Music

Bon Jovi, The Cars, Moody Blues, Dire Straits, others inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Bon Jovi reunited with former members onstage Saturday night to celebrate their admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, as the late icon Nina Simone and other nominees made up this year’s induction class. Bon Jovi was the first band to take the stage in Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, USA Today reported. Band members Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Tico Torres reunited with former bandmates Richie Sambora and Alec John. Jon Bon Jovi gave a 20-minute-long speech onstage, which he said he had been writing for years. “I’ve been writing this speech since I first strummed a broom and sang at the top of the stairs of my childhood home,” he said, according to the paper. “I’ve actually written it many ways, many times. Some days I write a thank you speech and other days, I write a (expletive)-you speech.” Sambora, who left the New Jersey band in 2013, and Alec John Such, who left in 1994, embraced their former bandmates with a hug after each one spoke onstage to accept the honor. They performed together, singing crowd favorites like “Livin’ on a Prayer,” ”You Give Love a Bad Name” and “It’s My Life.” Sambora thanked his fans and bandmates, the paper reported. “Songs are very profound in a way, because you’re connecting with humanity,” he said. “Everybody’s more alike than they are (different), and especially now in today’s world, that’s really important.” Simone, who died in 2003, was welcomed into the Rock Hall in a groundbreaking way from performers who she has deeply inspired, from Lauryn Hill and Andra Day to Mary J. Blige. Hill stretched her voice and sang in French, in honor of Simone’s music, which earned her a standing ovation from the crowd. Day, a Grammy-nominated R&B singer, hit high notes that also earned her applause. Both women exceptionally displayed their powerhouse voices. Blige inducted Simone, calling the singer “bold, strong, feisty and fearless.” “Her voice was so distinctive and powerful and I never heard anything like it,” the R&B superstar said. Simone was a leader in pushing for civil rights and influenced everyone from Aretha Franklin to Alicia Keys. Her brother, Sam Waymon, accepted the honor on his sister’s behalf. The 33rd annual Rock Hall ceremony kicked off with a tribute to Tom Petty, who died in October at age 66. The Killers earned a loud applause from the audience when they started performing “American Girl,” then transitioned to “Free Fallin’.” The Cars and four first-time nominees, including Simone, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, make up the 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class. The ceremony didn’t end this year with the group jam session of the induction class that has become Rock Hall tradition, USA Today reported. Instead, inductees the Moody Blues ended the night as the last act. Rock Hall voters have recently opened their hearts to progressive rockers, which benefited the “Nights in White Satin” singers. Howard Stern inducted this year’s class, telling jokes along the way, including one about Rock Hall co-founder Jann Wenner, questioning why he was qualified to vote on who enters the hall. Stern said the Rolling Stone magazine founder doesn’t play any instruments “but he did start a great magazine … and now it’s the size of a pamphlet.”

Special congrats to the Moody Blues!  Their induction was WAY overdue.  Everyone else on stage was in diapers (or hadn’t even been born) when they were making their first hits.  Also glad to see Dire Straits got recognized, even though the Kopfler brothers were no-shows.

Huey Lewis and the News cancel 2018 shows citing singer’s hearing loss

Huey Lewis and the News canceled their 2018 concerts over the singer’s health issues. The band shared the sad news on Twitter Friday explaining how Lewis’ hearing loss has impacted his ability to sing. Lewis said he lost “most” of his hearing two-and-a-half months ago after a concert in Dallas. “Although I can still hear a little, one on one, and on the phone, I can’t hear music well enough to sing,” the frontman said in a statement. “The doctors believe I have Meniere’s disease and have agreed that I can’t perform until I improve,” he wrote. “Therefore the only prudent thing to do is to cancel all future shows. Needless to say, I feel horrible about this and wish to sincerely apologize to all fans who’ve already bought tickets and were planning to come see us. I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again.” Meniere’s disease is a disorder where a person experiences episodes of vertigo and fluctuating hearing loss. The band had previously canceled shows this past spring citing medical issues.

Sad news…from the News!   We wish Huey a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the road in the near future.

