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Bob's Classic Hits News

Pandemic Blues: Eric Clapton postpones entire 2021 European tour to 2022

Credit: George ChinEric Clapton had been scheduled to return to the concert stage this May and June for a tour of Europe, but Slowhand has now officially postponed most of his dates until 2022 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A message on Clapton's official website reads, "Due to ongoing COVID restrictions to mass gatherings in Europe, Eric Clapton will be postponing all of the following 2021 dates and moving them to new dates in 2022. Eric is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get back out on the road and perform."

The note adds, "Fans should retain their tickets, as they will be honored on the new rescheduled dates listed below."

The mainland Europe portion of his trek, which was supposed to get underway May 26 in Milan, Italy, now will kick off on May 17, 2022, with a show in Zurich, Switzerland. The tour will wind down with a June 21-22, 2022, stand in Moscow that originally was scheduled for this June 22-23.

Clapton also has a four-show engagement at London's famed Royal Albert Hall booked for this May 14, 15, 17 and 18, but these gigs also are expected to be rescheduled soon.

Here are all of Clapton's rescheduled concerts:

5/17/22 -- Zurich, Switzerland, Hallenstadion (postponed from 6/5/21)
5/18/22 -- Milan, Italy, Mediolanum Forum (postponed from 5/26/21)
5/20/22 -- Bologna, Italy, Unipol Arena (postponed from 5/28/21)
5/31/22 -- Stuttgart, Germany, Schleyerhalle (postponed from 6/6/21)
6/2/22 -- Munich, Germany, Olympiahalle (postponed from 5/21/21)
6/5/22 -- Prague, Czech Republic, O2 (postponed from 5/23/21)
6/7/22 -- Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ziggo Dome (postponed from 6/11/21)
6/10/22 -- Dusseldorf, Germany, ISS Dome (postponed from 6/8/21)
6/12/22 -- Antwerp, Belgium, Sportspalais (postponed from 6/9/21)
6/14/22 -- Copenhagen, Denmark, Royal Arena (postponed from 6/14/21)
6/15/22 -- Copenhagen, Denmark, Royal Arena (postponed from 6/15/21)
6/17/22 -- Helsinki, Finland, Hartwall Arena (postponed from 6/17/21)
6/19/22 -- St. Petersburg, Russia, Ice Palace (postponed from 6/20/21)
6/21/22 -- Moscow, Russia, Crocus Hall (postponed from 6/22/21)
6/22/22 -- Moscow, Russia, Crocus Hall (postponed from 6/23/21)

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Watch video of 1992 Tom Petty tune titled "You Saw Me Comin'," from 'Finding Wildflowers' compilation

Warner RecordsA new music video for a rare 1992 Tom Petty tune titled "You Saw Me Comin'" has premiered at the late rock legend's official YouTube channel, and the track also is available now via streaming services.

The song is the final track on the Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) album, which originally was available only as a bonus disc included with the limited-edition Super Deluxe box-set version of 2020's Wildflowers & All the Rest collection, and now is scheduled to be issued as a standalone release digitally on April 16 and as a vinyl LP on May 7.

The 16-track Finding Wildflowers, which you can pre-order now, mainly features alternate versions of songs that appeared on Petty's acclaimed 1994 solo album, Wildflowers, which is the focal point of Wildflowers & All the Rest.

Reflecting on "You Saw Me Comin'," which was recorded during the Wildflowers sessions but didn't make it onto the original album, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench notes, "There's this kind of longing in the song, in the way that [Tom] wrote the chord structure, the melody and the lyrics. It's wistful, and it would have been the perfect way to end the disc."

The video for the tune, which was directed by Joel Kazuo Knoernschild and Katie Malia, features cinematic footage of oceans, shorelines, deserts, snow-covered mountains and forests, and other striking natural scenes.

