British Invasion legends The Who, which formed in London in 1964, will retire upon the completion of its current golden anniversary tour, announced 70-year-old band leader Pete Townshend.
“When this tour is over, (singer Roger Daltrey and I) will probably both go our separate ways. As Roger says, we’re lucky that we’re not in some old person’s home and that we can do this now,” Townshend said.
He added that this doesn’t mean the end of them working together.
“I think Roger and I will do odd things together,” he said. “I hope that one day I can write him an album of songs that suit him and the record company won’t demand that we call it The Who. But I’ve got a bad feeling about it. I think if that if I wrote Roger a bunch of good songs, our manager would say, ‘Why not call it The Who? We’ll sell double as many records!’”
The Who are spacing out its shows because Daltrey, who is 71 and has undergone surgery in recent years for problems with his vocal chords, is under doctor’s care and has been ordered to never sing on consecutive days. As a result, the band’s gigs are spaced out with shows every two or three days at the least.
On June 28, Daltrey, Townshend and their band closed the big Glastonbury Festival in England. The night before, headliner Kanye West, declared from the stage: “(I’m) the greatest living rock star on the planet.” But US Weekly reported that during The Who’s set, Townshend took to the mike in response.
“Oh yeah, who’s the biggest rock star in the world?” And with that he “performed a mind-blowing guitar solo.”
The Who will play the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sept. 6 and the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 21.
JAMES TAYLOR SCORES FIRST NO. 1 ALBUM
After 47 years and 26 albums, James Taylor has achieved a first in his storied career: the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart with “Before This World,” his first studio album in 13 years.
Prior to this, the now 67-year-old troubadour’s 1971 LP, “Mudslide Slim and the Blue Horizon” was his top chart performer at No. 2 (his lifelong friend Carole King’s “Tapestry” kept him from reaching to coveted top spot). “Before This World” is also at No. 1 on the digital album, folk album and tastemaker charts.
On some of the other Billboard charts, Donna Summer’s disco-era collaborator Giorgio Moroder’s first album in 30 years, “Déjà vu,” sits atop the dance/electronic album chart; Weird Al Yankovic’s “Mandatory Fun” rules the comedy album chart; The Rolling Stones’ deluxe reissue of their 1971 “Sticky Fingers” is at No. 1 on the catalog album chart; Mexican pop-rockers Mana sits atop the Latin pop album chart with “Cama Incendiada”; Zydeco slide guitarist Sonny Landreth’s “Bound By the Blues” tops the blues chart; and Old Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra’sfour-disc, 101-song, “Ultimate Sinatra” set rules the jazz chart.
THE GRATEFUL DEAD PLAY FIRST PAIR OF FINAL FIVE SHOWS
Over the weekend, members of The Grateful Dead said fare thee well to their beloved Bay Area with a pair of gigs before 80,000 each night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The band’s final three Fare Thee Well Tou show is scheduled over the Fourth of July weekend at Soldier’s Field in Chicago, the site of The Grateful Dead’s final shows with guitarist Jerry Garcia two decades ago.
The four surviving members — 67-year-old singer/guitarist Bob Weir, 75-year-old bassist Phil Lesh, 69-year-old drummer Bill Kreutzmann and 71-year-old drummer Mickey Hart — are augmented by 50-year-old Phish singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio, 60-year-old former Dead pianist Bruce Hornsby and 46-year-old Weir associate Jeff Chimenti on keyboards.
Both shows over the last weekend were more than three-hour affairs that saw the band going deep into its early catalog, with sets altered drastically from first show to second. One constant was the extended jamming that accompanied most songs.
Opening night June 27 began with the band’s 1970 trademark, “Truckin’,” with the rest of the set including such Dead staples as “Dark Star” and “Uncle John’s Band” and the band’s popular cover of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s 1961 hit, “Turn On Your Love Light,” that featured Weir’s raspy vocal. The Grateful Dead encored with Hornsby handling vocals on a less successful 1970 single, “Casey Jones.”
Among the highlights of the June 28 show were Anastasio handling the vocals on 1980’s “Alabama Getaway,” 1973’s “Sugar Magnolia” and the encore, “Brokedown Palace,” which is from the 1970’s “American Beauty” album.
The group did not perform their biggest hit, 1987’s “Touch of Grey,” either night.
DAVID CROSBY SAYS JONI MITCHELL STILL CANNOT SPEAK
In a chat with HuffPost Live, David Crosby wished his former girlfriend Joni Mitchell the best in her recovery from what’s now been reported to be an aneurism.
While confessing that he hasn’t spoken to the 71-year-old jazz and folk icon, the 73-yearold Crosby added: “To my knowledge, she is not speaking yet.”
He did confirm, however, that she is in recovery at home.
“How that’s going to go, we don’t know yet. She’s going to have to struggle back from it the way you struggle back from a traumatic brain injury,” he said. “I love her. She was my old lady at one point. We’re all holding our breath and thinking a good thought, hoping that it’s going to turn out OK.”
BRIAN WILSON POSTPONES OVERSEAS TOUR
Due to the great success of the biopic of his life, “Love and Mercy,” Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson has had to postpone his tour of Britain and Europe in September to further promote the film in the United States, according to a statement posted on his website.
“I look forward to seeing all my fans (there) in 2016 to help me celebrate 50 years of ‘Pet Sounds.’ This will be my final European tour,” said the 73-year-old Wilson, who is currently touring the U.S. with old Beach Boy pals Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin on board.
HOUSE OF BLUES ON SUNSET STRIP TO CLOSE
Last year, it was announced that the West Hollywood House of Blues on the Sunset Strip, which has seen the likes of Ringo Starr, The Kinks, Alvin Lee, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Prince, Tony Bennett and many others, would be demolished within three years to make way for a 149-room hotel.
