Here are current stories about Oldies Artists in the News:
Harry Belafonte settled a lawsuit against the estate of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Friday (April 11), retaining ownership of the historical King artifacts he aquired during his friendship with the late civil rights leader.
The Library of Congress added 25 more recordings to its National Recording Registry Wednesday (April 2), bring the total over the last dozen years to 400. Included among this year's list are "Cathy's Clown" from the Everly Brothers, CCR's "Fortunate Son", "Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft", Linda Ronstadt's "Heart Like A Wheel" album and Vaughn Meader's satirical "First Family" album.
A Los Angeles judge issued an arrest warrant Monday (March 31) for Pat Boone, ordering him to appear in court in a case involving cruise ship condos. Pat ignored the court's subpoena and went on vacation with his wife in Hawaii last week but will have to testify now. Lawyers involved in a court case against the ship's investors are now going after the condo owners to receive their unpaid legal fees. However, Pat says he was just a paid spokesperson and the judge will be, "very disappointed to hear how little I know and it won't help him in any way."
Comedy artist Eddie Lawrence, known as the "Old Philosopher," died Tuesday (March 25) at the age of 95. The "Tonight Show" regular would ask if variety of strange occurrences happened and ask, "Is that what's troubling you, bunky?" He would then launch a huge pep talk ending with, "never give up, never give up, never give up..." The Brooklyn-born Eddie (nee Lawrence Eisler) made #34 on the national charts in 1956 with the first of these-- "The Old Philopsopher." He also was an actor, playwright, animation voice and children's TV show host. His Broadway show, "Kelly," ran one night but gave us the song, "I'll Never Go There Anymore."
Joe Frazier, longtime member of the Chad Mitchell Trio, died Friday (March 28). The Lebanon, Pennsylvania native was 77. Joe joined the group-- best remembered for the folk hits, "The Marvelous Toy" (##43-1964) and "Lizzie Borden" (#44-1962)-- in 1960 as a replacement for Mike Pugh. After leaving the Trio, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1972.
Ironically, Joe "Speedo" Frazier, lead singer and only black member of the Impalas, has also passed away. This Joe died April 1 of unspecified causes (though it was known he was in poor health) at the age of 70. He should not be confused with Earl "Speedoo" Carroll of the Cadillacs. The Impalas were literally a Brooklyn street corner singing doo-wop group who came to the attention of Gino from Gino and Gina ("Pretty Baby"). He introduced them to DJ Alan Freed and gave them the song, "Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home)." That's Joe uttering the immortal "Uh-oh" after the opening lines. It was originally a mistake, but was left in intentionally. The song reached #2 in early 1959. However, despite strong initial sales of the follow-up, "Oh, What A Fool," the song died at #86 that same year for lack of promotion and the group never charted again. By 1961 they has disbanded, but Joe stayed in the music business, eventually re-forming the Impalas for the oldies circuit.
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, composer of the song "Dueling Banjos" used in the 1972 movie, "Deliverance," died Thursday (April 3) in Charlotte, North Carolina at the age of 93. The song was a #2 hit for Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell that year and a parody version by Martin Mull called "Dueling Tubas" made it to #92. Originally called "Feuding Banjos," Arthur was not given credit for the composition initially, but he filed suit and received royalties, as well as an Academy Award nomination and a nationally syndicated TV show.
Inspired by former President George H.W. Bush, Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones plans to celebrate her 80th birthday Monday (March 31) by making her first skydive from a Southern California location. Son Shaun Cassidy is not thrilled, arguing, "Mom, what's the matter with you? Why would you want to do this at your age?"
A letter from John Lennon to producer Phil Spector (never actually sent) complaining that Harry Nillson and Keith Moon had urinated on a studio control board sold at auction Friday (March 27) for $88,000.
Greg Allman was forced to miss dates Friday and Saturday (March 21 & 22) with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theatre in New York because of bronchitis. The group has postponed the reamining four dates of their annual visit there.
David Cassidy pleaded "no contest" to a charge of DUI in a Los Angeles court Monday (March 24) and was ordered to spend three months in alcohol rehabilitation. The charge stemmed from an illegal turn he made in January near the LAX airport where police said his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. The 63 year-old was also placed on probation for five months, will undergo a nine-month alcohol education program and pay a number of fines. David is already in rehabilitation and his lawyer said he will spend longer time there than the judge sentenced.