Here's the full track list of Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions):

"A Higher Place"
"Hard on Me"
"Cabin Down Below"
"Crawling Back to You"
"Only a Broken Heart"
"Drivin' Down to Georgia"
"You Wreck Me"
"It's Good to Be King"
"House in the Woods"
"Honey Bee"
"Girl on LSD"
"Cabin Down Below" (Acoustic Version)
"Wildflowers"
"Don't Fade on Me"
"Wake Up Time"
"You Saw Me Comin'"

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


David Crosby opens up about his sexually "adventuresome" past, discusses Joni Mitchell's health

Scott Dudelson/Getty ImagesWhile he was in The Byrds, David Crosby wrote a song called "Triad" about a three-way relationship between a man and two women, which the folk-rock legend says was based on personal experience.

"Well, it was a different time," Crosby tells the Los Angeles Times. "This was before the advent of AIDS, and after the invention of birth control, so…if you were adventuresome, there were adventures to be had. And I was adventuresome."

David admits that these encounters didn't always involve just two women…sometimes another guy took part.

Asked if any of these men were famous, Crosby responds, "I'm not going to pull off anybody's covers for you."

Meanwhile, David reveals the current status of his relationship with his former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young band mates.

"The only one that I'm talking to is Stephen Stills. He and I are still friends," Crosby reports. "I haven't spoken to Neil [Young] or [Graham] Nash in a couple of years. Both of them have been most unkind to me, so I have no urge to."

Elsewhere, Crosby says he recently had dinner with his old friend Joni Mitchell, who suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm in 2015, describing the get-together as "wonderful and distressing."

"It was wonderful to reconnect and say hi, and I love her…She's the best singer-songwriter of her time," he notes. "It was distressing to see her in the state that she is in now. She has trouble walking. And she's having to relearn how to do stuff, physically. I don't think that she will ever regain the manual dexterity to be able to play guitar or piano."

Crosby adds that Mitchell "is trying to recover her skills as a painter, and she's as good a painter as she is a guitar player."

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dolly Parton’s version of “Amazing Grace” might become Tennessee’s official state hymn

ABC/Image Group LAA new bill proposed by Tennessee lawmakers is advocating to make Dolly Parton’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” the state’s official hymn, CMT reports.

The song was written in 1772 by captain of slave ships turned abolitionist John Newton, and the bill argues that it has “since been recorded by various artists with strong connections to Tennessee,” including Dolly as well as Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and many others.

In fact, Garth recently sang “Amazing Grace” on a national scale when he performed the hymn at President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony in January.

Dolly has performed and recorded “Amazing Grace” throughout her career. She even recast new lyrics onto the classic song’s melody for “Shine On” off her 1998 album Hungry Again, and performed it at Tammy Wynette’s funeral that same year.

It’s not the first bill involving Dolly to cross state legislators’ desks this year: A previous bill proposed erecting a statue of the singer on State Capitol grounds.

But in February, Dolly asked lawmakers to remove the bill from consideration, saying, “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”


By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Toto members, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter appearing on virtual event celebrating Keith Emerson tribute show release

Credit: Jeff LafaroWith a new concert film and album documenting a 2016 tribute honoring late Emerson, Lake & Palmer keyboardist Keith Emerson set to be released on March 11, a special virtual reunion event featuring many of the show's participants has been scheduled for this Friday, March 5, at 12 p.m. PT.

Among the well-known musicians who will take part in the livestreamed celebration are Toto's Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro, ex-Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Ringo Starr's All Starr Band drummer Gregg Bissonette, Tesla drummer Troy Luccketta, Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and veteran U.K. jazz-rock keyboardist Brian Auger. Keith's son Aaron Emerson also will appear.

The event will be viewable for free at AlerttheGlobe.com and Facebook Live. The various guests will share stories and experiences working with Emerson, and the presentation also will offer sneak previews from the Fanfare for the Uncommon Man: The Official Keith Emerson Tribute Concert DVD.

The two-CD/two-DVD release will feature footage and audio of the tribute, which was held in May 2016 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, and offered a career-spanning celebration of Keith's work, including music from ELP, The Nice, Three Fates Project and the Keith Emerson Band.

