Image Courtesy of REMHQ.comR.E.M. by MTV, the new documentary exploring the relationship between the legendary band and the music network, will be making its television debut on Saturday. The documentary will air at 9 p.m. ET on VH1 Classic and Palladia.
R.E.M. and MTV have been linked since they both began -- the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers released their first album in 1981 just weeks before MTV premiered its first video. Directed by Alexander Young, R.E.M. by MTV exclusively uses archival footage to trace the history between the two rising stars.
"It occurred to us that there's all this footage of some of the band's absolute career highlights sitting in some MTV vaults in London and New York -- and thanks to a lot of effort and digging and arranging, this is our chance to share that music with various generations of R.E.M. fans in a pretty unique release," says longtime R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs. "And Alexander Young's documentary is a fine way to tell the story of R.E.M. through its various twists and turns, as captured in real time by MTV's cameras -- it has some great funny bits too!"
R.E.M. by MTV is part of a six-DVD collection entitled REMTV, which includes more than 14 hours of material. REMTV will be released on Monday, November 24.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Americana MusicThe season finale of the long-running PBS performance series Austin City Limits will premiere Saturday at 9 p.m. ET. The show will feature highlights from the 2014 Americana Music Association's 13th annual Honors and Awards ceremony, which took place this past September at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
The event included performances by Jackson Browne, Robert Plant, Rosanne Cash, folk-blues veteran Taj Mahal and country legend Loretta Lynn. Browne was honored with the Spirit of Americana Award at the ceremony, and during his appearance he performed "The Long Way Around," a song from his new album, Standing in the Breach. Plant, meanwhile, joined his one-time musical and romantic partner Patty Griffin for a rendition of her tune "Ohio."
Here's a complete set list for Saturday's Austin City Limits episode:
"Feather's Not a Bird" -- Rosanne Cash "Truck Stop Gospel" -- Parker Millsap "Coal Miner's Daughter"-- Loretta Lynn "Snake Eyes" -- The Milk Carton Kids "You Can't Judge a Book" -- Americana All-Star Band "Ingrato Amor" -- Flaco Jimenez "The Long Way Around" -- Jackson Browne "Grass Is Greener" -- St. Paul & the Broken Bones "You Can't Be Told" -- Valerie June "Ohio" -- Patty Griffin & Robert Plant "Statesboro Blues" -- Taj Mahal "Cover Me Up" -- Jason Isbell "Life of Sin" -- Sturgill Simpson
MPL/Mary McCartneyThe star-studded Paul McCartney tribute album The Art of McCartney was released this past week, featuring renditions of the rock legend's songs by such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, Roger Daltrey and many many more. During a BBC Radio interview Wednesday, McCartney himself chatted about the compilation, marveling about the "amazing people" the producers got to take part in the project.
One star McCartney said he was particularly glad contributed to the record was Dylan, although he admitted that the lauded singer/songwriter's weathered vocals might not be everyone's cup of tea.
"[With] his croaky old voice…he's doing one of my songs called 'Things We Said Today,'" Sir Paul pointed out in the interview, before proceeding to imitate Bob's rendition. Macca added, "I think I was saying…'If I started singing like that they'd shoot me.' Bob's great, you know. I love it…It's just, you're either a fan or you're not, and I'm a big fan of his."
McCartney also revealed that The Art of McCartney producer Ralph Sall had asked him to take part in the recording, but he didn't think it was a good idea.
"I said, 'Well, I can't, 'cause if it's a tribute I've got to just sort of be thankful they're doing it. I can't get involved in my own tribute,'" he recalls. "So I just let them get on with it. He's done a good job, really."
Meanwhile, McCartney reported that the next project he's focusing on is an animated feature film based on a 2005 children's book he co-wrote called High in the Clouds. Sir Paul said his "main job is to do the music," but he also will voice one of the characters in the movie.
The former Beatle also talked a little bit about "Hope for the Future," the theme song he wrote for the recently released video game Destiny that's expected to be issued as a single soon.
McCartney's BBC Radio interview is streaming now at BBC.co.uk. His segment begins at about the 37-minute mark.
Image Courtesy of William ClaxtonA new charity auction is offering the chance to attend the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year benefit, which will feature an all-star tribute to Bob Dylan. The event will be held on February 6 in Los Angeles, and will honor the singer/songwriter's musical contributions, as well as his humanitarian and philanthropic efforts.
The winning bidder and a guest will receive two premium tickets to the event, as well as passes to private rehearsals that will be held the day before. Bidding on the MusiCares Person of the Year package will be open until December 10 at CharityBuzz.com.
