Two men featured in the new Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland who accuse the late King of Pop of molesting them when they were boys received a standing ovation following the screening of the film at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 25. Wade Robson, who says Jackson abused him from ages 7 to 14, and James Safechuck came forward as adults with their abuse allegations after Jackson's death in 2009. The four-hour film is a sprawling account of how the two boys' lives intersected with Jackson's at the height of his fame in the '80s and early '90s, and then later as adults when the trauma of what happened in their youth started to emerge in serious ways. In addition to accounts from Robson and Safechuck themselves, the film also interviews family members including the boys' mothers, wives and Robson's brother and sister. Jackson's voice is heard in the film, through voicemails he left for Robson and an "interview" Safechuck did with Jackson aboard his private plane, and the film also shows some of the many faxes he sent to Robson. The film has stirred up controversy since it was announced just a few weeks ago, with the Jackson estate condemning it for rehashing "discredited allegations." Extra police were dispatched outside Sundance's Egyptian Theater after reports there could be massive demonstrations, however only a handful of people showed up Friday holding posters with the word "innocent" displayed over Jackson's mouth. Leaving Neverland will air in two parts on Britain's Channel 4 and on the US premium cable channel HBO this spring. - AP, 1/25/19...... In other Michael Jackson news, the Jackson estate and Columbia Live Stage revealed more information on the new musical inspired by Jackson's life on Jan. 23. The production will be titled "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" and is currently in development. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage will create the book, while Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph. The musical will premiere in Chicago with its first performance on Oct. 29 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre and run through Dec. 1. "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough" is set to make its Broadway debut in 2020. - Billboard, 1/23/19...... Willie Nelson is scheduled to return to the PBS series Austin City Limits on Jan. 26 after helping to launch the series in 1974. The country/pop icon will perform a 16-song mix of his hits and classics, starting with his perennial opener "Whiskey River." "There would be no Austin City Limits without Willie Nelson -- simple as that," ACL executive producer Terry Lickona said in a statement. "He launched ACL into the television universe in 1974, and has helped keep us going for 45 years. It was truly emotional to witness such an outpouring of love from the audience. This show is Willie Nelson, pure and simple." The episode will premiere on Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. EST on participating PBS stations. - Billbaord, 1/25/19...... Queen guitarist Brian May has apologized for defending fired Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer, who has been accused of sexually assaulting four men when they were teens, after May was called out on Twitter for defending the controversial director. On Jan. 23, a fan recommended that May unfollow Singer after a new article about Singer in The Atlantic magazine, to which May responded by posting, "you need to look after your own business and stop telling me what to do. And you need to learn to respect the fact that a man or woman is innocent until proven guilty." The next day, May posted a lengthy apology on Instagram, explaining that his initial attempt to apologize to the fan for his "hasty and inconsiderate IG reply" disappeared, so he reposted it on IG. "Dear Sue, I'm so sorry that I responded to your post so snappily and inconsiderately. My response was a result of my perception that someone was telling me what to do," he wrote. "I now realise that I was completely wrong in thinking that. You were actually just trying to protect me, for which I thank you... The only reason I followed Bryan Singer was that we were working with him on a project. That situation came to an end when Mr Singer was removed during the shooting of the film, but I suppose unfollowing him never occurred to me as a necessity. Now, because of this misunderstanding, I have unfollowed. I'm so sorry. This must have caused you a lot of upset." Singer has vehemently denied the allegations in the Atlantic article, telling E! News that the writer of the story "rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention." Singer was replaced as director on the Oscar-nominated Queen biopic by Dexter Fletcher with just a few weeks left in filming. Although Bohemian Rhapsody scored five Academy Award nominations on Jan. 22, including the highest honor for Best Picture, it was removed from the GLAAD Media Awards nominees two days later after the Atlantic expo surfaced. The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues that accelerate acceptance. - Billboard, 1/25/19...... Although Pres. Donald