The second DVD features interviews with many of the participating musicians, behind-the-scenes footage, tribute speeches and a gallery of rare photos provided by the Emerson estate.

All proceeds from the release will benefit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, a charity that focuses on treating and finding a cure for dystonia, a debilitating neurological ailment that Keith battled.

Emerson died by suicide on March 11, 2016, at age 71.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Barack Obama unveils his Springsteen-heavy "Shower World Tour" playlist

Credit: Rob DeMartinIt turns out former president Barack Obama loves listening to Bruce Springsteen's music as much as he loves sharing the microphone with The Boss on their Spotify podcast, Renegades: Born in the USA.

The streaming service shared Obama's "Shower World Tour setlist" on Wednesday, and 44-song list contains a hefty dose of Springsteen, including two versions of the song for which their podcast is named.

Besides the studio version of "Born in the U.S.A.," Obama's shower playlist includes a live recording from New York's Walter Kerr Theatre from July 2018.

Among the other Springsteen tunes on the list are "Born to Run," "My Hometown," "American Skin (41 Shots)," "My Father's House," "Growin' Up" and "We Take Care of Our Own." In addition, Barack included some covers of The Boss's songs and tunes by a couple of members of Bruce's E Street Band -- his wife Patti Scialfa and late sax player Clarence Clemons.

Also on the list are songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Patti Smith, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley, Joni Mitchell, Donna Summer, The Pointer Sisters, Bill Withers, Sam Cooke, The Ohio Players, Natalie Cole, Al Green, Ray Charles and Billy Paul.

During Monday's episode of the podcast, Obama revealed that he loves singing in the shower, much to his family's dismay.

"I sing in the shower, I sing outside of the shower. I am unembarrassed about singing," he said while laughing. "My daughters and my wife sometimes roll their eyes."

Check out the entire 44-song playlist here.

By George Constantino and Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Two-night Janet Jackson documentary event set for Lifetime and A&E in 2022

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic2022 will mark the 40th anniversary of Janet Jackson's self-titled debut album, and that milestone will be celebrated with a two-night, four-hour documentary event next year.

The documentary, whose working title is JANET, will air in early 2022 on Lifetime and A&E.  It will detail the "immense success" and "incredible tragedy" that Janet has endured, having to deal with her "tumultuous private life" while spending most of her life in the public eye.

The documentary begins as Janet and her family are mourning the death of her father Joseph, and follows her return to the stage after an extended break.  In between, she'll discuss her controversial Super Bowl performance with Justin Timberlake, her brother Michael Jackson's death, welcoming her son Eissa at the age of 50, and her various romantic relationships. 

Janet and her brother Randy Jackson are executive producers of the doc.

A press release announces that "no subject" was "off limits" for the film. Janet has typically been very private about her personal life, which has included a 1984 elopement followed by an annulment, a 1991 secret marriage that ended in 1999, and a 2012 marriage that ended in 2017, just months after Janet and her then-husband had their first child.

Both Janet's 1982 debut album and its 1984 follow-up failed to make much of an impact on the charts. It was her third album, 1986's Control, that made her a superstar.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Lennon's solo debut, Plastic Ono Band, to be reissued as expansive box set in April

Capitol/UMeAn expanded eight-disc version of John Lennon's debut solo studio album, 1970's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, will be released on April 6.

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band -- The Ultimate Collection, which you can pre-order now, features 159 tracks spread across six CDs and two Blu-ray audio discs, including 87 previously unreleased recordings.

The collection features multiple mixes of the original album's tunes and the three hit singles Lennon released prior to the record -- "Give Peace a Chance," "Cold Turkey" and "Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)" -- plus a bevy of demos, rehearsal takes, outtakes, jams, studio chatter and more.

The box set also features a segment dubbed "The Evolution Documentary" that demonstrates how each of the album's songs developed from its demo stage to its completed version.

