The Rolling Stones kicked off their European tour on May 17 at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland with the classic "Sympathy for the Devil," the first in a 19-song setlist that also included "Tumbling Dice," "Paint It Black," and an audience request, "Wild Horses." The band also performed its 1981 track "Neighbours" for the first time since 2003, and encored with "Gimme Shelter" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." The Stones' "No Filter Tour" hits their native England in the last week of May, playing two shows at the London Stadium where they'll be respectively supported by Liam Gallagher and Florence & The Machine. - New Musical Express, 5/18/18...... The Jacksons have been confirmed to headline the Detroit Music Weekend on June 14-17, where they will also be honored with a key to the city and Michael Jackson will have a street renamed in his honor. The city announced on May 17 that a downtown block will be renamed Michael Jackson Ave., however Marlon Jackson says it was his understanding the street was "supposed to be" renamed for the entire group and "I think it is going to be that. There was a mistake." While Detroit has a city ordinance that requires any honorary street naming to be for an individual only, sources said that talks were underway to allow for an exception to that. Detroit Music Weekend founder and producer Vince Paul says he wanted to start with Michael and "if I had my druthers there'll be [streets named for] Tito, Jackie, Marlon... That's where I'm going with it." In 2017, Aretha Franklin was the recipient of a street naming during the festival, and there are also plans to rename street after other legendary Detroit acts including The Tempations, The Four Tops and The Supremes. In addition to the Jacksons' free public performance on June 16, a Jacksons tribute concert to the group will take place on June 15. More than 500 performers are expected to play during the festival, including former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... In other Jacksons-related news, ABC has announced it will broadcast a two-hour Michael Jackson special dedicated to his live and legacy on May 24, ahead of next year's 10th anniversary of his death. The Last Days of Michael Jackson will feature never-before-seen interviews he did with Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, as well as conversations with his friends and family. The special airs on ABC on May 24 at 8:00 p.m. EST. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... In related news, NBC announced on May 17 it will broadcast a 50th anniversary tribute to Elvis Presley's iconic "1968 comeback" special sometime in 2019. The special is set to feature some of today's biggest music artists recreating the spectacle and the staging of the original Singer Presents... ELVIS show. Additionally, the two-hour broadcast will include rare footage of the superstar and interviews from those who were involved in the event 50 years ago. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... The George Clinton-fronted '70s funk band Parliament has released Medicaid Fraud Dogg, its first LP in 38 years. The first single from the lengthy 23-track album, "I'm Gon Make U Sick of Me" featuring Scarface, was released earlier in 2018. Clinton says Parliament's twin band Funkadelic had the last release, First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate, and now "it's Parliament's turn." Clinton recently announced his intention to retire from touring in 2019, saying that the decision had been coming for "a long time," but due to P-Funk's legacy, "They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." - Billboard, 5/22/18...... The Who frontman Roger Daltrey had some harsh words for UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a recent interview with Britain's Event magazine. "Jeremy Corbyn is not a socialist. He's a communist," Daltrey said. "Be honest about that and see how many votes you get, Jeremy, because otherwise, you're going to be moving in to Downing Street under a false premise." Daltrey also weighed in on Brexit, saying "what I'm against is Brussels, not the EU. I can't live with that because we lost people in my family fighting for our right to be democratic." About the #MeToo movement, Daltrey argued that rock stars don't sexually harass women because they don't "need" to. "Why would any rock star need to push themselves on women?" he said. "Usually, it's the other way around. I'd like to have £1 for every woman that screws my ass. Mick Jagger would be a billionaire out of it. If it was going to be in the rock business, it would've been out by now. It would've been out a long time ago. I find this whole thing so obnoxious. It's always allegations and it's just salacious crap." Daltrey will release his first solo LP in 25 years, As Long As I Have You, on June 1. - New Musical Express, 5/20/18...... Elton John performed for guests at the wedding reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19. Sir Elton was among 600 people invited to the reception, and according to Kensington Palace, "performed for the newly married couple in recognition of the close connection he has with Prince Harry and his family." The palace did not disclose which songs that John, who was made a knight in 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, chose for the occasion. Elton was a close friend of Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, and performed the song "Candle in the Wind" with recast lyrics at her funeral in 1997. In other Elton John news, the singer has joined the Swedish startup company Auddly co-owned by songwriters Max Martin and ABBA's Bjrn Ulvaeus as an official ambassador for the company. "It's time to realize that we need to manage our metadata more efficiently to overcome the challenges preventing creators from getting paid correctly, and I support Auddly in its efforts towards a more sustainable music industry," said John in a press release. Auddly aims to solve the problem of accurately identifying and paying songwriters for streamed compositions, and in the past year has entered into partnerships with some of the world's most powerful music companies and organizations, including Universal Music Publishing Group, ASCAP, PRS and STIM. - AP/Billboard, 5/19/18...... Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band have announced the first 13 rescheduled dates from their 2017 Runaway Train tour after frontman Seger was forced to postpone the tour halfway through due to spinal surgery in October. The first rescheduled show takes place Nov. 24 in Kansas City, with the remaining dates rolling into late February. Seger is reportedly feeling good and fully recovered from cervical laminectomy surger to repair a ruptured disc. The remaining 7 dates that were also postponed are expected to be announced soon. Seger will continue to promote his latest album, I Knew You When, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Current Rock Albums chart and No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 200. - Billboard, 5/21/18...... The state of Florida has just erected a historical marker at the Jacksonville home of Southern rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special. The house is located at 5419 Woodcrest Road, one block off Lake Shore Boulevard, in a blue-collar neighborhood that Ronnie, Donnie and Johnnie Van Zant grew up in before forming Lynyrd Skynyrd, the reformed Skynyrd, and .38 Special, respectively. Jacksonville Beach entrepreneur Todd Smith bought the property and worked with the state to get the marker, which was officially unveiled to the public May 12. Smith says he found the house while looking for property in the area, learned about its history and decided something needed to be done to officially acknowledge it. He says he has plans to restore the house to look like a time capsule from the '70s, complete with an avocado-green rotary-dial phone and a wooden console stereo with an eight-track player and several Skynyrd eight-tracks that still sound just fine. Those touches fit in with the acoustical tile ceilings and the wood paneling on the walls, where Smith will place Skynyrd memorabilia where once the Van Zant parents hung gold records. - AP, 5/21/18...... Steven Tyler admitted he's spent "about $2 million" on drugs throughout his life during a game of "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts" on CBS's The Late Late Show with James Corden on May 17. The premise of the game is that host James Corden gets to pick a disgusting item for the celeb to eat if they refuse to answer a juicy question, and Tyler opted for honesty when having to eat head cheese or answer a question about how much he'd spent on drugs throughout his life. After saying he'd spent "about $2 million," the Aerosmith frontman joked that he'd "snorted half of Peru." Later, Tyler also admitted to having hit on his actress daughter Liv Tyler's friend, Cameron Diaz, rather than eat a dried out caterpillar. - JustJared.com, 5/18/18...... Founding Judas Priest member KK Downing's share of the royalty rights to over 130 Judas Priest tracks, including metal hits "Breaking The Law," "Living After Midnight" and "Painkiller," are being put for sale following the demise of a luxury golf resort in Shropshire, UK, that Downing invested in. In late 2017, the resort business fell into administration (similar to Chapter 11 insolvency in the U.S.) and the 320-acre estate was put up for immediate sale with an asking price of more than £10 million ($13.5 million). At the time, administrators blamed "tougher economic times within the wider corporate hospitality market" for placing "unsustainable pressure" on the business. Astbury Hall and its golf course has since been acquired by new owners. The next part of the bankruptcy process involves the sale of Downing's share of the royalty rights to 136 Judas Priest songs, which administrators FRP Advisory LLP say generates between $340,000 and $400,000 per year. Downing hasn't been a member of Judas Priest since 2011, when he left the band citing a breakdown in relationships between members and dissatisfaction with the group's live performances. Judas Priest is set to kick off a 25-city co-headlining North American tour behind its latest LP Firepower with Deep Purple that's slated to kick off on Aug. 21 in Cincinnati, Oh. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... The Doobie Brothers kicked off a 32-city coheadlining summer tour with Steely Dan on May 19 in Atlanta, and Doobies frontman Tom Johnston says the veteran rock band still feels adrenaline from the audience every night. "It's pretty much the interacting with the crowd, that is still the pinnacle right there," Johnston says. "That's why we keep doing what we do, because we love playing for people live. And the more action you get out of the crowd, I guess you could call it reciprocal, action back from the crowd, the better the gig is. And that's something that we always strive for every night." Johnston added that his touring partners Steely Dan "sounds as good or better than they ever did" despite the loss of Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker. "It's basically all about Donald (Fagen) right now," Johnston says. "And he's got a band assembled with really great players. A couple of gals singing background, horn section, and they nail the stuff. I mean it sounds like a record. It's just incredible." Johnston says he's particularly looking forward to a Sep. 22 date at Petco Park in San Diego when his group and the Zac Brown Band will be the openers for the Eagles. "They sound great, they've got a great visual show going, but if they didn't have the visual show, it wouldn't matter. They're sounding really good. We played with them last year at Dodgers Stadium, and then in New York at Citi Field." The Doobies have also been spending some time in the recording studio, working on a new album, says the band's John McFee. "That's our plan. We do want to make some new music. As a matter of fact, we have gone in and already cut four songs." - Billboard, 5/18/18...... Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, died on May 19 from complications with his heart in New York City. He was 65. After playing with Davis in the '70s, Lucas began a musical partnership with percussionist James Mtume. Together they wrote hits like Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway's "The Closer I Get to You" -- later covered by Beyonce and Luther Vandross -- and Stephanie Mills' "Never Knew Love Like This Before," which won the duo the Grammy for best R&B song. Lucas went on to produce the majority of Madonna's 1983 self-titled debut album, which sold more than 5 million units and included the hits "Borderline" and "Lucky Star." In addition to his daughter, Lucas is survived by his wife Leslie Lucas; his son Julian Lucas; his mother Annie Wolinsky; and his brother Greg Lucas. - AP, 5/19/18...... Actor Clint Walker, best known for his role as cowboy hero Cheyenne Bodie on the hit 1950's western series Cheyenne, died suddenly on May 21, apparently after a heart problem. He was 90. Mr. Walker first made his mark on Hollywood by landing a role in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, and also starred in such films as None But the Brave, Small Soldiers, The White Buffalo, Pancho Villa, Yellowstone Kelly and The Great Bank Robbery, as well as as the TV series Kodiak. His last credit was 1998's Small Soldiers, in which he voiced the character Nick Nitro. Mr. Walker cheated death in 1971 when the tip of a ski pole pierced his heart during a vacation in Mammoth, Calif. The hulking actor made an amazing recovery and was back at work filming in Spain two months later. - WENN.com, 5/22/18...... Interview magazine, the publication founded by British journalist John Wilcock and pop art icon Andy Warhol in 1969, announced on May 21 that it is ending both its print and web publications after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In 1989, billionaire art collector and Warhol admirer Peter Brant purchased the glossy art and culture magazine from Warhol's estate. According to the New York Post, the magazine was evicted from its Soho office in February after Brant Publications apparently stopped paying the landlord. Interview was once dubbed "The Crystal Ball of Pop Culture" because of its iconic covers and lengthy, often freewheeling interviews with artists and people of note conducted by their celebrity peers. - Spin.com, 5/22/18...... Legendary movie poster artist Bill Gold, whose artworks included Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Dog Day Afternoon and decades' worth of Clint Eastwood films, died of natural causes at his home on Old Greenwich, Conn., on May 20. He was 97. Mr. Gold revolutionized the art of the movie poster over a seven-decade career that began at Warner Bros. in the early 1940s, and he had a hand in more than 2,000 posters during his iconic career, working on films for everyone from Alfred Hitchcock (1954's Dial M for Murder), Elia Kazan (1955's East of Eden) and Federico Fellini (1963's 8 1/2) to Sam Peckinpah (1969's The Wild Bunch), Robert Altman (1971's McCabe & Mrs. Miller) and Martin Scorsese (1990's GoodFellas). The Brooklyn native received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Hollywood Reporter during its 1994 Key Art Awards ceremony. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/21/18.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Elton John is reportedly set to serenade Prince Harry and Meghan Markle onstage as the two tie the knot at a Royal Wedding set for May 19 in Windsor, Berkshire. It is not known if Sir Elton, who was a close friend of the late Princess Diana and has been close to the royal family for years, will play during the ceremony or the reception. John famously delivered a rewritten version of "Candle in the Wind" as a heart wrenching tribute at Diana's funeral in 1997. - TMZ.com/Billboard, 5/16/18...... The Rock and Roll Playhouse, a family concert tour hosted at the Brooklyn Bowl, The Capitol Theatre and other New York venues, has announced it will stage 16 Grateful Dead-themed shows on Father's Day weekend as it expands across the U.S. in 2018 with shows in Los Angeles, Nashville, Tenn., Boulder, Col. and Berkely, Calif. At a typical concert, a band of local musicians dive into covers of music by the featured acts as the kids frolic underneath a parachute to the beat of the drums or hula-hoop on the sidelines. A spokesperson says this summer's Rock and Roll Playhouse show in New York City will feature the music of such artists as David Bowie, Van Morrison, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Simon & Garfunkle, among others. - Billboard, 5/17/18...... Jeff Beck is the subject of an upcoming documentary of his life called Still on the Run: The Jeff Beck Story which covers the guitar legend's life from his days in The Yardbirds through his solo career, with rock legends including his rival Eric Clapton paying tribute. Beck has told Rolling Stone magazine that he was surprised Clapton agreed to take part in the doc. "I must admit there was a tear -- especially with Eric," Beck says. "I never expected him to bother to be in it. I studied his face over and over, just to make sure there wasn't something else going on [laughs]. But no, it was just overwhelming." Beck added that he learned from Clapton's former wife, Patti Boyd, that "there definitely was [rivalry]" between the two, "especially with the Stevie Wonder stuff. He was not too amused about me doing something successful with Stevie. I think that maybe got under his skin a bit." - New Musical Express, 5/17/18...... Speaking of Stevie Wonder, the Motown legend has announced he will play five shows in Las Vegas this summer at the Park Theater starting Aug. 3. The 5,300-seat venue is located at the Park MGM casino-resort, formerly known as the Monte Carlo. It previously hosted the residencies of Cher and Ricky Martin. - AP, 5/16/18...... A two day Julien's auction featuring memorabilia from the likes of Prince, Bob Dylan and George Harrison will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe New York and online during the third weekend in May. The first auction day, on May 18, is dedicated to Prince, the musical legend who died in April 2016. The items include a guitar the artist had commissioned, as well as a number of outfits he wore at different performances, and handwritten lyrics. The second day's items on May 19 include guitars played by Dylan and Harrison, as well as costumes and jewelry. - AP, 5/15/18...... Iggy Pop will be among the headliners at the 2018 Cal Jam festival, set for Oct. 6 at Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Calif. In 2017, alternative band Foo Fighters helped revive the long-forgotten festival that took place in the '70. Its 1974 concert boasted such rock giants as Deep Purple, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Eagles. In addition to Pop, the Foo Fighters will also be headlining the upcoming Cal Jam, along with Tenacious D, Garbage, Silversun Pickups and Manchester Orchestra. Pop will be reuniting with his former backing band Post Pop Depression during his performance. - Billboard, 5/14/18...... Bob Dylan has announced he will kick off his 2018 summer tour in Asia at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 29, 40 years since his first tour of Japan. The festival, held at Naeba Ski Resort, marks Dylan's 101st performance in Japan. After Japan, his tour travels to Hong Kong on Aug. 4 and Singapore on Aug. 6. - Billboard, 5/15/18...... Power pop artist Nick Lowe will release a new EP with Los Straightjackets entitled "Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside" this summer which will feature a cover of Dionne Warwick's 1982 Bee Gees-written (and produced) his "Heartbreaker." Lowe says his easygoing, laid-back version of "Heartbreaker" was a song he played during soundchecks on tour "...something we might play before the show. I always thought it was a really, really great song, and like a lot of Bee Gees songs it really has got sort of hidden depth. I'm a great fan of the Bee Gees; You don't necessarily know what they're singing about a lot of the time, but they just make this fantastic sound and a lot of their songs are really soulful when you strip them all back. And that song 'Heartbreaker' I always thought was a really soulful song. I just started doing it in the soundchecks and then the Straitjackets liked it. They said, 'Let's have a go at doing that' and it really turned out well, I thought." Lowe's new EP will drop June 15 via Yep Roc Records, a week before he kicks off a US summer tour with Los Straightjackets in Jersey City, N.J., on June 22. Lowe says although releasing EPs "was a perfectly legitmate thing to do" in the early days of his career in England, he adds he "doesn't know if anyone buys EPs nowadays -- or albums anymore... everything about the marketing of records nowadays is a complete mystery to me." - Billboard, 5/16/18...... Interviewed at the Global Creators Summit during Canadian Music Week 2018 in Toronto on May 12, legendary producer Steve Lillywhite shared his memories working with such iconic artists as the Rolling Stones, U2, David Byrne and more. Lillywhite said that he was referred to the Stones by Elton John, "who is always on everything," and he went over to Paris and got the job. "So I was brought in by Mick Jagger, but the very funny thing, when I walked into the studio saying hi to all the engineer guys, everyone has these lock knives. Not great knives, it was just a thing to do. Two weeks later, I had my own. You become part of the whole scene [laughs]. I was brought in by Mick, but it was much cooler to hang out with Keith [Richards]. Lillywhite is currently living in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he is running a CD and sports shop, and recently worked on his ninth U2 album and has been producing Indonesian acts. - Billboard, 5/15/18...... In more Rolling Stones news, it has been revealed that the name of the investigation into Pres. Donald Trump's alleged ties with Russia was inspired by the Stones track "Jumpin' Jack Flash." During the pre-election stages of the investigation, it was known as "Crossfire Hurricane" -- a lyric lifted from the band's 1969 classic. Now, The New York Times has confirmed that the code name was in fact a direct reference to the track. "[The lyric] was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau," according to a report entitled "The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation." An accompanying post also states that Keith Richards is to thank for the words. "In his book Keith Richards: The Biography, [author Victor] Bockris wrote that Mr. Richards was born amid the bombing and air raid sirens of Dartford, England, in 1943 at the height of World War II. 