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Jackson Browne is among those receiving special recognition at the Americana Music Awards, which are taking place in Nashville on Wednesday.  The singer-songwriter has been tapped for the organization's Spirit of Americana Award, which celebrates artists who make music with a purpose.  And Brown won't just be on hand to accept his award.  He's slated to perform as well. Jackson is part of an extensive lineup that also features this year's other special honorees -- Loretta Lynn, Taj Mahal, and Flaco Jiménez.  Other performers include Patti Griffin, Rosanne Cash, and Rodney Crowell, who are also nominees heading into the ceremony.  J.D. Souther, Emmylou Harris, and Vince Gill are some of the stars who'll serve as presenters at the event.  The Americana Music Association's 13th Annual Honors and Awards ceremony will take place in Nashville on Wednesday, and will be taped to air on PBS later this year.

Ramsey Lewis is getting special recognition from his hometown.  The Chicago native is among the first recipients of the newly established Fifth Star Award.  The honor celebrates Chicagoans and local institutions that "have made significant contributions in arts and culture."  And Lewis says he appreciates the nod.  He explains that while many of his contemporaries left the Windy City to find fame and fortune in Los Angeles, he has "always been able to call Chicago home."  Ramsey adds that he's "forever grateful for and humbled by the support of the great people" in his hometown, who've allowed him to develop his career from "early childhood to today and beyond!"
Other honorees include dancer-choreographer Lou Conte, sculptor Richard Hunt, and the 125-year-old Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University.  The inaugural Fifth Star Awards ceremony is slated to take place at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago's Millennium Park on Wednesday.

KISS is helping to honor members of the military, as well as a band member's father.  "The Oregonian" says the group surpassed their goal of one-million dollars with their fundraiser Sunday, which is supporting a cause that's personal to guitarist Tommy Thayer.  The money is going to renovate the Oregon Military Museum, which will be named for the rocker's dad, Brigadier General James B. Thayer.  The 93-year-old World War Two veteran's service included liberating a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.  KISS' Gene Simmons says his mom survived the death camps, so he literally owes his life to heroes like Tommy's dad.  He adds that through the museum people will gain a greater understanding of the extraordinary service of military members.  He explains that the museum is "a living history book," and provides something visitors can't get from reading or watching a video.
KISS' benefit Sunday included an unplugged and unmasked concert and auction.  A top selling item was a Paul Stanley guitar, which went for 20-thousand dollars.  It was the third fundraising event involving the band, but the first to feature a performance.

Smokey Robinson is the first guest singer on the new season of "Dancing With the Stars."  The Motown legend teamed up with Aloe Blacc to sing a cover of The Temptations' classic "My Girl" on Tuesday's episode of the ABC show. Robinson's performance was in support of his recently released album, "Smokey & Friends," featuring collaborative remakes of hits he's written for himself and others.  Blacc is one of the "friends" on the album.

Cheech & Chong's Tommy Chong is one of the celebrity cast members this time around.  And he's made it through week one.  Tommy apparently impressed the viewers as well as the judges with his charm and his cha-cha-cha, and wasn't even in danger of being eliminated.  He's now prepping a new dance routine for next Monday's episode.  Olympian Lolo Jones, meanwhile, was the first star to be voted out of the competition.

Neil Diamond has a new album on the way.  The singer-songwriter debuted the official video to the song "Nothing But A Heartache" Tuesday on RollingStone.com.  "Nothing But A Heartache" is from Diamond's upcoming release, "Melody Road."  The 12-track set is Neil's first collection of new studio material in six years.  The album will be available on October 21st.

The first-ever live album of Whitney Houston's best onstage moments is on its way.  Music executive Clive Davis appeared on Tuesday's "Today" show to announce the release of a new compilation called "Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances."  Davis, who has been credited with discovering the late superstar, told the NBC show that the album is meant to be "a clarion call to the world" that Whitney was "without question the greatest vocalist in the world."  Davis adds that Whitney's mother Cissy Houston helped him select the tracklist for the album, which will include a CD of 16 tracks as well as a DVD of 19 onstage clips.  "Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances" arrives on November 10th.

