After being announced earlier this week, Elton John's new single and video with British pop artist Rina Sawayama, "Chosen Family," is out now.
As previously reported, Elton is a huge fan of Rina's and her 2020 debut album, so he jumped at the chance to record a special duet version of the song -- which originally appeared on the deluxe edition of her debut -- with her.
Rina, who identifies as bisexual and pansexual, says the song was inspired by the fact that many LGBTQ+ people often have the support and love of a "chosen family" of friends, especially if they're rejected by their biological families.
In a video chat with Rina ahead of the video's premiere, Elton said, "This song is stand-out to me because it's...about what the world seems to need at the moment: about coming together and compassion for gay people and for people in general, it's about kindness. And I just thought it's such a beautiful lyric and such a great melody. I just had a blast on the session."
As for his own "Chosen Family," Elton says, "Over the years, my chosen family has been the people that I love, my friends who are so loyal...I think it's very important to have that network of friends...most of them aren't really in the business that I'm in. Most of them are couples and all of them are supportive of what I believe in, which is very important to me."
The "Chosen Family" video features Elton and Rina gathered around the piano. As she sings, Elton adds his harmonies and keyboard parts and also sings lead on one of the verses.
A new archival David Bowie compilation called The Width of a Circle, conceived as a companion piece to the late rock legend's recently reissued 1970 studio album, The Man Who Sold the World, will be released on May 28.
The two-CD collection features non-album singles, a live BBC radio performance, music Bowie created for a TV play, and remixes of select 1970 recordings by David's longtime studio collaborator, Tony Visconti.
The first disc features a performance by Bowie and his backing band The Hype that was recorded and aired in February 1970 on the BBC's The Sunday Show program. Bowie's 14-song set included renditions of most of the tunes from his 1969 self-titled debut, and a version of "The Width of a Circle" from The Man Who Sold the World.
The second CD features four songs featured in the TV play The Looking Glass Murders, aka Pierrot in Turquoise; rare early mixes and versions of the songs "The Prettiest Star," "London Bye, Ta-Ta," "Memory of a Free Festival" and "Holy Holy"; Visconti's 2020 mixes of those same tunes, as well as of The Man Who Sold the World's "All the Madmen"; and a four-song performance that aired on the BBC in April 1970.
Also on May 28, a vinyl The Man Who Sold the World picture disc will be released, featuring the 2015 mix of the album and the black-and-white cover photo that appeared on the 1972 reissue of the record. You can pre-order The Width of a Circle and the picture disc at Rhino.com.
In addition, a limited-edition 10-inch vinyl disc featuring four of Visconti's aforementioned 2020 mixes is available exclusively at Bowie's online store.
Here's the track list for The Width of a Circle's two CDs:
CD 1 The Sunday Show Introduced by John Peel (Recorded on February 5, 1970, and broadcast on February 8, 1970):
"God Knows I'm Good"*
"Buzz the Fuzz"
"London Bye, Ta-Ta"
"An Occasional Dream"
"The Width of a Circle"*
"Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"
"Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed"*
"Fill Your Heart"
"The Prettiest Star"
"Memory of a Free Festival"*
CD 2 The Looking Glass Murders, aka Pierrot in Turquoise:
"When I Live My Dream"
"When I Live My Dream" (Reprise)
"The Prettiest Star" (Alternative Mix)
"London Bye, Ta-Ta"*
"London Bye, Ta-Ta" (1970 Stereo Mix)*
"Memory of a Free Festival" (Single Version Part 1)*
"Memory of a Free Festival" (Single Version Part 2)*
Sounds of the '70s: Andy Ferris Show (Recorded on March 25, 1970, and broadcast on the April 6, 1970):
"Waiting for the Man"
"The Width of a Circle"
"The Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"*
"The Supermen (Bowie at the Beeb vinyl only)"*
"The Prettiest Star" (2020 Mix)
"London Bye, Ta-Ta" (2020 Mix)
"Memory of a Free Festival" (Single Version - 2020 Mix)
"All the Madmen" (Single Edit 2020 Mix)
"Holy Holy" (2020 Mix)
The 2021 edition of the Little Kids Rock Foundation's annual benefit show takes place tonight and, as previously reported, will be a virtual event for a second consecutive year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson and rock guitar whiz Steve Vai recently were added to the list of well-known artists and entertainers that will appear and/or perform on the show. They join a lineup that also includes Carlos Santana and his wife, Santana drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, Todd Rundgren, Ides of March and ex-Survivor member Jim Peterik, Peter & Gordon's Peter Asher, Jon Secada, Warren Haynes, Metallica's James Hetfield, Jack Black, Craig Robinson and Yo-Yo Ma.