Among the many big-name artists scheduled to perform at the gala are Neil Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Vedder, Tom Jones, Jack White, Los Lobos, Willie Nelson and Beck.
The experience is just one of many VIP packages being offered as part of the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares' second annual holiday auction, which raises money for educational programs and to aid members of the music community who've fallen on hard times.
Image Courtesy of Universal Music Group - Anton CorbijnAmerican Horror Story has a history of memorable musical moments. Last season, Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks performed her band's classic hit "Rhiannon" on the show, and this year has already featured actress Jessica Lange performing Lana Del Rey's "Gods and Monsters" and David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" On this week's episode, actor Evan Peters performed a cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are."
Peters, who plays the character Jimmy Darling, a boy whose fingers are fused together, on the show, can certainly do a passable Kurt Cobain impression. The music in the cover doesn't deviate much from the original. You can listen to Peters' "Come as You Are" on YouTube.
This season of American Horror Story, subtitled Freak Show, is the horror anthology's fourth season. In addition to Lange and Peters, the show stars Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts and Michael Chiklis.
Lloyd Bishop/NBCBilly Joel and Elton John aren't very close anymore, but the two now have something else in common besides their keyboard, singing and songwriting skills: The Piano Man has just tied the Rocket Man's all-time record for most shows at Madison Square Garden by one artist.
Joel has just announced another concert at New York City's Madison Square Garden for June 20, 2015. This will be his 64th show overall at the legendary venue, and the 18th as part of his residency at the Garden, which began in January of this year. Tickets for the June show go on sale November 22 at 10 a.m. ET.
In other Joel news, he says that his pal Sting's new Broadway show, The Last Ship, has inspired him to reconsider Broadway. He won a Tony for the hit Broadway musical Movin' Out, which was based on his songs, but that show closed in 2007. Speaking to New York Newsday, Billy says, "It’s always in my head. People do ask me if I want to write music for other shows they’ve written… But I'd really need to do it right."
He said of The Last Ship, "I really enjoyed the show. I was talking to [Sting] about it, but it's a lot of work. He worked on it for five years -- the songs, the orchestration, the story line. If I'm going to do it, I'm going have to set aside a lot of free time. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it 100 percent."
That's why Joel's Broadway plans might have to wait: In addition to his residency, he's also doing select concerts around the country. "I can't just do one gig a month," he says. "We have to do other shows...there's rehearsals and travel. Those shows generate a certain amount of work."
This week marked a milestone in the Piano Man's career: He received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., and the ASCAP Centennial Award Monday night in New York. "It's been a helluva year," he tells Newsday. "It's kind of overwhelming -- a multitude of blessings."
Universal Music EnterprisesBack in September, a box set titled The Apple Years 1968-75 featuring remastered versions of George Harrison's first six solo albums was issued on CD and as a standard digital download. Now, a high-definition digital version of the compilation is set to be released this Monday, November 24.
The revamped collection has been mastered in 96-kHz/24-bit digital resolution from the album's original master tapes, and will be available for purchase from all major high-def audio sellers.
The Apple Years 1968-75 includes 1968's Wonderwall Music, 1969's Electronic Sound, 1970's All Things Must Pass, 1973's Living in the Material World, 1974's Dark Horse and 1975's Extra Texture (Read All About It). Each album includes bonus rare or previously unreleased tracks. Harrison's son, Dhani, oversaw the compilation project.
Columbia MasterworksMike Nichols, one of the most celebrated and successful film and stage directors in American history, died Wednesday night at age 83. Nichols directed some of American cinema's classic films, including 1968's The Graduate, for which he won the Academy Award for best director.
Many of the acclaimed director's celebrity friends and colleagues have written messages paying tribute to Nichols, including Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, whose music, including the hit "Mrs. Robinson," made up the majority of The Graduate's soundtrack.
Simon issued a brief statement that reads, "My dear friend of 47 years. I love and admire Mike Nichols."
Garfunkel, meanwhile, had a more extensive professional relationship with Nichols, having acted in two films directed by Mike -- 1970's Catch-22 and 1971's Carnal Knowledge.
In his heartfelt homage, the singer wrote, "Aahhhh how I loved Mike. Truly. Deeply. He was the most sparkling man among us. Life will be different for us now. Earth will be a little duller. Mike Nichols is not alive."
Garfunkel's tribute continues, "The self is a creation. Mike created an extraordinary star -- so bright, so extremely clever -- himself. When you were with him, he brought you up to your best smart self, and kept it light with humor. To act for him on camera was to glide on a liquid film of intelligence."