Services are being planned for Four Seasons hitmaker Bob Crewe.  The famed songwriter and producer died last week at his home in Scarborough, Maine at the age of 83.  Dan Crewe tells Maine's "Portland Press Herald" his famous brother "created The Four Seasons."  Crewe brought the vocal group into the studio, and with band member Bob Gaudio penned most of their hits including "Sherry," "Walk Like A Man," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and others.  But The Four Seasons was far from Crewe's only success.  The Rays' "Silhouettes," The Walker Brothers' "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)," and LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade" are just a few of the other songs in Crewe's catalog of hits.  Bob is also credited with discovering Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.  He also worked with Michael Jackson, Roberta Flack, Bobby Darin, and many others.
Dan says a memorial service is being planned for Los Angeles, while another service might be held in Maine.  Details haven't been announced yet.  The Four Seasons' Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio are remembering Crewe as a man with "a charismatic personality, an ability to draw the best out of everyone, and a limitless joy of music, art and life."  They add in their statement that it's "a sad day" for those who knew Crewe as well as anyone who loved his music.

Another pop music-based musical is doing well on the Great White Way.  "The Hollywood Reporter" says "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" has leapt into the "hit" realm.  The show received its designation as a success after producers announced Monday that they had made back the 13-million dollars they put into the show, recouping their investment in just ten months.  "Beautiful" tells the story of the singer-songwriter's rise to fame, her stormy relationship with husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, and her breakthrough as a performer with her 1971 album "Tapestry."  Actress Jessie Mueller earned a Tony award earlier this year for her portrayal of King.  The show is currently running at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in New York.
 

Neil Young and John Mellencamp are joining Willie Nelson this weekend in hosting the 2014 edition of Farm Aid.  The organization's three founders will headline the annual concert, taking place Saturday at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This year's lineup features a number of first-time performers.  Jack White and Gary Clark Jr. will make their Farm Aid debut, along with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the group Delta Rae, and singer-songwriter Todd Snider.  Country stars Jamey Johnson and Carlene Carter are among the returning participants.  Longtime Farm Aid supporter and board member Dave Matthews will perform as well, with Tim Reynolds.  However, one originally announced act is no longer slated to appear.  Pegi Young & The Survivors, led by Neil Young's soon-to-be ex-wife, dropped out of the event after Neil filed for divorce.  But another Farm Aid founder's relative -- Lukas Nelson -- will perform with his band Promise of the Real.  Additional information on the event is available at FarmAid.org.
Through the annual Farm Aid concerts, the organization raises awareness and money to assist family farmers.  Since its start in 1985, the charity has brought more than 45-million-dollars to fund programs that support family-run farms and promote the food they grow.

Neil Young and Daryl Hannah are sparking romance rumors.  The "Daily Mail" has posted a number of photographs of the rocker and actress walking arm-in-arm in Westlake, California as they went out to lunch.  One picture features a smiling Young as Hannah plants a kiss on his cheek.  Young and Hannah share an interest in environmental causes, and have both participated in the same demonstrations.  In July, Neil filed for divorce from his wife, Pegi, after nearly 37 years of marriage.  Hannah, whose exes include Jackson Browne, has never been married.  Paul McCartney's theme to the new video game "Destiny" is getting a life of its own.  IGN.com says the song, called "Hope For The Future," is being released as a single.

McCartney co-wrote "Destiny's" optimistic anthem, and recorded the track at Abbey Road studio.  He's backed by a 120-piece orchestra on the epic, six-minute-and-39-second piece, which Bungie's Community Manager Eric Osbourne says the rock legend did for free.  Many have assumed the company forked over a hefty sum for the work, but Osbourne tells Vulture.com "there was no check involved, big or otherwise."  He explains that the former Beatle was "in it for the creativity," and to "reach an audience that wouldn't typically be immersed in Paul McCartney."  Sir Paul also contributed to the game's soundtrack.  "Hope For The Future" is heard as the game's end credits roll.  "Destiny" is in stores now.

Stevie Wonder is taking his landmark album, "Songs in the Key of Life," on the road.  The Motown legend has announced an eleven-date tour, which will begin at New York's Madison Square Garden on November 6th.  Shows are expected to feature performances of Wonder's 1976 album in its entirety.  Wonder previously showcased "Songs" last year, at his annual "House Full of Toys" benefit.  Tickets for select shows go on sale September 22nd.  More details are available at LiveNation.com.