In addition, T-Boz of TLC will serve as one of the evening's hosts. The show begins at 8 p.m. ET.
General admission tickets to view the event are free. VIP tickets also are available, offering guests access to interactive experiences starting one hour before the main show. Those who would like to donate to the Little Kids Rock Foundation can do so by visiting LittleKidsRock.org.
In addition, the foundation has launched a silent auction at Givergy.us. Among the items and experiences up for bid are tickets to the sold-out 2021 KISS Kruise; a drumhead signed by Mick Fleetwood; a stage outfit worn by The B-52s' Fred Schneider; virtual meet-and-greets with Rush's Alex Lifeson, Sheila E., ex-Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto and Vai; and guitars autographed by Rundgren, John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Slash.
Money raised helps fund the organization's work providing musical instruments to and supporting music-education programs in inner-city schools across the U.S.
Veteran U.K. prog-rock band Procol Harum will release a new EP called Missing Persons on May 7.
The three-track collection features two versions of the song "Missing Persons (Alive Forever)," as well as a tune titled "War Is Not Healthy."
The recordings were completed during the COVID-19 lockdown after a CD of rough mixes of two studio tracks the band had worked on during an earlier session was rediscovered.
"They weren't written last week, neither are they old," says frontman Gary Brooker about the songs.
"Missing Persons (Alive Forever)" is an emotive tune that features words by longtime Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid.
"Keith Reid's lyrics sound incredibly apt for the time we're living in," Brooker notes. "[T]his is the sound of Procol Harum today."
According to a post on Procol Harum's official website, the band first played an early version of "Missing Persons" at its 40th anniversary concert in July 2007 in London, as well as at some other shows later that year.
Meanwhile, the other song on the EP, "War Is Not Healthy," offers a reflection on war and its impact on mankind.
Gilda's Club NYC, founded in memory of beloved original Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, offers free cancer support programs to patients and their families. But now, it'll be getting some support of its own from some big-name musicians.
On May 19 at 8 p.m. ET, Sting and Kenny Loggins will be among the artists who'll headline a virtual benefit concert called "It's Always Something," after the catchphrase of one of Gilda's best-known SNL characters, Roseanne Roseannadanna.
All proceeds from the event will benefit Gilda's Club, which has seen demand for its services soar by 55% during the pandemic. Other artists and celebrities taking part in the benefit include ABC's Robin Roberts, actors Jon Hamm and Brooke Shields, jazz stars Jon Batiste and David Sanborn, singer Rosanne Cash, and former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, who's also a musician.
Paul McCartney is one of a variety of music stars set to appear on Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson, a new Apple TV+ docuseries that will premiere on July 30.
The six-part show will follow famed DJ and producer Ronson as he "uncovers the untold stories behind music creation and the lengths producers and creators are willing to go to find the perfect sound." To do that, he'll interview artists including McCartney, Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, and Beastie Boys members Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and Michael "Mike D" Diamond.
Each episode will end with Ronson debuting a new piece of original music, similar to the 2014 Foo Fighters docuseries Sonic Highways.
Other artists who'll appear on Watch the Sound include Questlove, Charli XCX and King Princess.
McCartney previously collaborated with Ronson when he co-produced Sir Paul's 2015 studio album, NEW.
Watch the Sound is being co-produced by filmmaker Morgan Neville, whose previous credits include the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary 20 Feet from Stardom and the 2015 flick Keith Richards: Under the Influence.
Meanwhile, Goo Goo Dolls are currently working on their 13th studio album, the follow-up to 2019's Miracle Pill. The band has tour dates scheduled for the summer but it's not clear if they will actually take place.
Here's wishing Max Weinberg, longtime drummer of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, a very happy 70th birthday today.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, "the Mighty Max," as he's known, replaced Ernest "Boom" Carter in the E Street Band in 1974, before Springsteen recorded his classic Born to Run album. Weinberg has contributed the majority of Springsteen's albums since then, including Bruce's latest studio effort, 2020's Letter to You.
Weinberg also has played on albums by many other well-known artists, including Meat Loaf, Ian Hunter, Bonnie Tyler, Gary "U.S." Bonds, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes.
In addition, Max famously served as leader of the Late Night with Conan O'Brien house band, The Max Weinberg 7, and led The Tonight Show's band during Conan O'Brien's brief stint hosting that program.
