple songs including "Smoke On The Water" and six by Journey, such as "Spotlight Kid"' as well as Journey's cover of Russ Ballard's "Since You Been Gone." Blackmore founded Deep Purple in 1968 with singer David Coverdale, before quitting in 1975 to form Rainbow. Blackmore rejected an invitation to rejoin Deep Purple in 2015 when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. - NME, 6/20/16...... The '60s pop group The Turtles have announced they will release a career-spanning box set that will feature the band's six long-out-of-print albums this summer. Due on Aug. 19, The Complete Original Albums Collection will boast all the music the Turtles released between 1965 and 1970. Also, a 2-disc set of all the band's singles, All the Singles, will also be released featuring every White Whale label single and its b-side. The Turtles' legal battle over their pre-1972 recordings continues to wind its way through the courts, as the band wants a ruling whether copyright owners have exclusive performance rights over their pre-1972 tracks. - Billboard, 6/20/16...... Director Ron Howard's new Beatles documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week -- The Touring Years, will debut on Sept. 17 on the streaming service Hulu.com, one day after it bows in select U.S. theaters, its producers have announced. The film -- made with cooperation from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison -- recounts the first part of the band's' career, 1962 through 1966. A world premiere is planned for Sept. 15 in London. Meanwhile, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which owns the rights to most Lennon/McCartney lyrics, has enlisted the global branding and licensing firm Epic Rights to help put the lyrics of some of the Beatles' most classic songs on everyday products. Potential licensing ventures include greeting cards ("Hey Jude"), door mats ("Hello Goodbye") or coffee ("A Day in the Life"). "We envision a broad licensed products campaign that encompasses everything from apparel, accessories and wall art to home electronics, gifts, stationery, and more," an executive with Epic Rights said. Sony/ATV owns the songs originally published by Lennon/McCartney's Northern Songs, which was purchased by Michael Jackson in 1985 and dissolved ten years later when Jackson merged his catalog with Sony Music. - Billboard, 6/20/16...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Paul McCartney showed solidarity with the LGBT community following the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., during a gig in Berlin on June 14. The Beatles legend came on stage draped in a rainbow flag and told the crowd: "We stand together with Orlando." Sir Paul's fellow rock music legend, Elton John, has also tweeted his condolences to the Orlando and LGBT community: "Our hearts go out to all the families and loved ones of those lost in Orlando," he posted. - New Musical Express, 6/15/16...... Steely Dan played a one-off symphonic charity gig with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at the famed venue in Los Angeles on June 18. A good number of the Donald Fagen and Walter Becker songs kicked off with a 15-to-30-second orchestral fanfare that let the audience get a touch of the baroque before the band's trademark hard soul kicked in. The duo also changed their normal set list to include six songs that have rarely or not at all been heard on their current tour, like "Night by Night" and "The Caves of Altamira." The 13-song show benefited the L.A. Philharmonic's high schooler-mentoring Composer Fellowship Program, raising $1.7 million for the charity. - Billboard, 6/19/16...... Bob Dylan's 2016 American tour hit Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium on June 16, after a few gigs further up the coast. For almost the first time in his 55-year career, Dylan has not altering the set list at all from night to night, with seven selections from his recent two albums of Frank Sinatra covers dominating the show along with nine original numbers from the year 2000 forward. Dylan's 20-song set included the encores "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Love Sick," with the latter being the only song that that sounds anything like contemporary rock as we know it. - Billboard, 6/18/16...... Jimmy Buffett paid tribute to two of Detroit's most famous recently fallen icons -- late Eagles member Glenn Frey and hockey great Gordie Howe, during a show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on June 18. Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band played a version of the Eagles' "Take It Easy," posting a photo of Frey. He also included footage of Howe, the Detroit Red Wings hockey legend who died on June 10. - Billboard, 6/19/16...... Movie director Ray Burdis, who is helming a new Quadrophenia-inspired film To Be Someone, is defending his movie after being attacked by the Who. Burdis says he doesn't intend it to be a sequel to the Who's 1979 Quadrophenia film. "I totally agree that Quadrophenia is a classic, iconic film that should never be revisited," Burdis says. "If The Who management had actually read the script of To Be Someone, they would have realised it is not an attempt at a Quadrophenia sequel but a stand-alone film based on modern day Mod culture. It's a feel good, fun, fashion and music extravaganza... I have never stated that it was a sequel," he added. When the Who learned of Burdis' project, they issued a statement disassociating themselves from it and called it "totally ridiculous." Burdis did admit that he had hoped to cast Roger Daltrey in his film, but that doesn't appear to be in the cards. "I'm sorry that the Who's management feel affronted, as I would have loved Roger Daltrey to play a role, but there you go," he said. - New Musical Express, 6/20/16...... A lock of David Bowie's hair is to be auctioned off on June 25 by L.A.'s Heritage Auctions and is expected to sell for approximately £3,000. The hair snippet was kept by Wendy Farrier, who took a small chunk of Bowie's hair when he posed for his waxwork at Madame Tussauds in London in 1983. Farrier cut some of Bowie's hair for the waxwork's wig, but kept a small lock which is being sold off 33 years later. The hair is among several Bowie rarities being sold at the auction, with other items including a signed copy of his 1971 LP Hunky Dory, a signed drawing by the singer from 1996, and a gold disc of Bowie's 1983 album Let's Dance. Meanwhile, on June 19 Bowie's widow Iman posted a picture on Twitter of her late husband with their daughter to mark Father's Day. The photo shows Bowie holding the couple's daughter, Alexandria "Lexi" Zahra Jones, when she was a baby. "Happy Fathers Day #LexiLove," Iman tweeted. - NME, 6/20/16...... Blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa is set to be inducted into the Cavern Club's "Wall of Fame" on June 27 ahead of his gig at the U.K. venue later that evening. Bonamassa's free show at Liverpool's famous cellar club is a "thank you" to his British fans for the support they have shown him through his career. The show will pay homage to some of Bonamassa's musical inspirations including Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, the latter two of already whom also feature in the Cavern's "Wall of Fame." - Noble PR, 6/20/16...... British pop singer Cliff Richard says he is "thrilled" that authorities in the UK have announced that they will not pursue charges against him over allegations that he sexually abused four boys more than three decades ago. "After almost two years under police investigation I learnt today that they have finally closed their enquiries," Richard posted on June 16. "I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point! Nevertheless, I am obviously thrilled that the vile accusations and the resulting investigation have finally been brought to a close." Britain's Crown Prosecution Service announced that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute the 75-year-old Richard, who has never been arrested on the charges but twice voluntarily met officers from South Yorkshire Police after it launched an inquiry in 2014. "I have always maintained my innocence, co-operated fully with the investigation, and cannot understand why it has taken so long to get to this point," Richard added. Richard, who was often called "Britain's Elvis Presley" early in his career, has had 14 No. 1 singles in Britain, and is the only singer to have topped the UK singles chart in five consecutive decades, from the 50s to the 90s. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1995. - Reuters, 6/16/16...... Rick Parfitt, a member of the U.K. rock band Status Quo, was hospitalised in Antalya, Turkey on June 16 following a suspected heart attack. Status Quo had been performing at the city's Expo 2016 event before the incident. Parfitt underwent a quadruple heart bypass in 1997 and suffered a heart attack in 2011. The band's manager said no further comment will be made "until the completion of the next round of tests and assessments," and asked that "the family's privacy be respected at this difficult time." - NME, 6/16/16...... Actress Ronnie Claire Edwards, best known for her portrayal of Corabeth Godsey in the '70s series The Waltons, died on June 14. She was 83. Ms. Edwards made her debut in the third season of The Waltons as a as a mousy spinster who, after some persuasion from John Walton (Ralph Waite) and his wife Olivia (Michael Learned), hesitantly marries storekeeper Ike Godsey after his proposal following their first date. She appeared in over 100 episodes. - Variety, 6/16/16...... Ann Morgan Guilbert, known as the spirited neighbor Millie Helper in the classic '60s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show, died on June 14 in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. She was 87. Ms. Guilbert's decades-long career began in the 1950s as a featured performer and singer in the Billy Barnes Revues. After the Dick Van Dyke Show, she appeared in guest roles in several series including the premiere episode of Adam-12, The Andy Griffith Show, That Girl and Dragnet, among others. Her next big TV role came in the 1990s as Yetta Rosenberg opposite Fran Drescher in The Nanny. - Deadline.com, 6/15/16...... Janet Waldo, a voice-over actress who played sprightly teenagers for decades on several popular cartoon shows, most notably The Jetsons as Judy Jetson, died on June 12 at her home in Encino, Calif. She was 96. - The New York Times, 6/15/16.