ZZ Top is done with their touring for the year.  The band has announced on Facebook that they intend to resume their road work early next year, explaining that "Dusty's well being is paramount."  The Texas trio was on the road with Jeff Beck last month when bassist Dusty Hill fell on his bus and injured his hip, prompting the trek to be suspended.  ZZ Top has already rescheduled six of their dates with Beck.  The new shows are set for early May.  The group has also listed five dates that won't be rebooked.  ZZ Top says they'll announce their revised schedule early next week.

After three years traveling around the world, Cirque du Soleil's "Immortal" Michael Jackson tour has come to an end.  "Billboard" says its run is proving to be one of the most commercially successful of all time, earning 360-million dollars over the course of 501 shows in 28 countries.  "Immortal" now ranks at number eight on the list of the top-grossing tours ever, behind some big name tour acts such as U2, Madonna and the Rolling Stones.  The Cirque du Soleil show, which commemorates the music of the late King of Pop, started in October of 2011 and went out strong on August 31st completing a final string of dates in Mexico

Yes isn't among the winners at this year's Progressive Music Awards.  The group was in the running in three categories, but left empty handed.  Yes fell to Dream Theater for Band of the Year, while their CD "Heaven And Earth" was bypassed for Album of the Year in favor of Transatlantic's "Kaleidoscope."  And Rick Wakeman beat out his former group for Live Event honors with his "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 40th Anniversary Tour."  The Progressive Music Awards 2014 were presented in a ceremony in London on Thursday.

Keith Richards is offering some insight into his beginnings as a guitar player in his new children's book, "Gus and Me."  The Rolling Stones legend explained on Tuesday's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" that his grandfather taught him how to play after he had creatively managed to get his hands on his guitar.

Keith said he realizes now that his granddad, Theodore "Gus" Dupree, was knowingly dangling the guitar just out of his reach, which made him want it even more.  And now that he has grandchildren of his own, Richards wanted to share those memories with everyone.  He got a little help from his daughter, Theodora Richards, who was actually named after her great-grandfather.  She illustrated "Gus and Me," and even visited "The Tonight Show" with her dad to draw a quick picture of Richards and Fallon talking. Keith Richards' "Gus and Me" is in bookstores now.

Sir Paul McCartney is getting the tribute treatment with a little help from his friends.  A new album, due out in November, will include a compilation of the former Beatle's songs covered by fellow music legends such as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, B.B. King and Roger Daltrey. Titled "The Art of McCartney" the first song to be released from the album is a new take on the Beatles' "Hello Goodbye" from the Cure and McCartney's son James.  Rolling Stones premiered the track on Tuesday.  The set, due out November 18th, also includes contributions from KISS, Alice Cooper, Billy Joel, Barry Gibb, Heart, Brian Wilson, Darlene Love, Smokey Robinson, Dr. John among others. 

"The Art of  "Paul McCartney" will be available in a variety of formats including CD, vinyl and digital releases.  There is also a
DVD documentary about the making of the album and a limited edition deluxe box set, featuring other bonus material.  "The Art of Paul McCartney" is available for pre-order on theartofmccartney.com website, iTunes and Amazon.
The Art Of McCartney Track List:
1. Billy Joel - "Maybe I'm Amazed"
2. Bob Dylan - "Things We Said Today"
3. Heart - "Band on the Run"
4. Steve Miller - "Junior's Farm"
5. Yusuf Islam - "The Long and
Winding Road"
6. Harry Connick, Jr. - "My Love"
7. Brian Wilson - "Wanderlust"
8. Corinne Bailey Rae - "Bluebird"
9. Willie Nelson - "Yesterday"
10. Jeff Lynne - "Junk"
11. Barry Gibb - "When I'm 64"
12. Jamie Cullum - "Every Night"
13. Kiss - "Venus and Mars"/"Rock Show"
14. Paul Rodgers - "Let Me Roll It"
15. Roger Daltrey - "Helter Skelter"
16. Def Leppard - "Helen Wheels"
17. The Cure, featuring James McCartney - "Hello Goodbye"
18. Billy Joel - "Live and Let Die"
19. Chrissie Hynde - "Let It Be"
20. Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen - "Jet"
21. Joe Elliott - "Hi Hi Hi"
22. Heart - "Letting Go"
23. Steve Miller - "Hey Jude"
24. OwlCity - "Listen to What the Man Said"
25. Perry Farrell - "Got to Get You Into My Life"
26. Dion - "Drive My Car"
27. Allen Toussaint - "Lady Madonna"
28. Dr. John - "Let 'Em In"
29. Smokey Robinson - "So Bad"
30. The Airborne Toxic Event - "No More Lonely Nights"
31. Alice Cooper - "Eleanor Rigby"
32. Toots Hibbert with Sly & Robbie - "Come and Get It"
33. B.B. King - "On the Way"
34. Sammy Hagar - "Birthday"

