Songs by '70s stars David Bowie, Pink Floyd and the Poilice helped spice up the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena in PyeongChang, South Korea on Feb. 17. American ice skater Vincent Zhou skated to a Moulin Rouge! selection during men's free skate with a medley of Bowie singing "Nature Boy" and "Come What May" sung by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, and Australia's Brendan Kerry busted out a medley of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Money." Earlier in the games, Canadian skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir performed to the Moulin Rouge! version of the Police's "Roxanne." - Billboard, 2/16/18...... British hard rockers Judas Priest will release their 18th studio album, Firepower, on Mar. 18 via Epic Records. Co-produced by Tom Allom (Priest's producer from the '80s) and Andy Sneap, the LP is arguably the band's strongest outing since their Grammy-nominated 1990 epic Painkiller and features the band's trademark impassioned vocals, soaring guitars and thundering rhythms. The 14-track Firepower took three months to write and three months to record, and lead vocalist Rob Halford says its lyrics speak to how he views the current state of the world, including a villainous antagonist in the song "Spectre" who tries to lead the masses astray, which could be interpreted as a reference to Pres. Donald Trump. "In a league of his own/ a villain with no morals/ above the law and reckless/mutating day by day," he sings, but Halford adds it's "a very interesting reference that's coming forward that I didn't even think about" when he wrote the song. - Billboard, 2/20/18...... Grammy-winning singer Mavis Staples, formerly of The Staples Singers, will be among the headliners for this year's Chicago Blues Festival planned the weekend of June 8-10 in the Windy City's Millennium Park. Opening night Friday will celebrate the 65th anniversary of Delmark Records with a lineup honoring the label's blues artists, and a tribute to blues harpist Little Walter is set for Saturday evening, with Staples closing the weekend Sunday. This year marks the city's 35th annual blues music festival. - AP, 2/20/18...... Two songs by Aerosmith and Queen have charted on Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart after being featured in commercials during the 2018 Super Bowl championship. Aerosmith's signature '70s song "Dream On," which was featured in a Kia ad starring frontman Steven Tyler, debuted on the chart at No. 11, selling 2,000 downloads (up 131 percent) and drawing 3.5 million U.S. streams (up 13 percent) in the week ending Feb. 8, according to Nielsen Music. Queen's 1977 anthem "We Will Rock You," featured in a Ram Trucks ad, bowed at No. 13 on the 7-year-old Hot Rock Songs chart, with 3,000 sold, up 56 percent, and 2.7 million streams, up 13 percent. - Billboard, 2/16/18...... The Beatles tribute band Bootleg Beatles are auditioning for a new John Lennon after its current Lennon, Adam Hastings, has apparently decided to leave the group. "The world's premier Beatle band is searching for a new John Lennon. Must have the look, the voice, basic keyboard and rhythm guitar skills," reads an ad in the U.K. music publication Music Week. The Bootleg Beatles was established in 1980 and have gone on to play huge, notable shows in the U.K. and other locations. They were among the artists on the bill at the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, and have also performed at Glastonbury. They currently have dates booked in the UK and Ireland from February 25 through to the end of 2018. - New Musical Express, 2/21/18...... Court documents filed by Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley in her divorce from Michael Lockwood reveal the King's daughter is apparently swimming in debt. In the docs Lisa Marie says most of her debt is unpaid taxes from 2012 to 2015, totaling more than $10 million. She also says she has a house in the U.K. that she owes an additional $6 million on and she's desperately trying to unload that property because she's defaulted on the mortgage. Lisa Marie sold off 85% of Elvis Enterprises in 2004 for $100 million, and while she still receives $100K monthly from that agreement, it apparently is not enough to cover all her mounting bills, which also include credit card debt and unpaid attorney's bills. Lisa Marie disclosed her current financial situation because Lockwood is demanding she pay more than $450 for his attorney fees. - TMZ.com, 2/16/18...... Sylvester Stallone is laughing off rumors of his death after a hoax claiming the Rocky star had lost a secret battle with pancreatic cancer started to swirl on the Internet. "Please ignore this stupidity," Stallone posted on Instagram on Feb. 19. "Alive and well and happy and healthy. Still punching!" Stallone also shared a fake obituary with followers, in which his picture had been drastically altered to give him a frail, aged appearance. Stallone's brother Frank Stallone also slammed the reports, writing on Twitter: "Rumors that my brother is dead are false. What kind of sick demented cruel mind thinks of things like this to post? People like this are mentally deranged and don't deserve a place in society." Sylvester, 71, was also the victim of a death hoax in 2016. - PostMedia Network, 2/19/18...... In related news, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill is reassuring his fans that social media reports of his death were premature. On Feb. 17, Hamill posted on Twitter that he was still alive and well and included a little joke: "HAMILL DIES: Much of Nation Mourns GOP: Meh #DontRushMe." Hamill has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump and the GOP. Hamill recently started in the latest Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi, in which many critics and fans said he gave his best performance yet as the beloved sci-fi hero. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/18/18...... Chicago power pop band Kevin Lee & The Kings have released their latest album, Sticks & Stones, via Sigus Records. Fronted by singer/songwriter Kevin Lee, a former MCA recording artist who has toured with such bands as Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Lou Gramm, Matthew Sweet and Pearl Jam, the band's new effort features an infectious sound of modern pop/rock packed with big guitars, indelible hooks, and soaring vocal harmonies. Sticks & Stones marks Lee's third album with The Kings, following 2013's Breakout (2013), which was voted one of the best of the year by Illinois Entertainer, and 2010's Dusk Till Dawn, whose signature anthem, "Time Won't Stand Still," hit #1 at WMWX in Cincinnati, Ohio. To support the new album, the band will play a series of shows throughout Chicagoland including a special appearance at the Fox River Harley-Davidson in St. Charles on Apr. 7. The band will perform in Bolingbrook, Il. on Mar. 3, Hanover Park, Il. on Mar. 10, Berwyn, Il. on Mar. 22, St. Charles, Il. on Apr. 7, and Dundee, Il. on Apr. 14. More info can be found at KevinLeeOnline.com. - 1888 Media, 2/20/18...... The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his diligent preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died on the morning of Feb. 21 at his home in North Carolina after a battle with cancer, pneumonia and other ailments. He was 99. The famed evangelist reached more than 200 million through his appearances and millions more through his pioneering use of television and radio. Unlike many traditional evangelists, Rev. Graham was known for abandoning narrow fundamentalism to engage broader society. - AP, 2/21/18...... Bassist Craig MacGregor of Foghat died on Feb. 9 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 68. MacGregor, who joined Foghat in 1975, stopped performing with the band after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, but remained an official member until his death. He underwent aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments but was no longer able to play because his fingers had become "clubbed," a deformation related to his illness. "On behalf of Craig MacGregor's family and the Foghat family, it is with great sadness that we are letting you know that we have lost our brother, good friend, husband, father and bandmate this morning," the band wrote on Facebook. "He passed peacefully in his wife Lisa MacGregor's arms after a prolonged battle with cancer. Please respect the privacy of the family and band members at this time. We will be sharing information in the next day or so. Rest in peace, Thunderfingers." Foghat is currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of its 1978 album Stone Blue, and its most recent release was 2016's Under the Influence. MacGregor's death follows the death of two other co-founding Foghat members, singer/guitarist "Lonesome Dave" Peverett in 2000, and original lead guitarist Rod Price in 2005. - 2/9/18...... Judy Blame, a punk fashion icon of the 1980s London scene where he became renowned for designs that were heavily influenced by his punk aesthetic, has died at the age of 58. Born Chris Barnes in 1958, Blame was also known for his involvement with the New Romantic scene, and co-hosted his own night at the Heaven club which was frequented by the likes of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. - NME, 2/20/18.
A new sci-fi thriller set in a futuristic Berlin titled Mute was influenced by David Bowie's relationship with his son, says Bowie's son and the film's director, Duncan Jones. "An awful lot of the story revolves around the nature of parenthood. What makes a good parent?," says Jones, who says he wrote a draft of the script 15 years ago and showed it to his dad. Jones says he decided to return to the project "because there was too much personal stuff in there." Mute also pays homage to Bowie by using paintings the star made while living in Berlin in the '70s. Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Mute will make its premiere on Netflix on Feb. 23. - New Musical Express, 2/16/17...... The Kinks co-founder Dave Davies launched a 2018 tour of the US on Feb. 14 at the Roxy on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. About halfway into his enthusiastically received set, the 71-year-old musician told the audience that "the music business takes its toll on people," then performed the meditative "Path Is Long" from his current sole album Open Road. Davies dedicated "Young and Innocent Days" from the Kinks' classic concept album Arthur to his older sibling Ray Davies, and remembered late-era Kinks (and Argent) bassist Jim Rodford, who passed away in England Jan. 20 after a fall, with a performance of "See My Friends." Backed by former Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken and Davies' familiar musical companion David Nolte on bass, Davies' 16-date tour will hopscotch the US through late April. As for a possible Kinks reunion, Davies told