Elton John has released a live cover of American singer/songwriter Khalid's 2017 single "Young Dumb & Broke" as part of the popular Spotify Singles series on Spotify.com. "I discovered Khalid's music a few years ago, and have been a fan ever since," John said in a statement. "We finally met when I played his home town of El Paso last year. It's a thrill to be a small part of any new artists' journey, and it's been wonderful to see his star continue to rise and rise. 'Young Dumb & Broke' is a fabulous song, one of my favorites and I'm really pleased that he liked my cover enough to contribute vocals." Elton has also re-released a live version of his huge 1974 hit, "Bennie and the Jets," which like "Young Dumb & Broke" was recorded live at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. - Billboard, 12/12/18...... Former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham revealed that he's settled his lawsuit with his former band during an interview with Anthony Mason on CBS This Morning on Dec. 8. In his first interview since he was fired from the band before it launched a run of concerts in North America this summer, Buckingham said the firing cost him millions of dollars in lost earnings. Though he did not disclose terms of the settlement agreement, Buckingham noted, "We've all signed off on something.... I'm happy enough with it." Buckingham, who was replaced in Fleetwood Mac's touring band by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House, launched his civil suit in October, claiming band members Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie sacked him without just cause. Buckingham claimed he was informed just five days after their performance at the 2018 MusiCares event in January that the group would be hitting the road without him, which he says caused him to miss out on upwards of $14 million in earnings. His suit refuted the band's claim that he was fired from the band due to his "refusal to tour in 2018 and focus on his solo career." Buckingham singled out Stevie Nicks for causing his departure from the band, maybe because she thought he "smirked" during a speech she gave on stage, or maybe because he requested to push back the tour by several months. "It appeared to me that she was looking for something to hang on me, in order to instigate some kind of coup," he told Mason. At the time, Fleetwood Mac disputed Buckingham's claims and said it "looks forward to their day in court." During his CBS interview, Buckingham also said there's little chance he could reunite with Fleetwood Mac, which he and Nicks first joined in 1975, when asked if a reunion could happen. "I'm pretty much figuring that I won't," he said. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... Neil Young has scored a victory in his fight to drop Barclays bank from sponsoring his upcoming British Summer Time festival due to its, according to Young, funding projects that have "accelerated climate change." "I believe in science. I worry about the climate crisis and am deeply concerned about its massive global ramifications," Young posted on his Neil Young Archives website of his opposition to the affiliation with the bank and its credit card division Barclayscard. Young claims that the concert set for July 12 in London was announced without his knowledge, and on Dec. 12 concert promoter AEG announced that Barclays would not be sponsoring Young's upcoming concert with Bob Dylan and that the event would no longer be part of the British Summer Time series. "Neil Young has made the decision to move away from the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time concert series. Neil Young and Bob Dylan will play a stand-alone concert in Hyde Park on the same date, 12th July. All tickets will remain valid. The Barclaycard presents British Summer Time concert series remains unaffected and will continue as normal with more headliners to be announced in early 2019," a statement from AEG reads. On Dec. 11, Young posted that he was "happy to announce that the Hyde park show will proceed without Barclays as a sponsor." "We are overjoyed, so happy to be playing the show!" says Young, who played the festival series in 2014 with his band Crazy Horse and didn't raise any objections to the sponsorship at the time. Barclaycard announced its concerts with Robbie Williams, Florence + The Machine and The National will not be affected. Young has a personal stake in his decision -- he and wife Daryl Hannah lost their Malibu home in the recent Woolsey wildfire in Malibu. Barclays was listed as top financier of oil drilling and fracking in a 2018 report by the non-profit group Banking on Climate Change, receiving a "D+" rating. - Billboard, 12/12/18...