Oldies News

Phil Spector, legendary producer-turned-convicted murderer, dies at 81

Al Seib-Pool/Getty Images

Phil Spector, the famed music producer and songwriter who was later convicted of murder, has died, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed. He was 81.

Officials said Spector died of natural causes Saturday at an outside hospital.

Back in 2003, Spector was convicted of shooting and killing actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion in Alhambra, California. In 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison.

Dubbed "The First Tycoon of Teen," Spector became famous for his pioneering and legendary "Wall of Sound" production method that helped shape pop music in the 1960s and remains influential to this day.

Born in The Bronx, New York, Spector first found success as a member of the pop-vocal group The Teddy Bears, who scored a #1 hit in 1958 with "To Know Him Is to Love Him," which he wrote.

He soon began developing his skills as a record producer, and in 1961 he co-founded the Philles Records label. Spector began producing recordings for a series of popular artists, including Darlene Love and the all-female vocal groups The Crystals and The Ronettes, the latter of which was fronted by Phil's future wife Ronnie Spector.

Among the memorable hits Spector produced were The Crystals' 1962 chart-topper "He's a Rebel" and 1963 smashes "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," and The Ronettes' 1963 singles "Be My Baby" and "Baby, I Love You."

Spector also produced one of the most beloved holiday albums of all time, 1963's A Christmas Gift for You, which featured many now-classic renditions of holiday tunes recorded by four acts on the Philles label: The Ronettes, The Crystals, Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans.

In 1966, Spector produced and co-wrote The Righteous Brothers' enduring chart-topper "You've Lost that Loving Feelin.'" That same year, Phil produced and co-wrote Ike & Tina Tunrer's "River Deep -- Mountain High."

His later album-production credits include The Beatles' Let It Be, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, John Lennon's Imagine and Rock 'n' Roll, Leonard Cohen's Death of a Ladies' Man and The Ramones' End of the Century.

Spector was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997.

Outside of his successful career in the music business, Spector apparently had a volatile personal life. He married Ronnie Spector in 1968, but the couple divorced in 1974. In her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, Ronnie claimed that Phil was psychologically abusive and that he sabotaged her career by not allowing her to perform. Over the years, many artists accused Phil of erratic behavior, including multiple occasions where he threatened people with guns.

By Andrea Tuccillo, Andrea Dresdale and Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Badfinger teams up with Rick Springfield for new version of band's 1979 tune "Love Is Gonna Come at Last"

Cleopatra RecordsRick Springfield lends his talents to the latest in a series of digital singles pairing Badfinger guitarist Joe Molland with various pop and rock musicians on new versions of songs by the famed U.K. power-pop band.

The new track, which is available now, is an updated rendition of "Love Is Gonna Come at Last," a Molland-penned tune from Badfinger's 1979 album Airwaves. Springfield sings lead and plays guitar on the tune, while Molland contributes backing vocals and bass.

"Badfinger has always been one of my all-time favorite bands," says Springfield in a statement. "In fact, I am often asked by journalists, 'What is the one song you had wished you had written?' and my answer is [Badfinger's 1972 hit] 'Baby Blue.' What a perfect song! Their music was and is immortal."

You can check out the track now on YouTube.

A full-length album featuring "Love Is Gonna Come at Last" with Springfield, as well as other updated Badfinger songs boasting such special guests as Todd Rundgren, ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, power-pop artist Matthew Sweet, blues guitarist Sonny Landreth and more is due out later in 2021.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ZZ Top released its debut album 50 years ago this Saturday

Warner MusicFifty years ago this Saturday, January 16, rock fans got their first taste of that little ol' band from Texas, ZZ Top, when the trio -- singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist/singer Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard -- released its debut album.

The record, which was aptly titled ZZ Top's First Album, was produced by the band's manager, Bill Ham, and recorded at Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas, outside of Dallas. Ham went on to produce the group's first 10 albums.

The album failed to chart on the Billboard 200, and yielded one, albeit unsuccessful, single, "(Somebody Else Been) Shakin' Your Tree," but it established the trio's trademark musical mix of blues boogie, hard rock and Southern rock with lyrics packed with attitude and humor.