reporters that he and Ray have "been getting along okay now, trying to do something -- I don't know what, but after touring I'm going back to discuss -- something." - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and David Israelite have co-authored an editorial for Billboard urging Congress to pass the Pass the Music Modernization Act and fix how songwriters are paid. "Songwriters are the unsung heroes of the music industry; what improves their ability to create will improve the entire ecosystem. Today's songwriters face an uphill battle. If we don't fix how music creators are paid by digital streaming services, we may never hear the great songs of tomorrow. As people who have been in this industry for a long time, we've seen the songwriters affected first hand," the pair write. "Fortunately, there's hope in the form of the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The MMA is legislation that has brought everyone to the table like never before and now presents a promising future for songwriters and the digital companies who rely on their work. We just need Congress to pass it," they add. The pair went on to say many times ownership information for each song isn't located by digital music companies, and "there have been many lawsuits filed and instead of working together like business partners, songwriters have felt under attack. "The MMA establishes a new central database -- run by music publishers and songwriters -- which will house all ownership information and, in return for proper payment, allow a service to use any song they'd like," according to Tyler and Israelite. Israelite is the President & CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association -- the trade association representing U.S. music publishers and songwriters. - Billboard, 2/15/18...... Record producer Chris Moon, the co-writer of Prince's first ever single "Soft and Wet," is offering to sell his 50% share of the rights of the song for a cool $490,000. Since the rise of music streaming has devalued songwriting royalties, and "Soft and Wet" was only a modest hit in the first place (charting at number 92 and appearing on Prince's 1978 debut For You), Moon says that "anyone who buys this probably shouldn't be doing it for financial purposes... It's more about owning one of the most unique collectibles ever related to Prince." Moon, the former owner of the Minneapolis studio where a teenage Prince recorded his first demo tape, admitted that he made more money off the song when MC Hammer sampled it on his own "She's Soft and Wet" in 1990. - Billboard, 2/14/18...... Alice Cooper, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Feb. 4, is musing that "somebody was trying to keep me from getting to 70" after he was among the residents of Hawaii who were traumatized by a recent false nuclear attack alert, then two weeks later, being involved in a head-on car collision back home in Phoenix that totaled both vehicles. "Both of us walked out of it without a scratch," Cooper reports. "My car looked like a piece of art, but I did come out of it with a 1965 350 Shelby Mustang -- a real Detroit car. That's where the insurance money's going." About the false nuclear attack alert, Cooper says: "y theology told me I'm gonna go from one paradise to another one, but it's still a bit of a shock to think, 'In about 18 minutes, I'm gonna be fried.' When it blew over everybody was laughing about it, but believe me, it was scary." On Mar. 1, Cooper will kick off a new US tour behind his 2017 album Paranormal, promising three or four songs from the new album. Cooper and his longtime manager Shep Gordon are also planning a major new show that will probably hit the road during 2019. "There's a million ideas out there," Cooper notes. "It won't look like this (upcoming) tour and it'll be a bigger show. There's no way from getting away from the 15 songs for so you have to do, so it's, 'How do you approach them? What's the look of Alice? What's the look of the band?' That's what we're working on how. The creativity has not gone." Meanwhile, the Coop kicked off a mini-tour of the UK with his supergroup Hollywood Vampires on Feb. 7, and says the band will enter the studio to record its second album this summer. Cooper's other major project this year is continuing his acting career by playing King Herod for Jesus Christ Superstar Live on Easter Sunday, Apr. 1 on NBC. "I think I should play it like Alan Rickman, a very condescending kind of arrogance," says Cooper, who recorded a version of the track for a 1996 Superstar album in the U.K. "It's the only song in the whole show that's funny, and Herod is being so abusive, verbally, to Christ, even though he's treating him as a guest. There's a lot of ways to take that song." - Billboard, 2/15/18...... In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Neil Young reveals he thinks he knows why his Pono music player and download service crashed: "The record labels killed it by insisting on charging two to three times as much for the high-res files as for MP3s. Why would anybody pay three times as much?" Young launched his PonoMusic World store in early 2015, following the release of the actual player, with a catalog of 24-bit 192kHz tracks. Prices for full albums of hi-res files went from anywhere between $20 to $28 versus half that on iTunes and other download stores. Individual songs on PonoMusic usually cost between $1.99 and $2.99 a piece. Young noted that more than 1 million