As the Stevie Nicks with opening act The Pretenders fall tour hit New York City's Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1, Nicks warned the crowd that tonight's show is "not gonna be the same show that you're used to seeing," and promised "magical gothic things from my gothic trunk of secrets and mysteries." Nicks then delivered a set of little-heard rarities like "Starshine," a reject from her 1981 solo debut Bella Donna that eventually ended up on 2014's 24 Karat Gold - Songs From the Vault and "Crying in the Night," a Buckingham-Nicks-era favorite that Nicks rarely played live before this tour. The highlight was "Moonlight (A Vampire's Dream)," the dramatic power ballad whose recording reinvigorated Nicks' solo career earlier in this decade, and which she now calls "my favorite song I've ever written." Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, who gushed about Nicks during her band's set and said it was "like being on tour with Elizabeth Taylor," was even invited on stage to sing Tom Petty's part in Nicks' breakout solo hit, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." "I'm gonna marry her," Hynde quipped after the performance. "So don't get any ideas." Nicks encored with the Fleetwood Mac staples "Rhiannon" and "Landslide." - Billboard, 12/2/16...... On Nov. 28, Eric Clapton announced he'll play four shows in the US -- New York City's Madison Square Garden on Mar. 19 and Mar. 20 and The Forum in Los Angeles on Mar. 25 and Mar. 26 -- in 2017 that will be billed as "celebration of Clapton's 50 years in music." The dates seem to put hints of retirement to rest after the 71-year-old legendary guitarist revealed in June that nerve damage from his peripheral neuropathy has impacted on his ability to play guitar. Opening acts on the tour include Jimmie Vaughan and Guy Clark Jr., with former Joe Cocker sideman Chris Stainton among the musicians in Clapton's backing band. Tickets go on sale on Dec. 3. - New Musical Express, 11/28/16...... Shortly before participating in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC on Nov. 30, Neil Diamond told reporters that he'll leave "no song unsung" when he kicks off a 50 Year Anniversary World Tour in 2017. "Especially stuff from The Monkees," said Diamond, who wrote several several songs for the iconic '60s pop band including the No. 1 smash "I'm a Believer." The first leg of the tour gets underway in Fresno, Calif., on Apr. 7, then travels to cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, before wrapping in August. "We play all over the United States, North America, and then we will find other places to go," he said. Diamond promises to pull out all the stops on his tour, and that he still feels energized when performing for his fans. "They can expect me to give everything I possibly can. I will leave no stone unturned, and no song unsung," he said. - AP, 12/1/16...... KISS announced on Nov. 29 they'll be launching their KISSWORLD 2017 European arena tour on May 1 in Moscow. The glam-rock icons will also hit such cities as Helinksi, Stockholm, Oslo, Munich, Vienna, Frankfurt and Rotterdam before traveling to the UK for shows in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester before the 15-city tour wraps at London's O2 on May 31. - NME, 11/29/16...... Rod Stewart has joined the lineup of headliners for the UK's 2017 Isle of Wight Festival, which takes place from June 8-11 at Seaclose Park, Newport. Billed as his only UK festival appearance in 2017, Stewart will top the festival bill on the final night of the festival. "I have been very lucky to have played many of the world's finest venues and festivals -- but never played the legendary IOW Festival. I am so excited to put that right. June can't come round soon enough," Stewart said in a statement. The festival originally ran between 1968 and 1970 before being revived in 2002, and recent headliners include Queen + Adam Lambert and Fleetwood Mac. - NME, 11/28/16...... James Taylor has announced a summer tour of four baseball parks for 2017, culminating in a date at Fenway Park, home of his beloved Boston Red Sox. Taylor and his band will open the tour on July 14 at Nationals Park in Washington. It continues July 17 at Wrigley Field in Chicago; July 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco; and Aug. 11 at Fenway. It will be the third consecutive year Taylor has played Fenway, the venue where the Boston-born Taylor debuted his video for "Angels of Fenway," his ode to the redemptive spirit of baseball and a song featured on his 2015 album Before This World. Bonnie Raitt will open for Taylor at each show. - AP, 11/29/16...... Rush announced on its Facebook page on Nov. 30 that the band is donating the $40,000 award it's getting from the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, in honor of the late Tragically Hip frontman Downie. "Many families have been affected either directly or indirectly by this terrible disease. Through Gord's courageous efforts this cause is now getting the attention it desperately deserves. As a fellow musician and friend it's our turn to help support his efforts to fight Brain Cancer now," the post reads. Earlier in December, Canadian Music Week announced that Rush were the 2017 recipients of the Slaight award, which will be handed out in April; the award comes with a $40,000 prize earmarked for the charity of the recipient's choice. - Billboard, 12/1/16...... Country music legend Dolly Parton has established a fund to help victims of the recent spate of