L'Wren Scott, fashion designer and girlfriend of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was discovered dead in her Manhattan apartment Monday (March 17), an apparent suicide victim. She was 47. Mick, who was on tour in Australia, said he was, "completely shocked and devastated by the news." Mick has reportedly flown back to New York and the Stones' concerts scheduled in Australia and New Zealand starting Wednesday in Perth have been postponed. L'Wren first met Mick in 2001.
Courtney Cash, 23 year-old granddaughter of singer Tommy Cash and great niece of the late Johnny Cash, was stabbed to death Wednesday (March 20) in her Baxter, Tennessee home after an argument with a friend. Her boyfriend was also stabbed but but in stable condition and their 20-month old child was unhurt. The assailant is in custody and held without bail.
It's been learned that Peter Callander-- lyricist for such hits as "The Ballad Of Bonnie & Clyde," "Billy Don't Be A Hero," "The Night Chicago Died" and "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast"-- died of a heart attack February 25 in Haresfield, Middlesex, England at the age of 74.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp of Jimi Hendrix March 13 at the South by Southwest music conference inAustin, Texas.
Jerry Corbitt, guitarist and founding member of the Youngbloods, died Sunday (March 9) of undisclosed causes at his home in Smiley, Texas. Formed in Boston in 1966 by Jerry and Jesse Colin Young, they originally were a folk duo before adding Lowell "Banana" Levinger and Joe Bauer. Polishing their act in Greenwich Village, the group became the house band at the Café Au Go Go, which led to a contract with RCA Records. Jerry was the writer and lead singer on the group's 1967 minor hit "Grizzly Bear" (#52). But it was "Get Together" off their second album that brought them lasting fame. Originally released in 1967, the song reached only #62 on the charts, but was re-released a year later when it was used as part of a promotion for the National Conference of Christians and Jews. This time it sailed to #5. However, Jerry left the band in 1969 and later toured in a duo with Charlie Daniels- who also produced a post-Jerry Youngbloods album. Jerry also produced Don McLean's hit, "Castles In The Air." He did join the band during its 1984-1985 reunion.
The West Virginia state senate Friday (March 7) named John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" as one of four official state songs (the others are "West Virginia Hills," "This Is My West Virginia" and "West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home"). Bluefield resident and DJ Dreama Denver, widow of "Gilligan's Island" star Bob Denver (no relation), started the effort two years ago. The resolution passed the state house last year. Said Goivernor Earl Ray Tomblin, "I'm very proud that 'Take Me Home, Country Roads' finds a new home among our beloved official state songs."
A DNA test has almost-conclusively confirmed that a 31 year-old singer is Michael Jackson's illegitimate son. However, Brandon Howard is saying he's not looking for money-a good thing since Michael's will states, ""Except as otherwise provided in this Will or in the Trust ... I have intentionally omitted to provide for my heirs."
"Twenty Feet From Stardom," starring Darlene Love, Meri Clayton and other almost-famous backup singers, was the "Best Documentary" winner at the Academy Awards Sunday night (March 2).
Frankie Sardo (Avianca), who performed along with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and Dion on the ill-fated Winter Dance Party in early 1959, died Wednesday (February 26) of cancer at his home in New York. The Brooklyn native was 77. While his song, "Fake Out" (written by his brother, who had previously recorded with him as Frankie & Johnny), did not chart in Billboard and only reached #68 in Cashbox, it was a regional Midwest hit due to his appearances on the tour. He later became a record and movie producer and actor. In 1971, Frankie was arrested by Scotland Yard in connection with the theft of $30 million in securities, but was later acquitted.
The woman who attacked Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers onstage in Hayward, California in July pleaded no contest Friday (February 28). She will be sentenced April 11 and is expected to receive five years probation and be placed in a residential treatment facility for her mental health and substance abuse problems. A $5 million lawsuit filed by Lester against the woman and the festival at which he was performing and another $5 million suit against the city of Hayward are still pending. In a statement he said, "It makes me feel real good that she's getting treatment as opposed to just sitting in a cage."
David Palmer, an original member of Steely Dan, filed a lawsuit Friday (February 28) in Los Angeles Superior Court looking for past performance royalties he says are due him on Internet and satellite airplay of songs he sang on in 1972 and 1973. The money is not insubstantial, since he did receive an $8,000 royalty payment as 1/6th of the group for a nine-month period in late 2012 and early 2013. The suit seeks an accounting going back to 2000. David sang lead on the songs "Dirty Work" and "Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)" and backup on other tracks, including "Reeling In the Years." He is also the lyricist of Carole King's "Jazzman"-- for which he receives his royalties.