Fleetwood Mac replacing Lindsey Buckingham before upcoming tour

Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham reportedly has left the group just before it embarks on a massive tour this summer. However, the famed guitarist will be replaced and the shows will go on. According to TMZ, the group revealed that the longtime guitarist will not be performing with the band on tour, but that the other members wish him luck in future endeavors. Fortunately, the loss is being made up by way of Mike Campbell, longtime lead guitarist for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, as well as Crowded House frontman Neil Finn when the tour kicks off. “We are thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the caliber of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family. With Mike and Neil, we’ll be performing all the hits that the fans love, plus we’ll be surprising our audiences with some tracks from our historic catalogue of songs,” said the group said in a statement to Variety. “Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honoring that spirit on this upcoming tour.” “Fleetwood Mac has always been about an amazing collection of songs that are performed with a unique blend of talents,” Mick Fleetwood told the outlet. “We jammed with Mike and Neil and the chemistry really worked and let the band realize that this is the right combination to go forward with in Fleetwood Mac style. We know we have something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.” Buckingham joined the group as a lead guitarist in 1974 and stayed on until 1987. He took a break from the band for 10 years before returning in 1997. He and the rest of the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year later. The band is currently expected to hit the road in June with later tour dates still to come.

NO!!!!!!!  Well, guess I’ll scratch that tour off my list for this summer.   Glad I was able to see the famous “Dance” tour back in ’97.  That chemistry between Stevie and Lindsey cannot be replicated, and Lindsey has a signature guitar sound/style.  What a bummer!  Boo!!

Mozart’s childhood violin heads to China

The violin that Mozart used as a child left Friday for a state visit by Austrian government members to China, where a seven-year-old girl will play it for President Xi Jinping. The girl, Anna Caecilia Pfoess, “will accompany us… as a musical ambassador and represent Austria as a land of culture,” President Alexander Van der Bellen said. “She will do it quite brilliantly, I am sure,” Van der Bellen told reporters before the 200-strong delegation of politicians, business people and others departed. “#Music is a common language understood and appreciated the world over,” he added on Twitter alongside a photo of the grinning seven-year-old clutching the instrument and wearing traditional Austrian garb. The violin is believed to have been made in the 1740s and until 1820 belonged to Mozart’s sister Maria Anna, nicknamed Nannerl, also a child prodigy. Since 1896 it has been in the collection of the Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, and is normally on display at the museum in the house where the composer was born. Pfoess will perform at Sunday’s state banquet attended by Xi and Van der Bellen, playing pieces by, unsurprisingly, Mozart but also other Austrian and Chinese composers.

🙂

The Who’s Roger Daltrey says he is ‘very, very deaf,’ urges fans to use earplugs

The Who’s frontman Roger Daltrey has a message for kids who are looking to pursue long-lasting careers in rock and roll. During a recent Vegas concert, Daltrey revealed to the rock and roll crowd that after years in the industry, the sounds of rock have made him “very, very deaf.” And as a word to the wise, the rock and roll crooner offered some advice to those looking to follow his career path and yelled to the crowd, “I advise you all – all you rock-and-roll fans – take your f—ing earplugs with you to the gigs.” He then added that he wished earplugs were something that he had used more often when it came to playing rowdy gigs. “If only we had known when we were young… we are lip-reading,” the singer admitted. But despite his hearing issues, Daltrey vowed to keep performing “for a long time.” “I am lucky to be doing what I do – so thank you,” he said. The singer also added that he now uses in-ear monitors and has become very good at reading lips.

