Such '70s artists as Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Arlo Guthrie and the Doors drummer John Densmore are set to headline a benefit concert for Native American activist Leonard Peltier on Nov. 6 at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Okla. Peltier made headlines during a deadly shootout with F.B.I. agents on an Indian reservation in 1975, resulting in the death of two agents who were murdered execution-style. Although no one knows who fired first and no one actually saw Peltier kill the officials, he was sentenced to back-to-back life terms and has served 40 years. In September, the 73-year-old Peltier underwent sudden heart surgery at a high-security prison in Florida. Civil rights attorney David Frankel has been hired by the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee to help fight for Peltier's freedom, and says Peltier's poor health could help his chances for parole. Peltier "represented the F.B.I.'s last chance to obtain a conviction" in the reservation murders after two Native Americans were acquitted, author Peter Matthiessen argued in his 1983 book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. However former F.B.I. agent Ed Woods argues that "Whether planning to or not, Peltier was there and participated in the murder of two federal agents." Also participating in the benefit will be Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings and Joe Ely, with video messages from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Tom Morello and Steven Van Zandt. - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Bob Seger has announced he plans to go ahead with the release of his latest album, I Knew You When, despite being forced to cancel the remaining 19 dates on a tour with his Silver Bullet Band behind the new album due to a medical issue. Seger has announced two versions of the album will be released on Nov. 17 -- a 10-track standard edition that will include his recently released cover of Lou Reed's "Busload of Faith" as well as a version of Leonard Cohen's "Democracy," and a deluxe version that features three additional tracks, including "Glenn Song," a tribute to his late friend Glenn Frey that Seger released via his website in January on the first anniversary of Frey's passing. - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Robert Plant, who released his latest solo LP, Carry Fire, on Oct. 13, says the recent passing of Tom Petty "was premature, by far," and that Petty's untimely passing reminded him of the death of his former Led Zeppelin bandmate, drummer John Bonham. "I remember we lost John Bonham 37 years ago and that was the end of Led Zeppelin really," Plant says. "We were only kids then and there's no amount of talking or paying respects that can bring anybody back, especially somebody who goes so sadly with so many years left to roll really." Bonham's sister, Deborah, has recently received permission for a bronze statue in his honor to be erected in his hometown of Redditch, Worcestershire, in time to commemorate what would have been his 70th birthday next May. - Billboard, 10/13/17...... Speaking of Tom Petty, the late rock legend's 1993 Greatest Hits album is one of three albums vying for the top spot on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Oct. 12. The set re-entered the chart for the week ending Oct. 5 at No. 2, mostly powered by digital albums: 44,000 downloads vs. a little more than 7,000 in CD sales. Petty also currently populates 14 of the top 25 spots on Billboard's Top 50 Hot Rock Songs chart, with "Free Fallin'," "I Won't Back Down," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Learning to Fly" and "You Don't Know How It Feels" leading the way. - Billboard, 10/11/17...... In other Billboard chart action, Michael Jackson has just earned his 30th charting album on the Hot 200 with his new Halloween-inspired album Scream. The LP, which dropped on Sept. 29, has bowed on the chart at No. 33, making it Jackson's 16th Top 40 set. Scream's tracklist "reflects The King of Pop's affection for this time of the year," according to a press release from Jackson's label Sony, "and its themes of costumes and disguise, darkness and light, character transformations and surprise. It's the perfect soundtrack for Halloween/October parties." Scream moved 14,000 units -- 11,000 of those from traditional album sales. The set includes familiar Jackson hits like the title track (with sister Janet Jackson), "Thriller" and the No. 1 hit "Dirty Diana." - Billboard, 10/13/17...... The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has announced he'll publish a memoir about his storied life that is scheduled to be published in August of 2018. On Oct. 12, Daltrey confirmed that he has a book deal with Blink Publishing in the UK, and Henry Hold and Co. in the US. In addition to his tenure with the Who, Daltrey says the book will cover his solo career, and focus "particularly on how Britain has changed since he was born in 1944." Meanwhile, in a recent interview Daltrey left the future of live shows by the Who up in the air: "We're doing remarkably well for where we are but we just don't know. If we get through this year, we're gonna need some time off. We'll re-think it after that." Daltrey and his fellow Who co-founder Pete Townshend ended their latest tour in August. - New Musical Express, 10/12/17...... Two surviving members of the Velvet Underground, John Cale and Moe Tucker, recently reunited at the "Grammy Salute to Music Legends" concert