Mike Love of the Beach Boys was honored with the Ella Award (named after Ella Fitzgerald) by the Society of Singers in Beverly Hills Sunday (February 23). The society is "dedicated to maintaining and restoring the personal dignity, health, and welfare of professional vocalists nationwide."
Eric Clapton has cancelled a concert in Bangkok, Thailand scheduled for Sunday (March 2) due to violent anti-government protests in the city.
Francis "Franny" Beecher, lead guitarist with Bill Haley's Comets beginning in 1955, died Monday (February 24) in a nursing home near Philadelphia. He was 92. Franny played with Benny Goodman and Buddy Greco before hooking up with with Bill, playing on such hits as "See You Later, Alligator"(#6-1956) on which he starts the song by reciting its title, "Burn That Candle" (#9-1956) and "R-O-C-K" (#15-1956). He played with the Comets until 1962 and helped re-form them after Bill's death in the '80s.
Ray Kennedy, studio sax player and co-writer of such tunes as "Sail On Sailor" by the Beach Boys and "Isn't It Time" and "Every Time I Think of You" by the Babys, died February 16. He was 67. Ray also worked as a solo artist and in the groups Jon & Ray, Group Therapy and KGB.
He's still the best-selling stamp the U.S. Postal Service ever issued. So, according to a list obtained by the Washington Post, they will re-issue the Elvis Presley stamp in 2015. James Brown is also on the list, as are Johnny Carson and Steve Jobs. John Lennon is being considered, but rules now prohibit foreigners from appearing as subjects. Later this year, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix will be honored.
David Crosby, member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, underwent a cardiac catheterization (two stents were placed in his artery) Friday (February 14). As a result, the 72 year-old has postponed solo concerts for this month but will perform with CSN in March. David had a liver transplant in 1994.
Bob Harris, one-time member of the Ray Charles Singers of "Love Me With All Your Heart" fame (#3-1964), died Friday (February 14) at the age of 91. He went on to act the movies and television and managed three symphony orchestras. He is the father of actor Ed Harris.
Christopher Jones, who played Max Frost in the movie "Wild In The Streets," died January 31 of cancer at a medical center in Los Alamitos, Caliornia. He was 72. Though he portrayed Max Frost in the movie, the vocal on the song "Shape Of Things To Come" (#22-1968) was by Paul Wybier. Christopher also starred on TV's "The Legend Of Jesse James" and the movies, "The Looking Glass War" and "Ryan's Daughter."
There were reports this week that Tina Turner had suffered a stroke at her home in Switzerland and was under a nurse's care. However, her friend Oprah Winfrey tweeted, "Tina had a bad flu weeks ago. She's recovered."
The Songwriters Hall of Fame announced their 2014 class o inductees Tuesday (February 11). Honored are Donovan, Ray Davies of the Kinks, Jim Weatherly, Graham Gouldman (10cc) and Mark James ("Suspicious Minds"). Induction will take place June 12 in New York City.
Five European fans of Michael Jackson won their lawsuit brought in a French court against the doctor who gave him his fatal dose of anesthetics in 2009. For their "emotional damage", the judge on Tuesday (February 11) awarded each fan-- one Euro ($1.37). 29 other fans were apparently not damaged enough to even get that.
David Cassidy's wife of 23 years, Sue, filed for divorce Tuesday (February 11). David is currently serving his third stint in alcohol rehabilitation after being arrested in January for DUI. Sue did not indicated if that played a part in her decision but said, "[t]his has been looming for some time."
The autobiographical book, "My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story" will be adapted into a movie for Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, it was announced Monday (February 10). It will be the first scripted movie filmed for OWN and Darlene will serve as executive producer.
The Internal Revenue Service has filed documents with the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, DC stating the estate of Michael Jackson $505 million in taxes and an additional $197 million in penalties for grossly misrepresenting Michael's worth at the time of his death (according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times). The estate claimed he was worth $7 million. The IRS says it was more like $1.125 billion. The Jackson estate estimated the worth of the Beatles publishing catalog at zero! The IRS has a (probably inflated) estimate of $469 million. The estate valued Michael's image and likeness at $2,105. The IRS says it was more like $434 million. They also says master recording owned by the estate are worth four times what was claimed.
