David Bowie has been named by the British public as the greatest entertainer of the 20th century in a BBC Two poll for its historical TV series Icons. American actress Kathleen Turner submitted Bowie along with Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Billie Holiday in the series' entertainer category, and advocated passionately for all names. Speaking of Bowie, Turner said: "[He] raised the creative bar for all entertainers and that is why he truly deserves to be crowned the ultimate icon of the 20th century by the British public." Bowie, who died in Jan. 2016 at age 69 after a battle with cancer, will now compete against the likes of Nelson Mandela and Ernest Shackleton in an additional final poll for the greatest icon of the 20th century overall. - New Musical Express, 1/17/19...... Singing the U.S. national anthem at the start of the NFC Championship game between the LA Rams and the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 20, Jimmy Buffett capped his performance with an unexpected mic-drop. Before the teams took the field, the "Margaritaville" singer sang his rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and tossed his mic to the ground, clutching a Saints hat in his other hand. Prior to the performance, Buffett tweeted a photo of himself loading his gear into the back of the car, writing, "Sunday Funday! Who dat!! We are excited to share that Jimmy will be singing the National Anthem before the Saints/Rams game this Sunday afternoon." In related news, Gladys Knight has been confirmed to sing the National Anthem at the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta on Feb. 3, and the seven-time Grammy winner says she's proud to use her voice to "unite and represent our country" in her hometown of Atlanta despite many artists, including Rihanna and Cardi B, refusing to perform at the NFL event to show support for Colin Kaepernick who alleges he has been blacklisted from playing for his "take a knee" protests during the pre-game national anthem. "I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice," Knight, 74, told Variety. "It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone. I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good -- I have been in the forefront of this battle longer than most of those voicing their opinions to win the right to sing our country's Anthem on a stage as large as the Super Bowl LIII." - Billboard, 1/20/19...... ABBA spokesperson Grel Hanser revealed on Jan. 21 that new music from the Swedish quartet will be delayed until later in 2019. In 2018, the group announced their intention to record and release their first new music in over 35 years prior to a digital ABBA avatar tour that they said they hoped to release by Christmas, but the songs have yet to materialize. "The songs will definitely not come before the summer, possibly afterwards," Hansel told the UK's The Daily Star. "There will be two songs released. No album." A new song titled "I Still Have Faith In You" was due to premiere on the BBC back in December. Another new song is called "Don't Shut Me Down." This comes after ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus hinted that the band's recent recording sessions could lead to "a new album, possibly." "Or four songs or something like that - that's possible," he continued, before repeating his insistence the band would not tour. "But for us to perform on stage that's just not going to happen. That's a definite." - New Musical Express, 1/21/19...... Former Jackson Five member Jermaine Jackson is claiming his ex-wife Halima Rashid has been collecting his music royalties without his knowledge for over a year and even diverted $250,000 of their money without his permission. In newly filed court documents in his divorce case, Jakcson claims to have discovered late in 2018 that his royalties were being diverted from him to his ex-wife at her direction. Jackson claims since December 2017, Rashid has collected a total of $93,991.12 which he says is his money. He also accuses his ex of transferring $250k from their community assets to a company without permission. He believes Rashid has sold off a few of their cars, despite them both having rights to them. In a letter written by his lawyer to hers, he calls her actions "criminal" and advises them to work out a resolution over the money and property being transferred or sold. Jackson also says he is behind $29k in child support to another woman. Rashid filed for divorce in 2016 following a domestic violence incident between the two where she allegedly bit his leg. The criminal case was dismissed by prosecutors. The two were married in 2004 and have no kids together. - TheBlast.com, 1/21/19...... Ozzy Osbourne is celebrating the 37th anniversary of his infamous 1982 bat-biting incident with a "detachable head" bat plush toy. "Today marks the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f---ing bat! Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head," the former Black Sabbath leader posted on Jan. 20. The 12" $40 toy bat -- whose first edition has already sold out -- features the Ozzy logo and a Velcro detachable head. The toy celebrates Ozzy's Jan. 20, 1982 show at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, IA, where he grabbed what he thought was a rubber bat thrown on stage by a fan and bit its head off, not realizing until later that it was a live animal. Osbourne recently added a new summer leg to his 2019 North American "No More Tours 2" final tour which is slated to kick off on May 29 in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Osbourne recently sent some of his platinum records to a former bandmate who wanted to own them before he died. Lee Kerslake, who was the drummer on Ozzy's first two solo albums, revealed in December that he has terminal cancer. One of his bucket list wishes was to receive the platinum discs of the records he worked on. So Ozzy posted on his social media pages that he sent the platinum discs for Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman to Kerslake. "I'm so glad that Lee Kerslake is enjoying his Blizzard and Diary platinum albums. I hope you feel better. Love -- Ozzy Osbourne," he tweeted on Jan. 18. Ironically Kerslake, who along with bassist Bob Daisley, sued Ozzy and his wife Sharon Osbourne for proper royalties on the same two albums, but eventually lost their case. Kerslake told The Metal Voice magazine in December that the litigation had left him "bankrupt." Both records were re-recorded in the '00s with Faith No More's Mike Bordin and Metallica's Robert Trujillo, who were members of Osbourne's solo band at the time. Despite losing the case, Kerslake said that he still wrote to the Osbournes to request they send him the discs, "to hang on my wall before I die. It's on my bucket list." - Billboard/NME, 1/21/19...... Yet another Aretha Franklin tribute concert is set for Feb. 1 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. "A Celebration of The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in Song and Dance" will be headlined by organizer Joan Belgrave, wife of late jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Other scheduled Detroit artists include Thornetta Davis, Mark Scott of The Miracles, Emmanuel EJ Johnson of Enchantment and the Motown Legends Gospel Choir. Meanwhile, the Isley Brothers paid tribute to the late Queen of Soul during the duo's first performance in her home town of Detroit since her death last August. Ronald Isley, who sang at Franklin's funeral, shed tears while introducing "Jesus Loves Me," recalling for the crowd at the Motor City Casino Hotel's Sound Board that he met Franklin during 1959. "I thought she was the best singer I ever heard in my life," Isley said. "She was my best friend in show business from that day in 1959 all the way up to 2018. Isley recalled how he and Franklin "used to stay up all night and talk about Sam Cooke," and he credited Franklin with turning him on to Whitney Houston. The Isleys dedicated "Jesus Loves Me" to both Franklin and Houston, and the next song, "For the Love of You," to Franklin alone. - AP/Billboard, 1/20/19...... Billy Joel announced on Jan. 19 that he'll play eight stadiums in the U.S. in 2019, including four ballparks he has not played in the past. The Piano Man will also play his first ever concert at Camden Yards in Baltimore on July 26, which will end a 20-year ban on music concerts at the venue. That date sold out in less than 30 minutes. Joel is also playing his first concerts at Denver's Coors Field on Aug. 8 as well as Globe Life Park, home to the Texas Rangers, in Arlington on Oct. 12. He'll kick off the run on March 9 at Chase Field in Phoenix, before playing Miller Stadium in Milwaukee, his first performance at the home of the Milwaukee Brewers and his only Midwest show this summer. Joel is also playing Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia on May 24 and Fenway Park in Boston on Sept. 14, his sixth concert at the stadium and already sold out. Joel, who will reach his milestone 70th birthday on May 9, is also making his only appearance in Europe this year, performing at London's Wembley Stadium on June 22. He's also continuing his successful residency at Madison Square Garden in New York, which shows booked through July. - Billboard, 1/19/19...... Filmmaker Rudi Dolezal, who enjoyed a close friendship with the late Freddie Mercury and shot the 1991 video to Queen's "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" which would prove to be Mercury's final appearance with the band before his death later that year, has revealed that Mercury, Elton John and Rod Stewart once considered forming a supergroup. In an interview with the New York Post, Dolezal said the unlikely idea was discussed when both John and Stewart were in attendance at one of Mercury's now-legendary parties at his Kensington home. "Freddie invited me to his private functions often, and, at one dinner party, the guests included Rod Stewart and Elton John," Dolezal recalled. "I remember there was a lot of bitching about