JOHN LENNON GUITAR SELLS FOR RECORD $2.4 MILLION
by Steve Smith.
The 1962 jumbo Gibson J-160 acoustic guitar that John Lennon used to compose “Love Me Do,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and other all-time classic songs, was sold for $2.4 million at Julien’s Auction in Beverly Hills, the auction house announced.
The sale price far surpasses the existing $965,000 record price fetched in 2013 for the electric Stratocaster guitar Bob Dylan used at his landmark 1965 Newport Folk Festival. That was the guitar that saw him “going electric” and changing folk and pop music forever.
Julien’s said only two guitars of its type were shipped from America to England. Lennon got one and his fellow Beatle George Harrison got the other.
After a year, Lennon and Harrison swapped guitars, and the one upon which Lennon used to write those hit songs disappeared during a December 1963 Christmas concert at London’s Finsbury Park Astoria Theatre.
In the late ’60s, San Diego resident John McCaw bought the guitar from an unknown seller for $275. Recently, he saw an old magazine story on Harrison and realized that his guitar looked amazingly like the one pictured in the story, so he looked into it.
An expert was able to match the guitar’s serial number as well as its wood grain and other markings to the one Lennon one used.
Jon Anderson, the 71-year-old singer-songwriter for English progressive rock giants Yes from its earliest days in London in 1968 until 2004, is touring for the first time with famed French fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty to form The Anderson-Ponty Band.
“This band is so incredible. These guys are so special,” Anderson said in a telephone interview from Detroit, where his new group was to perform that night.
They’re promoting their debut album, the live, 14-song “Better Late Than Never,” recorded at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado, in September 2014.The album contains rearrangements of such Yes songs as “And You and I,” “Wondrous Stories” (the title song from the second LP), “Time and a Word,” as well as the biggies – “Roundabout,” and their only No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, 1983’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” The album also has instrumentals from Ponty’s catalog that have been enhanced with new lyrics from Anderson.The band is showcasing those songs on the tour that stops on Nov. 20 at the landmark Art Deco Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Other songs will be “New Country,” perhaps Ponty’s most familiar tune, and “State of Independence,” from Anderson’s teaming with Greek electronic music keyboardist Vangelis.
Anderson first asked the 73-year-old Ponty about pairing up and making music four decades ago, when Ponty was touring with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention in 1973. He tried again when Ponty was with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1975.
When asked why it took so long to make it happen, Anderson, who emigrated here and has lived in San Luis Obispo for the past quarter-century, laughed. “It’s called ‘life,’ ” he said. “I was busy with Yes and he was playing with so many great musicians and doing his solo albums, too.”
Over the past year, progressive rock music’s newest and biggest superstar duo has written five new songs together. These new songs will be recorded and released, not as their debut studio album, but rather as their second live album.
“These songs will come across better live in concert,” Anderson said.
Yes has only recorded a handful of cover songs, including Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” and The Beatles’ “Every Little Thing” from their 1969 debut LP, “The Yes Album.”
Anderson says it’s a possibility that Anderson-Ponty might dig out “Every Little Thing.”
“When we originally recorded it, we were just messing around in the studio and our version ended up like ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade,’ ” he said. “It’s still a favorite of mine. I’ve done that song for years with ‘The School of Rock.’ Working with young, talented kids on a song like that is so special.”
Anderson has seen Yes with its frontman of nearly four years, Jon Davison of Laguna Beach. Anderson pronounced him and the band “great … really good.”
He still thinks of himself as part of the Yes family.
“I’m still Yes in my heart and I still very much believe in Yes’ music,” he said.
DION TEAMS WITH PAUL SIMON
Doo-wop and folk legend Dion (“Runaround Sue,” “Abraham, Martin and John”) will release his second studio album in nine years on Feb. 16.
On the album, “New York Is My Home,” the 76-year-old native of the Big Apple teams up for the first time with another New Yorker, 74-year-old Paul Simon.
