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Paul McCartney Schedules Japanese Concerts in April


Credit: MJ KimPaul McCartney has announced his first 2015 dates of his ongoing Out There tour, a four-show visit to Japan that will take place in April.  The concerts are scheduled for April 21 at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka and April 23, 25 and 27 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo.

Last May, Sir Paul was forced to cancel a series of shows in Japan when he was taken ill with a virus, and he's excited to return to the country this year.

"I cannot wait to get back to Japan and have some more great rocking rolling nights together," McCartney says in a new video message.  "It was lovely to be there in two-thousand-and-13 and we had some fun.  It was also very disappointing not to be able to perform there last year, but I want to thank all you lovely people for the great messages you sent me.  It was very kind.  Thank you so much.  So listen, we're coming back and we're gonna rock, we're gonna roll, we're gonna do it together.  Let's have some fun!  Saiko! [Awesome]."

As usual, Paul will be accompanied by his longtime backing band at the shows, which will feature a mix of Beatles classics, solo hits and songs from McCartney's most recent studio album, 2013's NEW.

Tickets for the Japanese concerts go on sale February 28 at 10 a.m. local time.

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ZZ Top and Weezer to Perform as "Wee-Z Top" This Monday on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"


Image Courtesy of ABCZZ Top will team up with modern rockers Weezer next week for the first installment of a new Jimmy Kimmel Live! segment called "Mash Up Mondays," that will feature unlikely one-off collaborative performances by two popular music acts.  The Texas trio and Weezer will join forces to form "Wee-Z Top" -- a name coined by host Jimmy Kimmel -- on this Monday's episode of the late night show, which airs on ABC at 11:35 p.m. ET/10:35 p.m. CT.

The showcase, which will take place each Monday in February -- also will feature funk great Morris Day performing with pop-rock sister act HAIM as "Morris Day and the HAIM" on February 9, and soul star Aloe Blacc collaborating with R&B group Blackstreet as "Aloe Blaccstreet" on February 16.  The artists who will perform on the February 23 edition of "Mash-Up Monday" haven't been revealed.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, ZZ Top visited Jimmy Kimmel Live! this past Monday, January 26, and performed three tunes -- the band's recent song "Gotsta Get Paid" and the classics "Tush" and "La Grange."  You can watch video of the performances online at the Jimmy Kimmel Live! official site and YouTube channel.

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Brian Wilson's New Solo Album, "No Pier Pressure," to Be Released on April 7


Capitol RecordsBrian Wilson has unveiled full details about his latest solo album, No Pier Pressure, which will be released on April 7.  The record sees the founding Beach Boys mastermind teaming up with a variety of guest artists, including former band mates Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin, as well as acclaimed trumpet player Mark Isham.

Wilson also tapped the talents of a variety of younger music artists whom he's inspired, among them fun. frontman Nate Ruess, country singer Kacey Musgraves, indie-pop duo She & Him's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, and Capital Cities' Sebu Simonian.  In addition, a number of well-known studio musicians were brought in to play on the album, including bassist/producer Don Was, guitarist Dean Parks and drummers Jim Keltner and Kenny Aronoff, as well as several members of Brian's touring group, his former band mate Jeffrey Foskett and Jardine's son Matt.

One surprising omission from the list of collaborators is rock guitar legend Jeff Beck, whose previously reported contributions to the No Pier Pressure sessions apparently did not make the final cut.

Brian initially had envisioned the new album as a follow-up to The Beach Boys' 2012 reunion project That's Why God Made the Radio, but when that plan fell through he decided to call on a variety of contemporary artists to take part in the recording.

No Pier Pressure will be available as a standard CD and digital download featuring 13 songs, a deluxe edition CD and download with three bonus tracks, and a 180-gram two-LP vinyl set featuring the same 16 tunes as the deluxe version of the album.