Reflecting on the album in a 2013 interview with MusicRadar, Gibbons said, "We were three guys, we had three chords, and the future was wide open. We called the record ZZ Top's First Album because we wanted everyone to know that there would be more. We weren't certain if we'd get another chance in the studio, but we had high hopes."

Gibbons wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs on the album, with Ham contributing to five of the tunes, Hill to three and Beard to one.

Here's the ZZ Top's First Album track list:

"(Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree"
"Brown Sugar"
"Squank"
"Goin' Down to Mexico"
"Old Man"
"Neighbor, Neighbor"
"Certified Blues"
"Bedroom Thang"
"Just Got Back from Baby's"
"Backdoor Love Affair"

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Archival Neil Young & Crazy Horse live album and film, 'Way Down in the Rust Bucket,' due out in February

Reprise RecordsMore than a year after first mentioning the project on his Neil Young Archives website, Neil Young has announced full official plans to release an archival concert album and video called Way Down in the Rust Bucket on February 26.

The previously unreleased album and film document a November 1990 show Young played with Crazy Horse at the Santa Cruz, California, club The Catalyst. The concert featured Neil and his famous backing group playing three sets, and included eight of the 10 tunes from their then-new album Ragged Glory, which was released two months earlier. The performance also included classics such as "Cinnamon Girl," "Like a Hurricane" and "Cortez the Killer," as well as several deep cuts.

Young played his 1975 song "Danger Bird" and his 1981 tune "Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze" live for the first time at the gig.

Way Down in the Rust Bucket will be available as a two-CD set, a four-LP package and a deluxe box set containing the CDs, the LPs and a DVD featuring footage of the full show, including a 13-minute version of "Cowgirl in the Sand" that doesn't appear on the audio versions. The album also will be available in multiple digital formats.

Fans who pre-order Way Down in the Rust Bucket will receive an instant free download of a live, nine-minute version of the Ragged Glory tune "Country Home." The song also is available for streaming now, including at Neil's official YouTube channel, while a video of the performance has been posted at NeilYoungArchives.com.

Here's the Way Down in the Rust Bucket track listing:

"Country Home"
"Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze"
"Love to Burn"
"Days That Used to Be"
"Bite the Bullet"
"Cinnamon Girl"
"Farmer John"
"Cowgirl in the Sand"*
"Over and Over"
"Danger Bird"
"Don't Cry No Tears"
"Sedan Delivery"
"Roll Another Number (For the Road)"
"F***in' Up"
"T-Bone"
"Homegrown"
"Mansion on the Hill"
"Like a Hurricane"
"Love and Only Love"
"Cortez the Killer"

* = exclusive to the DVD.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Yoko Ono settles lawsuit with John Lennon's former assistant

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty ImagesYoko Ono has informed a federal judge in New York that she has reached a settlement with her late husband John Lennon's former personal assistant that would end her lawsuit that alleged copyright infringement.

The deal ends 20 years of litigation and requires Frederic Seaman to pay $5000 and stop speaking about Lennon.

"Seaman is precluded from making any statements to a third party concerning or relating to John Lennon individually or as a member of the Beatles, Yoko Ono Lennon or Sean Lennon other than an attorney-client discussion," the settlement agreement said.

In February 1979, Seaman was hired as an employee of the Lennon household helping to care for their son Sean, running errands for the Lennon family, and accompanying Lennon, Mrs. Lennon and their son in many of their travels, court records said.

"That Seaman is a miscreant and self-promoter is incontrovertible: his first instinct after the horrific murder of John Lennon was to rob the Lennon Family for the purpose of gaining fame and fortune from exploiting a 'self-created' celebrity status," according to Ono's lawsuit that accused him of stealing personal items and defaming her.

"He would not only profit financially from Lennon's death, but he would also defame Mrs. Lennon and falsely attempt to portray himself as Lennon's only true confidante by falsely enhancing his status as a gofer," the lawsuit said.

