Monday, February 11, 2019

Favorite Seventies Artists In The News

Posted by Administrator on February 16th, 2019

A previously unreleased Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song called "For Real" was shared on Feb. 15 to announce a new greatest hits collection from the band. "For Real," unearthed from Petty's vault of never-before-heard material, will feature on the upcoming 2-disc, 38 track The Best of Everything - The Definitive Career Spanning Hits Collection. Another unreleased track, "The Best of Everything (Alternate Version)," will also be included on the Geffen Records release, which is the first hits collection to span the late rocker's entire career and hits stores on Mar. 1. The set will also be released in 4-disc vinyl and MP3 versions. Petty passed away on Oct. 2, 2017, at age 66, just one week after finishing the band's 40th anniversary tour. - Billboard, 2/15/19...... Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin is teaming up with the California skateboarding shoes and clothing company Vans for the release of special Led Zep 50th anniversary apparel to help celebrate its 50th anniversary. In a Feb. 14 post on Twitter, the band displayed two versions of newly licensed Led Zep shoes, each featuring iconic images from their classic '70s albums, together with a T-shirt. Led Zeppelin, which formed in 1968 before disbanding in 1980, celebrated its 50th anniversary as a band in 2018 with the release of a new 50th Anniversary Interviews album, which is comprised of 34 new interview clips from the band's surviving members: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. Vans merchandise is available at several leading American retailers, including JCPenney and Kohl's. - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... The '60s pop/rock band The Zombies, which featured future Argent founder Rod Argent, have announced plans to release their complete studio recordings in a vinyl box set ahead of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Mar. 29 in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to containing their two original U.S. albums -- their 1965 self-titled album (also known as She's Not There/Tell Her No) and 1968's Odessey and Oracle -- the vinyl set contains two compilations of rarities: R.I.P., a collection complied by CBS Records as the follow-up to Odessey but never released, and I Love You, a compilation previously available only in Japan and the U.K. The 5-LP The Zombies: The Complete Studio Recordings arrives via Varese Saraband Records on Feb. 22. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... The Feb. 19 stop at Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum on Elton John' "Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour" will be pushed back to Oct. 19 due to necessary "technical production adjustments," the venue tweeted on Feb. 14. "Elton is deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused by the rescheduling, but he's passionate about presenting the show in the best possible way for his fans," the venue said in a statement. "He thanks everyone for their patience, cooperation and ongoing support." Tickets for the original show will be honored on the new date and refunds will be available through the original point of purchase. John has announced more than 300 dates across the globe through 2021 before he retires from live performing. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... Paul McCartneyOn Valentine's Day Paul McCartney and Capitol Records announced a limited deluxe edition of Sir Paul's 2018 album Egypt Station will be released on May 10. Housed in an embossed vintage-looking suitcase, Egypt Station - Traveller's Edition will feature vinyl pressings, additional audio and video performances, a cassette and paper items related to the album. Three unreleased tracks -- "Frank Sinatra's Party," "Sixty Second Street" and an extended version of "Who Cares" -- will be included in the set, along with four live album tracks taken from McCartney's performances at Abbey Road Studios, the Cavern Club, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and Grand Central Station in New York City. Additionally, the package will have a deluxe 180G vinyl album, an Egypt Station Concertina CD and an Egypt Station Blue Cassette. Egypt Station, which was released Sept. 7, entered the Billboard 200 LP chart at No. 1, the former Beatle's first chart-topping album since 1982's Tug of War and his first to enter the charts at No. 1. The release will follow a deluxe reissue of McCartney's 1971 Wings Wild Life album on Apr. 17. - Billboard, 2/14/19...... Elsewhere on the Fab Four front, a "forgotten" pic of the Beatles has been discovered 55 year after it was originally taken. The negative of the picture, which shows the quartet playing a gig in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, U.K. at the height of their fame in 1963, lay undeveloped in the home of Peter Harrison, 75, who salvaged the negative when he was working as a 17-year-old apprentice in a photographer's studio. Harrison told a local paper that his manager, Mr. Fisher, had taken a number of publicity shots of the band when they came to play at the resort and while the majority of the negatives were discarded, Harrison managed to salvage one of them and intended to develop it