Trump ended the 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, on Jan. 25, a number of artists came forward before his decision to offer free tickets, meals and even jobs to more than 800,000 federal employees. Nile Rodgers of Chic offered 600 free tickets to furloughed workers and their families or friends for his Jan. 26 concert at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, while Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS posted a video to their Rock & Brews Restaurant Facebook page last week, announcing that they would be giving free meals to TSA employees. The producers of the Carole King musical "Beautiful" also offered federal employees free admission to upcoming presentations of the Broadway show. Although Pres. Trump ended the shutdown, he has threatened to restart his fight for a border wall along the U.S. southern border in three weeks depending on how negotiations with congress go. - Billboard, 1/22/19...... After The Who recently announced they'll kick off a new "Moving On!" U.S. tour on May 7 in Grand Rapids, Mich., specially designed double-decker buses recalling their 1969 hit "Magic Bus" have been spotted cruising around New York, Los Angeles and Chicago promoting the tour and offering fans the chance to win a pair of premium tickets in a sweepstakes from concert promoter Live Nation. Fans who see the buses can post a photo of them on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MagicBusEntry and tagging @LiveNation in the image. The contest runs through Feb. 10, and a winner will be selected at random for a pair of tickets in the tour stop closest to them. The Who, accompanied by a 52-piece orchestra at each stop, will play 29 shows in two legs, one in spring and one in fall, with shows in iconic venues such as New York's Madison Square Garden, Boston's Fenway Park and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The Who have also teased that a "big UK announcement" is coming on Jan. 28 as they shared a cryptic video on Twitter. The clip features snippets of their legendary career while "Baba O'Riley" plays in the background. With rehearsals still three or so weeks away, guitarist Pete Townshend recently told Billboard "I don't know what the f--- is going to happen" when the Who hits the road in May. "It's quite exciting." Townshend and frontman Roger Daltrey are also planning a new Who album, the band's first since 2006. Townshend says he spent from May to August working on 15 tracks for the set, some new and some "rescued from ancient history." With the instrumental tracks currently being recorded, Townshend describes it as "a mixture of stuff... some songs which cater for the part of the Who audience that have a preconception about what is a Who track but are also willing to take some chances." - Billboard/New Musical Express, 1/26/19...... On Jan. 23 the Fender guitar company revealed a prototype of its recreation of Jimmy Page's famous "Dragon" guitar, a long-lost piece of six-string history that marked the guitar hero's last days in the Yardbirds and first days in Led Zeppelin. The instrument with the psychedelic green-and-red serpent on its body represents "a pivotal moment for the guitar and music," said Paul Waller, the master builder who worked side-by-side with Page to make him a spot-on match of the guitar before making 50 more by hand to sell to the public. The reboot was hatched when Page was looking through photographs for a book celebrating last year's 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin. The dragon guitar, which he says was once his "Excalibur," kept popping up in them, and he started to think it was time to get past his bitterness about its fate. Page would use the guitar to write and record songs like "Dazed and Confused" for the first Led Zeppelin album, but a clueless house-sitter, not thinking much of Page's painting, put his own mosaic artwork over the dragon and presented it to Page as a gift. Page said it was all he could do not to hit the guy over the head with it. Instead, he stripped it bare and angrily threw it into storage, where it sat for 50 years. Page wanted to recreate not just the design, but the form, feel and sound of the original, so Waller went to his house in London and the two took out the old guitar and took it apart piece-by-piece so they could recreate each part for the rebuild. Page even made a trip to Fender's California plant -- the rocker's first time inside a guitar factory -- to inspect and help with the finished products. "All the employees lost their minds," Waller said with a laugh, "to watch somebody like Jimmy Page be totally enthralled with the machinery and act like a kid and be taking pictures." The 75-year-old Page painted at least a stroke on each of the 50 instruments Waller built. "He was adamant about applying paint to every one," Waller said. Fender is also selling assembly-line models of the guitar that are more affordable than the many thousands the handmade ones are likely to bring in. - AP, 1/24/19...... Bob Dylan's iconic 1963 protest anthem "Blowin' in the Wind" is set to be featured in a new ad for Budweiser during the upcoming Super Bowl showdown