By Aaron Katersky
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Now and Then: KISS frontman Paul Stanley's Soul Station side group to release debut album in March

UMeIn 2015, KISS frontman Paul Stanley launched his side project, Paul Stanley's Soul Station, to explore his love of R&B and soul music. Now the group is set to release its debut album, Now and Then, on March 5.

The 14-track collection, available for pre-order now, features nine classic soul and R&B covers, plus five originals. In advance of the album, Soul Station has digitally released its rendition of The Five Stairsteps' 1970 hit "O-O-H Child." You also can check out the track at the group's official YouTube channel, along with a making-of documentary about the album.

Soul Station is a 15-piece ensemble that includes includes KISS drummer Eric Singer, as well as a guitarist, a bassist, two keyboardists, a percussionist, three backing singers and multiple horn and string players.

"Long before I ever heard the great British bands, I grew up listening to Philly Soul, Motown and so much more," Stanley says of his inspiration for Soul Station. "That music and its storytelling gave me strength and hope even in some tough days. The great classics of that era are magical medicine for most and I felt myself drawn back to that era for some sorcery I think we could all use."

Among the other covers featured on Now and Then are songs by The Spinners, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Temptations, Al Green, The Delfonics, The Styistics and The Four Tops.

Regarding the new material, Paul notes, "Between us doing some great Soul Station shows and starting the album, I started to think that neither the band or the music we love should depend only on the past so I started writing with the goal of seamlessly taking songs into the present."

Here's the Now and Then track list:

"Could It Be I'm Falling In Love"
"I Do"
"I, Oh I"
"Ooo Baby Baby"
"O-O-H Child"
"Save Me (From You)"
"Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)"
"Whenever You're Ready (I'm Here)"
"The Tracks of My Tears"
"Let's Stay Together"
"La-La – Means I Love You"
"Lorelei"
"You Are Everything"
"Baby I Need Your Loving"

 

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New Go-Go's documentary being released on DVD, Blu-ray, digitally and for rental in February

Polygram/UMe/Mercury StudiosJust a reminder: That recent documentary focusing on The Go-Go's will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats on February 5, and the film also will be available via rental services the same day.

The film, aptly titled The Go-Go's, charts the history of the all-female band, from its start as part of the Los Angeles punk scene and its fast rise to stardom in the early 1980s, to its 1985 breakup and subsequent multiple reunions. The doc was directed by Alison Ellwood, and features new interviews with all five Go-Go's -- Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin -- as well as with Police drummer Stewart Copeland and others.

The movie premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival last January and got its television debut on Showtime in July. Coinciding with the documentary's TV premiere, a brand-new song by The Go-Go's called "Club Zero" was released. The movie features footage of the group working on the tune and playing it at the famed L.A.-area club The Whisky a Go Go.

You can pre-order the DVD and Blu-ray of The Go-Go's now.

Meanwhile, the band had been scheduled to launch reunion tour last year, which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trek now is slated to kick off on June 18 with a concert in San Francisco.

As previously reported, The Go-Go's will be among the honorees at the 2021 She Rocks Awards, which will be held virtually on Friday, January 22, and will be livestreamed at Parade magazine's official website and BelieveInMusic.tv, starting at 6:30 p.m. PT.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Founding New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain dead at age 69

Sylvain Sylvain with David Johansen of New York Dolls in 2011; Marc Broussely/RedfernsSylvain Sylvain, founding rhythm guitarist of the influential glam-punk band New York Dolls, died Wednesday of cancer, according to a message on his official Facebook page. He was 69.

The note reads, "Sylvain battled cancer for the past two and 1/2 years. Though he fought it valiantly, [Wednesday] he passed away from this disease. While we grieve his loss, we know that he is finally at peace and out of pain. Please crank up his music, light a candle, say a prayer and let's send this beautiful doll on his way."

Sylvain, born Sylvain Mizrahi in Cairo, Egypt, co-founded New York Dolls with drummer Billy Murcia, guitarist John "Johnny Thunders" Genzale, bassist Arthur Kane and singer David Johansen in 1971. The band's influences included The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, classic R&B and '60 girl groups.  Inspired by then-emerging glam-rock artists David Bowie and T. Rex, they took to wearing trashy androgynous outfits and women's clothing on stage.