Queen and their current guest vocalist Adam Lambert dedicted the band's 1986 song "Who Wants to Live Forever" to the victims of the recent mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., during their set at the U.K.'s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport, U.K. on June 12. "This song is dedicated to those who lost their lives last night in Orlando, Florida, and anyone who has been a victim of senseless violence or hatred," Lambert announced before Queen closed their headlining set with a moving and emotional performance of the song. Meanwhile, at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival in Manchester, Tenn., also on June 12, former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir accepted the Les Paul Spirit Award early in the day before his current band Dead & Company played two sets that evening. Weir said he accepted the award with a "heavy heart" due to the Orlando massacre, and went on to draw a parallel between the radical belief of ISIS and those of homophobes. "It's the same hatred," said Weir. "They pull those hatreds out of different books but it's the same." - Billboard, 6/13/16...... Brian Wilson headlined Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Northside Festival on June 12, with the bulk of the show devoted to the Beach Boys's 1966 album Pet Sounds. Wilson reveled in the crowd's energy, joking around from behind his big white piano while sharing tidbits of background information on many of the songs before performing them. The crowd was understandably somber due to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history taking place less than 24 hours earlier and, for a music festival, surprisingly sober. - Billboard, 6/13/16........................ The "Stairway to Heaven" trial, in which eight jurors will decide if Led Zeppelin ripped off the famous guitar riff in the 1971 rock classic from the Spirt song "Taurus," got underway on June 14 in Los Angeles. Both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page attended and faced the potential jurors during their selection, as seven of the first 14 were dismissed, including a self-admitted huge Zeppelin fan whose "love for these two guys" is "very strong." Attorneys Francis Malofiy, representing the Trustee who manages the estate of Spirit's Randy Wolfe, and Peter Anderson, representing Zeppelin, were pleased with the next set, and a final group of four men and four women was sworn in. In a trial that's literall been decades in the making and could rewrite rock history, each side will be allowed 10 hours to present their arguments and witnesses. In a pre-trial hearing the previous day, U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled that a musicologist in Zeppelin's camp will be heard from during testimony, despite a last-ditch effort by the plaintiff to have him tossed for a conflict of interest. They claimed that noted musicologist Lawrence Ferrara had previously been hired by their own publisher to evaluate the similarities between the two songs. - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, 6/14/16...... Beating expectations of an impressive No. 3 bow on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart with his new album Stranger to Stranger, Paul Simon's 13th studio album has debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated June 25. It marks the 74-year-old Simon's highest-ever debut and best rank since Graceland reached the same spot in 1987. As a solo artist, Simon has scored only one previous chart-topper: 1975's Still Crazy After All These Years. The album also opens as the top-selling album overall for the week, starting at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart. In 2011, his LP So Beautiful or So What debuted and peaked at No. 2. The album's first single, "Wristband," is currently No. 18 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart. In the U.K., Stranger to Stranger also bowed at the top of the pops, making it Simon's first U.K. No. 1 studio album in 26 years (his The Rhythm of the Saints spent two weeks at No. 1 in the U.K. in 1990). - Billboard, 6/14/16...... Elton John has extended his record for the most appearances in the 55-year-old history of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart as his new single "A Good Heart" has debuted at No. 30. The song, the second single from his February-released Wonderful Crazy Night album, marks Elton's 72nd entry on the ranking, with Barbra Streisand ranking second with 64 AC hits, and Neil Diamond coming in at third with 58 AC songs. John first charted on AC chart with the No. 9-peaking classic "Your Song," which bowed on the Dec. 26, 1970, survey. - Billboard, 6/13/16...... A new docu-drama on the making of the Rolling Stones' 1972 