George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, has written a digital book available on iBooks based on Martin Scorcese’s Harrison documentary, “Living in the Material World,” according to Huffington Post. She said that she hopes the book that is also titled “Living in the Material World” and which also includes audio and video portions of the documentary, will fill in the blanks that Scorcese’s film didn’t go into.
Ringo Starr is embarking on a campaign with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to save several endangered species of rhinos from extinction, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve always loved rhinos. They were close to my and (The Who’s drummer and Starr’s great pal) Keith Moon’s heart,” he said. The first thing he’s done is to post a photo of a rhino on his home page with the banner reading “Save the Rhinos” with a letter written by Starr and a link to the foundation.
Starr and his latest All-Starr Band that includes Todd Rundgren, Toto guitarist Steve Luthaker, former Santana and Journey keyboardist Greg Rolie, and Mr. Mister leader Richard Page, hits Humphrey’s in San Diego and the Greek Theatre in L.A. in July.
A new book is out, “Revolver How The Beatles Reimagined Rock `n’ Roll,” by Robert Rodriguez, examines The Beatles’ 1966 LP, “Revolver,” that was hugely influential and an album that many consider the finest rock album ever produced. The book is available in paperback on Amazon.
The producers of AMC’s hit series “Mad Men” paid a $250,000 licensing to The Beatles for the use of John Lennon’s 1966 psychedelic masterpiece, “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the closes the “Revolver” album, reports the New York Times. The song was used in the May 6 episode. The series is set in a fictional advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. The series was first set began in the early `60s and has progressed through the years to where it is now, 1966.
The Stones and Saturday night
The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood are rehearsing in a small New Jersey recording studio with their usual touring keyboardist Chuck Leavell, formerly of The Allman Brothers, and producer Don Was sitting in on bass, possibly for a soon-to rejoin Bill Wyman.
Speculation is rampant that the band will make a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live” when Jagger hosts the season finale on May 19, according to VVN News. Jagger is also set to serve as the show’s musical guest.
In addition, the group’s second lead guitarist, Mick Taylor, who replaced Brian Jones in 1969 and was invited by Keith Richards to join the band’s current activities, is in town. He performed this week on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”
No Doubt’s first album in 11 years
Pop-rockers No Doubt, who formed in Anaheim in 1986 and whose 1995 No. 1 album, “Tragic Kingdom,” sold more than 16 million copies, will release album in 11 years on September 25, the band said in a post on its website.
“Ear candy is coming your way,” the band wrote of the as-yet-untitled album. No Doubt went on hiatus in 2004 and singer Gwen Stefani launched a highly successful solo career. They embarked on a reunion tour in 2009 to promote their greatest hits album.
Groban and friends help L.A. students
Josh Groban will play a benefit concert on June 28 for his alma mater, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown L.A. Proceeds will also benefit Groban’s Find Your Light Foundation that help’s “enrich the lives of young people through arts, education and cultural awareness.”
Also, “The Songs of Our Lives Volume V” is set for May 22 at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. The concert stars songwriters Burt Bacharach, Brasil ’66 leader Sergio Mendes, California Sound leader J.D. Souther (The Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight,” “Best of My Love” and “New Kid in Town”), Kenny “Babyface” Edmunds, Billy Steinberg (Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”) and Arthur Hamilton (“Cry Me a River”). The concert benefits the Fulfillment Fund that helps students in the L.A. area overcome obstacles to obtain a higher education.
Speaking of Souther, the 65-year-old singer-songwriter is also a part-time actor, who has taken parts in “Postcard From the Edge” and “My Girl 2″ and had a recurring role in “thirtysomething.” Now he’s been cast in a pilot for ABC, “Nashville,” a drama about that city’s music industry. He’ll play a legendary record songwriter and producer. If the pilot is picked up, it will probably be scheduled as a mid-season replacement on the network’s 2013-14 schedule, according to Music Row in Nashville.
Levon Helm’s finale
The late singer-drummer-mandolin player for The Band, Levon Helm, was a major supporter of Amnesty International. A heartwarming single, “Toast to Freedom,” commemorating the peace organization’s 50th anniversary, and perhaps the last recorded song to feature Helm, was released this week. The song features Helm on drums and was mostly recorded at the recording studio on his farm in Woodstock, New York.
Other participants on the song include Carly Simon, Animals’ singer Eric Burdon, Steeleye Dan’s Donald Fagan, Marianne Faithfull, Roseanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes, bluesmen Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. The song is available for downloading on iTunes and Amazon.
Slayer fights flesh-eating disease
Jeff Hanneman, founding guitarist for two-time Grammy-winning San Fernando Valley thrash metal band Slayer, will not be joining the band on its upcoming world tour that begins on May 25 in London after contracting a flesh-eating disease as the result from a spider bite he sustained a year ago, according to a post on the group’s website. The band has recorded five gold albums since forming in 1981.
While the type of spider wasn’t identified, it was so toxic that at the time of the bite, Hanneman, 48, was told that he might have to have his arm amputated. He was placed in a medically-induced coma for several days and underwent several operations to remove dead and dying tissue. Since then, he’s endured what has been described as painful skin grafts and he had to re-learn how to walk. The need for continuing treatment and therapy prompted his decision to skip his band’s tour that plays the San Manuel Amphitheatre in San Bernardino on June 30.