'I was born with those sirens,' he said." Now run by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the investigation is no longer known by the Stones-inspired name. Meanwhile, in an interview with the BBC on May 16, Keith Richards revealed that he once "stuck a knife in a table" in order to "get rid of" private citizen Trump as the promoter of one of their shows. "He [Trump] was the promoter for us in Atlantic City," Richards said. "[It was billed as] 'Donald Trump presents The Rolling Stones' [with the band's name written in miniature]. I got out my trusty blade, stuck it in the table and said: 'You have to get rid of this man!'" Richards added that "now America has to get rid of him. Don't say I didn't warn you!" - New Musical Express, 5/16/18...... The first trailer for the long-awaited Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was released on May 15. It opens with Freddie Mercury, played by actor Rami Malek, wearing a fluttering white cape, engaging in the familiar call-and-response with an audience that was one of Queen's signature live concert staple moves, before cutting to snippets of Malek as Mercury in a gold lame jumpsuit, a black leather outfit and shirtless while wielding the late singer's iconic half microphone stand as the instantly recognizable strains of "Another One Bites the Dust" kick in. The trailer then depicts Mercury's first meeting with guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and then to a scene in which Brian May plays the central "Rhapsody" riff in the studio and Mercury informs him from the mixing board "this is where the operatic section comes in." The trailer peaks with a glimpse of the massive crowd at Wembley Stadium in 1985 when Queen leaped into history with their unforgettable set at Live Aid. Bohemian Rhapsody will hit theaters on Nov. 2. - Billboard, 5/15/18...... Def Leppard has announced it is teaming up with Seattle's Elysian Brewing Company to craft "Def Leppard Pale," a brand new brew that will make its debut on May 23, the second date of Def Leppard's upcoming coheadlining summer tour with Journey. The potent 6% ABV beer will be available at most stops on their tour, as well as select bars and restaurants. "The best of British beer is the malt body and that beautiful malt balance. And the best thing about American beer is the citrus, piney hops," says Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott. "So we've taken those two aspects, put them together and come up with a beer you can actually drink a few of -- 6% ABV you can drink all night long." The Def Leppard/Journey tour kicks off May 21 and runs through Oct. 7. - Billboard, 5/14/18...... Metallica performed a funky cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen" when their current world tour hit Stockholm, Sweden, in early May. Metallica are currently covering tunes relevant to the city they're playing in each night, and when in Norway they offered up a version of A-Ha's "Take On Me." - New Musical Express, 5/9/18...... In a new post on his official Facebook page, Neil Young says he's leaving the popular social media site to focus on expanding his NeilYoungArchives.com site, which he describes as "a giant time machine cabinet filled with "albums and tracks, bits and pieces, manuscripts and art, film and video." "Each song is being backed up with the archival material that relates to it and to the creation of it, from song writing, to band jams, the history of this music is there," Young continues. "It's never finished, it is huge and growing. We work night and day expanding the window you can see this archival stuff through. The musician added that as of June 1, he plans to charge $1.99 a month, or $19.99 a year for access to NeilYoungArchives.com. "If you want to hear my music and would like to have the option to listen to it with all the depth and glory of high resolution, it will be there," he says. "All my new records can be heard there first, before they get released anywhere else. New unreleased albums from the archives, old unreleased albums from the archives. Will always be heard there first." Young will kick off a 2018 summer tour on June 28 in St. Louis, also visiting Chicago (6/30, 7/1), Detroit (7/3) and Detroit (7/11, 7/12). - Spin.com, 5/14/18...... During a show in Los Feliz, Calif., on May 11, former Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham addressed his departure from the iconic rock band. "I have sadly taken leave of my band of 43 years, Fleetwood Mac. This was not something that was really my doing or my choice," Buckingham said. "I think what you would say is that there were factions within the band that had lost their perspective. It harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build," he said of the group's decision, "and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one's higher truth and one's higher destiny." Buckingham refrained from commenting when one audience member yelled "F--- Stevie Nicks." Buckingham was performing at a campaign fundraiser for Mike Levin, a California Democratic congressional candidate. On Apr. 9, Fleetwood Mac issued a statement saying that Buckingham "will not be performing with the band" on its upcoming tour, and "wishes Lindsey the best."I t was also revealed that he would be replaced by former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn on tour. - Billboard, 5/12/18...... A Prince symphony concert series was announced on May 16, with the funk/rock icon's hits performed by a full symphony orchestra. "4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince" will be co-curated by Questlove of The Roots and feature guest vocalists as well as videos and photos provided by Prince's estate. The 32 concert run will get underway on Sept. 6 in New Brunswick, N.J., and wrap on Oct. 19 in San Antonio, Tex. - New Musical Express, 5/16/18...... A new Robin Williams autobiography dubbed Robin by New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff was released on May 15. Itzkoff shows how Williams's comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. Itzkoff also shows how the former Mork & Mindy star struggled mightily with addiction and depression topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. - Macmillan.com, 5/15/18...... Billy Joel's ex-wife Christie Brinkley was spotted chatting with Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, N.Y., on May 13. It's unclear what they were discussing, but Brinkley once claimed Donald Trump hit on her one time while he was married to Ivana Trump, and when she was dating Billy Joel. She said Trump invited her to Aspen on his private jet, but she declined. Avenatti later said that he and Christie are friends: "She's a classy, smart woman with great insight." - TMZ.com, 5/14/18...... Actress Margot Kidder, perhaps best known for her role as Lois Lane on 1978's Superman - The Movie and three Superman sequels, died on May 13 at her home in Livingston, Montana, of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 69. Kidder also starred opposite leading men including Robert Redford in The Great Waldo Pepper and Richard Pryor in Some Kind of Hero. She even appeared in Superman-inspired television series Smallville in 2004 (though as another character). Superman director Richard Donner said he cast Kidder after seeing her on the James Garner western series Nichols, which she appeared in from 1971-72. "She was charming and very funny. When I met her in the casting office, she tripped coming in and I just fell in love with her. It was perfect, this clumsy [behavior]," said in 2016. The Canadian-born actress acquired American citizenship in 2005, and became a political and women's rights activist alongside her acting. "Thank you for being the Lois Lane so many of us grew up with. RIP, Margot Kidder," the official DC Comics Twitter account posted on May 14. - The Hollywood Reporter, 5/14/18...... Acclaimed author Tom Wolfe, who chronicled everything from hippies to the space race before turning his sharp eye to fiction, died on May 15 in a New York City hospital. He was 87. Mr. Wolfe's "new journalism" writing style was rife with exclamation points, italics and improbable words, and among his acclaimed books were The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, a satire of Manhattan-style power and justice that became one of the best-selling books of the 1980s. Mr. Wolfe, known for his signature three-piece white suits, was also an unlikely interloper into the heady LSD parties hosted by Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead in the mid-1960s. Mr. Wolfe's 1979 book The Right Stuff, about the personal lives of Apollo astronauts, was turned into a hit 1983 movie of the same name starring Fred Ward, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Lance Henriksen, Sam Shepard, Dennnis Quaid and Barbara Hershey. - AP, 5/15/18...... American guitarist/composer Glenn Branca, who played a key role in the nascent "no wave" scene in New York City in the '70s and '80s, died on May 14 after a battle with throat cancer. He was 69. Branca was said a Facebook post from his wife and frequent collaborator Reg Bloor to have "lived a full life with no regrets" and that there will be no public memorial as per the guitarist's wishes. - Billboard, 5/14/18.
Foreigner has topped Billboard's Classical Albums & Classical Crossover Albums chart for the first time with its new live album, Foreigner With the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. The release, which reinterprets some of Foreigner's biggest rock and ballads hits including "Feels Like the First Time" and "Urgent" with a classical twist, moved 3,000 copies in the week ending May 3, according to Nielsen Music. Foreigner has previously topped the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, the Mainstream Rock Songs chart and the Adult Contemporary Songs chart. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... In other chart action, sales of ABBA music in the U.S. has jumped 57% after the quartet announced it has reunited to record new music for the first time in 35 years. On-demand streams of ABBA songs rose 37%, for a total of 6.38 million streams, up from 4.69 million a week earlier. "Dancing Queen" was the most streamed ABBA song, with 1.42 streams which was a 19% increase, and combined sales of the group's catalog of albums and songs jumped by 57% to 11,000 (up from 7,000 the week previous), while the act's overall equivalent album units tally spiked by 39% to 8,000 units (up from 6,000). ABBA also debuted on the Billboard Social 50 chart at No. 35, thanks to a surge in interest of the group on social networks -- especially on YouTube and from visits to the group's Wikipedia page. - Billboard, 5/9/18...... A new career-spanning box set from late Eagles member Glenn Frey, Above the Clouds: The Collection, hit stores on May 10 and showcases many sides of the Detroit-born musician, including his work with the Eagles, solo music and his love for multiple genres, including R&B and soul. Frey's widow, Cindy Frey, says she wants people to remember the diversity of her husband's sound with the new release, which includes Glenn's hit songs, classic songs he covered and the pre-Eagles music he wrote with JD Souther. "It's hard to get beyond the sad part of, the longing of missing Glenn. But in a deep sort of weird way, it's a way of healing and living through grief for our family," Cindy told the AP. Glenn Frey died in 2016 at the age of 67, and his 24-year-old son, Deacon Frey, has been performing with the Eagles in his father's shoes, and his daughter, Taylor Frey, serves as road manager on the Eagles tour, which started up again on May 9 in Vancouver. - AP, 5/10/18...... A new Grateful Dead box set entitled Before the Dead provides a glimpse of late Dead frontman Jerry Garcia's early excursions into fold music. Compiled and assembled by longtime Dead publicist Dennis McNally and TV sound mixer Brian Miksis, Before the Dead boasts 84 tracks over 5 LPs or 4 CDs. The collection spans from May 1961 to 1964, when Garcia was playing often around Palo Alto, Calif., in coffee shops and at local radio stations and playing in such obscure groups as the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers, the Wildwood Boys, and the Black Mountain Boys. Before the Dead follows several collections of Garcia material that have been released in the last several years, including GarciaLive and a stand-alone release of the Hart Valley Drifters, an early folk band that also is featured on the box set. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... A new Prince album comprised of previously unreleased material from the late funk/rock icon's vaults is being planned for 2019. Prince's estate and the Tidal streaming service, which is owned by rapper Jay-Z, announced on May 11 that the as-yet-untitled album will stream exclusively on Tidal for two weeks before it is released in physical formats. It will also be available to download seven days after its debut, though it's unclear if or when the album will be shared with non-Tidal streaming services. An agreement between Prince's estate and Tidal was approved in probate court on May 9, which effectively ended a copyright dispute between the two parties over the streaming service's prior claim to streaming rights of Prince's catalog. The two parties entered into an exclusive agreement before Prince's death in April 2016 that gave Tidal the right to stream Prince's HITnRUN albums, although Tidal claimed it had an arrangement giving it exclusive rights to the artist's entire catalog. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... Iconic pop singer/songwriter Paul Anka has revealed that he and current singing sensation Drake will be teaming up for a new project that will drop in June 2018. "I'm working with a brilliant young artist who is as hot as you can get right now, a fellow young Canadian and his name is Drake," Anka said on May 10 during the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards, where he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from his friend Michael Bublé. "We recorded something that will be released, out in June. That's all I can tell you," he added. Anka, 76, wrote his first No. 1 hit "Diana" at age 15 and went on to pen such classics as "My Way," "Puppy Love," Lonely Boy," "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," "She's a Lady" and "(You're) Having My Baby," as well as the theme to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... Michael Jackson will appear on a new Pepsi can as part of the soft drink company's #PepsiGenerations campaign this summer, it was announced on May 11. Jackson will appear alongside similar retro designs featuring Pepsi-affiliated artists including Ray Charles and Britney Spears. #PepsiGenerations highlights Pepsi's biggest pop culture moments over the years, starting with February's "This is the Pepsi" Super Bowl commercial narrated by Jimmy Fallon. Jackson began appearing in Pepsi spots in 1984, when his hair famously caught fire during one shoot. He also appeared posthumously in a series of 2012 Pepsi ads to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his album Bad. The Jackson Pepsi can will also be available in select other countries around the world. - Billboard, 5/11/18...... The Beach Boys have announced they'll make their own foray into orchestral music with a new LP dubbed The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The unique collaboration, due out June 8, will pair some of the iconic American band's classic songs like "God Only Knows," "In My Room" and "California Girls" with an orchestral backdrop. "I always knew the vocal arrangements I did back in the 1960s would lend themselves perfectly for a symphony," Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson says. - Billboard, 5/10/18...... The Rolling Stones have announced details of pop-up stores across the UK that will see some of their most famous outfits going on display. Beginning on May 14 for three weeks, fans will will have the chance to see the band's iconic stage wear at their Corner Shop installation at Selfridges stores in London, Manchester and Birmingham, including a green oak leaf sequin jacket worn by Mick Jagger at Glastonbury in 2013, and a denim jacket worn on the Steel Wheels US tour in 1989. The Stones will launch a massive UK tour later in May. - New Musical Express, 5/8/18...... Stevie Wonder hinted that his next project could be a collaboration with Donald Glover and Childish Gambino during an intimate two-hour set at the Peppermint Club in Los Angeles on May 9. Billed as "The Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love and Music," the show was attended by such celebrities as Motown founder Berry Gordy, actress Angela Bassett, actor/comedian Craig Robinson, T.I., Nick Cannon and actor/activist Jesse Williams. During the evening, Wonder also referenced his forthcoming album, Through the Eyes of Wonder, telling the audience that he wanted to play some of the new material, "but unfortunately, the players don't know it." Wonder, who turns 68 on May 13, also revealed he intends to mount a new national tour behind his new album, although he did not mention a specific start date or itinerary. - Billboard, 5/10/18...... Neil Young has announced he's planning to produce and release a 35-minute film he conceived to go along with his 1982 album Trans some 16 years after it was first conceived. Young says the film was never actually created because his then record company Geffen "pulled the funding for the videos because they didn't like the record," which featured him singing through a vocoder over stiff synth grooves and earned him a lawsuit from the record company. Young says the backstory of Trans is poignant: he created it as a statement about the difficulty of communicating with his son Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy and unable to speak. (Hence the chilly, difficult-to-understand vocals.) The planned film would elucidate this concept more explicitly, featuring "electronic-voice people who were working in a hospital, and the one thing they were trying to do is teach this little baby to push a button," according to the Neil Young bio Shakey. Young also says he plans on releasing "four or five" previously unheard collaborations with his band Crazy Horse via his Neil Young Archives digital library project. - Spin.com/Yahoo News, 5/8/18...... Country music icon Dolly Parton was on hand at a senior center dedication ceremony in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., on May 7 to give the facility a new name: the My People Senior Activity Center, in honor of her parents, Robert and Avie Lee Parton. The 72-year-old Parton joked that she's a senior, too, and made fun of her plastic surgery, shouting "girl power" when she saw more women doing woodworking at the center than men. At the event, Parton gave her own secret to staying young: "Be busy, stay active and get involved." - AP, 5/8/18...... Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at the 2018 New Jersey Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Asbury Park Convention Center om Asbury Park, NJ, on May 6 to introduce his longtime friend and guitarist Steven Van Zandt into the hall. The two joined forces onstage and played "I Don't Want To Go Home," trading vocals and eventually welcoming the entire class of inductees -- and many of their family members -- onstage to close the show. "We did the impossible: We made New Jersey hip," said Van Zandt, who is from Middletown, NJ. Other performers getting the nod included Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry, of Hawthorne, NJ. Disco queen Gloria Gaynor, who is from Newark, turned the hall into a giant dance party as audience members leapt from their seats and boogied to her hit "I Will Survive." Frankie Valli, who also is from Newark, and his Four Seasons bandmates Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and Joe Long, also were inducted. Bruce Springsteen himself was admitted into the NJHOF a decade earlier. - AP, 5/7/18...... London's AIR Studios, one of the world's largest and most prestigious recording facilities, has been put up for sale by its owners. Founded by Beatles producer Sir George Martin in 1969, the studio has been used by some of the biggest names in music with Paul McCartney, Adele, Coldplay, U2, Muse, George Michael, Kate Bush, Liam Gallagher, David Gilmour, Mumford & Sons and Katy Perry among the many artists to have recorded there. The facility's cavernous hexagonal shaped live room is big enough to house a full symphony orchestra and choir simultaneously, which has also made AIR an in-demand booking for film composers and Hollywood studios. Film scores for Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Alien Covenant are among recent projects recorded at the state-of-the-art studio, based at Lyndhurst Hall, a Grade II listed converted church in Hampstead, North London, since 1991. AIR Studios also boasts an enviable collection of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment (including one of the world's largest Neve 88R consoles), collectively said to be worth around £3 million ($4 million). Co-owner Richard Boote, who acquired the London facility from Chrysalis Group and Pioneer in 2006, says he and his partner Paul Woolf decided to sell the facility because "we're a pair of old farts, basically." - Billboard, 5/7/18...... Phil Collins announced on May 7 that he'll mount his first major North American tour in 12 years beginning on Oct. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Entitled the "Phil Collins Not Dead Yet, Live!" tour after his recent autobiography Not Dead Yet: The Memoir, the trek will be a limited engagement of 15 shows also visiting Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Toronto, Newark, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, Montreal, Cleveland, Oh., Columbus, Oh., Minneapolis, Chicago, Oakland, Calif., and Las Vegas before wrapping in Los Angeles on Oct. 28. Collins will be accompanied by musicians including his longtime guitarist Daryl Stuermer and his 16-year-old son Nicolas Collins on drums. - Billboard, 5/7/18...... Redmond O'Neal, the troubled 33-year-old son of Ryan O'Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett, was arrested on May 8 at 3:00 a.m. by the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division for robbing a convenient store with a knife. According to an LAPD spokesperson, Redmond "entered the store with a knife and approached the clerk and demanded money from the register. The clerk, who was in fear for his life, gave him the money." Though he fled on foot, O'Neal was caught by officers after matching the description of the suspect. "O'Neal was detained and identified as suspect from the robbery," the spokesperson continued. "Officers found the knife and cash in his possession." O'Neal was taken to jail, and is currently being held with a $50,000 bail. In recent years O'Neal has had multiple arrests, and spent a year in prison after being found guilty of drug charges. He had originally been sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation in an ongoing drug possession case. He struggled for years with his sobriety, and was released from prison in 2016. - RadarOnline.com, 5/10/18...... German-Israeli singer Abi Ofarim, who had hits including "Cinderella Rockefella" in the '60s with his wife in the musical duo Esther & Abi Ofarim, has died in Munich after a long illness. He was 80. Born Abraham Reichstadt in what is today Israel, Ofarim started performing there with Esther Zaled in 1959, and the two married in 1961. After hits in Germany, their greatest success came with "Cinderella Rockefella," which reached No. 1 in Britain in 1968 and led to appearances in London and New York. After the pair separated in 1970, Ofarim worked as a producer and manager but had little success with a solo career. In recent years he'd been working with a Munich organization to help seniors. - 5/4/18.