other artists, and about themselves. I think Rod came up with the idea of forming a group called Nose, Teeth & Hair, because Rod had a big nose, Elton had problems with his hair and Freddie had his teeth!" Dolezal's comments come after Rod Stewart previously discussed the idea in his autobiography and explained how it was initially touted during a meeting in Los Angeles. "The band Queen rented a house in Bel Air, Los Angeles, for a while, and Elton and I spent a long evening there with Freddie Mercury, a sweet and funny man whom I really adored, discussing the possibility of the three of us forming a supergroup," Stewart said. "The name we had in mind was Nose, Teeth & hair, a tribute to each of our most remarked-upon physical attributes. The general idea was that we could appear dressed like the Beverley Sisters. Somehow this project never came to anything, which is contemporary music's deep and abiding loss." - New Musical Express, 1/18/19...... Backup singer Clydie King, whose earthy, gospel-rooted voice was heard on dozens of rock classics, including the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," died on Jan. 7 of as yet undisclosed causes. She was 75. Along with Merry Clayton, Venetta Fields and Shirley Matthews, King was one of the most in-demand backup and session singers of her time. "I don't remember all the people who I sung for," she said in a 1971 interview in which she estimated she's sung on 300 records by then. In addition to several tracks on the Stones' Exile on Main St., the list included hits like Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good," Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans," Graham Nash's "Chicago," and Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back." King also sang on albums by Steely Dan, Humble Pie, Joe Walsh, Phil Ochs, Carly Simon, Neil Diamond and Ringo Starr as well as the soundtrack to Barbra Streisand's A Star Is Born remake. (King appeared in the film as well as one of The Oreos alongside Fields.) King also recorded with both Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, the latter during his born-again years. "She was my ultimate singing partner," Dylan once told Rolling Stone. "No one ever came close. We were two soulmates." Born Aug. 21, 1943, King grew up in Dallas and sang in a gospel choir as a child. She was considered so gifted that she even appeared, at age 8, on Art Linkletter's national TV talent show. King and her family moved to Los Angeles soon after, where she recorded a number of singles for the Specialty, Philips, Imperial and Minit labels. For three years starting in 1966, she and her longtime friend Clayton were in The Raelettes, Charles' backing singers. "We thought we knew how to sing, but he taught us both how to do it in a group," Clayton remembered. "We learned to do what we do and how to be a beautiful woman and how to stand and sit." Leaving Charles after three years to travel less and spend more time with her children, King became one of the go-to voices starting in the late Sixties and throughout the Seventies. King talked Clayton into performing on "Sweet Home Alabama" after Clayton initially refused ("I'm not singing about Alabama! I remember those poor little girls killed by racists") and after the session, King told Clayton, "We did our part and this song will live in infamy, Merry. And we'll continually get paid." King would attempt to carve out her own solo career with several solid, but commercially unsuccessful, albums and returned to singing backup. She stopped recording in recent years to deal with unspecified health issues, but Clayton remembers her as sweet, but tough. "She didn't take any crap," Clayton says. "She knew how to put you in your place, but she was so sweet you didn't know you were there until a week later." - 1/11/19...... Larry Cunningham, singer for the R&B group The Floaters, has died at age 67. The Floaters had one crossover hit, "Float On," filled with astrological signs and cheesy pickup lines. The group evolved from The Detroit Emeralds, formed in 1968, and "Float On" was a 1977 release. The band recorded the song in a garage recording studio. Cunningham had reportedly been suffering from health problems for years and was hospitalized with chest pains in December. - 1/11/19.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Barbra Streisand will be honored for her environmental activism at the 2019 Hollywood for Science Gala, set for Feb. 21 at a private estate. The event is sponsored by the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES), which works to alleviate environmental problems and educate the next generation of leaders to ensure a healthier planet. "When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in Ohio," Streisand said in a statement. "Then public support and a number of farsighted politicians passed legislation to clean up our air and water. Now we face a planetary crisis of climate change. It is imperative for all humanity that we act now." - Billboard, 1/16/19...... Carlos Santana announced on Jan. 16 that he'll be commemorating the anniversaries of his smash 1999 Supernatural album and his 1969 Woodstock appearance with a 29-date North American tour that will get underway on June 29 in Phoenix, Ariz. Santana will be playing classics from his back catalog, and adding new songs from his forthcoming EP In Search of Mona Lisa, which is set to drop on Jan. 25. "We're always moving forward, and we have incredible new songs and melodies that will inspire you," Santana said in a statement. "I feel like a 20 year old on stage playing with this band, and they deliver on every song. When we hit the stage, we know we will touch your heart and make you dance, sing, cry, laugh and leave your baggage behind." The tour will hit most major American markets, including Los Angeles (6/24), Seattle (6/29), Denver (7/3), Dallas (7/6), St. Louis (7/12), Chicago (8/4), Detroit (8/11), Washington, D.C. (8/14) and Boston (8/20) before wrapping on Aug. 25 in Wantagh, N.Y. - Billboard, 1/16/19...... Aretha Franklin was honored with a star-studded "Aretha! A GRAMMY Celebration For The Queen Of Soul" tribute concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Jan. 13. Jennifer Hudson, who will star in Franklin's biopic Respect, kicked off the tribute with an energetic "Think," before Alicia Keys and SZA performed a duet of "Day Dreaming." Celine Dion received a standing ovation before she performed Franklin's version of "A Change is Gonna Come," and Patti LaBelle's voice soared on "Call Me." Smokey Robinson took a moment to remember his good friend Franklin, who he called his "little sister." He told the packed auditorium that he still misses his longtime friend who he grew up with in Detroit. The tribute was presented by the Recording Academy and music mogul Clive Davis, who told the crowd "There will never ever be another Aretha Franklin." Franklin died at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer in 2018 in her Detroit apartment. Some of her family members including her grandson who spoke at her funeral were in attendance at the tribute, which was hosted by filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry. - AP, 1/14/19...... In other Aretha Franklin news, a Detroit TV station is reporting that a criminal investigation has been opened as a result of the Queen of Soul's Bloomfield Township home allegedly being burglarized prior to her passing. The criminal probe reportedly also includes unauthorized use of Franklin's funds. While it's unclear exactly how much money is missing, the report was filed in June. The news comes on the heels of the IRS claiming Franklin left almost $8 million in tax debt ($3 million of which her estate asserts has been paid since her passing), in addition to legal bills and other expenses that remain unpaid. - TheRoot.com, 1/13/19...... The Rolling Stones will be among the headliners at the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. The two-weekend event runs April 25-28 and May 2-5 at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, with a diverse lineup also featuring Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Seger, Santana, Van Morrison, Al Green, John Fogerty, Tom Jones, Aaron Neville, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dave Matthews Band, Gladys Knight, Alanis Morissette and Chaka Khan. The New Orleans Jazz Fest was first produced by Newport Folk Festival co-founder George Wein in 1970. For the first time, this year the event is expanding to four days each weekend. - Billboard, 1/15/19...... In other Rolling Stones news, Keith Richards has announced he'll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of his 1988 debut solo LP Talk Is Cheap with a deluxe reissue on Mar. 29. The release will include unseen photos, an 80-page hardback book and rare memorabilia, including lyric sheets, posters and a guitar pick. Talk Is Cheap features contributions from such artists as Bootsy Collins, Patti Scialfa and Richards' former Rolling Stones bandmate Mick Taylor. - AP, 1/16/19...... Classic rockers Toto's 1982 hit "Africa," which has in recent years become one of the most streamed songs in the world, will play eternally in an African desert thanks to Namibian artist Max Siedentopf who recently set up a solar-powered sound installation in the Namib Desert that will continue to play the tune on repeat. "[I] wanted to pay the song the ultimate homage and physically exhibit 'Africa' in Africa," Siedentopf told the BBC. "Some [Namibians] love it and some say it's probably the worst sound installation ever. I think that's a great compliment." Siedentopf built six speakers adjacent to each other, attached to an MP3 player with only the catchy hit on it. While the set up is incredibly durable, Siedentopf says he expects the desert's harsh weather conditions to eat away at the installation over time. As for the exact location of the exhibit, the 27-year-old artist is keeping it undisclosed for only the most dedicated Toto fans to find. So "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you." - Billboard, 