hi-res tracks were downloaded from the service before it shut down last year, but it wasn't enough to outrun overhead costs and the rising tide of streaming. "It's my feeling that all music should cost the same," he says. "The [hi-res] file doesn't cost any more to transfer. And today with streaming, you don't have the problem [of unauthorized file sharing]. Who wants to copy something if you can stream it? The record companies, by charging three times as much for hi-res music as they charge for regular music, they've killed hi-res music. It's the dumbest thing I've ever seen." Young has now turned his attention to establishing a hi-res streaming platform called XStream, which he is putting to use on his recently launched Neil Young Archives website. Currently free, Young says he plans on introducing a couple paid subscription options for fans who want continued access beyond six months. - Billboard, 2/15/18...... The Doors will release a new live DVD/CD, The Doors: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970, on Feb. 23 via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Also coming out on Blu-ray, Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 captures the L.A.-based band's third-to-last concert, and the final one ever filmed, and occurred in the midst of frontman Jim Morrison's infamous trial for indecent exposure and obscenity during a 1969 concert in Miami. "It was a nervous time for us," Doors guitarist Robby Krieger says, "and it was pretty different than any of our other shows. "Jim was in the midst of the Miami thing, so he wasn't in the best of moods, and we were into the part of his career where he was way overweight and had the beard. He didn't really do a great show; He sang well, but he didn't move an inch, and usually he was real animated and all over the place, depending on how much drugs he had in him. And he insisted on green light only. He wanted it as dark as possible on stage, so they're lucky they got anything, really. But other than that, it was pretty fun." The Doors played just two more concerts after Isle of Wight, triumphantly in Dallas on Dec. 11, 1970, where the group premiered material from its upcoming L.A. Woman album, and catastrophically the following night in New Orleans. Krieger says that recordings exist of the Dallas show that are being prepared for future release. Meanwhile the Doors plan to continue releasing expanded 50th anniversary editions of its albums, with Waiting For The Sun on tap for 2018. "Some of my favorite songs that I wrote are on that album," says Krieger, who's says he's also working on a new solo instrumental LP. - Billboard, 2/13/18...... In a new interview with music mag Planet Rock, Jimmy Page admits that he does not expect any more live shows from the legendary band he co-founded, Led Zeppelin, but that there are some new "products" in the works. "You've just got to face facts. We've gone past the tenth anniversary of the O2 [show], where we managed to do one serious concert," Page said. "That's the only thing that we've done for such a long time, so I very much doubt we'll do anything else. I really think the time has gone." As for future Led Zep projects, Page said: "I can't give the game away, but there's a recording that's another multi-track that we'll release. It's so different to all the other things that are out there. It's another view compared to How The West Was Won or The Song Remains The Same. I'm looking forward to people hearing that. There's a lot of stuff to come out, a number of releases. I'd like to say that they'll be coming out over the next 10 years. There's more to come for sure." Page also comments on the new Led Zeppelin book due out this fall. "I'm really pleased that we're all doing it collectively because there are so many other people doing books. There's about ten that I know of that are coming, which is pretty ridiculous! It will be really good to have an authoritative book, where the band are actually contributing to it rather than being ripped off." - Billboard, 2/14/18...... Paul McCartney was named one of the recipients of Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize on Feb. 12. Each year the Wolf Foundation awards $100,000 prizes in five fields, which in addition to music include chemistry, agriculture, mathematics and physics. An organizer said the foundation had notified McCartney's representatives, and described the former Beatle as "one of the greatest songwriters of all time." It was not immediately known if McCartney will appear in Israel for the award ceremony in May. - AP, 2/12/18...... In other Beatles-related news, four of Korea's most well-known artists covered John Lennon's "Imagine" during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9. Taking to the center of the stadium, the singers held hands as they covered the Lennon classic, surrounded by spectators holding candles. An estimated 35,000 spectators were in attendance at the Olympic Stadium, with temperatures reaching as low as -6C during the two-hour ceremony. - New Musical Express, 2/10/18...... The Steve Miller band will reunite with fellow classic rocker Peter Frampton for another co-headlining summer trek this year, it was announced via a press release on Feb. 12. "We plan to travel between the psychedelic sixties through the future with a vengeance," says the 74-year-old Miller, who released his first LP Children of the Future 50 years ago, in June 1968. The tour will kick off June 12 in