Johansen paid tribute to Sylvain in a Facebook message that reads, "My best friend for so many years, I can still remember the first time I saw him bop into the rehearsal space/bicycle shop with his carpetbag and guitar straight from the plane after having been deported from Amsterdam, I instantly loved him. I'm gonna miss you old pal. I'll keep the home fires burning."

Murcia died of drug-related causes in 1972 and was replaced by drummer Jerry Nolan, solidifying the band's classic lineup. New York Dolls' self-titled debut album was released in 1973 and while the record wasn't commercially successful, it's gone on to influence countless groups, thanks to songs like "Personality Crisis," "Trash" and "Jet Boy." In 2020, Rolling Stone ranked the album at #301 on its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.

New York Dolls released one more studio album, 1974's Too Much, Too Soon, before the lineup started to splinter. Johansen and Sylvain continued to lead the band until its 1976 breakup.

Sylvain then launched a solo career and also collaborated with various artists over the years. Thunders and Nolan died of drug-related causes in 1991 and 1992, respectively, but in 2004, surviving New York Dolls Sylvain, Johansen and Kane reunited to perform at the U.K.'s Meltdown Festival, organized by Morrissey.

Sadly, Kane died of leukemia one month after the concert, but Sylvain and Johansen continued on with a new Dolls lineup that went on to record three more studio albums and tour frequently through 2011, when the band broke up again.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rob Thomas rallies for special needs pets in emotional post about his ailing dog, Samy

Slaven Vlasic/Getty ImagesRob Thomas is preparing to say goodbye to his best friend Samy, his ailing senior dog, and is going above and beyond to make sure he's comfortable.

"So our Samy has a host of problems. But the one that is the most pressing is his kidneys are failing," the Matchbox Twenty frontman explained. "We know that this is what we are going to lose him to but we know we can buy some real time and give him a good quality of life."

To keep Samy comfortable, Thomas gives his Pomeranian "IV fluids twice a day."

"He just sleeps like an angel while we do it so it’s not something that makes him scared or feel bad and it truly helps and we see a more happy and engaged little guy when we do it," said Thomas. 

The "Lonely No More" singer went onto explain the other health issues afflicting Samy, such as epilepsy, liver cancer and partial blindness, saying his pup has had special needs since the beginning.

Thomas, 48, then attested that a pet being labeled special needs is not necessarily a death sentence.

"If you have a special needs little guy or girl at home just know if you’re willing to put in some time you can keep them around and happy longer than you think," the three-time Grammy winner encouraged.

Sidewalk Angels, the animal rescue Matthews and wife Marisol Maldonado founded in 2003, also offered words of encouragement to pet owners looking after elderly or sick animals.

"When many people hear that their pet is special needs, they become very scared and fear it’s a lost cause.   That couldn't be further from the truth," the foundation stressed. "With a little extra work and love, a special needs pet can have a long and happy life."

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bruce Springsteen added Biden Celebrating America Inauguration Day concert special

Credit: Danny ClinchBruce Springsteen has joined President-elect Joe Biden's Inauguration Day festivities.

The Boss has been added to the lineup of performers for Celebrating America, an upcoming TV special airing the night of January 20. Foo Fighters and John Legend also have joined the event's bill.

According to a press release, Springsteen, the Foos and Legend will be performing from "iconic locations across the country." The concert also will feature previously performers Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, and singer-songwriter Ant Clemons. Additional performances will be announced leading up to Inauguration Day.

Tom Hanks will host the special, and Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington also will make appearances.

Celebrating America will air January 20 starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on a variety of different networks, including ABC, as well as a number of streaming and social media platforms.

By Josh Johnson
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Fogerty's 'Fogerty's Factory' album released on vinyl today; John gushes about the family project

Credit: Julie FogertyEx-Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty's Fogerty's Factory album, which was issued on CD and digitally in November, gets its vinyl release today.

The 12-track collection features mostly of new versions of CCR tunes and Fogerty solo songs that John recorded with his three youngest children -- sons Shane and Tyler, and daughter Kelsy.