1/14/19...... Bruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance at a recent screening of the film version of his hit musical "Springsteen on Broadway." Springsteen attended the free screening Sunday at Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre. According to the Asbury Park Press, the Boss entered the 700-seat theater about 10 minutes after the show started and sat near the back with the film's director, Thom Zimny. Most people didn't notice the rock icon, who wore a baseball cap and left through a backdoor after the film ended. Springsteen used the Pollak Theatre for two rehearsal shows before he began his Broadway run in the fall of 2017. The show ran until this past December. Monmouth University also plays host to the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music. - AP, 1/14/19...... In related news, Carole King made a surprise appearance at a fifth anniversary presentation of her Broadway show "Beautiful" at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Jan. 12 in New York. The packed house erupted into thunderous cheers and applause as King appeared sitting at a baby grand piano and showing all the love in her heart as she sang "Beautiful," the final song. "It's kind of miraculous that this show has lasted for five years because not many do. And it's a testament to, I think, people say the music... but the book is so good and the direction and the lighting and the sets. It's really a well put together production," King told reporters after the show. King has sung onstage during curtain calls during the show's long run but has never appeared in the show itself. In the show's final scene -- set during her famous 1971 Carnegie Hall concert -- the 76-year-old King played a much younger version of herself as she took over for Chilina Kennedy, who recently returned to the Broadway production of "Beautiful" after playing the King role in the North American tour. King and the cast then performed the show's encore number, "I Feel the Earth Move," at the curtain call as the audience danced and clapped along. The singer-songwriter held hands with Kennedy as the two took several bows and accepted flowers from the cast. "Beautiful" opened on Broadway on Jan. 13, 2014, and won the 2014 Tony Award for best actress in a musical for Jessie Mueller; the 2015 Grammy Award for best musical theater album; and two 2015 Olivier Awards, Britain's version of the Tonys. Productions have played in London, Japan and Australia and toured the United Kingdom. The North American tour is celebrating its third anniversary of sold-out runs and is currently playing at Philadelphia's Academy of Music. - AP, 1/13/19...... Elton John and his husband David Furnish have recruited rockers The Killers to headline their 27th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Academy Awards viewing party. IMDb.com will serve as this year's presenting sponsor, and as part of the sponsorship arrangement, the website for the first time will broadcast its annual "IMDb Live" streaming show. The four-hour show will be co-hosted by Aisha Tyler and Dave Karger. EJAF's viewing party will take place during the Academy Awards on Feb. 24, and is once again being held at West Hollywood Park. Since its inception, EJAF's Oscar party has raised more than $68.2 million for the foundation, which uses the funds to help those living with HIV/AIDS or to help fund treatment and prevention programs. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/14/19...... Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, Grateful Dead veteran Bob Weir, and country music icon Willie Nelson will headline L.A.'s first ever coastal music festival, the BeachLife Festival, set for May 3-5 at the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach. "We've painstakingly curated this lineup to capture what we believe is the unique spirit of BeachLife," reads a statement from co-founders Allen Sanford and Rob Lissner. Sanford is the owner of the popular Saint Rock nightclub in Hermosa Beach, and Sanford and Lissner are the brains behind LiveList, a tech platform to stream live music performances around the world. The festival will also feature an innovative 50-seat, pop-up restaurant on the main stage with reservations starting at $150, available to be booked March 1. Organizers say the Side Stage concept will "give festival-goers access to an unprecedented upscale dining experience "just feet from headliner performances." The festival will also feature a Beyond Side Stage area with a curated wine village, a massive craft beer bar focused on LA breweries and food by celebrity chef David LeFevre. - Billboard, 1/14/19...... Country music legend Loretta Lynn's upcoming 87th birthday will be celebrated on Apr. 1 with an all-star concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, it was announced on Jan. 14. Among the artists participating in "Loretta Lynn: An All-Star Birthday Celebration Concert" are Alan Jackson, Brandy Clark, Darius Rucker, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jack White, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Margo Price, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies and Trisha Yearwood. When asked during the press conference about her status as a pioneer within the industry, Lynn responded emphatically, "It feels great. I love all of the artists coming on [the show]; I don't know all of them, but I've listened to all of [their music], and this all just feels great." Lynn, a four-time Grammy winner, has long been the undisputed Queen of Country Music, with more than 50 years of recording and touring to her name. With 17 Billboard Hot Country Songs No. 1 singles to her credit, she is also one of the most awarded musicians of all time. - Billboard, 1/14/19...... Led by such major classic rock acts as the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, vinyl album sales in the U.S. have hit their 13th consecutive year of growth. Vinyl album sales continue to be a bright spot among an otherwise bleak album sales picture. 16.8 million vinyl albums were sold in 2018, according to Nielsen Music (up 14.6 percent) -- marking the 13th consecutive year of growth for the format. 16.8 million is also a new yearly high for vinyl album sales since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. The top-selling vinyl albums artist in 2018 was the Beatles, with 321,000 copies sold of their catalog on vinyl. Their biggest seller was Abbey Road, which finishes the year as the No. 4 largest-seller, with 76,000 copies. The Fab Four also have two more titles among the year's top 15-sellers: their self-titled The Beatles ("White Album") is No. 11 (56,000) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is No. 13 (50,000). The top 10-biggest selling vinyl acts of the year are rounded out mostly by classic and veteran rock acts: Pink Floyd (177,000), David Bowie (150,000), Panic! at the Disco (148,000), Fleetwood Mac (139,000), Led Zeppelin (138,000), Michael Jackson (131,000), Jimi Hendrix (119,000), Metallica (116,000) and Queen (113,000). The CD format continues to be the leader for all album purchases, while the digital format is the runner-up with 53.4 million digital albums sold in 2018 (down 20.7 percent). - Billboard, 1/12/19...... Michael Jackson's daughter Paris Jackson has reportedly checked into a treatment facility to seek professional help regarding her "physical and emotional health," taking time off after a busy working year. "After a busy year of work engagements that took her all over the globe, Paris decided that she needed to take some time off to reboot, realign and prioritise her physical and emotional health," a source close to Paris told the UK outlet Metro. "She checked herself into a treatment facility to aid in her wellness plan and is looking forward to coming out of this revitalised and ready to tackle the exciting new projects that await her," the source added. Paris was hospitalised due to depression and anxiety in 2013. In 2018, she denied reports that she had checked into rehab due to a "mental breakdown." - New Musical Express, 1/16/19...... A neighbor of Jimmy Page and Robbie Williams in west London has claimed Williams once blasted music by Led Zeppelin's rivals and dressed up as frontman Robert Plant in a bid to annoy the iconic Led Zepp guitarist. The two musicians have been at odds with each other since Williams submitted plans to add a basement gym and swimming pool to his home in west London five years ago. Page was concerned the work could damage his Grade I-listed mansion and has objected to planning proposals on several occasions. According to The Telegraph, a local resident called Johnny wrote to Kensington and Chelsea council to report Williams' behaviour, after councillors had given him planning permission. "The committee may not have been aware that Robbie Williams has been playing loud '70s rock music on outside speakers when he views Jimmy Page outside his home," the letter read. "What's been most annoying is that Mr. Williams has played rock arch-rival bands Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. He obviously knows this upsets Mr. Jimmy Page. There have also been some reports that Robbie Williams has dressed up to imitate iconic Led Zeppelin frontman and lead singer Robert Plant." A spokesperson for Williams told the paper the claims were "a complete fabrication and nonsense." - NME, 1/12/19...... It appears Paul McCartney won't be among the headliners at the U.K.'s Glastonbury festival, which takes place from June 26-30, after Sir Paul recently announed he'll be performing two U.S. shows at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on June 26, before heading to Las Vegas' T Mobile Arena on June 29. The Beatles legend was previously among the favourites rumoured to be headlining at the Worthy Farm classic this summer. Meanwhile in the UK, a pothole in Lancashire has become an unlikely sensation online after its questionable resemblance to Macca was first noticed. The hazardous crack in the road surface