Evansville, In., and includes dates at Radio City Music Hall in New York (6/27), concluding in the Washington state city of Woodinville on Aug. 25 and 26 with a two-night run. The Steve Miller Band will also be closing out the final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in May prior to the tour's start. - Billboard, 2/12/18...... Elton John was the victim of "friendly fire" when he was struck by a flying necklace during a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day after he invited the front row of the crowd to come on stage as he performed his hit "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Footage of the performance shows John stopping his performing momentarily and checking his teeth for any damage. It is believed that one of the fans threw the Mardi Gras beads at Sir Elton. John recently announced he was canceling two of his Las Vegas residency performances in order to attend the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. - NME, 2/16/18...... Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton revealed on Feb. 12 that he intends to quit touring after being diagonosed with Parkinson's disease. Tipton, 70, joined the heavy metal band in 1974, shortly before they released their debut album Rocka Rolla. In a press release, Judas Priest said that "ten years ago Glenn was diagnosed to have the onset of the early stages of Parkinson's... From then until recently Glenn has lived his life as the great heavy metal guitar player he has always been, maintaining by his own definition a standard of quality and performance that is incredibly important." The band also revealed that Tipton has requested that guitarist Andy Sneap, who produced the Priest's latest album Firepower, replace him live. In January, former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland died at the age of 69. - NME, 2/12/18...... Country music legend Willie Nelson announced on Feb. 16 that he'll release his latest album, Last Man Standing, on Apr. 27, just two days before his 85th birthday. On the title track Nelson, who has been plagued with health issues over the past year which forced him to cancel numerous concerts, seems to play with this idea that he will live forever, singing "I don't want to be the last man standing. Oh wait a minute, maybe I do." In addition to the tracklisting of the 11-track LP, Nelson also shared a new video for "Last Man Standing" which features him and his band in the studio. - Billboard, 2/16/18...... Comedian Marty Allen, the baby-faced, bug-eyed comedian with wild black hair who was a staple of TV variety shows, game shows and talk shows for decades, passed away from complications from pneumonia on Feb. 13. He was 95. Mr. Allen, known for his greeting and catchphrase "hello dere," first found fame as half of the duo Allen & Rossi with partner Steve Rossi, who died in 2014. Allen & Rossi appeared 44 times on The Ed Sullivan Show, including the episodes where the Beatles performed and most of America watched. "Everyone remembers those shows with the Beatles, and they were great, but we appeared on all the shows," Mr. Allen said in 2014. "There wasn't a talk show on TV that didn't want Allen & Rossi." The duo appeared regularly on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and The Merv Griffin Show, also touring comedy clubs nationwide, headlining shows at major Las Vegas casinos, and releasing a series of hit albums until their amicable breakup in 1968. Mr. Allen then took on a series of serious roles on daytime television and made-for-TV movies, and was a regular on The Hollywood Squares and other celebrity-themed game shows. Mr. Allen, who kept making crows laugh with live performances well into his mid-90s, is survived by his wife Karon Kate Blackwell, a singer-songwriter who became his performing partner in his last decades and acted as the goofy Allen's "straight man" just as Rossi did half a century earlier. - Fox News, 2/13/18...... Singer Vic Damone, one of the last remaining crooners of the golden era, passed away from complications of a respiratory illness on Feb. 12. He was 89. Famously described as having the "best pipes in the business" by Frank Sinatra, Mr. Damone's performing career lasted five decades and spawned dozens of hits thanks to his smooth, mellow baritone and a style that was indisputably inspired by his compatriot Sinatra. Best known for lush, romantic ballads, Mr. Damone's career was launched in 1947 when he won first place in Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show, which led to regular radio gigs and a chance encounter with comedian Milton Berle, who helped the then-19 year-old performer land gigs at prominent nightclubs. With his matinee idol good looks, Mr. Damone also had a notable run on the big screen, signing a contract with MGM in 1951 and appearing in The Strip and Rich, Young and Pretty before his career was put on hold for two years when he was drafted into the military. One of Mr. Damone's signature songs was "On the Street Where You Live," the Lerner and Loewe song from "My Fair Lady", which the singer released in 1956, hitting No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 pop chart. In all, he recorded more than 2,000 songs over his five-decade career, which landed him an induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1997. The Brooklyn-born crooner continued to be a big draw in Las Vegas after his radio hits dried up in the late 1960s. - Billboard, 2/12/18.