Most of the performances were recorded at Fogerty's Los Angeles-area home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many debuted as part of a series of videos posted on John's YouTube channel.

John tells ABC Audio that his wife, Julie, suggested that he and the kids start recording performance videos together, and he says he realized from the first song they played it was a special opportunity.

"[T]o do one of my songs with my kids was…it doesn't get any better than that," Fogerty gushes. "I recognized what this was when we were rehearsing. This was priceless…You know, in the past, I never envisioned a whole family band. And right at the outset, the fact that we were playing one of my songs together as a family was unbelievably cool."

Tyler Fogerty tells ABC Audio that he was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction fans had to the performance videos.

Tyler and Shane have both performed with their dad on his recent tours, but Tyler says he was glad the Fogerty's Factory project gave him the chance to play with Kelsy too. He adds, "And it was cool just to do it in a very informal way…[It] was very at home and comfortable and friendly."

Shane echoes Tyler's sentiments, noting that the Fogerty's Factory performances were "a homegrown thing that started kind of naturally and…people reacted really well to it."

Here's the Fogerty's Factory track list:

"Centerfield" (Dodger Stadium version)
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain" (from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)
"Lean on Me" (Bill Withers cover)
"Hot Rod Heart"
"Blue Moon Nights"
"Tombstone Shadow"
"City of New Orleans" (Steve Goodman cover)
"Proud Mary"
"Blueboy"
"Bad Moon Rising" (from satellite-radio special)
"Fortunate Son" (from satellite-radio special)
"Don't You Wish It Was True"

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Get ready for more Elton John in 2021

ABC/CRAIG SJODIN2020 was a big year for Elton John: Even if he wasn't able to tour, he won an Oscar, did a lot of online charity events, released his autobiography in paperback, put out his archival Jewel Box collection, and collaborated with artists ranging from Lady Gaga to British alt-rockers Gorillaz.  And 2021 will bring us even more Elton stuff.

Orla Lee-Fisher, the EVP head of strategic marketing at Elton's record label, tells Music Week that 2021 will be a big one for anniversaries of some of the legendary star's most beloved songs -- and she hints that there may be new releases to go along with them.

"It's the 50th anniversary of Madman Across the Water," she says of Elton's 1971 album, that gave us classics like "Tiny Dancer" and "Levon."

"We're about to enter 50th anniversaries of a lot of Elton's big tracks...we just had 'Your Song' and [in 2021] we've got 'Tiny Dancer.' There are always some big events that would be big for any artist," says Lee-Fisher.  "But for Elton, he's got multiple moments that we work to celebrate."

And all those anniversaries, of course, add up to major streaming numbers for Elton's catalog. According to Music Week, Elton's one of the veteran artists whose old hits are massively popular on digital.  In fact, his 2017 hits collection, Diamonds, was one of the biggest-selling albums last year in the U.K.

As Lee-Fisher puts it, "The great joy of Elton is that anything he does works across all areas of his catalog and repertoire."

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Red Hot Chili Peppers members, Gary Numan among artists featured on upcoming Andy Gill tribute album

Damien Hirst, Dog with Bone, 2017 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2021.Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and returning guitarist John Frusciante play together on a song that will be featured on The Problem of Leisure, an upcoming tribute album to late Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill.

The duo recorded a version of the influential U.K. post-punk band's song "Not Great Men." You can hear it when The Problem of Leisure is released on May 14.

The Problem of Leisure also features a version of Gang of Four's "Love Like Anthrax" by New Wave veteran Gary Numan and the previously released cover of the group's "Natural's Not in It," recorded by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and System of a Down's Serj Tankian. Other artists who will be featured on the The Problem of Leisure include longtime David Bowie bassist and backing vocalist Gail Ann Dorsey, Killing Joke and The Dandy Warhols. The album can be pre-ordered now.

Gill died of pneumonia in February 2020 at the age of 64.

