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Noteworthy Now Archives for 2015-05

Dave Grohl pays tribute to Thin Lizzy (video)

Dave Grohl has been leading the Foo Fighters through a number of great cover songs of late,  but he reserved a very special intro for the group's appearance at Slane Castle in Ireland Saturday (5/30) when Grohl said, 'If I could have been in any other rock bandd in the f&*#ing world, it would be Thin Lizzy.  What a band!'' With that said, the Foos tore into a version oof Jailbreak, the title song to Lizzy's 1976 album.



MusiCares honors Pete Townshend (video)

One of the strongest lineups the event has ever attracted turned out to honor Pete Townshend Thursday night (5/28) at the MusiCares Person of the Year celebration.  Who band mate Roger Daltrey credited Pete's  writing, saying the songs of the Who, '...mean as much today as they did when he wrote them all those years ago'. The band then dove into Young Man Blues.  Joan Jett chose I can't Explain fom the group's vast catalog. Willie Nile delivered a strong version of Substitute and Billy Idol tore into Who Are You with conviction.  Bruce Springsteen joined the Who on a no holds barred rendition of My Generation. In addition to remarks from the on hand musical guests, video tribute clips from Mick Jagger, Roger Waters, Elton John and several others were played during the evening.  Before going into Won't Get Fooled Again, the honoree said, 'The reason I am able to get up on stage and do this tour with the Who and still put on a fairly good show is because of the thirty years I have been clean and sober.' MusiCares funds substance and addiction services programs for musicians.













Floyd founders honored at school where they met

Roger Waters and Nick Mason were on hand Thursday (5/28) at the architecture school the future Pink Floyd members attended before forming the group with Richard Wright as a plaque honoring the band was unveiled. Mason took the opportunity to lobby for more government support for education, noting that he was able to attend Regent Street Polytechnic thanks to grants, which he quipped he also spent on curry, but added, more sensible people need for studies. The Chancellor of the school, now known as the University Of Westminster, said the institution takes pride in the achievements of its alums.



Stones play private club show

Between 400 and 500 friends and associates of a former Hewlett Packard exec got invited to a Solana Beach, California club Wednesday night (5/27) for his wife's birthday party. The entertainment at the Belly Up Tavern was provided by the Rolling Stones. The band did a 15 song set for a reported price of $2 million. It was not the first lavish party Ralph Whitworth has thrown for his wife of nine yers, Fernanda Lopes. The Four Tops were hired as their wedding band and Paul McCartney performed at his wife's 50th birthday.



U2 road manager dies

Less than a week into its world tour, U2 has lost its tour manager. Dennis Sheehan died in his Hollywood hotel room in the early hours of Wednesday (5/27) after suffering an apparent heart attack. Paramedics were unable to revive the Irish band's tour manager of more than three decades after receiving a call for a medical emergency in the 5a.m. hour The band posted a note of sadness on its web site, calling Sheehan a member of the U2 family. Anyone with tour experience will tell you that being a tour manager is one of the most demanding and thankless gigs of all. Sheehan was one of the best in the biz.

George Harrison letter to DJ brings 20k

People in radio are notorious pack rats so Atlanta DJ Paul Drew probably had a good stash of memorabilia and assorted record company promo items, but one particilarly prized posession of Drew's was a letter George Harrison wrote to him in May of 1966.  That three page letter, along with the original envelope addressed by the Beatle and post marked May 7, was purchased from Drew's widow for $19,920 this week. A section of the contents of the letter contributed significantly to its value.  The post-script paragraph starts with Harrison writing, 'Did you hear that we nearly recorded in Memphis with Jim Stuart.  We would all like it a lot, but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word 'Beatles', so it fell through.  The Beatles were recording Revolver at the time the letter was written. Harrison misspelled Stax Records co-founder Jim Stewart's last name.  While rumors of a possible Stax sessions have surfaced in the past, this is believed to be the first proof of that a plan had been hatched, that it involved a producer other than George Martin and the reason it was scrapped. 