The pair sings a duet on the CD’s title song that was written by Dion. An accompanying video shows Dion and Simon in various locations on the street of New York. The video comes out Friday.
Dion began his career fronting iconic doo-wop vocal group The Belmonts, who scored with the 1959 classic, “A Teenager in Love” and “Where or When” in 1960.
He went solo later that year and recorded such smashes as “Runaround Sue,” which hit No. 1, and “The Wanderer,” which went to No. 2, both in 1961. He also had the No. 2 biggie, “Ruby Baby,” in 1962.
The mid-’60s were lean years for him until 1968 when he made a huge comeback with the political folk tune, “Abraham, Martin and John,” that peaked at No. 4. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
ROLLING STONES TO TOUR MEXICO AND SOUTH AMERICA
The Rolling Stones, currently taking a few months off during the holidays, will come back in February for a 12-date stadium tour of Mexico and South America.
The jaunt kicks off Feb. 2 at the 49,000-seat Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile, and runs through March 14 at the 55,000-seat Faro Sol in Mexico City.
It will mark the first time The Stones have played the region in a decade.
BRIAN WILSON WILL NOT RETIRE
Speculation was high that Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson was going to retire from touring after this fall’s road trip with fellow Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. Apparently, it ain’t so.
The 73-year-old Wilson is planning a huge “Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary” tour in 2016, says Rolling Stone. It will see him perform the landmark album in its entirety.
“I’ve got the greatest band and we work hard, but we have a lot of fun, too,” Wilson said. “I feel proud every night.”
Wilson first performed the complete “Pet Sounds” as a celebratory 40th anniversary tour in 2006.
EAGLES’ GLENN FREY FACING MAJOR SURGERY
Glenn Frey, singer-songwriter-guitarist for The Eagles, “has had a recurrence of previous intestinal issues, which will require major surgery and a lengthy recovery period,” the band said in a statement.
Because the 68-year-old Detroit native will be recovering, the group is postponing its prestigious Kennedy Center Honor appearance.
The presentation was set for Dec. 6 in Washington, but the group requested that the award be put off for a year. The Kennedy Center acquiesced and sent Frey their best wishes for a speedy recovery.
The ceremony, televised on CBS on Dec. 29, will go ahead with honorees Carole King, Rita Moreno, actress Cicely Tyson and classic music conductor Seiji Ozawa.
In 1990, Frey had a large section of his intestine removed after a bout with diverticulitis, which caused the band to postpone their “Hell Freezes Over” reunion tour.
GLEN CAMPBELL MOVED TO NEW CARE FACILITY
After spending seven weeks at home to see how he and his family could handle his battle with Alzheimer’s, the 79-year-old country and pop music legend was moved into a new care facility in Nashville, reports People magazine.
His wife, Kim, explains: “I always wanted to bring him home and give it another try because I miss him so terribly, but it was more than I could handle.”
She was assisted by the couple’s children as well as a nephew and a family friend. However, they concluded that moving him into the new care facility was in the best interests of all concerned.
“He’s the sweetest person in the world, but he becomes combative when you try to change his clothes or bathe him,”Kim said. “It really wasn’t the best situation.”
Campbell’s nephew and the family friend both have full-time jobs at the new care facility, and Kim says she visits daily.
Daughter Ashley Campbell tells the Boot: “It’s a very slow goodbye, and what kills me is knowing what’s coming.”
“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” the award-winning 2014 documentary by actor-director and family friend James Keach show him struggling with the disease and his 151-show farewell world tour that ended at the Uptown Theatre in Napa on Nov. 30, 2012, is being shown again this month on CNN.
TAMMY WYNETTE IS THE LATEST HOLOGRAM
Tammy Wynette, “The First Lady of Country Music” who died in 1998 at age 55, will be seen again in concert, reports the Boot.
Wynette is the latest singer who will perform as a hologram.
Hologram USA will present her in concert in 3-D holographic form at a date to be determined in 2016. She will be the company’s second country star to receive this treatment, after Patsy Cline.
Other receiving the treatment includes Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston, Liberace and Buddy Holly.