wildfires in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, which is also home to her Dollywood theme park. Parton's My People Fund will provide $1,000 each month to families in Sevier County, Tenn., and in a new video the singer explained how she wanted to help get people "back on their feet" after the deadly natural disaster. "I've always believed charity begins at home and my home is some place special," she said. "That's why I've asked my Dollywood Companies -- including the Dollywood theme park, and DreamMore Resort; my dinner theater attractions including Dixie Stampede and Lumberjack Adventure; and my Dollywood Foundation -- to help me establish the My People Fund. We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires." Parton's theme park was also threatened by the fires. More info can be found at dollywoodfoundation.org. - Billboard, 11/30/16...... Pres. Barack Obama welcomed four of the recipients of the 2016 Nobel Prize to the White House in Washington on Nov. 30, and noticeably absent was Nobel winner Bob Dylan. "Unfortunately, for those of you wondering, Bob Dylan will not be at the White House today, so everybody can relax," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during a press briefing. Earnest said Dylan didn't give a reason, but he noted that Dylan and the president had met previously and "the president enjoyed meeting him." In 2012, Pres. Obama presented the iconic rock star with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Dylan was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature on Oct. 13 but won't be attending the prize ceremony, later announcing he may travel to Stockholm sometime in 2016 and give his Nobel Lecture then. - AP, 11/30/16...... A new court filing suggests that the late Prince's estate could be worth as much as $200 million, the first time a specific estimate has emerged publicly from court proceedings since the musician died from an overdose in April. Since Prince left no known will, the rock superstar's sister and five half-siblings are in line to inherit equal shares of the estate -- after taxes gobble up about half of it. Attorneys have avoided giving specific figures in public since then, but based on a court filing made public on Nov. 29, Bremer Trust puts the value of the estate at about $200 million, the AP has calculated. In 2016, Prince's estate took in $25 million and sold more albums than any other dead musician for a No. 5 spot on the list of top earning deceased celebrities. Prince's estate has until Jan. 21 to file federal and state estate tax returns. Meanwhile, a new Prince documentary entitled Prince: R U Listening? is reportedly in the works for a spring 2017 release. The film, directed by Find Your Groove's Michael Kirk, will chronicle Prince's rise to fame and will feature interviews with members of his band, as well as friends and admirers including Bono, Mick Jagger, Sheila E, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol. Prince's Minnesota estate-turned-museum, Paisley Park, is is also planning a "Celebration 2017" event in April, with guided tours of the late singer's home and performances from Prince's former bands. - AP, 11/30/16...... The Bee Gees announced on Dec. 29 that they've inked a long-term worldwide agreement with Capitol Records that will cover the legendary trio's entire catalog of recorded music -- all 22 studio albums -- plus various compilations, unreleased recordings and other projects. Several soundtracks are also part of the agreement, including the disco era-defining Saturday Night Fever. Capitol will begin working with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), Barry Gibb and the estates of late members Robin and Maurice Gibb on numerous sales and marketing campaigns aimed at breathing new life into the brothers' catalog, which ranged from psychedelic pop to disco to soft rock. The group's most active years were spent on either Polydor or RSO, aside from a brief stint with Warner Bros. "The Bee Gees catalog is one of the most esteemed and important bodies of work in the history of recorded music, and we are brimming with ideas that will remind fans of its brilliance and further the band's legacy by introducing their music to new audiences," Capitol Music Group chairman and CEO Steve Barnett said. "All of us at the company are honored that The Bee Gees have chosen Capitol as their new home." - Billboard, 11/29/16...... Cher will be among the celebrities featured in This Climate, an upcoming documentary about the perils of climate change. The film, which also features Mark Ruffalo, Vivienne Westwood and Noam Chomsky, will be screened in festivals, events, and universities worldwide in early 2017 after November's United Nations Climate Change Conference and before the World Economic Forum in January, for optimal impact on global discussion. - Billboard, 11/30/16...... A new picture book inspired by John Lennon's 1971 world peace anthem "Imagine" is set for release on Sept. 21, 2017, the United Nations' International Day of Peace. Authorized by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, the book will be released in partnership with Amnesty International, which will receive some of the proceeds. ith illustrations by Jean Jullien, the book will feature Lennon's lyrics as it tells of a young pigeon's mission to advocate for peace. - AP, 11/29/16...... In other Beatles-related news, a rare copy of the Fab Four's "White Album" originally owned by Ringo Starr has topped a list of the world's most valuable