Robert Plant gives props to Little Feat's Lowell George

Robert Plant says that Little Feat front man Lowell George deserves credit for the sound the former Led Zeppelin vocalist has developed as a solo artist.  Plant told the BBC's Bob Harris that the Feat lead singer helped define his own direction because he found himself '...really moved by Lowell Georges' vocal approach', which he called 'tremendous'.  The complete session with Plant will air Friday (5/29) at as one in a series of previously unheard interviews by Harris under the Unlock The Legends title.



Bon Jovi goes Broadway (video)

Jon Bon Jovi has contributed a song titled Beautiful Day to Finding Neverland: The Album, the soundtrack album to a Broadway musical that pays tribute to JM Barrie, the author that developed the character Peter Pan.



Fan joins U2 for concert rarity (video)

A U2 fan that got the chance to meet Bono and request a song before the band took the stage in Phoenix Friday (5/22) not only had his request granted, he joined the group on stage to perform it with them.  In God's Country hasn't been a regular on U2 set lists since the 1987 Joshua Tree tour. As Bono and The Edge fiddled with the start of the song, the singer stepped the the mic and said 'Are you here dude? Do you know the chords?'. With that, he was brought to the stage, given a guitar and helped get the song launched.  Yeah, it probably wasn't as spontaneous as it seemed, but it was still pretty cool.





Gregg Allman previews new DVD (video)

Gregg Allman will release a CD/DVD featuring his eight member solo band performing on his legendary former band's home turf on Augist 7.  Live: Back To Macon, GA will feature 15 tracks on the CD and 23 selections on the DVD.  Here's a preview of what to expect.



Daughters claim BB King was murdered

A battle was brewing even before his death over the right to determine the proper care for the aging blues master.  That has now escalated into a claim by two of King's daughters that alleges their father was poisoned by his business manager.  Karen Williams and Patty King contend that Laverne Toney administered '...foreign substances to induce his premature death'. King passed away May 14th in his Las Vegas home (story).  Attorneys representing the King estate called the claim baseless and disrespectful, but the coroner for Clark County, Nevada is now obliged to conduct an additional and more detailed autopsy. The original ruling was that King had died from a series of strokes related to his diabetic condition.  Toxicology results from the new autopsy are expected to take up to eight weeks to be returned.

Sharon Osbourne suffers Extreme Exhaustion

It's easy to understand why tending to Ozzy Osbourne and managing all of his buisness affairs while hosting a TV show could wear someone out, but wife and manager Sharon Osbourne would probably still be firing on all cylinders had she not tried to resume her duties too quickly after suffering about of pneumonia.  Sharon reportedly collapsed in he LA home of Friday after returning from a trip to Toronto and New York City.  A rep for her released a statement saying that Osbourned has '...been advised and agreed to take a month hiatus to recover fully'.  Daughter Kelly will step in for her mother on The Talk.

Foo Fighters go Everlong for Letterman's last (video)

David Letterman's go-to musical guests for his final show turned out to be the Foo Fighters.  The band was on the set but only briefly seen by viewers Wednesday (5/20) as it played Everlong as the soundtrack to a highlights collection of images from Dave's long late night TV career.  The host has held the song and the group dear since he used it as inspiration to bounce back from his multiple bypass heart surgery in 2000.



Stones & U2 go small

The Rolling Stones, notorious for doing pre-tour warm-up dates for small audiences, did it again Wednesday (5/20), delivering a 90 minute set for a delirious crowd of about 1,000 packed into the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood.  Code named Zip Code 90028, the free show required the purchase of a $5 ticket that was reimbursed by the band.  Among the high-profile fans spotted at the show were musicians Steven Van Zandt, Ben Harper, Leonard Cohen and Dave Stewart.  Hollywood types included Bruce Willis, Patricia Arquette and Jack Nicholson.  U2 has also announced plans to do a concert at The Roxy.