One of the Blu-rays features an expanded version of the companion Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band album, boasting the entire jam that yielded the experimental record.

Released in December 1970, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was a collection of raw, confessional tunes that found the rock legend reflecting on The Beatles' recent breakup, the loss of his mother, his love for wife Yoko Ono and other personal topics. John recorded the album mainly with just accompaniment from drummer Ringo Starr, and bassist Klaus Voormann.

The album reached #6 on the Billboard 200 and although it featured no hit singles, it included such enduring songs as "Mother," "Working Class Hero," "Love" and "God."

The deluxe reissue will come with a 132-page book, a "War Is Over! (If You Want It)" poster, and two postcards.

In advance of The Ultimate Collection, a new mix of "Mother" has been released as a digital download and via streaming services.

Visit JohnLennon.com for more details about the reissue.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mariah Carey's brother sues her for defamation over memoir

Amy Sussman/FilmMagicMariah Carey has found herself in the center of a defamation lawsuit, filed by her brother Morgan Carey, over her new memoir.

The lawsuit was taken out a month after the songstress' sister, Alison Carey, also filed suit over certain passages in the book.

Page Six reports that Morgan, who is 10 years his sister's senior, claims Mariah misrepresented him and wrongly labeled him a violent person.

His lawsuit states, "Many passages about [Morgan] in the book are false and defamatory, personally invasive and painful, and have caused serious damage to his reputation and to his personal and business affairs."

Morgan also claims the book damaged his career, stating that he was in negotiations over a film project that fell through as a result of what she said in The Meaning of Mariah Carey.

The suit alleges that the suit is more about principal as it "brings this action more in sorrow and disappointment in his sister’s betrayals and malicious falsehoods than in anger at them."

As for what Mariah wrote about him in the memoir, Morgan claims it is "mere gossip and of prurient interest." 

Morgan furthers that he is not an abuser, as the memoir alleges, and that their father was the sole aggressor in the family.  He has particular issue with a chapter in the book that claims he "slammed” their mother into a wall -- of which he says is false.

"The violence was entirely one-sided, with the plaintiff being the recipient of his misplaced rage," states the suit, adding that Mariah's allegations are "a betrayal and deep hurtful violation."

He is suing for unspecified damages.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mark Farner to chat and perform tonight on TalkShopLive streaming event promoting his upcoming DVD

Credit: Brad ShawMark Farner will be putting out a new concert DVD called From Chile with Love on April 6, and to help promote the release the former Grand Funk Railroad frontman will appear live tonight on a streaming event hosted by the social-shopping site TalkShopLive's Rock n Roll Channel.

During his appearance, which begins at 7 p.m. ET, Farner will chat with Ingram Entertainment's Steve Harkins, whose company is releasing the DVD, and the veteran rocker also will field some questions submitted by fans.

In addition, Farner tells ABC Audio, "I'll tell some…road stories, [and] play some music in between…probably two or three, maybe even four songs."

Mark adds that he'll play the tunes on acoustic guitar, and reports that he may invite guitarist Dusty D'Annunzio, a member in his backing group, The American Band, to join him.

Of course, fans who watch the TalkShopLive event will be able to pre-order the From Chile with Love DVD, every copy of which will be autographed by Farner.

Mark notes that some proceeds from sales of the DVD will benefit the Veterans Support Foundation, a charity that helps in-need veterans and their families.

"[W]e always bring that element to whatever we're doing," Farner says of his support for veterans. "So TalkShopLive is a good spot for that, because there's a lot of veterans who watch...And who in the United States is not somehow related to a veteran? You know, we all are."

As previously reported, From Chile with Love was recorded at a show Farner and his American Band played in the South American country's capital, Santiago.

The concert features live renditions of a variety of Grand Funk Railroad classics and deep cuts, and the DVD also includes five new bonus studio tracks.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Collaborative Badfinger tribute album featuring Todd Rundgren, Rick Springfield & more, due out this month

Cleopatra RecordsOver the last year, a series of digital singles pairing Badfinger guitarist Joey Molland with various other well-known musicians on new versions of songs by the famed U.K. power-pop band have been released, and now a full-length album gathering those tracks and additional collaborative covers is on the way.