was first spotted by the Lancashire Evening Post, who were keen to point out the similarities in appearance to the Beatles icon. Upon first inspection, the gravel surrounding the hole looks extremely similar to Macca's famous mop-top hairstyle, and there's even individual stones that are making up his eyebrows, eyes, nose and mouth. Responding to the unusual photo, one user joked: "Why is no-one Fixing A Hole?" Another quipped: "Is this one of the 4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire?" - NME, 1/15/19...... Shirley Boone, the wife of '50s music legend Pat Boone and mother of "You Light Up My Life" singer Debby Boone, died at her Beverly Hills residence on Jan. 11. She was 84. Ms. Boone, who was married to Pat for nearly 65 years, had been diagnosed with vasculitis, a condition characterized by the inflammation of one's blood vessels, under a year ago. Shirley and Pat wed in 1953, when they were both 19. She came from a country music family, as her father Red Foley is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and her mother Judy Martin was also a prominent singer within the genre. "We lived a wonderful, blessed life together for 65 years," Boone, 84, told People magazine. "I've parted with my better half for a little while... but we don't die, we just move on to another place, and today was moving day. She's changed her address is all and moved to a different mansion that I expect to join her in one day." Ms. Boone was reportedly surrounded by Pat, Debby, and the couple's other three daughters when she died. She and Boone had 16 grandchildren. - New York Daily News, 1/12/19...... Veteran actress/singer/comedian Carol Channing, the lanky, ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences over almost 5,000 performances as the scheming Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly" on Broadway and beyond, died of natural causes on Jan. 15 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 97. Besides "Hello, Dolly," Ms. Channing starred in other Broadway shows, but none with equal magnetism. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and a national tour. Her outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably The First Traveling Saleslady with Ginger Rogers and Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews. Over the years, Ms. Channing continued as Dolly in national tours, the last in 1996, when she was in her 70s. Critic Tom Shales of The Washington Post once called Ms. Channing "the ninth wonder of the world." Born Jan. 31, 1921, in Seattle, Ms. Channing majored in drama and dance at Bennington College in Vermont, and later found a job in a New York revue. For several years she worked as an understudy, bit player and nightclub impressionist, taking jobs as a model, receptionist and sales clerk during lean times. Landing in Los Angeles, Ms. Channing was the hit of "Lend an Ear" in a small Hollywood theater, and she captivated audiences and critics when the show moved to New York. As the innocent gold digger in the musical "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," her stardom was assured. One reviewer reported "she hurls across the footlights in broad strokes of pantomime and bold, certain, exquisitely comical gestures." The show's hit song, "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," became her signature number. But she returned over and over again to the surefire "Hello, Dolly," which earned her $5 million on one tour. She considered Dolly Levi "a role as deep as Lady Macbeth," ut added that the essence of her character was her unquenchable thirst for life. That description fit Carol Channing, who attributed her sunny optimism to her lifelong faith in Christian Science. Ms. Channing had two early marriages that ended in divorce -- to novelist Theodore Naidish and pro footballer Alexander Carson, father of her only child, Channing. Her son became a successful political cartoonist. Ms. Channing had reportedly suffered two strokes in the past year. - AP, 1/15/19...... Verna Bloom, the actress who portrayed the wife of the dean in the hit '70s movie Animal House, died on Jan. 9 in Bar Harbor, Maine, of complications from dementia. She was 80. In the 1978 John Landis-directed film, Ms. Bloom played Marion Wormer, who flirted with and had a drunken romp with fraternity president "Otter" Stratton. Other roles included Clint Eastwood's lover in High Plains Drifter and Mary in The Last Temptation of Christ. Ms. Bloom was born in Lynn, Mass., and graduated from Boston University in 1959. She is survived by her husband, former film critic and two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jack Cocks, and a son. - AP, 1/10/19.
Seventies artists Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf), John Prine and Eagles collaborator Jack Tempchin are among the inductees for the class of 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame. Stevens' songwriting credits include "The First Cut Is The Deepest," which he wrote five decades ago and has become a hit for multiple artists, including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow. Country-folk icon Prine (who recently was nominated but didn't make the cut for the 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) has become an affable songwriting guru for many of Nashville's talented younger artists, and Tempchin co-wrote songs for the Eagles and Glenn Frey's solo albums. Other 2019 SHOF inductees include Tom T. Hall, who Johnny Cash called his "all-time favorite songwriter," and Dallas Austin, who has written hits for Madonna, Boyz II Men and Pink. The new class of songwriters will officially be inducted on June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. - AP, 1/12/19...... Parlophone Records announced on Jan. 8 it is releasing a new David Bowie 7" vinyl singles box set this spring in celebration of what would have been Bowie's 72nd birthday. Spying Through a Keyhole (Demos and Unreleased Songs) features nine previously unreleased recordings, including the earliest known version of one of his most beloved songs, "Space Oddity." Though most of the tracks in the collection have familiar titles, these versions had never been released before 2018, with most comprised of solo vocal and acoustic home demos. It will be the first physical release of the songs, which were briefly available on streaming services for a limited time in December. - Billboard, 1/8/19...... Previously unseen artifacts marking the 60th anniversary of The Motown Museum will go on display at the iconic Detroit recording studio and museum in 2019. The museum announced on Jan. 11 that it will begin to display several new items the following day, including documents that show Motown label founder Berry Gordy Jr.'s repayment of the $800 family loan that helped launch the company with a recording in 1959. Scores of stars, including The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded hits there before the label moved its operations to California in 1972. The museum also said it has plans for more new displays throughout the year. - AP, 1/11/19...... Speaking of Detroit, hometown buddies Bob Seger and Kid Rock continued their long history of jamming with each other onstage when Kid Rock joined headliner Seger and his Silver Bullet Band for a rendition of "Rock N' Roll Never Forgets" at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Jan. 11. "I've known (Rock) since he started in music," Seger told the crowd, while Kid Rock said that it was "an honor to be here tonight, joining my friend and absolute musical hero here... Over 50 years, one of the best singer-songwriters in American history. Maybe his last time in Nashville. I sure hope not." Seger will continue with his North American "Final Tour" at least into May, but it could stretch into the summer and perhaps beyond. - Billboard, 1/12/19...... Movie studio MGM announced on Jan. 10 that the long-gestating Aretha Franklin biopic Respect will finally begin production in 2019 with stage director Liesel Tommy set to direct. In the lead role will be Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson, who was chosen by Franklin to portray her in Jan. 2018 shortly after Hudson performed a medley of Franklin's songs at Clive Davis' pre-Grammy bash. Liesel Tommy was nominated for a Tony Award for directing the 2016 Broadway production of "Eclipsed," and she is also set to direct a film adaption of Trevor Noah's autobiography. Callie Khouri, who penned 1991's acclaimed Thelma & Louise, will write the script. In other Aretha Franklin news, The Grammy Awards' Recording Academy announced on Jan. 9 that Smokey Robinson will be among the headliners of an "Aretha! A GRAMMY Celebration For The Queen Of Soul" tribute concert set for Jan. 