Here is the track list for the deluxe version of No Pier Pressure:

"This Beautiful Day"
"Runaway Dancer" (featuring Sebu Simonian)
"What Ever Happened" (featuring Al Jardine and David Marks)
"On the Island" (featuring She & Him)
"Our Special Love" (featuring Peter Hollens)
"The Right Time" (featuring Al Jardine and David Marks)
"Guess You Had to Be There" (featuring Kacey Musgraves)
*"Don't Worry"
*"Somewhere Quiet"
*"I'm Feeling Sad"
"Tell Me Why" (featuring Al Jardine)
"Sail Away" (featuring Blondie Chaplin and Al Jardine)
"One Kind of Love"
"Saturday Night" (featuring Nate Ruess)
"The Last Song"
"Half Moon Bay"

* = not featured on the standard version.

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"Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck" Director Brett Morgen Talks "Raw, Intimate" Film


The End of Music, LLC/HBOKurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the first fully authorized documentary about the late Nirvana frontman, got its premiere last weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.  In an interview with Rolling Stone, director Brett Morgen says he "felt a lot more pressure" with Montage of Heck than with any other project he's worked on, including the Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane.

"I don't think there has ever been, or will ever be, another movie about an icon that's this raw or intimate," he says.

One of the bigger stories that came out of the Montage of Heck premiere was that Foo Fighters frontman -- and Nirvana drummer -- Dave Grohl did not appear in the film.  Morgen told Billboard that Grohl was interviewed, but that he couldn't cut the interview in time for the Sundance premiere of the film.  The director reiterated that explanation to Rolling Stone, adding that he "didn't think I needed two people from Nirvana."

Morgen explains, "It's not that type of movie.  So I was fine locking picture with [Nirvana bassist] Krist [Novoselic]."

Another big story surrounding the film was the use of Cobain's unreleased solo material.

"The score is all unreleased Cobain music.  They don't have titles," Morgen points out.  "Before people saw the movie, there were these weird press releases focusing on the unreleased music.  And it's like: It's a movie.  We're not going to stop it and play a song for four minutes."

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck will air on HBO on May 4.

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Doobie Brothers Launch New "Concert Club" Giving Fans Access to Special Ticket Offers and Merchandise


Credit: Jim SheaThe Doobie Brothers have launched a new fan club that will give their biggest fans access to premium seats and special packages, as well as being treated to a variety of cool themed merchandise and collectibles.  For an annual fee of $39.99, the "Takin' It to the Streets Concert Club" offers participants priority access to pre-sale tickets and VIP packages to select shows, while members also receive a Doobie Brothers guitar-pick set, blanket and limited-edition lithograph, as well as the chance to enter special contests and giveaways.

"Music has changed a lot during our career, but one thing hasn't: fans want the best concert-going experience possible," says Doobies singer/guitarist Tom Johnston.  "We want to make sure our super fans have access to the best seats, our newest merch and also get rewarded for their loyalty."

Among the VIP experiences that can be purchased for the band's 2015 tour dates is the VIP Front Row Meet & Greet Package, which includes a reserved seat in the first row, an in-person meeting and photo with members of the group, plus a Doobie Brothers belt buckle, tote bag, ear buds and laminate.

To join The Doobies' Takin' It to the Streets Concert Club and check out the band's current tour itinerary, visit FanClub.DoobieBros.com.

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Tom Petty Issues Statement Regarding Sam Smith, Says "I Won't Back Down" Similarity Was a "Musical Accident"


Credit: Sam JonesEarlier this week, it was announced that Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne had been added to the songwriting credits of "Stay with Me," the Grammy-nominated hit by British pop star Sam Smith, because of its supposed similarity to Petty and Lynne's 1989 hit composition, "I Won't Back Down."  Now, Petty has issued statement about that decision, saying there's no bad blood between himself and Smith.

"About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam," Petty writes on his website. "All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen.  Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by." 

Here, Petty is apparently referring to the fact that sometimes, songwriters are unaware that what they're working on is similar to an existing song.

Petty then continues, "Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement.  The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention.  And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself.  Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this.  A musical accident no more no less."