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Keith Richards has revealed that he has cut back drastically on his drinking, admitting that "it was time to quit." Richards, who will turn 75 on Dec. 18, says that he's been curbing his drinking for "about a year now" revealing that he "pulled the plug on it... I got fed up with it." While the guitarist conceded that still has "a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer," he said that now was the right time to make the change: "It was time to quit. Just like all the other stuff." Asked if it had been an adjustment to his lifestyle, he quipped: "You can call it that, yeah. But I don't notice any difference really -- except for I don't drink. I wasn't feeling [right]. I've done it. I didn't want that anymore." Richards' bandmate Ronnie Wood, who was also sitting in on the interview, said that he'd noticed changes in Richards since he cut back on his drinking. "He's a pleasure to work with. Much more mellow, Wood observed. "He's open to more ideas, whereas before I'd kind of grit my teeth and go, 'He's gonna give me some shit for saying this.' Now, he'll say, 'That's cool, man.'" Richards and Wood gave the interview ahead of the Stones' upcoming North American leg of its 2019 "No Filter" tour, which kicks off in Miami in April. - New Musical Express, 12/12/18...... Universal Music Group announced on Dec. 10 that Queen iconic 1975 song "Bohemian Rhapsody" is "officially the most-streamed track from the 20th century, achieving more than 1.6 billion global streams." "Bohemian Rhapsody" is also the most-streamed Classic Rock track of all time, edging out Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine" and "November Rain" and a-ha's "Take on Me" in both categories. Queen guitarist and founding member Brian May responded to the announcement in a statement: "So the River of Rock Music has metamorphosed into streams! Very happy that our music is still flowing to the max!" Since its release in 1975 as the penultimate track on the album A Night at the Opera, "Bohemian Rhapsody" has proven a resilient hit. On May 9, 1992, it peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, more than 16 years after its original release, thanks to the success of the movie Wayne's World and its head-banging sequence to the song. In 2004, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In November, following the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the song re-entered the Hot 100 at No. 33, marking its third appearance on the chart. It also landed at No. 41 on the Streaming Songs chart with a 77 percent surge to 13.3 million U.S. streams on the chart dated Nov. 17. UMG exec Lucian Grainge described "Bohemian Rhapsody" as "one the greatest songs by one of the greatest bands in history" and "we are so proud to represent Queen and are thrilled to see the song still inspiring new fans around the world more than four decades after its release." - Billboard, 12/10/18...... Stevie Wonder held his annual House Full Of Toys Benefit Concert at Staples Center on Dec. 9, 2018 in Los Angeles. In addition to the Motown legend, fans were gifted with performances by special guests including Ella Mai, Anderson .Paak, Sheila E., PJ Morton and Leon Bridges. In keeping with the tradition of donating unwrapped toys and gifts on behalf of children, people with disabilities and families in need, concertgoers also aided another good cause -- supporting families who suffered losses in the catastrophic fires in Northern and Southern California, the firefighters who saved lives and homes, and first responders. "This has been a crazy year, as we all know," Wonder declared at the show's outset before he and daughter Aisha Morris broke into a rollicking rendition of his holiday song "What Christmas Means to Me." Afterward, Wonder thanked the concert's team of sponsors, including Bank of America, Bank of the West and Salesforce, the latter of which donated $1 million to the We Are You Foundation. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... Some of the biggest names in the 1970's punk movement will be featuring in an upcoming docuseries on the Epix channel next year called Punk. The docuseries will focus on the music, art, fashion and overall misfit culture that defined the punk movement, and also include original interviews with America's punk pioneers and the U.K.'s most notorious bands, rare photos, archival film and videos, as well as a soundtrack of punk hits and misses. Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten (Sex Pistols), Marky Ramone (Ramones), Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (Blondie), Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses) and more are among the prominent artists featured in Punk, which will premiere on the channel starting Mar. 11 at 10:00 p.m. EST. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... The estate of Prince and Legacy Recordings announced on Dec. 10 that the first three albums in a planned roll-out of Prince catalog material will be released on CD and, for the first time, vinyl, on Feb. 8, 2019. The albums slated for physical release are part of a trilogy from the early 2000s, including the Grammy-nominated Musicology (2004), 3121 (2006) and Planet Earth (2007). According to a statement announcing the re-issues, the vinyl versions will be pressed on collectable, limited-edition purple vinyl, with new exclusive merchandise tied to each album on sale in the official Prince store website. - Billboard, 12/10/18...... The celebrity gossip website TheBlast.com is reporting that Gene Simmons of Kiss is being sued for claims of "sexual battery." According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, the unnamed woman is alleging that the singer-bassist "forcefully placed his hand on her vagina" during