Jury selection and opening statements took place on July 11 in Los Angeles in the trial pitting Michael Jackson's company against Jackson's Thriller producer Quincy Jones. Two men and 10 women were chosen to decide how credit and money should be split for posthumous revenue as part of a royalty dispute between the legendary producer and the King of Pop's business. The fight began in 2013 when Jones sued Sony Entertainment and MJJ Productions, a song company controlled by Jackson's estate, claiming master recordings he produced were wrongfully edited and remixed to deprive him of backend profit participation. Jones also contends a 2009 joint venture between MJJ and Sony should have increased his royalties share, but didn't. The works at issue include songs from Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad and the This Is It film and soundtrack album, among others. Jones' attorney Mike McKool said two producer agreements, from 1978 and 1985, specified that Jones' royalty would come from Jackson's share of profits from their works -- and that any changes to the rate the performer received would be reflected in the producer's pay too. MJJ attorney Zia Modabber argued that Jackson wasn't obligated to tell Jones about royalty increases, let alone pass them on to the producer. The trial, which one potential juror who was dismissed described as a "tragedy," is expected to last approximately three weeks. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/11/17...... In other Michael Jackson news, a new one-hour animated adventure featuring the King of Pop's acclaimed music as its soundtrack will air sometime in the fall of 2017 on CBS. The network announced on July 11 that it's teaming up with Jackson's estate for an hour-long telecast called Michael Jackson's Halloween that will follow two millennials named Vincent and Victoria (MacGyver's Lucas Till and The Flash's Kiersey Clemons, respectively) who meet "accidentally" on Halloween night and find themselves at a mysterious hotel located at 777 Jackson Street called This Place Hotel. Other voice roles include Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, Jim Parsons and Lucy Liu. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/11/17...... Iconoclastic former Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters has been receiving a less than enthusiastic reception in some cities in the southern US as he displays unflattering images of US Pres. Donald Trump on his Is This the Life We Really Want? summer tour. On July 8 as the tour arrived in New Orleans -- Waters' first performance in the Crescent City since Pink Floyd played there in 1970 -- the musician was booed as a procession of profane images of Pres. Trump filled massive screens as he performed "Pigs (Three Different Ones)," including a baby with the face of Trump being held aloft by Russian president Vladimir Putin and Trump as a statue with an exceptionally small penis. The parade continued for several minutes, followed by examples of infamous Trump quotes, and even carried over into the next song, "Money." Some fans not only booed, but walked out of the show, which also happened the previous evening when Waters gave fans in Houston, Tex., a dose of his trademark anti-authoritarianism. Waters released Is This the Life We Really Want? via Columbia on June 2, and kicked off his two-hours-plus tour on May 26 in Kansas City. - Spin.com, 7/11/2017...... More details have been revealed on Ringo Starr's forthcoming solo effort Give More Love, which the former Beatle announced on his 77th birthday, July 7. "We're On the Road Again," the album's opener, was co-written by Starr and former Toto member Steve Lukather. It features vocal contributions from Paul McCartney (who also contributes bass), along with Edgar Winter and Joe Walsh, while a recently rediscovered version of "Back Off Boogaloo" features Jeff Lynne. Meanwhile, Ringo held his annual birthday Peace and Love event on July 7 in front of the Capitol Tower in Los Angeles. Friends on hand included Walsh, Winter and filmmaker David Lynch. - Billboard, 7/7/17...... As Debby Boone's record-setting Billboard chart hit "You Light Up My Life" celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2017, the 60-year-old singer and her equally famous dad, 83-year-old '50s pop crooner Pat Boone, will commemorate the occasion by performing a duet version of the song on Aug. 11 at an event dubbed "Icons of Aging." While performing with her dad is rare, Debby says she still sings "You Light Up My Life" regularly. "The lyrics are transcending," she says. "Couples use it as their wedding song, parents say it reminds them of their children and some say it has a religious meaning for them." Although the mellow love song from her first solo album helped her snag a Best New Artist Grammy in 1977 and topped the charts for 10 straight weeks, Boone says she doesn't relate to a lot of music that is racking up Grammy wins nowadays. "Times have changed. Songs that are hits now would never be hits in 1977. I remember driving my kids to school at 8 a.m. and hearing these really sexual lyrics," she says. "But I don't lament the good old days. I'm not a curmudgeon. My kids turned out great. Maybe I'll be horrified all over again when my grandkids listen to those lyrics." Boone and her octogenarian dad, who says he's "as healthy as I was at 20," will be performing in La Mirada, Calif., on Aug. 11 on behalf of the Season of Life Conference series founded by gerontologist Di Patterson. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/7/17...... Mick Jagger has recently been collaborating in the studio with musician Skepta, with the grime hero posting the photo of himself with the Rolling Stones' frontman to Instagram. There was no information as to whether it would be for Sketpa's own new material, a new Stones record, or a completely separate project entirely. - New Musical Express, 7/10/17...... Blondie's summer co-headlining tour with the alternative band Garbage hit the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 9, with the iconic New Wave band playing a 13-song, 70-minute set that opened with the hits "One Way or Another" and "Hanging on the Telephone." Frontwoman Debbie Harry, who did those two songs wearing an elaborate bee mask (the tour is themed to their new album Pollinator), also sported a long-tailed robe with block letters instructing "STOP F----ING THE PLANET" and species-checked "our beautiful friends the bees." Blondie encored with the inspirational closer "Dreaming," Harry's paean to finding a path to love and stardom with Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. - Billboard, 7/10/17...... Court documents filed by late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher on July 8 reveal that Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd will inherit her mother's $18 million estate, which includes her home, personal belongings, and money. The estate of Fisher, who died of sleep apnea after suffering a heart attack on Dec. 27, 2016, is currently up for auction. Lourd, 24, was named as the main benificiary of the estate, which also includes several bank accounts, a 2016 Tesla S automobile, full ownership of several LLCs and a life insurance policy. Lourd, also an actress, will also become the owner of her mother's personal and household items including jewellery, artwork and collectibles, and have full rights over any posthumous royalties from her late mother's books, trademarks and copyrights. Personal items of Fisher's will go under the hammer in September in an auction, which is being organized by Profiles in History in Hollywood. - WENN.com, 7/8/17...... A new 20-track digitally remastered compilation from '70s rocker Suzi Quatro, The Best of Suzi Quatro: Legend, will drop on Sept. 22 via Chrysalis Records. Personally curated by Quatro, the release will feature her four RAK studio albums originally released between 1975 and 1979, Your Momma Won't Like Me, Aggr-Phobia, If You Knew Suzi and Suzi and Other Four Letter Words. "I'm excited about my new compilation," Quatro said in a statement. "It's not just the hits, which I love, but it also features favourite and important tracks from my albums, with an extensive track by track on the liner notes. Enjoy one and all." The collection will also be available on gold-colored double vinyl and digital formats. - Noble PR, 7/12/17...... South African jazz musician Ray Phiri, best known to pop fans for performing on Paul Simon's Graceland tour in 1988, died of cancer on July 12. He was 70. Phiri, a vocalist and guitarist known for his versatility in jazz fusion, indigenous South African rhythms and other styles, received many music awards in his home country. His death was met with nationwide tributes. "He was a musical giant. This is indeed a huge loss for South Africa and the music industry as a whole," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement. Phiri also founded the band Stimela, which released the albums Fire, Passion and Ecstasy and Look, Listen and Decide, and contributed guitar work to Simon's Graceland album. The album evolved from Simon's interest in indigenous South African music. - AP, 7/12/17...... Jay Morgenstern, a longtime music publisher and former ASCAP board vice chairman, passed away of natural causes on July 4. He was 87. Before retiring, Mr. Morgenstern was executive VP/GM of Warner/Chappell Music, as well as CEO of Warner Bros. Publications. He was also a recipient of the Abe Olman Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. "Jay was an incredible human being, kind, generous and simply one of the greatest publishers in the music business," ASCAP president Paul Williams said. - Billboard, 7/8/17.
Black Sabbath has announced a new film documenting their final concert at Birmingham's Genting Arena in Feb. 2017 will be screened at 1,500 cinemas across the world on Sept. 28. Entitled The End of The End, the concert film in the band's hometown at Genting Arena will feature live recordings of such Sabbath classics as "War Pigs," "Iron Man" and "Paranoid," along with backstage footage of founding band members Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi as the band prepares for its last ever gig. "To bring it all back home after all these years was pretty special," Black Sabbath said in a statement. "It was so hard to say goodbye to the fans, who've been incredibly loyal to us throughout the years. We never dreamed in the early days that we'd be here 49 years later doing our last show on our home turf." Black Sabbath began recording and touring after initially reuniting in 2011, however original drummer Bill Ward did not take part in the return after disputing a section of the band's contract. Tickets for the screening are currently on sale. - New Musical Express, 7/3/17....... The Rolling Stones issued a press release on July 6 announcing a new Stones album accompanied by a new retrospective book will be released later in the year. The Rolling Stones: On Air in the Sixties, a chronicle of the band's radio and TV appearances during their first decade, will be published by Penguin Random House on Sept. 8. Featuring "previously unseen facsimile documents from the BBC and commercial TV and radio archives [and] many stunning unseen images," the book will be accompanied by a "tie-in" album and a new BBC documentary of the same name. The band has not disclosed further details about the album. Meanwhile, the band previously announced it will not be