A custom Gibson guitar once owned by late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia sold for $1.9 million during a charity auction in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 31. Named "Wolf," the instrument bears a devilish looking, cartoon-like image of a menacing wolf, and was played by Garcia everywhere from San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom to Egypt's Great Pyramids beginning in 1973 in a New York performance the Grateful Dead gave for the Hells Angels. The guitar was owned by devoted Deadhead Daniel Pritzker, a philanthropist, musician and film director who bought the instrument in 2002 for $790,000. "I've been a fan of The Dead since I was a kid, and playing this iconic guitar over the past 15 years has been a privilege," said Pritzker. "But the time is right for Wolf to do some good." The proceeds are earmarked for the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. Meanwhile, a new Grateful Dead documentary entitled Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead has opened for a week in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The four-hour film is also available on Amazon Prime Video beginning on June 2 in six parts. - AP/Billboard, 6/2/17...... After playing two hometown Detroit-area shows in May, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band have announced they'll kick off a full-scale 24-date late summer/fall tour beginning Aug. 24 in Toledo, Oh. Dubbed the Runaway Train Tour, the trek will also hit major cities including Indianapolis (9/2), Detroit (9/9, 9/23), Boston (9/14), Cincinnati (9/21), Pittsburgh (9/28), Atlanta (10/7), St. Louis (10/12), Houston (10/19), Dallas (10/21) and Denver (10/26) before wrapping in Phoenix on Oct. 28. Additional dates are expected to be announced soon. It will be Seger and his band's first live dates since finishing their Ride Out Tour on Mar. 30, 2015 in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, on June 2 Seger released new vinyl editions of his 1994 Greatest Hits album and his 1969 debut, Ramblin' Gamblin' Man. Greatest Hits is being issued on 120-gram and 180-gram vinyl, and comes out as a two-LP set, with a limited purple vinyl edition available exclusively via BobSeger.com. Seger also recently revealed that he has been working on new music in Nashville and Detroit, but no release plans have been announced yet. - Billboard, 6/1/17...... Carlos Santana will be performing the national anthem before Game 2 of the NBA finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 4. Joining Santana will be famed bassist Benny Rietveld. Santana will launch a U.S. summer tour in Washington on June 23 and run through August. - Billboard, 6/2/17...... Roger Waters says he isn't worried that including a quote by Pres. Donald Trump in the title track of his new solo album, Is This the Life We Really Want?, will date the LP. "No, I don't worry about it," Waters says. "I'm going on the road and that quote will be in the show as well. In the show I'm putting that quote edited between the song "Us and Them" and "Money," so it will come over the introduction to the song "Money" -- you'll get him going "I won! I won!" Ka-ching, ka-ching. "Chaos? There is no chaos. It's a well-oiled machine." Ka-ching, ka-ching. "I won! I won!" Ka-ching. So it's sort of him admitting what we're experiencing right now is a Kleptocracy, this is just a way to steal money, and he's laughing all the way to the bank. The people who believed all his bullshit about making America great, getting their jobs back, are going to realize sooner or later it was all a confidence trick and he doesn't give a shit about them. He doesn't care about anybody but himself -- it's his shtick." In a slight to Bob Dylan, Waters also says that he "hasn't got time to do an album of Frank Sinatra covers." "I guess it's because he can't bear the thought of not being on the road and he couldn't think of anything else to do. I can't believe he really has an affinity for all that schlock. But maybe he does." This the Life We Really Want? was released via Columbia on June 2. - Billboard, 5/31/17...... Also taking aim at Pres. Trump lately is Todd Rundgren, who recently debuted a new anti-Trump video on Fox News called "Tin Foil Hat" from his new album, White Knight. "Why are you so angry?," Rundgren said of Trump supporters, who he recently said "won't have a good time" if they come to his concerts. "We're just trying to get our anger out of the way by having a silly little laugh at somebody who's now in power." - Spin.com, 5/28/17...... Aretha Franklin has announced she's hard at work on a new album featuring collaborations with such fellow music icons as Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Lionel Richie and Yitzhak Perlman. "Lionel's working on his piece, Stevie's working on his piece; they're both originals," says Franklin, who's co-executive-producing the album. "I'm working on a couple of things. I think there will be about 10 [songs] on it, maybe 11, but I'm thinking 10." Franklin, who says she hopes to have the album out in January, added that although she has not set an actual retirement date yet, it will become obvious that she's slowing things down. "I just won't be traveling the way I used to or doing anything like I used to in terms of concerts." she says. "It used to be five or six; I'll only be doing one, maybe two -- and maybe none. But I have other things I want to do. There's a lot going on." Also on the front burner for the Queen of Soul is a new food line with Krispy Kreme donuts, and on June 8 she'll be honored in her hometown of Detroit with the naming of Aretha Franklin Way in the city's downtown. - Billboard, 6/1/17...... The remastered 50th anniversary edition of the Beatles' landmark 1967 LP Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is on track to