A picture of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recording together at Ringo's home studio was posted on Twitter by Starr on Feb. 19, and Starr's publicist has confirmed McCartney was there to contribute to Ringo's forthcoming album. "Thanks for coming over man and playing Great bass. I love you man peace and love," posted Ringo, who also posted a separate picture of himself, Paul and Joe Walsh with the comment, "And look out Joe W came out to play. What a day I'm having. Peace and love." The two surviving Beatles last recorded together for Ringo's Y Not album, released in 2010. Four days earlier on Feb. 15, Starr, McCartney, Walsh, Tom Hanks and Dave Grohl were spotted at at the Giorgio Baldi restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/20/17...... In related news, a new song featuring Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Dirty Projectors and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend with Dave Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors producing. McCartney previously teamed up with Kanye West for the collaborative song "FourFiveSeconds" which also featured Rihanna. The bridge of that song was written by Longstreth. - NME, 2/16/17...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, the movie rights for The Beatle Who Vanished, a book by author Jim Berkenstadt about drummer Jimmie Nichol who once filled in for Ringo Starr on tour for 13 days in 1964 when Ringo became ill, have been secured by Alex Orbison and Ashley Hamilton's 449 Productions. Alex Orbison is the son of rock and roll legend Roy Orbison, for whom the Beatles once opened for on tour before they shot to fame. Berkenstadt's book, first published in 2013, included accounts of Nichol's time with the Beatles, his pre- and post-Beatles career and included many archival photos. After his short tenure in the Beatles, Jimmie Nicol stayed in the music business playing with many groups, including Peter & Gordon, but mostly obscure bands. He has since avoided the spotlight. Alex Orbison says he is also planning a film on his father's life. - Billboard, 2/15/17...... Tohme Tohme, the ex-manager of Michael Jackson, took the stand in a trial over the King of Pop's taxes on Feb. 16, and his testimony could foreshadow an ugly trial ahead in his own separate legal fight with Jackson's estate. Tohme was called as a witness by the IRS, presumably, to show that Jackson had business suitors in the time leading up to his death despite allegations of child molestation. Specifically, he said there had been prospects of a "Moonwalker" sports shoe deal with Nike and a Broadway musical based on Jackson's songs. The legal fight between Tohme and the Jackson estate dates back to 2012, when a pair of dueling lawsuits were filed. That trial is currently set for October and, if Tohme's time on the stand Thursday is any indication, there will likely be fireworks in the courtroom between Tohme and Jackson estate attorney Howard Weitzman, who pulled no punches during his cross examination of Tohme in the current trial. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/17/17...... In other Michael Jackson news, the late singer's blockbuster 1982 album Thriller has just extended its reign as the highest certified album in U.S. history. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified the Quincy Jones-produced set at 33-times platinum in the U.S., and a plaque commemorating the milestone was presented at the home of Epic Records chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid over Grammy weekend earlier in February. The album was released through Sony Music Entertainment's Epic Records and spent 37 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, and was the first album to generate a record seven Top 10 singles on the Hot 100 pop chart, including two No. 1s: "Billie Jean" (No. 1 for seven weeks) and "Beat It" (No. 1 for three weeks). In 2015, Thriller was named the biggest album of all time by a male artist on the Hot 200 chart, and the No. 3 title overall. Its closest competitor, the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971-75, was last certified in 2006 with 29 million album units. Thriller has sold 105 million copies globally, according to Sony and the Jackson estate. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... Kiss has reached a new merchandising milestone. Over the last year, with the help of longtime merch partner Epic Rights, the band hit the 125 global licensing deal benchmark. Throughout its career, Kiss has sold some half a billion dollars retail value at stores and concerts, which helps back its claim to being the most merchandised band of all time. While Kiss trailblazed new merchandise and fan club territory in the mid-1970s with a torrent of t-shirts, patches, posters, lunch boxes and the formation of the Kiss Army, its latest wares now include Kiss emojis, mobile video games, moisturizing face masks, carbon fiber bikes and credit/debit cards. "We've had thousands of licensing partners over the years but my objective has never been to have bragging rights by accumulating volumes of licensing partners," says Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley. "Rather, it's been about using decades of successes as a spring board to elevate our position in terms of gaining higher stature affiliations." Stanley said original Kiss manager Bill Aucoin was the mastermind behind the Kiss merchandising juggernaut, and "We were snickered at by other bands until they saw the checks we were getting and all of a sudden they joined the parade." As for a Kiss reunion of the original members, including guitarist Ace Frehley, Stanley said: "I have no thoughts of re-visiting the past. With that said I am happy to enhance or do whatever i can for anyone who has helped put me where I am, but that doesn't include getting hitched again to somebody I unhitched from."