at home. "I could do my own black and white prints at home but I never got around to it," he told the newspaper. "Originally, it was going to be thrown away. The professional photographer took more than one shot [of the Beatles] for a publicity [shoot] and he just had a spare one. I just thought, 'Oh, I'll have that please!'" - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... The producers of a new Michael Jackson musical entitled "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" announced on Feb. 14 that a recent strike by the Actors' Equity Association over compensation for developmental labs has forced the production to skip its debut in Chicago and instead open on Broadway in summer 2020. The AEA countered in statement that the producers' announcement was "disappointing" and questioned how the strike, which delayed the show's development for a "modest" 12 working days, could so impact the run. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is inspired by the late King of Pop's life and music and will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winning director Christopher Wheeldon. Meanwhile, a shopping mall in Denmark has just reversed its decision not to display a statue of Jackson at the Roedovre Centrum mall in suburban Copenhagen after receiving about 15 online complaints, mostly from families with children, over Jackson's controversial history of allegedly molesting boys. The manager of the mall posted on Facebook that the decision was "an overreaction" to remove the statue, adding the late singer "has never been found guilty of any of the accusations against him." The mall returned the statue of Jackson, one of many statues of celebrities it has on display, on Feb. 13. In more Jackson-related news, the singer's niece Brandi Jackson has revealed one of the men featured in the new documentary Leaving Neverland, Wade Robson, is her ex-boyfriend. "Wade and I were together for over 7 years, but I bet that isn't in his documentary because it would ruin his timeline. And did I mention, it was my uncle, #MichaelJackson, who set us up? Wade is not a victim, #WadeRobsonIsaLiar," Brandi tweeted on Feb. 11. Brandi added that Robson had "constantly talked about wanting to be 'relevant'." "You've burned so many bridges that now the only time you are #relevant is when you headline with my family's name next to yours. It's time to stop these lies and live your own life," she posted. She also shared a photo of herself and Robson as kids with Jackson. Both Robson and James Safechuck are featured in the 4-hour Leaving Neverland documentary, and both men brought civil suits against the Jackson Estate following Jackson's death. They were thrown out in 2017 by a judge who ruled that the Jackson estate could not be held liable for the singer's behavior. Britain's Channel 4 recently announced it will air the documentary in two parts on Mar. 6 and 7, rejecting complaints from Jackson's estate which condemned it as a "one-sided sensationalist programme." - AP/NME, 2/14/19...... Barry ManilowBarry Manilow made a surprise appearance at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 13, closing out Michael Kors' Fall 2019 show with a glittering rendition of his hit "Copacabana." The show's theme was "dreaming," reflected in both the decor ('70s disco balls and chandeliers hung overhead) and 74 models, including '70s supermodel Patti Hansen, showcased everything from oversize fur jackets to sparkly evening gowns. It also featured garments with the famed Studio 54 nightclub logo and disco-inspired hits from Chic, Donna Summer and The Pointer Sisters, recruiting Manilow for an epic finale. Though Manilow had never been to a fashion show before, he says performing at Kors' show was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. "When Michael called and gave me his vision for his upcoming fashion show and asked if I would come perform 'Copacabana,' I was very flattered -- how could I say no?" Manilow said. "It was a thrilling experience, and I was happy to be a part of it." - Billboard, 2/13/19...... As the English hard rockers prepare to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March, Def Leppard has announced it will begin a 12-show "Def Leppard Hits Vegas: The Sin City Residency" in Las Vegas starting Aug. 17. The band will be playing the Zappos Theater in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino through Sept. 7, the follow-up to its 2013 "Viva Hysteria!" run at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino during which it performed its 1987 blockbuster LP Hysteria in its entirety. Meanwhile Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott says the band has been asked to perform three songs during the RRHOF ceremony, which will be filmed for subsequent broadcast by HBO, but he and the group "have no idea" as yet what they're going to do as far as acceptance speeches go. - Billboard, 2/13/19...... In related news, Aerosmith has just added 17 dates to their Las Vegas residency at the new Park MGM resort. The "Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild" show will launch on April 6 with several of their previously announced 18 shows already sold out. Promoted by Live Nation and MGM Resorts International, the show features never-before-seen visuals and audio from Aerosmith recording sessions, including a partnership with THX and L-Acoustics to deliver the world's first THX Certified live performance presented in L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound. Along with the announcement of additional dates, the band has added special VIP packages for every show. - Billboard, 2/12/19...... Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly out of intensive care according to his wife Sharon Osbourne after being admitted to hospital earlier in February after experiencing complications from flu and bronchitis. Ozzy was later transferred to the intensive care unit when his condition deteriorated. Sharon confirmed her 70-year-old hubby is out of intensive care after being taken off a ventilator and that he's "breathing on his own." "I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who has reached out with good wishes. He's overcome by the response," Sharon posted. After deleting that tweet, Sharon wrote: "Thank you to everyone for all your get well messages and support for Ozzy. We are overwhelmed and truly touched by everyone's thoughtfulness." - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... Neal SchonJourney guitarist and co-founder Neal Schon took to Twitter on Feb. 11 to express his gratitude to fans who have supported his journey to recovering after his recent emergency surgery. The musician, who had an inflamed and infected gallbladder removed during an emergency room visit on Feb. 8, told fans he is grateful for their kind wishes and said he's recovering well. "Want to thank you all for your very kind wishes. This means everything to me .. your friend ship is what motivates me to continue to create for you all. Can't wait to hit the stage for NSJTT. I should be good to go but if I have to sit it will. Love you all ---- blessings," Schon posted. Schon also expressed thans to his family including his wife Michaele, doctors and staff who helped him during the ordeal in another post. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Kiss made their first appearance at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, Calif. in 20 years on Feb. 11 as part of SiriiusXM's "Party Continues" series. Kiss stopped by the legendary 500-capacity venue for a jam-packed show filled with Kiss favorites from the shock rockers' 45-year career as the band. "To go back and relive what we did once upon a time is pretty awesome," singer-guitarist Paul Stanley told the crowd after being introduced by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. "It all starts in the clubs. If you want to really make it, you don't do it by going on a talent musical show. You go into the streets and you play for people."" We've got a small, but mighty crowd tonight," Stanley added. "Let me hear you go crazy. Let me hear you go wild." The subscriber and invite-only show was hosted by SiriusXM which launched Kiss Army Radio, channel 30, on Feb. 4. The station will run through Feb. 17 on channel 30. The Whisky A Go Go performance will air on Feb. 12 at 5 pm ET on Kiss Army. Kiss continues their multi-year "The End fo the World" farewell tour this evening at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The tour kicked off earlier in February and include dates through December. - Billboard, 2/12/19...... In his continuing quest to adapt a healthier lifestyle, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has revealed that he's now trying to quit smoking, after announcing plans to give up drinking in 2018. But the notorious partier says giving up cigarettes is proving to be harder than kicking his former notorious heroin habit. "I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully. Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is," Richards told the UK mag Mojo. Describing the temptation to smoke, he added: "Quitting heroin is like hell, but it's a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you've always done it. I just pick 'em up and light 'em up without thinking about it." However, Keef says he's still intent on cutting down regardless and is smoking far less these days. "Lately, in fact -- spread the news -- I've managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day," the 79-year-old musician explained. "I've knocked the hard stuff on the head. I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two." - New Musical Express, 2/14/19...... Cliff WilliamsFormer AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams might be rejoining the Aussie hard rock band for their much-anticipated new album. A newly-emerged picture shows Williams, who was in the band from 1977 to 2016, alongside the band's frontman Brian Johnson with a personal trainer at a Vancouver Hotel in December, which prompted the speculation. Williams left the band in 2016, the same year that Johnson was forced to quit the band and temporarily replaced by Guns 'N Roses singer Axl Rose for a world tour. It left guitarist Angus Young as the only remaining member of the band's so-called "classic" line-up to play in the group. In 2018, it was reported that the rock icons were working on a new album that will feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track," according to "a reliable source inside the AC/DC camp." Malcolm died in November 2017 after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. - NME, 2/11/19.