"Before each scene, Mike gave his actors a brilliant and subversive insight," Garfunkel continued. "As you were stirred, he then got you with something really funny. In this state of transcendence, he walked away and said 'roll camera.' Now that he has truly 'walked away' the act of life is, for me, forever charmed."
Nichols is one of a select group of entertainers who have won the Academy Award, Emmy Award, Grammy Award and Tony Award, and received numerous other significant honors. His other directing credits include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Silkwood, Working Girl, Postcards from the Edge, The Birdcage and Charlie Wilson's War. Nichols was married to ABC News journalist Diane Sawyer, whom he wed in 1988.
Image Courtesy of Live Nation EntertainmentThe U.K.'s Download Festival has added KISS, Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators and Motley Crue to its 2015 lineup. The new additions will play on the festival's third and final day, June 14. They join a previously announced list of performers that includes Judas Priest, Faith No More, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Muse, among others, all of whom will hit the stage during the first two days of the festival.
The complete Download Festival 2015 bill has yet to be revealed, but you can view the initial lineups on the official festival website. Tickets for the event, which takes place June 12-14, went on sale Thursday.
The Download Festival has been held in Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, since 2003. The 2014 lineup included Aerosmith, Twisted Sister, The Offspring, Linkin Park, Status Quo, Rob Zombie, Richie Sambora, Skid Row, Black Label Society, Winger and Tesla.
Image Courtesy of MelecoBeach Boys co-founder Mike Love has inked a deal to write a memoir about his time in the group.
Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, will publish Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy. The book will discuss the singer's childhood growing up in the Los Angeles area, the many ups and downs he experienced as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, his spiritual journey and long devotion to transcendental meditation, and his "complex" relationship with cousin and fellow Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson.
"I've had an incredible life with a lot of triumphs, my share of heartbreak and some pretty amazing experiences," says Love in a statement. "There are a lot of things I haven't shared before, and I'm looking forward to opening up about my life and my work in this book. It's a story about family, music, a country in transition, and audiences all over the world coming together in harmony."
Good Vibrations -- named after the 1966 Beach Boys hit of the same name -- is due out in the summer of 2016.
Image Courtesy of Paul MoscowPaul Rodgers will appear on the season finale of the popular BBC performance show Later…With Jools Holland, which will premiere in the U.S. on the Palladia channel tonight at 10 p.m. ET. The famed frontman of Bad Company and Free will be featured performing songs from his latest album, The Royal Sessions, along with most of the respected Memphis studio musicians who accompanied him on the recording.
Rodgers sang three tunes from The Royal Sessions during his Later appearance: covers of the Sam and Dave classic "I Thank You," Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is" and Albert King's "Down Don't Bother Me." The singer's visit to the TV program was taped earlier this month shortly after he played a concert with the same Memphis musicians at London's Royal Albert Hall. That show helped raise money for a charity Rodgers supports, the Willows Animal Sanctuary & Animal Assisted Therapy Unit in Scotland.
In other news, Rodgers and some of his Royal Sessions collaborators are featured in a new episode of the public television series Front and Center that premiered on select stations this week. The show still is scheduled to debut on various public TV stations in the coming weeks; visit FrontandCenter.com for a list of stations and air dates.
Image Courtesy of Brantley GutierrezHaving already conquered late-night television with their week-long residency on The Late Show with David Letterman last month, Foo Fighters have set their sights on daytime. The band played The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, performing their New Orleans-inspired song "In the Clear" in support of their new album, Sonic Highways.
"Our next guests are one of the greatest bands in rock 'n' roll," Ellen DeGeneres said in introducing the band. Dave Grohl and company then powered through the bombastic track, even without the help of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who provide the horn section on the album version.
Meanwhile, we're still in the midst of the Sonic Highways documentary series. This week's episode, airing November 21, will profile New Orleans and feature the song "In the Clear." After the New Orleans episode, the series only has two episodes left. Next week's will focus on Seattle, while the finale, airing on December 5, will bring the Foos to New York City.
The Sonic Highways album, released last week, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top Rock Albums chart. Every one of the Foo Fighters' albums, except for the band's self-titled debut, have peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard 200.
MJ Kim/MPL CommunicationsA newly launched app is giving fans the chance to experience a recent Paul McCartney performance in a completely immersive 3-D environment. Through the Jaunt VR app, viewers can watch footage of the rock legend playing his hit "Live and Let Die" during the historic final concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park this past August from every imaginable angle and viewpoint.
