By Steve Smith, Music columnist
After a 16-year retirement, Christine McVie has officially rejoined Fleetwood Mac as a full member, the band’s publicist confirms to Billboard. The 71-year-old singer-keyboardist who wrote such Mac classics as “Don’t Stop” (No. 3 in 1977), “You Make Loving Fun” (No. 9 in 1977), “Hold Me” (No. 4 in 1982) and “Little Lies” (No. 4 in 1987) married bassist John McVie in 1968 and joined the group two years later (they divorced in 1976). She retired from the band and from music in 1998, opting for the life of “an English country girl.” She told Britain’s Guardian, “It took me 15 years to realize that it’s not really what I wanted after all. The band’s world tour came to a halt in October when John McVie, 68, revealed that he had cancer. After treatments, McVie and the group returned for a couple year-end gigs in Las Vegas. Singer Stevie Nicks told Us Weekly that McVie underwent surgery at an undisclosed location during the first week of January, but nothing else has been revealed. Whether the canceled tour dates will be made up hasn’t been announced, nor have any new 2014 tour dates.
RAY DAVIES ALSO SAYS HE WANTS KINKS REUNION
This year marks the 50th anniversary of British Invasion legends The Kinks and group leader Ray Davies has joined his lead guitarist brother Dave and drummer Mick Avory in endorsing a reunion. Ray, 69, told Uncut magazine that a reunion is, “as close as it’s ever been to happening.” The band that became infamous for in-fighting between the three dissolved in 1996.
Late last year, Dave, 66, told Uncut magazine that he very much wanted a reunion with the group to mark the anniversary and said that he and his brother discussed it on three occasions over the summer, two of which went well and one that didn’t. Avory, who turns 70 next month and who was forced from the band in 1984, told Uncut, “I think it would be nice to do something all together.”
Original bassist Peter Quaife, who quit the band in 1969 to become a cartoonist and artist, died in 2010 at age 66.
PAUL AND RINGO TO PERFORM TOGETHER AT GRAMMYS
To mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first historic visit to America in 1964, 71-year-old Paul McCartney and 73-year-old Ringo Starr will perform together at the 2014 Grammy Awards, telecast live on CBS on Jan. 26 from the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles, according to Grammy.org. That night, The Beatles will receive the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.
David Letterman also said that his team is in negotiations to unite the two on his show that is taped on the same stage where “The Ed Sullivan Show” originated and where the group made history by drawing a then-unprecedented TV audience of 73 million on Feb. 9, 1964, See more news about Paul and Ringo below.
Other Grammy Awards performers include Carole King, Chicago with Robin Thicke, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink with fun’s Nate Reuss, 25-time Grammy winner Stevie Wonder, eight-time winners Metallica with Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang, Keith Urban, nine-time winner John Legend, Chic’s Nile Rogers, 17-year-old New Zealand hitmaker Lorde, and a reunion of the two living Highwaymen, Willie Nelson and another 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Kris Kristofferson (Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash are dead) with another country outlaw Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton.
LONGTIME MEMBERS LEAVE THE ASSOCIATION, ALLMAN BROTHERS AND TEN YEARS AFTER
Singer-guitarist Russ Giguere, an original member of L.A.-based pop-rock band The Association who turned 70 in October, has retired from the band, according to a statement posted on the group’s website. NO reason was given. Three members from the band’s 60’s heyday remain, singer-guitarist Larry Ramos, singer-multi-instrumentalist Terry Kirkland and lead guitarist Jules Alexander.
Giguere and the group formed in 1965 and briefly became the house band at the famed Troubadour club in West Hollywood and frequently played Pasadena’s Ice House, had three No. 1 singles in the mid-60’s, “Cherish,” Windy” and “Never My Love” with Giguere providing co-lead vocals on the last two songs.
In a surprise joint statement, The Allman Brothers’ dual lead guitarists, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, announced that they are leaving the group at the end of 2014. Haynes joined in 1997; Trucks in 1999. Trucks’ uncle, Butch Trucks, is the group’s original drummer and remains in the band. Both will pursue their other musical endeavors that has included Haynes role leading jam band Gov’t Mule for the past 20 years, while Trucks also records and performs with his wife, singer Susan Tedeschi in The Tedeschi Trucks Band. Haynes told Rolling Stone that his and Trucks’ decision had been discussed for quite some time and that the duo still hope to collaborate with the band after they depart.