In recent years, Weinberg also has led a touring cover band called Max Weinberg's Jukebox. Max's son, Jay Weinberg, also is a drummer; he's occasionally filled in for his dad in the E Steeet Band and has been a member of the popular metal band Slipknot since 2014.
Reflecting on reaching the milestone age, Weinberg tells popular Springsteen fan site Backstreets, "I feel better at 70 than I did at 30 for some reason. We're vaccinated…and starting to perform again. I'm looking forward to an active Fall 2021 of playing drums, when we all hope it's 'safe to go in the water.'"
Regarding touring, Max Weinberg's Jukebox currently is slated to begin playing shows again this summer, starting with a July 9 concert in Hopewell, Virginia.
Previously unseen footage of John Lennon performing a loose version of his classic anthem "Give Peace a Chance" on May 25, 1969, in a Bahamas hotel room has premiered on Lennon's official YouTube channel.
The clip captures the earliest known recording of the song, the most famous version of which was recorded during Lennon and wife Yoko Ono's historic "Bed-In for Peace" protest event at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal on May 31, 1969.
The video features John and Yoko sitting next to each other on a couch, as Lennon strums an acoustic guitar and sings a rendition of "Give Peace a Chance" that includes incomplete and ad-libbed lyrics.
The footage has been restored and presented in the 5K high-res format.
The audio of the Bahamas performance will be available exclusively on the Super Deluxe box set version of the upcoming reissue of Lennon's debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, due out on April 23.
In celebration of the reissue's release, a special interactive listening event will be held Saturday, April 24, starting at 1 p.m. ET that will offer fans a chance to hear the updated mixes of the album's tracks. The event will include participation from Yoko, Sean Ono Lennon, original Plastic Ono Band bassist Klaus Voormann, and the audio team behind the reissue.
Following the listening event, and after-party presentation will be hosted by Twitter Spaces, offering a discussion about the making of the album and the reissue featuring Sean Lennon, Voormann and others. For more information, visit TimsTwitterListeningParty.com.
Mick Jagger has dropped a surprise new single recorded in collaboration with Dave Grohl.
The punk-influenced track is called "Eazy Sleazy," and features vocals and guitars by the Rolling Stones icon, and drums, guitar and bass by the Foo Fighters frontman.
"It's a song that I wrote about coming out of lockdown, with some much needed optimism," Jagger says of "Eazy Sleazy," which makes references to things like Zoom and "TikTok stupid dance." "Thanks to Dave Grohl for jumping on drums, bass and guitar, it was a lot of fun working with him. Hope you all enjoy 'Eazy Sleazy.'"
Grohl adds that "it's hard to put into words" what it meant to record a song with Jagger. "It's beyond a dream come true," he says. "Just when I thought life couldn't get any crazier...and it's the song of the summer, without a doubt!"
"Eazy Sleazy" is accompanied by a video featuring footage of Jagger jamming in his home and Grohl rocking out from the Foo Fighters' studio. You can watch it streaming now on Mick's official YouTube channel. Jagger also has posted the song's lyrics on his official website.
Grohl, by the way, has had quite the news week. Along with the Jagger collaboration, he's also recently announced that his debut book, The Storyteller, will be published in October, and that a new documentary he directed, What Drives Us, will premiere April 30 as part of The Coda Collection, the new, music-focused subscription streaming channel on Amazon Prime Video. What Drives Us includes interviews with a variety of rock stars, including Ringo Starr, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, U2's The Edge and AC/DC's Brian Johnson.
Stevie Wonder is among the many celebrities reacting to the death of Daunte Wright, who died in an officer-involved shooting over the weekend.
The "Superstition" singer penned a passionate letter on Facebook Monday to call for police reform, asking his followers, "How many more Black lives will be lost at the hands of police?"
"This is why we need police reform. Why is the police chief making a conclusion after he refuses to discuss details," he continued, referencing Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon's press conference, where he claimed the officer meant to discharge her Taser.
"A mistake???? How does this happen?? We need police reform," continued Wonder. "Expired license plates?? We need police reform. Black people in this country are dying at the hands of police. Anybody confused?"
The 25-time Grammy winner recalled a similar incident where the roles were reversed -- a Black officer involved in the shooting death of a white woman.
"I remember an accidental police shooting in Minnesota four years ago. A Black police officer accidentally shot and killed a white woman. The police officer immediately stated it was an accident and apologized to the family," he described. "He was tried and convicted of 3rd degree murder and 2nd degree manslaughter."
The officer, Mohamed Noor, claimed he shot in self-defense and was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison.
