Two holiday solo classics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney have reached the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for the first time in 2018. Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1971 Plastic Ono Band track "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" debuted at No. 45 on the Streaming Songs chart (13.2 million, up 33 percent) dated Dec. 29, while gaining by 10 percent to 16.6 million in airplay audience. Meanwhile, McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," first released in 1979, has also made its first Hot 100 appearance, debuting at No. 50 on Streaming Songs (12.1 million, up 27 percent) and increases by 13 percent to 18.5 million in radio reach. Lennon and McCartney last appeared on the Billboard chart as solo artists for the week ending March 1, 1975 when Lennon's "#9 Dream" ranked at No. 13 and McCartney's "Junior's Farm"/"Sally G" was at No. 64. - Billboard, 12/25/18...... Bruce Springsteen, who earlier in 2018 told fans he hopes to release a new solo album in 2019, has made recordings of his "No Nukes 1979" two-night stand concert at New York's Madison Square Garden available for the first time on the live music archive site Nugs.net. Held on Sept. 21 and 22 of 1979, the shows found Springsteen in between his fourth and fifth studio albums, Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River. Both nights open with a trio of songs from the former and feature then-unreleased songs from the latter, like "Sherry Darling" and "The River," which got its live debut at his No Nukes shows. Both concerts feature Springsteen and the E Street Band covering Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' "Stay," a '60s doo-wop song that had been reworked by Jackson Browne in 1978 for his classic Running On Empty album. Browne (who helped organize the No Nukes benefit) joins alongside Rosemary Butler both nights, while Tom Petty comes along for the second show. Complete recordings of both nights are available in a variety of formats. $2 from every purchase will benefit MUSE (Musicians United For Safe Energy), the coalition formed by Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall and Harvey Wasserman in response to 1979's Three Mile Island nuclear disaster. Earlier in December, Nugs.net also shared Springsteen's 1975 Roxy concerts. - Billboard, 12/27/18...... Record producer Phil Spector, who is currently serving his sentence for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, settled his divorce with his third wife, Rachelle Short, on Dec. 4 and secured several items of his celebrity memorabilia in the settlement. According to court documents, the many priceless celebrity treasures Spector was awarded include a John Lennon electric guitar with an accomanying handwritten note by Yoko Ono; Grammy Awards, including an "Album of the Year" award for 1972's The Concert for Bangladesh with George Harrison; a Best Original Song Score Oscar statue for the 1970 Beatles film Let It Be; and diamond cufflinks gifted to him by Elvis Presley. Spector's ex-wife Rachelle meanwhile got to keep many of her vehicles, including a 2009 Vespa GTS 250 and 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish, and a 2007 Columbia 400 airplane. The documents also state that Spector and Rachelle must sell his infamous residence, Pyrenees Castle, in Alhambra, Calif., where Clarkson was killed for a 50/50 split. The house will be listed for $5.5 million. Short and the "Wall of Sound" creator wed on Sept. 1, 2006, as Spector was awaiting trial. They split in 2016, with Spector claiming Rachelle was bleeding him dry by spending money on lavish items like planes and homes. - TheBlast.com, 12/24/18...... The federal judge presiding over pop singer Dionne Warwick years-long legal battle with the IRS has set a court date for Mar. 6, 2019 in New Jersey, it was revealed on Dec. 27. Warwick filed for bankruptcy in 2013, with assets totaling only $25,500 but liabilities in the amount of $10,727,429, which includes an almost $7 million tax debt to Uncle Sam. At the time she blamed a business manager for her finances being in a mess. The case has dragged on for years due to the singer suing the government over her issues with the tax division. Warwick was seeking a court order discharging her $7 million tax debt from 1990-2008 and for a judge to order the IRS not be allowed to seize her assets over the debts. The debt was discharged in her bankruptcy, but the feds maintain the wiping clean of her debt was not valid. The judge has reportedly cleared four days off the calendar when the two sides face off in March, in case it takes that long for both sides to present their case. - TheBlast.com, 12/27/18...... In related news, the attorney for Aretha Franklin's estate said on Dec. 27 that the estate has paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS since the Queen of Soul's death in August. Franklin's estate is being audited by the IRS, which filed a claim earlier in December in a county probate court north of Franklin's hometown of Detroit. TMZ.com reported on Dec. 20 that legal documents it obtained showed the IRS claimed Franklin owes more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties. "We have a tax