Here's the full track list of the CD version of The Problem of Leisure:

CD One
"Damaged Goods" -- IDLES
"Natural's Not in It" -- Tom Morello & Serj Tankian
"In the Ditch" -- Helmet
"Where the Nightingale Sings" -- 3D* x Gang of Four featuring Nova Twins
"To Hell with Poverty" -- Hotei
"Love Like Anthrax" -- Gary Numan
"We Live as We Dream, Alone" -- Gail Ann Dorsey
"I Love a Man in a Uniform" -- Herbert Grönemeyer featuring Alex Silva
"Not Great Men" -- LoneLady
"5.45" -- JJ Sterry

CD Two
"Damaged Goods" -- La Roux
"Natural's Not in It" -- Everything Everything
"Return the Gift" -- Dado Villa-Lobos
"What We All Want" -- The Dandy Warhols
"Paralysed" -- Warpaint
"Not Great Men" -- Flea & John Frusciante
"I Love a Man in a Uniform" -- The Sounds
"Last Mile"** -- Hardcore Raver in Tears
"Forever Starts Now" (Killing Joke Dub) -- Killing Joke x Gang of Four
"Not Great Men" (live version) -- Sekar Melati

* = 3D is the remix name of Robert Del Naja from Massive Attack
** = "Last Mile" is the new title for this cover of "Broken Talk," reflecting new lyrics sung in Mandarin by Hardcore Raver in Tears

By Josh Johnson and Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


James Taylor, Carole King to perform at Joe Biden pre-inauguration virtual concert

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARASLongtime pals James Taylor and Carole King have been using their platforms for decades to support politicians, so it's no surprise that they're involved in the festivities leading up to Joe Biden's inauguration next week.

Both singer/songwriters will perform at a concert called We the People, celebrating the impending swearing-in of the president-elect.  It'll air this Sunday, January 17, ahead of January 20, Inauguration Day.

A donation of as little as five bucks gets you a link to the concert; larger contributions get you cool merch.

The event will be hosted by Debra Messing and Keegan-Michael Key. In addition to James and Carole, other artists on the bill include pop/rock band AJR,  will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas and the popular group Fall Out Boy

And here's a fun fact: As Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz explains, Biden is sort of responsible for the band's existence, as his parents met while they were both working for Biden during his time as a senator in the '70s.

For more info on the We the People concert, visit BidenInaugural.org/WethePeople.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Children's book celebrating 50th anniversary of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" due in May

PRNewsfoto/HarperCollins Children's BooksA new illustrated children's book inspired by Cat Stevens' 1971 hit "Peace Train" will be published on May 11 in celebration of the uplifting song's 50th anniversary.

The Peace Train book features the song's lyrics, which express hope for global peace and unity, accompanied by illustrations by bestselling author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds.

Following the words penned by Stevens, who's now also known as Yusuf, the book invites readers to hop on the Peace Train as it travels around the world, picking up peace-loving passengers of all cultures, races and identities.

"I wrote these lyrics more than fifty years ago, and I know the words still boom as true and loud today as they did in the 1970s," says Stevens. "It's incredible to see how Peter Reynolds has made the words jump into life in brilliant style for a new generation with his joysome illustrations."

Adds Reynolds, "One of my first albums was a Cat Stevens record when I was a boy. His lyrics moved me and inspired me to forge my own 'rails' to create meaningful picture books for all ages. 'Peace Train''s powerful message is more important than ever, and I'm beyond honored to collaborate with Yusuf on this 'duet.'"

You can pre-ordered the book now at HarperCollins.com.

"Peace Train" appeared on Stevens' fifth studio album, Teaser and the Firecat, which was released in October 1971. The song became Cat's first top-10 hit in the U.S., peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200, and has sold more than three million copies in the U.S.

Another children's picture book, based on Stevens' 1971 song "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out," is due out in the summer of 2022.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mick Fleetwood sells his Fleetwood Mac royalty rights to BMG

Credit: Amanda DemmeFleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood has sold all of his royalty interests in his band's recordings outright to BMG.

The deal encompasses more than 300 recordings, spanning from Fleetwood Mac's third album, 1969's Play On, to the present, and including such hits as "Dreams," "The Chain," "Don't Stop," "Go Your Own Way," "Rhiannon," "Landslide" and "Hold Me."