- Billboard, 2/17/17...... Bob Dylan has released a cover of Frank Sinatra's "My One and Only Love" ahead of his latest album Triplicate, a 3-disc collection of 30 classic songs by American songwriters. Dylan has also released another Sinatra cover -- "I Could Have Told You" -- to promote the new record. Triplicate is due on Mar. 31, and Dylan will showcase songs from the album on his upcoming tour of the UK and Ireland, which gets underway on May 3 in Cardiff. He'll also be visiting Bournemouth (5/4), Nottingham (5/5), Glasgow (5/7), Liverpool (5/8), London (5/9) and Dublin (5/11). - New Musical Express, 2/18/17...... Surviving members of the Jefferson Starship participated in a protest at San Francisco City Hall on Feb. 16 over the city's decision to block a free concert in Golden Gate Park for the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love." "The best thing we ever did was to play for free in the park," said David Freiberg, a vocalist and bassist with the Jefferson Airplane and its spinoff, Jefferson Starship. "How can you celebrate the Summer of Love without that? It's impossible. I see no reason why we can't work this out." The June 4 show might still go on but it hit another major bureaucratic hurdle during the 3-hour public hearing on Feb. 16 over concerns about public safety. - AP, 2/16/17...... British publisher/author John Blake has written an essay for the UK paper The Spectator in which he claims that three years ago he acquired a secret, 75,000-word memoir written by Mick Jagger in the 1980s. Jagger has so far refused to release a memoir, but Blake writes that "virtually nobody knows is that he already has." Blake reveals that the book shows a "quieter, more watchful Mick" and "it's delicious, heady stuff. Like reading Elvis Presley's diaries from the days before he grew fat and washed-up in Vegas." But Blake says that Jagger suddenly "wanted nothing further to do with this project... He never wanted to see it published." - Billboard, 2/17/17...... Pay cable channel HBO has acquired the U.S. television rights to the David Bowie documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years, which chronicles the late rock icon's recording sessions for his final two albums, 2013's The Next Day and 2016's Blackstar, as well as the stage musical "Lazarus." The Last Five Years premiered on England's BBC2 in January and features rare archival Bowie images, recordings from the two albums' studio sessions and interview with a number of Bowie collaborators, including longtime producer Tony Visconti. HBO has not yet announced when The Last Five Years will air. - Billboard, 2/17/17...... Touring in Australia on Feb. 15, Bruce Springsteen invited a teenage fan onstage to perform "Growin' Up" with him at the Brisbane Entertainment Center. "You know it on guitar?" Springsteen asked young Nathan Testa. "Come on up." On Feb. 13, the singer held a private meeting with Australian Adam Brooker, a fan who has a severe intellectual disability and learned to speak through Springsteen's lyrics. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... In other news Down Under, the '70s hit "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band," adapted from John Williams's original Star Wars theme, has been named the country's favorite sex jam. Streaming giant Spotify.com compiled a list of Australia's Top 10 sex jams by scouring playlists with the word "sex" in their title, and "Cantina Band" led the list, followed by songs by Rhianna, Kings of Leon, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. - NME, 2/17/17...... The Grateful Dead have announced they will release a 40th anniversay box set of their legendary performance at Cornell University's Barton Hall on May 8, 1977. May 1977: Get Shown the Light will be an 11-disc box set and be "the commercial debut" of the Cornell University performance, which is considered so legendary that a copy of the recording was placed in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2011. To be released by the band's official site Dead.net, the set also includes three previously unreleased recordings: Veterans' Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, Connecticut (May 5, 1977), Boston Garden, Boston (May 7, 1977) and Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, New York (May 9, 1977). "These four concerts have been the holy grail of wish-list releases both externally and internally for a long, long time," said David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set's producer, in a statement. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... The twin daughters of Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley have been placed in the care of California's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after Lisa Marie claimed to have found indecent photos and videos of children on the computer of their father, Michael Lockwood. Finley and Harper Lockwood, eight, have reportedly been removed from the family home by social workers, and a trial date has been set for March to determine their future. Presley, 49, said of the discovery in the court papers: "I was shocked and horrified and sick to my stomach." She continued to reveal that police raided her former home with Lockwood and discovered 80 of his devices, but these have yet to be fully analyzed. "My understanding is that Tennessee law enforcement is also conducting an investigation related to the photos and videos that I discovered," she said in the documents. Presley