top the U.K. album charts once again, a half century after it first conquered the sales chart in the band's native country. The Fab Four's celebrated eighth album logged 27 weeks at No. 1 in 1967 and 1968 and in the U.S., it racked up 15 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. Sgt. Pepper's was released in several configurations May 26, highlighted by a six-disc set with four CDs, a DVD and Blu-ray with the remix, outtakes, mono album mix, video content, posters and a book. Peter Frampton, who starred in the infamous 1978 Sgt. Pepper's-based movie with the Bee Gees, says that Sgt. Pepper's is "still my favorite album," and that he was able to sample the album before everybody else after he scored an early bootlegged copy at a flea market on Petticoat Lane. Frampton says he quickly took the album back to his girlfriend's house and put Sgt. Pepper's on repeat play "until my girlfriend's mother came in and said, 'I think it's time for you to go...'" - Billboard, 5/31/17...... Bruce Springsteen surprised the audience during a concert by his E Street Band guitarist/vocalist Steven Van Zandt at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., on May 27 when he was invited onstage by Van Zandt to perform with him during his encore. Introduced as "a friend who's out of work," Springsteen emerged to jam with Van Zandt on four songs, including "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Can I Get a Witness." Van Zandt and his band, Disciples of Soul, were playing at the venue behind his new album, Soulfire, which hit stores on May 19. - AP, 5/30/17...... June is Gay Pride Month, and Billboard recently asked numerous pop culture luminaries, including Elton John, to write "love letters" to the LGBTQ community. John's letter thanked his fans "for accepting me -- even when others didn't. Thank you for never judging -- even when times were tough. Thank you for always embracing my music -- even after all these years." The letter continues: "This Pride Month, I'm celebrating you. You've showed the world that people of all creeds, colors, and cultures can come together to enjoy the music of an openly gay artist like me. And more than that, you've showed the world that we are all worthy of love. It's no exaggeration to say that thanks to you, society is becoming more just, more loving, and more compassionate. That is something we can be proud of -- not just this month, but every month and every day of the year. With love and gratitude, Elton." - Billboard, 6/1/17...... The family of Gregg Allman has issued a statement saying the funeral for the late Southern rock legend will be held on June 3 in his hometown of Macon, Ga. The private ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. tentatively at Snow's Memorial Chapel in downtown Macon. Allman, who died on May 27 of complications from liver cancer and at age 69 in his home in Savannah, Ga., will be buried at Macon's Rose Hill Cemetery, where he spent much time in his youth writing songs and hanging out with friends. Allman's late brother, Duane Allman, and fellow band member Berry Oakley are also buried at Rose Hill. Allman's second oldest son Devon Allman, 44, says that "once we get through the services, I had an idea about on his birthday [Dec. 8] having a big celebration of life for him in New York City, a big concert where all his friends can play, play his songs, donate the money to charity and just have a big love-in in his honor." Meanwhile, Allman Brothers Band manager Bert Holman says that "there's a great deal of material" in the ABB archives, and "we'll keep putting things out as long as there's an appetite for it." A number of other releases are in motion according to Holman, including the individual digital release of six 2003 shows from the Instant Live series, as well as a "best of 2003" four-disc set that Holman says will "cull the best songs and put together a mega-concert in terms of sequencing." Also being readied is a package featuring multiple shows by the original Allmans lineup at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. - Billboard, 5/30/17...... Such major '70s artists as Queen, the Beach Boys, the Commodores, T. Rex, Simon & Garfunkel, Barry White and Golden Earring will be featured on the soundtrack for Baby Driver, a new film from director Edgar Wright (The Hot Fuzz). The film follows a music-obsessed getaway driver, who times his bank robbery escapes to an eclectic selection of songs. Baby Driver will hit theaters on June 28. - New Musical Express, 6/2/17...... Olivia Newton-John, who recently postponed her U.S. Midwest tour dates, has announced she is now delaying all her U.S. and Canadian tour dates because of the return of her breast cancer. Newton-John originally thought her health issues were due to sciatica, but it turned out to be breast cancer that had spread to her lower back. The singer and Grease star was originally diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1992 and has become an advocate for raising money and awareness for the disease. "In addition to natural wellness therapies, Olivia will complete a short course of photon radiation therapy and is confident she will be back later in the year, better than ever, to celebrate her shows," a statement issued by her rep said. Ticket buyers for the upcoming concerts should contact venues directly about refunds. Rescheduled concert dates will be posted at OliviaNewton-John.com in the coming weeks. - Billboard, 5/30/17...... Barbra Streisand is mourning the loss of her beloved dog, Sammie, which she has owned for 14 years. On her Instagram page, the 75-year-old diva posted numerous photos of herself doting on the fluffy white Coton de Tulear, also known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar." "Jason took this pic of me holding Sammie on Mother's Day," Streisand posted. "This is the