David Crosby makes nice with Daryl Hannah


David Crosby inferentially labeled Darryl Hannah a 'poisonous predator' after learning that Neil Young was taking up with the actress after leaving his wife of 37 years.  Speaking with Howard Stern, Young's on-again, off-again CSN&Y band mate said he was wrong to have '...shot off my mouth when I shouldn't have', adding that his own track record makes it obvious that he is '...screwed-up way worse than that girl'.  No word on whether Hannah has accepted Crosby's apology.  If it ever comes down to a fight, bet on Hannah.  She came out looking much better than her previous musical beau Jackson Browne after the couple reportedly had an altercation a number of years ago.



Eddie Vedder's Letterman farewell (video)

Eddie Vedder in a suit coat?  Now that's a measure of respect for his departing host, David Letterman.  The Pearl Jam front man was the musical guest on Dave's next to, next to last show on Monday night (5/18).  Despite breaking a string mid-song, Vedder turned in a solid performance on Better Man





VH rips it up at Billboard awards (video)

The version of Panama Van Halen did at the Billbaord Music Awards Sunday (5/17) is an improvement over the one they released on the Live in Tokyo concert album several weeks ago.  Cue to 1:30 to skip the drivel.



Harrison guitar goes for nearly 1/2 million






A guitar George Harrison borrowed from a repair shop and liked so much that he continued using it after his own instrument had been fixed  brought a mega-buck bid of $490,000 from an anonymous collector during the Jullien's auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City Friday (5/15).  The Mastersound electric guitar was played by Harrison during a number of early Beatle performances.  A Jimi Hendrix vest sold for just shy of $60,000, a Vegas worn jumpsuit belonging to Elvis brough a top bid of $122,000 and the marriage certificate from when The King & Priscilla hitched in 1967 sold for $40,000.  The event's king-sized collectible; a totally tricked-out tour bus Elvis bought for his backing band the year before his death, complete with chandelier-like lighting fixtures and the TCB lightening bolt Elvis log on the side, complete with the $25,000 check Presley wrote for it the day it was delivered. 





















   Photo: Julien's Auctions

ROCKinsights Quick Takes

David Letterman's exit from the late night hosting spotlight will bring out some heavy weights from the musical guest ranks. Eddie Vedder will be with Dave Monday. Tuesday, Bob Dylan makes a rare appearance. A tight lid has been in place about guests for his final show on Wednesday, but expect several big names to make the scene.

Vedder & Townshend celebrate the Who

A Chicago concert Thursday (5/14) to raise funds for Teen Cancer America brought Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder, Joe Walsh and Joan Jett together for a 17 song set of Who classics including Won't Get Fooled Again, Eminence Front, The Kids Are Alright and Summertime Blues, along with a cover of Pearl Jam's Better Man.


BB King passes on

Riley B. King passed away Thursday night (5/14).  The guitar legend born to sharecroppers in Mississippi in 1925 gained world-wide recognigtion, becoming one of the most revered musicians in American musical history.  The 89 year old, known and loved as BB King, had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home following a rapid decline in his health in recent months. King's edaly love of music inspired him to become a disc jockey on WDIA in Memphis where he acquired the nick name Beale Street Blues Boy, later abreviated to just BB.  

A station encounter with T-Bone Walker is said to have convinced King to become an electric guitarist. Under the early guidance of Sam Phillips, King's recording career began in 1949. Relentless touring (he logged 342 performances in 1956 alone and routinely did around 300 concerts a year for decades) propelled BB to wider recognition, better recording contracts and bigger touring opportunities.  King opened dates on the 1969 Rolling Stones tour.   The following year, he won a Grammy for The Thrill Is Gone.  The doors to three halls of fame opened to King, the Blues Hall Of fame (1980), the Rock Hall Of Fame (1987) and the Rhythm & Blues Hall Of Fame (2015). He also earned the National Medal of Arts (1990) and a Presidential Medal of Freedom (2006).  The Thrill is gone, but BB King has and will continue to inspire guitarists for generations.


