RINGO AND HIS ALL-STARRS SET FALL TOUR
by Steve Smith
Ringo Starr and his most recent All-Starr Band, his 12th, get along onstage and off so well that they’re all reuniting for a fall tour of South America and Mexico. Only two U.S. dates have been set, Nov. 22-23 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
Ringo and his pals Todd Rundgren, former Santana and Journey organist-singer Gregg Rolie, Toto singer-guitarist Steve Lukather, former Mr. Mister leader Richard Page, former David Lee Roth band drummer Gregg Bissonette, and sax-playing multi-instrumentalist Mark Rivera (who has played in Billy Joel’s band since 1982) kick off the 12-date tour on Oct. 29 at the 7,000-seat Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The tour wraps with the Vegas shows.
DYLAN, WILCO AND MY MORNING JACKET SET TOUR
The “Americanarama Festival of Music” is what Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket are calling their upcoming American tour, from June 26 through August 4. As has been Dylan’s preference in recent years, minor league ballparks and stadiums are included among the jaunt’s 26 dates. The road show stops at Irvine’s Verizon Amphitheatre Aug. 3. The three acts will also be joined at various shows by former Grateful Dead leader Bob Weir, former Fairport Convention founder Richard Thompson’s Electric Trio, and younger Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham.
FIRST NEW FLEETWOOD MAC SONGS IN 10 YEARS RELEASED
“Extended Play,” the first new music from Fleetwood Mac in ten years has been released. The four songs can be downloaded exclusively for now on iTunes. The band has been showcasing one of the new songs, Lindsay Buckingham’s “Sad Angel,” on its current tour. The EP contains two other new Buckingham compositions, “It Takes Time” and “Miss Fantasy.” The fourth song, Stevie Nicks’ “Without You,” dates to pre-Mac Buckingham-Nicks days of the early ’70′s. The last new Mac music was the 2003 CD, “Say You Will,” that hit No. 3 and was a certified gold album.
MONKEES WITH NESMITH SET SUMMER TOUR
Last year’s brief 12-date Monkees tour in November and December, the first U.S. jaunt with singer-guitarist Mike Nesmith since the late ’60′s, was a critical and box office success. So, Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork will do it again this summer.
This time they’re doubling the number of shows they did last year. The first of 24 dates kicks off July 15 at the 1,800-seat Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York and concludes Aug. 18 in Portland at the 2,776-seat Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The tour includes stops on Aug. 11 at the 1,400-seat outdoor Humphrey’s in San Diego, and Aug. 12 at the 3,051-seat Terrace Theatre in Long Beach.
EAGLES ADD MORE SHOWS
The Eagles, that recently added one-time lead guitarist Bernie Leadon to its “History of The Eagles Tour” lineup after 38 years, added eight more shows in September to its summer tour, five in Canada and three here. The new shows bring the number of concerts on the tour to 20, almost all of them across the northern U.S., New England and Canada. So far no Western U.S. gigs have been announced.
The highly lauded “History of The Eagles” documentary has been released on DVD and Blu-ray as a 3-disc set that includes concert footage, and a treasure trove from the band’s archives, including never before seen home movies.
MORE TOUR DATES: THE TURTLES, MARK LINDSAY, GARY LEWIS, CHUCK NEGRON AND GARY PUCKETT
The Turtles’ “Happy Together” tour, also featuring former Paul Revere and The Raiders frontman Mark Lindsay, Playboys’ leader Gary Lewis, former Three Dog Night frontman Chuck Negron and former Union Gap singer Gary Puckett, added a handful of dates to its already-lengthy summer tour. Among the new shows on the now 49-date tour is on July 5 at the 1,900-seat Saban Theatre, formerly the Fox Wilshire Theatre, an art deco landmark venue in Beverly Hills that was built in 1930. The tour also plays the San Diego Fair at the Del Mar Racetrack on the Fourth of July.