The album, titled No Matter What -- Revisiting the Hits, will be released March 26, and will include previously available tunes featuring Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, pop-rock star Rick Springfield and acclaimed power-pop artist Matthew Sweet, as well as other tracks pairing Molland with Todd Rundgren, Vanilla Fudge singer/keyboardist Mark Stein, Buckinghams guitarist Carl Giammarese and more.

Stein lends his talents to a version of the 1970 Badfinger smash "No Matter What," while Rundgren contributes to a rendition of the classic song "Without You." The latter tune, which was co-written by late Badfinger members Pete Ham and Tom Evans and first released by the group in 1970, became a #1 smash for Harry Nilsson in 1972 and a #3 hit for Mariah Carey in 1994.

The No Matter What album, which can be pre-ordered now, will be available on CD, digitally and as a colored-vinyl LP on red, white & blue vinyl.

Here's the album's full track list, along with the guest artists featured on each song:

"No Matter What" -- featuring Vanilla Fudge's Mark Stein
"Come and Get It" -- featuring ex-Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman
"I Don't Mind" -- featuring The Buckinghams' Carl Giammarese
"Day After Day" -- featuring Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, Terry Reid & Manchester String Quartet
"Love Is Gonna Come at Last" -- featuring Rick Springfield
"Baby Blue" -- featuring Matthew Sweet
"Midnight Caller" -- featuring The Legendary Pink Dots
"Suitcase" -- featuring Sonny Landreth
"Sweet Tuesday Morning" -- featuring Albert Lee
"Without You" -- featuring Todd Rundgren

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jon Bon Jovi interview to air on AXS TV before network premiere of band's new concert film

Clay McBrideAXS TV will present an exclusive interview with Jon Bon Jovi that will precede the network television premiere of his band's recent concert film, On a Night Like This -- Bon Jovi 2020, on March 20.

The New Jersey rocker will chat with Spotify podcast host Alison Hagendorf about the making of Bon Jovi's latest album, 2020, as well as the experience of shooting On a Night Like This. He'll also talk about how he's been spending his time during the COVID-19 pandemic and other projects on which he's been focusing.

The interview, which will air at 8 p.m. ET, also will feature Jon answering select questions submitted by fans.

Following the interview, On a Night Like This -- Bon Jovi 2020 will debut at 8:30 p.m. ET. The film, which first premiered in November 2020 as a special streaming event, captures the band playing its new album, 2020, in its entirety for the first time on a closed set near Nashville. The movie also includes candid backstage footage and interview segments with Jon.

"We released our new album during such a unique year, and without a tour we had to find a different way to perform these songs for our fans," Jon explains. "AXS TV has been a great partner and I'm looking forward to everyone getting the chance to watch this special showcasing the band's first and only time performing 2020 live together."

After the interview and film air on AXS TV, they will be available for viewing across all of the network's streaming platforms.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


David Crosby sells music catalog to Eagles manager Irving Azoff's new company

Credit: Anna WebberFolk-rock legend David Crosby has joined the growing list of famous veteran artists who recently have sold interests in their music catalogs and famous recordings. Variety reports that Crosby, who turns 80 in August, has sold his music publishing and recorded music rights to longtime Eagles' manager Irving Azoff's recently launched Iconic Artists Group.

Crosby's catalog includes the music he created as a member of The Byrds, Crosby & Nash, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, as well as his solo work. David has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice -- with The Byrds and CSN.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"Given our current inability to work live, this deal is a blessing for me and my family," Crosby says in a statement, "and I do believe these are the best people to do it with."

In recent interviews, David admitted that the cancellation of his tour dates this past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic had left him in a financial bind, revealing that he was in danger of losing his house.

