Late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker was saluted by the duo's remaining member, Donald Fagen at Pier Six Pavilion on the Baltimore harbor on Oct. 24. The concert was the eighth and final show on Steely Dan's tour as Fagen carries on the mantle of the band after Becker's passing on Sept. 3 at age 67. Fagen referred a couple times to "my partner Walter Becker," without explicitly acknowledging why he wasn't right there across the stage as usual. And midway through the show, he sang "Book of Liars," a song from Becker's 1994 solo album 11 Tracks of Whack that had long been a Steely Dan live staple, while dozens of photos of Becker played on a screen behind the band. After wrapping up the song, Fagen remembered a tourdate in Japan where the band's set lists had been printed with the song's title mistranslated to "Box of Leers." Jon Herington, a regular of Steely Dan's albums and tours since the band reformed in the '90s, is now the only guitarist in a band that has historically employed two or three guitars onstage. Steely Dan stuck to the most reliable favorites from its early albums, aside from "Book of Liars" and Fagen's 1982 solo track "New Frontier." "I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band," Fagen said in a statement after Becker's death. - Billboard, 10/25/17...... In related news, the Eagles performed in Glenn Frey's hometown of Detroit on Oct. 27 for the first time since their late band co-founder died on Jan. 18, 2016, at age 67. With Frey's widow Cindy, daughter Taylor and a corps of relatives cheering the group on, the Eagles celebrated Frey with a number of tributes including a moving rendition of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by Frey's son and new Eagles member Deacon Frey. "What a treat for me to be back here in my dad's hometown. It's kinda awesome," Deacon said before acknowledging his relatives. After the song, Deacon looked upward and mouthed "That's for you, dad," as a sepia-toned image of his father appeared on the video screen behind the stage. Country star Vince Gill, who has also been touring with the Eagles, offered the Frey number "New Kid in Town" and told the crowd in Little Caesars Arena that it's an "honor to be in the hometown of my dear friend Glenn Frey and singing his songs for you." The Eagles, who launched their current tour in July, played the remaining date on their short tour at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry on Oct. 29, a private show that will be recorded and broadcast during Thanksgiving weekend on the group's limited-run SiriusXM Eagles Channel. - Billboard, 10/28/17...... Sammy Hagar was honored with a Humanitarian Award at the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles. The "Red Rocker" accepted the award on behalf of his extensive philanthropic work with the Hagar Family Foundation, which supports a variety of programs benefiting disadvantaged children and families, including local food banks and hospitals, as well as other charitable efforts. After the presentation, Hagar said the award was "out of sight" and has particular significance since aerly in his career he may have dreamed of Grammys and musical fame but never a humanitarian honor like this. "To me, making money is fun. And it's not about how rich you are, it's about what you do with your money and how you live your life," he said. "I grew up poor as a motha, had nothing, and I'll take being wealthy over that anyway (but) it's really what you do with your money, it's not about how much money you have. It's about how you live your life and what you do with it." Also in attendance at the Loudwire awards were Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, and Eddie Money. - Billboard, 10/26/17...... Smokey Robinson is set to release his first solo holiday via Amazon Originals on Nov. 10. Entitled Chrismas Everyday, the set features 10 soulful songs, including seven seasonal favorites and three Robinson originals. "I was quite pleased when I was approached about doing a holiday album," Robinson said in a statement. "I love the feeling of Christmas, and these are some of my absolute favorite songs. Folks are going to be surprised by some of the arrangements," he added. The album, which features contributions from Take 6, The Dap-Kings, Mindi Abair and Trombone Shorty, is Robinson's first solo holiday offering, however he previously released two holiday albums with his former group, The Miracles, including the now Christmas classic, 1963's Christmas with The Miracles. In fact, the new album takes its name from a song originally included on that set. - Billboard, 10/27/17...... Paul McCartney paid tribute to Fats Domino with a post on his official website on Oct. 25, calling the late rock and roll icon a "huge influence" on the Beatles. "We were excited to meet Fats once in his home town of New Orleans," Sir Paul wrote. "He was wearing a huge star spangled diamond encrusted watch which was our first encounter with bling!" Macca continued: "As one of my favourite rock 'n' roll singers, I will remember him fondly and always think of him with that twinkle in his eye. I