NEIL DIAMOND DONATES “SWEET CAROLINE” ROYALTIES
Neil Diamond’s 1969 No. 4 standard, “Sweet Caroline,” named after a young Massachusetts resident named Caroline Kennedy, has been the unofficial theme song of Boston for about the last decade. Since 2002, the song has been played during the 8th inning at the Boston Red Sox home games at venerable Fenway Park, a tradition eventually picked up by all of Beantown’s pro teams.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, “Sweet Caroline” has become the city’s and the nation’s rallying song and sales of the tune have jumped nearly 600% since then, according to Billboard. Last week, the 72-year-old Diamond made a surprise appearance at the first Red Sox game at Fenway since the bombing to sing the song on the field in person.
When he found out about the jump in sales, the singer tweeted that he was donating his royalties since the bombing to Boston’s One Fund relief effort. Last week, 19,000 copies of the song were sold. In addition, Diamond has written and is recording new material partially inspired by the bombing and the resilience of the people of Boston in the wake of the attack. No release date has been set.
CYNDI LAUPER’S “KINKY BOOTS” NETS 13 TONY NOMINATIONS
“Kinky Boots,” the Broadway play with music by Cyndi Lauper, led all productions with 13 Tony Award nominations. Actor-writer Harvey Fierstein wrote the book. Among the nominations are for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Orchestrations, Best Choreography and Best Book of a Musical.
The Tony Awards will be broadcast live from New York City on CBS on June 9.
FORMER DEAD LEADER BOB WEIR COLLAPSES
Former Grateful Dead singer-guitarist Bob Weir collapsed onstage during a performance last week in Port Chester, New York of his and former Dead bassist Phil Lesh’s band Furthur. Two days later, he performed a full Furthur concert in Atlantic City and, according to those in attendance, appeared fine.
However, a new statement posted on his website said that the 65-year-old Weir will be unable to perform until the end of June when he’s set to join Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket for four shows in the South.
The statement said that Weir, Lesh and Further “look forward to returning to the road as scheduled on July 11 in Brooklyn for their summer tour, which carries them through early October on the West Coast.” Further’s summer tour wraps with three nights at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Oct. 4-6.
ROBERT PLANT SETS U.S. TOUR
Former and possibly future Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and his latest band, The Sensational Space Shifters, will be spending June 20 through July 27 playing 21 concerts across America. Two of those concerts will occur on June 26 at the 6,300-seat Shrine Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, and on June 28 at the 4,562-seat Santa Barbara County Bowl.
Plant sparked Led Zep reunion talk when he said in an interview that he has nothing planned in 2014 and that if his fellow Zep pals John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page so desire, he’s possibly available. Also, the setlist from last month’s tour of Australia was loaded with classic hardcore Zep rockers, half of the setlist, in fact, including the rare “Four Sticks,” “Black Dog,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock and Roll.”
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN CANCELS VEGAS SHOWS
Aussie songstress Olivia Newton-John has cancelled her upcoming residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas this summer in order to be with her sister, Rona, and help her through her treatments for brain cancer, according to the Boot. Newton-John, 64, is herself a breast cancer survivor. On her website, she posted a statement that read in part, “I am very aware of the importance of love, support and family during this journey she is about to begin.”
ANOTHER USO TOUR FOR TOBY KEITH
Country star Toby Keith, who was honored by Congress in a 2008 resolution for his career-long commitment to the troops, playing USO shows in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, Germany, Belgium, Kosovo, Italy and Africa, has headed out on another USO jaunt, this time to play for the troops stationed in Guam, Hawaii and the Philippines. All his USO concerts are free to military personnel and their families. Over the past 11 years, the 51-year-old Keith has played more than 200 USO shows, reports the Boot.
Keith kicks off his next U.S. tour, a 28-show run, on June 8 at the Thunder On The Mountain fest in Ozark, Ark., along with Big and Rich, Montgomery Gentry, Luke Bryan and Gretchen Wilson. No concerts are scheduled in California or Nevada.
PETE SEARS’ CLASSIC LOST BASS FOUND
A custom-built bass guitar, made especially for Pete Sears when he was a member of The Jefferson Starship, was returned to him 35 years after it was stolen, reports the Huffington Post.
The instrument, called “Dragon,” because of its inlay of the mythic beast, was crafted by Tom Lieber, who made a similar six-string electric guitar for Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia out of the same large piece of wood.