the opening of Simmons' "Rock & Brews" restaurant in 2016. The women who has made the allegations was working as a dishwasher in the restaurant two years ago when Simmons is alleged to have touched the claimant. The woman claims that she didn't know who Simmons was but was asked to appear in a photo with him at which point she alleges: "he reached over and forcefully placed his hand on her vagina, completely covering it." Simmons has yet to make any official comment on the allegations. In 2017, Simmons was sued for sexual battery by another woman who alleged that the star made "unwanted, unwarranted sexual advances" during an interview. In July, he reportedly settled the case for an undisclosed amount of money. Meanwhile, Kiss previously announced they are bringing their 45-year career to a close with their "End Of The Road" farewell tour. The world tour, expected to last three years, will begin in January 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/7/18...... After the classic Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside" was banned from an increasing number of US radio stations in November after listeners complained that it was inappropriate in the age of #MeToo, several versions of the song have surged in sales and streaming and continued to draw airplay in the latest tracking week, according to Nielsen Music. At the end of November, Adult Contemporary chart reporter WDOK drew attention for its announcement to ban the song. "I gotta be honest, I didn't understand why the lyrics were so bad...until I read them," WDOK air talent Glenn Anderson told Cleveland.com. "I do realize that when the song was written in 1944 [by Frank Loesser], it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong. The world we live in is extra sensitive now, and people get easily offended, but in a world where #MeToo has finally given women the voice they deserve, the song has no place." On Billboard's Holiday Digital Song Sales chart dated Dec. 15, three interpretations of "Baby" appear, the most of any title, and they make the survey's three largest gains, respectively -- Dean Martin's version, recorded in 1959; Idina Menzel's 2014 version with Michael Bublé; and Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel's 2003 duet, from the Elf soundtrack. However programmers still playing "Baby" maintain that the song remains a seasonal fit. "We love it here. I have not had any listener complaints," says Emily Boldon, program director of WWLI Providence, R.I., which has played multiple versions of the song, led by Menzel and Bublé's (18 spins). Interviewed on the morning news show FOX & Friends on Dec. 10, Dean Martin's daughter Deana Martin said: "I know my dad would be going insane right now. He would say, 'What's the matter with you? Get over it. It's just a fun song.' Because he was so sweet." The ban was also at odds with many other listeners, who strongly disagreed with the decision in a Facebook poll. - Billboard, 12/11/18.
The new Aretha Franklin concert film Amazing Grace has been picked up by the American film production and distribution company NEON in time for the film to qualify for the 2018 Oscars. Amazing Grace, which tracks the Queen of Soul's return to gospel music in 1972 with the choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Calif., went unreleased for over three decades as it was tied up in legal issues. NEON is planning an early 2019 theatrical release of the film following its Oscar-qualifying run in NY and LA before the end of the year. Amazing Grace premiered at the DOC NYC festival in November, three months after Franklin died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/7/18...... Diana Ross will be among the performers on NBC's upcoming New Year's Eve special for 2019. NBC's New Year's Eve will air Dec. 31 from 10-11 p.m. ET/PT from Times Square in NYC, then break for local news and return for the countdown from 11:30p.m.-12:20 a.m. Kelly Clarkson, Andy Grammer, John Legend and Blake Shelton will also be performing in New York, while Keith Urban and Brett Young will also perform via a live telecast from Nashville. - Billboard, 12/7/18...... Steve Miller is joining forces with country star Marty Stuart and his band for a pair of "Music From Appalachia" shows at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater in New York City on Dec. 7 and 8. The second show is being streamed on the "Jazz at Lincoln Center" Facebook page, and Miller promises it will shed a different insight on his exploration of the blues roots of jazz than his previous explorations into jazz greats Miles Davis, T-Bone Walker and the "blues triangle" of the Mississippi Delta, Chicago and Texas. "All the basic blues really came over from Africa with the slaves and was developed primarily in the Mississippi Delta," Miller says. "The Appalachian blues is kind of interesting because it's mountain music, and it was more integrated than the Delta blues was at the beginning because of coal mining and timber," he added. Miller and his Steve Miller Band will continue his collaboration with Marty Stuart and his band the Superlatives in the summer of 2019 as they tour the US together. "I'm thrilled because I'll be taking mandolin lessons every day," Miller says with a