Paul McCartney was in attendance at an anti-gun "March For Our Lives" rally in New York City on Mar. 24 which saw hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. and internationally protest the lack of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the recent Parkland school shooting in Florida where 17 people were killed. "This is what we can do, so we're here to do it," Sir Paul told a CNN interviewer. "One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right round here so it's important to me," added the former Beatle, referring to how John Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman on Dec. 8, 1980, outside his nearby New York apartment. McCartney was sporting a "We can end gun violence" T-shirt, and when asked what he hoped the marches around the country would accomplish, he pointed to the shirt. - Billboard, 3/24/18...... In other Beatles-related news, a portfolio containing over 300 previously unseen photos of the Fab Four assembled by a Baltimore, Md. teen sold for over £250,000 at auction on Mar. 24. Mike Mitchell's photographs captured the band playing their renowned shows in Washington DC and Baltimore in 1964. A total of 413 negatives were sold for £253,2000 at auction -- 46 of which had been seen before. Mitchell, who was 18 at the time, said he was inspired to shoot the group after watching their famous TV performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. "I was very motivated to come up with stuff that was as unique as could possibly be," he said. Since he couldn't afford a flash, Mitchell said he shot the Beatles as they arrived at the Washington Coliseum using natural light to capture the band. At the Beatles' show in Baltimore the following September, he said he managed to climb on stage to get a better view of the band. - New Musical Express, 3/24/18...... Former Deep Purple guitarist Richie Blackmore has five shows slated for April with his new incarnation of his Deep Purple spinoff band Rainbow. The reformed Rainbow has played select shows in Europe each of the last two years, and on Apr. 6 will release Memories in Rock II, which features a live rendition of "I Surrender" and will include the first new Rainbow studio recording in 22 years, "Waiting For a Sign." Blackmore, who has been concentrating since 1997 on the medieval sounds of Blackmore's Night with his wife Candice Night, said he "just felt like playing some rock n' roll on a few dates" when asked why he decided to record and perform with Rainbow again. "So I basically put together the right players to do a few shows, just playing the old rock stuff, Purple stuff and Rainbow," Blackmore says. "I was doing it, one, for the fans and, two, for the nostalgia, and the singer I found (Ronnie Romero) is very exciting. Candice found him on YouTube, so I auditioned him and he passed. He's got a great voice, a cross between, like, Dio meets Freddie Mercury." Blackmore added he has no regrets about not attending Deep Purple's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "I have no interest in that type of thing.... Rock n' roll is all about freedom, not having a panel of phantom arbiters discussing who is going to be in and who is going to be out. I think Steve Miller said it best when he was inducted. Check YouTube for that." - Billboard, 3/28/18...... A confidential toxicology report from the autopsy of Prince was obtained by the Associated Press on Mar. 27 and shows the late funk rock icon had what multiple experts called an "exceedingly high" concentration of fentanyl in his body when he died. "The amount in his blood is exceedingly high, even for somebody who is a chronic pain patient on fentanyl patches," said Dr. Lewis Nelson of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who is not connected to the Prince investigation. The report says the concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, while fatalities due to the drug have been documented in people with blood levels as low as three microgramp per liter. "It's a pretty clear smoking gun," Dr. Lewis said. Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on Apr.21, 2016. Public data released six weeks after his death showed he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. Meanwhile, officials in Minnesota are preparing for a large group of Prince fans who are expected to pay tribute on the second anniversary of his death on the grounds of his Paisley Park estate and in nearby Minneapolis. A tribute fence will be installed at Prince's famed music studio and home at Paisley Park, and tribute concert called "Prince: Live On The Big Screen" will be held at Target Center in Minneapolis, where fans can also leave messages on a specially erected fence. Also a "Celebration 2018" tribute will feature guest speakers including members of Prince's backing band The Revolution. - AP, 3/27/18...... Director Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated new film Ready Player One may be set in 2045, but its soundtrack is straight from the previous century. Songs from the likes of Prince ("I Wanna Be Your Lover"), The Temptations ("Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," Blondie ("One Way Or Another"), The Bee Gees ("Stayin' Alive") and Hall & Oates ("You Make My Dreams Come True") are featured in the film, which is based on Ernest Cline's 2011 science fiction novel of the same name about the battle for OASIS, an immersive virtual universe. A compilation of songs from the movie, Ready Player One: Songs From The Motion Picture, will be released via WaterTower Music on Mar. 30, and Ready Player One: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, a 2-CD version of the film's score, will hit stores on Apr. 6 with double vinyl and cassette configurations planned for this summer. - Billboard, 3/28/18...... Speaking to the New York Daily News ahead of his Easter Sunday appearance in the live broadcast of the '70s musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," Alice Cooper creditd religion for helping him to overcome his alcohol addiction. "Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me," Cooper said. "I was drinking with (late Doors singer) Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with (late The Who drummer) Keith Moon and they all died at 27." Cooper revealed that after he received his diagnosis and left the hospital, he reconnected with his faith and never went back to drinking. "My wife and I are both Christian," he said. "My father was a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it - almost died - and then came back to the church." The Coop added that "there's nothing in Christianity that says I can't be a rock star.... It has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ." Cooper will portray Bible villain King Herod in the live broadcast "Jesus Christ Superstar" on NBC on Apr. 1, starring alongside John Legend as Jesus, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and Ben Daniels as Pontius Pilate. - WENN.com, 3/26/18...... Steven Tyler's three dauthers Liv, Mia and Chelsea took to Instagram on Mar. 27 to wish their dad and Aerosmith frontman a happy 70th birthday. Liv, the oldest, posted a photo of their father-daughter Rolling Stone cover with a lengthy paragraph of how their bond has taught her to really appreciate all the beauty in life, while 39-year-old Mia posted a series of joyous moments with her dad, including adorable photos of Tyler holding her 10-month-old son Axton Joseph. Tyler's youngest daughter Chelsea, 29, opted for a throwback photo of herself smiling wide as she embraces her father, who she described as a "force of nature." - Billboard, 3/27/18...... Jethro Tull has announced it will release a massive, 3-disc compilation titled 50 for 50 to celebrate its 50th anniversary as a group. Handpicked by Tull frontman Ian Anderson, 50 for 50 will unearth some underestimated gems from the iconic prog rock band's history, including such lesser-known Tull gems as "Really Don't Mind/See There A Son is Born" (from Thick as a Brick), "One White Duck / 0^10 = Nothing at All" (from Minstrel in the Gallery), "One Brown Mouse" (from Heavy Horses), and "Steel Monkey" (from Crest of a Knave). - Billboard, 3/27/18...... The world's first statue of David Bowie was vandalized on Mar. 27 only 48 hours after it was first unveiled in Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury, England. The vandals were apparently protesting money being on a statue when there are more pressing needs in the area, however Deputy Mayor Mark Willis stressed that no public money was spent on the statue. "I want to point out that this statue received precisely £0 of public money," he said. "That's right, £0. It was entirely funded through crowdfunding, by members of the public, myself included." Vandals covered the statue in the Aylesbury Market Square close to the town's Friars music venue where Bowie first debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona in the early 1970s with graffiti that says "feed the homeless first" and "RIP DB." The statue was designed by Andrew Sinclair and mainly funded through a £10,000 crowdfunding campaign led by legendary music promoter David Stopps, who tweeted "Some Dickheads about. Bowie statue vandalised within 48 hours of unveiling." Stopps told the BBC that security cameras are trained on the statue and could aid in finding the culprit: "There is a webcam on it 24/7, so whoever did it, we have got them on webcam." Marillion lead singer Steve Hogarth unveiled the statue on Mar. 25. - New Musical Express, 3/27/18...... Members of Bob Marley's family have announced they are coming together for a two-day event honoring the late reggae legend called the Kaya Festival. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Marley's Kaya album, Stephen, Ziggy, Damian, Julian and Ky-Mani Marley have planned the fest for Apr. 28 and 29 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, Calif. Organizers are calling the event "a one-of-a-kind socially conscious music and awareness experience that fosters unity, one love and peace amongst people from all over the world." The Marley brothers will perform together for the first time in a decade on Apr. 28, followed the next day with a special acoustic set by Stephen Marley of the Kaya album. Released in 1978, Kaya featured such Wailers classics as "Is This Love?" and "Sun Is Shining," and spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, peaking at No. 50. There will also be a cannabis symposium at the event, focusing on the benefits of medical marijuana, and breakthroughs with products like Cannabidiol, as well as health sessions and wellness workshops. - Billboard, 3/28/18...... Grammy-winning singer Yvonne Elliman of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and Saturday Night Fever fame is scheduled to be sentenced on drug possession charges in the U.S. territory of Guam in the last week of March. Yvonne Marianne Elliman-Alexander, 66, who performs under her maiden name Yvonne Elliman, and her husband, Allen Bernard Alexander, are scheduled for sentencing Guam, where they had gone to perform at a benefit concert and were stopped by authorities at the airport in August 2017, who found marijuana in Alexander's belongings and crystal-like rocks and a glass pipe in Elliman-Alexander's belongings. Their attorney, Mike Phillip, said he is hopeful they will receive probation. They both pleaded guilty to felony drug possession charges. After a court appearance on Mar. 26, Elliman-Alexander said she and her husband had performed about 120 hours of community service in Hawaii, where they live. They face a maximum of six months in prison, according to Assistant Deputy Attorney General James Collins. But probation would mean they won't spend any more time behind bars. Elliman-Alexander had her first hit, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from "Jesus Chris Superstar," and she played Mary Magdalene in the 1973 movie version of the Broadway hit. She also performed "If I Can't Have You" on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which won a Grammy for album of the year in 1978. - AP, 3/26/18.
Speaking to The Times of London, Tina Turner revealed that she has forgiven her ex-husband Ike Turner for his past instances of domestic abuse, but added that she "wouldn't work with him." As an old person, I have forgiven him, but it would not work with him," Turner, 78, explained. "He asked for one more tour with me, and I said, 'No, absolutely not.' Ike wasn't someone you could forgive and allow him back in. It's all gone, all forgotten." Turner also revealed in the interview that she sometimes thinks about Ike, who died in 2007, but doesn't think about the abuse -- instead, the good memories sometimes linger. "I don't know what the dreams are about," she explained. "The dreams are still there -- not the violence, the anger. I wonder if I'm still holding something in." Ike and Tina's divorce was finalized in 1978, and since then, Tina has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, has won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and got remarried. - Billboard, 3/21/18...... In a recent appearance on the Bravo TV show Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Rod Stewart hit out at Elton John's plans for a forthcoming farewell tour, describing it as a "dishonest" attempt to sell tickets. "I did email her [Elton] and said, 'What, again dear?' And I didn't hear anything back!," Stewart said. "If I retire, I won't make an announcement. I'll just fade away. I don't think this is a big deal, it stinks of selling tickets," he added. When fellow guest and Stewart touring partner Cyndi Lauper described Elton's tour as "not a bad idea," Rod shot back: "It's dishonest. It's not rock and roll." In January, John announced plans for a massive three-year world tour, concluding with his final ever shows in 2021. Meanwhile Stewart and Lauper's summer tour kicks off June 25 at the Hollywood Bowl. - New Musical Express, 3/23/18...... Ozzy Osbourne filed a class action antitrust lawsuit against music giant AEG in California federal court on Mar. 21, claiming it is "coercing" artists into committing to playing its venues in both London and Los Angeles. In the suit, Osbourne claims AEG is illegally tying its venues, London's O2 Arena and the Staples Center in LA, with an agreement called the Staples Center Commitment, which prohibits artists from playing The O2 unless they also play the Staples Center as their Los Angeles leg. Osbourne's lawyers argue that while Los Angeles is "a competitive venue market," The O2 is a "must have" venue in the English capital and the "only indoor arena in London with the capacity to host major concerts." His lawsuit looks to nullify the agreement for any artist that signed it. AEG has responded to the suit, saying in a statement: "This suit is without merit and we will vigorously fight it. We welcome a closer look at the global live entertainment market and, specifically, our practices and the practices of our competition." - NME, 3/22/18...... It was announced on Mar. 21 that Bruce Springsteen's acclaimed Broadway show series "Springsteen on Broadway" at The Walter Kerr Theatre will be extended into December due to exceptional demand. With 81 additional shows announced for Springsteen's performances from