to perform the band's classic 1967 track "I'm Waiting For The Man" from the debut VU album. March 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the band's seminal The Velvet Underground & Nico LP, and on their performance of "I'm Waiting for the Man," Cale played a Kurzweil keyboard while Tucker played a woodblock along with Cale's backing band. Tucker and Cale are the only surviving members of the Lou Reed-led band. The "Grammy Salute to Music Legends" concert also honors the likes of Sly Stone, Nina Simone and Dionne Warwick. - NME, 10/12/17...... Bruce Springsteen officially kicked off his 18-week Broadway residency, "Springsteen On Broadway," at Walter Kerr Theatre on Oct. 12 New York City, and critical reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Rolling Stone called the show an "intimate triumph," while the BBC described it as "intimate and personal," with reporter Elysa Gardner noting that the residency is "neither a musical nor a concert in the tradition of his previous solo tours." "The two-hour program is also, in its distinctly intimate, sometimes darkly earnest fashion, an affirmation of the earnest showmanship and vivid storytelling that Springsteen's rock and roll shares with musical theatre," Gardner wrote. The New York Post noted that Springsteen's show has been "reducing its audiences to tears," while New York Times critic Jesse Green noted the show was "real and intense... a greatest anti-hits concert." "Many of the songs Mr. Springsteen has chosen to sing are less familiar and more meditative than his chart-toppers, and those that were chart-toppers are almost unrecognizable," Green observed. The production sees Springsteen playing guitar, piano and harmonica, and singing duets with his wife, Patti Scialfa, and first grew out of an acoustic concert at the White House in the final weeks of the Barack Obama administration. Among the celebrities in attendance at the first show were Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Edward Norton, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart, Brian Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Steven Van Zandt. - NME/The Hollywood Reporter, 10/13/17...... Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain released a new solo holiday album, Unsung Noel, on Oct. 13, and says his lifelong love of Christmas and a more recent passion for Christian music led him to record the set. "I wanted to make an album that really celebrates the Nativity and the birth of Christ and the coming of Christ and the things I thought were missing on a lot of the Christian albums," says Cain, who released his first Christian album, What God Wants To Hear, in 2016. That particular mission led him to become "sort of a detective," delving deep into topics he wanted to address in his own material for the album. Cain says he wrote most of his original songs during Journey's 2016 summer tour, "and I hit on a nice combination of songs... It was just something I felt I could do. It was very positive." Cain says that Journey "will have to get through our differences" before announcing plans for 2018, referring to a recent squabble with Journey guitarist Neal Schon when Cain and other members paid a visit to Pres. Donald Trump's White House, but he's confident that will happen. "We'll get through them," Cain says. "Something like that wasn't the first time we've come at odds with each other. It's been 36 years now. But I think time heals all things, and you move on." - Billboard, 10/11/17...... On Oct. 10, Paul McCartney penned a letter to a Texas veterinary supply company urging it to provide proper care for some 150 greyhounds living in squalor in dirt-floored pens near Austin. "I join my friends at PETA in asking you to pay these greyhounds back, and to let them retire from the dirt-floored, barren conditions in which they are kept isolated and alone, some of them cringing at the footfall of the person coming to take their blood again and again," McCartney wrote. "They had a hard life on the racetrack, and they will die without love if left where they are. I've seen pictures of how they have suffered from nails that have grown back into their paw pads, as well as from infected gums and rotted teeth, and I'm told that some have apparently even died from a lack of water." Sir Paul wrote his plea to Patterson Veterinary Supply, the parent company of The Pet Blood Bank, which provides canine blood products for veterinary transfusions across the country. It began in 2004 initially seeking volunteers and using a bloodmobile, but that did not bring in enough blood and the company turned to retired greyhounds it houses in a kennel on a private farm outside Austin, Texas. McCartney, who in the letter also referenced his former pet dog Martha which was immortalized in the 1968 Beatles song "Martha My Dear," has been a longtime supporter of PETA, participating in interviews on the animal rights organization's website and appearing in pro-vegetarian ads. - Billboard, 10/10/17...... Tech giant Apple Computer has scrapped a planned 10-part Elvis Presley biopic that was to have been produced by Hollywood studio The Weinstein Co. after the explosive scandal involving that company's co-founder Harvey Weinstein, who was fired from the company following allegations of decades-long sexual harassment. The series, dubbed Elvis, was first announced in Sept. 2016, and was to be produced by TWC in partnership with the Presley estate. The estate allowed producers access to Presley's entire music catalog, access to film at his Graceland home as well as his cars and clothing. The drama was to be based on rock critic Dave Marsh's 1982 book Elvis. Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, was set to exec produce alongside Harvey Weinstein, Jerry Schilling and David Glasser. A writer and star had not been attached, and Elvis was one of four scripted originals that Apple was reportedly planning, including biopics on Michael Jackson, Prince and Frank Sinatra. - The Hollywood Reporter, 10/9/17...... Former The Scorpions and U.F.O. guitarist Michael Schenker will kick off a new "Michael Schenker Fest" tour of the U.K. on Nov. 2 at London O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, also visiting Sheffield O2 Academy on Nov. 3, Manchester O2 Ritz on Nov. 4, and Hull City Hall on Nov. 5. The project reunites the original Michael Schenker Group vocalists - Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, plus MSG musicians Steve Mann (guitar, keys), Chris Glen (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums). Says Schenker, "It's a miracle that after all these years, a tour like this will take place with the original band members of M.S.G.... To being able to re-experience, and for the new audience to get a feel of what it was like, is incredibly enjoyable." - Noble PR, 10/10/17...... Bob Schiller, an Emmy-winning TV comedy writer whose credits reach back to the infancy of the television medium, died on Oct. 10 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 98. Mr. Schiller's writing credits include I Love Lucy, Maude, All in the Family and The Carol Burnett Show, among others. - The Washington Post, 10/13/17.
Queen has released previously unheard versions of "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" to mark the 40th anniversary of their seminal 1977 album News Of The World. The new versions of the iconic tracks will form part of the "Raw sessions" disc of Queen's upcoming 40th Anniversary re-issue of News Of The World, which is set for release on Nov. 17. The new tracks feature never-before-heard lead vocals, along with new lead guitar parts which were changed during the recording of the album. On "We Will Rock You," guitarist Brian May is heard deploying a markedly different guitar solo, while "We Are The Champions" ends with a fade-out, as opposed to its more recognisable abrupt end. - NME, 10/6/17...... Paul McCartney is featured in a "making of" short on the new DVD and Blu-ray release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which hit stores on Oct. 3. In the film, McCartney plays Uncle Jack, a pirate relative of Capt. Jack Sparrow. In keeping with the tone of the film, it's a very light-hearted role. In addition to talking about his role, McCartney also does some singing, both in the movie and in an extra version on the DVD recorded when there was silence on the set and the only thing heard is McCartney's voice. This extra version is not in the movie. - Billboard, 10/4/17............ On Oct. 5 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominations for their class of 2018, with '70s acts the Moody Blues, J. Geils Band, the Cars, Dire Straits, Judas Priest, MC5 and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan among the 19 legendary acts making the shortlist. It was the first nomination to the Cleveland-based hall and museum ever for the Moody Blues, Dire Straits and Judas Priest, with the J. Geils Band getting its fifth nomination, the Cars and MC5 getting their third nod, and Rufus featuring Chaka Khan getting their second. Other nominees included Radiohead, Kate Bush, Rage Against The Machine, Bon Jovi, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, LL Cool J, the Meters, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Link Wray and the Zombies. The top five vote getters will be decided by a public vote (through Dec. 5 at the RRHOF's website), along with input from over 800 artists, historians and music industry insiders. The winners will be announced in December and inducted on Apr. 14 at a ceremony at Public Hall in Cleveland, Oh. To be eligible for entry into the RRHOF, each potential nominee's first single or album had to be released in 1992 or earlier. - New Musical Express, 10/5/17...... Tributes continue to pour in for late 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tom Petty, who passed away after suffering cardiac arrest in his Malibu home on Oct. 2. Between the third and fourth quarters of the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers college game on Oct. 7, a packed crowd of 9,000 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium sang Petty's smash "I Won't Back Down" in tribute to the legendary musician. "This one's for you, @TomPetty," the Gators' official account tweeted. On Oct. 4, Bruce Springsteen opened the first preview of his Broadway show in New York with a dedication to his friend and fellow rock icon Petty. The two-hour show started with The Boss standing on stage dressed all in black, dedicating the show to the late musician, sending his thoughts and prayers to Petty's family and his bandmates, the Heartbreakers (his Broadway show officially opens on Oct. 12). On Oct. 7, country star Jason Aldean, the performer onstage during the recent tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, performed Petty's "I Won't Back Down" on NBC's Saturday Night Live in a nod to both Petty and the Vegas victims. Meanwhile, Petty's U.S. music sales have increased 6,781% following