But apparently, the concert club’s demolition date will be later this year, according to Pollstar.
In recent years, the club has gone the way of two other fabled Sunset Strip venues — the Roxy and the Whiskey a Go Go — losing big name acts to other venues and booking unsigned local hard rock, metal and punk bands.
DWIGHT YOAKAM HONORED
Country star Dwight Yoakam, practitioner of the Bakersfield Sound pioneered by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, recently received the Artist Career Achievement Award from the Country Radio Broadcasters at the organization’s 41st annual Hall of Fame dinner in Nashville.
“I haven’t gotten a lot of awards, but one thing I did have was great support from country radio,” said 58-year-old Yoakam, who has 30 country hit singles to his name as well as five No. 1 country albums with sales of more than 25 million records.
Yoakam’s 15th studio album, “Second Hand Heart,” came out in April, debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s country album chart — the highest he has charted in a quarter-century.
On Aug. 8, Yoakam is scheduled to play NPR radio station KCRW-FM’s Greens of Century City free concert with opening act, veteran L.A. punkers X. Although it’s a free concert, ticket reservations must be made in advance at soundinfocus.kcrw.com.
PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE’S AWARD NOMINATIONS NAMED
Britain’s Progressive Magazine that focuses on progressive rock announce the nominees for its fourth Progressive Music Awards set for Sept. 3 at the Underglobe Theatre under Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.
Among the veteran acts are Pink Floyd and King Crimson, who are nominated for Best Band and Best Album (“The Endless River” for Floyd and “Starless” for Crimson). Kate Bush, who made her staggeringly popular return to concerts in London after a 35-year hiatus, was also nominated for Best Artist as well as Best Event. Former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett got a Best Artist nod as well.
The Moody Blues singer-bassist John Lodge received a nomination for Best Anthem for “In My Mind,” while Hackett also received on for “Love Song To A Vampire.”
Nominees for the Storm Thorgerson Grand Design Award include founding Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips for “Harvest Of The Heart,” former Be Bop Deluxe leader Bill Nelson for “Noise Candy,” Hawkwind for “This Is Your Captain Speaking,” Jethro Tull for its “Minstrel In The Gallery deluxe reissue, King Crimson for “Starless,” Rush for “R40,” Soft Machine for “Live in 1970,” and Yes for “Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two.”
UPDATES ON THE SMASHING PUMPKINS AND DEF LEPPARD
Jimmy Chamberlain, founding drummer with alt rockers, The Smashing Pumpkins, has rejoined the band for its upcoming 24-date tour with shock rocker Marilyn Manson beginning July 7 in Concord, Calif., group leader Billy Corgan told USA Today.
Corgan fired his friend Chamberlain in 1996 because of the drummer’s heroin use. He rejoined the group in 2007, but left again two years later. Both men say that Chamberlain rejoining The Pumpkins is a temporary situation that thus far will last only for this tour that includes a stop at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine on July 9.
Vivian Campbell, guitarist for hard rocking English outfit Def Leppard since 1977, will join his band on the road this weekend despite his cancer recurrence, according to a post on his Facebook page. The 76-date jaunt runs through January, and includes a Sept. 20 show at The Forum in Inglewood.
Campbell, who turns 53 in August, has been given a course of treatment that allows him to avoid the radiation doses that would keep him at home.
“So, so happy to report that I’ve dodged the bullet of radiation,” he posted.
Campbell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2013.
OBIT: YES FOUNDER-BASSIST CHRIS SQUIRE
Chris Squire, masterful founding bass player with famed English progressive rock icons Yes, died at home in Phoenix at 67 of a particularly aggressive cancer, acute erythroid leukemia, according to a post on the band’s Facebook page. Squire and singer Jon Anderson formed the band in London in 1968.
“For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassist around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists,” the statement added.
Squire was the sole owner to the rights to the band’s name and as such he was the only member to appear on each of Yes’ 21 studio albums, released over 45 years between 1969 and 2014. His 1975 solo album, “Fish Out of Water,” (his nickname was Fish after his 1971 Yes showcase piece, “The Fish”) made it to No. 25 on the British album chart.
Nine of Yes’ 20 studio albums reached the Top 10 charts in either the U.K. or U.S., with two reaching No. 1 in Britain. Yes is one of the contingent of immensely popular British progressive groups, along with Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues and Emerson Lake and Palmer, and others, that not only have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but have yet to even have been nominated for induction and placed on the ballot.
Among the recently released albums, digital issues, MP3 downloads and box sets are the 17-track “Fanny Hill (Expanded Edition),” the third album , from sisters June and Jean Millington and their rock group, Fanny, one of the first notable rock groups to be made up entirely of women , which was recorded in 1972 at The Beatles Apple Studios in London with Producer Richard Perry and includes their rocking take on The Fab Four’s pounding 1968 tune from the “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack, “Hey Bulldog.”
A three-disc set, “Dick’s Picks Vol. 5 — Oakland Auditorium Arena 12/26/79,” adds to the ongoing series of concert album releases from The Grateful Dead, includes the Jerry Garcia-led “Alabama Getaway” that was showcased four months before it was released, an extended “Estimated Prophet,” and covers of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Woman” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
The Lovin’ Spoonful catalogue has been reissued, including the hit-making folk-pop quartet’s 1965 debut LP, “Daydream,” that includes the title hit “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”; and the follow-up album, “Do You Believe in Magic,” with another title cut hit, “Younger Girl” and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind; and their third regular release, “Hums of The Lovin’ Spoonful,” that includes “Full Measure,” “Rain On The Roof,” “Nashville Cats” and the biggie, “Summer In The City.”
Steve Smith writes a new classic pop, rock and country music news column every week. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.