The Art of McCartney Bonus Tracks:
1. Robert Smith - C Moon"
2. Booker T. Jones - "Can't Buy Me Love"
3. Ronnie Spector - "P.S. I Love You"
4. Darlene Love - "All My Loving"
5. Ian McCulloch - "For No One"
6. Peter, Bjorn and John - "Put It There"
7. Wanda Jackson - "Run Devil Run"
8. Alice Cooper - "Smile Away"
KISS gave this year's "Fashion Rocks" concert an explosive finish.  The band closed out the CBS TV event with a pyro-packed performance of their classic "Rock and Roll All Nite."
KISS finished the song in a blizzard of confetti, with Paul Stanley smashing his guitar.  Duran Duran also took part in the two-hour, multi-genre concert.  The band turned out a medley of hits including "Notorious," "The Reflex," and "Hungry Like The Wolf" as models strutted along the catwalks that surrounded them.  The celebration of music and style was staged at the
BarclaysCenter in Brooklyn as part of New York's annual Fashion Week.  Ryan Seacrest hosted the concert, which also featured performances from Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Luke Bryan, and others.

Ted Nugent doesn't think September 11th will come and go peacefully this year.  In a recent Facebook post he shares his prediction that "9-11-14" will be a "day of infamy again," with attacks in both the U.S. and Europe.  The rocker urges people to remain alert and attentive to their surroundings, and encourages everyone to do what they can to protect themselves and stay safe.  This Thursday will mark the 13th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC.

Keith Richards is sharing more of his life in a very different type of autobiography.  "Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar" is a kids' book in which the Rolling Stones guitarist recalls his relationship with his grandfather.  Theodore Augustus Dupree was a jazz musician who played in a big band, and shared his love of music with the future rock legend.  Keith collaborated on the project with another family member.  His daughter Theodora, who was named after her great granddad, illustrates her father's story.  "Gus & Me" also includes several Richards family photographs.  The book will be available Tuesday.

Mike Rutherford is finally bringing his band back to this side of the Atlantic.  Mike + The Mechanics have announced North American dates for "The Hits" tour, which will be the band's first road trip through the U.S. and Canada since 1989.  They'll launch their trek with a two-night stand in Alexandria, Virginia on February 26th and 27th.  The 18-date run will wrap up with two shows in Chicago on March 20th and 21st.  Concerts will feature the group's best-known songs, including "All I Need Is A Miracle," "The Living Years," and "Silent Running," with some Genesis favorites peppered in as well.
The tour coincides with the North American release of "Living Years Deluxe Edition."  The new set features the original album, along with a bonus disc of live material recorded during Mike + The Mechanics' 1989 Living Years UK tour and a new version of the title track.  The band's Andrew Roachford takes the lead on "The Living Years 2014," which also features the South African Isango Choir.  The "Living Years Deluxe Edition" will be available February 10th.

The British Invasion 50th Anniversary Tour will begin this week as planned.  But Gerry and the Pacemakers won't be taking part in it.  A post on the event's Facebook page says frontman Gerry Marsden "has taken seriously ill," and his doctor has "barred him from any travel until he recovers."  Former Hollies member Terry Sylvester has been tapped to take Gerry and the Pacemakers' place in the lineup.  The trek also features Denny Laine, Chad & Jeremy, Mike Pender's Searchers, and Billy J. Kramer.  Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon will appear at select shows, including Tuesday's tour launch in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Cher is pushing back the upcoming second leg of her "Dressed To Kill" tour to recover from a health issue.  A rep tells "Billboard" the 68-year-old is suffering from an "acute viral infection" and has been forced to postpone.  She was scheduled to get back on the road on Thursday, but doctors have ordered her to be on full bed rest for several days.  The second leg of the tour is now expected to kick off on September 15th in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Thursday's date in Albany has been rescheduled for October 6th and Saturday's show in Manchester, New Hampshire will now take place on October 7th.  The first leg of "Dressed To Kill" was a major success, grossing 55-million-dollars, according to "Billboard."