laugh. "Marty and his guys are going to come out and travel with us all over and country and I'm going to expose him to my audience. They've already come up to me and said, 'Oh, man, come on, we wanna do "Jet Airliner"! Let's do "Going to the Country."' It's just going to be a great time." After that tour, Miller says he's planning on laying low for a couple of years as he works on his next album, which he plans to release in 2021. - Billboard, 12/6/18...... Bruce Springsteen knocked down internet rumors that he's planning a 2019 tour with his E Street Band on Dec. 4 with a post on Twitter. "Just a note to quell some of the rumors over here on E Street. While we hope to be back with you soon, the E Street Band won't be touring in 2019," he posted. The Boss continued: "Before I go back to my day job, the year will be consumed with a break after our Broadway run and various recording projects I've been working on. We do hope to see you soon, and until then, we have some mighty E Streeters out there regularly performing with their own projects who'd love and deserve your support." In an interview with London's Sunday Times, the musician said he will be going "back to my day job" after performing on Broadway since 2017 but without further elaboration, which led fans to believe a tour was coming sooner than expected. Meanwhile, Springsteen's "Springsteen On Broadway" special will debut worldwide on Netflix on Dec. 16, the streaming service has announced. The film, which follows the structure and sequence of the Broadway show, includes the full length of Springsteen's theatrical creation interspersed with his songs played on piano and acoustic guitar. A soundtrack CD of the complete performance will drop on Dec. 14, with the performance also available on vinyl and digital download. - Billboard, 12/6/18...... On Dec. 3, 1968, NBC aired Elvis Presley famous "'68 Comeback Special" which relaunched the King of Rock 'n Roll's music career. Now the network is planning to mark the special's 50th anniversary with a 50th Anniversary of the Elvis Comeback Special on Feb. 17 with several prominent artists re-creating Elvis' 1968 performance that propelled him back into live performing after years of absence. In addition to musical performances, the two-hour special will also show exclusive footage of Presley and interviews from those involved in the special, including his late wife Priscilla Presley and director Steve Binder. The full lineup of musicians is set to be announced early next year. The new special, set for Feb. 17 from 9:00 PM EST to 11:00 PM EST, will be hosted by The Voice's Blake Shelton, and the full lineup of musicians is set to be announced early in 2019. A 7-disc deluxe reissue of the "'68 Comeback Special" was also recently released by RCA/Legacy Recordings. In other Elvis news, the central German town of Friedberg near Frankfurt, where Presley was stationed as a U.S. soldier in the late 1950s, has installed three pedestrian crossing lights with images of Elvis to honor the American rock icon. The lights show an image of the singer striking a pose at a microphone and the green depicts his trademarked hip swivel dance. They went online in early December in the town of Friedberg, where Elvis, who died in 1977, was stationed at the U.S. Army's Ray Barracks from October 1958 to March 1960. He lived in nearby Bad Nauheim. - Billboard/AP, 12/3/18...... Paul McCartney, who recently headlined a successful Austin City Limits show in October, has announced four additional U.S. stadium dates for his 2019 "Freshen Up" tour. The four new dates include McCartney's first-ever appearances at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisc., on June 8 and Globe Life Park in Arlington, Tex., on June 14. On June 22 and July 13, respectively, McCartney will return to Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, both of which hosted McCartney performances to capacity crowds on his 2014 "Out There" tour. The four new dates bring his "Freshen Up" tour to a total of 12 shows. The tour will kick off on May 23 at Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans and hit South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, before closing out with two shows in California. Sir Paul is touring behind his latest acclaimed LP, Egypt Station, which was released on Sept. 7 and became his first No. 1 album debut on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart in over 36 years. - Billboard, 12/4/18...... The opening night of the new Cher-based Broadway musical "The Cher Show" on Dec. 3 at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York featured a surprise performance from the star herself. Cher was in the audience as three actresses -- Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond -- stepped into her shoes at different stages of her life for renditions of 35 hit songs by the famous diva. The production ended with a stage appearance and short performance of "If I Could Turn Back Time" from the real Cher, accompanied by Block. Attending the premiere were the likes of Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Bernadette Peters, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. "The Cher Show" director Jason Moore said the singer provided direction for