attorney. All of her returns have been filed," the estate lawyer, David Bennett, told the AP. "We have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don't understand how the business works." Bennett added that Franklin had a lot of expenses whenever she toured. Documents filed in an Oakland County court after Franklin's death did not mention the value of her estate, which could run into the tens of millions. Franklin's estate also has paid money to the state of Michigan and other jurisdictions "where she would have had some income," Bennett said. Franklin had been the target of a number of lawsuits by creditors during the late 1980s and 1990s, and The Detroit Free Press reported in 2008 that Franklin owed a total of $19,192 in back taxes on the property through 2007. - AP, 12/28/18...... Meanwhile in other Aretha Franklin news, The Grammy Awards' Recording Academy will pay tribute to the 18-time Grammy winner with an "Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul" tribute concert on Jan. 13. Among the artists performing songs from Franklin's legendary repertoire will be Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle and John Legend. The live concert, hosted by actor/filmmaker Tyler Perry, will tape on Jan. 13, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. PT at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The special will be broadcast later in 2019 on the CBS Television Network. - AP, 12/27/18...... Drummer Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, says he's hatching plans for his own Led Zep golden anniversary celebration during 2019. "Next year I feel is an even bigger year because  was the first two albums, the first concerts, all of that," Bonham says. "So I've got a few more plans with how I'd like to do things. I'd love to play the Royal Albert Hall and do the set they played back in '69. That would be something I'd love to achieve. Bonham, who has been carrying the torch for Zep and his father with a tribute live show that he started during 2009 as Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, continued: "And all of this, I think, will continue as the years go on, because each year coming up will be 50 years since Led Zeppelin III, whatever. I can imagine the celebrating of Led Zeppelin IV will be a big one. I just can't believe it was that long ago, and it still sounds so good and so timeless. People still love to hear this [music], and I'm happy to be able to go out and play it for them with some authenticity and a real connection to it all." Bonham -- who also plays in the all-star Black Country Communion and in Sammy Hagar's band The Circle -- took his "Led Zeppelin Evening" show on the road with Foreigner and Whitesnake this past summer, and played his own shows in the fall. - Billboard, 12/21/18...... Britain's Prince Charles has revealed some of his favourite music artists in a new interview with Radio 3's "Private Passions" program to mark the prince's 70th birthday. On the show, Prince Charles chose to play Leonard Cohen's "Take This Waltz," saying: "I've always loved Leonard Cohen's voice and his whole approach to the way he sang. He was obviously incredibly sophisticated in the way he sang, but also wrote." The prince continued: "I find it very moving, the words are so extraordinary, sort of Salvador Dali-like - they lead you into this remarkable Dali-like world." Charles' appearance on "Private Passions "is not the first time the prince has praised Cohen. He previously described him as a "remarkable man" and hailed his orchestration and lyrics as "fantastic." Elsewhere in the programme, he talked about 'Scylla et Glaucus', a rare 18th-century opera by Jean-Marie Leclair, the final movement of Beethoven's fifth symphony, and more. - New Musical Express, 12/27/18.
As the iconic Motown record label in Detroit celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019, plans are underway to expand the Motown Museum after it announced on Dec. 22 it has received a number of grants, including a $1.3 million grant from the Kresge Foundation, $500,000 from The Elaine & Leo Stern Foundation, $225,000 from AARP and $55,000 from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The gifts will support development of a public plaza and renovation of three nearby buildings for education and community programs. The expansion will be built around the existing museum which was founded by label head Berry Gordy and includes the original studio and famous "Hitsville U.S.A." sign. - AP, 12/22/18...... Drummer Carl Palmer, the sole surviving member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, is hatching plans to commemorate the legendary prog-rock trio's 50th anniversary in 2020 with more catalog re-releases and a special live ELP tribute concert. "I'm looking right now at putting a show together, probably in America, with some A-listers," Palmer says. "I can't tell you who they are, but in principle as a project it looks like it's going to go through." Palmer also hopes to revisit a lengthy ELP documentary film that's been sitting on the sideline for some years. "When we were signed to Sanctuary, ELP released a documentary that was six hours long. That got lost in the wash, so we're going back and re-editing that and putting together another couple hours of documentary stuff that hasn't been seen," Palmer adds. ELP, which formed in 1970, played its first concert in August of that year, followed by a slot at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival six days later. The group released 10 studio albums during its two tenures (1970-79 and 1991-98) and last performed together to commemorate its 40th anniversary at the 2010 High Voltage Festival in London. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake both passed away during 2016. Palmer, who says he "wakes up every morning and says to myself, 'Thank God I'm here and I'm still playing'," noted that "you don't really live it as it's happening 'cause things are moving so fast... You only appreciate it afterwards. So now I'm appreciating what we did way back then." Meanwhile, Palmer has been carrying the ELP torch since 2001 with his Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy shows, leading a trio that substitutes guitar for Emerson's keyboards in order to pay tribute to the group's songs. Palmer was also a member of the 1980's prog-rock supergroup Asia, and says "there's nothing planned at the moment" for the band, which is curently on hiatus. "Depending on how meetings go, Asia might even be touring next summer," Palmer says. I'm going to link it and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy into the same tour; I'm not sure how it's going to happen yet, but we'll make some proposals and see. I like the idea of doing some double-dipping." - Billboard, 12/21/18...... Neil Young announced on Dec. 20 that he'll launch a new paid subscription service and app for his vast, years-in-the-making Neil Young Archives (NYA). Young, in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, launched the NYA site in beta in 2017 for completists and hardcore fans. "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," Young says. "All my new records can be heard there first, before they get released anywhere else. New, unreleased albums from the archives and old, unreleased albums from the archives will always be heard there first. Our machine is a monster." The NYA subscription service will cost $1.99 per month or $19.99 for a full year and includes unlimited access to Young's ever-expanding archives, including hi-resolution streams of all available recordings, plus a timeline filled materials related to his music, movies, videos, books, photographs, manuscripts and press notes. The new paid subscription service, accessible via his website and an iOS app (Android soon), includes other perks like first dibs on concert tickets, livestreams of other live shows, early access to new and unreleased music, and full access to Young's personal news outlet, the "NYA Times Contrarian." A free version of the subscription will let users peruse the timeline and includes access to a featured album and song of the day, both using Xstream by NYA. - Billboard, 12/20/18...... Speaking to the New York Times on Dec. 19 in his first full-length interview in nearly 10 years, Van Halen's David Lee Roth revealed he's moving into the celebrity skincare game with his surprising new line "Ink the Original," which is designed specifically for people with tattoos. Roth says the line includes products like an SPF stick, SPF spray, and a "tattoo-brightening balm," and was inspired by Roth's own tattoos, which he says he spent over 300 hours getting for $300 an hour. Diamond Dave says he wasn't only thinking of himself with his new cosmetics line though but also "power women": "Tina Fey can take this out of her bag at a full table of the most stellar, dynamic wits in the business. She takes this out of her bag, and the guys will want to borrow it." (Tina Fey has no visible tattoos.) - The New York Times/Jezebel.com, 12/19/18...... Despite naming his "farewell tour" the "No More Tours 2" tour, Ozzy Osbourne is assuring fans that he still plans to tour in the future -- just not as much. Osbourne, who turned 70 on Dec. 3, told the Pasedena Star-News on Dec. 22 that his upcoming shows aren't actually a farewell tour at all. "People have gotten that all wrong," he said. "The tour should have been the Ozzy Osbourne 'Slowing Down Tour'. What I'm actually doing is not going out on January 1 and coming back on December 31. I'll still tour, but not as extensively like I have been for the last 50 years. I mean, I have grandchildren now and I'm 70 years old and I don't want to be found dead in a hotel room somewhere. I'm going to do it at a more leisurely pace and do some shows in Vegas -- but I'll never stop. The whole lifestyle I have lived, it has all come down to the fact that there are people who want to hear me and as long as they want to hear me, I'm there." Meanwhile, Ozzy's former band Black Sabbath and '70s funk rockers George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic are among the artists set to receive the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2019 Grammys awards show. Dionne Warwick, Donny Hathaway, Julio Iglesias, soul duo Sam & Dave and late jazz singer Billy Eckstine will also be receiving the award during the ceremony set for May 11 in Los Angeles. The Grammys' non-performance Trustees Award will be presented to Lou Adler, Ashford & Simpson and Johnny Mandel. - New Musical Express, 12/22/18...... The first leg of Elton John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" has earned a total of $42 million, enough to handily top the Billboard Hot Tours recap for the week ending Dec. 22, 2018. John began the trek playing to 8,983 fans at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., on Sept. 8, 2018, and has played 41 arena dates across North America. In the new year, Elton will resume the FYBR tour in Boise, Idaho, on Jan. 11 and continue in North America through March 18 in Orlando. More European and North American dates are scheduled through the end of 2020, with even more to potentially be added. John has grossed $1.2 billion since Billboard Boxscore began tracking touring data in 1990. With approximately 250 dates left before the curtain closes, his final gross could climb past the $1.5 billion mark. - Billboard, 12/18/18...... The Beach Boys singer Mike Love has teamed up with teen pop idols Hanson for a new Christmas video entitled "Finally It's Christmas," a track from his new yuletide LP Reason For the Season. "I love the song because it pays homage to some of the cultural mythology of Christmas as well as the spiritual part of it, too," says Love, who was introduced to Hanson via Reason For the Season co-producer Steve Greenberg. The album features a mix of originals and holiday favorites, including a remake of the Beach Boys' "Little St. Nick," and Love's four children sing on five of the tracks, along with his sister Maureen. Meanwhile, Love and the Beach Boys are wrapping up a holiday tour in December behind Reason For the Season, and are planning the usual full schedule of touring for 2019. Love is also awaiting word from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, where he's been nominated as a Performing Songwriter for the class of 2019. "It's really cool and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. That would be a very nice thing to be part of," says Love, who would also view it as a vindication as well after having to sue during the mid-'90s to receive songwriting credit (and royalties) for 35 Beach Boys songs. "It's rough when your uncle (Murry Wilson) handles the publishing and he purposely eliminated my participation on 'Help Me, Rhonda" and 'California Girls' and 'I Get Around' and the others," Love says. "But it got rectified for the most part, and my participation was confirmed and affirmed and even Brian himself said, 'No, Mike wrote that.'" - Billboard, 12/18/18...... Queen guitarist Brian May announced on Dec. 19 that he'll release "New Horizons," his first solo single in 20 years, on New Year's Day live from NASA's Control Center. May, who is also an astrophysics doctor in addition to one of the world's most renowned guitarists, will drop the track in tribute to NASA's on-going New Horizons mission - which will achieve the most distant spacecraft flyby in history on New Year's Day. The track also features words spoken by the late astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. "This project has energised me in a new way," said May. " For me it's been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together - Astronomy and Music... I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand of Man has ever reached - it will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the space craft will beam back to Earth. To me it epitomises the human spirit's unceasing desire to understand the Universe we inhabit." "New Horizons" will be available on NASA's website from 12:02 am EST on Jan. 1, 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/19/18...... Book publisher Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, announced on Dec. 18 that Olivia Newton-John's autobiography Don't Stop Believin', released in the fall of 2017 in her longtime home Australia, will be released in the U.S. on March 12, 2019. The U.S. edition will include a new afterword by the 70-year-old award-winning singer and actress, who announced in September that she was again being treated for breast cancer. She was first diagnosed in 1992. - AP, 12/18/18...... Officials in the U.K. have granted pop star Robbie Williams permission to develop an underground swimming pool at his London home, ending a feud with his next door neighbor, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, that began five years ago. The plans for Williams' underground gym and swimming pool at his Grade II listed home were given the green light during a Kensington Town Hall meeting on Dec. 18. Page had previously raised concerns that the construction work could severely damage the foundations of his gothic revival mansion, which is located next door. Councillors now say that work will only be allowed to take place once suitable assurances are received on both vibration levels and the movement of the property's foundation. Williams could also be asked to pay a bond, which will be forfeited if the damage occurs or any planning conditions are subsequently breached. The feud originated in 2013 when Williams purchased the property, which is the former home of late film director Michael Winner. Page has lived next door since 1972. Appearing before a planning committee earlier in 2018, Page said: "My