A rare recording of an interview with Michael Jackson and George Harrison conducted by BBC Radio 1 in 1979 has been discovered and restored. The two music icons appeared on the radio show to review new releases from the likes of Foreigner, Nicolette Larson and The Blues Brothers, and to share some of the stories behind their own songs, including Michael explaining how his record label Motown refused to let him write his own songs and George talking about being in the songwriting shadow of his former Beatles bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. David "Kid" Jensen, who conducted the interview, said both musicians were "lovely guys to talk to" and that "we knew we had a good show on our hands just by the general vibe in the studio before the mics went live." Only low-quality bootleg recordings of the program have been available until now after a producer at BBC Radio Solent asked around collectors' circles and was presented with a tape recording of the full show. The BBC aired the full "When George Met Michael" program on Feb. 9 to mark the 40th anniversary of the original broadcast. - New Musical Express, 2/7/19...... Michael Jackson In other Michael Jackson news, the Jackson estate has sent a letter to the U.K.'s Channel 4 warning that the Leaving Neverland documentary on two men who accuse the singer of molesting them as boys violates the network's programming guidelines. The letter written by estate attorney Howard Weitzman states that Leaving Neverland, set to air in early March, makes no attempt at getting a response to the accusers from Jackson's estate, family, friends or others who have defended his reputation as required by the channel's standards for factual programming and basic journalistic ethics. Channel 4 responded to the letter in a statement on Feb. 11, saying that the allegations against Jackson are rebutted in the documentary by denials that Jackson made during his lifetime. It says the broadcast meets Britain's official broadcasting code by providing these denials. Weitzman's letter echoes a longer letter it sent to U.S. cable channel HBO on Feb. 8 calling the allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck "disgraceful" and urging investigation of the men's backgrounds. A copy of the HBO letter was included with the Channel 4 letter, and applies just as much to the U.K. station, the letter states. The two channels co-produced the documentary, and HBO has announced to air the four hour program in the U.S. in two parts, on Mar. 3 and Mar. 4. Meanwhile, a Danish shopping mall has removed a wax statue of the King of Pop out of fears it could offend customers and may be vandalized because of accusations that the late pop star molested boys. The mall's marketing manager told a Danish TV station that they had received about 15 complaints about the Jackson statue, mostly from families with children. Jackson's statue, one of several of major stars including Marilyn Monroe and Julia Roberts, was replaced with a statue of Brad Pitt. - AP, 2/11/19...... In more Jackson news, his record producer Quincy Jones will celebrate three of Jackson's most iconic albums -- Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad -- with a blow-out symphonic concert at London's O2 Arena on June 23. The one-off show will find Jones conducting the orchestra in performances of the three LP's back-to-back, with a number of special guests slated to join him, according to a statement from the venue. Meanwhile, Jones now has the most Grammy Awards of any living artist after his documentary Quincy won for Best Music Film at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 10. The win marks the 85-year-old legend's 28th Grammy, making him the living artist with the most trophies in Grammy history. Jones has won Grammys in more than 10 categories over his nearly 70-year career, but his win for Quincy is his first award for best music film. The award is also his first in 17 years, with his last win coming in 2001 for best spoken word album, Q - The Autobiography of Quincy Jones. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... The Rolling Stones have added a huge Canada Day weekend show at Burl's Creek an hour north of Toronto as their only stop in the country on their upcoming 2019 No Filter Tour. The "Canada Rocks with The Rolling Stones" show will take place June 29 at the 600-acre Burl's Creek Event Grounds, located in Oro-Medonte, and organizers hope the event will draw as many as 70,000 fans. Concert promoter Republic Live says "the Stones are the greatest rock and roll band in the world and this show will, without a doubt, put Burl's Creek on the map as a world-class destination." The No Filter tour launches in Miami on Apr. 20 and will be making stops in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Chicago before heading north to Burl's Creek for the Canada Day weekend. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Movie studio Sony Pictures Classics has announced it has acquired the worldwide rights to an upcoming documentary on singer/songwriter John Prine. Tentatively titled John Prine: Hello in There and directed by Zachary Fuhrer, the doc tells the story of Prine's beginnings as a mailman in the Chicago suburbs, then discovered by movie critic and Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert, who heard Prine sing at an open-mic gig and wrote about him in the paper. The article landed Prine a record deal and he was off on a decades-long career that has taken him from Radio City Music Hall to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. John Prine: Hello in There is currently in postproduction. Prine has previously announced he preparing to release his first album of new songs in 13 years. - The Hollywood Reporter, 2/11/19...... Heart has announced a 39-city summer tour with openers Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile that will launch on July 9 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Mo. Heart's "Love Alive" tour will hit major markets including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Denver before closing out in Los Angeles on Sept. 9 at Hollywood Bowl. The tour will mark Heart's first road trip in three years, as sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson took a hiatus to pursue other musical endeavors. "Both Nancy and I have stretched our wings in life these last three years," Ann says. "We've both lived and loved. We have breathed and traveled and experienced life. We come to this tour with fresh energy and oxygen. It will be unlike any other Heart tour that has been. Some of the songs will be classic of course, but this tour will be a new animal." Heart released a live album from their legendary 2006 VH1 Decades Rock Live performance, Live In Atlantic City, on Jan. 25 on earMUSIC. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Steven TylerAerosmith frontman Steven Tyler continued his Grammy Awards viewing party tradition on Feb. 10 at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles with his second annual viewing party. The event, which benefited Janie's Fund, Tyler's philanthropic initiative that helps to bring hope and healing to young female assault victims. This year's gala attracted such guests as Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Alice Cooper, David Foster, Kelsey Grammer, Caitlyn Jenner, Duff McKagan and Jane Lynch, who hosted the night. Aerosmith also performed an 11-song set at the event that included such hits as "Janie's Got a Gun," "Love in an Elevator," "Back in the Saddle," "Sweet Emotion," "Dream On" and "Walk This Way." Sharon Stone even hopped up on stage at one point to bop around with Tyler and try her had at the harmonica. On Feb. 4, Tyler helped cut the ribbon -- one of his signature scarves, actually -- at the opening of a second Janie's House for neglected female youths in Bartlett, Tenn. Tyler, who donated nearly $500,000 to Youth Villages through Janie's Fund, also designed the artwork for the building. The first Janie's House opened in 2017 just outside of Atlanta, a third home is slated to open in Las Vegas later in 2019. Meanwhile, Aerosmith will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Feb. 14, according to an announcement by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 6. The Boston-based rockers will be recognized under the recording category, with the HWOF's 2,657th star. The ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m., at 6752 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Musicians Institute. Aerosmith will kick off a new residency at Park Theater at the new Park MGM resort on Apr. 6. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Nile Rodgers of Chic announced on Feb. 11 that he will guest curate this summer's Meltdown festival in London's Southbank Centre. Rodgers is set to produce a "hand-picked line-up of show-stopping music, art and free events" for the annual Meltdown festival, a days-long event that gives prominent musicians the ability to book acts and events at U.K.'s largest multi-venue arts center throughout the last 25 years. "To be able to curate and produce nine days of live music for the city of London, the U.K. and music enthusiasts visiting from all over the world is truly a dream come true," Rodgers said in a statement. Rodgers will take over Southbank Centre from Aug. 3 to 11 throughout its stages, including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the remainder of the 17-acre center. Rodgers joins the ranks of previous festival curators such as David Bowie, Yoko Ono, M.I.A and The Cure. - Billboard, 2/11/19...... Aretha Franklin will be the next subject of the NatGeo channel's Genius series, it was announced on Feb. 10 at the Television Critics Association winter meeting. The channel says it is postponing its planned Genius tribute to Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, which it had originally announced to be the third focus of the Genius series, to feature the late Queen of Soul. Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso were the first two spotlights of the Genius series. Franklin's Genius program will feature recollections from music moguls Clive Davis and Craig Kellman of Atlantic Records, among others. Meanwhile, Franklin was also honored at the 2019 Grammy Awards show on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles with a salute by Andra Day, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams. The show also featured Motown legend Diana Ross who graced the stage with performances of "The Best Years of My Life" and "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand)." As she walked through the crowd, Ross encouraged audience members to sing along into her mic, with Jaden Smith obliging for a line. As the performance ended, she left viewers with an inspirational message: "Learn, dream, unlock new doors. All is possible." The Grammy show also featured a performance by country legend Dolly Parton, who was joined by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kacy Musgraves and Little Big Town for a medley of some of Dolly's most iconic tunes. - AP/Billboard, 2/11/19...... Lindsey