NBC is in the early stages of developing an eight-episode series about the career of The Beatles, reports Deadline Hollywood. The production team behind the Showtime series, “The Tudors,” is heading this project. At this stage, no other information is available, including any possible premiere date.
Singer Peter Gabriel, lead guitarist Steve Hackett, keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist-the-guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer-then-singer Phil Collins, i.e., the five main members of Genesis during its iconic 1971-1975 years, are working together with the BBC on a full-length documentary, the British network announced.
During those years, the five recorded four landmark progressive rock albums, 1971’s “Nursery Crime,” 1972’s “Foxtrot,” 1973’s “Selling England by the Pound” and 1974’s 2-LP concept album, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” The reunited five have fully endorsed the project and are cooperating fully, and that includes giving new interviews and offering new insights and perspectives.
The band’s entire history will be examined, from its start in 1967 when Gabriel and Banks were buddies as students at a high school in Godalming, Surrey, England to Collins, Banks and Rutherford’s last reunion tour as Genesis in 2007.
This five-some reunited twice since Gabriel left the band in 1975 for a hugely successful solo career. The first time was in 1982 for a one-off gig benefitting Gabriel’s WOMAD charity at the 65,000-capacity Milton Keynes Bowl in Buckinghamshire, England (Hackett flew in late from South Africa and was only able to perform during the final two numbers); and the last time was in 1999 when they re-recorded “Carpet Crawlers,” from “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” for the best of collection, “Turn It On Again: The Hits.” Genesis has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 (Gabriel is a two-time inductee, going in as a solo artist as well, in April).
Tom Hiddleston, best known as Loki in the 2012 comic book blockbuster, “The Avengers,” will portray tragic country western singer-songwriter Hank Williams in the biopic, “I Saw the Light.” The 33-year-old Hiddleston will do his own singing on such Williams standards as “Your Cheatin’ Heart, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” and “Jambalaya (On the Bayou).” Williams died in 1953 from heart attack induced by years of drug and alcohol abuse. He was 29.
UPDATE ON EARLY ‘60S STARS CHUBBY CHECKER AND BOBBY RYDELL
Chubby Checker, the icon who turned America into a gonzo dance-crazed nation with “The Twist” in 1960, tells the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that he wants to be inducted and they’d better do it soon, reports CBS News in his hometown of Philadelphia.
The 72-year-old Checker, the only artist to hit No. 1 twice with the same record (“The Twist” topped Billboard’s Hot 100 pop singles chart the first time in 1960 and again in 1962), says, “I don’t want to get in there when I’m 85 years old. I’ll tell them to drop dead, so you better do it quick while I’m still smiling.” Checker, who still performs dozens of concerts each year, plays Sam’s Town Hotel in Las Vegas on June 28, and he returns to Vegas Nov. 13-15 when he headlines the showroom at the South Point Hotel. On April 24, he’ll be in El Cajon at the Sycuan Resort and Casino.
Another Philly native son, former teen idol Bobby Rydell, who underwent a double organ transplant, liver and kidneys, in July 2012, has released a new record, an homage to his hometown. The song, “Philadelphia,” by his friend Frank Lafaro, is his first new record in 37 years, since 1976. Rydell says the song, which he recorded with The Philadelphia Clef Club Orchestra, will be available for download “soon,” according to his website.
The 72-year-old Rydell, who returned to performing six months after the transplants, performs as a solo act and he continues to be an active member of “The Golden Boys” with fellow teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian. The Golden Boys will be at the Pala Casino in Pala, east of Oceanside, on Aug. 3 and at the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella on Jan. 10.
UPDATE ON BLUEGRASS AND COUNTRY LEGENDS RALPH STANLEY AND COWBOY JACK CLEMENT
Banjo-playing bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley isn’t slowing down a whole lot at age 87. The Library of Congress Living Legend and National Medal of the Arts recipient who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Yale last month will perform on June 21 at the Huck Finn Jubilee in Ontario. He told Pollstar by phone earlier this week, “I feel as good, and I play as good, and I’m in as good a voice as I was a hundred years ago.” He began his recording career in 1946.
Just prior to his death last August at age 82, Cowboy Jack Clement recorded his final album. The man who was known primarily as a record producer (Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and he discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and produced “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”) and who composed and produced Johnny Cash’s 1957 crossover hit, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” will have his third album released July 15. The album, “For Once and For All,” sees him joined by his pals John Prine, Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Crowell, Bobby Bare and Dan Auerback, singer-guitarist for The Black Keys.
RAY DAVIES FORCED TO CANCEL HIS SONGWRITER’S HALL OF FAME INDUCTION
Ray Davies, composing mastermind of British Invasion legends The Kinks missed receiving an award he honestly cherished, his induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in New York City, reports Britain’s Express.