and 55-year-old musician Lockwood married in 2006, with the singer filing for divorce last June, citing irreconcilable differences. Presley also claims her $300 million fortune left to her by her father's estate has gone, and she has been forced to move in with her actress daughter Riley Keough, although she still receives a $100,000 monthly allowance from the estate. - WENN.com, 2/17/17...... Just weeks after announcing he was planning to retire at the end of 2017, '70s teen heartthrob David Cassidy appeared to be heavily intoxicated at a concert at The Canyon Club in Agoura, Calif., on Feb. 18 where he slurred his words and struggled to stay on his feet. Footage captured by fans and shared by TMZ.com shows the former Partridge Family star rambling and toppling off the stage during his gig. Cassidy, 66, has battled with alcoholism in recent years, leading to arrest for DUI on several occasions, and according to one gossip columnist wrecked his car last September but managed to get it towed away without the police busting him again. Cassidy has live dates booked in for March and June, according to his website, though TMZ claims he said on stage that the Feb. 18 concert was his final show due to health reasons. - Billboard, 2/20/17...... Former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters said on Feb. 19 that he's considering performing his band's 1979 classic album The Wall at the US-Mexico border in a protest against U.S. Pres. Donald Trump. "The Wall is very relevant now with Mr Trump and all of this talk of building walls and creating as much enmity as possible between races and religions," Waters said, adding that the LP is "about how detrimental building walls can be on a personal level, but also on broader levels." Waters has also been protesting against Trump with his visuals for his live shows, which have included a flying pig that had the words "F--- Trump and his wall" emblazoned on it, as well as giant, super-imposed pictures of Trump with some members of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1990, Waters famously performed the album in Berlin to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall the previous year. Meanwhile, both Waters and fellow Pink Floyd member Nick Mason have appeared open to the band reuniting to play the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival. The two appeared together on Feb. 16 at a press conference at the V&A museum in London, ahead of an exhibition focusing on the band which opens in May. Asked about the possibility of a Pink Floyd Glastonbury reunion with Dave Gilmour, Waters reportedly said to Mason: "The last I heard, David retired. You know David better than me." - New Musical Express, 2/20/17...... Clyde Stubblefield, a drummer for James Brown, died on Feb. 18 at a Madison, Wisc., hospital after a 10-year battle with kidney disease. He was 73. Stubblefield performed on several of Brown's classics in the 1960s and early 70s, including "Cold Sweat," ''Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud," ''I've Got the Feelin'," and the album Sex Machine. But he was best known for a short solo on Brown's 1970 single, "Funky Drummer" which, according to Rolling Stone magazine, has been sampled on over 1,000 songs and served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks, including Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," Dr. Dre's "Let Me Ride," LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and Run-D.M.C.'s "Run's House." However his wife, Jody Hannon, said that her husband actually saw "very little" in royalties and never expected them. Stubblefield had lived in his wife's hometown of Madison, Wisc., since the early 1970s and had long been a fixture on the local music scene. - AP, 2/18/17...... Walter "Junie" Morrison, keyboardist and producer for funk band Ohio Players and producer/performer with George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic, has died. He was believed to be 62. After high school, Morrison started a stint with the Ohio Players, working as an arranger, producer and musical director for the band on such hits as "Pain," "Funky Worm" and "Ecstasy." He left the group in 1974 and became a key player in Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic from 1978-1980, contributing to such landmark albums as One Nation Under a Groove and Motor Booty Affair. - Billboard, 2/16/17...... Peter Skellern, the singer behind the 1972 U.K. hit "You're a Lady," passed away on Feb. 17 following a battle with brain cancer. He was 69. Following "You're A Lady," Skellern had another hit with "Love is the Sweetest Thing"' in 1978. In 1984, he formed a group called Oasis with Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Hopkin, with their self-titled album earning them a silver record. Skellern, who became an ordained priest and a deacon, had revealed that he had an inoperable brain tumour last October. - New Musical Express, 2/17/17...... Irwin Stambler, author of the early pop music sourcebook The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul, died on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. He was 92. Mr. Stambler's pop encyclopedia, which was first published in 1974, went through several revisions, chronicled the professional and personal lives of everyone from Chuck Berry to The Zombies. In an age before the internet, it provided a convenient and entertainingly written set of mini-biographies. Mr. Stambler's son said his father often did his own research, interviewing musicians and attending concerts. - AP, 2/17/17...... Canadian radio legend Stuart McLean, best known as the host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Café which was syndicated to some 80 U.S. public radio stations, died in Toronto on Feb. 15. He was 68. McLean began his radio career as a researcher for CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup, before getting into radio documentaries for the station's Sunday Morning. In 1994, he launched The Vinyl Café as a summer series, and the show became part of CBC's regular schedule in 1997 and the next year starting taking it on the road to theaters across Canada and into the U.S. - Billboard, 2/15/17.