Edge goes over it during U2 Vancouver tour opener (video)

The Edge took a frightening fall off of U2's new touring stage during the opening night of the Irish band's 2015 world tour on Thursday (5/14) in Vancouver. Ironically, the fall came as he meandered along the edge of the stage's runway while playing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.  Evidently, that would be the edge. He later posted an Instagram photo of a scrape on his arm the fall caused.



Rush releases tour opener video (video)

R40, likely the last full-scale tour Rush will perform, opened at the BOK Center in Tulsa Friday (5/8).  Here's a look at what fans can expect from one of Rock's leendary power trios on this tour.



Get a glimpse of U2's next stage (video)

The sequel to the giant Claw U2 last toured on is a much more spartan at first glance - but it appears to have a good deal of technology built into it.



Ozzy opens wallet to Crazy kids (video)

A group of young Louisville, KY percussionists that posted a version of Crazy Train on YouTube have earned a $10,000 donation toward more instruments from the man who made the song famous.  Ozzy Osbourne accompanied the check with a note to the Louisville Leopard Percussionists that read, 'Myself, ny whole family and my fans all loved your rendition of Crazy Train. Keep up the good work.'  The group's instructor, Diane Downs, told the Louisville Courier-Journal she really appreciated the generosity and encouragement of Osbourne because she wants her students ' feel like rock stars' and realise '...this is why we work so hard in rehearsals', adding that, 'Hopefully they're going to carry that over into their lives once they grow up'.



Ron Howard Beatles doc headed for Cannes

Director Ron Howard wants his documentary about the Beatles to make people seeing it feel as though they've been transported back to the very years they are viewing.  The yet-to-be titled film will debut at the Cannes Film Festival.  It covers the years from the group's inception through their final full scale concert in 1966. At the time the documentary plan was first announced, Howard said his goal was to have film goers '...actually feel like you're somewhere in the 60's seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it.' Both surviving members of the band approved the film, as did Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.



Zeppelin lawsuit moves forward

A lawsuit claiming that Led Zeppelin lifted a key portion of the melody in Stairway To Heaven from a song written by Randy California of Spirit first surfaced about a year ago (story).  A subsequent attempt to get the suit dismissed was rejected.  A Philadelphia judged has now issued another ruling that takes the case a step and a few thousand miles closer to being heard.
Bloomberg says the case is being transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, a development that is likely to cause concern in the Zeppelin legal camp.  That is the same court that recently ruled that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke infringed on Marvin Gaye by using the melody from Gaye's Got To Give It Up in their song Blurred Lines, a decision that resulted in a $7.4 million award to Gaye's estate being ordered by the court.  The financial implications of an infringement decision involving a song as big as Stairway could be enormous.



Rudd hasn't given up on rejoing AC/DC

Speaking for the first time since entering guilty pleas to drug charges and threatening to kill a man and his child, drummer Phil Rudd says he is 'fit' and wants his place in AC/DC back.  Rudd said 'I've seen the error of my ways' when speaking with A Current Affair, an Australian TV show.  He called his legal transgressions 'a mistake' and attributed his ouster from the band and inability to get back in to Angus Young because, he claims, the opinions of other members of the band don't matter.

Rudd is free on bail pending a late July sentencing on the charges.  Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade was given Rudd's spot in the group after it became apparent that his legal status could prevent him from being available for a tour. Statements from Young also suggested that the drummer's reliability had become a problem before the legal issues came into play.



Alt take on Stones classic coming (listen)

The release of alternate versions of songs on expanded edition or box set rarities discs usually only convince us that the band picked the better version when the album first came out.  That's the case here, too.  But it is still interesting to hear the different arrangement or approach, so here's one from the Stones Sticky Fingers album sessions.



Trove of Hendrix items discovered

An abandoned storage unit containing a trunk in it with the words 'J.H Exp handle with care' on it's has yielded a number of interesting items presumed to have belonged to Jimi and other Experience band members.  The trunk is thought to be one of seven that were found after Hendrix died.  This particular one is believed to have items stored in it by drummer Mitch Mitchell.  Several drums were among the items in storage, along with stage clothing, an acoustic guitar and three electric ones.