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Robinson is the latest addition to the all-star list of performers that also includes Hudson, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Patti LaBelle and BeBe Winans, among others. The special will be taped and broadcast later in 2019 on the CBS Television Network. - AP/Billboard, 1/11/19...... Movie studio Twentieth Century Fox announced on Jan. 9 that the Golden Globe-winning Queen biopic will be released as a sing-along in more than 750 theaters in North America beginning Jan. 11. The film, which includes some of the band's most popular songs including "We Will Rock You," "We Are the Champions" and the title track, is also being expanded from 1,000 theaters to more than 1,300 the same day. "We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to see this outstanding Golden Globe-winning film featuring Rami Malek's amazing Golden Globe-winning performance in theaters all over the U.S. and Canada in both its original form and in a never-before-experienced 'sing-along' version," said Chris Aronson, Fox's president of domestic distribution in a statement. Meanwhile, Queen guitarist Brian May has accused British critics of sending a subtle message that Bohemian Rhapsody is not worthy of its recent awards success, despite being nominated for seven BAFTA awards (Britain's equivalent of the Oscars). May congratulated Malek on his BAFTA nomination for "Leading Actor" via Instagram on Jan. 10, but was quick to point out the film's glaring omission from the "Best Film" category days after it won the equivalent accolade at the Golden Globes. May also said he was disappointed to learn that the film wasn't nominated for its special effects. "I can only conclude that these people don't really understand what was achieved by our team. There are no explosions or rocket ships, but the re-creation of Wembley Stadium as it was in 1985 is a massive triumph." he wrote. Bohemian Rhapsody is the worst-rated film to win a Best Picture award at the Golden Globes since 1986, achieving a rating of only 62% on the Rotten Tomatoes site (the lowest Best Picture winner since Out of Africa in 1986). Nevertheless, Bohemian Rhapsody has become the highest-grossing music biopic of all-time, overtaking the Abba movie Mamma Mia! after making $600 million (£478m) at the box office. - AP/NME, 1/10/19...... Leaving Neverland, a documentary about the lives of two boys who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse, has been added to the lineup of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Produced and directed by Dan Reed, Leaving Neverland tells the stories of two boys, aged 7 and 10, who began long-running relationships with Jackson at the height of his stardom. Now in their 30s, they tell the "gut-wrenching" story of how they were sexually abused by Jackson, and how they came to terms with it years later. The two-part, 236-minute documentary, is slated to premiere on Jan. 25 in the festival's Special Events Category. Michael Jackson's estate has released a statement in response to the news, blasting the doc as "yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," adding "this so called 'documentary' is just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations. It's baffling why any credible filmmaker would involve himself with this project." On Jan. 10, the King of Pop's nephew Taj Jackson also came to his late uncle's defense, posting on Twitter that he is "so tired of these lies about my uncle... I doubt the media wants to learn the truth or is even interested in it. Negativity sells. But please post below on what we all can do to expose this documentary." Sundance runs from Jan. 24 to Feb. 4 in Park City, Utah. - The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard, 1/9/19...... Revered director Martin Scorsese has revealed he will be directing a new concert documentary for Netflix that chronicles the famous 1975-76 Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story will trace the tour in which Dylan gathered an ensemble of collaborators and musicians including Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett and Mick Ronson. Scorsese previously helmed the Dylan project No Direction Home, a 2005 Grammy-winning documentary which detailed Dylan's evolution between 1961 and 1966. The announcement comes three months after director Luca Guadagnino said that he planned to adapt Dylan's classic 1975 album Blood On the Tracks into a film. - The Hollywood Reporter/NME, 1/10/19...... The previously unseen Paul McCartney movie The Bruce McMouse Show is set to be shown in cinemas in selected cities in the UK, US, Australia and Canada beginning Jan. 21. The part concert film/part animated feature tells the story of how McCartney and his band Wings initially met Bruce McMouse, the film's animated protagonist. It also features unseen footage from Wings' 1972 European tour in support of the Red Rose Speedway album, along with animated footage that shows the family of mice who are living under the stage. - New Musical Express, 1/10/19...... Joe Jackson realized a while back that 2019 would mark 40 years since the release of his debut, Look Sharp. And yet, he says,"still don't really believe it." Perhaps that's because the acclaimed British singer-songwriter behind hits like "Steppin' Out" and "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" has been busy readying his crackling new album Fool for release on Jan. 18. Recorded at the end of his recent tour, the record, Jackson's 20th, finds him in both ruminative and rocking moods. "I'm at the point where I've been around the block a few times," he says."think I have a grip on the things that are most important in life." To commemorate the new release and his milestone, Jackson will embark on the Four Decade Tour in February, drawing on one main album to represent each 10-year period: Look Sharp, Night and Day, Laughter & Lust, Rain and Fool. He's looking forward to the trek, but still wondering where the time has gone. "Some days it feels like it's been a long time," he says, adding with a laugh, "but it doesn't seem like 40 bloody years!" - Entertainment Weekly, 1/4/19...... Billy Joel will be performing the first concert at the Baltimore Orioles' home ballpark at Camden Yards since the venue opened in 1992. Joel, who turns 70 in May, will take the stage on July 26. In a news conference on Jan. 10, Orioles Executive Vice President John Angelos expressed hope that Joel's show will be the "first of many" concerts at Camden Yards. Joel last performed in Baltimore in July 2015 at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Ravens. It was his first stage show in the city since 1977. - AP, 1/10/19...... Several Elvis Presley items including jewelry and clothing were sold at auction at The Guest House Graceland in Memphis on Jan. 10, netting more than $600,000. The items include a red velvet shirt likely worn on stage by Presley at a 1956 show in Tupelo, Miss., which sold for $37,500. A gold and diamond ring that Presley wore on stage and gave to his father sold for $30,000. A ring Presley gave to singer J.D. Sumner sold for $22,500. - AP, 1/10/19...... On Jan. 9, original Woodstock co-founder and co-producer Michael Lang announced a 50th anniversary Woodstock concert will be held on Aug. 16-18, competing against another Woodstock tribute approximately 150 miles away. Lang says his Woodstock concret will be held at the Watkins Glen International Speedway, and claims his event will be the "only authorized commemoration of the iconic 1969 festival." In December, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announced that it was staging its own Woodstock tribute event at its 15,000-seat amphitheater built on the site of the original Woodstock. In a press release, Lang said, "the original site in Bethel is wonderful, but much too small for what we're envisioning" and promises his event will have a much different feel than Bethel Woods. "The Watkins Glen speedway gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock," Lang said. He also noted that Watkins Glen International was also the site of Summer Jam in 1973, headlined by theAllman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band in front of 600,000 people -- a record at the time. "The Woodstock 50th Anniversary will be about sharing an experience with great artists and encouraging people to get educated and involved in the social issues impacting everyone on the planet," said Lang. "It's so inspiring to see young people today channeling their passion into causes they care about. That's something that's always been a part of Woodstock's mission, and it's a big focus at the 50th festival." - Billboard, 1/9/19...... Cher and Bette Midler were among the Pres. Donald Trump critics sounding off on Twitter following Pres. Trump's Jan. 7 Oval Office address on his demand for over $5 billion to construct a fence along the southern U.S. border. "Trump had 2 years...all branches of gov, and total corrupt power...where was his crisis then...what humanitarian crisis is he speaking of, the one where he ripped babies from mom's arms or where his administration killed 2 7 yrs. old?," Cher posted, while Midler said, "#munchausensbyproxy We're living it every day. It might be called something else; a person holds an entire nation hostage so that they will pay attention to him. What is that called?? Anyone??" - Billboard, 1/9/19...... Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta took to Instagram on Jan. 7 to share a photo of himself sporting a new shaved hair look alongside daughter Elle Bleu. "I hope everyone had a great New Year!" the actor captioned the photo. It's unclear as to whether Travolta's new bald look is for a movie role, but either way, it caught the Internet's attention. - Billboard, 1/8/19...... The Who have announced they are planning a new album and tour for 2019. In an interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Pete Townshend disclosed that he told promoters Live Nation that he wouldn't agree to a new tour unless they band had a new songs in the works. "I said I was not going to sign any contracts unless we have new material," Townshend explained. "This has nothing to do with wanting a hit album. It has nothing to do with the fact that The Who need a new album. It's purely personal. It's about my pride, my sense of self-worth and self-dignity as a writer." The upcoming new record will be the British rockers' first since 2006's Endless Wire, which came 24 years after their previousl full studio effort, 1982's It's Hard. The untitled album, which Townshend describes as a "dark ballads, heavy rock stuff, experimental electronica, sampled stuff, and cliched Who-ish tunes," currently exists as 15 demos, all of which were written and recorded by Townshend last year. Bandmate Roger Daltrey is expected to record vocals for the tracks later this year, with a 2019 release currently planned. Daltrey, also interviewed in the same article, added: "They're all great songs. But sometimes I hear them and I think, 'I can't add anything to this to make my job as singer worthy of doing anything better than what Pete has already done.' There's at least five or six I can lay into and I'm sure they'll come out incredible. Now that I'm healed up, I'm going to spend time getting into them. Okay, so I didn't get back to him quickly at first. It doesn't mean anything! I was deaf for about three weeks. It wasn't even possible for me to bloody hear what was in them!" The US tour dates have yet to be officially announced but the jaunt will consist of a total of 31 dates and will kick off at New York's Madison Square Garden in April, with a local symphony orchestra joining the band for each performance. "I'll be 75 years old in March and this feels like a dignified way to go and do music," Daltrey said about the tour. "That's all we're really left with. We're old men now. We've lost the looks. We've lost the glamour. What we're left with is the music and we're going to present it in a way which is as fresh and powerful as ever." The first leg of the tour will see The Who play 14 shows from April onwards, with the tour resuming in September and October to visit cities in Canada and the western US. As for their UK tour plans, Townshend confirmed that the band will play festivals in the UK over the summer, with a possible tour planned on these shores for the end of 2019. Daltrey says he's still working on a biopic of late The Who drummer Keith Moon, but "it's so difficult because biopics generally don't work." "The only one I've seen that really works was the one on Brian Wilson (2014's Love & Mercy), where they used two different actors. I loved that one because it had the balls to be a movie, and I want to make a movie, not just a biopic." - New Musical Express, 1/11/19.