between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. The spot, which stars an adorable dalmation, tells the story of "Budweiser's commitment to renewable electricity for a more sustainable future" and features the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales, the Budweiser dalmatian April alongside wind turbines," set to the Dylan song, according to a release announcing the spot, which notes that Budweiser is now brewed with 100 percent renewable electricity from wind power. Super Bowl 53 is slated for Feb. 3 in Atlanta, Ga. - Billboard, 1/24/19...... Paul McCartney has previewed artwork for his first children's book, Hey Grandude, which is due later in 2019. "I'm excited to share the cover of my new children's book 'Hey Grandude!' which will be out later this year," Sir Paul explains in a message posted to his official website on Jan. 24. "I've worked on this with a great illustrator called Kathryn Durst and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do." Hey Grandude follows the adventures of a magical man named Grandude and his four grandchildren, who he calls "Chillers." McCartney originally got the idea for the book after one of his eight grandchildren began to refer to him as "Grandude," and the nickname stuck. "I wanted to write it for grandparents everywhere, so it gives them something to read to the grandkids at bedtime," McCartney said. Hey Grandude, announced late last year, will be published in September 2019 under the Random House Books for Young Readers imprint in the U.S. and the Puffin imprint in the U.K. McCartney's "Freshen Up" tour of the Americas kicks off in March. - Billboard, 1/24/19...... In other Beatles-related news, a newly discovered letter written by a Capitol Records executive to Apple Records reveals that the legendary quartet's "Hey Jude" was almost shelved as a single thanks to its "pornographic" label. Capitol Records' president Stan Gortikov had warned the Beatles' imprint on Aug. 28, 1968 not to release the record because its vinyl logo -- the profile of a sliced apple -- resembled a vagina. Gortikov was worried that traders would not want to stock the single. "Here's a wild and unanticipated problem to brighten up your day I just received a call from a very large and influential rack jobber in the western United States," Gortikov wrote. "He opened the conversation by saying, 'Are you guys serious? Do you know what you're doing? Do you really intend to sell products bearing the new Apple label?'" Gortikov went on to explain that the trader in question felt that the new Apple label was pornographic and depicted a vagina. Despite concerns, the logo was unchanged and "Hey Jude," with its B-side "Revolution," went on to sell 8 milion copies worldwide. - New Musical Express, 1/25/19...... The Dukes of Hazzard stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat have announced they'll be reuniting this spring along with their famous car "The General Lee" for a "Good Ole Boys" concert tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1979-1985 series. The MuscleKingz Car Show & Concert Series will debut on Apr. 13 at Bakersfield, Calif.'s Kern County Raceway and will visit at least 10 markets in 2019. The events will take place in outdoor facilities that can accommodate a car show. Wopat, a.k.a. "Luke Duke," will open the concert, followed by Schneider, a.k.a. "Bo Duke," and then the pair will sing together. Up to five acts will appear at each event. Other members of the cast are also expected to participate. In addition to The General Lee, a bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger that became synonymous with the action/comedy series, the car show will also feature hot rods, muscle cars, "Uncle Jesse" pick-up trucks and "Daisy Duke" Jeeps. In addition to their acting careers, both Wopat and Schneider have found success in music. Schneider had a string of country hits in the '80s, including chart-toppers "What's a Memory Like You (Doing In A Love Like This)" and "You're The Last Thing I Needed Tonight." In 2018, he released a new album, Odyssey, as well as releasing a new single each week online. Wopat has also released country records over the years and most recently has recorded jazz projects and songs from the Great American Songbook. Both Schneider and Wopat say they are proud of the show's enduring fan base. "It was one of those shows that really had a multi-generational appeal," says Wopat. "Grandparents could watch. The little kids could watch. Everybody would find something to enjoy in it." - Billboard, 1/24/19...... After a run on the cable TV network Showtime in 2018 and a release on CD and DVD, the Jimi Hendrix documentary Electric Church is set for a 36-city theatrical run beginning on Jan. 31 at the ArcLight Hollywood, with a post-screening discussion with director John McDermott, record producer/engineer Eddie Kramer and Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix. Other openings will take place into early April, and the Feb. 25 screening in Nashville will feature a Q&A with longtime Hendrix bassist Billy Cox. Besides Hendrix's performance, Electric Church also features interviews with bandmates Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, along