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Aerosmith headlined Day 6 of the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the city's Fair Grounds Race Course on May 5 with a hit-packed set that kicked off with "Same Old Song and Dance," "Love In an Elevator" and "Cryin'." "I love this daytime s---!" singer Steven Tyler mused to the crowd watching the show during a light rain. "You can see me scratch my ass. I'm no better than you." The hits kept coming with "Livin On the Edge," "Rag Doll" and "Janie's Got A Gun," and a power-ballad break for "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing," the band's only Billboard No. 1 so far, gave the crowd a chance to sing along. After "Dream On," the band took an encore break and returned with the crowd-pleaser "Walk This Way." During the two-hour set, guitarist Joe Perry provided a bluesy, calming partner to the 70-year-old Tyler's manic energy, proving the band is still a force to be reckoned with live. - Billboard, 5/6/18...... Meanwhile another 70-year-old rocker, Alice Cooper, told New York's Q103 radio station on May 4 that he'll only consider retiring "If we do a tour and nobody shows up, then I'm retired... That's never happened." Cooper continued: "In fact, we're doing better business now than we've ever done. More people are coming to the show now, and I've never felt better, so I don't see any reason to retire at all. I know a lot of guys are quitting, but a lot of guys still smoke and drink. They're probably tired. I'm not tired. People always say, 'Well, you could just play golf every day,' and I say, 'I play golf every day anyway!'" Cooper is currently involved in a range of projects, including the "supergroup" Hollywood Vampires, and there are rumours he may also open for KISS on their 2019 tour. He released his most recent album, Paranormal, in July 2017. - New Musical Express, 5/5/18...... AC/DC's classic 1980 album Back in Black has re-entered the Billboard Hot 200 album chart at No. 152, thanks in part to sales generated from a limited-edition cassette reissue of the album for Record Store Day. Its cassette has been out of print since 2006. Of the album's 6,000 units, 3,000 were in traditional album sales, with cassettes accounting for 45% of the set's total sales for the week ending May 5. Meanwhile, Sting has added another No. 1 to his impressive array of genre chart leaders as his new collaboration with reggae superstar Shaggy, 44-876, has yielded the first No. 1 for the former Police frontman on the Reggae Albums Chart. In addition to the pop chart, Sting has previously topped such lists as the Traditional Classical Albums, Classical Crossover Albums and Holiday Albums Charts. - Billboard, 5/4/18...... NBC announced on May 4 that an ambitious, star-studded two-hour special dedicated to Sweden's ABBA, Thank You for the Music, An All-Star Tribute, will air in December. The network says the special will be broadcast around the world, with the BBC handling international distribution, and feature a variety of "specially invited artists" performing ABBA hits like "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," "The Winner Takes It All" and "Take a Chance On Me." It will also feature band members Agnetha Faltskog, Bjrn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad performing their brand-new song "I Still Have Faith In You" with a twist. It will be "sung" by a virtual ABBA: digital representation of the band in 1979 but voiced and recorded by the band members today. Meanwhile, in a new interview with the UK's Daily Star paper, Andersson and Ulvaeus said that the band have actually been on a break until recently, after spending time apart to focus on other projects. "We never made the decision to say, 'We'll never do it again'," said Andersson. "Bjrn and I wanted to write 'Chess' together with Tim Rice. We said to ourselves and to the girls: 'We'll probably need two years, so let's take a break'. During this time they both made solo albums. But we needed four years for 'Chess'. Then we were like: 'It was four years, why should we get together again?'" Asked about the sound of their new material, Andersson replied: "One of the songs is like we would've written it [for] today. The other, we could've written in 1972." - Billboard/Deadline.com/NME, 5/4/18...... The Charlie Daniels Band will co-headline an upcoming tornado relief concert for the Jacksonville, Fla., area with country icons Alabama, Jamey Johnson and Riley Green at Jacksonville State University on Sept. 26, 2018. An EF-3 level tornado tore through Jacksonville and the JSU campus in March, and Alabama's Randy Owen says the storm did a "tremendous amount of damage" to his alma mater and the band wants to do its part to help. - AP, 5/2/18...... Paul McCartney was made a Companion of Honor by the Royal Family on May 4 during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. King George V founded the Order of the Companions Honour in 1917, which is given as a reward for outstanding achievements to citizens of the Commonwealth realms. Sir Paul receives the honor 20 years after he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. "Congratulations Sir @PaulMcCartney who has been made a #CompanionofHonour at Buckingham Palace today for his lasting contribution to music in the UK and Worldwide," read the caption of the Royal Family's official Twitter account. McCartney was accompanied by his wife, Nancy Shevell, during the ceremony. - Billboard, 5/4/18...... In other Beatles-related news, Julien's Auctions announced on May 3 that Geroge Harrison's first first electric guitar will be auctioned at New York's Hard Rock Cafe on May 19. Harrison played the Hoffner Club 40 electric model when the Beatles played around Liverpool, England, as The Quarrymen. He traded his acoustic guitar for the electric model with Ray Ennis, who was a member of The Swinging Blue Jeans. Julien's estimates the guitar will sell for between $200,000 and $300,000. A 1965 Fender Telecaster owned by The Band's Robbie Robertson played by Harrison, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan is also on the block and estimated to sell between $400,000 and $600,000. - AP, 5/3/18...... Neil Young and Crazy Horse reunited for a concert at Fresno, California's Warnors Theatre on May 1, their first show since 2014. Their completely unrehearsed gig was the first of a three-night stint that Young said "will be the beginning of another beautiful chapter" in the band's nearly 50-year history. The 15-song setlist included covers of such Young solo material as "Winterlong," "World on a String," "Too Far Gone," "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," "Walk On," "Like a Hurricane" and the encore, "Roll Another Number (For the Road)." When recently asked about the future of Crazy Horse, Young said: "Well, we have an incredible album that's in the can that's a recent album. Alchemy. Then we have a 2001 album, Toast. We have a 1969/70 album, early days, which is a lot of stuff nobody's heard." - New Musical Express, 5/2/18............
Appearing on CBS' The Talk program on Apr. 27, Barry Manilow revealed that he will be returning to the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for 20 dates beginning in late May. "Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home" will be presented eight years after the Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award winner performed his residency at Westgate's International Theater from 2005 to 2010. The show opens for previews May 24-26, with grand opening weekend falling from June 14-16 just before Manilow's 75th birthday on June 17. Other show dates are June 21-23, July 19-21, July 26-28, Sept. 27-29, Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... Brian Wilson announced on Twitter on May 1 that he has been forced to cancel his May Pet Sounds performances due to a back problem requiring a medical procedure. Wilson, who underwent back surgery at least once before in 2012, said his condition "runs in the family... [brother] Carl had back problems as well," and apologized to his fans. The nine dates affected include shows in Washington, D.C., Nashville, Tenn., Richmond, Va., Augusta, Ga., Clearwater, Fla., Viera, Fla. and Pampano Beach, Fla. The canceled shows are expected to be rescheduled. Meanwhile, Wilson's former Beach Boys bandmate Mike Love posted a photo of the two performing together on his Facebook page, and wished Brian well: "I hope one day we'll be able to do this again," he said, adding that he was "looking forward to perhaps one day throwing some hoops." - Billboard, 5/1/18...... Paul McCartney and Metallica will be among the headliners at the 2018 Austin City Music Festival, set for the city's Zilker Park over the weekends of Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14. The event will serve as McCartney and Metallica's sole North American festival dates for 2018, and other headlining acts include David Byrne, Shawn Mendes, Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys and Travis Scott. - Billboard, 5/1/18...... Speaking of David Byrne, the former Talking Heads frontman made his first appearance ever at the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Apr. 29. Actor and part-time New Orleanian John Goodman cheered Byrne on from side stage during his minimalist set, with no amplifier or monitor visible. Goodman's an old pal of Byrne's going back to the 1986 cult favorite True Stories, starring Goodman, which Byrne directed, co-wrote and narrated. Byrne's setlist was largely focused on his new American Utopia LP, however he also performed crowd-pleasing Heads classics including "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)," "Once In A Lifetime" and "Burning Down the House." - Billboard, 4/30/18...... The committee responsible for the Tony Awards announced on May 1 that Bruce Springsteen will receive a special award for his blockbuster solo show "Springsteen on Broadway," which has become the top-grossing new production of the 2017-18 season. The honor, which had been widely anticipated in the theater community, was announced along with nominations in the competitive categories of the 72nd Annual Tony Awards. "Springsteen on Broadway" opened officially on Oct. 12 to rave reviews from both theater and music press, and was initially was scheduled to run through Nov. 26, but has been extended multiple times. The show, with average ticket prices around $500 (higher than "Hamilton"), is now scheduled to run through Dec. 15, 2018. The 72nd Annual Tony Awards are scheduled for June 10, and Springsteen will likely perform live on the CBS telecast before receiving his honor. - Billboard, 5/1/18...... In other Springsteen-related news, a red vinyl edition of the Boss' Greatest Hits LP helped the 11th annual Record Store Day on Apr. 21 become the biggest one yet. 580,000 vinyl albums were sold at independent retailers -- the single largest week for the format at the retail sector in Nielsen Music history. Holding the No. 2 position was David Bowie's live set Welcome to the Blackout (Live London '78), followed by Neil Young's Tonight's the Night Live at the Roxy. Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead's Dylan & The Dead came in at No. 5, followed by a mono version of Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Total album sales were up by 23 percent at independent record stores, as compared to Record Store Day week last year (799,000 vs. 649,000). - Billboard, 4/30/18...... The Who's Roger Daltrey was honored at the We Are Family Foundation gala at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom during a nostalgia-filled concert that also featured Chic's Nile Rodgers and LL Cool J. Named after Sister Sledge's 1979 classic "We Are Family" -- which was written and produced by Rodgers -- the non-profit We Are Family Foundation was launched following the 9/11 tragedy that struck New York in 2001 and creates programs for youth that encourages cultural diversity. Daltrey was awarded the Mattie J.T Stepanek Peacemaker Award for his organization, Teen Cancer America, and other charitable efforts. - Billboard, 4/28/18...... Bob Dylan has announced that he's starting his own whiskey company, dubbed "Heaven's Door" after his famous 1973 track. Including a straight rye, a Tennessee bourbon, and a double barrel whiskey, the collection represents a partnership with Marc Bushala -- co-founder of Angel's Envy bourbon. "I've been traveling for decades and I've been able to try some of the best spirits that the world of whiskey has to offer. This is great whiskey," Dylan said in an interview with the New York Times. - Spin.com, 4/28/18...... On Apr. 30 a spokesman for ABBA squashed rumours that the quartet could headline the 2019 Glastonbury Festival in the UK, and also dismissed chances of a renunion tour. "No, - definitely not. We should remember them how they were in the 1970s, and listen to how they sing today," ABBA spokeswoman and manager Gorel Hanser told the UK paper The Mirror. In late April, ABBA announced that they'd be releasing their first new material in 35 years, having recorded two new songs together. The band is currently plotting a "virtual" tour for 2019 using hologram technology, and UK bookies began offering 33/1 odds that the pop icons could headline Glasto in 2019. - New Musical Express, 4/30/18...... Alternative rock faves Foo Fighters were joined by Grease star John Travolta on stage for a cover of the 1978 movie's tune "You're The One That I Want" during a show in Jacksonville, Fla., on Apr. 29. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl cryptically teased that "it gets better" during the start of the performance , before the Hollywood icon made his appearance on stage. It's believed that Travolta was in the area while he continues to film Moose, a new thriller directed by Limp Bizkit's Fred Furst. Another highlight of the show was Billy Idol joining the band for a cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth." - NME, 4/30/18...... A spokesman for Bonnie Raitt announced on Raitt's Facebook page on Apr. 30 that the singer/guitarist will miss the first leg of her upcoming coheadlining tour with James Taylor due to an unspecified health issue. "Following her annual physical, it was determined she needs to schedule some surgery soon. The prognosis is good and a full recovery is expected," read the statement. Raitt included a personal statement to fans, writing, "I'm deeply sorry to have to disappoint my fans, James and colleagues with these cancellations... I fully expect to return for the second leg of the US tour in June followed by our European tour in July." Raitt, 68, also asked for her fans to respect "my wish for privacy and giving me space to heal," promising to see them on the road again soon. - Billboard, 4/30/18...... On Apr. 30 a California court denied parole for former Derek and the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon, who is serving a life sentence for killing his mother in 1983. The California Board of Parole determined that the 72-year-old Gordon could be a risk of violence if released from the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, where Gordon is jailed. Gordon, who played on such iconic 1960's and 1970's tracks as Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" and, most famously, "Layla," as a member of Eric Clapton's band Derek and the Dominos, was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the height of his career. Beginning in 1978, he sought medical treatment at least 15 times, court records show, but he could not escape his mother's voice, which he claimed had tormented him for years. To confront the voices, Gordon drove to his mother's house, where he struck her head with a hammer and also stabbed her. In 1984 he was sentenced to 16 years to life, and "remains an unreasonable risk of threat to public safety," according to the parole board's decision. Today he reportedly refuses contact with lawyers and declines to attend parole hearings. He is said to rarely leave his cell, and often resists medication. A 2005 document shows he was collecting $4,000 a month in royalties at that time, and was disciplined for giving some of that money to fellow inmates. Gordon has served 34 years of his life term, has been denied parole 10 times now and will next be eligible for parole in 2021. - Billboard, 4/30/18...... A Massachusetts church building that was immortalized in Arlo Guthrie's classic 1967 track "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is reopening after some recently completed upgrades. The building in Great Barrington, which was known as the Old Trinity Church and dates to 1829, is home of the nonprofit Guthrie Center and has been closed for about two months during the work. Upgrades include the restoration of the circular stained-glass window at the front entrance, a new ceiling in the great room and insulation. The building will with a memorial for a local journalist who recently died. Its regular schedule of community lunches, musical events and non-denominational services will start in early May. Guthrie's rambling 18-minute song about the 1960s counterculture appeared on his 1967 debut album and inspired a 1969 film of the same name. - AP, 4/30/18...... Funk icon George Clinton has announced he will retire from touring in May 2019. "This has been coming a long time," Clinton says in a statement announcing his retirement. "Anyone who has been to the shows over the past couple of years has noticed that I've been out front less and less." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Parliament/Funkadelic frontman/producer, who turns 77 in July, recently underwent pacemaker surgery, but says that the procedure wasn't a factor in his decision. "Truth be told, it's never really been about me," Clinton says. "It's always been about the music and the band. That's the real P-Funk legacy. They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." Clinton and P-Funk have 50 dates scheduled through the end of 2018, including performances in Europe and Japan. He released a new single, "I'm Gon Make You Sick O'Me," in January featuring Scarface. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... Actress and painter Kris Nelson, the ex-wife of Ricky Nelson and mother of actress Tracy Nelson, musicians Matthew and Gunnar Nelson ,and Sam Nelson, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Apr. 26. She was 72. She was the daughter of football star Tom Harmon and the sister of actor Mark Harmon and actress-model Kelly Harmon. Kris had a recurring role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1963-66) and Adam-12 (1975), and with Ricky headlined the film Love and Kisses (1965). "My mother, Kristin Harmon Nelson, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last night," Tracy Nelson posted on her Facebook page on Apr. 27. "Love and light are welcome." - 4/28/18.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
A trailer for the upcoming Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was screened at the CinemaCon event in Los Angeles on Apr. 26. Introduced by Rami Malek, who plays late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, the trailer opens with the band's classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" playing in the background, as a young Mercury asks to be the lead singer of a band. Retorts one of his future bandmates: "Not with those teeth, mate." The rest of the trailer is comprised of vignettes of Mercury and Queen discovering their sound -- "If I go any higher, only dogs will hear it," Mercury says. Malek also spoke about the pressures of playing Mercury in the film, which took 10 years to get to the screen, saying one of the challenges was capturing how Mercury filled his music "with pain and beauty." Bohemian Rhapsody is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on Nov. 2. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/27/18...... Legendary Swedish pop quartet ABBA announced on Apr. 27 that they have reunited to write and record two new songs -- their first new tracks in 35 years. "The decision to go ahead with the exciting Abba avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence," said the band in a press release. "We all felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!" The group -- which includes Bjrn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad -- hinted at the sound of the new music, saying, "We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good." ABBA also revealed the name of one of the songs, "I Still Have Faith in You," which will be featured in an NBC/BBC special that is slated to air in December. The two-hour TV special will feature the group's avatars performing their greatest hits; the avatars are slated to launch a world tour in 2019. ABBA, which formed in Stockholm in 1972 and racked up a string of global smashes throughout the next decade before going their separate ways in 1983, made a brief reunion in 2016 when they performed together at a private event in Stockholm. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... In other ABBA-related news, Cher received a standing ovation at CinemaCon on Apr. 25 after performing ABBA's "Fernando" to promote her upcoming film, Mamma Mia: Here we Go Again! Dressed in a full glitter pantsuit and matching platform heels, Cher finished the song as balloons dropped form the ceiling. A small armada of dancers performed a choreographed routine, while Cher appeared on a raise platform from behind fake palm fronds. The sequel to the hit 2008 film Mamma Mia! opens in theaters on July 20, and many of the stars of the first film -- including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski and Colin Firth -- return returning for the follow-up, which will include ABBA songs not featured in the first film, along with some reprised favorites. New additions include Cher and Lily James. - Billboard, 4/25/18...... In a new post on his Neil Young Archives page, Neil Young has confirmed that he will return to the stage with his fitfully active backing group Crazy Horse on May 1 and 2 at Warriors Theatre in Fresno, Calif. "First time in a long time, live on stage. No rehearsal," Young posted. The news follows Young claiming in a recent Rolling Stone interview that he and Crazy Horse have "an incredible album in the can that's a recent album. Alchemy," though it is not known if songs from that album will be debuted at the upcoming shows. Longtime Crazy Horse guest guitarist Nils Lofgren mused on Twitter: "The great news is I am jumping back in with #CrazyHorse @Neilyoung I will be there. Beyond honored. Nothing like playing with old friends. A friend just reminded me, at this age you can't coast." - Billboard, 4/24/18...... In other Neil Young news, the rocker reunited with his Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young bandmate Stephen Stills on Apr. 25 for the 3rd Light Up the Blues Concert to benefit Autism Speaks at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. During his mini-set, Young announced after performing a powerful rendition of "Birds" that he wanted to bring his "brother" onto the stage. Stills then walked on to jam with Young on "Long May You Run," along with the Buffalo Springfield anthems "For What It's Worth" and "Mr. Soul." Stills, who organized the benefit concert alongside his wife Kristen in support of their autistic son Henry, addressed the Los Angeles crowd at one point saying, "With the help of steadfast friends and concerned professionals that shared our determination, Kristin and Iwere able to find a path that lead our boy to a far better way of life, and now he's in college." An even grander surprise took place with the late Tom Petty's band the Heartbreakers, who haven't performed since Petty's sudden death this past October, took the stage to perform the rocking "I Won't Back Down" alongside Stills. Patti Smith was also on hand for a performance of "Because The Night." - Billboard, 4/23/18...... Legendary '70s singer/songwriter Eric Andersen has released The Essential Eric Andersen, a 33-track, 2-disc career-spanning set that's being released in conjunction with his 75th birthday. Though best-known as a songwriter whose tunes were recorded by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt and many others, Anderson released his own debut album, Today Is the Highway, in 1965, and has released albums steadily since then. The Essential touches on all eras of his career, and it features guest collaborations with Joan Baez, Dan Fogelberg, Leon Russell, Lou Reed, Richard Thompson, Rick Danko, Phil Ochs and others. Andersen, who currently resides in the Netherlands, will play three shows in California in late April -- Sacramento (4/27), Soquel (4/29) and a Q&A on May 3 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Andersen will also be the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary titled Songpoet. - Billboard, 4/27/18...... Willie Nelson's latest LP Last Man Standing was released in stores and online for streaming on Apr. 27. Announced in February, the album's title appears to be a reference to the songwriter's 85th birthday, which happens on Apr. 29. It is the follow-up to the country/pop icon's 2017 release God's Problem Child and includes the single "Me and You," as well as the album's title track. - Spin.com, 4/27/18...... Deep Purple and Judas Priest announced on Apr. 23 that they'll hit the road for a 25-city co-headlining North American late summer tour that's set to kick off on Aug. 21 in Cincinnati, Oh. The outing is scheduled to run through a Sept. 30 date at the Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland, Calif. Deep Purple are touring behind their 2017 album inFinite, while Judas Priest will be showcasing songs from their March 2018 release, Firepower. - Billboard, 4/23/18...