U2 plays NYC train platform (video)

Some commuters boarding trains at Grand Central Station on Monday evening (5/5) caught a surprise performance by U2. The band set-up busker style on an arrivals and departures platform beneath the station and did a trio of tunes, Beautiful Day, Angel Of Halem and Song For Someone. The group will guest on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon on Friday.



ROCKinsights Quick Takes

yesLynyrd Skynyrd has confirmed plans for a new album.


yesThe Yardbirds, a band that has featured Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as past members, has another highly regarded guitarist to add to that list. Earl Slick, a veteran of David Bowie sessions and tours, has joined the group.


yes The Who are slated to headline Glastonbury and Foo Fighters will play the Austin City Limits Festival.



Jagger lends voice to Nepal quake relief

Look Into Your Heart, a song sung by Brit Soulstress Beverley Knight that includes contributions from Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, is being released to raise money to help fund relief efforts in the wake of the massive earthquake that caused widespread devastation in Nepal on April 25.

Gregg Allman staging festival

With the Allman Brothers Band no longer touring regularly, Gregg Allman has a more laid back schedule.  One thing he's done with that extra time is put together a small festival combining music and food.  The Laid Back Fest will take place August 29 at the Nikon Jones Beach Theater on Long Island.  In addition to Gregg and his own group, LBF goers will take in sets from the Doobie Brothers and Bruce Hornsby and sample foods from a number of vendors and area restaurants as well as craft beers and regional wines.  In typical laid back style, Gregg says, 'Creating this fest has been a lot of fun.  Good music, good food and drink and a beautiful beach - what could be better?'



Jimmy Buffett delivering commencement address at Miami

Warren Buffet would probably be the preferred commencement speaker if you asked parents sending children to the University of Miami whether they'd want Warren Buffett or Jimmy Buffett to do the life-coaching address at their son or daughter's college graduation.  Warren is some rungs above Jimmy on the net worth ladder, but the musical Buffett's buisness smarts have earned him a level of wealth even a lot of artists that sell more records than he does will never come close to achieving.  His Margaritaville empire includes hotels, resorts and casinos, a vast array of foods and beverages and an assortment of branded merchandise that bring in boucoup bucks.  And both the Berkshire Hathaway head honcho and Jimmy Buffett have managed to stay down-to-earth.  Warren still lives in the Omaha house be bought for $31,000.  Jimmy Buffett has nicer digs but likes to hang out in low-key places with regular folks and supports a number of good causes.  The world would be a better place if a lot more of the ridiculously rich thought and acted like these two guys, so we'd enjoy listening to either of them - provided Warren didn't try to sing!




U2 booked for Fallon appearance



The bicycle crash Bono had in Central Park last fall (story) forced U2 to pull out of a planned week long residency as the musical guest on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.  The Irish Rockers will do a make-good date on the late night show on Friday (5/8).  The group will open a tour in Vancouver the following Thursday.


Former Harrison & Clapton wife marries again

Patti Boyd inspired George Harrison to write the Beatles love song Something.  Layla, Eric Clapton's anguished love epic with Derek & The Dominos, was also conjured by her, as was Wonderful Tonight, the lilting love song EC included on his 1977 solo album Slowhand.  Boyd met Harrison while the Beatles were filming A Hard Day's Night.  The 19 year-old had been cast as one of the school girls in the movie.  George and Patti got married two years later, in 1966.  Eric was infatuated with Boyd, and won her over. In 1974, Patti left Harrison for Clapton. The couple married in 1979, but parted five years later.  In 1990, Boyd met and fell for Rod Weston, a real estate developer.  Last week, Boyd & Weston finally tied the knot.  
Boyd chronicled her years with EC and George in the 2008 book Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me. The accomplished photographer also recently made public a number of wonderful photographs she took while in the company of her first two husbands.





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