As a U.S. tax court gets ready to render a decision in a huge case examining whether the government is owed money in estate taxes from Michael Jackson's death in 2009, the Internal Revenue Service has caught a small break. On Oct. 2, Judge Mark Holmes refused to strike testimony from the government's key valuation expert, Weston Anson, despite acknowledging that Anson's testimony wasn't truthful during the Feb. 2017 trial. Anson appeared on the witness stand to bolster the IRS' contention that the worth of Jackson's name and image at the time of death was $161 million, instead of just $2,105, as the Jackson estate maintains. Under cross-examination, Anson claimed that he had never worked for the IRS before, despite the fact that he had worked on a similar case involving Whitney Houston's estate. An ultimate decision in the case, which will be a pathbreaking one that will establish some guidance around the value of celebrities posthumous rights for estate tax purposes, is expected soon (that is, if estate taxes survive any tax reforms being currently contemplated by lawmakers in Washington D.C.). - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/3/17...... In a new interview with Variety, Bruce Springsteen has revealed that he has completed his new solo album, but as of now it has no title or release date. "It's connected to my solo records writing-wise... but it's not like them at all," Springsteen noted. "Just different characters living their lives." The Boss went on to say that the record "is influenced by Southern California pop music of the '70s... Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach, those kinds of records. I don't know if people will hear those influences, but that was what I had in my mind. It gave me something to hook an album around; it gave me some inspiration to write. And also, it's a singer-songwriter record." In a series of tweets on Oct. 3, Springsteen also reacted to the death of his friend and fellow musician Tom Petty a day earlier, describing himself as "devastated and heartbroken" over the death of a person he describes as "a long lost brother." "Down here on E Street, we're devastated and heartbroken over the death of Tom Petty," he tweeted. "Our hearts go out to his family and bandmates. I've always felt a deep kinship with his music. A great songwriter and performer, whenever we saw each other it was like running into a long lost brother. Our world will be a sadder place without him." Meanwhile three days earlier, Springsteen helped Bryan Adams close out the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto on Sept. 30 by jamming with the Canadian rocker on "Cuts Like a Knife" and "Badlands." The event is a week-long Paralympics-style competition for wounded military veterans. - New Musical Express/Billboard/Stereogum.com, 10/4/17...... Also paying tribute to Tom Petty in recent days are former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, rising stars Norah Jones and John Mayer, and Petty's own daughter, AnnaKim Violette. Don Felder, a friend and guitar mentor to Petty from his younger days in Gainsville, Fla., posted that his "heart was shattered" upon learning the news that Petty had died. "Growing up together in Gainesville and seeing one of my students blossom as an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter has been one of my most fulfilling experiences in this life," Felder said. "It was obvious very early on in his career that his talent, magnetism and charisma were a very special gift that few souls in this world are given. He has given this world so many wonderful memories and touched millions with his magic. Gone far too soon. May he rest in peace knowing how much he is loved and appreciated by all of us that are left behind." Norah Jones, who performed the Wildflowers songs "Time To Move On" and "You Don't Know How It Feels" with Petty at the MusicCare's Person of the Year gala that honored Petty in Feb. 2017, issued a statement saying she was obsessed with Petty's Wildflowers album as a young girl, and that "in the last 10 years, I've had the pleasure of singing his songs at countless tributes and Petty Fests and every time I was punched in the gut by the sheer beauty of his songwriting. So many gems. So many heartfelt anthems that make you wanna sing loud. So many favorites -- you just can't pick one. His music makes people feel so much." John Mayer mourned Petty in a poetic tribute on Instagram in which he said the Petty "made me believe that songwriting was everything... one of the high priests of the Sonic Church of California." Petty's youngest daughter AnnaKim Violette shared her thoughts and feelings on social media with a series of emotional posts featuring pictures of herself with her dad, including images of her dancing at his concerts. " I love his class honesty and how strange and funny he is... Tom Petty is an American Icon because his heart has always put human rights first," she tweeted. Meanwhile, Petty fans led a candle-lit vigil at the music icon's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 3. In a series of photos posted on Instagram, a line of candles is seen on the edge of his star, along with bunches of freshly bought flowers that have been laid down. Fans are also mourning the rock legend's passing by snapping up and downloading several of his most well known albums. Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1993 Greatest Hits album appears to be headed to re-enter the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 200 albums tally, with the set moving over 45,000 units in the week ending Oct. 5. It's also expected that Petty will impact Billboard's Top Rock Songs chart for the same week with hits like "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "You Don't Know How It Feels" and "American Girl." - Billboard/WENN.com/New Musical Express, 10/3/17...... Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band announced on Oct. 3 that they've been forced to postpone the remainder of their North American Runaway Train Tour -- a total of 19 dates -- so Seger an tend to a medical issue concerning his vertebrae. "I'm so disappointed to have to suspend the tour as the band is on a great roll," Seger said in a statement. "It's a privilege to play for our amazing fans. Hoping to be back out on the road very soon." No further details were given, and rescheduled dates will be announced when available, with previously purchased tickets to be honored at the new dates. Seger and his band kicked off his current tour on Aug. 24 in Toledo, Oh., playing 13 shows before postponing their Sept. 30 gig in Columbus, Oh., due to a pinched vertebra in his neck. The tour was set to run through Nov. 17, the same day he releases his new album, I Knew You When. Seger's tour cancellation also affected the tour of his opening act, Roadcase Royale featuring Nancy Wilson, who also announced they were cancelling their shows on Seger's tour. - Billboard, 10/3/17...... After the shocking incident that occurred on Oct. 1 during a country music concert on the Las Vegas strip in which a lone gunman massacred at least 58 people and injured around 527 others with an automatic rifle from a nearby highrise hotel, Paul McCartney paid homage to the victims at the final stop on the U.S. leg of his One on One Tour on Oct. 2 in Detroit. After opening with the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," McCartney told the crowd at Little Caesars Arena that, "On such a terrible day, we're going to celebrate the joy in life" before leading into "Save Us." The sentiment echoed McCartney's tweet from earlier in the evening, when he wrote that, "Even though this has been a very sad day, we're going to celebrate the joys of life #OneOnOne." McCartney made no subsequent comments about Las Vegas, although the events there did add poignancy to renditions of songs such as "We Can Work It Out" and the pairing of "A Day In The Life" -- which McCartney noted was "appropriate in today's world" -- and John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance." One of Paul's fellow rock icons, Carlos Santana, also reacted to the tragic incident with a post on his official website: "To everyone that lost loved ones, we stand with you," said Santana. "Why allow weapons of mass destruction to be sold to civilians? The laws need to be changed to prevent this from ever happening again," he added. Santana is currently playing his fifth annual residency at the House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay -- the same hotel from which a gunman fired into the audience at the nearby Route 91 Harvest country music festival. In related news, Johnny Cash's daughter, country singer Roseanne Cash called on her fellow country artists to denounce the National Rifle Association in the wake of the shooting in an editorial published in the New York Times on Oct. 3. In the essay, Cash pointed to how "the National Rifle Association has increasingly nurtured an alliance with country music artists and their fans." However, she writes, beneath the friendly "public relations veneer" of campaigns like NRA Country, which claims to celebrate American values, respect for the military, and freedom, Cash says that the "N.R.A. funds domestic terrorism." Cash urges her fellow country artists to "find the strength of moral conviction, even if it comes with a price tag, which it will." - Billboard, 10/3/17...... Kiss fans were split in their reaction to the band's request that the audience join them in a display of U.S. patriotism by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during their set at the Gretna Heritage Festival in Louisiana on Sept. 30. "It's always cool to love your country," frontman Paul Stanley said before leading the audience in the pledge. One supporter tweeted, "Kiss just stopped their concert to take a moment to thank the veterans and say the pledge of allegiance. Pretty damn cool." But another concert attendee posted: "Kiss made everyone do the pledge of allegiance before they would do an encore. That was the least rock and roll thing I've ever seen." Kiss also led fans in the pledge at a September concert in Sugar Land, Tex. A year ago during their "Freedom to Rock" tour, Kiss criticized NFL star Colin Kaepernick for not standing while the national anthem was played before the start of games. - Billboard, 10/1/17...... Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner was laid to rest next to Marilyn Monroe, according to his wishes, on Sept. 30 after passing away three days earlier at age 91. The iconic Playboy founder was given an extremely private funeral and memorial service was held in Los Angeles at the Westwood Village Memorial Park. His four children and widow, Crystal Harris, were reportedly all in attendance. Mr. Hefner had purchased a crypt beside Monroe -- Playboy's first-ever cover girl -- all the way back in 1992 for a reported $75,000, even though the two had never even met in person. In 2009, Mr. Hefner told The Los Angeles Times, "I'm a believer in things symbolic. Spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up." Meanwhile, it has been revealed that actor Jared Leto will portray Mr. Hefner in an upcoming biopic directed by Brett Ratner. "Jared is an old friend," says Ratner. "When he heard I got the rights to Hef's story, he told me, 'I want to play him. I want to understand him.' And I really believe Jared can do it. He's one of the great actors of today." In April, Ratner invited Leto to the Playboy Mansion for the premiere of Amazon's docuseries American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story, which doubled as a celebration of