playing in the the UK this fall as part of its 2017 European "No Filter" tour -- blaming a "lack of available venues." In May, the Stones announced that they'd be playing 13 shows in 12 different European cities this autumn, but sporting events have made venues of adequate size unavailable and that they "hope to be here in 2018." - New Musical Express, 7/6/17...... British fans of ABBA will have an unprecedented look at the platinum-selling Swedish quartet when a new immersive exhibition celebrating the iconic pop band opens at Southbank Centre in London in Dec. 2017. Dubbed "ABBA: Super Troupers," the exhibit will provide fans with a chance to see items from the band's private archives for the first time ever in the UK. As well as items from the group's past, the exhibition will also take visitors through individual rooms that each represent a key moment of their history -- including a replica of the Brighton Grand Hotel room where they stayed during their 1974 Eurovision triumph. "Since our songs, which were written in the 70s, are still being played today it's particularly interesting that the Southbank Centre exhibition is placing them in the temporal context in which they were created," says ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus. "We are so excited that the exhibition is taking place at the Southbank Centre, which is just a few short steps away from Waterloo," added ABBA vocalist Frida Lyngstad. Tickets to the exhibit, which will run from Dec. 14 through Apr. 29, 2018, went on sale on July 4. - NME, 7/3/17...... As a court case pitting Eddie Money against his former drummer Glenn Symmonds heads to trial in November, the rocker and former NYPD officer is appealing the recent denial of his motion to dismiss some of the suit's claims, which include wrongful termination, age discrimination, and other allegations. Money had sought to dismiss some of the allegations by filing an "anti-SLAPP" motion, used when defendants believe certain actions are within their First Amendment rights. "Last I checked, this was still America and artists have the right to decide who plays in their faceless back-up band," one of Money's lawyers, Dina LaPolt, says. "To force well-respected, seasoned artists to retain specific support musicians would strike an unacceptable blow to artistic integrity and we will not stand for it. Eddie is fighting for the rights of all musicians to have the freedom to choose how they want to express themselves." Symmonds, who had played with Money on and off over four decades, sued the 68-year-old rocker for wrongful termination in Oct. 2015, and his fiancee joined the suit in 2016, claiming Money sexually harassed her while mocking Symmonds' disabilities on stage. The suit alleges that at a 2013 event, Money dedicated "Think I'm in Love" to Symmonds' wife and while facing her onstage "unzipped his pants, and put his thumb through his zipper (intending his thumb to look like his penis) and began to gyrate his hips and dance while he wiggled his thumb." Symmonds also claims he was subjected to "constant ridicule and harassment" because of disabilities stemming from bladder cancer and a back injury. Money's attorney, Lincoln Bandlow, counters that "everything alleged in this lawsuit is a pack of lies." - Billboard, 7/7/17...... As he celebrates his 77th birthday on July 7, Ringo Starr has announced he'll release a new full-length studio album, Give More Love, on Sept. 15 via uME. Starr has also previewed the title track of the LP, which includes a long-awaited new collaboration from Starr and fellow Fab Four member Paul McCartney on a number of tracks. Other contributors include Peter Frampton, Benmont Tench, Joe Walsh and Edgar Winter, among others. In addition to the new tracks, Give More Love will also include bonus tracks in the form of new renditions of such Ringo classics as "Back Off Boogaloo," "Don't Pass Me By," "Photograph" and "You Can't Fight Lightning." Ringo says the title track is a sincere effort to call on the world to reach out to one another to "Give more love" because "It's what we know we need more of." - Billboard, 7/7/17...... The new deluxe reissue of Prince's classic 1984 set Purple Rain has climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, with 52,000 equivalent album units earned (48,000 in traditional album sales) for the week ending June 29. Purple Rain is the first Prince album to be remastered and reissued, and was released in a variety of formats, including a 20-track deluxe edition with unreleased bonus tracks and a 35-track expanded edition with additional B-sides, rarities and a live DVD of the Purple Rain Tour from 1985. The album also re-entered the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 3, its highest peak in 32 years. It sat atop that chart for 19 weeks in 1984. In other Prince-related news, drummer John Blackwell Jr., who performed with Prince for over a decade and also played on two of his releases, 2003's instrumental N.E.W.S. album and the Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas DVD, has died after being diagnosed with brain tumors in 2016. He was 43. Prior to meeting Prince, he was a drummer for Patti LaBelle for three years and appeared her 1998 Live! One Night Only album. - Billboard, 7/6/17...... Blondie has announced it will launch a fall U.K. tour behind its latest studio effort Pollinator at the O2 Apollo in Manchester on Nov. 11. The jaunt will also take in live dates in Birmingham (11/13) and Glasgow (11/14), before wrapping up in London on Nov. 16. Pollinator debuted at No. 4 in the U.K. upon its release in early May. Blondie is also offering a special limited edition "Pollinator/Save The Bees" T-shirt on its official website, with proceeds from sales of the shirt going directly to helping raise awareness of the decline in the world's bee population. - New Musical Express, 7/3/17...... A collection of around 1,000 classic books owned by late eclectic rocker Warren Zevon by such authors as W. Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Hunter S. Thompson, Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King are now being catalogued by his dauther and will all gradually be sold online on the online auction site eBay. One just sold for $400 and another one, a Robert Craft biography of Igor Stravinsky, who Zevon met as a teenager, is now up for sale. Zevon, who died in 2003, never graduated from high school but read everything, but his daughter says he "read everything." "He loved classic writers, he loved current writers, he loved hanging out with writers, he loved to talk about books," Ariel Zevon said of her father, who also played with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band made up of published authors including King, Dave Barry and Amy Tan. Stephen King also dedicated one of his books to Zevon after his death. Crystal says she and her daughter decided to sell the books to raise money to support a community retreat house she bought in her village of East Barnet, VT, that has been used as a retreat for activist groups for gardening talks and weekly potlucks. - AP, 7/2/17...... Bob Dylan was among the headliners at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, a 10-day event that runs from June 28 to July 9. Dylan, who performed in Montreal's Centre Bell arena (home of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team), treated fans to selections from his iconic canon, reprising the same tunes that have been in his repertoire for 50 years with roughly the same amount of enthusiasm he's had all along. Among the highlights was "Autumn Leaves," when he was positively crooning as he delivered a reverent rendition of the pop standard. - Billboard, 7/6/2017...... Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. studios are being sued by Donna Corbello, the widow of Rex Woodard who once assisted The Four Seasons member Tommy DeVito in an autobiography, over the movie version of the Four Seasons play "Jersey Boys." After a decade in court over the Broadway version "Jersey Boys," Corbello convinced a jury in Nov. 2016 that Eastwood, Warner Bros. and surviving members of the Four Season violated her copyright to her late husband's unpublished Four Seasons biography. But then on June 14, U.S. District Court judge Robert Jones bypassed an assessment of damages by coming to the conclusion that that Woodard's biography was fairly used. The judge determined that only a small portion had wound up in the musical and that what was incorporated was significantly transformative. The decision is headed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal for review, but in the meantime, Corbello is now targeting Eastwood's 2014 movie too. Eastwood's film was hardly a hit, earning only about $47 million at the box office domestically after costing $40 million to produce. Nevertheless, Corbello claims she's due damages from the alleged misappropriation of Woodard's work. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/3/17...... Bob Geldof, whose band The Boomtown Rats hit No. 1 in the U.K. in 1979 with "I Don't Like Mondays," has revealed that the band will be releasing its first album in over 30 years. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Geldof said the Boomtown Rats have recorded 26 new tracks and plan to release them in fours in a series of EPs before bringing them all together for an album entitled Mega. "We've done 26 tracks," Geldof says. "We're mixing them now, I've done the vocals on them. We're getting really excited, we think they're great. We did a lot of songs. We have a situation now where a song comes out and a day later it's dead. I'll release four tracks and then a couple of months later another four tracks, and then another four, which allows us to space out the music but also do different things. I've no idea if we'll call each EP something different, but when we collect them and make one album." The band's original line-up split in 1986 but reformed in 2013 and made an appearance at the Isle Of Wight festival that year. Their last LP was 1984's The Long Grass. Geldof, who went on to become a leading philanthropist for world hunger and other causes, recently delivered a speech at the Trinity College Dublin Law Society discussing the state of society post-Brexit, urging students to "stop banging on about transgender toilets" and focus elsewhere. "You guys are inheriting a deeply significant moment. My generation has failed more spectacularly than most -- you have Brexit, Trump, the referendum in Italy, le Pen in France," he said. - New Musical Express, 7/6/17...... Actor Skip Homeier, perhaps best known for portraying the Nazi-like character Melakon in the original Star Trek TV series, passed away on June 25 at the age of 86. Mr. Homeier, a Chicago native, also appeared in scores of Westerns and war films including The Gunfighter (1950), Between Heaven and Hell (1956), Dakota Incident (1956), Comanche Station (1960), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) and Muhammad Ali's The Greatest (1977). He also played the judge who heard the case against Charles Manson in the acclaimed 1976 CBS telefilm Helter Skelter. The lanky actor's TV credits also include the 1970-71 CBS drama The Interns as well as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Millionaire, The Addams Family, The Outer Limits, Mission: Impossible, Mannix, Fantasy Island, Vega$ and Quincy M.E. He is survived by his wife Della and his son Michael. - The Hollywood Reporter, 7/3/17.