Sears, an Englishman who was a member of Rod Stewart’s band and played on the hits “Maggie May” and “Reason To Believe,” before joining The Jefferson Starship, with whom he played from 1974-1987, discovered that his prized bass was stolen during a riot at a 1978 music festival in Germany.
He told the Marin Journal last week, “I felt sick. It was like losing a work of art, I was in shock. The whole band was in shock.” He recently posted on his Facebook page, “Barely a week has gone by that I haven’t lamented on the loss of this beautiful instrument.” Four years ago he offered a $2,500 reward for its return.
Several weeks ago he heard from a musician in Germany, who told Sears that he bought the guitar in 1991 and packed it away untouched for years. The German musician said he didn’t want to play an instrument he knew was stolen property. Sears agreed to buy back the bass for approximately $3,250. Said Sears, “I couldn’t believe it. I was absolutely ecstatic.”
THE STONES’ PLAY SMALL STAGE L.A. GIG
The 650 fans that paid $20 to see The Rolling Stones’ first gig of 2013, at the Echoplex, on Sunset Blvd., west of Dodger Stadium near downtown Los Angeles, were treated to a 14-song set that included three songs from 1969′s “Let It Bleed” (“Live With Me,” Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain” and “Midnight Rambler,” the latter two songs featuring The Stone’s former lead guitarist Mick Taylor) and three cuts from 1978′s “Some Girls” (“Respectable,” “Miss You” and their cover of The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me”).
For the first time ever, the band also ran through Otis Redding’s “That How Strong My Love Is” and they dug out Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie” for its first performance since their 1969 tour that included the disastrous free concert at the Altamont Motor Speedway.
The band opened with 1993′s “You Got Me Rocking” and the set also included “Street Fighting Man,” from 1968′s “Beggar’s Banquet” and “She’s So Cold” from 1980′s “Emotional Rescue,” before closing the show with the biggies “Start Me Up” from “Tattoo You” in 1982 and encoring with “Brown Sugar” (1971) and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (1968).
COUNTRY GREAT GEORGE JONES DIES
George Jones was often referred to as the greatest singer in the history of country music. Jones died in Nashville at 81 after battling various medical maladies, including respiratory problems, that landed the singer in the hospital numerous times over the past year, reports The Associated Press.
Jones, whose career began in the ’50′s, was known equally for his ability to vocalize heartbreak like no other, and for his addiction to alcohol and cocaine that earned him the nickname, “No-Show Jones” because of the number of concerts that were cancelled because the superstar failed to show up.
Despite a relapse here and there, Jones sobered up in the mid-’80′s, with help from wife number four, Nancy, and remained so for the remainder of his life. Nancy survives him.
His 1980 recording of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is considered by many to be the single greatest vocal and record in all of country music. The record became his first No. 1 single in six years.
Jones scored his first Top 10 country hit in 1955 with “Why Baby Why” and his first No. 1 four years later when the title cut to his album “White Lightening” topped the chart. In all, the Possum, as he was nicknamed because of the shape of his nose, scored 14 No. 1 country singles, including three with his former wife Tammy Wynette, and one with Barbara Mandrell and one with Merle Haggard. Over his seven-decade career, Jones recorded more than 150 hits.
At the time of his death he was on his farewell tour, a year-long trek around America titled “The Grand Farewell,” that was going to culminate in an all-star final concert in Nashville in November. He was also working on his planned final album. Dolly Parton, his friend of nearly a half-century, was writing songs specifically for the record.
Jones, who had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1956, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, and was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 2008. Last year, he received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mandrell, Alan Jackson, Ronnie Milsap, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Kid Rock all sang at his funeral, which was broadcast live on CMT, GAC, RFD and the Family Net and on SiriusXM radio, as well as on WSM 650 AM that is the home station of the Grand Ole Opry.
PARLIAMENT-FUNKADELIC BASSIST CORDELL MOSSON DIES
Cordell “Boogie” Mosson, bassist for 40 years for George Clinton’s flashy space band, Parliament-Funkadelic, died of liver failure at 60 in New Brunswick, NJ, according to the New York Times. Known as “Boogie” to all, he was known for his elaborate way-out sci-fi costumes. Mosson, who also played guitar and drums, became the group’s bassist when Bootsy Collins left to forge a successful solo career and remained in that role until 2011.