Mr. Hefner turning 91. Ratner says he is also planning a reboot the Hugh Hefner-hosted, late-1960s talk show Playboy After Dark. - Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter, 10/3/17...... Former Commodores member Lionel Richie will be among the hosts for ABC's reboot of the new American Idol talent reality TV show, joining a panel that includes Ryan Seacrest, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. "I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on 'American Idol,'" said Richie, according to a press release. "As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It's going to be so much fun!" Shooting on the new American Idol began on Oct. 3, and the panel made their debut appearance on ABC's Good Morning America on Oct. 4. - Billboard, 9/29/17...... Roger Waters has announced he'll play the UK's Hyde Park in the summer of 2018 as part of the British Summer Time festival. The Pink Floyd icon will kick off the series of massive outdoor gigs on July 6, and is the first headliner to be announced after the likes of Phil Collins and Justin Bieber headlined the Hyde Park stage this past summer. The show will mark Waters' first live appearance in the UK since releasing new album Is This The Life We Really Want? in June, and comes as part of his "Us+Them Tour." - NME, 10/2/17...... Parlophone Records unveiled the highly anticipated David Bowie box set A New Career in a New Town on Sept. 29, an 11-disc compilation that focuses on the Thin White Duke's "Berlin Trilogy" -- the three LPs constructed between 1977 and 1979 which include Low, "Heroes" and Lodger. Featured in the release are such import rarities as the "Heroes" EP, which rounds up the German and French album and single versions of the song in a compilation exclusive to the set, as well as a newly remixed edition of Lodger. A New Career in a New Town is the latest installment of Parlophone's "definitive" Bowie reissue campaign. - Billboard, 9/29/17...... Two double albums' worth of unreleased recordings by late folk rock legend Tim Buckley are set to be released in October via Manifesto Records. The new releases will collect live recordings from Buckley's 1969 shows at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. The double CD Venice Mating Call and double LP Greetings From West Hollywood will both be released on Oct. 13. The records are the latest in a series of live albums released since Buckley's death. Tim Buckley died in 1975 at the age of28. He was found dead in his bed by his wife, having overdosed on heroin. - NME, 9/29/17...... God bless Ringo Starr, rock's mischievously minimalist and Eternal Optimist Emeritus, forever stripping things to their playfully swinging 4/4 peace-'n-love core. His umpteenth solo set Give More Love is a well-timed all-star candygram. Paul McCartney kicks in bass lines and Beatles screams on the hilarious war cry "We're on the Road Again," while "King of the Kingdom" is a giddily genteel reggae invitation to "sing praises for Haile Selassie." Ringo caps it all with re-imagined faves, including a charming "Don't Pass Me By" that ends with a reprise of "Octopus's Garden" -- a place he knows many of us would love to be alongside him. - Rolling Stone, 10/5/17...... On the growing list of farewell albums by dying rockers, Leon Russell's new contribution On a Distant Shore -- recorded months before his Nov. 2016 passing -- may be the most unflinching yet. "Sounds like a funeral for some person here/ And I might be the one," he bemoans; elswhere he dwells on loneliness and lost lovers. Paradoxically, though, the soul-rock icon hasn't sounded so alive in years. From the swampy choogle of "Love This Way" to the supper-club orchestration of "On the Waterfront" to the Cotton Club jazz of "Easy to Love," he poignantly circles his musical bases one last time. - Rolling Stone, 10/5/17...... Legendary TV game show host Monty Hall, best known as the host of Let's Make a Deal which aired on NBC beginning in 1963, died in his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 30. He was 96. Born Monte Halparin in Winnipeg, Canada to Orthodox Jewish parents, Mr. Hall shot to fame in 1963 when he and a business partner developed and produced Let's Make a Deal. The show became an instant success, with contestants wearing crazy costumes to attract Hall's attention getting to choose between mystery prizes behind three bedazzled doors. The daytime show became so popular that NBC later moved a version of it to prime time. Mr. Hall was the father of actress Joanna Gleason, who announced the death to the New York Times. - New York Daily News, 9/30/17...... Percussionist Laudir de Oliveira, a former member of such rock ensembles as Brasil '66 and Chicago, died on Sept. 17 during a solo concert performance in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was 77. "He had just rained on a spectacular solo, at the end of "Fibra," a composition by Paulo Moura, said his fellow musician Jovi Joviniano. "It was super applauded. It was his last applause," said Jovi, who is also a percussionist. de Oliveira started out as a percussionist in Brazil, working with Sergio Mendes and Marcos Valle. He moved to the U.S. in 1968 and caught the eye of rock musicians and producers, playing on Joe Cocker's debut album and providing percussion on his hit song "Feelin' Allright." In 1973, Chicago invited de Oliveira to play on their album Chicago VI. After playing on the album Chicago VII in 1975, the band invited de Oliveira to become an official member as they began incorporating latin influences to their music. In 1978, de Oliveira played percussion on The Jacksons' album "Destiny." As Chicago moved into a pop-oriented sound, they asked de Oliveira to leave the band in 1982. He continued doing session work as a percussionist, playing with such greats as Carlos Santana, Nina Simone and Chick Corea. He reunited a few times with Chicago, playing with the band in 2016 in New York City. Chicago paid tribute to de Oliveira on their Facebook page, posting they were "grateful for the tremendous contributions he made to the music of Chicago and the enormous talent he shared with us, and with so many others." - 9/25/17.