last time my picture was taken with my beloved girl Samantha. May she rest in peace. We cherish every moment of the 14 years we had with her. May 2003 - May 2017." Streisand is fond of the breed and has had several Coton de Tulear in the past. She once told a British newspaper that Sammie is "like the daughter I never had." - AP, 5/28/17...... Damian Marley, son of late reggae superstar Bob Marley, is one of 20 investors who have acquired a 60 percent stake in High Times magazine, its digital media platforms and its increasingly popular Cannabis Cup trade shows. High Times, the magazine that for decades has been the go-to bible for backyard pot growers and cocktail party tokers, has retained a loyal print subscriber base of more than 200,000 with millions more following it online, its new owners say. High Times was founded in 1974 by a former drug smuggler named Tom Forcade and once sold at newsstands in the same opaque plastic bags used to shield the covers of porn magazines. - AP, 6/1/17.
Cher reacted to the death of her ex-husband Gregg Allman on Twitter soon after the Southern rock icon passed away on May 27 at age 69. "IVE TRIED WORDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE GUI GUI," she wrote a few hours after Allman's death, signing her simple but emotional note, "FOREVER, CHOOCH" and also posting a personal photo of the two during their often stormy relationship. Cher and Allman were married from 1975 to 1979, and together they have a son, Elijah Blue, who was born in 1976. The two music heavyweights also collaborated on an album which was released under the name Allman and Woman in 1977. - Billboard, 5/27/17...... In related news, on May 23 Paul McCartney shared a Twitter tribute to late 007 actor Roger Moore, who starred in the 1973 James Bond installment Live and Let Die and for which Sir Paul famously composed and performed the opening theme song. "Roger was a great man and of course a great James Bond who I was lucky to work with during the time of 'Live and Let Die.' He had a heart of gold, a great sense of humour and will be missed by the many people who loved him," McCartney wrote. Earlier, the former Beatle also expressed sympathy for the families of victims at the May 22 bombing in Manchester, U.K., following an Ariana Grande concert. "Like everyone else, my family and I were shocked to hear about the terrible news from Manchester. All that's left to do is send heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims and Ariana Grande," McCartney wrote. "Praying that something like this never happens again. Love to everyone." - Billboard, 5/23/17...... Aerosmith and Phil Collins are in, but Kiss and Blondie are out of late May and early June performances in the U.K. and Europe following the shocking May 22 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry said he initially thought the band should postpone the band's European tour, but then decided that's not what Aerosmith fans would want. "I don't think I want to live like that or the band wants to live like that, and our fans don't want to live like that," Perry told the Associated Press on May 25. "I think that when we play now it is one more strike against the other side, and it is almost like it has notched our show up another bit, it is like a celebration of freedom and we're not going to stop," he added. Aerosmith went ahead with a May 26 concert in Munich on its Aero-Vederci Baby! Tour. Steven Tyler said the attack that killed 22 people and injured dozens hit him as a father and a musician. "The world is really moving fast. We have to try to do something about it and it is one thing to say, 'We know what you did and you're not going to phase us, and you're not going to scare us,' but yes it is scary and yes you did scare me. But we are going to try to do something to make sure it doesn't happen the next time and that is what we have to start working on," Tyler said. Similarly, the manager for Phil Collins, who is scheduled to play Liverpool's Echo Arena on June 2 ahead of 5 dates at London's Royal Albert Hall beginning on June 4, said those dates would go on. However Kiss, who were slated to play the same Manchester Arena venue that the bombing occurred in on May 30, announced that the show was being canceled in the wake of the tragedy that killed 22 innocent victims and maimed dozens of others. "We are heartbroken by the atrocity committed against the innocent victims of Manchester. We sadly will not to be able to play Manchester Arena on the 30th May," the group posted in a joint statement on May 26. "We have always looked forward to these shows and our local fans, but in light of recent events a cancelled rock show seems of such little consequence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected and all the people of Manchester at this difficult time. We are with you and you are in our prayers," the statement added. Likewise, Blondie canceled a May 23 concert in London "as a mark of respect for the victims of the terrible attack" at the Manchester Arena. Lead singer Debbie Harry tweeted that the Round Chapel date will be rescheduled. On May 23, Queen guitarist Brian May reacted to the attack, describing it as "the most terrible thing" while also speaking out against Britain's foreign policy. "If we really think we can solve this kind of violent behaviour by being violent ourselves and being racist and reacting in that way then we are in for the most terrible tragedy for the world, because this is how it escalates," May remarked. - AP/Billboard/New Musical Express, 5/25/17...... Appearing on CBS' The Late Show, on May 24, Paul Simon updated the classic 1967 Simon & Garfunkel song "Feelin' Groovy" for a terrifying age. The idea was that Simon no longer likes playing "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," so he and host Steven Colbert changed the