July 10, the unique series will end with a final show on Dec. 15, 2018. At the end of the year, "Springsteen on Broadway," in which the legendary singer performs solo from his back catalog and reads passages from his autobiography Born to Run, will have run for 236 performances. - Billboard, 3/21/18...... The National Recording Registry announced on Mar. 21 that signature songs from such artits as The Temptations ("My Girl"), Kenny Rogers ("The Gambler"), Arlo Guthrie ("Alice's Restaurant Massacree"), Chic ("Le Freak") and Tony Bennett ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco") and iconic albums from Fleetwood Mac (Rumours), Run-DMC and Groucho Marx have been selected by the NRR to be preserved. The Library of Congress' Registry each year honors 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" recordings, and among the aural treasures making the cut this time around are the soundtrack of The Sound of Music (1965); The Ink Spots' "If I Didn't Care," one of the biggest-selling songs of all time, from 1939; Kenny Loggins' 1984 colossal hit "Footloose"; and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine's sweeping 1987 single "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." The number of recordings in the Registry now number an even 500. Nominations were gathered through online submissions from the public and the National Recording Preservation Board, which is comprised of leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. - The Hollywood Reporter, 3/21/18...... Neil Diamond will be honored with the Johnny Mercer Award at this year's Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, being held June 14 in New York City. The award is the Hall's highest honor and is reserved exclusively for past inductees -- Diamond was inducted in 1984. "The Johnny Mercer Award goes to a songwriter or songwriting team whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it "upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer," the Hall said in a press release. Diamond, whose songwriting credits include "Solitary Man," "Cherry, Cherry," "Cracklin' Rose" and "Sweet Caroline," among many others, later this year will receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to the Songwriters Hall, he's also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was honored in 2011 at Kennedy Center Honors. He recently announced his retirement from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. - Billboard, 3/20/18...... The We Are Family Foundation has announced The Who's Roger Daltrey and rapper LL Cool J as honorees for the 2018 WAFF gala celebration taking place this April. Daltrey will receive the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award, named in honor of poet and peacemaker Mattie J.T Stepanek, who died at age 13 in 2004. "I am delighted to receive the 2018 Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award," Daltrey said. "As one of the founders of Teen Cancer America I am proud to be honored by the We Are Family Foundation, who also recognizes the specific needs of our adolescents and young adults and understands how vital it is that we support them as they strive to positively change the world." - Billboard, 3/20/18...... During a press conference in Toronto on Mar. 21, Gene Simmons spoke out about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, claiming their "collateral damage is heinous" and that "there's no presumption of innocence." "Let me put it bluntly. I think the sh--storm is going to be here for a while and the pendulum will finally get to reality after," Simmons said. "Right now it's in the extreme. But I'm the last guy to understand any of this stuff. I think it's wonderful for women to be engaged in the conversation and the positive side is there have been a lot of bad guys who have gotten away with it (and aren't anymore) -- that's a good thing. The collateral damage is heinous because anybody can say anything and there's no presumption of innocence. That's the problem; the problem is you don't have your day in court." The Kiss co-founder added that women affected by incidents of sexual harassment should sidestep the press and go straight to court. "You'll make more money. You'll embarrass him everyday. Instead of in a news conference which gets you no money. I'm totally in support of anything and everything that follows the rule of law. Get a lawyer. Do it legitimately," he said. Simmons was sued for sexual assault at the end of 2017 over an incident in which he allegedly grabbed a woman during an interview -- an accusation he vehemently denied. - New Musical Express, 3/22/18...... Midwest prog-rockers Kansas will launch a U.S. tour in support of the 40th anniversary of its 1978 album Point of Know Return beginning this fall. In honor of the anniversary, Kansas is performing Point of Know Return in its entirety on a theater tour booked by Keith Naisbitt at APA, following their success touring the 40th anniversary of the Leftoverture album in 2017. "[The last tour] was incredibly successful," Naisbitt says. "We took a different approach and after a couple