In an interview with the Times after Mosson’s passing, Clinton trumpeted Mosson’s ability to groove with “all the psychedelic stuff and the Motown and the James Brown” that the band played. “Boogie’s been playing with us since he was 13 or 14. He was the heartbeat for a long time.” Mosson, Clinton and 14 other P-Funk members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
NEW RELEASES: FEE WAYBILL AND THE TUBES ’79 REISSUE
Among the recently released albums, digital reissues, MP3 downloads and deluxe box sets are “NOW What?!,” the first studio album from British hard rock icons Deep Purple in seven years; “Life on a Rock,” the 14th studio album in 19 years from four-time ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney; “Ready to Die,” the first CD in six years, and only the second album in 40 years from the original punks, Iggy and The Stooges; “Everybody Loves Sausages,” from metal punks The Melvins; “The Journey” is the first CD in 14 years from Scottish new wavers Big Country, now featuring The Alarm’s former frontman Mike Peters on lead vocals; “Remote Control – Expanded Edition,” is a reissue of Fee Waybill and The Tubes’ 1979 LP with four bonus cuts; a 36-song career-spanning 2-CD anthology, “Expanded Oils” from Aussie rockers Midnight Oil; “English Little League,” from reunited alt rockers Guided By Voices, who first formed in Ohio in 1983; a reissue of Blue Oyster Cult’s 1988 album, Imaginos;” “Life Beyond LA: The Deluxe Edition” is a 2-CD reissue of Ambrosia’s 1978 LP that comes with a 1978 live bonus disc; on “Have Harmony, Will Travel” former Textones leader Carla Olson duets with the likes of Juice Newton, former Byrd John York, James Intveld, The Plimsouls’ Peter Case, and Richie Furay; “Raise a Little Hell” from Illinois goodtime rockers Head East, who formed in 1969; “If the River Was Whiskey” is the first album in seven years from New York City alt rockers The Spin Doctors; the 28-track “Complete Original #1 Hits,” from Country Music Hall of Famer Eddy Arnold, includes the classics “Make the World Go Away” and “I Want to Go with You;” “Still Good to be Bad” from British rocker David Coverdale and Whitesnake.
Classic acts from the ’50′s, ’60′s and ’70′s continue to perform. Here’s what one of them is doing.
Bill Cosby is known for many things, including the obvious – comedy, education, his passion for jazz music and humanitarian issues.
Many tend to forget that he was the first black actor to star in a network drama series. The action adventure series, “I Spy” ran from 1965-1968 and also starred Robert Culp and won Cosby three best actor Emmys. The two played undercover secret agents who traveled the world protecting American interests, while blending serious drama with comedy. Because of Cosby’s casting, “I Spy” was banned at the time on several NBC stations in the south.
As Cos continued to perform his stand-up comedy to packed houses, other successful series followed, including “The Bill Cosby Show,” a sitcom that saw him play a high school physical education teacher; and a Saturday morning cartoon show, “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.” Then in 1984, “The Cosby Show,” a sitcom about the Huxtable family, ruled the Neilson ratings for the next eight seasons, until 1992.
His comedy albums such as 1964′s “I Started Out As a Child,” 1965′s “Why Is There Air,” 1966′s “Wonderfulness” and 1967′s “Revenge” and 1968′s “To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With,” were huge hits and they won him six Best Comedy Album Grammys from 1965-1970. In all, he released 21 comedy albums between 1963-1991.
But guess what? He also released more than a dozen musical albums, including “Silver Throat: Bill Cosby Sings” in 1967. He even had a hit record from that album, “Little Old Man (Uptight-Everything’s Alright),” that hit No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart. The song, a version of the 1965 Stevie Wonder hit, featured Cosby’s talk-singing.
Now 75, Cosby is still at it, performing his stand-up all across the country. His latest national tour kicked off this week at the Legends Theatre at the Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque and will see him performing 34 shows through Dec. 1. Among his dates are shows on May 24 at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, on June 9 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and on July 21 at Humphrey’s in San Diego.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Like, recommend or share the column on Facebook. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews (at) gmail.com.