The Broadway show about Carole King could be coming to a city near you.  "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" has unveiled the initial dates for a North American trek.  The tour will launch a year from now, with a five-performance run in Providence, Rhode Island from September 15th to the 20th, 2015.  A more extended engagement is set for Chicago, where the production will play from December 1st, 2015 through February 21st, 2016.  "Beautiful" will also visit Durham and Charlotte, North Carolina as well as Los Angeles, but specific dates for those cities haven't been announced yet.  More stops are also expected. Prior to the North American run "Beautiful" will be heading overseas.  Variety.com says the show is slated to open in London in early 2015.

Glen Campbell's last song will be released later this month.  The country star, who's battling Alzheimer's, wrote and recorded "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" with producer Julian Raymond for the documentary "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me."  In the track Campbell addresses his condition, describing the toll the disease takes as it robs the memories of those who have it.  "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" will be on the "I'll Be Me" soundtrack, which will be released later this year, and on an EP arriving September 30th. The five-track EP also features Glen's live versions of "Wichita Lineman" and "A Better Place," recorded during his Farewell Tour stop at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.  The original song "Home Again" by Glen's daughter Ashley Campbell and The Band Perry's cover of "Gentle On My Mind" round out the track list.

The Runaways' Cherie Currie says she believes her former manager will beat cancer.  And she's doing whatever she can to help him in his fight.  The singer tells Billboard.com she and Kim Fowley reconciled their relationship a few years ago, when she learned that he was sick.  She adds that she even took him in recently, giving him an eight-day break from the hospital.  Currie explains that she opened her home to him after consulting with his fiancee, and they agreed that "a change of environment was what he needed."   She admits caring for Kim was "draining," but she'll "always step up."

Currie and Fowley were on the outs for decades following her tenure in The Runaways, engaging in personal and legal battles over the years.  But the rocker says becoming a mom helped her understand those days from a different perspective.  Cherie explains that after having a child herself, she "realized it was difficult for a man in his 30s to deal with five teenage girls."  She adds that she now considers Kim a friend she admires, and when he "needed help" she "could be there for him."

Those behind the ill-fated Gregg Allman biopic are facing another lawsuit in conjunction with the fatal train accident that occurred during filming.  "The Los Angeles Times" says CSX Transportation has filed a suit against "Midnight Rider" producers Randall Miller, Jody Savin, and Jay Sedrish, claiming they attempted to film on the tracks without permission.  The company's suit states that "CSXT unequivocally denied each request in writing...due to safety and security reasons."  CSX has also submitted a response to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Sarah Jones, the crew member who was struck and killed by a train on the shoot.  The company is denying any responsibility in the matter, claiming that Sarah chose to work on the tracks.  Miller, Savin, and Sedrish are also defendants in the Jones' lawsuit.  They've been indicted for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.  All three have entered not guilty pleas to the criminal charges.


David Cassidy admits he's "not pleased how this turned out," but is glad he's "not going to prison."  The Albany "Times Union" says the former teen idol seemed nervous in the Schodack, New York court Wednesday as he tried to resolve his DWI case.  But the judge refused to accept the plea deal his lawyer arranged with the district attorney, claiming Cassidy never underwent an alcohol screening.  While both attorneys objected, the judge wouldn't change his ruling.  The former "Partridge Family" star still entered a guilty plea, admitting to driving drunk in the community 13 months ago.  He's scheduled to be sentenced on November 5th.  With the plea deal, Cassidy's felony DWI is being reduced to a misdemeanor.  He'll have to do 50 hours of community service and keep an alcohol interlocking device on his car for 12 months.
After leaving the court David said he didn't "mean any disrespect," but felt the judge was being a bit harsh given it's his first offense in New York, and he didn't "hurt anyone or crash."  He added that he's gone through rehab and no longer drinks, but the ongoing case is damaging his career.  The singer and actor explained that "because of all the stuff in the social media" people are reluctant to work with him.  While this is Cassidy's first DWI in New York, he was arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles back in January, and has a prior DUI conviction in Florida.