Wynette, who, with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn, were hugely influential in defining women in country music in the ’60s and ’70s, recorded 23 No. 1 country hits. That included “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “The Ways to Love a Man,” and her signature tune, “Stand By Your Man.”
In 1998, she was inducted into both the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
ON THE BRITISH ALBUM CHART
Traditionally, the Brits tend to buy more music from music legends than Americans.
Two more examples of this occurred this past week as Elvis Presley topped the British pop album chart with his latest posthumous release, “If I Can Dream,” which paired the singer’s original recording with the London-based Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Right behind the King at No. 2 is Englishman Rod Stewart with his 29th solo studio effort, “Another Country,” which marks Rod the Mod’s return to songwriting after many years.
English synth-pop duo Erasure, celebrating 30 years since coming together in London, is at No. 9 with “Always: The Very Best of Erasure,” and marking its first UK Top 10 CD in 18 years.
Another English outfit, Def Leppard’s new self-titled disc premiered at No. 11.
CMA POSTHUMOUSLY HONORS GEORGE JONES AND JOHNNY CASH
Before the nationally televised 2015 CMA Awards, the organization posthumously honored Johnny Cash and George Jones.
Cash, who died in 2003 at age 71, was awarded the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. Jones, who passed two years ago at 81, got the Joe Talbot Award.
Cash’s country singing son, John Carter Cash, accept the award for his dad. The Nelson Award recognizes “an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence and stature through concert performances, humanitarian efforts, philanthropy, record sales and public representation at the highest level.”
Jones’ widow, Nancy Jones, accepted for the man they called No-Show Jones. The Talbot Award was for “outstanding leadership and contributions to the preservation and advancement of country music’s values and tradition” and was only the fifth time since 2001 that the award has been given out, and the first time since 2007.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS LOST CHESTER BENNINGTON
On Monday, Stone Temple Pilots former frontman Scott Weiland told Alternative Nation that his old band was about to lose Chester Bennington, its singer since they fired Weiland in 2013.
On Tuesday, that is exactly what happened.
Bennington said he wanted to devote more time to his family and his other band, Linkin Park.
The other members of STP released a statement saying there were no hard feelings. In fact, the statement said: “What an amazing and beautiful few years we had together. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Chester not only professionally, but even more so on a personal level.”
STP didn’t waste any time sitting around. Tuesday night, only hours later, they introduced its new “temporary” replacement, female English blues-rock singer Joss Stone.
By the way, in Weiland’s interview, he also said that he heard that Guns N’ Roses’ classic lineup of singer Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Steven Adler, will reunite. That band self-destructed over three years, from 1994 to 1997.
CELINE DION TO PLAY HER NATIVE CANADA
After taking a year off the help care for her ailing husband, Celine Dion returned to her Las Vegas concert residency at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in August.
Now, the 47-year-old Quebec native, one of the most successful female recording artists in pop music history, announced that she’ll be heading back to Canada for a brief run of shows.
These will be her first shows outside of Vegas since 2013.
Next year, she’ll play Montreal’s 15,000-seat Bell Centre July 31, Aug. 1, 4-5 as well as the 20,000-seat Centre Videotron in Quebec City.
She’ll continue to play her Vegas stand. In fact, next year, she will mark her 1,000th performance there.
Her husband and former manager, Rene Angelil, 73, continues to battle throat cancer that he said in September was terminal.
BILLY IDOL HEADS TO VEGAS
Billy Idol, known for his ’80s hits “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell” “Eyes Without a Face,” and “Dancing With Myself,” joins Celine Dion, Donny and Marie, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Santana, Elton John and – yes – Carrot Top in playing a Las Vegas concert residency.
The English punk rocker, who turns 60 Nov. 30, will play a dozen gigs, “Billy Idol: Forever,” in March and May 2016 at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.
ROY ROGERS MUSICAL DUE
T Bone Burnett, the respected Americana country-roots rock producer, songwriter and musician, is composing the score to an upcoming Broadway musical, “Happy Trails,” about Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans, reports Billboard.