Petty concludes, "In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all."

When the news of the credit addendum came to life, Sam's rep issued a statement saying that the publishers of "I Won't Back Down" had contacted the publishers of "Stay with Me" about the "similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions."  The statement went on to say that Sam and his co-writers were not "previously familiar with" Petty's hit, but they "acknowledged the similarity."

That statement concluded, "Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of 'Stay With Me' along with Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips."

The Recording Academy later clarified that if "Stay with Me" wins the Song of the Year Grammy, Petty and Lynne will not receive trophies, because they didn't do any "new writing" on the song.

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New Ringo Starr Album, "Postcards from Paradise," Out March 31


Credit: Rob ShanahanRingo Starr hits the road again in two weeks for about a month's worth of dates, but he'll be back home in time for the release of his new album, Postcards from Paradise, set to drop March 31.

Ringo's 18th studio album sees him backed by his current All Starr Band players: Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg BissonettePostcards from Paradise is also Ringo's first studio album to include a song written and recorded by them.  It'll also feature contributions from guests including Joe Walsh, Benmont Tench, Dave Stewart, violinist Ann Marie Simpson, Richard Marx, singer Amy Keys, Peter Frampton, bassist and vocalist Nathan East, and Glen Ballard.

Postcards from Paradise's release also sets the stage for Ringo's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame April 18, when he'll receive the Award for Musical Excellence.  He is, of course, already in the Hall as a member of The Beatles.

Here's the track listing for Postcards from Paradise:

"Rory and the Hurricanes"
"You Bring the Party Down"
"Bridges"
"Postcards from Paradise"
"Right Side of the Road"
"Not Looking Back"
"Bamboula"
"Island in the Sun"
"Touch and Go"
"Confirmation"
"Let Love Lead"

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Foo Fighters Announce Second NYC Tour Stop


Brantley GutierrezThe Foo Fighters’ July 16 show at New York City’s Citi Field sold out pretty quickly after the tour was announced last November.  If you didn’t score tickets, you now have another chance -- the Foos have announced a second City Field show for the night before.

Tickets for the just-added July 15 show go on sale tomorrow, January 30, at 10 a.m. local time via Mets.com/foos.

Here’s the complete Foo Fighters tour lineup, including the new show.  Get more info, including the shows for which tickets are still available, at FooFighters.com.

7/4 -- Washington, D.C., RFK Stadium
7/6 -- Camden, NJ, Susquehanna Bank Center *
7/9 -- Toronto, ON, Molson Canadian Amphitheatre *
7/15 -- New York, NY, Citi Field
7/16 -- New York, NY, Citi Field *
7/18 -- Boston, MA, Fenway Park **
7/19 -- Boston, MA, Fenway Park *
8/12 -- Edmonton, AB, Rexall Place *
8/13 -- Calgary, AB, Scotiabank Saddledome *
8/17 -- Denver, CO, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre *
8/19 -- Maryland Heights, MO, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater *
8/21 -- Kansas City, MO, Sprint Center *
8/22 -- St. Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center *
8/24 -- Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre *
8/25 -- Pittsburgh, PA, First Niagara Pavilion *
8/27 -- Indianapolis, IN, Klipsch Music Center
8/29 -- Chicago, IL, Wrigley Field
9/11 -- Vancouver, BC, Rogers Arena
9/12 -- George, WA, Gorge Amphitheatre
9/14 -- Portland, OR, Moda Center
9/16 -- Mountain View, CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/18 -- Anaheim, CA, Honda Center
9/21 -- Los Angeles, CA, The Forum
9/25 -- Phoenix, AZ, AK-Chin Pavilion
9/27 -- Albuquerque, NM, Isleta Amphitheater
9/29 -- Oklahoma City, OK, Chesapeake Energy Arena
9/30 -- Wichita, KS, INTRUST Bank Arena
10/4 -- Atlanta, GA, Centennial Olympic Park
10/5 -- Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
10/7 -- Memphis, TN, FedExForum