Adds Azoff, "I've known David as a friend and have admired him as a great artist since our earliest days at Geffen-Roberts Management shortly after I moved to Los Angeles. This is an incredible time to be involved with David and his tremendous catalogue of music. He's truly one of music's most prolific songwriters and artists."

Among the classic songs Crosby has written or co-written during his long career are "Eight Miles High," "Guinnevere," "Wooden Ships" and "Almost Cut My Hair."

The announcement of the deal comes just after the 50th anniversary of David's first solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, which was released in February 1971.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Van Morrison releasing new album, 'Latest Record Project: Volume 1,' in May; listen to title track

BMGFresh off issuing a series of controversial singles last year protesting the COVID-19 lockdown in the U.K., Van Morrison has announced plans to release his 42nd studio album, a 28-track collection titled Latest Record Project: Volume 1, on May 7.

Described in a press statement as Morrison's "most dynamic and contemporary album in years," the record finds Van the man continuing to delve into his love of classic soul, blues, R&B and jazz.

"I'm getting away from the perceived same songs, same albums all the time," explains Morrison. "This guy's done 500 songs, maybe more, so hello? Why do you keep promoting the same 10? I'm trying to get out of the box."

Van has made the album's title track available as an advance single digitally and via streaming services, and you can check out a lyric video for the tune at his official YouTube channel.

The song is highlighted by a soulful, organ-driven groove and catchy doo-woop-inspired backing vocals.

The album features a variety songs that offer commentary of modern life, some of which focus on Morrison's continued dissatisfaction about how the U.K. government has handled the health crisis, including "Dead Beat Saturday Night" and "Where Have All the Rebels Gone."

Latest Record Project: Volume 1 can be pre-ordered now, and will be released as a two-CD set, a triple-vinyl package and on digital formats. Those who pre-order the album will receive an instant free download of "Latest Record Project."

Here's the album's full track list:

Disc 1
"Latest Record Project"
"Where Have All the Rebels Gone?"
"Psychoanalysts' Ball"
"No Good Deed Goes Unpunished"
"Tried to Do the Right Thing"
"The Long Con"
"Thank God for the Blues"
"Big Lie"
"A Few Bars Early"
"It Hurts Me Too"
"Only a Song"
"Diabolic Pressure"
"Deadbeat Saturday Night"
"Blue Funk"

Disc 2
"Double Agent"
"Double Bind"
"Love Should Come with a Warning"
"Breaking the Spell"
"Up County Down"
"Duper's Delight"
"My Time After a While"
"He's Not the Kingpin"
"Mistaken Identity"
"Stop Bitching, Do Something"
"Western Man"
"They Own the Media"
"Why Are You on Facebook?"
"Jealousy"

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jon Bon Jovi admits he knew nothing about 'Sex and the City' -- while he was appearing on it

Samir Hussein/WireImage

In addition to filling stadiums worldwide with Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi has also acted in quite a few movies and TV shows over the years.  But he recently admitted that just because he was on TV doesn't mean he actually watched it a lot...or at all.

In an interview with Bravo's Andy Cohen, Jon said that when he guest-starred on Sex and the City in 1999, "I didn't know what [it] was.  That was the beginning of the second season and I was not caught up in the first. So I really didn't know the impact that that show was gonna have."

Asked if appearing on the show made him realize what a big deal the HBO series was, Jon replied, "No, because I still never watched the show!  I realize I never watched Friends, I never watched Sex and the City. I never watched Game of Thrones. There was so much television...it just went over my head. I didn't get around [to] it."

Jon explained that the reason he appeared on TV shows in the first place was only "to get out there and have more people see me and put me in their movies."

"I really loved [acting]; it helped me grow as an artist," he adds.

Jon also appeared on Ally McBeal, 30 Rock and The West Wing.  Movie-wise, he was in U-571, New Year's Eve, Pay It Forward and Moonlight and Valentino, among other films.  However, he hasn't acted in about 10 years.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dave Davies reflects on The Kinks' recently reissued 'Lola Versus Powerman' album and his song "Strangers"

BMGThe Kinks recently released an expanded 50th anniversary reissue of their 1970 concept album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, which found the British rock legends' taking a satirical look at the music industry at a transitional time in their career.

