Here are current stories about Oldies Artists in the News:
Ray Price entered a Tyler, Texas hospital Monday (December 2) in the final stages of pancreatic cancer, according to his son. Ray had been released the previous week to spend Thanksgiving with his family. He has also battled dehydration and sepsis but has chosen not to undergo drastic surgical measures to prolong his life.
Grammy nominations were announced Friday (December 6). Congratulations to the oldies artists named: David Bowie for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album (the same for Led Zeppelin), Neil Young for Best Rock Album, Herb Alpert for Best Pop Instrumental Album, both Tony Bennett and Dionne Warwick for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, both Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger & Keith Richards for Best Rock Song (a songwriting award), Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, Mavis Staples for Best Americana Album and the soundtrack of Broadway's, "Motown: The Musical."
A day before the annual Grammy nominations, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the 27 latest additions to the Grammy Hall of Fame Thursday (December 5). They include the singles "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke, "Under The Boardwalk" from the Drifters, The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," B.J. Thomas with "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," "Sex Machine" by James Brown and War's "Low Rider." Albums include the "Mary Poppins" and "Woodstock" soundtracks, George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass," "After the Goldrush" by Neil Young, "Cosmo's Factory" by CCR, Chicago's first album, "Chicago Transit Authority" and Kris Kristofferson's "Kristofferson" LP.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared Friday (December 6) "Judy Collins Day" and "Don McLean Day" in the state. Quinn will read his proclamation at their concert that evening in St. Charles, Illinois.
Jack Reardon, co-writer of "When" (a 1958 hit for the Kalin Twins) and Tony Bennett's "The Good Life," died Wednesday, December 4.
Dick Dodd, former Mouseketeer on ABC-TV's "The Mickey Mouse Club" and vocalist and drummer with the Standells, died of cancer Friday (November 29) at the age of 68. Born in Hermosa Beach, California, he grew up in Redondo Beach, California where he was raised by his grandmother, who encouraged him to take tap dancing and accordion lessons-- though he was skilled in many other instruments, as well. A Disney talent scout encouraged him to audition, along with 300 other children, for the TV show. He joined the show early on (only nine years old, he was called "Dickie"). Fellow Mouseketeer Cubby gave him drum lessons and he bought his first snare drum and cymbals from Annette! Dick left the show after six months and was a dancer on the "Giselle MacKenzie Show" but kept drumming with local bands, including at least one single with the Belairs. And when the house band at PJ's night club-- the Standells-- needed a drummer in 1964, Dick was ready. Signing with Liberty, Vee-Jay, MGM and finally Tower records, the group charted four times, "bubbling under" twice more. But their only top 40 hit was "Dirty Water" (#11-1966) with Dick's memorable opening. Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". The Standells appeared in the movies "Get Yourself A College Girl" and "Riot On Sunset Strip" and on TV in "The Munsters," "The Bing Crosby Show" and "Ben Casey". Dick himself had a role in the film, "Bye Bye Birdie." He went solo in 1968 to little success and moved on to non-musical jobs in the restaurant, limousine and construction industries, though he reunited in various incarnations of the Standells in the '80s. In 2004, the Standells re-assembled to sing "Dirty Water" before the second game of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston as the song had become an unofficial anthem for the Red Sox. The group also performed the national anthem before game one of the 2007 American League division series in Boston.
So much for that Legion of Honor medal. Bob Dylan has been reported to the French courts by the Council of Croatian Community there for "inciting racism" with comments he made to the French edition of Rolling Stone in September of 2012. The court has accepted the complaint formally (not on its merits) but no trial date has been set. Typically, a decision could take 18 months or more. Bob faces a fine and formal sanctions under France's less-than-liberal "free speech" laws if found guilty. He reportedly discussed racism in the interview by saying, "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery - that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood." The magazine has been reported, as well.
After two months in a Houston hospital for first dehydration and later sepsis, Ray Price was released Thanksgiving Day (November 28) and is resting at home.
Van Morrison was named the 79th honorary Burgess of Belfast, Ireland and given the keys to his native city in Freedom of the City ceremonies Friday night (November 15). Van then celebrated with a concert before 2,000 residents chosen by lottery. He is the first musician so honored.
Stevie Nicks will appear as herself on the tenth episode this season of FX's "American Horror Story: The Coven," it was announced Thursday (November 14). Stevie will sing at least one song on the episode.