his death, with huge increases in sales, streams and airplay of his back catalog surging as fans mourn the singer-songwriter. On Oct. 2-3, Petty's catalog of albums and digital songs (including his work with the Heartbreakers, Mudcrutch and supergroup Traveling Wilburys) sold 218,000 combined albums and song downloads -- up from just 3,000 sold in the previous two days. Petty's top-selling albums following his passing were his Greatest Hits (32,000), Wildflowers (4,000), Anthology: Through the Years (4,000), Damn the Torpedoes (3,000) and Full Moon Fever (2,000). His top-five-selling songs for that same Oct. 2-3 period were: "Free Fallin'" (21,000 downloads), "I Won't Back Down" (15,000), "Mary Jane's Last Dance" (12,000), "Learning to Fly" (11,000) and "You Don't Know How It Feels" (9,000). Greatest Hits also re-entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Oct. 21 at No. 2 with 84,000 units sold. The album initially peaked at No. 5 on the roundup in Feb. 1994, following its release the previous year. Petty's 1994 solo studio effort Wildflowers returned to the chart at No. 27 with 16,000 units, Anthology: Through the Years returned at No. 32, and Damn the Torpedoes re-entered at No. 122. In more Petty news, the Los Angeles County coroner department has announced it is conducting an investigation of Petty's untimely death. Although no foul play is suspected, the agency says it investigates all deaths where the deceased hadn't seen a doctor in six months. Results of a toxicology screening, to determine if the musician had any drugs in his system, could take several months. - Billboard, 10/9/17...... Four original members of Foreigner -- guitarist Mick Jones, vocalist Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliot and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald -- reunited on Oct. 6 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Hotel in Michigan for the first of two weekend reunion concerts, the final U.S. dates of the group's 40th anniversary tour. The band, joined by newer members Rick Wills on bass and Michael Bluestein on keyboards, performed a five-song mini-set that included an acoustic version of "Fool For You Anyway" and their titanic hit "Juke Box Hero," which was introduced with a section of their 1978 instrumental "Tramontane." Some surviving original members of the original band had already reunited earlier in 2017 -- in Florida, Spain and at Jones Beach in New York -- but this marked the first time all of the musicians were together onstage at the same time. "It's good to be back," Wills told the crowd. "We don't believe it. You probably don't believe it, either." The reunion concert was recorded and filmed for a live album, home video and broadcast production set for 2018. The current Foreigner has a run of Canadian dates starting Oct. 10 in Calgary, while a Foreigner with the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra album and PBS special are in the works for 2018. - Billboard, 10/7/17...... After their nomination for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, the Moody Blues members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge issued a joint statement the same day saying, "We are very honored to be considered for an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We know that the fans have been diligently supporting us along the way on this, and that it means a lot to them, as well as to us. Being a British band, we are grateful for our American recognition, and especially to fans who have been with us throughout our musical journey." It has been speculated that a Moodys RRHOF induction could lead to a potential reunion of the group's most famous lineup. Hayward, Lodge and Edge remain active in the group, while keyboardist Mike Pinder left the band during 1978 and flutist Ray Thomas retired in 2002, though both made guest appearances on Lodge's 2015 solo album 10,000 Light Years Ago. Not included in the nomination are co-founding members Denny Lane or the late Clint Warwick, or keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Lodge will be releasing a solo live album this fall and playing a short U.S. tour starting Oct. 26, while the Moodys recorded and filmed one of the Days Of Future Passed 50th anniversary shows for subsequent release. The group plans to set sail on its Moody Blues Cruise on Jan. 2 out of Miami and follows with a short U.S. tour that winds up with four nights at the Wynn Las Vegas. - Billboard, 10/6/17...... Jeff Lynne's ELO have unveiled a trailer for their new live album and DVD, Wembley Or Bust. Recorded at their massive show at London's iconic Wembley Stadium on June 24, 2017, Wembley Or Bust. comes in a variety of formats across CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and vinyl and will be released on Nov. 17. Directed by Paul Dugdale, the 22-song release is loaded with such ELO classics as "Evil Woman," "Don't Bring Me Down," "Mr Blue Sky" and many more. "It's the best time I ever had in music," said Lynne of the Wembley show. "It is beyond anything I could have imagined." - NME, 10/6/17...... As '70s disco legends the Village People celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2017 with a world tour, the group has just been slapped with a lawsuit entangling several former creative partners that challenges the group's very name. The lawsuit was filed by Can't Stop Production, the U.S. arm of Scorpio Music -- a French label founded by Henri Belolo, who is credited with discovering