Samantha Juste, BBC "disc girl" on the "Top of the Pops" TV program, who was married to the Monkees' Micky Dolenz from 1968 to 1975, suffered a major stroke Sunday (February 2) and died Wednesday at the age of 70. She was the mother of actress Amy Dolenz.
Jeff Leonard, vocalist, musical director and drummer for Little Joey & the Flips, died Friday (January 31) in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. He was 70. Formed in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, the group was discovered playing in a store parking lot and signed to Joy Records, where "Bongo Stomp" (#33-1962) became their only hit. They later became the house band for "Jerry Blavat's Discophonic Scene" on Philadelphia television. After military service, Jeff worked as an electrician before opening a successful sporting goods store in 1982.
Steve Ferrone, drummer with the Average White Band after the death of Robbie McIntosh and later a sessionist with Tommy Petty & the Heartbreakers, was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood January 19.
Anna Gordy Gaye, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy (she founded the Anna record label-- home of Barrett Strong's "Money"-- with her sister Gwen and Gwen's husband Billy Strange and licensed the song from Berry) and former wife of Marvin Gaye (for whom he wrote his hit, "Pride And Joy"), died of natural causes Friday (January 31) at her home in Los Angeles. She was 92. Anna was also a songwriter, best known for the Originals' tunes "Baby, I'm For Real" and "The Bells," as well as Stevie Wonder's "What Christmas Means To Me." She married Marvin in 1964 and divorced him in 1977.
Pete Seeger, the folk giant, who sang with the Weavers and made music a source of social protest, inspiring generations to come, died Monday (January 27) at a New York hospital the age of 94. Though he underwent heart valve surgery in December, his grandson said that did not contribute to his death. Born in Manhattan to classically-trained parents, he first took up ukulele, then banjo, then guitar. He attended Harvard University but dropped out as music interfered with his grades. Working or a friend of his father at the Library of Congress, he developed his love of American Folk Music, especially Ledbelly. He co-founded the Almanac Singers in 1941 (with Woody Guthrie), then the Weavers in 1950. The group had many hit records, including Ledbelly's "Goodnight Irene" (#1-1950), "On Top Of Old Smokey" (#2-1951), "Tzena Tzena Tzena" (#2-1951) and "So Long (It's been Good To Know Yah)" (#4-1951). The group became blacklisted for their highly political views in 1953 and in 1955, Pete was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about his membership in the Communist Party (he had joined in 1936 and quit in 1949). The conviction was overturned six years later. Pete is credited with writing or adapting such tunes as "If I Had A Hammer," "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" and "Turn Turn Turn", but his only solo chart record was Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes" (#70-1964). Nevertheless, he received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1994, was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1993.
Ringo Starr was presented with an award for a "lifetime of peace & love" Monday (January 20) by the David Lynch Foundation in Los Angeles. The foundation is run by the well-known director ("Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive") and is designed to promote transcendental meditation. Artists such as Joe Walsh, Tom Petty, Eric Burdon, Edgar Winter and Peter Frampton performed a variety of songs from the Ringo catalog at the ceremony. George Harrison's widow was present and there were video congratulations from Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono.
Toni Tennille filed for divorce from her husband of 39 years, "Captain" Daryl Dragon, January 16 in Arizona. The 71 year-old Daryl and 73 year-old Toni are still living in the same home. While Daryl acted perplexed by the move to the press, there is speculation that it is being done for health insurance reasons, as he suffers from an ailment similar to Parkinson's Disease.
Frankie Valli has cancelled a performance Wednesday (January 22) in Bangkok because of violent political protests going on in Thailand. An explosion there killed two people on Sunday.
Dennis "Fergie" Frederiksen, lead singer with Toto from 1984 to 1986, died Saturday (January 18) of liver cancer at his home in Mound, Minnesota. He was 62. Fergie appeared on the group's "Isolation" album and the top 30 single, "Stranger In Town" (1984). He also sang with Trillion and LeRoux and sang backup on Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger."
Ann Wilson of Heart sang the national anthem before the National Football League NFC Conference championship game in Seattle Sunday (January 19).
Congratulations to Bachman-Turner Overdrive, who will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during the Juno Awards March 30. (A Juno is the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy.) Randy Bachman is already a member as part of the Guess Who. The group won seven Juno Awards during their heyday, including Most Promising Group of the Year in 1974 ang Group of the Year the following two years.