Leo Lyons, founding bassist for British rock icons Ten Years After and the man who named the band in Nottingham, England, in 1966, has left the band after 48 years, according to a statement posted on the band’s website by drummer Ric Lee, another original member. In addition, singer-guitarist Joe Gooch, who replaced bandleader Alvin Lee (who died last March in Spain at age 68) in 2003, has also departed the group. Lee said replacements for Lyons and Gooch would be announced soon.
GREG ALLMAN TRIBUTE CONCERT
Allman Brothers founding singer-keyboardist Gregg Allman, 66, was feted in a 26-song tribute concert, “All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman” at the 4,600-seat Fox Theatre in Atlanta that will air on AXS TV in May.
Paying tribute were his Allman Brothers Band, including guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, who earlier announce their departure from the group at the end of the year, as well as Sam and Dave’s Sam Moore, Jackson Browne, Dr. John, John Hiatt, Taj Mahal, bluesman Keb’ Mo’, Train frontman Pat Monahan, Georgia rockers Widespread Panic, Trucks’ wife Susan Tedeschi, and country stars Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Eric Church, Zac Brown, Trace Atkins, and Brantley Gilbert.
Allman joined in on several numbers, including “Statesboro Blues” with Mahal, “Melissa” and “These Days” with that last song’s composer Browne, and “Midnight Rider” with Brown and Gill, and “Whipping Post” with The Allman Brothers Band.
Among the recently released albums, digital reissues, MP3 downloads and deluxe box sets are the 12-track “High Hopes” (Amazon also has bonus CD/DVD edition), the 18th studio album from Bruce Springsteen that he recorded over the past couple years featuring major contributions from former Rage Against the Machine guitarist master Tom Morello as well as The E Street Band, including on a couple songs saxman Clarence Clemons, who passed away in 2011, and organ and accordionist Danny Federici, who died nearly six years ago, in 2008; and the 14-song, “The River & The Thread,” the 13th studio album since 1978 and the first in five years from country gal Rosanne Cash, includes “Two Girls” by Townes Van Zandt and “Biloxi” by Jesse Winchester. A reissue of Yes drummer Alan White’s 1976 solo album, “Ramshackled,” available as an MP3 download on Amazon for $5.99; the 25th anniversary “Lucinda Williams” was also known as “The Rough Trade Album” and contains a bonus disc of a previously unreleased concert from 1989 in Eindhoven, Netherlands; “Songs From the Movie” by five-time Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter, features orchestral reinterpretations of 10 of her hits; and “This is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes 1983” from the cowpunk outfit led from 1982-1986 by singer Maria McKee, includes Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s “Jackson” and “Nothing Can Stop My Loving You” by George Jones and Roger Miller.
A 20-CD import box, “The Elvis Presley Soundtrack Collection” is discount priced on Amazon for $39.99; an import, “…Again,” from Welsh pop-rocker Dave Edmunds’ first studio album in 13 years and features covers of the Elvis hit, “Return to Sender,” Elton John’s “Your Song” and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind,” that he wrote in 1930 and that Ray Charles first recorded in 1960; a 2-Cd import, “The Complete Mainstream 1958 Sessions” from jazz sax legend John Coltrane, who died at 40 in 1967 from liver cancer attributed to by some to his heroin use; and a 2-CD reissue, “Scratchy: Complete Reprise Recordings,” from Neil Young’s sometime hard rocking backup band, Crazy Horse.
A 3-CD reissue box, “Reprise Recordings,” comprised all five solo studio LPs from former Lovin’ Spoonful leader John Sebastian, (“John B. Sebastian,” “Cheapo Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live,” “The Four Of Us,” “Tarzana Kid” and “Welcome Back”) that he recorded with his guest pals Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Cream producer and Mountain co-leader Felix Pappalardi, Little Feat leader Lowell George, Emmy Lou Harris, David Lindley, Ry Cooder, Phil Everly, guitarist Jeff Baxter of The Doobie Brothers.
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week that runs online in two parts on Wednesdays and Fridays. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.