Propelled by the hit single "Lola," the album helped The Kinks enjoy renewed U.S. chart success shortly after the group began touring the country again after a three-year ban.

"I think the Lola album…encapsulates a lot of the environment and feelings that we were going through at that time," Kinks guitarist Dave Davies tells ABC Audio. "[We were] reconnecting with our American audience…It kind of showed us a new way forward."

Dave explains that his brother, Kinks frontman and main songwriter Ray Davies, "was…having a lot of worries about the music business…[Y]ou know, there was a lot of unscrupulous people about…[and] you have to try and navigate around this weird world that we were in."

Arguably Dave's most enduring contribution to the Lola album is "Strangers," an introspective song about the connection human beings share that's become a frequently covered Kinks tune.

"I was going through a lot of change…personally -- spiritual stuff and getting into different philosophy," Dave recalls about when he wrote the song. "You know, I was 15 time when we first started. And we had success, we were touring, and…it doesn't really give you a chance to grow up…So 'Strangers' [was written at] a time when I [was thinking], 'What's going on? What are we doing? Why are we here?'"

The deluxe Lola reissue features a remastered stereo mix of the album, alternate mixes and versions of songs, B-sides, session tapes, live performances, BBC recordings, demos and more.
Visit TheKinks.info for more details.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Check out Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.'s passionate cover of The Beatles' "Blackbird"

Visual art: Brittany Duncan & Jon Carrasco/EE1/BMGFormer 5th Dimension members Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. have released a second advance single from their forthcoming studio album, Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons, a dramatic version of The Beatles' classic 1968 civil-rights anthem "Blackbird."

The track, which features a passionate vocal performance by McCoo, is available now as a digital download and via streaming services. A companion lyric video also has premiered at McCoo and Davis' official YouTube channel. The animated clip shows a flock of blackbirds flying across the screen in front of red roses and a list of first names of people who were killed in various violent incidents.

"Why 'Blackbird'? Why now? It is a reflection of the truth we are living today," the married duo say in a joint statement. "When a blackbird leaves our mother's nest, one day, it will not return. In 2021, mothers throughout our country live in the fear that our blackbirds may prematurely not be able to return to the nest of home, because of bigotry and violence."

They add, "'Blackbird' is dedicated to the life and humanity of every blackbird, whether living now or lost in battle."

Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons, which will be released on April 30, is McCoo and Davis' first new major-label studio album in over 30 years. As its name suggests, the record is a tribute to the music of The Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The first single released from the project was a danceable rendition of "Silly Love Songs," McCartney's chart-topping 1976 single with his post-Beatles band Wings.

"The Blackbird: Lennon-McCartney Icons project, each song, image, timeline and video, praises everyone who dares fight hatred," note the couple, who last year celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.

You can pre-order the album now.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Patti Smith to celebrate Bob Dylan's 80th birthday in May with special music and poetry performance

Credit: Jesse DitmarPatti Smith will give a special performance on May 22 celebrating Bob Dylan's upcoming 80th birthday as part of the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park's Spring Festival in Tivoli, New York.

Smith will team up with Tony Shanahan, longtime bassist and keyboardist in her backing band, for the event, which will feature original songs and poetry as well as tunes by Dylan, whose actual 80th birthday is May 24. Oliver Ray, who played guitar in Patti's band from 1996 to 2005, curated the show.

Kaatsbaan Cultural Park's inaugural Spring Festival is scheduled for May 20-23 and May 27-30, and will feature a variety of performances, programs and discussions focused on the worlds of music, dance, poetry, sculpture and the culinary arts.

In-person events will take place with limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions. Pre-sale tickets are available now for Kaatsbaan members, and tickets will go on sale to the general public starting on March 8 at Kaatsbaan.org.