Bob Dylan was finally given France's Legion of Honor Award in ceremonies in Paris Wednesday (November 13) where no cameras were allowed. His nomination was not without controversy. The Grand Chancellor of the Legion attempted to block the award because Bob was "unworthy," citing his marijuana use and anti-war stance.
It's been learned that Tina Turner formally relinquished her U.S. citizenship on October 24. The singer, who lives near Bern, Switzerland, was granted Swiss citizenship last Winter and was married there July 17.
Bob Beckham, singer and Nashville song publisher, died Monday (November 11) at a hospital in Hermitage, Tennessee. The Stratford, Oklahoma native was 86. Bob started out as a child actor in films. After a stint in the Army he became a singer. He had two top 40 songs for Decca Records-- "Just As Much As Ever" (#32-1959) and "Crazy Arms" (#36-1960). As the hits dried up, he worked as a song plugger before being asked to run Combine Music Publishing, where he stayed from 1964 to 1990. At Combine, he is credited for having discovered Tony Joe White. He also worked with writers like Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Reed, Billy Swan and Dolly Parton. Bob was given the Mentor Award by the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.
Patti Labelle's bodyguard was acquitted of assault charges Monday (November 11) by a jury in Houston after he punched an exceedingly intoxicated military cadet at the airport there in 2011.
Clyde Stacy-- whose "So Young" with his group, the Nitecaps, reached #68 in 1957 (and returned for two weeks, peaking at #99 two years later)-- died when his car crashed into a truck on US Hwy 69 near Muskogee, Oklahaoma Wednesday night (November 6). Clyde-- who was born near Chetotah, Oklahoma and spent his teen years in Lubbock, Texas-- was 77.
Gene Simmons of Kiss received the Charles Durning Patriotism Award from the Disabled Veteran Business Alliance in Hollywood Thursday (November 7). The award is named after the actor who fought in World War II and won the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.
One day earlier Gene announced that he'd been offered the role of Green Goblin in the Broadway production of "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark". Gene gave no word on whether he had accepted.
The United State Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Tennessee rejected all of the appeals by Sam Moore of Sam & Dave against the producers of the movie "Soul Men" October 31. A lower court judge in 2012 ruled that the film, "contains no direct references to 'Sam & Dave' or 'Sam Moore,' Sam Moore's name is never mentioned in the movie, nor does the movie contain any photographs or images of Sam Moore or Sam & Dave." The 2009 film only earned $12.3 million dollars worldwide.
The Musician's Hall of Fame & Museum in Memphis announced its next class of inductees Monday (November 4). Among the twelve to be inducted January 28 are Corki Casey O'Dell (rhythm guitarist with Duane Eddy), Peter Frampton, Randy Bachman, Barbara Mandrell, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy. The late Roy Orbison will be honored with the Iconic Riff Award while Mike Curb will be honored as a non-performer.
Meanwhile, Earl Grant and J.J. Cale will be inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame November 16 in Tulsa.
Janis Joplin received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Monday (November 4). Kris Kristofferson, who wrote her hit, "Me And Bobby McGee," was among those attending. Janis died of a heroin overdose 43 years ago.
Influential blues artist Bobby Parker, whose biggest hit was "Watch Your Step" (#51-1961), died at the age of 77. No date or cause of death was given. Bobby played guitar with the Charms and Bo Diddley and influenced an entired generation of British musicians-most notably John Lennon's work on "I Feel Fine."
It's been learned that Larry Verne (born Larry Vern Erickson), whose voice was perfect for the song "Mr. Custer" (#1-1960), died October 8 of heart failure in Sylmar, California at the age of 77. He was also afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease and had suffered three strokes. The Minneapolis native was "discovered" working across the hall from songwriter/producers Al DeLory, Fred Darian and Joseph Van Winkle, who created the tune. A follow-up, "Mr. Livingston," reached #75 the same year. He also "bubbled under" with "Abdul's Party" in 1961. All told, Larry remembered making around 10 singles and one album over the next three years before retiring from music (except for the occasional backup session) and working as a foreman constructing motion picture sets. He was inducted into the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame in 2006.
Pete Haycock, guitarist and vocalist with the Climax Blues Band, died of an apparent heart attack Wednesday (October 30) in Germany at the age of 62. Pete was with the group from its founding in Stafford, England to 1985, plaing on such hits as "Couldn't Get It Right" (#3-1977) and "I Love You" (#12-1981). In later years he composed movie scores while playing in a spinoff of the Electric Light Orchestra.