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
A British Facebook user known as "Be Reet" has launched a campaign to have Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks work a shift at a McDonald's restaurant in Fleetwood, England, next fall. The campaign already has more than 3,300 people pledging to line up to be served by Miss Nicks herself, with at least 19,000 interested in attending. Nick's proposed shift is scheduled for Sept. 28 from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. "We've heard some rumours that Stevie Nicks might be keen to visit our own Fleetwood Macs," a spokesman for McDonald's says. "Next time she's in the area we'd be delighted to welcome her for some sweet little fries before she goes her own way," a nod to the Fleetwood Mac tunes "Sweet Little Lies" and "Go Your Own Way." Nicks is yet to respond to the campaign. Fleetwood Mac is scheduled to tour Europe in the summer, playing Berlin on June 6, Dublin on June 13, and two dates at London's Wembley Stadium on June 16 and 18. - DailyMail.co.uk/New Musical Express, 1/5/19...... In somewhat of an upset, the hit 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody beat out the latest Lady Gaga-starred remake of A Star Is Born for "Best Picture - Drama" at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 6 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Bohemian Rhapsody actor Rami Malek also won Best Actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, and during his acceptance speech Malek tipped his hat to the original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who were in the audience, for "ensuring authenticity and inclusivity exist in music and in the world and all of us" before honoring Mercury with "Thank you to Freddie Mercury. I love you, you beautiful man, this is because of you, gorgeous." Backstage, Brian May praised Malek and the others involved in the film, saying "We found the right people at the right time, or we wouldn't be standing here." Bohemian Rhapsody's big night at the Golden Globes was just the latest achievement for the movie, which has already grossed nearly $200 million in the U.S. alone, becoming the highest-grossing musical biopic film ever released, and also spawned a hit soundtrack, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart. Meanwhile, the upcoming DVD and Blu-ray release of Bohemian Rhapsody is set to include an extended and previously unseen 22-minute scene from Queen's seminal 1985 "Live Aid" performance, which sees them also playing "We Will Rock You" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." The release, which is due March 4, also comes with behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew, plus members of Queen. A Bohemian Rhapsody "sing-a-long" experience is also set to launch in cinemas across the UK on Jan. 11. - Billboard/NME, 1/6/19...... Paul McCartney kicked off the start of 2019 on Jan. 2 with a new song called "Get Enough." Co-produced by McCartney, Ryan Tedder and Zach Skelton, "Get Enough" features the former Beatle experimenting with the Auto-Tune recording process, beginning with a straightforward piano intro before McCartney's Auto-Tuned vocals kick in as he sings "I can't get enough of you." "Get Enough" was co-written by McCartney and Tedder, and comes a little less than four months after the release of his latest solo album, Egypt Station. McCartney also posted a short video of himself on Instagram having a good old time singing along to the track. "Happy New Year!" he wrote to his followers in the clip's caption on Jan. 5. "Can't get enough of you! Love Paul #getenough." - Billboard, 1/6/19...... In other Beatles-related news, Yoko Ono has reflected on her contribution to the John Lennon song "Jealous Guy." Originally titled "Child of Nature," the song featured the lines "I'm just a child of nature / I don't need much to set me free", which later at Yoko's suggestion became "I was feeling insecure / You might not love me anymore / I was shivering insideI didn't mean to hurt you / I'm just a jealous guy." "Well, if it was just John, [he] would have given me the right credit, but it was a difficult time. No famous songwriter would have thought of splitting the credit with his wife," Ono told New Musical Express. Speaking of her influence on the track, she added: "I think it's a good song from a women's point of view as well [as a man's] John was [initially] trying to create a fun song about going on a trip to Rishikesh. That might have been great too, but it ended up not being that." Ono also hinted that further details could emerge in the future regarding tracks she contributed to. "I think in maybe ten years I can tell it all," she said. "But I don't know if I want to." - New Musical Express, 1/2/19....... 70s teen idol Donny Osmond has released a whopping 61 total albums during his nearly 50 years in show business -- either as a solo artist, with sister Marie Osmond, or as a member of The Osmonds -- and on Jan. 6 he shared a "little secret" as he put it with his fans on Twitter. "I've officially started working on my 62nd album! -- I'll keep you posted throughout the year as I continue creating it, but I have a feeling you're going to love it," he tweeted along with an illustration of himself wailing on a keytar. Osmond says the LP will be a compilation of notable covers, including his take on Michael Jackson's "Ben" and the Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road." - Billboard, 1/6/19...... Neil Young shared a tribute to his late ex-wife Pegi Young, who passed away on New Year's Day after a yearlong battle with cancer, on Jan. 5. The post, titled "Such A Woman: Pegi Young 1952-2019," includes lyrics from Young's song "Such A Woman," inspired by Pegi, with lines like "our love will live until the end of all time." Neil and Pegi Young were married for 36 years prior to their divorce in 2014, and they have two children, Ben and Amber. In 1986, they started the Bridge School non-profit to help children with severe physical and speech impairments, inspired by their own experiences trying to find schools for their son Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy. Pegi's own music career began in 1994 -- at the nationally televised Academy Awards ceremony, singing backup for Neil Young on his Oscar-nominated song "Philadelphia." She eventually became a regular backup singer on his tours and sang and played occasional acoustic guitar on some of his albums, including Greendale, Prairie Wind, Chrome Dreams II and more. She also took photographs for Neil's Silver & Gold and for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 1999 comeback album Looking Forward. Graham Nash, a longtime friend and musical partner of Neil Young, said "Pegi was a very strong woman in many ways, certainly a lady to be admired." She passed away "surrounded by friends and family in California," according to an official statement, and memorial plans are pending. - Billboard, 1/6/19...... Cher has chimed in on a new viral video by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez which shows the newly elected Democratic congresswoman dancing on a roof during her student days at Boston University. "Know The Feeling @AOC SOMETIMES---JUST GOTTA DANCE, Good Thing You Can, Sponsor a Bill, Put On, & Kick Ass At The Same Time," Cher tweeted on Jan. 5. Ocasio-Cortez's video became a meme in record time, as different songs were paired with the visual continued to pick up steam. Ocasio-Cortez was understandably pleased to see Cher's tweet, posting "The Queen has spoken!" soon afterward. - Billboard, 1/5/19...... Bob Seger, who has said he may be retiring from the road in 2019, told fans at his Jan. 3 farewell concert at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Mich., that "in 2020 I'll be available for weddings...Keep me in mind." The quip has been the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's parting line since his "Final Tour" with his Silver Bullet Band began in November. Seger said goodbye with high-octane, 22-song two-hour show that included a few surprises. "Since I'm retiring soon I figured we better roll out some of the ones we've never played," said Seger who's also been opening some shows with his chart-topping Beverly Hills Cop II hit "Shakedown." "I'm pulling 'em out. Now's the time." He accompanied some of the songs with video screen montages of vintage images and lingered a bit longer on stories about "Like a Rock," "Her Strut" and "Turn the Page." He dedicated "We've Got Tonight" to his late mother, explaining that it's her "favorite song I ever