An old Chubby Checker recording is surfacing online.  The Video Game Preservation Dump has unearthed the singer's version of a song used in a 1982 commercial for the arcade game "Dig Dug." The song comes courtesy of Matt Osborne, who recently discovered the song on an old cassette.  He says he got the tape from his dad, who was Atari's vice president in the early '80s.  Osborne says Atari was going for a "somewhat '50s styled take on the song," which was "inspired in part" by Checker's classic "The Twist."  He also recalls his father "being extra excited that Chubby was involved in the project and had great things to say about having met him."  He admits he doesn't know why Checker ultimately wasn't featured in the commercial, but speculates the singer "might have appealed to a much older audience and not the one that the commercial was targeted towards."
The two-minute, 24-second "Dig Dug" commercial was screened in theaters 32 years ago.  It's now posted on YouTube.  It won a Clio Award and, according to the April 1983 issue of "Videogaming Illustrated," was the first arcade video game ad to be shown in cinemas.


Herb Alpert is giving fans a preview of his next album.  The music legend debuted the instrumental "Sneaky" Wednesday on Billboard.com. "Sneaky" is from Alpert's upcoming album "In The Mood."  The disc features his renditions of classic songs, including "Blue Moon," "Spanish Harlem," and "Chattanooga Choo Choo."  "In The Mood" will be in stores September 30th.

 
Cher is taking a trip down memory lane.  Daniel Dreifuss, the owner of the Hollywood home where the superstar once lived, tells TMZ Cher recently showed up at his doorstep by surprise.  Dreifuss says his roommate was shocked to answer a knock at the door to find Cher herself accompanied by two assistants.  He says she asked to come in and have a look around and was "down to Earth and very sweet" during her short stay.  Cher wasn't able to see her old bedroom, however.  Apparently one of the other roommates as asleep at the time and she didn't want to wake him. Cher used to share the home with her late husband Sonny Bono at the beginning of their marriage in 1964.
 

Survivor has lost one of their lead singers.  Jimi Jamison's booking agent Sally Irwin is confirming that the rocker died Sunday night.  She tells TMZ.com Jimi suffered a heart attack.  He played his last show just a day earlier, performing with Survivor in Morgan Hill, California Saturday night.  Jamison was 63.  Jamison came to fame with the band Cobra, and joined Survivor in 1984.  He's featured on several of Survivor's hits, including "The Search Is Over" and "Is This Love."  Jimi also took the lead on the band's contribution to the "Rocky IV" soundtrack -- the top five hit "Burning Heart."  Jamison also wrote and recorded the song "I'm Always Here" -- the theme to the TV series "Baywatch."

A new movie about the death of John Lennon is in the works.  Filmmaker Jeremy Profe [[Pro-Fee]] tells the BBC "The Lennon Report" explores the efforts of police, paramedics, and hospital staff who attempted to save the rock legend's life after he was shot outside his New York City home on December 8th, 1980.  He says it also includes the initial media coverage of the shooting, prior to the announcement that Lennon had died.  Profe explains that with his film he's "presenting the case of what happened, and the reality is that anybody in this country can go get a gun essentially any time they want," which is "an important discourse" for Americans to have.

The filmmaker is also denying allegations that he's simply trying to cash in on the upcoming 35th anniversary of Lennon's death, since the project is slated for release late next year.  Profe says anyone who thinks he's being opportunistic should "come watch the film and see it for themselves."

The Beatles are still one of the top pop stars.  But the Fab Four doesn't lead a "Time" magazine's new "ultimate pop star" list.  The lads from Liverpool come in fourth behind the top ranked Mariah Carey, second place Rihanna, and Usher.  The list is based on "Billboard" chart success since 1960, and awards points based on how high a song peaked and how long it remained on the chart.  Madonna rounds out the top five.  Michael Jackson ranks eighth based exclusively on his solo career -- his hits with the Jackson 5 weren't figured into his total.  Elton John and Stevie Wonder just miss the top ten, while The Supremes, The Bee Gees, and The Rolling Stones are on the list as well.  Elvis Presley lands at number 26.  However, the rundown only dates back 55 years, so none of his hits from the 1950s were included.
 
Tom Jones will be on hand for one of Australia's biggest sporting events.  Melbourne's "Herald Sun" says the Welsh singer has been tapped to headline the Australian Football League's Grand Final.  The concert will take place prior to the big game, on September 27th at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.  British pop singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is also on the bill, which AFL head Gillon McLachlan says has "everyone catered for."  The singers will perform again after the game.  Meanwhile, Olivia Newton-John will be featured during the event.  She's slated to sing the national anthem at the start of the match.