Davies, writer of “You Really Got Me,” “All the Day and All of the Night,” “Tired of Waiting for You,” “A Well Respected Man,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Lola” and so many other hits sent his regrets upon the passing of his sister Joyce. Jon Bon Jovi accepted for him.
Davies wrote in a statement, “I am profoundly honored to have been inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame and disappointed not to have been at the event in New York but I felt it necessary to be near my family at this sad time of my sister’s funeral. I wish to thank everyone at the Songwriters Hall of Fame who voted for me and give a special thanks to all the loyal Kinks fans who have stood by us all these years.”
Other songwriters inducted included Donovan (“Mellow Yellow,” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man”), Graham Gouldman (“For Your Love” for The Yardbirds,” “Bus Stop” for The Hollies, “No Milk Today” and “Listen People” for Herman’s Hermits), Jim Weatherly (“Midnight Trail to Georgia” for Gladys Knight and The Pips) and (“Always on My Mind” for Elvis and Willie Nelson and “Suspicious Minds” for Elvis).
OBIT: JIMMY SCOTT, ALAN DOUGLAS
Jimmy Scott, also known as Little Jimmy Scott, the jazz singer famed for his unusually high-pitched contralto voice, died in his sleep at age 88 in his Las Vegas home, his wife said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Scott, a Cleveland native, developed Kallman syndrome as a child. It’s a condition that prevented him from reaching puberty, resulting in his abnormally high-pitched voice.
Scott, who was known for his phrasing and the romantic feel he put into his vocals, began his career in the late ‘40s and in 1949, he was the lead vocalist on The Lionel Hampton Band’s “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” that hit the Top 10 on the R&B chart the next year. On the record, Scott went uncredited (the label only said “Lionel Hampton and vocalists”) and it happened to him again years later when he sang “Embraceable You” with Charlie Parker. These omissions obviously hurt his career. He experienced a resurgence in 1991 when he sang at the funeral for famed songwriter Doc Pomus. Later that year he came to the attention of millions late when he appeared on the finale of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” singing a song co-written by Lynch, “Sycamore Trees.” The following year he sang with Lou Reed, he recorded the critically acclaimed album, “Magic and Loss,” subsequently releasing eight more studio albums from 1994-2003. Last year he was inducted in the inaugural class of the R&B Music Hall of Fame in his hometown, Cleveland.
Alan Douglas, who produced posthumous albums by Jimi Hendrix, among others in a career that dated to 1962, died at age 81 his home in Paris, reports the Wall Street Journal. One of his daughters said he died from complications from a fall.
Douglas began his career in 1962 as head of United Artists Records jazz division, where he oversaw records by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. Among the other jazz artists he produced were Herbie Mann, Betty Carter, Bill Evans, and Duke Ellington with Max Roach and Charlie Mingus. He later produced lightening quick English John McLaughlin’s 1970 LP, “Devotion,” whose production was harshly criticized by McLaughlin.
However, it was his overseeing of a trio of Hendrix albums compiled and released after the guitar deities’ 1970 death, “Crash Landing” and “Midnight Lightening,” both of which were released in 1975, and 1995’s “Voodoo Soup” that was a compilation of posthumous music, that he achieved his notoriety, some good, some not.
Among the recently released albums, digital reissues, MP3 downloads and deluxe box sets are “Band of Brothers,” the first album of mostly new music in almost two decades from 81-year-old country outlaw Willie Nelson; “Mutineers” is English folk rocker David Gray’s first album in four years and his 10th album in 21 years; and the nine-track “Last Dance” from 69-year-old jazz improve pianist Keith Jarrett and 76-year-old stand-up jazz bassist Charlie Haden sees the duo cover Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight” and Bud Powell’s “Dance of the Infidels.”
The 11-song “Rock and Roll Telephone” is the 23rd studio album since 1971 from Scottish rockers Nazareth who scored big in 1975 with their cover of The Everly Brothers hit, “Love Hurts”; “Simplicity” is the 11th album in 27 years from hard rockers Tesla, which formed in Sacramento in 1981; “Trios Live” with two different three-man groups led by jazz saxman Joshua Redman; “United States” is from The Faces English keyboardist and longtime U.S. resident Ian McLagan and his own group, The Bump Band; and “Best of the Stony Plain Years” from English blues pioneer Long John Baldry, who was an big inspiration to The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton and who tutored Elton John and Rod Stewart.
CORRECTION: JEFFERSON AIRPLANE’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY MARKETING CAMPAIGN
The Jefferson Airplane, are planning a major marketing and merchandising campaign next year marking the psychedelic San Francisco band’s 50th anniversary, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The band will offer an array of psychedelic merchandise based on the group’s “free your head” image. “Free your head” is a take-off on “feed your head,” the concluding lyrics of The Airplane’s 1967 counterculture classic, “White Rabbit,” that was written by its singer Grace Slick.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.