home was designed by William Burges, one of the greatest architects of the 19th Century. I'm here to plea that you take all necessary measures to protect the Tower House from the threat of harm it faces." In 2017, Williams issued an apology for referring to Page as "mentally ill," having previously accused the legendary guitarist of sitting in his car and recording workmen to test noise levels at the property. - New Musical Express, 12/19/18...... International blues/rock/soul guitarist, singer and songwriter Ben Poole has announced a second leg of his "Anytime You Need Me Tour" in February 2019. The tour kicks off on Jan. 31 at The Maltings in Farnham and wraps on Feb. 16 16th February at The Leopard in Doncaster. Tickets for all concerts can be booked from http://benpooleband.com/live. - Noble PR, 12/18/18...... Actress/director Penny Marshall, the nasally and good-natured Bronx native who starred on the popular ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley before shattering records as a top-grossing female director in Hollywood with such films as Big, A League of Their Own and Awakenings, died from complications from diabetes at her Hollywood Hills home on Dec. 17. She was 75. The younger sister of the late writer-director-producer Garry Marshall and the first wife of actor-director Rob Reiner, Marshall had been diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in 2009. Marshall rose to fame in the mid-'70s for playing the wisecracking Laverne DeFazio on the Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley, created by her brother. Laverne & Shirley, which aired for eight seasons from 1976-83, centered on the escapades of two romantically challenged Milwaukee brewery workers, with Cindy Williams co-starring as Marshall's idealistic roommate, Shirley Feeney. Marshall also directed a handful of episodes of the sitcom, then was approached to step in as a last-minute replacement for Howard Zieff to helm the feature comedy Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), starring Whoopi Goldberg. For her next film, she hit comedic pay dirt with Big (1988), the Tom Hanks vehicle about a boy who wakes up in the body of an adult. Co-produced by James L. Brooks, who brought the script to her, it was the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million (about $198 million in today's dollars) domestically. Another successful Marshall comedy, A League of Their Own (1992), was a fictional account about the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League organized during World War II that also starred Hanks (as well as Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna) and broke through the $100 million barrier as well. In between those films, the director dramatically changed course with the fact-based Awakenings (1990), which starred Robert De Niro as a middle-aged man who has been catatonic for 30 years and Robin Williams as a painfully shy doctor determined to "awaken" him. With Awakenings, Marshall became the second woman ever to helm a best picture Oscar nominee. She also is only one of seven to achieve that without landing a directors nom as well. Born Carole Penny Marshall on Oct. 15, 1943, Marshall and her family lived on the Grand Concourse, a major thoroughfare in the Bronx. Following high school, she fled to the University of New Mexico to study psychology, got married in 1961, dropped out and had a daughter, Tracy, her only child (who later was adopted by Reiner). Divorced after two years, Marshall supported herself with an array of jobs, including a stint as a choreographer for the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera Association, before heading to Los Angeles in 1967. Supporting herself as a secretary while studying acting, she appeared in commercials, including a Head & Shoulders ad where she played the "plain" girl opposite the gorgeous and then-unknown Farrah Fawcett. After appearing on such shows as That Girl and Love, American Style, she and Reiner -- mere months before they were to marry -- auditioned for a new CBS sitcom. But while Reiner was cast as Michael Stivic, it was Sally Struthers who ended up playing his wife, Gloria, on All in the Family. Marshall also appeared in such sitcoms as The Odd Couple (as Oscar Madison's flighty secretary, Myrna Turner), The Bob Newhart Show andThe Mary Tyler Moore Show and had a regular role on the short-lived sitcom Friends and Lovers, created by Brooks and Alan Burns. More recently, Marshall directed a couple of episodes of Showtime's United States of Tara and appeared on IFC's Portlandia, and the Fox sitcom Mulaney. One of Hollywood's most fervent Los Angeles Lakers fans, Marshall regularly was seen courtside at the Forum and then Staples Center, with her trademark tinted glasses perched precariously on her nose. Marshall, who published her candid autobiography My Mother Was Nuts in 2012, was twice married, the first time to Michael Henry from 1961-63, the second time to actor-director Rob Reiner from 1971-79. Both marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by a daughter by Henry who was adopted by Reiner, actress Tracy Reiner and sister Ronny Hallin, a TV director. Garry Marshall died in 2016. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/18/18.