Blondie has released a new psychedelic video for "Fun," the lead single off their upcoming album Pollinator. Directed by Beyoncé collaborator Dikyal Rimmasch, the video has a vibrant, intergalactic theme which Blondie guitarist Chris Stein says is necessary because "in these trying times, we need some fun... we're very serious about fun." Pollinator, the follow-up to Blondie's 2014 set Ghost of Download, hits stores May 5, and the band hits the road behind the new LP on July 5 in Saratoga, Calif. - New Musical Express, 2/15/17...... David Bowie swept the 2017 Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles with five posthumous wins for his final album, Blackstar. The late singer was awarded in all four categories in which he'd been nominated -- Alternative Album and Best Engineered Album, for Blackstar, plus Best Rock Performance and Rock Song, for the title track. Additionally, Blackstar's graphic designer took home a Grammy for Best Recording Package. In all, Bowie racked up four times as many Grammys as he'd previously garnered in the entirety of his career. The five Grammys were also the first ever true "musical" Grammy wins for Bowie, having previously won just Best Video in 1985 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. "I was very surprised to learn that he'd only won one Grammy, for a video -- that was shocking to me," said saxophonist Donny McCaslin, the jazz band leader who collaborated with Bowie on the sessions for the album. "I just feel this is such a deep record, regardless of my involvement in it, and I'm just so happy for his family and his fans. We're fans too, so this is really cool," he added. Bowie's son, Duncan Jones, recognized the achievement by sending a tweet of an old photo of himself hugging his dad, saying "So proud of you dad! Would hold you up forever." Meanwhile, the physical release of Bowie's No Plan EP featuring the final tracks he ever recorded for the "Lazarus" musical drops on Feb. 24 on CD, before a vinyl edition is released on Apr. 21. - Billboard/NME, 2/13/17...... In other '70s artist Grammy news, Willie Nelson took home a Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Grammy for his Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin album, while his fellow country legend Dolly Parton shared a Best Country/Duo Perdformance Grammy with Pentatonix for their collaboration on Parton's classic song "Jolene." A Best Music Film Grammy went to the Beatles for the Ron Howard documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years. Meanwhile, Carlos Santana has apologized for a diss of Beyoncé, who lost to Adele in several Grammy categories, by intimating that the "Lemonade" vocalist was "not a singer-singer" but more of a music model. Santana told a New Zealand newspaper that "I think that Adele won because she can sing sing... With all respect to our sister Beyoncé, Beyoncé is very beautiful to look at and it's more like modeling kind of music -- music to model a dress -- she's not a singer, singer, with all respect to her." After his comments drew a firestorm of reaction on Twitter, Santana took to Facebook to clarify his comments, saying he was taken out of context. "My intent was to congratulate Adele on her amazing night at the Grammies," he wrote. "My comment about Beyoncé was regretfully taken out of context. I have the utmost respect for her as an artist and a person. She deserves all the accolades that come her way." In still more Grammy-related news, Joni Mitchell made a rare public appearance on Feb. 11 at Clive Davis' annual Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, where she was escorted by writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe. The attendance by the 73-year-old rock/folk icon at the star-studded gala was a big deal, given she suffered from a brain aneurysm in March 2015 and was found unconscious in her L.A. home. Mitchell's health has been a source of concern since, though in late June of that year, her attorney Rebecca J. Thyne said the artist was "expected to make a full recovery." Mitchell, who is now wheechair-bound, was honored at the Grammys with a tribute video and a performance by "Both Sides Now" folk singer Judy Collins. - Billboard, 2/12/17...... Tom Petty was feted on Feb. 10 at a MusiCares' pre-Grammy dinner at the Los Angeles Convention Center by such fellow rock legends as Stevie Nicks, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Randy Newman and the Foo Fighters, among others. "Twenty years ago, I would have been way too cynical to do this, but I'm 66 now," said Petty, who was named the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year. Expressing gratitude to his band the Heartbreakers, Petty told the black-tie crowd, "We got together last week and rehearsed for this thing, and I realized I may actually be in one of the best two or three rock and roll bands there is." Performances included Newman ("Refugee"), Browne ("Learning to Fly"), Henley ("Free Fallin'") and ELO's Jeff Lynne ("I Won't Back Down"), with Petty himself and Stevie Nicks singing their big duet hit, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." Recording Academy president Neil Portnow