BuckinghamFormer Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist/songwriter Lindsey Buckingham is recovering at home following open heart surgery during the second weekend of February. Buckingham reportedly suffered some vocal cord damage, according to his wife Kristen Buckingham. "Each day he is stronger than the last," Kristen wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. "While he and his heart are doing well, the surgery resulted in vocal cord damage. While it is unclear if the damage is permanent, we are hopeful it is not." Though Kristen did not give specifics as to why Lindsey had to undergo emergency heart surgery, she did note that his family has a history of heart issues and all his upcoming shows would be canceled for the time being. "We feel so fortunate that he's alive," she wrote. Buckingham's health issue comes less than a year after he was kicked out of the band following some differences with Stevie Nicks. Despite their clashes, Buckingham's former band wished their former bandmate well on Twitter, writing, "We are saddened by this news. Our thoughts and love go out to Lindsey and his entire family. We are hopeful for his speedy recovery." - Billboard, 2/8/19...... In related news, Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack Osbourne says his dad is doing "much better" after being hospitalized for flu complications in early February. On Feb. 6, Ozzy's wife and Jack's mom Sharon Osbourne revealed that Ozzy had been admitted to hospital following some complications from the flu. "His doctors feel this is the best way to get him on a quicker road to recovery," Sharon wrote. A spokesperson for the 70-year-old rocker announced on Jan. 30 that after initially postponing the first four dates of his "No More Tours 2" outing because of the flu, a follow-up visit with a doctor revealed a diagnosis of a severe upper-respiratory infection, which resulted in the postponing of the tour's entire U.K. and European run. At the time, doctors feared that the infection could "develop into pneumonia given the physicality of the live performances and the extensive travel schedule throughout Europe in harsh winter conditions." Ozzy's Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi also wished Ozzy a "speedy recovery" on Twitter. Current plans call for Ozzy's tour to re-boot on Mar. 9 at the Download Festival in Sydney, Australia, though it is unclear if that show could be impacted by the hospitalization. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath was honored with their very own "heavy metal bench" in their hometown of Birmingham on Feb. 9. Tony Iommi attended the ceremony which was organized by Westside Business Improvement District. The idea of the bench, which incorporates the images of all four original Black Sabbath members, was started by super fan Mohammed Osama, who told the BBC he was "thrilled to see his plan to commemorate the band become a reality." The bench is placed under the newly renamed Black Sabbath Bridge over the canal on Broad Street. - Billboard/New Musical Express, 2/8/19...... The legendary '70s ska band The Specials have scored a new No. 1 album in the U.K. in one of the more dramatic chart returns of recent memory. Encore is The Specials' first album of new music for 37 years and their first-ever U.K. No. 1 album. It also features a new version of "Blam Blam Fever"' and a cover of The Equals' "Black Skinned Blue-Eyed Boys," along with the recent single "10 Commandments," which includes an appearance by activist Saffiyah Khan. "Recording the album has been one of the most amazing trips of our lives," The Specials said in a statement. "What can we say? It couldn't have been better timing. A real thanks to the fans who have stayed with us for all this time. We all share in this, thank you." The Specials have confirmed they'll launch a 25-date U.K. tour behind the new album on Apr. 15 in Bournemouth, wrapping with two shows at the London O2 Academy Brixton on May 16 and 17. - NME, 2/8/19...... Rod Stewart announced on Feb. 8 he has entered into a multi-year global touring partnership with Live Nation that will have the promotion company producing and promoting Stewart's concerts around the world, starting with a run of sold-out U.K. dates this summer. "First, last and always my job is giving fans the best show I have in me," said Stewart, in a statement. "With Live Nation's backing, I'm able to show up and sing knowing that everything that has led up to me taking the stage has been done with cracking perfection." Stewart will perform across the U.K. and Europe throughout 2019 and in 2020 will bring his concert tour to South America, Australia, Asia and New Zealand with Live Nation. The shows follow his 2017 and 2018 North American summer tours with special guest Cyndi Lauper. - Billboard, 2/8/19...... Chaka Khan'70s R&B singer Chaka Khan will release Hello Happiness, her first album in 12 years, on Feb. 15. Its funky lead single, "Like Sugar," arrived last June and sparked the global #LikeSugarChallenge, a testament to the 65-year-old Khan's staying power after 46 years in the business. Meanwhile, Khan's current single, the new album's title track, is a testament to her sunnier state of mind. The LP marks Khan's first since she decided to enter rehab for prescription drug abuse following the death of her "brother," and former NPG Records boss, Prince. Khan fronted the group Rufus in the early '70s, and signed with ABC Records in 1973. The Stevie Wonder-penned and Rufus co-produced "Tell Me Something Good" provided the group's