The program and the McCartney video can be downloaded for free via Google Play for use with the Google Cardboard viewer and Android devices. The 3-D content is being made available to celebrate the launch of Jaunt. The performance was captured using 360-degree stereoscopic cameras and three-dimensional sound-field microphones.
"The concert at Candlestick put Sir Paul McCartney in front of 70,000 live fans, and with our technology and the launch of our app, we're opening up this access to many more," says Jaunt CEO Jens Christensen in a statement. "We're creating a completely new medium for entertainment. This is just the first step of our broader mission to bring viewers immersive access to the latest concerts, movies, sporting events and more through virtual reality."
The immersive McCartney video also will be available soon for the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift virtual-reality devices.
Credit: Penny LancasterRod Stewart's 2013 album Time was a success, and featured his first new, original songs in years. Now Stewart says he's going to release another new album this spring, but what it's going to sound like may surprise you.
Vegas Player magazine reports that the singer's forthcoming record will feature a lot of "Celtic melodies" -- perhaps reflecting his Scottish heritage -- and that he's also been experimenting with ska and reggae sounds. "Believe it or not, I've got 10 tracks ready for the new album," he tells the magazine. "I've got songs coming out of my bum at the moment," he says with a laugh. "I just wish I could have had this 25 or 30 years ago. I was enjoying myself too much then."
Meanwhile, Rod is currently performing in Las Vegas at his residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and he'll be back in January and February for more shows there before he heads to Australia on tour. Asked how much longer he plans to record and tour, Stewart tells the magazine, "As long as the voice is there, I'll keep going. I've been really lucky with my voice. It's stayed in pretty good shape. It gets a bit of a battering now and then -- four shows in six days -- but I look after it as if it were the crown jewels."
Adds the 70-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, "It's all about being comfortable with what you do, who you are, what you wear, what you say and who you mix with. I'm very comfortable in the suit I'm wearing at the moment. When I do feel uncomfortable, I will step aside and there's no doubt that day will come. We all know nothing can last forever."
Kris Connor/Getty ImagesBilly Joel was honored Wednesday night in Washington, D.C. by the Library of Congress with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
A number of artists were on hand at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall to perform classics from the Billy Joel songbook. Tony Bennett crooned "New York State of Mind," Josh Groban sang out "She's Always a Woman," Gavin DeGraw performed "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me," and Boyz II Men delivered a rendition of "The Longest Time."
The lineup also included John Mellencamp, LeAnn Rimes, and Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines.
Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor saluted Billy with pre-recorded messages.
When it was time for Billy to accept his award, he joked that he was feeling a little bit "verklempt."
After his speech, he entertained the audience with hits including "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)." He was eventually joined by actor Kevin Spacey and the night's other performers for "Piano Man," with Spacey on vocals and harmonica.
The event will premiere on PBS stations on January 2.
The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is a lifetime achievement honor named after songwriters George and Ira Gershwin. Past recipients include McCartney, Carole King and Stevie Wonder.
Earlier this week, Billy was one of the recipients of the ASCAP Centennial Award at a New York City event staged by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Press Here PublicityIt's been more than six years since Def Leppard released its last studio album, 2008's Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, but frontman Joe Elliott says the band is well on its way to finishing a new record. Speaking at the recent Classic Rock Roll of Honour ceremony, Elliott revealed that the veteran British group is "about halfway through" with the album.
"With a bit of luck, we should have it done by springtime," he told ABC News Radio, pointing out that he would be getting back to work on the project this month.
Elliott said Def Leppard has written 15 songs for the album, and doesn't think he and his band mates will write any more for it, since "we're kinda happy with the [ones] we've got."
He added, "It's a good record…It's the kind of record that we should be making at this stage of our career. And that's about as much as I'm going to say about it."
Elliott performed with the star-studded supergroup Kings of Chaos at the 2014 Classic Rock Roll of Honour, but he told ABC News Radio that he won't be joining the band when it heads to South Africa for three concerts in late November and early December. He explained that the trek overlaps with a December U.K. tour he has lined up with his Down 'n' Outz side project.
"I can't do both," he insisted. "I've tried. Doesn't work."
Down 'n' Outz pays homage to the music of Mott the Hoople, Ian Hunter and other 1970s glam-rock acts.
In other Def Leppard news, guitarist Vivian Campbell recently underwent a stem cell transplant as he continues to battle lymphoma. Last week, he posted a message on his Facebook page announcing that he'd returned home from the hospital.
"So glad that's over," he wrote. "Time to recover/recuperate and grow some hair…Thanks for all the love you've sent -- much appreciated!...Normal service will be resumed shortly."