Dino Desi & Billy live
Billy Hinsche was one third of the `60s teen idol trio, Dino, Desi and Billy, with Dino Martin, Jr. and Desi Arnaz, Jr. , that scored Top 25 hits in 1965 with “I’m a Fool” and “Not the Loving Kind.”
The 60-year-old Hinsche, who had been an in-demand session singer and multi-instrumentalist for decades and has been a backing member of The Beach Boys on and off since 1971, has released a new DD&B single, “Under a Beach Boy Moon,” that he dedicated to Martin.
According to Hinsche in a Facebook message, “Under a Beach Boy Moon,” was “recorded in the studio by me and Desi in 2004. Its title was inspired by a comment made by Graham Nash to me about a funny incident that occurred on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tour with The Beach Boys in 1974.
“The song came very quickly to me once I sat down at the piano to write it – that doesn’t always happen; but I had a great title from which to use as a springboard for ideas that came very easily,” he writes.
Desi added the notion about the `surf’s up’ concept that I polished and incorporated into the body of the words. The choice of instruments was reminiscent of a Van Dyke Parks approach to an arrangement, i.e., the pizzicato strings and steel drums.” The single is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.
Hinsche added that Dino, Desi & Billy fans may be in for a treat. “DD&B have unreleased material from ’69-’70, too, and Desi and I are considering releasing a more complete CD.”
Preservation Hall Jazz Band marks 50th
New Orleans treasure, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, celebrated its and its hall’s 50th anniversary with a jam session during its gig at that city’s Jazz Fest, according to Pollstar. Joining the band that formed in 1961 were Big Easy icon, pianist Allen Toussaint, and hotshot newbie Trombone Shorty, as well as 86-year-old piano-playing Jazz Fest and Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein, who joined in on the group’s opener, “Basin Street Blues.”
Robert Plant forms new band
Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant has formed yet another new band, report Britain’s New Musical Express (NME). According to a post on the 63-year-old Englishman’s website, the new band, The Sensational Space Shifters, “draws inspiration from the roots music of Mississippi, Appalachia, Gambia, Bristol and the foothills of Wolverhampton.” The band includes country singer Patty Griffin, who was a member of Plant’s last group, Band of Joy, as well as guitarist Justin Adams, who was in an earlier post-Zep band, The Strange Sensations.
Plant and his Sensational Space Shifters have the shows set in the U.K. and one here, on Aug. 11 at the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the town where blues legend Bessie Smith died in an auto accident at age 43, and where the story goes blues pioneer Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the town’s crossroads.
On the charts
Barry Manilow’s fourth live album, “Live in London,” debuted at No. 24 on Billboard’s Album chart. It his second best debut for a live album, topped only by “Barry Manilow Live” in 1977. That album topped the chart.
On the British album chart, Ireland’s fabled Chieftains latest CD, “Voice of Ages,” premiered at No. 25. The band was formed in Dublin in 1962 by tin whistle player Paddy Maloney. The 73-year-old Maloney has led the band throughout its existence. Maloney and his band have two shows at the end of the month in Dublin and Belfast before touring England, Wales and Scotland in June. They’ll be touring Japan through much of November and December.
Among the new albums, deluxe re-releases and box sets recently released includes “After Hours (Deluxe Edition)” from Eagle Glenn Frey; “Dark Shadows: Original Score” from former Oingo Boingo frontman-turned-film composer Danny Elfman; “Legends of Broadway: Liza Minnelli Live at Winter Garden”; “Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett: The CBS Television Specials”; “Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before” by Barenaked Ladies; “Jacaranda” from former Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin; “Dee Does Broadway” from Twister Sister singer Dee Snider; and “Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You” from jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.
“Best of Beserkley `74-`84″ from The Greg Kihn Band; a 2-CD anthology, “Small Faces” by The Small Faces; an import single, “Love Will Set You Free” from Engelbert Humperdinck; an import, “Da Doo Ron Ron: More from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook” featuring The Monkees, The McCoys, The Shangri-La’s and others; “Live in Detroit 1986″ from Nigerian legend Fela Kuti; “Back Door Man” from Howlin’ Wolf; “Through the Years Vol. 10″ from Bing Crosby; “American University 12/13/70″ from The Allman Brothers; an import, “Petula,” from Petula Clark; the 2-CD “Rock and Roll Anthology” from Little Richard; “The Master Plays The Blues” from Eric Clapton;
Reissues of “Serious Slammin” by The Pointer Sisters, “My Own Way” from Richie Havens, “Backstreets of Desire” from Willy Deville, and “Fingerprince (Tourniquet of Roses)” from Residents; “Sound & Vision Anthology” from The Atlanta Rhythm Section; “The Capitol Years” from rock and roll pioneer Gene Vincent; “New York Connection,” a new album from `70s Glam rockers The Sweet; “Live in Paris 1995: from The Simple Minds; “Like Someone in Love” from Ella Fitzgerald; “Outlaw’s Prayer: Epic Country Hits 1971-1981″ from Johnny Paycheck.