the musical "from the beginning," and that it was initially difficult to portray the life of someone who's still living. "We want to do her justice, and I think we have, but it's also been really fun because she gives us shortcuts," he said. "She's like, 'This is more me. This is what actually happened.' So we're telling the truth." - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/4/18...... In other Cher news, the singer was among the class of 2019 honorees at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 2. Among those honoring the 72-year-old iconic pop star were Cyndi Lauper with a show-stopping performance of "If I Could Turn Back Time," and a Lauper and Adam Lambert duet of the Sonny & Cher classic "I Got You, Babe." Lambert also put his stamp on "Believe," and got a standing ovation from Cher upon sustaining a high note. After the ceremony, Cher seemed genuinely honored to add this national honor to her treasure trove of awards. "Meryl [Streep] told me once, 'You do things for the art and if the award comes, it's a bonus,'" she said. But Cher added she never expected to win this particular award: "I never thought I was the right person to win this award, because I'm just a little bit out there. I'm the girl who rode the cannon." The event was taped and will air on CBS as a two-hour primetime special on Dec. 26. Cher will kick off her newest U.S. tour on Jan. 17, 2019, in Estero, Fla., and wrap on May 18, 2019, in Saint Paul, Minn. - Billboard, 12/3/18...... Elton John is among the big names in the running for this year's annual Christmas No. 1 single in the U.K. Bookies in the country are giving Sir Elton only a 15/2 chance of being this year's festive chart-topper however, for his performance of his first major hit "Your Song" which was used in a Christmas ad campaign for the UK retail chain John Lewis & Partners. Ariana Grande is currently the favourite, at 6/5, to land at the top spot on Dec. 22 with her latest single "Thank U, Next." - New Musical Express, 12/3/18...... Universal Pictures has picked up the rights to a number of classic Prince songs for a new original Prince-inspired movie. However, don't expect the fictional narrative to be a Prince biopic like the 1984 film Purple Rain. Instead, like the ABBA music that inspired the successful Mamma Mia! movie franchise, the studio is looking to develop an original film that uses Prince songs as signposts. The as yet untitled Prince project follows the 2016 death of the multi-instrumentalist and virtuosic performer, who sold more than 100 million records worldwide and earned eight Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Purple Rain. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/3/18...... Pete Shelley, the lead singer of the English punk rock band the Buzzcocks, died on Dec. 6 of a suspected heart attack in Estonia, where he was living at the time. He was 63. "It's with great sadness that we confirm the death of Pete Shelley, one of the UK's most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band," the Buzzcocks wrote on their official Twitter account. Former Sex Pistols guitarist Glen Matlock also shared sympathetic words about the late singer. "I am totally shocked and saddened to just hear of the untimely death of Pete Shelley," he wrote. "A superb songwriter, artist and a totally sweet hearted guy who was one of the very few originals of punk and even a one off within that. My deepest condolences to his family and friends." Best known for hits such as "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)?" and "Why Can't I Touch It," the Buzzcocks were formed in Bolton, England, by singer/songwriter/guitarist Shelley and singer/songwriter Howard Devoto, after the two met at the Bolton Institute of Technology and traveled to London to see a Sex Pistols gig. The Buzzcocks then released their debut album in 1976, and opened for the Sex Pistols in Manchester. The band went on to release their acclaimed U.S. debut, Singles Going Steady, in 1979 and record eight additional studio albums. Devoto left Buzzcocks in 1977, and Shelley became the frontman. Their most recent album, The Way, was released in 2014. - Billboard, 12/6/18...... Allan Bregman, a veteran booking agent and talent manager who worked with such acts as Stevie Wonder, Perry Como and Soupy Sales, died on Sept. 25 in La Quinta, Calif., his daughter, Jacqueline, announced on Dec. 4. In 1955, Mr. Bregman began handling guest appearances for NBC specials and shows hosted by Perry Como and Steve Allen. Two years later, he became the personal manager for Soupy Sales and negotiated the comedian's deal for his syndicated TV program. After coming to the West Coast, Bregman joined the Ashley-Famous talent agency, where he packaged variety shows for local and network syndication and represented the Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. Starting in the mid-1970s, he worked for Marquee Enterprises, which owned and operated several theaters in the round, and the Nederlander Organization, booking such talent as Neil Diamond, Bette Midler, Johnny Mathis, Cher and Aerosmith and Broadway productions across 32 theaters in the U.S. and England. A memorial for Mr. Bergman will be held in 2019. - The Hollywood Reporter, 12/4/18.