Tom Petty, who with his band the Heartbreakers evolved into a classic American rock & roll band revered by his peers and fans alike, died on Oct. 2 of full cardiac arrest after being found not breathing in his home in Malibu, Calif. He was 66. News of the rock legend's death was finally confirmed after a series of premature reports about his supposed passing came earlier in the day, when CBS published Petty's obituary after tweeting that the Los Angeles Police Department had confirmed his death. After Variety also cited an unnamed source who said the musician had died, the LAPD then issued a statement saying it had no information on Petty's condition and that "initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources," and apologized for the misunderstanding. Petty's manager finally released a statement saying that the singer/guitarist suffered a massive heart attack earlier in the day and passed at 8:40 p.m after being taken to UCLA Medical Center. Although emergency responders were able to get a pulse back, he remained in critical condition. "On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty," his manager said in a statement. "He died peacefully surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends." Born on Oct. 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Fla., and the son of an insurance salesman, Petty quit high school in his senior year to join one of the state's top bands, Mudcrutch, which also included future Heartbreakers, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench. Petty was sent to Los Angeles to seek a record contract, and Shelter Records, which was co-owned by Leon Russell and Russell's producer Denny Cordell, signed the band. Mudcrutch disbanded soon after moving to L.A., and while Cordell offered to record Petty solo, Petty waited until 1975 to form the Heartbreakers after hearing a demo recorded by Campbell, Tench, bassist Ron Blair and drummer Stan Lynch. The fivesome inherited Petty's Shelter contract, and released their self-titled debut the following year. After they toured England, the album moved up on the British charts and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers became a headlining act. After Shelter's U.S. distributor, ABC Records, released "Breakdown" in America, the single cracked the Top 40 and another song, the Byrds-y "American Girl," was later recorded by Byrds veteran Roger McGuinn (McGuinn would later recall hearing Petty on the radio and thinking it was himself singing). You're Gonna Get It, their sophomore effort released in 1978, placed two singles on the Hot 100, "Listen to Her Heart" and "I Need to Know." After ABC Records filed for bankruptcy as the band's career was taking off, Petty tried to renegotiate his record deal with ABC's new owner, MCA Records. After nine months of litigation, Petty signed to the MCA imprint Backstreet Records. Damn the Torpedoes, released in 1979, firmly established Petty and his band in the rock pantheon, sold over two-and-a-half million copies, and climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, helped by two Top 40 singles, "Don't Do Me Like That" (No. 10), and "Refugee," (No. 15). The followup, 1981's Hard Promises, went platinum on the strength of its infectious single "The Waiting" (No. 19), and became notable for Petty's insistence that MCA release it at an $8.98 list price instead of the then-high $9.98 price (he organized fan protest letters, and also threatened to title it "$8.98"). Petty scored another victory against corporations after tire manufacturer B.F. Goodrich attempted to use his "Mary's Got a Brand New Car" in a commercial, filing suit against the company. In 1981, Petty's duet with Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," was featured on Nicks' debut solo album Bella Donna, and rose to No. 3. His critical and commercial streak continued in 1982 with "You Got Lucky," from the LP Long After Dark, and Blair left the band and was replaced by Howie Epstein on bass. During the making of 1985's Southern Accents, three years in the making, Petty became frustrated and broke his left hand after punching a wall, but the Dave Stewart-coproduced album did produce a No. 13 single, "Don't Come Around Here No More." In 1986, Petty and Heartbreakers embarked on a world tour with Bob Dylan but after a well-received outing, Petty's house burned down the following year while he was away (arson was suspected, and his wife and two daughters escaped). His career was revitalized in 1988 when he joined the "supergroup" the Traveling Wilburys with Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra. His first solo effort, Full Moon Fever, was released the following year. Produced by Lynne, the acclaimed album's "Free Fallin'" went to No. 7 on the pop chart. In 1991, Petty released another fine effort with the Heartbreakers, Into the Great Wide Open, also produced by Lynne, and the following year it was announced that he had signed a secret $20 million, six-album deal with Warner Bros. Records, even though he owed MCA two more records at the time. In 1993, Petty was sued by songwriter Martin Allen Fine, who claimed Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" infringed on an earlier song that Fine had written. Petty was vindicated when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court's ruling that his song did not violate Fine's copyright. "I don't believe in lawsuits much.
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