the group back in the '70s. CSP alleges that the group's current members have no legal right to use the name Village People, directing their lawsuit at Sixuvus Ltd., a management company that six of the group's former members created upon reviving the group in 1987. Sixuvus counters that because the current Village People members have been performing under the name for three decades, CSP has already lost any trademark rights it may have had to the name. Ray Simpson, who replaced "motorcycle cop" Victor Willis as lead singer in 1979, released a statement on Oct. 5 claiming the suit was filed at the request of Willis himself, who in 2015 won the right to reclaim 50 percent of the copyright to several of the group's most famous songs, including "Y.M.C.A.," after a trial lasting nearly a month. "Our fans have responded over social media and in the court of public opinion," Simpson said in the statement. "They recognize that 'WE' are the true Village People the world has come to know and love. It is our pleasure and honor to perform for our audiences around the world, and look forward to continuing with our careers," he added. - Billboard, 10/6/17...... Van Morrison's latest album Roll With the Punches has bowed at No. 23 on Billboard's Hot 200 album chart for the week ending Sept. 28, the celtic crooner's 21st top 40-charting set and 47th entry overall on the chart. Also making its debut on the Hot 200, at No. 195, is former paramours Stephen Stills and Judy Collins' new duet album, Everybody Knows. Stills and Collins sing together on an album for the first time, and the release becomes Stills' first chart entry outside of super groups Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young since his 1984 solo set Right By You. As for Collins, the new album is her 18th charting effort, and second this decade, following 2015's Strangers Again. - Billboard, 10/5/17...... "The Flame," the "final chapter" of the late Leonard Cohen's poetry, is set to be officially released in 2018. Cohen himself chose and ordered the poems in the book, of which "the overwhelming majority" is new material. The iconic Canadian poet and musician, who died aged 82 on Nov. 7, 2016, first published a collection of poetry in 1956, and published 12 more volumes throughout his career. He also wrote two novels -- The Favorite Game and Beautiful Losers -- before his music career began in the late '60s. In a press release, publisher Canongate described "The Flame" as "an enormously powerful final chapter in Cohen's storied literary career." - New Musical Express, 10/7/17...... Flamboyant rock & roll icon Little Richard has reportedly renounced his homosexuality, and also says he now believes that same-sex relationships are "unnatural affections." Little Richard, 84, recently appeared on a program on the Christian network called Three Angels Broadcasting, and revealed that, in addition to abandoning his famous wig, he's also renounced his attraction to men because it's "unnatural." "When I first come in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself," he said. "And, anybody that comes in show business they gone say you gay or straight God made men, men and women, women." - Dlisted.com, 10/7/17...... A group of residents in New York City has petitioned their leaders to have a street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood named in honor of Jimi Hendrix. Organizers of the petition are seeking to co-name West Eighth Street as "Jimi Hendrix Way," and hope the co-naming also would attract visitors to an area fighting gentrification. Richard Geist, a local store owner, says the block has "lost the magic and we want to bring that magic back." Hendrix opened his Electric Lady Studios on the West Eighth Street just before his death in 1970. To co-name a street, petitioners would have to make a proposal to the local community board before it could be proposed to the full New York City Council for a vote. - AP, 10/4/17...... Pop and R&B singer Walter "Bunny" Sigler, producer and artist that helped Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff create the "Philly Sound," died on Oct. 6 at home of a heart attack. He was 76. Sigler was known for his work with Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, the Spinners and countless others, and his music was sampled by such contemporary acts as Jay Z, Nelly and Outkast. "He wrote, produced, recorded and sang," said his attorney Lee Remick, "and he wrote gospel, Christmas music, R&B and funk. He was a musical genius." According to Remick, Sigler had been sick for the last 10 months and suffered from diabetes. Both LaBelle and Gamble and Huff released statements paying tribute to Sigler. - 10/7/17...... Songwriter Jerry J. Ross, who co-wrote and produced such hits as The Supremes' "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and "Someday," died on Oct. 4 of prostrate cancer at the Holy Redeemer Hospital hospice unit in Meadowbrook, Penn. He was 84. Mr. Ross is credited with discovering and mentoring Kenny Gamble in a relationship that goes back to the late 1950s, when he helped Gamble and Thom Bell record "Someday" for his Heritage label as Kenny and Tommy. "Jerry Ross was instrumental in introducing Thom Bell and me to the music business, including signing me to my first recording artist deal with Columbia Records," Gamble said in a statement. "He mentored Thom Bell and me to write songs. He was our good friend and was key to the beginning of the Gamble, Huff and Bell legacy." - 10/7/17.