wrote," while a cover Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" was a homage to the late Eagles' founder Glenn Frey, a close friend, and "some other people that we lost along the way," with photos of Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Prince, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman and Chuck Berry scrolling on the screen during the performance. He wrapped with his familiar encore set of "Against the Wind," "Hollywood Nights," "Night Moves" and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." Seger's Final Tour is currently booked through May 2, but there's talk of more dates into the summer. - Billboard, 1/4/19...... In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason recalled Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett's mental breakdown in 1968 owing to acid-induced schizophrenia. Mason described how the band were "young and immature" with regard to "coming to grips" with Barrett's mental health issues. "So many songs were written by Syd in such a short time period. It was less than two years from out first public show in October of 1967," Mason said. "At that time we had only two or three original songs. And just about a year later, it was already sort of burning out," he added. Barrett died from complications arising from diabetes in 2006, aged 60. - Rolling Stone/NME, 1/3/19...... Olivia Newton-John reassured fans in a new video shared on Jan. 2 that recent rumors of her having only weeks to live "have been greatly exaggerated." Newton-John, 70, had announced in September that she is battling cancer for the third time after doctors discovered a tumor at the base of her spine, but in her video the healthy looking singer wished everyone a happy new year and said "rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated, to quote a very famous quote." "I'm doing great. I want to wish all of you the happiest, healthiest 2019 possible," she continues. "Thank you all for your wonderful love and support for me and my Olivia Newton John Wellness Center in Melbourne, Australia." Several Australian media outlets had picked up a Radar Online story claiming that a "ravaged" Newton-John was "clinging to life," and that her "bodily functions appear to be shutting down." The story also cited several doctors, none of whom have treated Newton-John personally, who insisted on the seriousness of her condition. "She almost certainly is going to die!" exclaimed one in what reads a lot like glee. A rep for Newton-John called the report "crap." - Billboard/Jezebel.com, 1/2/19...... Oscar-winning English actor Gary Oldman has confirmed he will be providing narration on a forthcoming app based on the David Bowie "Is" exhibition. The exhibition -- which explored "the broad range of the late artist's collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art, and film" -- shut permanently back in July, five years after it debuted at the V&A in London (where it became the renowned institution's most-visited touring exhibition). Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh curated the exhibition, which drew over 2 million visitors across 12 cities. Bowie and Oldman enjoyed a close and enduring friendship in the years preceding Bowie's death in 2016, with Oldman appearing in Bowie's controversial video for "The Next Day." The Augmented Reality (AR) app will be available in iOS and Android, and will grant fans access to the show's hundreds of costumes, videos, handwritten lyrics, original works of art and much more. Dozens of items not featured in the original exhibition will also be included, including some entirely new and exclusive to the AR version of the app. It will arrive on Jan. 8 at a cost of £7.99. - New Musical Express, 1/3/19...... Dean Ford, the former frontman with the Scottish guitar-pop band Marmalade, has died at age 72. Ford, whose real name was Thomas McAleese, grew up in Airdrie and formed his first band, the Tonebeats, aged 13 before joining local band the Cravats aged 16. He went on to front Dean Ford and the Gaylords, who became established in the nascent "swinging London" scene of the mid-60s, before changing their name to Marmalade. The band became the first Scottish group to top the UK singles chart, with their cover of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" in December 1968. They had another seven UK Top 10 hits, including "Reflections of My Life," co-written by Ford, which also reached the US Top 10 and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The band toured with the Who and Ford once duetted with country star Bobbie Gentry. Ford went solo after Marmalade split and released an unsuccessful album in 1975. Eventually he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a limousine driver to stars including Michael Jackson, Tom Waits, Susan Sarandon and Bob Dylan, as well as delivering pizza and flowers. He also developed an alcohol problem before going sober in 1986. "The only thing that spoiled my life was alcohol," he said in a 2015 interview. "I spent a lot of money on alcohol. And drinking took me away from what I should be doing." - 1/2/19...... Keyboardist Daryl Dragon, best known as the hat-wearing "Captain" in the '70s pop group The Captain and Tennille, died due to renal failure in Prescott, Ariz. on Jan. 2. He was 76. A classically trained pianist, L.A.-born Dragon played keyboard for the Beach Boys from 1967-1972, where he was given the nickname "Captain" by lead singer Mike Love due to Dragon's penchant for wearing a captain's hat onstage. In 1971, Dragon met his future wife, Toni Tennille, when she hired him to play piano for a musical called "Mother Earth. "Shortly thereafter, Dragon suggested that Tennille join the Beach Boys on their next tour as an acoustic pianist. While on the tour, Dragon and Tennille soon began a romantic and musical relationship, performing in smaller venues together when not on tour with the Beach Boys. Going by the stage name the Captain and Tennille, the duo quickly formed a following. On the strength of the song "The Way I Want to Touch You," the team scored a record deal with A&M Records in 1974. Their song "Love Will Keep Us Together", the title track from the duo's 1975 debut album, climbed to No. 1 in Nov. 1974, where it remained for eight weeks. It won the Grammy for record of the year the following year. "Do That to Me One More Time," the last of their big hits, also reached the top of the chart, in 1979. In the interval, the Captain & Tennille reached the top 10 with "Muskrat Love," "The Way I Want to Touch You," "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" and "Shop Around." Married in 1975, Dragon and Tennille remained together until finalizing their divorce in 2014, but remained close friends. "He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly. I was at my most creative in my life, when I was with him," Toni Tennille said in remembrance. She was with him when he died. Dragon is survived by his older brother Doug and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn. There are no services planned, by request of Dragon. - The Hollywood Reporter, 1/2/19...... Comedian/actor Bob Einstein, a two-time Emmy winner who has recurred on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm series since its launch and created the wacky Super Dave Osborne character, died on Jan. 2 in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 76 and recently had been diagnosed with cancer. Einstein's career dates to the 1960s, when he won his first Emmy as part of the writing team for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, whose staff also included Steve Martin. Einstein, who also appeared on the show, went on to earn Emmy noms as a writer for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in 1972 and 1974 and two more for writing on Dick Van Dyke's mid-'70s series Van Dyke and Company. Einstein won his other Emmy as a producer for the series, sharing the 1977 award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Einstein also was a guest on numerous late-night and comedy shows spanning a half-century, including The Steve Allen Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Hollywood Squares. "R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever," his younger brother, actor-director Albert Brooks, tweeted. - Deadline.com, 1/2/19.
Elvis Presley has appeared in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for the first time since 1981 as his classic 1957 rockin' carol "Blue Christmas" debuted at No. 40 on the chart for the week ending Jan. 5. Powered by streaming, "Blue Christmas" also zoomed to 32 on the Streaming Songs and drew 9.6 million in airplay audience. Presley, who passed away in 1977, had last ranked in the Hot 100's top 40 on the chart dated March 28, 1981, when "Guitar Man" peaked at No. 28. Also notably, Chuck Berry and Frank Sinatra have returned to the Hot 100 chart after several decades with "Run Rudolph Run" (No. 45) and "Theme From New York, New York" (No. 49), respectively. - Billboard, 1/1/19...... The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y., announced on Dec. 27 that it is planning a golden 50th anniversary Woodstock festival in 2019. Set for Aug. 16-18 at the concert venue built on the original Woodstock site, the Center says the festival will feature "live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades, and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts." "Festival goers will also be able to visit the Museum at Bethel Woods, which tells the story of the 1960s through immersive media, interactive engagements, and artifacts from the 1969 festival, as well as experience the special 2019 exhibit We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for an Aquarian Future," the statement continues. The original Woodstock, on Aug. 15-18, 1969, took place on a diary farm in the Catskill Mountains north of New York City. It quickly grew from a ticketed event to a massive free-for-all that drew more than 400,000 to a muddy 600-acre diary farm for one of the most iconic rock