with the likes of Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. - Billboard, 1/22/19...... It has been revealed that former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters recently used his private jet to reunite a mother with her kidnapped children. Felicia Perkins-Ferreira had not seen her children in over four years after they were kidnapped and taken to Syria by their father in 2014. After hearing of their plight, Waters flew Perkins-Ferreira out to the Iraq-Syria border so she could be reunited with her children, Ayyub and Mahmud. The children have been looked after in a camp where a friend of Waters', Clive Stafford-Smith, became aware of their plight. When asked about Waters, he said: "[Roger] agreed to pay for it all and flew the mother over from Trinidad. We're going to make sure that they get on with a really productive, decent life." Perkins-Ferreira later thanked Waters and all those who helped to reunite her with her children saying that she was "really, really grateful" and would like to meet them "and embrace them" to express her thanks. - NME, 1/23/19...... Actress Kaye Ballard, the boisterous comedian and singer who appeared in Broadway musicals and nightclubs from New York to Las Vegas and starred with Eve Arden in the 1960s TV sitcom "The Mothers-In-Law," died on Jan. 23 at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a fight with kidney cancer. She was 93. The Mothers-In-Law, in which Ms. Ballard starred with Arden (of the 1950s sitcom Our Miss Brooks), aired from 1967 to 1969. It marked a high point in a career that began when Ms. Ballard was 12 and lasted into the 21st century. The Mothers-In-Law was set in a Los Angeles suburb and featured its stars as women who become thorns in their married children's lives, with comedic results influenced by the screwball style of I Love Lucy. Desi Arnaz, who starred with wife Lucille Ball in that classic sitcom, produced and directed 24 episodes of the Ballard-Arden show. Ms. Ballard made a mark in every form of show business except movies. She did appear as a secondary player in a few films, including 1958's The Girl Most Likely and in 1964's A House Is Not a Home, but her high-octane personality may have been too potent for the big screen of that era and its more restrictive portrayals of women. Ms. Ballard was also a regular on The Doris Day Show in the 1970s and the 1990s TV series Due South, and she also became a favorite of talk show hosts, making repeat appearances with Jack Paar, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson. Ms. Ballard, who never married, was on hand earlier in January when a documentary on her life and career premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. - AP, 1/23/19...... Oscar-winning French composer Michel Legrand, known for his 1968 song "The Windmills of Your Mind" and movie scores for such films as Summer of '42 and Yentl, died in the early hours of Jan. 26 at his home in Paris. He was 86. During his career, Mr. Legrand became one of the world's most highly regarded composers, and worked with musical giants such as Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli and Edith Piaf. After earning his first Oscar for Best Original Song in 1968 for "The Windmills of Your Mind," Mr. Legrand achieved further Academy Awards success with the scores to 1971's Summer of 42 and Yentl starring Barbra Streisand. He also scored five Grammys from 17 nominations and became an integral part of French New Wave Cinema in the 1960s as he worked with iconic film directors including Jacques Demy and Jean-Luc Godard. Paying tribute, French composer Vladimir Cosma told AFP: ""For me, he is immortal, through his music and his personality. He was such an optimistic personality, with a kind of naivety in optimism, he saw everything in rosy colours!" Mr. Legrand is survived by three children and his third wife, Macha Meril. - NME, 1/26/19...... Edwin Birdsong, the 1970s funk and jazz keyboardist whose songs earned a second life via samples by Daft Punk, De La Soul and Gang Starr, died on Jan. 21 at age 77. Following a stint in Vietnam, Birdsong moved to New York, where he began developing his unique jazz/funk hybrid, signing to Polydor Records in 1971 and releasing his debut, What It Is, in 1972, followed up by Supernatural in 1973. Birdsong's jazz-influenced playing on songs such as 1979's "Phiss-Phizz" and co-writing and co-producing alongside funk/soul icon Roy Ayers earned him cult status. Birdsong also appeared on "Spiritual Walkers" on Stevie Wonder's 1985 In Square Circle album. - Billboard, 1/23/19...... Maxine Brown Russell of the country trio The Browns has died at age 87. A songwriter and singer, Ms. Russell and her siblings launched their careers on the Louisiana Hayride in the 1950s and had a several chart-topping songs in the 50s and 60s, including "The Three Bells," "The Old Lamplighter," "Scarlet Ribbons," and "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On." They also appeared on TV on shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand and The Jerry Lewis Show. - AP, 1/22/19.
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.