years not playing major markets, we returned with sets that were really special in places like Atlanta, Nashville and Los Angeles. It took the band to a whole new level and now we're getting ready for Point of Know Return, which is obviously a bigger album and will mean the biggest shows we possibly can play." The tour kicks off Sept. 28 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, with stops at the Ryman in Nashville (Sept. 29), the Tobin Center in San Antonio (Nov. 2) and the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Nov. 23), before ending at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (Dec. 15). - Billboard, 3/19/18...... The Beatles' Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr, was formally knighted in a ceremony at London's Buckingham Palace on Mar. 20. Starr told the BBC he was honored to get the title: "It means a lot actually. It means recognition for the things we've done. I was really pleased to accept this." He also said he was a little nervous about getting the award by himself as opposed to when the Beatles as a group received MBEs in 1965, explaining, "I was a bit shaky today on my own." An announcement of Ringo's knighthood was made at the end of December and brought congratulations from many, including his fellow Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono. A picture of the Ringo's ceremony was posted by his reps on social media, with the words "Another busy day for Sir Ringo. Peace and love, peace and love." - Billboard, 3/20/18...... Stevie Wonder has spoken in defense of Bruno Mars following accusations of cultural appropriation. Mars was the subject of heated online discussion last week after writer Seren Sensei accused the star of appropriating black music. The original video that featured Sensei's criticism went viral, racking up over 3 million views. But Stevie Wonder has told TMZ.com that Mars is "a great talent, so all the other stuff is just bullshit... He was inspired by great musicians and great artists and songwriters. So that's good." Wonder added: "Here's the thing, God created music for all of us to enjoy. So we cannot limit ourselves by people's fears and insecurities." - NME, 3/19/18...... A funeral for notorious cult leader Charles Manson was conducted at a funeral home in Porterville, Calif. on Mar. 20, with Manson's body cremated on site. Songs by The Beach Boys and Guns N' Roses were played at the funeral service, according to reports, and Church of the Nazarene paster Mark Pitcher said around 20-25 people attended the service, including Manson's grandson Jason Freeman, and there was a "hippie vibe" during the service. Guests including former Manson Family member Sandra Good also attended a private viewing of the body earlier in the day. After being sentenced to death in 1971 for masterminding the murders of actress Sharon Tate and several of her houseguests in 1969, Manson's conviction was eventually commuted into a life sentence, with him remaining imprisoned in California until his death in November 2017 at age 83. Since Manson's death, it has been announced that Quentin Tarantino is working on a movie about the Manson Family murders. - NME, 3/20/18...... Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler announced on Mar. 19 that he is hitting the road for a solo tour, with Nashville's Loving Mary Band as his backing group. The 13-date tour is comprised of headlining shows, festival gigs and a benefit concert for Akron's Children Hospital, and will get underway on June 12 in Lewiston, N.Y. Tyler will hit smaller venues in New York, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Alberta through July 11, then travel to Europe for shows in Switzlerland, Italy, Spain and the UK beginning on July 15 in Sion, Switzerland. Tyler is touring behind h is 2016 debut LP We're All Somebody From Somewhere, which hit No. 1 on Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and entered the top 20 of the Billboard 200 albums chart. - Billboard, 3/19/18...... Frank Avruch, a longtime Boston television personality and entertainer who was the star of the popular children's TV program Bozo the Clown, died on Mar. 20 at his Boston hime from heart disease. He was 89. Mr. Avruch played Bozo the Clown from 1959 to 1970, a clown character particularly popular in the U.S. in the 1960s because of widespread franchising in television, and Mr. Avruch became the first nationally-syndicated Bozo the Clown. He was just one of several people who performed as Bozo the Clown through the years, and his 11-year stint as the character ended in 1970. "He had a heart of gold," manager Stuart Hersh said. "He brought the Bozo the Clown character to life better than anyone else's portrayal of Bozo the Clown." Mr. Avruch also was a contributor to WCVB-TV for more than 40 years as a host of Man About Town and The Great Entertainment. He was also an active philanthropist and a board member of UNICEF'S New England chapter, touring the world performing as Bozo the clown for UNICEF. He is survived by his wife Betty, two sons Matthew and Steven and several grandchildren. - AP, 3/22/18.