* w/special guest Royal Blood
** w/special guest Mission of Burma

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Ex-Genesis Guitarist Steve Hackett Upset He Wasn't "Equally Represented" in Band's Recent Documentary


Credit: Lee MillwardEarlier this month, the 2014 Genesis documentary Sum of the Parts, which premiered in the U.S. on Showtime in October, was released on DVD and Blu-ray.  The film featured brand-new interviews with all five members of the band's classic early 1970s lineup, including guitarist Steve Hackett.  The doc focused on the group's history as well as each member's solo career, but Hackett tells ABC News Radio that he wasn't very happy about the amount of coverage his own work outside of the group was given.

"I got on board believing, naively perhaps, that we would all be equally represented," he says.  "But the short of it is, I did two hours to camera on my own and two hours with the band sitting 'round, but it was heavily butchered in the cutting room stage…And I think something that was presented initially as an idea of something completely democratic ended up being something other than that."

Hackett says he was much happier with the 2014 companion compilation, R-Kive, on which the band members collaborated in conjunction with the documentary.

"I perhaps mistakenly thought that because of the album that we were all working on together that we were all Genesis and we were all equals once more, but sadly it's not to be," he laments.

He adds that the experience he had with the film project makes him doubt that the band members will be able to come together for any type of reunion.

"When people ask me…is there gonna be a reformation, I say, '[L]ook at the documentary and you'll get an idea of the priorities that come across," says Hackett, "and I think it's probably extremely unlikely."

Having said that, the guitar virtuoso tells ABC News Radio that he still would be open to playing with his ex-band mates if by some chance they all agreed to a reunion.

"I think that I've always been up for that," he admits.  "It's been decades I've been saying, 'Call me if you need me.'  So, my door's open to that, certainly."

As for Hackett's upcoming plans, he will be bringing his Genesis Extended tribute tour to South America in March.  Then, on April 7, he will release a new solo album titled Wolflight.  Visit HackettSongs.com for all the latest news on Steve.

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Black Sabbath Bass Player Geezer Butler Arrested in Bar Fight


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Black Sabbath bass player Geezer Butler spent Tuesday night behind bars in Death Valley, California, after getting into a bar brawl.

The Inyo County Sheriff's Department reports the alleged fight took place at the Corkscrew Saloon, located on the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley.  According to witnesses, the altercation began as an argument over an unspecified topic, and escalated into a fight that resulted in someone being struck and a window being broken.  Butler, 65, was arrested for misdemeanor assault, vandalism, and public intoxication.

According to the sheriff's department, Butler was booked into the county jail, and then released "after detox and citation."

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Listen to Title Track from Randy Bachman's Upcoming Album, "Heavy Blues," Featuring Peter Frampton


Credit: Mike HoughThe first taste of Heavy Blues, the upcoming studio album by Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman's new group, Bachman, has made its way online.  A clip featuring the audio of the record's entire title track, boasting a guest appearance by Peter Frampton, has been posted on YouTube.

The song lives up to its name, with Bachman and Frampton delivering dueling blues-y guitar riffs accompanied by a bludgeoning rhythm section reminiscent of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

As previously reported, Bachman the band is comprised of Randy, bassist Anna Ruddick and drummer Dale Anne BrendonHeavy Blues features guest appearances by such respected guitarists as Frampton, Neil Young, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph and the late Jeff Healey.

The album will be released on April 14; it's currently available for pre-order at iTunes, Amazon and LinusEntertainment.com.

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The Who Announces Special Vinyl Releases to Mark 50th Anniversary


LAMedia Collection/Sunshine/RetnaThe Who has announced that 180-gram vinyl reissues of all 11 of its studio albums, along with a double-LP vinyl version of its 2014 The Who Hits 50! compilation, will be released on March 24 in conjunction with the band's 50th anniversary celebrations.  In addition, on April 7, The Who will release a seven-inch blue-vinyl single of its latest song, "Be Lucky," as well as the first of a series of four vinyl box sets gathering together the group's earlier singles.