vinyl records. The LP sold at auction in 2015 for £730,876. The list, compiled by LoveAntiques.com, also includes recordings by the formative Beatles band The Quarrymen ("That'll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger" - £100,000) at No. 2 and the Beatles' "Love Me Do" (£80,500) at No. 3. - NME, 11/29/16...... The Recording Academy has announced it will be adding 25 new musical works to its Grammy Hall of Fame, including David Bowie' "Changes," the Jackson 5's "ABC," Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," Arlo Guthrie's "The City of New Orleans," Merle Haggard's Okie From Muskogee and the Beach Boys' "I Get Around." The selected singles and album recordings are all at least 25 years old to meet requirements for selection, and with this year's additions there will be 1,038 recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame. - Billboard, 11/28/16...... Neil Young has penned an open letter to Pres. Barack Obama urging an "end to the violence" against the protestors at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota. "Standing together in prayer to protect water displays a deeply rooted awareness of life's interconnected nature, and of the intrinsic value and import of traditional ways," Young posted on his Facebook page on Nov. 28. "This growing movement stems from love, it is the most human instinct to protect that which we love." Despite the hundreds of people standing in solidarity and peacefully protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Young wrote that protesters are met with "violent aggression" from law enforcement. "Standing while being hit with water cannons, mace, tear gas, rubber bullets. Standing without weapons and praying, the water protectors endure human rights abuses in sub freezing temperatures," Young writes. "Thus, it is the ugliness of corporate America, seen around the world." The rocker later called upon the president "to step in and end the violence against the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock immediately" before discussing President-elect Donald Trump, who he described as a "surprise president [who] claims he does not believe in climate science nor the threats it presents and his actions and words reflect that claim in tangible and dangerous ways." Trump also owns stock in the company laying the pipeline, and has called for its completion. - Billboard, 11/29/16...... The former wife of Phil Collins has told the UK paper Daily Mail that she will sue the former Genesis member after he slammed her with alleged inaccuracies in his new autobiography, Not Dead Yet. Andrea Bertorelli, Collins' first wife, took issue with what her ex shared about their five-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 1980, and blasted him for failing to remember even the simplest of details, like where they actually tied the knot. "Even the most basic facts have become distorted," she said. "For a number of years... I have variously been portrayed as a homewrecker, a gold-digger and a bad mother (in the media). The recent publication of Phil's autobiography Not Dead Yet is the final straw." It's not clear how much compensation Bertorelli is seeking from her ex, who is yet to comment on the lawsuit news. The former couple shares two adult children -- son Simon, a musician, and actress Joely, who was Bertorelli's daughter from a previous relationship. Collins adopted Joely as his own during their marriage. - WENN.com, 12/2/16...... Tony Award-winning character actor Fritz Weaver, who played a German Jewish doctor slain by the Nazis in the 1978 mini-series Holocaust and an increasingly unstable Air Force colonel in the 1964 film Fail Safe, died on Nov. 26 at his home in Manhattan. He was 90. The Pittsburgh-born Mr. Weaver won a Tony in 1970 for his role in Robert Marasco's drama "Child's Play," and also appeared in such TV series as The Twilight Zone, Playhouse 90, Mission: Impossible, Magnum, P.I., Matlock, Gunsmoke, Falcon Crest and Murder, She Wrote. His screen credits included Marathon Man (1976), Demon Seed (1977), Creepshow (1982) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). - AP, 11/28/16...... Al Brodax, the producer and co-writer of the Beatles' iconic animated 1968 film Yellow Submarine, died on Nov. 24 in Danbury, Conn. He was 90. In 1960, Mr. Brodax created and headed the television/motion picture division of King Features Syndicate, writing and producing more than 500 episodes of Popeye, Krazy Kat, Barney Google and The Beatles' cartoon series. In 1968, he was producer and co-writer of Yellow Submarine, winning more than 30 awards including the New York Film Critics Circle Award in 1969. Mr. Brodax went on to become the animation supervisor for ABC, producing the shows Make a Wish and Animals, Animals, Animals. In later years, he was a consultant for Marvel Comics. - The New York Times, 11/28/16...... Joe Esposito, a close personal friend and longtime aide of Elvis Presley, died on Nov. 23 of natural causes in Calabasas, Calif. He was 78. Esposito met Presley in 1959 while both were serving in the Army. After they completed their service, Esposito became Presley's assistant in professional matters, from keeping his calendar to functioning as road manager when the King was on tour. Esposito was one of two best men at Presley's 1967 wedding to Priscilla Wagner and a pallbearer at his funeral in 1977. After Presley's death, Esposito worked as a road manager for other artists, including the Bee Gees and Michael Jackson. His daughter, Cindy Bahr, said