read that he had eight children. He himself was named Antoine. His kids were named Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. Now that is pure Fats!" The inaugural class Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, who passed away of natural causes on Oct. 24 at the age of 89, sold over 65 million records over the course of his career, more than any other '50s-era artist other than Elvis Presley. - New Musical Express, 10/26/17...... Several friends and collaborators Kenny Rogers were on hand to honor the Country crossover superstar at his final concert appearance in Nashville, Tenn., at the Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 25. However the beloved 78-year-old entertainer was mostly a spectator as a mixture of current superstars, including Lady Antebellum, Justin Moore, Billy Currington and Alison Krauss, along with veteran entertainers Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Lionel Richie, The Judds and the Oak Ridge Boys, showcased some of their favorite musical moments of the Houston, TX native's career. The Oak Ridge Boys urged the sold-out crowd to sing along to Rogers and Dottie West's 1978 duet "Love or Something Like It," while The Judds deliverd a soaring version of "You Turn The Light On," a track from 1979's million-selling Kenny LP. After a brief intermission, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry proclaimed it was "Kenny Rogers Day" in Music City, Alison Krauss serenaded Rogers and the crowd with a gorgeous take on "Love The World Away," while Kris Kristofferson paid tribute to Kenny's cover of his song "Me and Bobby McGee." Rogers and Dolly Parton then came out to reminisce about their deep friendship, with Parton doing her best to try to embarrass her duet partner, getting laughs from Rogers and the audience. The two then performed their 2013 single "You Can't Make Old Friends," and Parton then surprised Rogers with a version of her "I Will Always Love You." The two wound up their performance career together with a nod back to 1983's million-selling "Islands In The Stream" before walking off the stage together. Though the date was Rogers' final Nashville appearance, the singer still has dates on the calendar for his "The Gambler's Last Deal" tour through December. Rogers says that saying goodbye has brought out the emotions. "It's sad on one hand, but on the other hand, you have to do it sooner or later. Either that, or die out there. That wasn't my choice," he said. The concert was filmed and recorded for broadcast and distribution at a later date. - Billboard, 10/26/17...... A 1963 Martin D-28 acoustic guitar played by Bob Dylan at many of his notable concerts in the 1970s is expected to fetch more than $300,000 when it goes on the auction block on Nov. 11 in Dallas. Heritige Auctions says it was the same guitar was used by Dylan at George Harrison's iconic "Concert of Bangladesh" in New York City, as well as on his Rolling Thunder Review tour from Oct. 1975 to May 1976. Larry Cragg, who was Dylan's guitar repairman at the time, bought the instrument from Dylan in 1977, and the original receipt, which is included in the offering, notes that it was purchased for $500. Though a musician himself, Cragg said he's never played the guitar and it's been kept in in a humidity- and temperature-controlled environment. "It's kind of past being a guitar now. It's the kind of thing that you'd think that people would put in a glass case or in a museum somewhere," says Cragg, who owns a San Francisco-based guitar rental shop and has also worked with the likes of Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Carlos Santana, Jefferson Airplane and Neil Young. A Fender Stratocaster played by Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when he famously "went electric" sold for almost $1 million in 2013 at Christie's in New York City. That guitar was sold by a New Jersey family who had kept it for nearly 50 years after Dylan left it on a private plane. - AP, 10/25/17...... Composer Jim Steinman's "Bat Out of Hell: The Musical," based on Meat Loaf's 1977 album, officially opened on Oct. 25 at Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre where it will remain in production until Dec. 24. The musical, directed by Jay Scheib, opened in Manchester, England, in February of this year and ran until the end of April, then moved to London's West End from June until late August. Steinman originally wrote Bat Out of Hell for the stage in 1975. It was performed once, under the name "Neverland," in 1977. Forty years and many script revisions later, "Bat Out of Hell: The Musical" is now about some rebellious teens in post-apocalyptic Obsidian, ruled by the tyrannical Falco. A character named Strat (Andrew Polec) falls in love with the leader's daughter, Raven (Christina Bennington), and sets out to rescue her. "People have such a love for the music, as we do," Bennington says. "It's so great that people feel liberated enough that they can come and sing along." Meat Loaf hasn't seen the production yet, however he met Polec and Bennington for the first time in Toronto in May where they were in town to promote the upcoming show. A CD of the musical was released on Oct. 20. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/26/17...... Singer Dick Noel, known as the "King of the Jingles" for his work on commercials, died on Oct. 27 in Escondido, Calif., after a long illness. He was 90. Mr. Noel was also known for his work with the Ray Anthony Orchestra and his appearances on TV shows in the 1960s hosted by Arthur Godfrey and Tennessee Ernie Ford. A Time for Love, his highly regarded 1978 album made in collaboration with pianist Larry Novak, featured world-weary renditions of such ballads as "Send in the Clowns" and "Here's That Rainy Day," and he was praised in the liner notes by famed jazz vocalist Mel Torme. The Brooklyn native also hosted several radio programs, sang regularly on The Ruth Lyons Show in Cincinnati and then joined Don McNeill's popular Breakfast Club, for which he was the lead singer on that Chicago-based radio show for years. After leaving Ford's variety program in 1965 Mr. Noel returned to Chicago, where he sang on a multitude of national TV and radio commercials. "The King of the Jingles" was said to have recorded 15,000 spots, including those for United Airlines and MacDonald's, during his career. He retired to the San Diego area in the late 1980s, and is survived by Nancy, his wife of 40 years, and daughters Patricia and Catherine and stepchildren Ken, Cliff and Laura. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/26/17.
Fats Domino, a rock pioneer and boogie-woogie piano legend who became one of rock 'n' roll's most iconic architects, passed away of natural causes in his home in New Orleans on Oct. 24. He was 89. Born Antoine Domino on Feb. 26, 1928 in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, Mr. Domino was raised in the same environment that produced Little Richard, Professor Longhair and Dr. John. His first professional appearance was at age 10, and he pounded away on the piano at local bars until 1949 when he was given a regular engagement by bandleader and and trumpeter Dave Bartholomew, which began a professional partnership that survived and flourished through the years, with Bartholomew becoming Mr. Domino's musical arranger and co-writer. That same year, Mr. Domino signed a record deal with Imperial Records, and his debut single, "The Fat Man," became his first million-seller. By 1955 he'd made a name for himself, produced some of his finest material and stockpiled a number of gold and multi-platinum singles. His pounding, up-tempo piano style made him a natural rock 'n' roller and he never had to adapt at all ("I wouldn't say I invented rock & roll but I don't remember anyone before me playing that stuff," he once said). Mr. Domino established himself with this new audience, both in terms of his concert appearances, and with a collection of rock classics that were uniquely his own, including "Ain't That a Shame," "I'm Walkin'," "Blueberry Hill" and "Margie." He also appeared in two early rock 'n' roll movies -- The Girl Can't Help It and Shake, Rattle and Roll. Though he was hugely popular and appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in 1957, he and his band were still denied lodging and forced to use segregated facilities while touring in the 1950s. Mr. Domino earned his last gold disc -- his twentieth -- in 1960 with "Walkin' to New Orleans," and the rest of the decade proved to be a dormant period. In 1967, Beatles manager Brian Epstein persuaded him to play his first British concert, at the Saville Theatre. Mr. Domino subsequently made further U.K. visits, and also found his career re-activated by the '50s rock 'n' roll revival boom, aided by a small part in the 1973 rockumentary Let the Good Times Roll. Mr. Domino then went into semi-retirement, living in luxury in New Orleans with his wife and eight children, but still playing regular dates in Las Vegas and toured the world. After leaving Imperial, Mr. Domino recorded albums for labels including Mercury, Warner Bros., Atlantic and Broadmoor, releasing his final major-label album, Christmas is a Special Day, in 1993. A health scare eventually took him off the road in 1991, and his stately New Orleans home was destroyed in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina when flood waters swamped the Lower 9th Ward, wiping out most of his possession and forcing a helicopter evacuation by the Coast Guard. Mr. Domino was one of the initial inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 alongside such fellow icons as Elvis, James Brown, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, and he received the National Medal of Arts from former Pres. Bill Clinton in 1998 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. On Oct. 25, his family released a statement saying that he "passed away peacefully at home surrounded by those he loved and those who loved him." "His music reached across all boundaries and carried him to all corners of the world," it continues, before quoting lyrics from his 1960 song "Rising Sun." Funeral arrangements are pending. - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock/Billboard, 10/25/17.