The British rockers' reissued studio albums, spanning from their 1965 debut My Generation through 2006's Endless Wire, will feature remastered sound and will replicate the original artwork and inserts.  For example, 1969's Tommy will feature a six-panel fold-out sleeve and 12-page booklet; 1973's Quadrophenia will include a 44-page booklet; and 1981's Face Dances will come with a 24-by-24-inch poster.

As for the blue-vinyl "Be Lucky" single, it will be backed by The Who's very first single, 1965's "I Can't Explain."  "Be Lucky" was first released in 2014, and appeared on The Who Hits 50! compilation.  It was the first new music the band had put out since 2006.

The aforementioned vinyl box set is titled The Brunswick Singles 1965–1966, and features replica versions of all seven singles The Who released on the Brunswick label at the beginning of its career.  The package also includes a bonus disc featuring "Zoot Suit" and "I'm the Face," the two songs the band released under the name The High Numbers in 1964, and a color booklet with liner notes about the singles penned by Who biographer Mark Blake.  Each of the three other singles box sets that will be arrive later in 2015 will feature singles issued by the band's later record labels Reaction, Track and Polydor.

The Who will launch the first of two scheduled 2015 North American tour legs marking the band's 50th anniversary on April 15 in Tampa, Florida.  Visit TheWho.com to check out the band's full itinerary.

Here is the list of remastered albums The Who will release on vinyl on March 24:

My Generation (1965)
A Quick One (1966)
The Who Sell Out (1967)
Tommy (double) (1969)
Who's Next (1971)
Quadrophenia (double) (1973)
The Who by Numbers (1975)
Who Are You (1978)
Face Dances (1981)
It's Hard (1982)
Endless Wire (double) (2006)
The Who Hits 50! (double) (2014)

Here is the track list for The Brunswick Singles 1965–1966 box set:

"I Can't Explain" b/w "Bald Headed Woman" (1965)
"Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" b/w "Daddy Rolling Stone" (1965)
"My Generation" b/w "Shout and Shimmy" (1965)
"Circles" b/w "Instant Party Mixture" (unreleased at the time)
"A Legal Matter" b/w "Instant Party" (1966)
"The Kids Are Alright" b/w "The Ox" (1966)
"La-La-La Lies" b/w "The Good's Gone" (1966)
Bonus Disc (The High Numbers)
"Zoot Suit" b/w "I'm the Face" (1964)

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Paul McCartney Performing with Rihanna and Kanye West at the Grammys?


Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation RecordsIf rumors are to be believed, Paul McCartney will be taking the stage with Rihanna and Kanye West at the Grammy Awards next month to perform their new collaboration, "FourFiveSeconds."

"Paul McCartney's a Grammys regular and it will give Rihanna serious kudos to have a Beatle backing her on stage," a source told U.K. newspaper The Sun.  "It is going to be a huge Grammys moment."

McCartney plays on the track, while Rihanna and West share vocals.  "FourFiveSeconds" debuted this past Saturday, and marks the second collaboration featuring Sir Paul and Kanye that's been released in 2015.  McCartney plays keyboard on and co-wrote West's single "Only One," which premiered on New Year's Day.

If McCartney does team up with Rihanna and Kanye to perform at this year's Grammys, it stands to be quite different from Sir Paul's 2014 appearance on the awards show.  Last year, he and his former Beatles band mate Ringo Starr collaborated on a rendition of his new solo song "Queenie Eye."  The 57th Annual Grammy Awards take place on February 8 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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New Photo Exhibit by Pattie Boyd, Ex-Wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, to Open in San Francisco


© Pattie BoydA new exhibition featuring photos taken by Pattie Boyd, the ex-wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, will open on February 10 at the San Francisco Art Exchange.  The display will boast a wide variety of candid and rare images documenting her life with the two rock legends, as well as many of their famous musical friends and associates.