that her father was suffering from dementia at the time of his death. - AP, 11/29/16...... TV mogul Grant Tinker, the former chairman and CEO of NBC and former husband of Mary Tyler Moore, died on Nov. 29 at age 90. In 1969, Mr. Tinker and his then-wife Moore launched MTM Enterprises, which became an indie powerhouse that produced such hits as Moore's Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere. In 1981, he left MTM to become chairman and CEO of then-last-place network NBC. With Brandon Tartikoff as his entertainment president, Mr. Tinker spearheaded a ratings turnaround, with the network rising from last to first place on the strength of a slew of hit new series, including The Cosby Show, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Cheers, Night Court and Hill Street Blues. He left NBC in 1986, following its acquisition by General Electric. - Deadline.com, 11/30/16.
Appearing at the Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings NFL matchup in her hometown of Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, Aretha Franklin delivered a generous 4 minute and 35 seconds long rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to the start of the game, which may have been as much a topic at Thanksgiving dinner as the game itself. Her lengthy version of the national anthem then went viral on social media, with one Twitter user joking that "there was enough time to cook a turkey, eat and do the dishes" during the performance. Others opined that the 74-year-old "Queen of Soul" had earned the right to sing the anthem for as long as she wanted. The CBS production team even got in on the fun during the game by including Franklin in a time of possession graphic: "Time of possession battle is crucial. pic.twitter.com/EZVC53fVeD" -- NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) November 24, 2016. - AP, 11/26/16...... In related news, James Taylor tweeted a Thanksgiving message to his fans stressing the importance of gratitude on Nov. 24. "Sometimes we suffer setbacks. And if these reversals of fortune are deeply important to us, the loss can be a source of real grief. Recovery takes time and we should allow ourselves time to grieve. But what eventually seems to help most is to take a regular moment to give thanks. To whom we give it is a big question but just go ahead on and do it. Gratitude is the way to an improved attitude, dude," Taylor wrote in the post. The 68-year-old singer/songwriter then gets a little spacey in the message, speculating about the possibility that other distant worlds in the cosmos might support life. "Scientists tell us that it is likely, even inevitable, that there are other worlds in the cosmos which, like our own, would support life. But they are so rare and far apart that it's a long shot we'll ever be in touch... To have been born in human form and consciousness aboard this unbelievably beneficent planet is an incredible stroke of luck. Dig it..." - AP, 11/24/16...... After Bruce Springsteen made headlines earlier in November for being rescued by a group of biker veterans when his own motorcycle broke down on Allaire State Park in New Jersey on Veterans Day, Billy Joel revealed onstage during a Nov. 26 concert at Madison Square Garden that the faulty bike ridden by the Boss was, in fact, built in his own 20th Century Cycles shop in Oyster Bay, N.Y. "So he takes the bike out on Veteran's Day and it breaks down. It's all over national news: Bruce's Bike Breaks Down," the Piano Man told the audience. "So I'm reading this and thinking, Oh s--t, I hope it wasn't the bike I built for him. I called him, 'Bruce, what bike was the bike that broke down?' 'It was the one you made for me,'" Joel continued. Joel then said he apologized to the 67-year-old New Jersey rocker, to which Bruce responded, "Oh no, it's cool, dude." Perhaps to make amends, Joel covered Springsteen's classic "Born to Run" later in the show. Joel, 67, owns a custom motorcycle shop, 20th Century Cycles, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., and Springsteen is one of his clients. - The NY Daily News, 11/27/16...... Speaking of Bruce Springsteen, the musician has taped an appearance on the venerable BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs that will air during the third week of December. On Desert Island Discs, host Kirsty Young is joined each week by a guest who is asked to "name eight recordings, a book and a luxury item that they would take with them on a desert island." Springsteen said of his track choices that "this is the music that electrified me -- they galvanised me into changing my life in some way." First broadcast in 1942, Desert Island Discs has welcomed the likes of Tom Hanks, Bill Gates and Michael Bubl earlier in 2016. - New Musical Express, 11/24/16...... Stevie Wonder has announced that John Legend and Lionel Richie have been confirmed to perform at his annual House Full of Toys benefit concert, which is set for L.A. Live's Microsoft Theater on Dec. 9. Wonder launched House Full of Toys in 1996 at former Hollywood venue House of Blues. In subsequent years, the concert has been staged at The Forum in L.A. as well as the Microsoft. Concert proceeds benefit the We Are You Foundation, which assists children and families in need. For ticket information (patrons are also asked to bring an unwrapped toy), visit axs.com. Additional performers at this year's event will be announced shortly. - Billboard, 11/23/16...... After Anthony Scaramucci, an advisor to President-Elect Donald