As expected, the estate of the late Marvin Gaye filed a countersuit against singer Robin Thicke Thursday (October 31) insisting his song "Blurred Lines" too closely resembles Marvin's "Got To Give It Up." Robin had filed suit in August asking the courts to determine he had not infringed on Marvin's composition.
Lou (Lewis Allan) Reed, former lead singer and songwriter with the Velvet Underground, who went on to a solo career-- most notably with 1973's "Walk On The Wild Side" (#16)-- died of liver disease Sunday (October 27) at his Southampton, New York home at the age of 71. He had undergone a liver transplant last May and was being treated last week in Cleveland for liver disease before returning home. He is survived by his third wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson. Among his film roles, he appeared in the Paul Simon movie, "One Trick Pony."
John Lennon's first boyhood home in Liverpool sold at auction for over $770,000 after what was termed "a bidding war" Tuesday (October 29). The auction took place at the Cavern Club, home to many early Beatles performances. The house itself is near to Strawberry Fields. John lived there until he was five.
Grand Rapids, Michigan police are looking for Al Green's sister, Maxine, who left an adult supportive housing facility there August 23. Maxine suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. Her Electronic Benefits Card was used by a woman in Wyoming, Michigan who told police she "rented" the card for cash-- a non-uncommon event for those wanting to buy liquor with the money. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police.
Fleetwood Mac has been forced to cancel the Australian and New Zealand leg of their world tour over the next two months as "John McVie, one of the co-founding and original members of Fleetwood Mac is now scheduled to be in treatment for cancer during that period of time," according to word on the group's web site. No other details of the 67 year-old bassist's cancer were given.
Al Johnson, lead singer of the Unifics died Saturday (October 26) at the age of 65. The group was formed at Howard University in Washington, DC in 1966 by Al and four other students as Al & the Vikings and later, the Unique Five. After several personnel changes (and one last name change), the group landed a contract with Kapp Records in 1968, where "Court Of Love" reached the top three on the R&B charts (#25 pop). Other hits included "The Beginning Of My End" (#36 pop, #9 R&B-1969) and "It's A Groovy World" (#97 pop, #27 R&B-1969). Al left the group in 1972, going on to become a well-respected writer and producer and singing in Special Delivery (whose "The Lonely One" reached #75 pop, #11 R&B in 1976). He also recorded a solo album in 1978 and sang on two albums with Norman Connors in 1979-1980.
Quincy Jones filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit Friday (October 25) in Los Angeles Superior Court against Sony Records and the late Michael Jackson's MJJ record label, alledging that songs he produced which were used in the movie "This Is It" and Jackson-theme Cirque du Soleil shows were re-mixed and edited in violation of his contract to deprive him of royalties. His complaint also states that he has been denied his credit for Michael's posthumous releases and that releases on MJJ were an attempt to divert revenue and deny him royalties.
"Whisperin'" Bill Anderson lived up to his nickname Friday (October 25). Laryngitis forced him to cancel his show that night in Las Vegas.
James Taylor sang the national anthem before game two of Major League Baseball's World Series Thursday night (October 24) in Boston. He also sang "America The Beautiful" in the 7th inning and apparently got confused the first time he sang. James opened with the latter song before segueing into "The Star Spangled Banner." The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox in the game itself, 4-2.
Michael Jackson returned to the top of Forbes magazine's best-selling dead celebrities list. His estate pulled in a cool $130 million in the last year, pushing him from second to first on the list, announced Thursday (October 24). Elvis Presley moved from #3 to #2 with $55 million. "Peanuts" ceator Charles Schulz was third at $37 million. Last year's winner-- Elizabeth Taylor-- moved to fourth place with a paltry $25 million. Other artists in the top ten were Bob Marley (fifth- $18 million) and John Lennon (seventh- $12 million).
Noel Harrison, son of actor Rex Harrison, who also starred as Stephanie Powers' sidekick Mark Slate in the "Girl from UNCLE" and who charted twice in the '60s with "A Young Girl" (#51-1966 but #5 in Canada) and "Suzanne" (#56-1967), died Sunday (October 20) at his home in Devon, England at the age of 79. He performed in Devon Saturday but suffered a heart attack afterwards. In England, his recording of "The Windmills Of Your Mind" from the movie, "The Thomas Crown Affair" was a #8 hit in 1969. He represented Great Britain as a skiier in two Winter Olympics.
Dolly Parton's car was struck in the side at a Nashville intersection Monday (October 21). She and the driver of the car were taken to a nearby hospital but released shortly thereafter.