mainstream breakthrough in 1974. The song won the funk outfit its first Grammy, for best R&B vocal performance, and Rufus later scored six platinum albums and a string of timeless hits: "You Got the Love," "Sweet Thing" and "Ain't Nobody." After going solo in 1978, Khan sowed her own crop of classics, including the indefatigable anthem "I'm Every Woman," "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me" "Through the Fire," and her indelible cover of Prince's "I Feel for You." Her last solo album, 2007's Funk This, yielded two Grammy wins, for best R&B album and best R&B performance by a duo or group for "Disrespectful," featuring Mary J. Blige. More recently, she performed at the 2017 Essence Festival and the 2018 Jazz in the Gardens, and paid tribute to Aretha Franklin during the Queen of Soul's funeral service last August. She sang "Hello Happiness" during her appearance as grand marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade on New Year's Day, and will embark on a summer tour in 2019 with Michael McDonald. Also in the works: a biopic about her storied career. - Billboard, 2/8/19...... A 75th birthday tribute to Joni Mitchell, Joni 75, arrived in theaters for a one-night only screening on Feb. 7. The concert film was filmed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Nov. 7, 2018 in Los Angeles and featured performances from the likes of James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, Chaka Khan and Brandi Carlile. A companion album from the show is being released Mar. 8 by Decca Records featuring additional performances at the Nov. 7 show -- Mitchell's 75th birthday -- by a lineup that also included Graham Nash, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Rufus Wainwright and others. - Billboard, 2/7/19...... Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, John Legend and Boyz II Men will be among the star-studded lineup at a Grammy Salute to Motown's 60th Anniversary on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles. Last year's salute paid homage to Elton John, while previous celebrations have nodded Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles and the Bee Gees. The Motown special will be presented by CBS, although an air date has yet to be announced. - Billboard, 2/6/19...... In other Motown-related news, Motown Records has announced it will release a scrapped Marvin Gaye album from 1972, You're The Man, on vinyl and MP3 on Mar. 29 -- four days before what would have been Gaye's 80th birthday. You're The Man consists of Gaye's solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972. While the title track to the record was originally released, Gaye eventually scrapped the rest of the project, citing that his political views ran in direct opposition to that of then-Motown CEO Berry Gordy. - New Musical Express, 2/8/19...... James BrownA new investigation led by news outlet CNN suggests that soul legend James Brown may have been murdered. Brown passed away in the early hours of Christmas morning in 2006, after being admitted to the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta due to suffering from pneumonia. However, CNN's new investigation suggests the Godfather of Soul may not have died from natural causes. It details interviews with nearly 140 people, while tens of thousands of pages of police and court records are said to also be included. Forensics testing and 1,300 pages of text messages are also part of the investigation. The investigation began in 2017 after a CNN reporter was contacted by a circus performer and singer who told the network that she had information surrounding Brown's death. Jacque Hollander later revealed that she and Brown had worked together in the '80s, while also alleging that he raped her in 1988. Brown was never prosecuted following this accusation but Hollander revealed that she saved documents, tapes and more alleged evidence about Brown and his associates. Hollander also took a polygraph test with a former FBI agent in 1995 surrounding the accusations. A key subject in the report is Dr. Marvin Crawford, who signed Brown's death certificate at the Atlanta hospital where he passed away. The doctor says in the report that "he has always been suspicious of foul play." Speaking in a CNN interview, Dr. Crawford said: "He changed too fast. He was a patient I would never have predicted would have coded But he died that night, and I did raise that question: 'What went wrong in that room?'" - NME, 2/5/19...... Acclaimed British actor Albert Finney who made a worldwide name for himself in 1963's Tom Jones and maintained a strong career through the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, died on Feb. 7 in London following a chest infection. He was 82. Among Mr. Finney's Oscar-nominated performances were roles in Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano and Erin Brockovich. Other highlights of his shape-shifting career include Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) and The Bourne Legacy (2012). On the TV side, Mr. Finney made his debut for American television in 1984 with the starring role in Pope John Paul II and was Emmy-nominated for his role in the 1990 HBO movie The Image. Mr. Finney, who in 2011 disclosed he was undergoing treatment for kidney cancer, was married to British actress Jane Wenham from 1957-61 and, from 1970-78 to French actress Anouk Aimee. Since 2006 he was married to Penelope Delmage, who survives him, as does Simon Finney, a camera operator and his son with Wenham. -, 2/8/19.

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