Waky Music News
Ted Nugent is arguing that justice was served when the grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The rocker sent out a series of tweets on the topic Monday night, including one that read, "Darren Wilson did good, Michael Brown did bad, justice is served." Nugent also went after the Reverend Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama for helping to create what he calls "the worst race relations" in 50 years. Nugent has a long history of attacking the president and his policies. Before the 2012 election, the guitarist predicted he'd either be "dead or in jail" if Obama was re-elected.
Joni Mitchell says Taylor Swift wasn't enough to make her give the green light to a planned biopic about her impact on the music business. Rumors started circulating a few years ago that the pop star was in talks to play Mitchel in an adaptation of the book "Girls Like Us," which also focuses on Carole King and Carly Simon. But now Mitchell tells "The Sunday Times" she "squelched" the film, and told the producer, "All you've got is a girl with high cheekbones." She went on to explain that a majority of the script was "just a lot of gossip," and added that most books about her are full of nonsense and assumptions.
Prince is once again leaving the world of social media. He's deleted his official Facebook page less than two months after starting it, and has also axed a Twitter account run mostly by his new backing band, 3rdEyeGirl [[ third eye girl ]]. Prince's initial flurry of social media activity began when he released two new albums simultaneously in September -- "Art Official Age" and "PlectrumElectrum." Both albums are still streaming on Spotify, although Prince has removed all of the videos from his official YouTube page.
The late James Brown is still helping families in need during the holiday season. Relatives of the Godfather of Soul hosted his annual Turkey Giveaway Monday morning in Augusta, Georgia. Augusta's WJBF TV says close to 500 families left the event with a bird to serve at their homes on Thanksgiving. The singer's great granddaughter Sequoia Walton says the Brown family has been doing their best to "keep his legacy alive," and she thinks James "would be really proud."
This year's James Brown Turkey Giveaway followed an event honoring the music legend. On Sunday, New York City officials renamed a stretch of 126th Street that runs right behind the Apollo Theater "James Brown Way."
Aretha Franklin isn't pleased with a new biography about her. She's calling David Ritz's "Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin" a "very trashy book" that's "full of lies and more lies." The legendary Queen of Soul adds in her statement that she's hoping "no one will waste their money" on it. "The New York Daily News" says the book describes Aretha as a jealous, manipulative, and demanding woman who fabricates relationships and is irresponsible with money. Franklin says she believes it's Ritz's way of getting back at her over the official 1999 biography she tapped him to write. She explains that she "edited out some crazy statements he had the gall to try" to include in his book 15 years ago, and "evidently, he has been carrying this hatred ever since." Aretha calls his new book "obviously vindictive," adding that "clearly the writer has no class, no conscience or standards!" In "Respect," Ritz says he decided to write the book to give a more truthful account of Franklin's life, explaining he felt required to whitewash things in "Aretha: From These Roots." He tells the "Daily News" his new book is "an homage to Aretha's artistic genius." He adds that it's "a careful and empathic delineation of a life in which a great star survived, and even thrived, in the complex culture of show business." "Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin" is in stores now.
Bob Dylan took a break from his North American tour this weekend to entertain a lone superfan. Dylan and his band took the stage at Philadelphia's Academy of Music Sunday to perform in front of one man, Fredrik Wikingsson. The gig was part of an ongoing Swedish film series dubbed "Experiment Alone," which explores what happens when people experience things usually meant for large crowds completely on their own. Wikingsson is friends with the project's director, and he tells "Rolling Stone" he begged to be the subject in the Dylan film. He says he assumed it was all a prank up until the moment Dylan walked out on stage and kicked off a set list that included songs by Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, and more. Wikingsson says he was so happy that his jaw hurt for hours afterward because he couldn't stop smiling. Dylan's personal concert for Wikingsson will be posted on YouTube December 15th. He's also scheduled to continue his tour with dates in Washington, DC; Newark, New Jersey; and New York City later this week.
The Who is taking a trip down memory lane in the band's latest music video. The clip for "Be Lucky" is made up of archival footage that covers most of the band's 50-year career. "Be Lucky" is the Who's first new song in eight years, and was recorded specifically for the box set celebrating their half-century anniversary. "The Who Hits 50!" is in stores now.