Fleetwood's royalty interests in the band's music recently became even more valuable thanks to the renewed interest in "Dreams."  The popularity of a viral TikTok video featuring the tune helped to propel the track and its parent album, Fleetwood Mac's 1977 Rumours, back up the Billboard charts.

"This is a wonderfully inspiring marriage between two creative partners that understand all aspects of the business," Fleetwood says of BMG's acquisition. "Foremost, BMG understands the artistry and puts the artist first. If this partnership is any indication of my past, and now future, working relationship with BMG, it's that they truly 'get it.'"

Adds BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch, "Mick Fleetwood is the bedrock of one of the greatest bands in rock, he has a unique talent to bring together musicians of all genres and of course, he is one of rock's greatest drummers."

Mick's deal comes in the wake of two other members of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours-era lineup, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, selling publishing interests in their catalog of songs, respectively, to the Primary Wave and Hipgnosis Songs music-publishing companies.

As previously reported, BMG will be releasing audio and video packages documenting the all-star 2020 tribute concert Mick organized honoring founding Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Peter Green. Mick Fleetwood & Friends Celebrate the Music of Peter Green and the Early Years of Fleetwood Mac will be released in multiple formats on April 30.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mariah Carey reveals that quarantine has "really helped my voice"

FOX via Getty ImagesLike many, Mariah Carey is looking forward to the day life returns to normal.  Until then, the "We Belong Together" singer says she is focusing on the positive things happening in her life.

Speaking Wednesday on the Questlove Supreme podcast, Mariah revealed the upside of COVID-19 putting her career on pause.

"Taking off work has really helped my voice," confessed the diva. "Honestly, for me this whole year with COVID and everything, not having to sing for my supper and travel around and not get the right amount of sleep or just be put on this thing where there's a certain amount of stress, for me, that takes away a lot of stuff."

"Everyone's like, 'Oh, you've got to get back in a studio. Like, you gotta, like, get back to singing. And I'm like, 'I know,'" said Mariah. 

She added that she's been using the off time to de-stress, because when she becomes overwhelmed, her singing ability becomes compromised.  One example she gave during the podcast is that her "whistle register" -- her ability to hit super high notes -- stops working when she's anxious.

"When I'm under pressure, it's always screwed up," said Mariah.  "Every part of my voice is screwed up."

Mariah added that, when she does return to the studio, she will take a "different approach" when recording her followup to 2018's Caution.

Admitting that she felt Caution was "rushed," Mariah says she plans to take more time with her next studio effort so she can fully express herself -- especially now that she's been able to rest her voice.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Vanilla Fudge and Cactus bassist Tim Bogert dead at age 76

Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice in 2005; Bill McCay/WireImageOriginal Vanilla Fudge bassist Tim Bogert, who also was a founding member of Cactus and the supergroup Beck, Bogert & Appice, died on Wednesday, January 13, after a battle with cancer at age 76.

Carmine Appice, who played drums in all three of Bogert's aforementioned bands, paid tribute to his "true friend" in a message on his Facebook page.

"He was like a brother to me. He was my friend for over 50 years," Appice writes. "Tim was a one of a kind bass player. He inspired many, many bass players worldwide. He was as masterful at shredding as he was holding down a groove, and Tim introduced a new level of virtuosity into rock bass playing."

Vanilla Fudge formed in 1966 and became known for its extended, heavy-rock arrangements of songs by other artists. It scored its biggest hit in 1968 with its cover of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On," which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After a successful run of albums, Vanilla Fudge broke up in 1970, Bogert and Appice formed the hard-rock group Cactus, which released four albums in the early '70s.

In 1972, Bogert and Appice joined U.K. guitar great Jeff Beck in the short-lived supergroup Beck, Bogert & Appice, which released its self-titled debut effort album and a live album in 1973 before splitting the following year.

Bogert took part in several Vanilla Fudge reunions and also played with a re-formed Cactus during the 2000s before retiring from touring in 2010.

Tim also played with variety of other groups over the years, and was part of the original lineup of Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Bob Weir's side project, Bobby and the Midnites.