album Exile on Main Street based on author Robert Greenfield's book about the summer the band spent working on the album has begun pre-production. Casting is underway for the roles of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for the film, to be directed by Downton Abbey director Andy Goddard. An expected release date for the film is set for sometime this winter. - Billboard, 6/14/16...... Two albums of previously unreleased Frank Zappa music, Frank Zappa for President and The Crux of the Biscuit, will be released on July 15, becoming album numbers 39 and 40 of posthumous Zappa music released since his Dec. 4, 1993, death. Frank Zappa For President consists of music mainly composed on the Synclavier, which Zappa took up after learning in 1990 that he had terminal prostate cancer. He mainly wrote modern classical music for the rest of his life. "We know that Frank wanted to run for office at various times," reads a Universal Music press release. "In the spirit of the dramatic 2016 presidential election adventures comes a release that gives us a glimpse into what could have been." The Crux of the Biscuit was initially intended for release in 2014 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of his album Apostrophe(') and features music recorded during the same sessions. After the release of many albums after his death, a new deal was struck between his estate and Universal to take a fresh look at how best to compile his unreleased music. Zappa, one of rock music's most prolific artists, released 62 albums during his lifetime, beginning with his 1966 debut Freak Out! through 1993's The Yellow Shark. - New Muiscal Express, 6/14/16...... In a new interview with Classic Rock magazine, Eric Clapton revealed that he has been suffering from a nervous system disorder called peripheral neuropathy that has made it very difficult for him to play guitar. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that can cause muscle weakness, as well as numbness in the hands and feet and a loss of coordination. "I've had quite a lot of pain over the last year. It started with lower back pain and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy, which is where you feel like you have electric shocks going down your leg. And I've had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old," the 71-year-old three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee said. But he added that due to his struggle with alcoholism and substance abuse, "I consider it a great thing to be alive at all." "By rights I should have kicked the bucket a long time ago. For some reason I was plucked from the jaws of hell and given another chance." Clapton's latest album, I Still Do, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart after being released May 20 via Clapton's own Bushbranch imprint. - Billboard, 6/13/16...... Paul McCartney has become the first person to test Facebook's new 360 degree photo app, which allows Facebook users to post photos taken "in the round." Sir Paul posted a photo of him on June 10 posing with the crowd from his gig at the Alberto Kempes Stadium in Cordoba, Argentina. The photo ties in with McCartney's 360 degree theme of his current "One On One" tour. He has released a series of 360 degree videos talking about songs from his new compilation Pure McCartney, which was released on June 10. McCartney promised "There'll be more to come" of his 360 degree photos. McCartney is touring in Europe until June 30, before the US leg of "One On One" starts in Milwaukee on July 8, ending in Cleveland on Aug. 18. - NME, 6/10/16...... David Bowie and current pop sensation Adele will be among those celebrated at a new exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery. The exhibit spotlights past and present famous residents of south London from all walks of life, not only musicians but also a former footballer and gay rights campaigner. The exhibition, which is free, is open until Sept. 6. - New Musical Express, 6/9/16...... He's sometimes known as "Hot Rod," but now you can refer to him as "Sir Rod." Rod Stewart has been given knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II during her annual birthday honours list. Stewart, 71, was honored in Elizabeth's June 10 list "for services to music and charity," and will be able to call himself Sir Roderick David Stewart. Stewart reacted to the news saying he had "led a wonderful life" and a "tremendous career thanks to the generous support of the great British public... This monumental honour has topped it off and I couldn't ask for anything more." Later, Stewart tweeted a link to a BBC article confirming the news with the caption "A truly monumental honour." Britain's honors are bestowed by the monarch at New Year and on her official birthday in June. Recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public. In descending order, the main honors are knighthoods, CBE, OBE and MBE. Knights are addressed as "sir" or "dame," followed by their name. Recipients of the other honors have no title, but can put the letters after their names. - AP, 6/10/16...... Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Lionel Richie and Chic were feted at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 47th Annual Induction and Awards ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on June 9. Petty was inducted by former Byrds co-founder Roger McGuinn, to whom he is often compared. McGuinn recalled touring with Petty in the 1970s and writing with him. "He doesn't just write songs," McGuinn said. "He goes up and grabs them -- he flies up to the great wide open and catches and idea and freefalls back to earth." Petty delivered his brief acceptance speech in a slow, deadpan drawl: "I'm sorta the rock and roll white trash section of the show... Writing a song for a rock band -- you'd better bring a really good song, because they don't take it well if it's not. Many times I've gone back to the drawing board." Accepting his award, Elvis Costello called himself "the least commercially successful songwriter you have ever inducted" thanked Linda Ronstadt and her producer/manager Peter Asher for recording "Alison" in 1978, generating royalties that "kept the gas in my tour bus." As he was honored, Lionel Richie said, "I am humbled by the presence of greatness in this room... I am humbled by the fact that I am standing here holding any kind of award." The evening wrapped with Chic's Nile Rodgers leading the house band through "Le Freak," and finally joined by Sister Sledge for a rousing "We Are Family." - Billboard, 6/10/16...... The CBS television network has announced it is developing a scripted limited series about the kidnapping of millionaire heiress Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) in 1974. Should the Hearst project be ordered to series, it would explore the 19-month FBI/police search and capture of Hearst, who turned SLA sympathizer and changed her name to Tania, that captivated the nation and played out on the nightly news during the course of her trial. - The Hollywood Reporter, 6/10/16...... Gordie Howe, the legendary National Hockey League player who shattered records, dropped gloves and threw elbows while helping the Detroit Red Wings win four NHL championships, died on June 10 of natural causes. He was 88. Known as "Mr. Hockey," Mr. Howe was a Canadian farm boy who developed his brute strength and incredible stamina on the Saskatchewan prairie, and could put his team ahead with a timely goal or even the score with his opponents with his elbows and fists. One of the most likeable superstars in any sport, Mr. Howe became the NHL's quintessential star during a career that lasted into his 50s. Mr. Howe helped guide the Red Wings to four NHL championships, and set NHL records with 801 goals and 1,850 points, a record that stood until Wayne Gretzky came along. "Unfortunately, we lost the greatest hockey player ever today," Gretzky tweeted after hearing of Mr. Howe's passing. "But more importantly the nicest man I have ever met," he added. - AP, 6/11/16...... Guitarist Henry McCullough, best known for his touring and recording work with Paul McCartney's Wings during the 1970s as well as also working with Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, died on June 14 in Belfast after a long illness. He was 72. Born in Portstewart, Ireland in 1943, McCullough spent years playing blues, rock, pop and psychedelic bands in London -- touring in support of Jimi Hendrix and playing on Joe Cocker's breakthrough 1969 album With a Little Help From My Friends -- before getting tapped to join Wings for 1973's Red Rose Speedway LP. During sessions for that album he also made his way onto a Pink Floyd album when he waltzed to an adjacent studio and contributed a spoken word bit ("I don't know, I was really drunk at the time") to the Dark Side of the Moon track "Money." But it was his guitar work on the Wings track "My Love" that secured his place in rock history, as that song hit No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. "I was very sad to hear that Henry McCullough, our great Wings guitarist, passed away today," McCartney wrote in a blog post. "He was a pleasure to work with, a super-talented musician with a lovely sense of humour. The solo he played on 'My Love' was a classic that he made up on the spot in front of a live orchestra. Our deepest sympathies from my family to his." His fellow Irish singer and musician Van Morrison, with whom McCullough also worked with, said he was "very sorry" to hear about his death." I know he had some difficult times recently, but he will be remembered for his long and productive career in music... My thoughts are with his friends and family at this time," Morrison told BBC News. After his stint in Wings, McCullough signed to George Harrison's Dark Horse Records, through which he releaed his solo album, Mind Your Own Business. He then enjoyed a long and fruitful career as a session musician over the next two decades, sitting in with the likes of Roy Harper, Ronnie Lane, Eric Burdon, Marianne Faithfull and Spooky Tooth. His final albums include Belfast to Boston and Poor Man's Moon. - New Musical Express, 6/14/16.