Steven Tyler is set to celebrate peace this holiday season. The Aerosmith frontman has signed on to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert on December 11th in Oslo, Norway. He'll join the event's host Queen Latifah, and fellow performers Laura Mvula from the U.K., Norwegian pop star Gabrielle, and more. Tyler says he's excited to "bring rock 'n' roll to this incredible night, honoring some of the world's most courageous activists." This year the Nobel Peace Prize went to 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai [[ mah-lah-la U-sahf-SIGH ]] for her work promoting female education in Pakistan.
Diana Ross is recognizing the creator of ABC's American Music Awards. In presenting the inaugural Dick Clark Award For Excellence, the Motown star praised the honor's namesake for his pioneering efforts in creating outlets for popular youth-oriented music. Ross presented the award to Taylor Swift, who was recognized for her incredible musical accomplishments. And in accepting the award Swift praised Ross, thanking her for being a pioneer for women in music. The 2014 American Music Awards were presented in a ceremony that aired live from Los Angeles Sunday night.
The team behind "Dallas Buyers Club" is in talks to bring the long-in-the-works Janis Joplin biopic to the big screen. "The Hollywood Reporter" says Jean-Marc Vallée [[ val-ay ]] is in negotiations to direct the film, while Oscar-nominees Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack are in talks to rewrite it the script. Amy Adams is on board to play Joplin, a role that reportedly belonged to Renee Zellweger at one point. Vallée is expected to start work on the new version of the untitled film in the second half of 2015.
Billy Joel is poised to set a record at Madison Square Garden next year. He's scheduled his 65th show at the famous New York City arena on July 1st 2015, which will break the record for most performances by any artist at the venue. The title used to belong to another famous piano man, Elton John. Joel's July gig is part of his residency at Madison Square Garden. Last year the arena made him its first-ever music franchise alongside other original franchises like the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty.
Cher launched her "D2K" tour earlier this year. She played 49 shows from March to July, with plans to resume the trek in September. But over the summer she developed an infection which has affected her kidneys. Cher's reps say she's making "consistent" progress in her recovery, but doctors are still recommending she not perform. Cher was expected to return to the road next month, after missing several previous relaunch dates. She had shows scheduled from December 2nd through February 4th. Tickets can be returned to their place of purchase for a refund.
Art Garfunkel and Carly Simon are among the many people mourning the death of famed filmmaker Mike Nichols. Garfunkel tells "Billboard" that "Earth will be a little duller" without Mike, who was "the most sparkling man among us." Art worked with the late director as one half of Simon and Garfunkel on the soundtrack to Nichols' 1967 classic "The Graduate," and acted in his films "Catch-22" and "Carnal Knowledge." He explains that the Oscar-winner had the ability to bring his actors to their "best smart self" while still keeping things light with humor.
Simon remembers Nichols as a great talent and a great man. She tells "Billboard" she relished the time she was able to spend with him, which was "never" enough. The singer-songwriter explains that Nichols' "philosophies of life were truly brilliant, amusing and filled with warmth and an original take on people and love." Carly adds that the director gave her "the biggest break" by tapping her to write the score to his movie "Heartburn." Simon also penned the music to Nichols' films "Postcards From the Edge," and she won an Oscar for "Let the River Run" from Nichols' movie "Working Girl." Mike Nichols died suddenly late Wednesday night. He was 83.
Songwriter-producer Dave Appell, who produced Chubby Checker's chart-topper "The Twist" has died. The Philadelphia "Daily News" says the pop music pioneer passed away Tuesday at the age of 92. Appell launched his career with his group the Applejacks, who appeared in the 1956 film "Don't Knock the Rock." But he found his greatest success as a session musician, songwriter, and producer. His other hits with Checker included "Let's Twist Again" and "Limbo Rock." Dave was also behind many other pop classics, such as Dee Dee Sharp's "Mashed Potato Time," The Orlons' "Don't Hang Up" and "South Street," and Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Knock Three Times" and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree."