The exhibit also will feature the original painting that appears on the cover of Clapton's classic 1970 Derek and the Dominos album Layla and Other Love Songs.  The piece, which has never before been displayed in the U.S., usually hangs in Boyd's house in the U.K.  Pattie, of course, was inspiration for Eric's song "Layla," as well as several other famous tunes, including "Wonderful Tonight" and Harrison's chart-topping Beatles hit "Something."

A reception celebrating the opening of Boyd's exhibit will be held at the gallery on February 14, Valentine's Day.  The exhibition will remain open until March 10.

Check out SFAE.com for more information.

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Chris Robinson Says Reason for Black Crowes Split "Way More Complicated" than Brother Rich's Explanation


Credit: Rod SnyderEarlier this month, founding Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson issued a statement announcing that the band had broken up after 25 years together.  In the message, Rich cited a conflict with his older brother, Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, as the reason for the band's split, claiming that the singer had demanded Rich reduce his "equal share of the band and that our drummer for 28 years…Steve Gorman, relinquish 100% of his share, reducing him to a salaried employee."

Now, Chris Robinson has commented about the breakup for the first time since his brother's announcement.  The singer tells Billboard that the story behind the split is "way more complicated than Rich's public outburst," although he didn't go into further details.  He does lament, however, "It's unfortunate that on the 25th anniversary, whether the band is working or not, that it's not about the songs and the good times people had at those concerts."

Chris also explains, "I'm going to keep my personal, private family business personal and private, and I'll focus on all the other things that are important.  The ideas, I think, are more important than the drama. I have too much stuff going on that's progressive and positive to dig through sordid family history and stuff."

That positive "stuff" includes the singer's work with his current band, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, which has a busy 2015 tour schedule that includes a bunch of U.S. dates and a brief Australian tour lined up in early April.

Chris says the group, whose third studio album, Phosphorescent Harvest, came out in 2014, "is my future."  He adds, "I think it's been leading this way for a while that the CRB is really where we all want to be and really where we want to put our collective focus."  Chris Robinson Brotherhood's lineup also includes recent Black Crowes keyboardist Adam MacDougall and veteran singer/guitarist Neal Casal.

According to Chris, fans who attend CRB shows can expect to hear some Black Crowes tunes that he's written, as well as the cover of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" that his old band popularized.  However, he says Chris Robinson Brotherhood will focus mainly on its own original material.

You can check out the band's full tour schedule at ChrisRobinsonBrotherhood.com.

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Leonard Cohen Nabs Four Nominations for 2015 Juno Awards


PRNewsFoto/Columbia RecordsHallelujah! One of the top nominees for this year's Juno Awards, Canada's equivalent of the Grammys, is 80 years old -- influential singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.  The lauded folk-rock artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, who probably is best known for penning the popular tune "Hallelujah," received nominations in four categories.

Cohen will compete for Artist of the Year, Fan Choice Award, Album of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year, with the latter two honors for his 2014 studio effort Popular Problems.

Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan also are in the running for the Artist of the Year Prize.  As previously reported, Canadian rock legends Rush will be acknowledged for their philanthropic work at the Junos with the 2015 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.

The 2015 Juno Awards will be held on March 15 in Hamilton, Ontario.  A full list of nominees can be found on JunoAwards.ca.

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Steely Dan Announces Run of Spring U.S. Tour Dates


Credit: Danny ClinchSteely Dan recently confirmed a pair of headlining performances at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, on April 10 and April 17, and now the band has announced a full series of spring shows in the Western U.S.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' concerts run from an April 7-8 stand in Santa Rosa, California, through an April 18 date in San Diego.

In recent years, Steely Dan has headed out on a variety of quirkily named treks, including last year's Jamalot Ever After tour and 2013's Mood Swings outing.  2015 is no exception, as this year's trek has been christened the Rockabye Golly Angel Tour.  On-sale dates for the new shows vary; visit SteelyDan.com for details.  More concerts are expected to be announced soon.