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Fleetwood Mac have revealed that Lindsey Buckingham was indeed fired from the band due to scheduling conflicts. "Words like 'fired' are ugly references as far as I'm concerned," said drummer Mick Fleetwood. "Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall. This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him. Majority rules in term of what we need to do as a band and go forward." As for their falling out due to scheduling issues, Stevie Nicks revealed: "We were supposed to go into rehearsal in June and he wanted to put it off until November . That's a long time. I just did 70 shows [on a solo tour]. As soon as I finish one thing, I dive back into another. Why would we stop? We don't want to stop playing music. We don't have anything else to do. This is what we do." Meanwhile, on Apr. 25 the band announced dates for a 50-plus city fall tour that's set to kick off on Oct. 3 in Tulsa, Okla. With a rebooted lineup featuring former Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn, Fleetwood Mac will hit several major markets including Indianapolis (10/16), Kansas City (10/18), St. Louis (10/20), St. Paul (10/22), Cleveland (10/26), Milwaukee (10/28), Detroit (10/30) and Pittsburgh (11/1) before playing their final 2018 show on Dec. 13 in Inglewood, Calif. In 2019, they'll resume the U.S. leg with a show in Houston on Feb. 5, wrapping on Apr. 5 in Philadelphia. The group will also launch "The Fleetwood Mac Channel" on SiriusXM on May 1 at 5 p.m. ET, running throughout the month on channel 30, with music, interviews and hosted shows from current and former band members. - New Musical Express, 4/25/18...... Herb Alpert has covered Louis Armstrong's iconic hit "What a Wonderful World" as an instrumental version for what he says is "in response to our times." "I'm not a politician, but there's a lot of things going on I'd like to respond to," Alpert said in an interview with Billboard. "I wouldn't in my wildest dreams think of covering such an iconic record, but I've always been taken by what Louis said, and there's a lot of things going on I'd like to respond to. It's a simple statement. It's a true statement. It's apolitical, and I'm sure a lot of people believe it. So I'm just trying to put some feelings out there I think deserve to be out there," he added. Proceeds from Alpert's "What A Wonderful World" will be going to the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation. Alpert's treatment of the song, meanwhile, takes a more upbeat, world music approach, blending Alpert's trumpet with a variety of international instruments from countries including China, Turkey, Japan, Armenia and Trindidad. Alpert says the song is also a chance to salute Louis Armstrong, a friend and personal musical hero. "He was a spectacular guy, really something special. He was genuine, he was passionate, and that came right through his instrument. I've met a lot of great musicians in my day. Some played the shit out of their instrument and were a drag when you met them, but this guy was a beautiful human being. It was always heartwarming to see him. I really loved him." - Billboard, 4/26/18...... Nile Rodgers of Chic is recovering after taking a major spill in the studio on Apr. 25 and breaking his nose. In a video shared to Rodgers' social media pages, the 65-year-old disco icon can be seen on the floor of his studio holding tissues and an icepack to his nose, a pool of blood scattered across the hardwood floors beneath him. "I guess that's what you call a slip and fall," he continues as he scoffs at his misfortune, "I think we better go to the hospital bro." In the video's caption Rodgers writes, "Who's life is more #crazy than mine? I broke my nose tripping on the top stair of my studio." Rodgers, who was hospitalized in 2017 after falling ill in Toronto while on tour with Earth, Wind & Fire, is currently crafting a new Chic album that is set to feature Bruno Mars, Haim and Debbie Harry. - Billboard, 4/25/18...... The brassy troupe Tower of Power is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2018, and on June 1 will release a new album, Soul Side of Town. Co-founding member Emilio Castillo says the new album has been in the works since 2012, and was recorded over four sessions during the past six years. "The whole idea was to make the best record of our career," Castillo says. "One of our old managers said, 'You guys really need to ring the bell this time. You're at 50 years. You've got to make the best record of your career.' When all was said and done we had finished 28 songs and were ready to pick out the best of those." Tower of Power will also play a pair of 50th anniversary concerts on June 1-2 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Calif., which will be filmed for a documentary. - Billboard, 4/25/18...... In 2015, Patti Smith recorded a new live version of her 1975 debut album Horses to mark its 40th anniversary at New York's Electric Lady Studios before an in-studio audience, then hit the road to perform the album in full for packed theaters around the world. Now a new concert documentary of the tour, Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band, has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Apr. 23. Smith, guitarist Lenny Kaye, her son, Jackson and the rest of her musical outfit were the guests of honor as well as the headliners. Also jamming with Smith on a rendition of "Because the Night" and the finale, "People Have The Power," were Bruce Springsteen and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.. - Billboard, 4/24/18...... The Rolling Stones have announced that Florence + the Machine, Liam Gallagher and Michael Bay will be their supporting acts for their upcoming U.K. tour, which launches on May 22 at London Stadium. Gallagher will join the Stones for the first night of the tour; Florence + the Machine will follow with another London Stadium date on May 25, with Bay closing the run with them back in London at Twickenham Stadium on June 19. Meanwhile, the Stones have also announced that a huge 15-album vinyl box set, The Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971-2016, will hit stores on June 15. The release will offer fans of the legendary band the opportunity to obtain a remastered version of every studio album released by the Stones since 1971's Sticky Fingers on brand new heavyweight, 180-gram black vinyl. Sourced from the original master tapes, each album has been remastered and cut at half-speed by engineers at Abbey Road Studios. Each album also contains a numbered certificate of authentication, with detailed artwork reproductions for each LP. In other Stones news, Mick Jagger has revealed that he is writing new material, ahead of band's upcoming UK tour. "I am writing at the moment," he told Independent IE in a recent interview. Questioned on whether his ideas would be part of a solo release or Stones record, Jagger replied: "I'm just writing. It is mostly for the Stones at the moment..."I don't really think about what I have written, much. I just keep ploughing forward, really." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 4/23/18...... The family of Prince have announced that they are to sue the Illinois hospital that treated the late music icon for an opioid overdose only a week before his death. The family, represented by trustee Michael A. Zimmer, claim that he received improper care after his private plane made an emergency landing in the early hours of Apr. 15, 2016, following a show in Atlanta. The lawsuit alleges that Prince's death was a "direct and proximate cause" of the Trinity Medical Centre's alleged failure to diagnose and treat the overdose, alongside an apparent failure to investigate the cause of it. The family is also suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens, accusing its employees of "dispensing narcotic prescription medications" to the singer for an invalid medical purpose. - NME, 4/24/18...... A rare vintage poster for a 1955 Elvis Presley concert in North Carolina has sold at auction for more than double the expected price. The poster, made by the iconic Nashville, Tenn.-based poster maker Hatch Show Prints, advertises a May 19, 1955 concert in Raleigh where Presley was on the lineup below Hank Snow, Faron Young and other acts. Giles Moon of Texas-based Heritage Auctions says he had expected the poster to sell for about $20,000, however it went for $42,500. Moon says both the buyer, who is from California, and the seller prefer to remain anonymous. - AP, 4/22/18...... Actor/comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting a woman on Apr. 26 in Norristown, Pa., in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era. A jury convicted the Cosby Show star of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, and the guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the charges. Cosby, 80, was charged with violating Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His lawyer called Ms. Constand a "con artist" who leveled false accusations against Cosby so she could sue him. Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the counts. Dozens of women have come forward in recent years to say he drugged and assaulted them. Five of the other accusers testified against him at the retrial. - AP, 4/26/18...... The premier of Britpop Classical will be the opening act on Sept. 1 at Cool Britannia Festival in Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire, UK. Britpop Classical features a full rock back of some of the country's best session musicians together with an amazing horns section and orchestra, all backing a spectacular array of vocalists including The Farm's Peter Hooton performing "All Together Now," Saffron from Republica with "Ready To Go," Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory covering Pulp's "Common People" and just added -- the unique Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia, EastEnders) will close the set with Blur's "Parklife." Tickets for the festival are on sale now via the official festival website, CoolBritanniaFest.com. - Noble PR, 4/24/18...... Saxophonist Charles Neville, who once toured with B.B. King and later gained fame with the Neville Brothers group, died on Apr. 26 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 79. The New Orleans-born Neville began his career in the 1950s when he performed with King and other musical greats, but was best know for three decades of performances with his siblings Aaron, Art and Cyril as the Grammy-winning Neville Brothers. "I know you have a spot in the heavenly band next to James Booker, James Black, Herbert Hardesty, Fats Domino, Johnny Adams all the jazz bebop players who you turned me on to," Aaron Neville posted on his Facebook page. "Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Miles and the list goes on," he added. Charles Neville, who lived in Massachusetts in recent years, had announced in January that he had pancreatic cancer. His death came a day before the opening of his home town's signature musical and cultural event, the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. - AP, 4/26/18...... Bob Donough, the jazzman who created the clever and enduring Schoolhouse Rock childrens series of the 1970s that taught grammar, math, science and citizenship to a generation of TV-watching kids, died on Apr. 23 at his home in Mount Bethel, Penn. He was 94. His family did not give a cause. - AP, 4/24/18.