events of all time, featuring sets from Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Who, The Band, Joe Cocker and Santana, among others. At least three Woodstock tributes have been held since: a 25th anniversary concert in Saugerties, New York, in 1994, with performances from Cocker, Sheryl Crow, Aerosmith, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and Bob Dylan; a Woodstock '99 concert in Rome, N.Y., which drew 400,000 people to a former Air Force base for a chaotic three-day gatherng marred by excessively hot weather, fan rioting and reports of sexual assault; and a smaller event on the site of the original Woodstock in 2009, with sets from a number of the original show's performers, including Country Joe McDonald, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, Jefferson Starship, Mounatin and the Levon Helm Band. The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a concert venue built on the original Woodstock site in the town of Bethel in Sullivan County, a rural area 85 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of New York City. A newspaper in nearby Middletown has reported that many motels, bed-and-breakfasts and AirBnB rentals in Sullivan County have been sold out for some time. Officials in Sullivan County recently said they plan to install 36 fiberglass dove statues to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary in a nod to the original event's iconic logo. Original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang has said he has "definite plans" to put on his own 50th anniversary Woodstock celebration, though it won't be on the site of the original and no further details have been released. - Billboard, 12/28/18...... Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Dunkirk director Christopher Nolan, and Monty Python icon Michael Palin are among the leading personalities from the world of entertainment who have been recognised in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year honours list. Mason will be receiving a CBE for his services to music. Mason, who founded Pink Floyd in 1965, is the only member to feature on every one of their albums. Palin meanwhile bagged a Knighthood for his diplomatic service to travel, culture and geography. Commenting on his time with the Monty Python troupe, Palin said: "Discovering there were five other people who had the same sort of sense of humour as myself and we all appreciated each other's work and that the work that we did, both on television and film, is still being replayed and still being appreciated, that's quite something, really, after 50 years. It will be 50 years since Python started, next year. That's something that hit a high spot that will last forever, so I'm very grateful to all the other Pythons and I am very proud of Python." - NME, 12/29/18...... Legislators in Washington state have voted unanimously to rename the Renton Highlands Post Office in the Seattle suburb of Renton "The James Marshall 'Jimi' Hendrix Post Office." The post office is located less than a mile from the Jimi Hendrix Memorial in Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery, where Seatlle native Hendrix is buried. "I am honored to join in paying tribute to rock and roll icon and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix with the renaming of the Renton Highlands Post Office as the James Marshall 'Jimi' Hendrix Post Office Building," Rep. Adam Smith, who sponsored the bill to rename the post office, said in a statement. "This designation will further celebrate Hendrix's deep connection to the Puget Sound region and help ensure that his creative legacy will be remembered by our community and inspire future generations." In 2018, a deluxe Electric Ladyland box set was released to celebrate the album's 50th anniversary. - Billboard, 12/30/18...... An American adventurer named Colin O'Brady has revealed that he got a phone call from Paul Simon during his two-month, 900-mile journey to become the first-ever person to cross Antarctica from coast to coast alone and unaided by wind. O'Brady, 33, completed his journey on Dec. 26, and told the New York Times he listened to Simon's Graceland LP on repeat for a whole day, and even received a phone call from Simon himself on day 35 of his trek (Dec. 7). "We had a wonderful conversation for 30 minutes over my satellite phone," O'Brady posted on Instagram. "We talked about many things, but setting aside celebrity and fame, what struck me most was talking to him about his process of creativity and bringing a masterpiece like Graceland into the world." Paul Simon also posted a note about the conversation on his website. "He was almost half-way through his arduous journey. I asked him if he felt lonely in the desolate landscape with no companionship," Simon says. "He said he spoke with his wife, Jenna, every evening. He told me that he wasn't lonely and had a lot of time to think on all sorts of matters from the mundane to the spiritual, with more time lately on the spiritual. O'Brady is 33 years old and a Yale graduate, an experienced endurance athlete and adventurer," he continued. "We promised to meet when he comes home and is rested. I'm looking forward to seeing him and hearing more about his amazing achievement." - Billboard, 12/28/18...... A documentary showcasing the life and legacy of iconic funk musician Sly Stone and his band Sly and the Family Stone has been announced for 2019. Directed by Brady Spensor, the film will also delve into Stone's money troubles and the U.S. Music Modernization Act that ultimately saved him from financial turmoil. In 2015, Stone won a lawsuit against his former manager Gerald Goldstein and lawyer Glenn Stone after Sly alleged that they had diverted money away from him to them for 11 years from 1989 to 2000. The jury ended up awarding £1.6 million ($2.5 million) in damages to the singer against Even St Productions, the company with with which they made him sign an employment and shareholder agreement, as well as £1.6 million ($2.45 million) against Goldstein and £32,932 ($50,000) against Stone. In 2011 Stone entered rehab to seek treatment for drug addiction after revealing that he had been living out of a van in the LA neigborhood of Crenshaw. It was then that he opened the case against Goldstein, suing him for $50 million. Brady Spensor says he conducted several interviews with the reclusive artist for the documentary in what's described as a decade-long process. "It took months before Sly even remembered my name," Spensor told Deadline.com. "But soon after, I would get called at all hours, day or night. When Sly finally collected his royalties after years of being financially strapped and homeless, it warmed my heart." No official release date for the documentary has been set but it's scheduled to drop sometime in 2019. - New Musical Express, 12/29/18...... The Osmond Family member Jimmy Osmond was treated for a stroke on Dec. 27 following his performance as Captain Hook in the Peter Pan pantomime at the U.K's Birmingham Hippodrome. "On the evening of Thursday 27 December, after pushing through the evening's performance of Peter Pan at Birmingham Hippodrome, Jimmy Osmond was driven straight to hospital and diagnosed with a stroke," his spokesperson told the BBC. "He is grateful for all the well wishes and will be taking time out in the new year." Speaking of his role in the panto in November, Osmond told a local paper: "For me, I kind of took to panto well. I'm from this vaudevillian background. I grew up doing TV variety shows. I started as a three-year-old kid on the Andy Williams TV show and worked with Bob Hope and Andy Williams and all of those great people. And then when I came over here as a kid, it made me feel British because I would watch pantomimes. I never thought I'd be so lucky as to be in them. I think my background helps me because in variety TV you have to learn how to do the jokes and communicate with an audience. I was always a performer." - NME, 1/1/19...... Ray Sawyer, a former member of Dr Hook & The Medicine Show, died peacefully in his sleep on Jan. 1, his wife Linda Sawyer posted on social media. He was 81. Mr. Sawyer, known for wearing an eye-patch after losing his eye in a car crash, found fame in the 1970s with Dr Hook, which charted such hits as "Cover Of The Rolling Stone" "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman." Born on Feb. 1, 1937 in Chickasaw, Ala., Mr. Sawyer had previously formed a rock trio called the Chocolate Papers and after they split in the 1960s, he decided to become a logger. It was during this period that he lost an eye in a car crash -- which pushed him to return to music, joining Dr Hook & the Medicine Show, which had been formed in 1968 in Union City, N.J. While he mainly sang backing vocals and played percussion, he took the lead on their legendary 1972 hit "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," a satirical look at rock culture which rose to No. 6 on the pop chart. They appeared on the front of the magazine a year later, interviewed by writer and future director Cameron Crowe. Later, Mr. Sawyer parted ways with the group in 1983 to go solo, but toured as "Dr Hook featuring Ray Sawyer" until 2015. "It's with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to one of the iconic performers of the 1970s who literally had his smiling face on the cover of Rolling Stone," his agent Artists International Management said in a statement. "Ray was the consummate 'road dog' performing all over the world to thousands and thousands of fans covering hundreds of shows and logging thousands of miles across the globe. He lived the rock and roll life right up to the age of 81, and he was proud of it -- and that's quite a feat. Rest peacefully Ray you will be sadly missed," they continued. Mr. Sawyer's wife Linda added: "My heart is broken; Ray passed away this morning peacefully in his sleep. We thank you all for your continued support and prayers. Ray loved you all." In addition to his wife he is survived by a son, Cayse Sawyer. - New Musical Express, 1/2/19.