Congrats also to "20 Feet From Stardom," the movie about Darlene Love and other backup singers, which was nominated Thursday (January 16) for Best Documentary Feature. Winners will be announced March 2.
The children of Marvin Gaye withdrew Tuesday (January 14) their lawsuit against Sony/EMI Records, alleging the label had not pursued copyright infringement over Robin Thicke's song, "Blurred Lines" and Marvin's "Got To Give It Up." Details of the settlement were not disclosed. The estate and Robin continue to have suits against each other in the courts.
Rolf Harris appeared in a London court Tuesday (January 14) and pled not guilty to 12 indecent assault charges involving four girls between 1968 and 1986. The charges are part of a larger investigation into alleged assaults at the British Broadcasting Corporation. Trial was set to begin April 30. Rolf was released on bail with the condition that he stays at his home and has no contact with the prosecution's witnesses. He must also stay away from anyone under the age of 18 without being accompanied by someone over 21.
"Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" officially opened on Broadway Sunday (January 12) night and the reviews were generally positive. The New York Daily News said the songs were "... some kind of wonderful... Too bad a great musical isn't only about the music. The book is crucial, too - and this show's connect-the-dots story line is so simplistic that the extravagantly talented King's life emerges as a mundane version of the long-suffering little woman." The Chicago Tribune said, "'Beautiful,' in its best moments, manages to suggest that the life of our artist is really just small moments that fall together, unknowingly." The New York Times felt, "Modesty is not the usual stuff of Broadway showstoppers. And if 'Beautiful' never acquires the flashy momentum of 'Jersey Boys,' it may come in part from the deferential gentleness of its heroine. But when [Jessie] Mueller [as Carole King] sings the show's title song-- sitting at a keyboard in, of course, Carnegie for the production's finale-- she delivers something you don't expect from a jukebox musical. That's a complex, revitalizing portrait of how a very familiar song came into existence, and of the real, conflicted person within the reluctant star." Entertainment Weekly wrote, "...you may not feel the earth move under your feet. But the new Broadway show emerges as a slick and joyous celebration of female empowerment." However, the Associated Press snapped, "Carole King has apparently never seen the musical of her life that has now reached Broadway. She walked out of an early reading at intermission, finding it too tough to take. Anyone not named Carole King may toy with the same idea, but for a different reason: It's just insipid... This paint-by-numbers show would have been a whole lot better if it was just turned into a concert with [Jessie] Mueller singing King hits."
David Cassidy was arrested for the third time in less than three years Friday (January 10) night after being arrested in Los Angeles. His blood alcohol level was a reported .19. He was released after posting a $15,000 bond.
The 2014 class of inductees into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, selected by visitors to its website, were announced Monday (January 6). Congratulations to Earth, Wind & Fire; the Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Turtles, Rod Stewart, Bob Seger, Merle Haggard and the late Donna Summer, Patsy Cline and Dinah Washington.
Reather Dixon, original member of the Bobbettes, died Wednesday (January 7)of a heart attack at the age of 68. Formed at Harlem's PS 109,the girls wrote "Mr. Lee" about their disliked school principal. Changed from a negative to positive song, the tune got them a contract with Atlantic Records in 1957 and the song went to #6 and they became the first girl group to reach #1 R&B while also making the Pop top 10. A sequel entitled "I Shot Mr. Lee" struggled to reach #52 three years later (the tune was released on both Atlantic-- who initially rejected the song-- and Triple-X-- who released a re-recording). The girls went on to record for at least five more labels but never reached the top 60 on the charts again. At the time of her death, Reather was still performing with surviving member Emma Pought.