Here are some tributes to Bogert from other artists:

Vanilla Fudge singer/keyboardist Mark Stein: "I met Tim Bogert when we were just teenagers. We both loved the same music and shared the same vision of becoming famous. In short time we walked together as Kings. I am deeply saddened by his passing. Tim Bogert wowed the world with his incredible bass playing and undoubtedly was a powerful influence on many of the great bass players that came after him. I will miss him."

Vanilla Fudge guitarist Vince Martell: "Tim will now live in Eternity where he will rock out to heavenly rhythms...The rest of the Fudge will see you there one day."

Jeff Beck: Sad to hear the news about Tim's passing. We shared some good times together on stage and thankfully our mutual work will stand the test of time. His style was totally unique and was never properly recognised. Miss you man."

KISS' Paul Stanley: "I first saw Vanilla Fudge on a bill with the Yardbirds with Jimmy Page. Spectacular. I'd never heard 4 people play & sing as one. Tim was mind boggling on all fronts. Also when I saw Beck, Bogert & Appice. A powerhouse."

Blue Oyster Cult's Eric Bloom: "I saw the Fudge many times in that era and BB&A and BOC toured together. A great player and a great guy, Rest In Peace Tim Bogert."

Warren Haynes: I know many of you many not be familiar with Tim Bogert, but he was an incredible bassist whose playing was deeply influential."

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Heart's Nancy Wilson explains why she recorded a cover of "The Boxer" for her upcoming solo album

Credit: Jeremy Danger Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson has been preparing her first solo studio album, which is tentatively scheduled for a March release.

Wilson tells ABC Audio that the album will feature seven original songs and three covers, among them a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's 1970 classic "The Boxer."

Nancy reveals that she decided to record a version of "The Boxer" because she performed the Paul Simon-penned tune during Heart's 2019 Love Alive tour and it always got a great response from the audience.

"[I]t was such a cool moment in the show, 'cause people really like to sing along to the chorus, the 'lie-la-lie' part," Wilson recalls. "So everybody just, without prompting, would…sing along all together every time. And somebody asked me, 'Why don't you put that on your album, since it was such a hit at the show?' And I said, 'OK, I'll do that.'"

Wilson says her album also will feature a song inspired by Simon's writing, a tune called called "We Meet Again" that was built around a guitar part she wrote for the theme of the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, for which she composed the score.

"[I]t was the first song I wrote for this album," Nancy tells ABC Audio, adding that the concept came to her as she reflected on having a break from the road because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"[Y]ou feel like you're kind of lost to your home life, when you're always…moving past everything else" she explains. "Like you're rolling past these windows where you see cozy family scenes inside, but you don't get to go in."

In October, Wilson's cover of Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" was released as an advanced single from her album. She says a second single is expected out this month.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Oates hosting virtual charity concert in March expected to feature Daryl Hall, Bob Weir & more stars

Aimee & John Oates; Credit: Karen SandersJohn Oates and his wife, Aimee, are helping to organize a virtual streaming concert event called Oates Song Fest 7908 that takes place March 20 and is scheduled to feature performances by a variety of music stars, including John, his Hall & Oates band mate Daryl Hall, The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir, Sammy Hagar, and Dave Grohl.

The show, which will be hosted by nugs.tv, will be streamed for free on various internet platforms. During the event, viewers will be encouraged to donate to Feeding America, a charitable organization that supports food banks across the U.S.

Other artists who also have committed to perform during the event include Shawn Colvin, Big Kenny of the country duo Big & Rich, Keb' Mo', My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Michael Franti and more.

Oates will be the event's emcee, and internet star Saxsquatch will serve as co-host.

"This will be an entertaining and innovative way for the music community to share their songwriting creativity in an effort help feed America's hungry families in need," Oates says in a statement.

The inspiration for Oates Song Fest 7908 was a 2010 concert that John played at the historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado, which is located at the altitude of 7,908 feet.

"Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic when it became clear that live shows would not be possible, Aimee and I pivoted to the idea of creating a virtual version for charity," John explains, "and 'Oates Song Fest 7908' was born."

Oates has posted a video message on his YouTube channel in which he discusses the festival and his goal to raise money to help feed hungry people during the pandemic.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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