Seventies hitmaker Roberta Flack was rushed to a New York City hospital after cutting short her appearance at Harlem's Apollo Theater on Apr. 20 because she was not feeling well. Flack, 81, was taken to Harlem Hospital via ambulance, saying she felt dizzy. The singer, who was about to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Jazz Foundation of America during her appearance, was released from the hospital after several hours. A spokesperson for the Jazz Foundation said the "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" singer was "feeling fine," but Flack went to another Manhattan hospital after being released from Harlem Hospital for observation by her personal doctors. - AP, 4/21/18...... Led Zeppelin has shared a teaser trailer for their special 7" single release for this year's Record Store Day, featuring unreleased versions of both "Rock And Roll" and "Friends." The vinyl single hit stores on Record Day, Apr. 21, and offers fans the chance to hear the Sunset Sound Mix of "Rock And Roll" and the the Olympic Studios Mix of "Friends" for the first time ever. Led Zepp has also released a newly remastered version of their classic live album How The West Was Won in multiple formats. - NME, 4/20/18...... Paul McCartney remembered his late first wife Linda McCartney on Apr. 17, the 20th anniversary of her death in 1998, with a loving Instagram post. "Remembering Linda with love today. Beautiful memories," Sir Paul posted, below a picture of Linda. Linda, who tragically died at age 56 on April 17, 1998, after a three-year battle with breast cancer, were married (and inseparable) from their 1969 marriage until her death, and became a rock power couple as founding members of the chart-topping band Wings. - Billboard, 4/19/18...... In other Beatles-related news, Cheech & Chong member Tommy Chong says he and his partner Cheech Marin have "a ton of outtakes" from their 1973 hit "Basketball Jones," which featured the late George Harrison on lead guitar during the session. "We've got all of that in the can that we're going to spring on people eventually, one day. That'd be great," Chong said, though he did not state any specific plans for releasing the Harrison material. "George and I were buddies," Chong says. "George and I used to smoke quite a bit when we'd meet once in a while at different places. He was in the studio at A&M at the same time we were doing 'Basketball Jones,' so [producer] Lou [Adler] asked him to come in and do a little guitar riff for us. And George is George; He literally made that song." 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of "Basketball Jones" and the duo's Los Cochinos album, but currently Cheech & Chong have been focused primarily on celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 1978 film comedy Up In Smoke. Also participating on the "Basketball Jones" session were Beatles lieutenants Klaus Voorman and Billy Preston, along with Carole King, Tom Scott and Nicky Hopkins. - Billboard, 4/20/18...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, Ringo Starr released a new video for the title track to his upcoming Give More Love album on Apr. 19. The clip, directed by Brent Carpenter, includes fan photos contributed especially for the video that were submitted in a contest sponsored by Ringo. "They (Ringo and the record company) told people to submit stills and video that to them meant 'Give More Love,'" says Carpenter, who added Ringo helped choose the images to be used. Meanwhile, on the same day Ringo announced plans for his 10th annual "Peace and Love" birthday event to take place July 7 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nice, France, during his Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band's upcoming European tour. Fans around the world can join in by saying or thinking "Peace and Love" at noon on July 7. Besides the live event, Hard Rock outlets around the globe will stream a special "Peace and Love" birthday video just before noon from Sir Ringo. After a date in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 2, Ringo and his band will head to Europe for 20 shows starting in Paris on June 6. They'll kick off a U.S. run on Sept. 1 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Tulsa, Okla. The ambitious 41-city summer trek will wrap on Sept. 29 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. - Billboard, 4/19/18...... In more Beatles news, a sketch drawn by John Lennon depicting himself as Adolf Hitler sold at auction for $54,000 on Apr. 22. The controversial drawing, an ink doodle which situates Lennon behind a podium with his arm raised in a Nazi salute, is part of a larger sketch book that makes liberal use of Nazi iconography mixed with the likeness of the Beatles members. "(John) drew these when he was a college student, and the fact that he even thought of depicting himself as Hitler is weird," says memorabilia dealer Gary Zimet, who added "original Lennon drawings are very desirable and they are ultra rare." - New Musical Express, 4/22/18...... Sir Tom Jones and Sir Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, were among the famous singers performing at an Apr. 21 concert in London marking the 92nd birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Also serenading the monarch, who was in attendance, were Kylie Minogue, Shaggy, Craig David and Jamie Cullum. Highlights included Sting and Shaggy performing their reggae-infused single "Don't Make Me Wait," which appears on their collaborative album 44/8762. Queen Elizabeth, the world's longest-reigning living monarch, was accompanied by other members of the royal family, including her grandson, Prince Harry. Her actual birthday on Apr. 21, which she usually marks privately with her family, and her "official birthday" occurs in the summer and will be recognized with a military parade in central London. - AP, 4/21/18...... The original pair of tassled loafers worn by Michael Jackson during a rehearsal for his first-ever "moonwalk" during his iconic 1983 performance of "Billie Jean" during the 25th Anniversary of Motown special are conservatively expected to bring as much as $10,000 when they're put on the auction block on May 26 at the Hilton in Universal City, Calif. It has been verified that Jackson wore the black Florsheim loafers during the rehearsal, and probably during the actual performance as well. - NME, 4/21/18...... Paramount Pictures announced on Apr. 20 that it has picked up distribution rights for the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman. Paramount will also finance the picture, which will star Kingsman actor Taron Egerton as the legendary pop singer, from his days at the Royal Academy of Music to his rise to international stardom in the early 1970s. John and his husband, David Furnish will produce the picture under their Rocket Pictures banner, with Dexter Fletcher, who previously worked with Egerton on Eddie the Eagle, directing. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/20/18...... Bette Midler announced on Apr. 20 that she will be returning to her lead role in the Tony Award-winning revival of "Hello, Dolly!" on July 17 for a six-week run that will close the production on Aug. 25. The iconic role of Dolly Levi marked The Divine Miss M's return to the Broadway musical stage in about 50 years and she shattered box office records at the Shubert Theatre. Midler won the Tony for best actress in a musical, and her co-star David Hyde Pierce earned a Tony nomination for his role in the production. Midler stepped into the role last spring and ended her run in mid-January. She was replaced by Bernadette Peters, who will now leave after the July 15 show. The first national tour of "Hello, Dolly!" kicks off in October at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio, starring Tony Award-winner Betty Buckley. - AP, 4/20/18...... The new Tina Turner jukebox musical "Tina" has opened at the Aldwych Theatre in London, showcasing the famed rock singer's tumultuous life story, from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tenn., through her remarkable comeback in the 1980's with her Private Dancer album. The adult Turner is played by Tony-nominated actress Adrienne Warren, and her domineering bandleader and ex-husband Ike Turner is portrayed by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Directing the project is Phyllida Lloyd, who is best known for helming the ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!," which became a global smash on stage and screen. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/19/18...... Authorities in Minnesota released what they describe as the "vast majority" of evidence from their investigation into the Apr. 21, 2016, death of Prince on Apr. 20. The Carver County, Minn., sheriff's office released 15GB of data to the public under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, which includes images of Prince's body from the death scene, CCTV footage of the star visiting a doctor's office the day before he died, and interviews with individuals close to the singer who say they had been concerned about his health in the days leading to his death. Also included are photos from inside Prince's Paisley Park vault and a Sinead O'Connor police interview from May 2016 where she alleged that Prince had a history of drug use and violence towards women. "I've seen him in very frightening conditions after using drugs," O'Connor told police, adding: "He had been extremely violent to a number of women in his life, including myself, and several women were put in the hospital while Prince was under the effects of these medications." Carver County attorney Mark Metz said the musician, age 57, had suffered the overdose due to taking counterfeit pills, which contained the powerful painkiller fentanyl, and that no one will be charged in the case, although none of the medications found in Prince's home after his death had been prescribed to him, with some having been prescribed to his former drummer Kirk Johnson, and others found in vitamin bottles and envelopes. Meanwhile, a previously unreleased original version of Prince's iconic hit "Nothing Compares 2 U" was issued for the first time on Apr. 19 by the Prince estate in collaboration with Warner Bros. Records. "Nothing Compares 2 U" became a breakout No. 1 hit for Sinead O'Connor in 1990 was recorded at the Flying Cloud Drive "Warehouse" in Eden Prairie, Minn., by Prince's longtime engineer Susan Rogers and was originally composed, arranged and performed entirely by Prince. In addition to the saxophone breaks, the Prince version presents a more sensual take on the song. It has also been announced that Prince's unfinished memoir, The Beautiful One, will finally be released in the latter part of 2018. Prince had submitted only 50 pages of the handwritten memoir before his 2016 death, and the book may also feature "reproductions of Prince's longhand pages." - NME/Billboard, 4/20/18...... Comedy legend Carol Burnett will make her return to series television and her Netflix debut on May 4 with A Little Help With Carol Burnett. The show, which spotlights every day people receiving advice to their real-life problems from little kids, will also feature celebrity guests including DJ Khaled, Taraji P. Henson, Derek Hough, Taraji P. Henson, Derek Hough, Julie Bowen, Lisa Kudrow, Brittany Snow, Mark Cuban and Wanda Sykes, among others. - 4/16/18...... Verne Troyer, an actor best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series, died on Apr. 21 of an as yet undisclosed cause. He was 49. "It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today," a statement on his official Facebook page reads. "Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday." The statement makes sweeping statements about depression and suicide. "Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he's struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much," it says. Troyer, who grew up in an Amish community in Michigan, rose to fame after his Austin Powers debut in 1999's The Spy Who Shagged Me, and reprised the role in 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember. He also played Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Coach Punch Cherkov in The Love Guru, and had guest spots on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Scrubs, Two and a Half Men and Boston Public. Troyer also memorably appeared as Mini Me in the music video for Ludacris' "Number One Spot" from the 2004 album The Red Light District. Troyer vocally battled alcohol addiction, having nearly died in 2002 from alcohol poisoning following a breakup, and footage of drunken antics from the reality show The Surreal Life went viral. "That was a bad period in my life," he said in 2016. "I've learned from it, and I move on," however in 2017, he announced that he was receiving treatment for alcohol addiction on his Facebook page. Among those offering their condolences to Troyer are Austin Powers star Mike Myers, actress Marley Matlin, and musician Slash. - The Hollywood Reporter, 4/21/18.