Burnett is replacing the songwriting team of Broadway vets Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, who couldn’t continue the project because of a previously scheduled project commitment.
Burnett has written 16 songs for the musical that may premiere sometime next year.
In the ’40s and ’50s, Rogers was a huge film, TV and singing star – the No. 1 box-office Western star from 1943-1954. He rode the Wild West on his equally famous horse, Trigger, and his faithful German shepherd, Bullet.
He and Evans married in 1947 and they co-starred in 26 of Roy Rogers’ 88 shoot-’em-up Westerns. They were also in TV’s incredibly popular “Roy Rogers Show” from 1951-1957.
She wrote his theme song, the eternally beloved “Happy Trails.”
Rogers died in 1998 at age 86, followed by Evans in 2001 when she was 88.
Burnett finds this project daunting, saying: “I have to say it’s frightening and exciting to come into a world that I think I can never live up to.”
Burnett, who turns 68 in January, added: “I’m glad I’ve waited this long to even begin to approach it.”
TEDESCHI-TRUCKS BAND PLAYS COCKER’S “MAD DOGS”
At the recent Lockn’ Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington, Virginia, the 10-piece Tedeschi-Trucks Band, led by former Allman Brothers co-lead guitarist Derek Trucks and his blues and soul singer-guitarist wife, Susan Tedeschi, paid tribute to gravelly voiced English blues-rock stylist Joe Cocker, who died last December on his Colorado ranch at age 70.
The duo and their band performed Cocker’s full 1970 double album, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”
Cocker’s wandering hippie Mad Dogs band included the likes of Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, noted sessions singer Claudia Linnear and the entire Dominos band minus Derek (Eric Clapton) as well as other noted musicians, including The Stones’ longtime saxman Bobby Keys and drummer Kim Keltner. The album hit No. 2 here and No. 16 in Britain.
The album and subsequent musical documentary film of the unwieldy one-off tour yielded the hits “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” “Space Captain,” “Cry Me A River,” Russell’s “Hummingbird” that was a hit for B.B. King, “Superstar,” and “Delta Lady”; and hit covers of The Beatles’ “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” and “Something,” The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman,” The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Darling Be Home Soon,” and The Box Tops’ “The Letter.”
OBITS: NEW ORLEANS LEGEND TOUSSAINT, SANTANA PERCUSSIONIST REKOW
Legendary New Orleans pianist-songwriter Allen Toussaint, who wrote the biggies “Working in a Coal Mine” and “Lady Marmalade,” suffered a fatal heart attack after a concert in Madrid, Spain, reports the Associated Press. He was 77.
Toussaint finished performing at Madrid’s Lara Theater when he suffered the coronary at his hotel. He stopped breathing during the ambulance ride to a local hospital and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Toussaint wrote New Orleans pal Lee Dorsey’s only major pop hit, the 1966 smash, “Working in a Coal Mine,” as well as The Rolling Stones single that year, “Fortune Teller,” Dr. John’s (another Big Easy mate) 1973 hit “Right Place, Wrong Time” as well as Labelle’s huge 1975 disco classic “Lady Marmalade” and Glen Campbell’s 1977 45 “Southern Nights.”
Through the decades he worked with Now Orleans’ own Meters and Irma Thomas as well as Joe Cocker and Paul McCartney and Wings, who recorded the 1975 LP “Venus and Mars” in New Orleans.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009. President Barack Obama presented Toussaint with the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal in a ceremony at the White House.
Raul Rekow, who was a fixture on percussion with the Santana Band for 34 years, from 1976-2013 (save for two years), died of cancer, Carlos Santana posted on his Facebook page. Neither his age, the location of his death or other details were given.
Rekow decided to become a musician after seeing the first pre-fame group in concert at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. He was also a member of hit making Latino band Malo, led by Santana’s brother, Jorge Santana.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. It can be read in its entirety on www.presstelegram.com. Like, recommend or share the column on Facebook. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.