"Black police- white victim-justice was swift and stiff," noted Wonder. "What will justice serve this time?"
Hoping that Wright's family will "see swift and stiff punishment," the singer claimed the "system need[s] reform" so that justice can be served.
Wright, 20, was stopped Sunday for an expired registration tag on a vehicle and was killed after trying to flee officers, who learned there was a warrant out for his arrest.
George Thorogood will bring a little rock 'n' roll and blues to the Grand Ole Opry when he makes his debut appearance on Nashville's famous country-music showcase on Saturday, April 24.
Tickets for Thorogood's performance already are sold out, but the show will also be viewable on the Circle network, Gray TV stations, DISH Studio Channel 102, Sling TV and other TV affiliates, while a companion livestream will be hosted by Circle's Facebook page and YouTube channel. The concert also will air on satellite radio.
"I'm incredibly humbled by the honor and excited to connect with this audience," says Thorogood. "I'll be stepping onto the Grand Ole Opry stage with my guitar to share some great American music."
Adds Opry executive producer Dan Rogers, "Of course the Opry showcases the best in country music to fans around the world each week, but we also appreciate opportunities to welcome guests from other genres and walks of life, including Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Academy Award-winning actors and directors, and even a U.S. President. George Thorogood is an Opry fan himself, and we're all in for a great show."
Thorogood also notes, "When I was growing up, I'd hear Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins on the radio alongside Ray Charles and Bo Diddley. Music didn't need to be labeled 'country' or 'rock'. If it was good music, you enjoyed it. I loved it all."
One of George's popular early recordings with his longtime backing band The Destroyers was a 1978 cover of Hank Williams' country classic "Move It On Over," while he originally wrote his own 1985 hit "I Drink Alone" for George Jones.
Thorogood and the Destroyers are scheduled to return to the road with a May 10 performance in Saskatoon, Canada.
To accompany the ominous and atmospheric power ballad, Wilson has debuted a lyric video at her YouTube channel. The clip features distorted footage of what appears to be a bird's-eye view of different landscapes and landmarks, including forests, rivers and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
In a note about the new song posted on her socialmedia sites, Ann writes, "'Black Wing' talks poetically about a river and a seabird cruising above it, riding the air currents. The bird is soaring over the landscape below and bringing news of the crazy world to the watcher who is cut off from civilization. I sometimes felt that way during Quarantine!"
Last May, Ann told ABC Audio that she wrote "Black Wing" while in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic at her home in rural Florida, which is located next to a river, explaining that she was inspired by watching the birds she'd see flying near her property.
Wilson co-wrote the tune with musical help from current Heart keyboardist Dan Walker.
"Black Wing" is among several tracks that Ann recorded last year in Seattle during sessions that also yielded her recent singles "Tender Heart" and "The Hammer."
Green was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, and began singing in a gospel quartet while still a child. After moving with his family to Michigan in the late 1950s, he began singing in local soul groups. He scored an R&B hit in 1968 with his band The Soul Mates, and then was signed as a solo artist in 1969 to Memphis' famous Hi Records.
Hi Records vice president Willie Mitchell produced all of Green's albums from 1969 to 1976, and also co-wrote many of Al's biggest hits. Other classic tunes Green recorded during this period include "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," "Call Me (Come Back Home)," and "Take Me to the River."
In 1974, Green was assaulted by a girlfriend who then committed suicide. This incident led to his decision to become an ordained minister, and for many years he gave up performing pop music, instead focusing on gospel. Al eventually returned to singing pop music, and in 1988 his duet with Eurythmics' Annie Lennox of Jackie DeShannon's "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" became a top-10 hit.
Among Green's many career accolades are his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. He also was saluted at the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. His most recent single, a cover of Freddy Fender's 1975 smash "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," was released in 2018.
The book features a front cover photo Stipe took of actor Tilda Swinton, and also includes pics of late beat poet John Giorno, actors Kirsten Dunst and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, singer Beth Ditto, director Gus Van Sant, and model Helena Christensen, among many others.
Michael Stipe is the third in a series of books published by Damiani that collects the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's photos. According to a description of the book, "Michael Stipe explores strength, courage, and vulnerability, pausing the project abruptly due to the covid-19 pandemic. What follows is a lockdown interpretation of a 21st century portrait, with a resolute desire to show our resilience, our humor, our collective fortitude, and our adaptability."
Those who purchase the book will be able to access audio content via a QR code that will include Stipe discussing the making of the volume, sharing anecdotes and explaining the intention behind the book.