Shooting Star’s Van McLain Dies After Long Illness

Van McClain, guitarist with Shooting Star, has died after a three-year battle against the West Nile virus. Confirming the news on Facebook, band spokesman Randy Raley said: “It is with a very broken heart that I announce the passing of one of my all-time favorite people, Van McLain. I love him as a brother and I will miss him desperately. Van has been sick a long time, and I’m glad he’s finally free. Peace and Godspeed to his friends and family.” McClain contracted the virus in 2015, at one point requiring ICU attention including the fitting of feeding and breathing tubes. By last year he had recovered somewhat, but his medical insurers refused to continue his rehab funding, a fundraising page reported. Another fundraising event page reported: “Van is now at a point where he needs intense therapy, transportation and high-tech equipment so he can get stronger like we have been told he can … After over two years of trying to recover, he is now at a point where rehab can help him walk again.” McClain’s first interaction with the music industry was unfortunate – signed in 1968 by Clive Davis in England at the age of 18, he recorded his track “Take The Money and Run” with the expectation of a release. “Two months after we went in the studio, Steve Miller came out with a different (and soon to be much more famous) song named ‘Take the Money and Run,’” McClain told Goldmine in 2013. “There was no way my song was going to get released, so the record deal fell apart, and I moved back to Kansas City.” Formed in 1978, Shooting Star’s first run took them to 1987 before they split, after having been the victims of industry woes which meant they couldn’t take advantage of their AOR radio hit “Last Chance.” In a later interview McLain said: “We’d been slugging away at this for ten years, through about five different record deals, four sets of managers, three crooked lawyers, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree. I’d had enough.” They reconvened in 1989, putting out Best of Shooting Star, which included the previously unreleased track “Touch Me Tonight.” The song became their biggest hit, reaching No. 67 on the Hot 100 and receiving ample play on MTV. The group remained working, with a run of lineup changes, and a total of nine studio albums, the last of which was 2015’s Into the Night. McClain noted: “I just still love getting out there and doing this. Maybe I didn’t get the whole pie, but we still got a slice, and that’s good enough.” Current Kansas frontman Ronnie Platt was a member of Shooting Star from 2007 to 2011. In previously unpublished comments from 2016, Platt told UCR: “Through a mutual friend, I got hooked up with Shooting Star. I met Van and we hit it off.” His only regret with the band, he said, was: “I wish we would have played a lot more.” He added: “What a talented band. They really, really should have been a lot bigger than they were. I know in Chicago, boy, Shooting Star really got a lot of airplay. … It’s funny, all of my friends around Chicago and stuff, ‘Who’s Shooting Star? I’ve never heard of Shooting Star,’ and I would always say, ‘Yes, you did.’ I would play them a montage of their songs and they’d be like, ‘I know that song, I know that song, I know that song.’” He name-checked the tracks “Last Chance,” “Hang On For Your Life,” “Breakout” and “Flesh and Blood.”

And, how about “Tonight” or “Straight Ahead?”  There were so many great songs!  I was devastated to learn of Van’s passing.  Had no idea he was ill.  I have many fond memories of seeing Shooting Star in concert back when I was in high school in St. Louis.  The band’s “spokesperson,” Randy Raley, was a dj back in the’80s and early ’90s for St. Louis’ legendary rock radio station KSHE 95.  Back then, their music was always on KSHE.  If for some reason you don’t who Shooting Star is, they’re like a cross between Journey and Kansas, and were the first band to sign with Virgin records.  Just Google “Shooting Star Band” and you’ll find em.  Or, better, go to eBay and search “Shooting Star” and get a cd or two, while you still can.  A few years ago Van mailed me a cd of a solo project he was working on.  The man never gave up, and went through several singers after Gary threw in the towel and decided to open an asbestos removal business in KC.  He kept the faith, and kept Shooting Star together for decades.  With his passing, Shooting Star is probably no more. Our prayers go to Van’s family  Thanks for all the great tunes, Van.  R.I.P.

John Williams to quit scoring ‘Star Wars’ films

Star Wars composer John Williams has indicated that he will only score one more franchise movie. Film music icon Williams – who has also handled the soundtracks for Jaws, ET, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and more over his illustrious career – recently spoke to California radio station KUSC when he suggested that he would quit the Star Wars franchise after Episode IX, expected in 2019. Williams has scored nine Star Wars films to date: the original Star Wars, its original sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, plus The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. He handed over the reins for 2016’s Rogue One to Michael Giacchino, while John Powell will score this year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. Williams has now told KUSC: “We know JJ Abrams is preparing one [Star Wars movie] now that I will hopefully do next year for him. I look forward it. It will round out a series of nine, that will be quite enough for me.” Back in 2016, Williams admitted that he hadn’t watched any of the Star Wars movies that he scored, describing his soundtracks for the films as “not very memorable”. “I let it go,” he told The Mirror. “‘I have not looked at the Star Wars films and that’s absolutely true. When I’m finished with a film, I’ve been living with it, we’ve been dubbing it, recording to it, and so on. You walk out of the studio and, ‘Ah, it’s finished.’” “Now I don’t have an impulse to go to the theatre and look at it,” he added. “Maybe some people find that weird, or listen to recordings of my music very, very rarely.” “A lot of them ​are ​not very memorable and so on​. It’s probably the most popular music that I’ve done.”

Indeed..  And, Maestro Williams has every right to call it quits.  He’s been providing us the soundtracks to all of the Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones, ET, Harry Potter and more for over 40 years.  His decision to call it quits is completely understandable.  But, his signature contribution to the Star Wars franchise will be missed, and will mark the end of an iconic pop culture era.  Thank you, John, for all the great music!    🙂