In addition, people will be able to buy tickets to watch various events virtually beginning May 1.

In other news, Smith has a number of 2021 European concerts currently scheduled for late spring and early summer, mapped out from a May 29 set at The Bath Festival in Bath, U.K., through a July 15-16 stand in Vienna. Visit PattiSmith.net for her full itinerary.

By Matt Friedlander
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


A taste of her own medicine: Dolly Parton gets COVID-19 vaccine

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDolly Parton has received her first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the superstar shared an Instagram video from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville that she was "so excited" to be getting the vaccine.

"I've been waiting a while. I'm old enough to get it, and I'm smart enough to get it," she quipped. She even offered an updated version of her hit "Jolene" to encourage others to get vaccinated by singing, "Vaccine/Vaccine/I'm begging of you please don't hesitate." 

"I just wanted to encourage everybody because the sooner we get to feeling better, the sooner we are going to get back to being normal," she advised. 

Dolly donated $1 million to VUMC last year in honor of her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, reports later showing that her donation help fund research for the Moderna vaccine, which she received a dose of administered by Dr. Abumrad.  

Leave it to Dolly to make getting a vaccine look fun, joking about needing to "look good" for the doctor and playfully remarking that "it didn't take this long to film 9 to 5" as the doctor prepared the vaccination. 

The singer didn't even flinch when the needle pierced her arm, remaining still throughout the process. "I did it, I did it!" she squealed with excitement after the shot was complete.  

Dolly gets a dose of her own medicine. @VUMChealth pic.twitter.com/38kJrDzLqC

— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 2, 2021

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sting launches new 'Duets' interactive timeline, books 'Good Morning America' appearance

Mayumi NashidaOriginally scheduled for release in November, Sting's upcoming compilation album Duets is now due March 19.  The former Police frontman will promote it with a TV appearance and some single releases.

Sting's duet with jazz legend Herbie Hancock, a version of the standard "My Funny Valentine," will be released March 11 on all streaming platforms.  The track was originally recorded for the soundtrack of the 2005 Japanese film Ashura.

In addition, a brand-new duet Sting recorded with an African artist called Shirazee will be released as a non-album digital-only single. The duet came about after Shirazee recorded his own version of Sting's classic "Englishman In New York."  Their duet, which will also have a video, is called "Englishman/African In New York," and the two artists will perform it on ABC's Good Morning America.

To promote the album, Sting has also launched an interactive website, featuring a timeline and new video interviews in which he comments about all the collaborations on the album, which span from 1992 to the present day.  You can also share your own memories of each song with fellow fans.  Visit duets.sting.com to check it out.

As previously reported, Duets features collaborations that Sting recorded over the years with artists from around the world, including Shaggy, Annie Lennox, soul legend Sam Moore, Mary J. Blige, Julio Iglesias and more.

Among the tracks are "Desert Rose," Sting's 2000 duet with Algerian singer Cheb Mami that's his most recent top-20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and "It's Probably Me," Sting's Grammy-nominated duet with Eric Clapton from the Lethal Weapon 3 soundtrack.

Here's the Duets track list:

"Little Something" -- with Melody Gardot
"It's Probably Me" -- with Eric Clapton
"Stolen Car" -- with Mylène Farmer
"Desert Rose" -- with Cheb Mami
"Rise & Fall" -- with Craig David
"Whenever I Say Your Name" -- with Mary J. Blige
"Don't Make Me Wait" -- with Shaggy
"Reste" -- with GIMS
"We'll Be Together" -- with Annie Lennox
"L'amour C'est Comme un Jour" -- with Charles Aznavour
"My Funny Valentine" -- with Herbie Hancock
"Fragile" -- with Julio Iglesias
"Mama" -- with Gashi
"September" -- with Zucchero
"Practical Arrangement" -- with Jo Lawry
"None of Us Are Free" -- with Sam Moore
"In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" -- with Chris Botti

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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