Former Philadelphia DJ and producer Jerry Blavat praises Appell as "a musical genius." He adds that Dave was "a beautiful human being" and "so humble," and he created "a very special sound." Services will be held Friday morning at Platt Memorial Chapels in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with his burial to take place at Crescent Memorial Park in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
The Rolling Stones are among the honorees from the Billboard Touring Awards. The band got the nod for Top Boxscore, which recognizes the highest-grossing single engagement by an artist. The Stones took the award with their run at the Tokyo Dome in Japan earlier this year. Billy Joel received acknowledgment as well. His monthly shows at New York's Madison Square Garden received the Concert Marketing & Promotion Award. Meanwhile, Lionel Richie was honored during the ceremony with the Legend of Live Award, in recognition of his career as a performing artist. One Direction was the big winner, taking awards for Top Tour and Top Draw. Others earning awards include Katy Perry and Florida Georgia Line. The 2014 Billboard Touring Awards were presented in a ceremony in New York Thursday night.
Sammy Hagar is set to make a cameo on "The Simpsons" this weekend. He joins a long list of rockers who have gone yellow for the long-running Fox animated show, and Hagar says he's happy just to be a part of it.
This Sunday's episode centers around Homer's midlife crisis. He decides to start playing bass with other Springfield dads in a cover band that turns out to be a hit. Hagar says he was "cracking up" when he got the script, and had a blast recording his parts. "The Simpsons" airs Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox.
Paul McCartney fans now have a chance to see his recent San Francisco show in a whole new way. A new app from Jaunt allows them to watch the rocker sing "Live and Let Die" in virtual reality. McCartney played the song at the last-ever concert in Candlestick Park back in August, and Jaunt filmed the performance with 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D cameras. The technology allows users to experience the footage from a variety of perspectives ranging from somewhere in the audience to a spot on stage right next to McCartney himself.
Right now the "Live and Let Die" clip is the only content Jaunt has released publicly, and it's only available on Google Play for users with Android Phones. But the company is working to expand the project soon.
Beatles memorabilia is on the auction block in the UK this weekend. The guitar John Lennon played when recording The Beatles' "Paperback Writer" is among the items going up for bid in TracksAuction's "Rock & Roll Memorabilia Auction," which will take place in London on Sunday. The hollow body Gretsch guitar is valued at 650-to-950-thousand-dollars. Meanwhile, the complete photographic history of the Beatles' famous street crossing outside Abbey Road studios will be up for sale Friday. Britain's Bloomsbury Auctions is selling a signed and numbered set of all the photos Iain Macmillan took for the band's iconic "Abbey Road" album cover. The collection is expected to fetch up to 110-thousand dollars.
The holiday season is officially getting under way this weekend at Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion. And actor John Stamos will help launch the festivities. He's been tapped to flip the switch, and turn on all the holiday lights and decorations Elvis used during his lifetime to give his home a festive Christmas look. The seasonal display celebrates both the sacred and secular aspects of the holiday, including a life-size Nativity scene and Santa and his sleigh. And it's a "blue Christmas" along the Graceland driveway, which is lined with hundreds of blue lights. Santa Claus will also be on hand for the 2014 Graceland Lighting Ceremony, which will take place Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The event be streamed live at new.livestream.com/elvispresleygraceland.
A legendary voice from Motown's golden past has fallen silent. Jimmy Ruffin, best known for his 1966 hit "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" has passed away. According to TMZ, Ruffin's children Philicia and Jimmy Lee said their dad died Monday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 78. Ruffin was also the older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin who passed away of a drug overdose in 1991. David's death prompted Jimmy to take up anti-drug causes in the years following. Jimmy's last album "There Will Never Be Another You" was released in 2012.
The Eagles could be honored for their road work. The group is among the finalists at the Billboard Touring Awards, which will take place Thursday night in New York. The band's "History of the Eagles" trek is in the running for the event's biggest prize, Top Tour, along with tours by Justin Timberlake and One Direction. Meanwhile, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones are up for Top Boxscore, which recognizes the highest-grossing single engagement by an artist. They both earned nominations for gigs at Japan's Tokyo Dome. One Direction's stint in Dublin rounds out the category. Winners at the Billboard Touring Awards are based on Boxscore figures. The event will close out the 11th annual Billboard Touring Conference.