The late Johnny Winter's producer Paul Nelson says it's hard to believe the guitar great is gone.  But he tells "USA Today" Johnny "left on a high note."  Nelson says "Step Back" is the follow up to Winter's 2011 effort, "Roots," and the second disc in a planned four-part covers collection featuring the songs and artists that inspired him.  Nelson explains that Johnny's "admiration for the blues ran deep, and this release exemplifies his mastering of the most difficult form of interpreting the blues, and that's singing."  He adds that the project showcases Winter's talents, since each track was done in one take without any editing.  Nelson explains that Johny "would 'Winterize' each song," and "the minute he put his voice and playing on it, it became his."
"Step Back" also features a number of guests.  Winter teamed up with Leslie West on "Long Tall Sally," with Dr. John for "Blue Monday," and Aerosmith's Joe Perry on "Mojo Hand."  Eric Clapton, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, and Joe Bonamassa are some of the others who lent their talents to the project.  The album, which is the first posthumous release from Winter, arrives in stores Tuesday.  Johnny died in July while on tour in Switzerland.  He was 70.

Bruce Springsteen is taking the title character from one of his songs and putting him on the page.  The rocker has teamed up with writer and illustrator Frank Caruso on the children's book "Outlaw Pete."  Both the song and the book were inspired "Brave Cowboy Bill," a kids' book from 1950 that Springsteen's mom read to him when he was little.  Caruso came up with the idea for their book.  He explains that Bruce "created a great character" in Outlaw Pete.  Frank adds that with his first listen to the song, the book "played out" in his head.  Bruce describes "Outlaw Pete" as "the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins."  The song "Outlaw Pete" is on Springsteen's 2009 album "Working on a Dream."  The book will be available November 4th.

The Kinks aren't going forward without their founding lead guitarist.  The band is denying a recent "Mojo" magazine story in which frontman Ray Davies reportedly said a Kinks reunion "will happen anyway," even if Dave Davies isn't a part of it.  But a post on the group's Facebook page says the publication "is wrong," and emphasizes "there will be NO Kinks reunion without BOTH Ray and Dave Davies."  The message adds that Ray "claims to have never said this."  Meanwhile, on his own Facebook page, Dave Davies says he's on board, and that he'd "love to do some form of a Kinks reunion with Ray."

Both Ray and Dave have been discussing a Kinks reunion -- with the media and amongst themselves -- for more than a year.  The estranged brothers began working on reconciling their relationship last summer, with the goal of celebrating The Kinks' 50th anniversary together this year.  But in April Dave told the UK's "Independent" that "all this pressure about the anniversary" was complicating their efforts, so they might just "celebrate the 51st" instead.

Fifty years after their U.S. debut, The Beatles still have plenty of fans on this side of the Atlantic.  The Fab Four have captured the top spot in the latest Harris Poll list of America's Favorite Musical Artists, after landing in a third place tie with Elvis Presley in 2010.  This year Elvis is taking second place, while Beyonce makes her debut on the list in third place.  Led Zeppelin, who also missed the cut four years ago, has the number four spot.  Country star George Strait -- who ranked seventh in 2010 -- now rounds out the top five.  The 2010 list leader, Celine Dion, has fallen to seventh place, and is tied with Neil Diamond, the Eagles, and Garth Brooks.

The Beatles'popularity also cross political and geographic boundaries.  The band is a favorite among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, as well as for those in the East, South,and West. The Beatles are also the favorite among men and adults ages 50 to 68.  However, Beyonce is number one among women and adults 37 and younger, while the 38-to-49-year-olds name Metallica as the favorite.  Those over the age of 68 prefer Willie Nelson. 
America's Favorite Musical Artist

1. The Beatles
2. Elvis Presley
3. Beyonce
4. Led Zeppelin
5. George Strait
6. Bruno Mars
7. TIE - Neil Diamond, the Eagles, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks Michael Jackson certainly isn't forgotten in his hometown.  Friday marks what would have been the late King of Pop's 56th birthday, and the three-day Michael Jackson Tribute Festival of the Arts is already under way in Gary, IndianaNorthwest Indiana's "Post-Tribune" says Michael's mom Katherine Jackson is behind the event, which takes place around the family's former home.  Katherine was on hand for Thursday's kick-off, which included music and dance performances by local high school students.