lyrics so that it could reflect a much scarier age. "Hello lampost, nice to see ya/ We might get bombed by North Korea," Colbert sang. "We're gettin' close to WWIII/ So run for the shelters, feelin' groovy." Then the pair got in on the act together. "The arctic's meltin', seas are boilin'/ These aren't the first pants that I'm soilin'/ We won't survive the century/ We're all doomed, I'm feelin' groovy." Simon also chatted with Colbert about re-recording his older songs for a new album, and donating all the proceeds from his tour to a biodiversity foundation. - Stereogum.com, 5/25/17...... A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley was auctioned on May 27 in Agoura Hills, Calif., during a sales event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The 1962 red Lockheed Jetstar plane, which had been sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 30 years, sold for $430,000 to an undisclosed buyer, according to auction house GWS Auctions. The firm says Elvis himself designed the interior that has gold-tone woodwork, red velvet seats and red shag carpet. But the plane, which has been privately owned for 35 years and has been sitting on a tarmac in Roswell, N.M., currently has no engine and needs a restoration of its cockpit. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis at age 42. - AP, 5/27/17...... A rep for Ronnie Wood says the Rolling Stones guitarist is expected to make a full recovery following an operation to remove a lung lesion. Wood, who turns 70 on June 1, said in a statement that he is "grateful to doctors who found the lesion in its early stages." Wood is not expected to require further treatment and the procedure will not affect the Stones' upcoming tour, which kicks off in Europe in September. - AP, 5/24/17...... English pop legend Sir Cliff Richard has settled his dispute with South Yorkshire Police regarding reports that named him as a suspected sex offender. Richard was the subject of media reports following a police raid on his home in Aug. 2014, which came as part of a wider investigation into allegations of historical sexual assault. Richard, who denied all allegations at every stage, was later cleared of any involvement in the investigation after the case was dropped in 2016. Richard subsequently sued South Yorkshire Police and the BBC over his implication in the investigation, seeking "very substantial" damages from both parties. South Yorkshire Police later apologised "wholeheartedly for the additional anxiety caused." The BBC, however, are still disputing Richard's claim for damages, and recently slammed the singer over his "grossly unreasonable" legal costs. The broadcaster could be forced to pay Richard's legal costs if the singer's claim succeeds in court. - NME, 5/26/17...... Polish-American diplomat and political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski died at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., on May 26 after a battle with pneumonia. He was 89. Mr. Brzezinski served as a counselor to Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968 and was Pres. Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981. He appeared as himself in several documentary films and TV series, including Eternal Memory, Soldiers of God, Cold War and Good Guys, Bad Guys. He was the father of MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, and two sons, Mark and Ian, and was married to Czech-American sculptor Emilie Benes. On May 4, 2017, Mr. Brzezinski sent out his final Tweet, saying, "Sophisticated US leadership is the sine qua non of a stable world order. However, we lack the former while the latter is getting worse." - Wikipidia.org...... As the 1977 Burt Reynolds and Sally Field-starred comedy Smokey and the Bandit turns 40 this year, songwriter/actor Paul Williams told Billboard that he still gets a kick out of the recognition he still receives from his role in the freewheeling car chase flick. "It's really wonderful because when we made the movie, those films were made almost against all odds," says Williams, who is now the president of ASCAP. "All of Burt's friends supposedly begged him not to do it. The production costs were cut, and it was originally going to be released only in the South. It's amazing to see that forty years later, it's still resonating with people." Williams added that it's almost inevitable that when he walks through an airport -- especially in the South -- somebody will come up and say 'Oh, my God! It's Little Enos Burdette." Willams added that he disappeared for several years due to his alcohol abuse problem, but now "I'm 27 years sober." Cable TV's TCM channel is in the midst of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original film with a theatrical re-release that started Sunday, May 21, and will happen again on Wednesday, May 24. Universal will also release a 40th anniversary edition of the movie on Blu-ray on July 11. - Billboard, 5/23/17...... Harry Anger, a retired music executive and artist developer who worked with such artists as Kiss, Eric Clapton, Def Leppard, John Mellencamp, Bon Jovi and Boyz II Men, died at his home in Las Vegas on May 27 after a 20-year-plus battle with leukemia. He was 84. Mr. Anger began his business career at RCA Records, later moving to Arista, and later became executive vice president at Polygram and chief operating officer at Motown Records. The Harry Anger Memorial Fund for leukemia and cancer research has been created in his honor at the T.J. Martell Foundation, a music industry charity, and a memorial service has been set for July 15. - Billboard, 5/26/17...... Actor Jared Martin, best remembered for playing the handsome cowboy Steven "Dusty" Farlow on the original Dallas TV series, died on May 24 at his home in Philadelphia after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 75. - Deadline.com, 5/26/17.