Trump, made a surprise announcement that Elton John would be playing the president-elect's January inauguration on the BBC programme HARDtalk on Nov. 23, a rep for Sir Elton unequivocally denied the same day that John will be playing the Washington D.C. event. Scaramucci said that John's performance would demonstrate the president-elect's "commitment to gay rights," commemorating what he referred to as "the first American president in U.S. history that enters the White House with a pro-gay rights stance." It is worth noting however that Trump's running mate, Vice-President Elect Mike Pence, has been strongly criticized by the LGBT community for his anti-gay positions as governor of the state of Indiana. - Billboard, 11/23/16....... In an interview with the London Times, David Bowie's saxophonist Donny McCaslin claims that Bowie was planning to make more music at the time of his death in January at age 69, two days after the release of his album Blackstar, a record which many fans believed was his final farewell. "It certainly didn't seem that it (Blackstar) would be his last record," McCaslin said. "He was going to start writing new music -- or maybe he had started; it wasn't quite clear -- but he was in the process of planning a new recording with us. I don't think Blackstar was this goodbye thing," he added. McCaslin also said Bowie was considering appearing on stage for the first time in a decade. "Clearly there wasn't going to be a Blackstar tour but he was going to sit in with us at (New York jazz club) the Village Vanguard," McCaslin said. "It would just have been him turning up unannounced after rehearsing during the day." Earlier in 2016, McCaslin and his band released their own album, Beyond Now, inspired by and dedicated to their former collaborator. The LP includes original tracks by McCaslin and a number of covers of songs by the likes of Deadmau5, Mutemath, The Chainsmokers and Bowie. - New Musical Express, 11/25/16...... Prolific TV actor Ron Glass, a veteran of such series as Barney Miller, Stakeout, Bureaucrat, Ms. Cop, Vigilante and The New Odd Couple, died at his home in Los Angeles on Nov. 15. He was 71. It is not yet clear if the star had been ill prior to his death, but there is speculation that he was suffering from respiratory problems. The news of Glass's death shocked members of California's Buddhist community, of which he was a prominent figure. Sharing the news on Facebook, one friend wrote: "My Buddhist Brother and Friend, Ron Glass passed last night. I had called him 11/15/16 to find out how is doing since it's been a few months since I had see him last and his nurse said he was not up to talking. I called back on 11/16/16 and said to the nurse: 'let him know that I love him and really care'." The Indiana-born performer also appeared on such series as Friends, Star Trek: Voyager, CSI, Rugrats, Rhythm & Blues and Murder, She Wrote. - The Mirror UK, 11/16/16...... Fidel Castro, the controversial revolutionary leader and former head of state of Cuba, died on Nov. 25 at the age of 90, according to Cuban state television. One of the world's longest-serving political leaders, Fidel Castro ruled Cuba for 49 years after playing a central role in the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s. He cut a divisive figure during his lifetime, transforming Cuba into the Western Hemisphere's first communist country and becoming a thorn in the side of the United States during the Cold War. Hailed by supporters as a hero who fought for socialist ideals by standing up to the U.S. and the world's other political giants, Fidel Castro was seen by critics as a ruthless dictator guilty of subjecting his people to countless human rights abuses, devastating Cuba's economy and forcing more than a million Cubans to flee the island. Considered by many Cubans to be a national hero, Castro in February 1959 was sworn in as prime minister of the island nation, after his group of revolutionaries finally succeeded in forcing the increasingly ruthless dictator General Fulgencio Batista to flee the country, after many attempts. While the international community criticized Castro's government for its brutal campaign of retribution against Batista supporters, the Cuban people were firmly on Castro's side. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans would gather and cheer as he delivered long, rousing speeches -- some of them lasting hours about the revolution (his longest on record in Cuba was 7 hours and 10 minutes). During the Cold War, Castro's Cuba proved especially influential in the politics of the day, after he revealed his belief in socialism and declared his allegiance to the USSR early on in his rule. After Russian missiles, placed in Cuba with Castro's consent, were spotted by an American spy plane in October 1962, the Soviets and the Americans engaged in tense negotiations, the world spun closer to nuclear war than at any other time before or since. Fortunately, however, the USSR -- to Castro's fury -- finally agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba, and the crisis was averted. Castro fell ill in 2006 with an undisclosed disease, and handed the reins of power to his brother Ral Castro. He officially resigned in 2008, after 49 years as Cuba's head of state. Castro was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of developing nations in 2001, and also spoke up against global warming and other environmental issues and was lauded by some for his environmentalism and green policies. - Huffington Post, 11/26/16.