Here are all of Steely Dan's confirmed 2015 tour dates:

4/7 -- Santa Rosa, CA, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
4/8 -- Santa Rosa, CA, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
4/10 -- Indio, CA, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
4/11 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort
4/14 -- Paso Robles, CA, Vina Robles Amphitheatre
4/15 -- Santa Barbara, CA, County Bowl
4/17 -- Indio CA, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
4/18 -- San Diego, CA, Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay

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Elton John Signs Deal with HBO to Executive-Produce New Drama, "Virtuoso"


ABC/Randy HolmesAs a child, Elton John was a musical prodigy -- you might have even called him a virtuoso.  So perhaps it's fitting that Elton has signed a deal with HBO to produce a musical historical drama called Virtuoso.

Variety reports that the Rocket Man is teaming with his husband, David Furnish, and True Blood creator Alan Ball on the project, which is set in 18th century Vienna, Austria.  It follows a class of European musicians who all attend a prestigious school called The Academy of Musical Excellence.  This is obviously something that Elton has some experience with, having won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in England when he was just 11 years old.

Production on the Virtuoso pilot episode begins this spring in Hungary.  John, Ball and Furnish will be executive producers; Ball is writing the pilot episode.

Elton and his husband are no strangers to the world of movies and TV: Their company Rocket Pictures has been responsible for several television and film projects, including the animated flick Gnomeo & Juliet.

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The Who, Van Morrison to Headline London Benefit Shows for Teenage Cancer Trust


Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The Who; Exile ProductionsThe Who and Van Morrison are among the acts that will headline the 2015 Teenage Cancer Trust benefit concerts, which will take place from March 23 through March 28 at London's Royal Albert Hall.  This year marks the 15th anniversary of the charity series, which Who frontman Roger Daltrey helps organize.

The British rock legends will headline the March 26 show, which will feature special guest Wilko Johnson, who teamed up with Daltrey to record the award-winning 2013 collaborative album Going Back Home.  Morrison will perform on the previous night, March 25, and will be joined by a number of as-yet-unannounced guest musicians.

The lineup for this year's Teenage Cancer Trust benefit concerts also includes Stereophonics on March 23, former Jam frontman Paul Weller and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr on March 27, and former Oasis guitarist/singer Noel Gallagher and his current group High Flying Birds on March 28.

The shows raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a U.K. charity that helps fund medical facilities and programs for young people suffering from cancer.  Tickets go on sale on Friday, January.  Visit TeenageCancerTrust.org for more information.

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Recording Academy Says Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne Won't Receive a Grammy if Sam Smith's "Stay with Me" Wins


Sam Jones; Martyn AtkinsAs reported Monday, a rep for U.K. pop star Sam Smith confirmed that Tom Petty and Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne had been added to the songwriting credits of Smith's 2014 hit, "Stay with Me," as part of the amicable settlement of a copyright dispute.  The agreement was reached after Smith acknowledged that his song's melody bears similarities to Petty's 1989 hit, "I Won't Back Down," which he co-wrote with Lynne.

Since "Stay with Me" has been nominated in several categories at this year's Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, the question has arisen: would Petty and Lynne share in any trophies if the tune wins?  The Recording Academy says no.

As Recording Academy senior vice president Bill Freimuth explains to Billboard, "Since Lynne and Petty didn't do any new writing for this work, we are considering their original work to have been interpolated by [James] Napier, [William] Phillips and Smith for 'Stay With Me.'  Lynne and Petty will not be considered nominees nor will they be considered Grammy recipients, should the song win."

Freimuth says instead, Tom and Jeff "would be given certificates to honor their participation in the work, just as any other writers of sampled or interpolated work."

As Billboard points out, news of the agreement to add Petty and Lynne to the credits won't affect the Grammy voting, since final ballots had to have been cast by January 16.  The 57th annual Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles February 8, and will air live on CBS.  Smith is slated to sing "Stay with Me" on the broadcast.

A statement from Smith's rep maintained that Sam and his "Stay with Me" co-writers were "not previously familiar" with "I Won't Back Down" and that "the likeness was a complete coincidence."

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