Columbia RecordsPink Floyd's The Endless River nabbed the #1 spot on the U.K. chart earlier this week, but in the U.S., the group's first studio album in 20 years wasn't able to overcome the latest offerings by Taylor Swift and the Foo Fighters. Swift's 1989 takes the top spot on the Billboard 200 for the third consecutive week after selling 320,000 copies, while the Foos' new album, Sonic Highways, debuts at #2 with 190,000 copies sold.
Pink Floyd, meanwhile, bows at #3, as The Endless River moved 170,000 units. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's previous record, 1994's The Division Bell, was much more successful, debuting at #1 after notching sales of 475,000 in its first week of release.
The Endless River is Pink Floyd's 10th studio effort overall to appear in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. It also likely will be the band's last, as singer/guitarist David Gilmour has announced that The Endless River will be their final album.
Image Courtesy of Edouard CurchodZZ Top's Billy Gibbons brought some Texas blues to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday when he performed at an unveiling ceremony for a bust of late Czech President Vaclav Havel. The Washington Post reports that event took place at the Capitol's Statuary Hall.
Speaker of the House John Boehner introduced Gibbons, noting that he was chosen to take part in the event because Havel, who died in 2011 at the age of 75, loved American rock music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who dressed sharply in a sparkling jacket for the occasion, thanked the applauding crowd as he strapped on a cigar-box guitar and said, "It is indeed a great pleasure to have been allowed to accept this rather unusual, unexpected but splendid invitation honoring Vaclav Havel."
Gibbons then explained that, after some thought, he'd chosen to play the blues standard "Baby Please Don't Go" because Havel had briefly considered leaving his home country rather than take on the responsibility of trying to lead it from communism toward the democratic state it is today.
"Fortunately that was a very fleeting moment, which he returned and succeeded," noted the blues rocker. Gibbons then proceeded to sing the tune with some modified lyrics.
Besides Boehner, the unveiling ceremony was attended by a variety of other notable figures, including Havel's widow, Dagmar Havlova; Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka; House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.
Image Courtesy of Glen Luchford/Interscope RecordsU2 is planning to release a collection of short films inspired by the 11 tunes on its new album, Songs of Innocence. Films of Innocence, which is expected to be released on December 9 via iTunes, will feature short movies created by 11 different respected urban artists from various countries.
According to a description posted on iTunes, the filmmakers were picked "for their undisputed ability to capture the imaginations of their audiences, [and] were given complete creative freedom to showcase their personal responses to U2's music." The videos include both animated and live-action sequences, and offer a variety styles and points of view. The film's synopsis also reveals that director "the political murals of Northern Ireland" served as "a reference point" for the project, celebrating "the unique democratic power of urban art."
The artists who contributed films to the release are Oliver Jeffers, Robin Rhode, D*Face, Mode 2, Chloe Early, Ganzeer, Vhils, Maser, ROA, DALeast and Todd James. A trailer showing snippets of each video included in Films of Innocence has been posted on iTunes and also can be viewed at Vimeo.com.
Image Courtesy of Danny ClinchThe parents of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed during the filming of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider this past February, have reached a settlement with some of the parties they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against following the tragic accident.
Deadline reports that a lawyer for the Jones family announced on Wednesday that a confidential agreement was reached with parties including the husband-and-wife writer/producer team of Randall Miller and Jody Savin, their Unclaimed Freight production company, executive producer Jay Sedrish, assistant director Hillary Schwartz and Rayonier Performance Fibers, the company that owns the land where the accident occurred.
"Richard and Elizabeth Jones' objectives in filing this lawsuit, after the death of their 27-year-old daughter, Sarah, have been clear and unwavering," attorney Jeff Harris said. "To find out what happened on the day of their daughter's death, determine who was responsible, hold those who made bad decisions accountable and ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again on another film set. Today, we are another step closer to fully achieving those objectives."
The lawsuit, which was filed in May, still is moving forward against several other parties, including the CSX train company, Meddin Studios and Meddin executive Nick Gant. Last month, Gregg Allman, his manager Michael Lehman and the Open Road Films company were dropped from the suit after they struck a deal with the Jones family.
Meanwhile, a criminal trial involving Miller, Savin, Sedrish and Schwartz, who face charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass, is scheduled to get under way on March 9, 2015.
Sarah Jones was killed, and several other crew members were injured, by a train that unexpectedly crossed a trestle bridge near Jesup, Georgia, where the filmmakers were attempting to shoot a scene for the movie.