Phil Everly, younger of the Everly Brothers duo along with his sibling Don, died Friday (January 3) of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in Burbank, California. He was 74. Born in Chicago in 1939 (Don had been born two years earlier in Brownie, Kentucky), the boys made a name for themselves singing with their father Ike and mother Margaret in Shenandoah, Iowa and Knoxville, Tennessee. They came to the attention of Chet Atkins in Nashville, who got the boys a contract with Columbia Records-- where they were dropped after one failed single. Undaunted, Chet introduced them to publisher Wesley Rose, who arranged a contract with Cadence Records, provided they signed with him as songwriters. Ironically, their first single for Cadence, "Bye Bye Love," was written by the husband-wife team of Boudeleaux and Felice Bryant, who would pen many other hits for the duo. "Bye Bye Love" got as high as #2 in 1957-- the first of 26 top 40 singles. Their next chart hit that year, "Wake Up Little Susie," went all the way to #1. Other chart-toppers included "All I have To Is Dream" (1958), "Bird Dog" (1958) and "Cathy's Clown" (1960). The latter was their first single after jumping to Warner Brothers Records and the label's first single in the UK, as well. Tensions mounted as the hits dried up in the late '60s and the duo broke up during an infamous concert at Knott's Berry Farm in California in 1973. They reunited for good in 1983 at a concert at Royal Albert Hall in London and continued touring thereafter-- most notably as the opening act for Simon & Garfunkel in 2003 and 2004 (Paul and Art noted that the Everly heavily influenced their own harmony). The duo was named to the inaugural class of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 (the same year they were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame), received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1997 and were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
John "Jay" Traynor, the original "Jay" in Jay & the Americans, died Thursday (January 2) of liver cancer. He was 70. John sang with the Mystics on non-chart tunes like "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and "White Cliffs Of Dover," before helping found Jay & the Americans. Songwriter/Producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wanted to call the group "Binky Jones & the Americans" but John balked, preferring his family nickname "Jay," instead. He sang lead on their first hit, "She Cried" (#5-1962) but when the next three singles didn't fare well, he left for an equally unsuccessful solo career. In later years he toured with the Jay Siegel's Tokens.
According to London's Sunday Mail (who obtained official documents under the "Freedom of Information Act"), George Harrison turned down an Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal in 2000 as a snub in comparison to Paul McCartney's 1997 knighthood. George died the following year.
Marie Osmond became a grandmother Thursday (December 19) when her son Stephen's wife gave birth to a baby boy. It's the first for 54 year-old Marie.
Congratulations to the 2014 class of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, announced Tuesday (December 17): Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Kiss, Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel and Nirvana. Induction will take place April 10 in Brooklyn. Beatles' manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham will receive non-performing awards and Bruce Sringsteen's E-Street Band will go in as sidemen.
The Library of Congress announced 25 additions to the National Film Registry Wednesday (December 18). Movies using popular music include "Mary Poppins," "Pulp Fiction" and "The Magnificent Seven."
Ray Price, who appeared 109 times on the country charts and crossed over to the pop charts ten times, died Monday (December 16) of pancreatic cancer at his home in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. The Cherokee Cowboy, as he was known, was 85. Ray, who had battled cancer (along with dehydration and sepsis) in the past year, had chosen not to undergo drastic surgical measures to prolong his life. Best known for his 1971 hit "For The Good Times" (#11 pop, #1 country), the Perryville, Texas native also reached the top of the country charts with "Crazy Arms" (1956), "My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You (1957)," "City Lights (1958)," "The Same Old Me (1959)," "I Won't Mention It Again (1971)," "She's Got To Be A Saint" (1972) and his version of the Gladys Knight tune, "You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me (1973)". He was named to the Country Music Hall of fame in 1996.
John Wyker, one-half of the duo (along with Court Pickett) known as Sailcat, who had a #12 hit in 1972 with "Motorcycle Mama," died December 8 in his home town of Decatur, Alabama, at the age of 68. The group also "bubbled under" the charts with "She Showed Me" (#115) the following year. John was also a songwriter and visual artist.
Neal Schon of Journey married "Real Housewives Of D.C." star Michaele Salahi Sunday (December 15) in San Francisco. The ceremony was television in a pay-per-view event to benefit Phillipine typhoon relief. You may remember Michaele from when she and ex-husband Tareq Salahi crashed a White House dinner in 2009.
Los Angeles DJ and "Disco Duck" singer Rick Dees repoprted to police Monday (December 9) that his home was broken into while he was out-of-town and $100,000 worth of jewelry was stolen. LA Police are investigating.
There's some casting news for the upcoming Gregg Allman biographical movie based on his book, "My Cross To Bear" (which will be called "Midnight Rider." Tyson Ritter, lead singer of the All-American Rejects, will play Gregg while Wyatt Russell will play Duane Allman. Filming begins February in Georgia.
Tommy Ruger, drummer with the Nightcrawlers-- best remembered for their 1967 cult hit, "Little Black Egg" (#85), died of complications from diabetes and other health issues Wednesday (December 11) in Port Orange, Florida at the age of 67. The influential drummer also played in the satirical Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band.
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."
It was also announced that Lifetime Achievement awards will be given to the Beatles, the Isley Brothers, Kraftwerk and Kris Kristofferson.
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.