Carlos Santana is among the stars who'll be at the Latin Grammys. He's s been tapped to team up with rapper Pitbull for one of many special collaborations at Thursday night's event. The star-packed ceremony will also feature performances from Ricky Martin, Juanes, and Calle 13, who are among the top nominees heading into the show. The lineup also boasts Marc Anthony, Chris Brown, Enrique Iglesias, and others. The 15th annual Latin Grammy Awards will be presented in a ceremony at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and air live on the Univision Network at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
The Doobie Brothers admit they were a little concerned about making a country collaboration album. But band members Tom Johnston and John McFee say they had a lot more confidence in the project after hearing country star Chris Young sing "China Grove"
For "Southbound" the Doobie Brothers re-recorded some of their biggest hits with country stars. The 12-track collection also features "Rockin' Down the Highway" with Brad Paisley, "What a Fool Believes" with Sara Evans, and "Black Water" with Zac Brown Band. Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, and Jerrod Niemann are some of the other country stars who joined the group for the disc. "Southbound" is in stores now.
Tracee Ellis Ross says being the daughter of Diana Ross created some interesting moments during her childhood. On ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Wednesday, she said her mom tried hard to make their lives as normal as possible. But she still has a few memories that are anything but typical. Ross said she remembers being most confused about Andy Warhol's hair, which she said looked more like a hairy hat on a bald head. Ross also talked about chatting with Michael Jackson on the phone from time to time. She said the friendship proved particularly useful when she was fighting with a friend about the lyrics to "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." She was convinced Jackson was chanting "I've been saved by the sound of Michael's song," but it turns out she was wrong. Tracee Ellis Ross stars in ABC's new sitcom "Black-ish," which airs Wednesday's at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.
KISS is teaming up with one of Japan's biggest pop groups. The rockers have announced plans to record a collaborative single with Momoiro Clover Z that will be released around the world in January. The untitled track will be available in two different editions, one for each band. KISS and the girl group also met up to shoot a music video in Las Vegas. And Momoiro Clover Z will reportedly join the guys again at the Tokyo Dome to wrap up their 40th anniversary tour of Japan. The show is scheduled to take place March 3rd.
Journey and the Steve Miller Band will hit the road together again next year. A post on Miller's website says they're planning "a series of shows," while Journey's website has five dates listed. They're expected to launch the run in Austin, Texas on March 5th. Other confirmed stops include Columbia, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, Florida. Journey and the Steve Miller Band previously teamed up this year for a co-headlining summer tour featuring Tower of Power, who is also on board for the upcoming run.
The new Paul McCartney tribute album arrives Tuesday. "The Art of McCartney" features a variety of stars, ranging from Alice Cooper to Barry Gibb to Willie Nelson, who have recorded the rock legend's songs. The set features Cooper's take on "Eleanor Rigby," Gibb singing "When I'm 64," and Nelson tackling the classic "Yesterday." Numerous others, including Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, and KISS contribute to the collection as well. Billy Joel provides two songs, "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Live and Let Die." McCartney's son, James, even took part in the project, teaming up with The Cure to cover "Hello Goodbye."
"The Art of McCartney" boasts 34 tracks along with a number of bonus songs, which vary depending on the place of purchase. The collection is available in a variety of formats including CD, vinyl, and digital releases. In addition, a deluxe edition is packaged with a DVD documentary about the project, while a limited edition box set has more extras.
Al Green and David Bowie are getting praise for their renditions of Fab Four songs. They're on NME.com's list of "20 Scintillating Beatles Covers That Stand Up To The Originals." "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was one of several Beatles songs Green recorded for his 1969 effort, "Green Is Blue," but was only released five years ago on the expanded 40th anniversary edition of the album. Bowie's "Across The Universe" received the endorsement of a Beatle back when it was recorded. John Lennon provided backing vocals on the song, from Bowie's 1975 album "Young Americans." It's also one of two covers of "Across The Universe" to make the list, along with Fiona Apple's rendition for the "Pleasantville" soundtrack.