Andre 300 as Hendrix
Dapper musician Andre 3000 Benjamin, perhaps known equally to the average joe for his beard-trimming TV commercial and as one half of the dormant hip hop duo, Outcast, is set to play Jimi Hendrix in an upcoming biopic, according to the Irish Film & Television Network.
The film, reportedly called, “all id by My Side,” is already in pre-production in Ireland. It looks at Hendrix’s time in England in 1966-67, when he and his band, The Experience, with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, recorded their fabled debut album, “Are You Experienced” that was produced by their Svengali, Animals bassist Chas Chandler.
The guitar god skyrocketed to worldwide fame during that time and became close friends with Britain’s rock elite, including The Beatles, Eric Clapton and Cream, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Chandler’s Animal’s frontman, Eric Burdon.
Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees
Composers Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Seger, Meatloaf’s collaborator Jim Steinman, Don Schlitz (Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”), and the Broadway team of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones (“The Fantastics”) will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 14 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City, according to the organization’s chairman, songwriter Jimmy Webb. Woody Guthrie will receive a posthumous Pioneer Award, while Bette Midler will receive the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award. Ben E. King will be honored with the Towering Performance award.
Blues Hall of Fame inductees
Chicago harp blower Billy Boy Arnold, `60s blues-rock guitarist Mike Bloomfield, producer-pianist Allen Toussaint and Memphis bluesman Furry Lewis were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Memphis Marriott Downtown. Others recognized include songwriter Doc Pomus, the brother/sister team of Buddy & Ella Johnson, South Louisiana swamp bluesman Lazy Lester as well as Frank Stokes and Matt “Guitar” Murphy.
The Blues Foundation recognized two albums, including “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” (1991) by Buddy Guy; “Bad Influence” (1984) by Robert Cray; and the singles, “It Hurts Me Too” (1940) by Tampa Red; “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie” (1928) by Pine Top Smith; and “All Your Love” (1957) by Magic Sam.
he cello and Paul Simon
A rare 17th century Stradivarius cello, possibly worth $20 million, was damaged at the Spanish Royal Palace, where it’s housed, reports Pollstar. A piece of the instrument that joins the neck to the cello’s body fell off. An official said it would can and will be successfully repaired.
World famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Paul Simon were named winners of the 2012 Polar Music Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious award for musicians, according to the organization. Both recipients will receive 1 million kronor ($166,000) and an invitation to the ceremony on August 28 in Stockholm. The award was founded my Abba’s late manager Stig Anderson in 1992.
Princess Di’s teen LPs to be sold
Nineteen vinyl albums owned and signed by Princess Diana when she was a teenager are currently being auctioned online in England, reports Britain’s Daily News. PFC Auctions.com in Guernsey is handling the sale.
Of the 19 LPs, all but four are classical. The four pop or rock albums are The Eagles’ “Greatest Hits,” Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” by Paul Simon and “Rocky Mountain High,” by John Denver. Diana signed the albums after a dispute with her then-roommate. To bid, go to http://www.pfcauctions.com/auction/royal-memorabilia/princess-diana-childhood-record-collection/
Rest in peace
Charles “Skip” Pitts, whose classic guitar in Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft” in 1971 became one of the most identifiable song beginnings in pop music, died in Memphis from cancer at 65, according to MSNBC.
As a teen, the guitarist who was a house session guitarist for soul giant, Stax Records, was mentored by his neighbor, Bo Diddley. He played on records by Sam & Dave, Al Green, Wilson Pickett, and many others, including The Isley Brothers and their smash, “It’s Your Thing.”
Jesse “Sweet Joe” Russell, a founding member of the a capella R & B group, The Persuasions, died while waiting for a kidney transplant. He was believed to be in his mid-70s, according to Vintage Vinyl News. In 1969, Frank Zappa signed the Brooklyn quintet after they sang live to him over the phone. He flew them out to Los Angeles and oversaw production of their first album, “Acapella.” Even though he had been on the kidney transplant waiting list since around 2004 and was undergoing dialysis treatments three times a week he continued to perform with the group pretty much up until the time of his death.
Lloyd Brevett, double bassist for the influential Jamaican ska band, The Skatalites, died at 80 in a Kingston hospital following multiple strokes and seizures, according to Billboard. The practicing Rastafarian suffered a debilitating stroke in March, two weeks after his 32-year-old son was gunned down outside the family’s home, only two hours after he accepted a reggae industry honor on behalf of his father. The Skatallies formed in 1964 and were precursors to reggae and dub and were integral to the exportation of Jamaican music throughout the world.
Classic acts from the `50s, `60s and `70s continue to perform. Here’s what one of them are doing.
Little Anthony and The Imperials string of all-time classics began in 1958 with their debut single, “Tears on My Pillow.” Then came “Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop,” and in the mid-`60s, “Goin’ Out Of My Head,” “Hurt so Bad” and others. Now 71 and with a voice as sweet as the day he recorded “Tears on My Pillow,” Anthony continues to tour. He and his Imperials will be at the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, Indiana on June 2 and in Torrington, Connecticut on June 8 at the Warner theatre.