announcing that the evening had brought in more than $8.5 million for musicians in medical or financial need. - Billboard, 2/11/17...... An unreleased song recorded by Bruce Springsteen for the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- the first movie in the Harry Potter series -- but was never used appeared briefly on the streaming service SoundCloud.com on Feb. 10, but has since been removed. The ballad "I'll Stand By You Always" was recorded by the Boss in 2001 although it doen'st have any direct reference to Harry Potter, it includes sincere lyrics like, "We'll let the night come and do what it may, together we'll find the courage, we'll find faith/ Until you awake." Springsteen later told the BBC that the song was "very uncharacteristic of something I'd sing myself" and added that he still hopes to get it into a children's movie someday. - Billboard, 2/10/17...... Rick Derringer has been charged with carrying a loaded gun in his carryon bag on a Delta Air Lines flight from Mexico after he was stopped after landing in Atlanta. According to court records, a federal air marshal said that Derringer said he often flies with a gun in his carry-on and has never experienced any problems. Derringer's manager, Kenn Moutenot, said the "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" singer thought he was permitted to have the gun because he has a permit to carry one, that he meant no harm and will work with the government to clear his name. - AP, 2/10/17...... A new Eric Clapton documentary entitled Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars will premiere on the pay cable channel Showtime in 2018 after being released theatrically this fall. The documentary, directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, is described as an unflinching and deeply personal journey into the life of Clapton will screen at domestic and international film festivals later this year, and be released theatrically in the U.S. and Canada this fall. "Despite the fact that (Clapton's) path is strewn with tragedies, addiction and loss, he never fails to regain his bearings and continue to serve what he holds dearest: his music," Zanuck said in a statement. - Billboard, 2/10/17...... '70s New Wave legends Devo have been given their own set of Web emojis, many of which reference memorable moments from videos for Devo hits like "Whip It" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" as well as other imagery unique to the band. Devo formed in 1973 and released debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! in 1978. Their last full-length LP Something for Everybody was released in 2010. - New Musical Express, 2/11/17...... Former Deep Purple vocalist Glenn Hughes will participate in a "Storytellers" event at London's historic Cafe de Paris from 12 noon to 4pm on Feb. 25. The event will included the airing of a new 60 minute documentary, featuring never-before-seen classic archival vision of Hughes from the 1970's. The screening will be followed by a 2 hour story telling session hosted by Nicky Horne where Hughes will delve into some of the great and even infamous events in his life to date. - Noble PR, 2/10/17...... Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau passed away on Feb. 12, two weeks after being hospitalized due to exhaustion and later cancelling his 2017 tour. He was 76. A seven-time Grammy winner, Jarreau's biggest single was 1981's "We're in This Love Together," and he was featured on the all-star 1985 song "We Are the World." Jarreau also sang the theme to television's Moonlighting. A statement on Jarreau's website read in part, "His 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen." The singer was surrounded by family and friends when he died in Los Angeles, his manager, Joe Gordon, told Ebony magazine. - Billboard, 2/12/17...... Sonny Geraci, the Cleveland-born pop singer who scored national hits as lead singer of The Outsiders in the 1960s and Climax in the 1970s, has died. He was 69, and had been in ill health since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2012. Geraci became the lead singer of The Starfires in 1964, who changed their name to The Outsiders and scored four singles on the U.S. pop charts during the late 1960s, including "Time Won't Let Me," "Girl in Love," "Help Me Girl" and "Respectable (What Kind of Girl Is This)," a remake of the Isley Brothers tune. After leaving The Outsiders in 1970, Geraci eventually formed Climax with Walter Nims, who had been a member of both The Starfires and The Outsiders. That group later scored a Top 3 single with "Precious and Few," written by Nims. Climax disbanded in 1975. Geraci left the music business in the early 1980s, but tried a comeback, under the pseudonym Peter Emmett, in 1983, releasing an unsuccessful album on MCA. Later, he played the oldies circuit, performed for a time with the Grass Roots and toured from 2007-2012 as Sonny Geraci and the Outsiders. - 2/6/17...... Steve Lang, a former bassist for the Canadian classic rock outfit April Wine, has died at the age of 67. No cause of death has been announced, though he had suffered from Parkinson's Disease. Lang joined April Wine in 1975 as a replacement for longtime bassist Jim Clench, and was first featured on 1976's The Whole World's Goin' Crazy. He went on to play on a total of seven April Wine albums over eight years. He split from the band in 1984, eventually going into the finance industry. "Steve played bass with [April Wine] for years and his musicianship was exceptional," April Wine band leader Myles Goodwin posted on Facebook. "My condolences go out to his family. He will sadly be missed by his friends and by fans everywhere." - 2/8/17.