Two versions of "Within You Without You" -- by Oasis and Sonic Youth -- are on the rundown as well. Others on the list include Jimi Hendrix's "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," Stevie Wonder's "We Can Work It Out," and U2's "Helter Skelter." "NME" doesn't rank the covers. The British publication compiled the list in conjunction with the release of the new Paul McCartney tribute album, "The Art of McCartney," which arrives in stores Tuesday.
NME.com's list of "20 Scintillating Beatles Covers That Stand Up To The Originals"
St. Vincent, "Dig A Pony"
Michael Jackson, "Come Together"
Otis Redding, "A Hard Day's Night"
Al Green, "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
David Bowie, "Across The Universe"
Candy Flip, "Strawberry Fields Forever"
Stevie Wonder, "We Can Work It Out"
Nina Simone, "Revolution"
Harry Nilsson, "You Can't Do That"
The Black Keys, "She Said, She Said"
The Rolling Stones, "I Wanna Be Your Man"
Elliott Smith, "Because"
Jimi Hendrix, "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band"
Pixies, "Wild Honey Pie"
Oasis, "Within You Without You"
Sonic Youth, "Within You Without You"
Bill Withers, "Let It Be"
Fiona Apple, "Across The Universe"
Elvis Presley, "Something"
U2, "Helter Skelter"
Neil Young is saying goodbye to Starbucks. That's the headline of a new post on his official website, which denounces the coffee sellers for supporting an ingredient-labeling lawsuit against the state of Vermont. Starbucks is teaming up with Monsanto to fight a new state law that would force companies to identify any genetically modified ingredients they use. Young writes that "we have a right to know what we put in our mouths." He encourages people to boycott Starbucks to pressure them into dropping their support for the lawsuit. He says it's important that Vermont's law "stands strong" so that other states follow suit.
Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Motley Crue still know how to impress on the road. The veteran rockers are among the nominees for the 26th annual Pollstar Awards. McCartney and Springsteen are two of the eight acts vying for Major Tour of the Year. Their facing treks by Jay-Z and Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Aldean, as well as Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and One Direction. Motley Crue's "The Final Tour" is getting a nod for Most Creative Stage Production. Timberlake and Perry are in this category as well, along with Arcade Fire, Drake and Lil Wayne, and Nine Inch Nails. In addition, Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Lollapalooza are some of the events up for Major Music Festival of the Year. The Newport Folk Festival and Britain's Glastonbury and Isle of Wight festivals have also earned nominations. The Pollstar Awards recognize touring acts and events as well as venues, promoters, managers, and other behind-the-scenes aspects to taking a show on the road. The 26th annual Pollstar Awards will be presented in a ceremony at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on February 21st.
Stars ranging from John Mellencamp to Tony Bennett are expected to take part in a special celebration this week honoring Billy Joel. Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw and Josh Groban are on the lineup as well, along with country star LeAnn Rimes and the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines. In addition, the event will feature a dance routine from the musical "Movin' Out," while actor Kevin Spacey is slated to give a special performance. Joel is also expected to perform. The gala celebrates the "Piano Man" as the latest recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize. The event is being staged at Constitution Hall in Washington DC on Wednesday. It'll be taped for a PBS special scheduled to air on January 2nd.
Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel are receiving special acknowledgment for their work. They're among a select group of artists being honored at the ASCAP Centennial Awards, taking place in New York City Monday night. The "once-in-a-century" prize recognizes the stars for their '"incomparable accomplishments" in music. Joan Baez is also one of the five recipients, along with country great Garth Brooks and Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim. The gala will include the award presentations and tribute performances for the honorees. The ASCAP Centennial Awards also mark the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Dolenz is slated to perform at the event, along with his Monkees bandmate Peter Tork. Broadway stars including Kehr, who was in the cast of both the musical and movie "Jersey Boys," are part of the lineup as well. In addition, radio legend "Cousin" Brucie Morrow will be honored with the Ambassador of Rock Award at the event.