Wayne Newton's 65-foot yacht sank Friday (October 18) while docked at a marina on the Arizona side of Lake Mead. Equipment failure is blamed for the yacht taking on water and sinking into 45 feet of water. While no one was hurt, paintings and family photos were apparently on board.
Roland Janes, rockabilly guitarist in Sun Records' Memphis house band, who played on such hits as Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" and "Red Hot" by Billy Lee Riley (as part of his Littkle Green Men backup group) died Friday (October 18) in a Memphis hospital after suffering a heart attack. The 80 year-old was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
Gloria Lynne, who had seven Hot 100 pop hits from 1961 to 1965-- the best known of which was 1964's "I Wish You Love" (#28)-- died Tuesday (October 15) from a heart attack in a rehabilitation center in Newark, New Jersey. The Harlem native was 83. Gloria got her start winning the Apollo Theater's talent contest at the age of 15. It led to a contract with Everest Records. She is well-remembered for her performance on Harry Belafonte's 1966 TV special, "The Strollin' 20's" and is said to have been the first artist to be listed on the Pop, Jazz and R&B Charts simultaneously. Her last stage performance was less than two months ago.
The nominees for the Class of 2014 for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame were announced Wednesday (October 16). They include Linda Ronstadt, Yes, Link Wray, Deep Purple, Hall & Oates, Cat Stevens, Chic, the Meters, Peter Gabriel, Kiss and the Zombies. Also nominated were the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Nirvana, LL Cool J, NWA and the Replacements. Like last year, a fan vote at the Hall's web site will be included among the up-to 600 ballots that should chose the five nominees. Inductees will be announced in December with induction itself in April.
Gloria Gaynor filed a lawsuit October 3 in state Superior Court in Somerville, New Jersey against a landscaper she says did faulty work at her Green Brook home. Repairs to the $38,000 work will reportedly run $120,000.
Meanwhile, Harry Belafonte filed suit Tuesday (October 15) in federal court in Manhattan against the three surviving children of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., asking that the court rule he is the owner of three documents allegedly given to him by the late civil rights leader. When Harry tried to sell the memorabilia, the children stopped the auction, claiming the documents were "wrongfully acquired." Harry is seeking unspecified damages.
Margaret Ann Williams, who replaced Cissy Houston in the Sweet Inspirations in late 1969, died October 1 of unspecified causes. Ann, as she was known, mysteriously left the group while in Lake Tahoe with Elvis Presley in mid-1971 and never returned. She can be seen in the documentary film, "Elvis: That's The Way It Is."
Ray Price was admitted to a Houston hospital Tuesday (October 8) for sepsis, which led top acute kidney failure, Ray, who is already battling pancreatic cancer, was placed on dialysis. His wife reported Sunday that the infection is responding to antibiotics. In her words, "All of the doctors were amazed!" He remains, however, in intensive care.
Wanda Jackson will be among four alumni honored by enshrinement into the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation Wall of Fame at a reception Wednesday (October 9) and dinner Thursday. She graduated Capitol Hill High School there in 1955.
An early morning fire damaged B.B. King's Memphis nightclub on Beale Street Monday (October 7). A spokesman indicated, "The building is physically fine except that it smells of smoke and there's water, but that will be cleaned up. The fire [which started in the kitchen] didn't do a lot of damage. The damage came from the smoke and the water. The fire was contained to the kitchen vent and crawl space under the roof." No date for re-opening has been set.
Doug Grassel, rhythm guitarist with the Ohio Express-- who notched four top 40 hits in 1968 and 1969-- died September 21 in Germany of Fibrosis of the lungs. He was 64. The original Ohio Express were actually a group called the Rare Breed, who charted with "Beg, Borrow or Steal" (#29) in 1967. When they quit, producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz hired a Mansfield, Ohio group called Sir Timothy & the Royals (including Doug) to take over, but freely used New York studio musicians (including lead singer Joey Levine) on their records, leaving Doug's group to do the touring. They are credited with such hits as "Yummy Yummy Yummy" (#4-1968), "Down At Lulu's" (#33-1968), "Chewy Chewy" (#15-1968) and "Mercy" (#30-1969). Doug kept performing even after the group was dissolved, spending the last ten years in Germany.
A jury of six men and six women in Los Angeles Wednesday (October 2) found concert promoter AEG Live was not negligent in hiring Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. The verdict came in a wrongful death civil suit brought by Michael's mother. Unlike a criminal trial, only nine of the jurors needed to agree to the verdict. Deliberations in the five month trial had gone on for three days.