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Sting to Join the Cast of His Musical "The Last Ship" Starting Dec. 9


Frank Ockenfels III

The idea was floated earlier this month, but now it's a reality: Sting will join the cast of his Broadway musical The Last Ship, in an effort to help boost ticket sales.

The news was confirmed on Sting's website: he'll take on the role of Jackie White, the foreman of a British shipyard, in the musical.  His run starts December 9, and he'll do eight shows a week through January 10. 

The New York Times reports that in his role as White, he'll be in  "about 40%" of the show. Despite decent reviews, The New York Times reports that the show has been losing $75,000 per week since it opened September 29.

Sting told the newspaper because he's been working on the show for so long, he "knows all the lines and lyrics after all these years," so it's not as though he's unprepared.  He also told the Times he'd bare his butt "in Macy's, if it will help our show."

Jeffrey Seller, lead producer of The Last Ship, tells The New York Times the show needs "a boost...some ammo."  He says he asked Sting to join the cast, with an eye towards keeping momentum going long enough so that the show can win a Tony award in June.

Sting can't remain in the show indefinitely, however: he's scheduled to resume his tour with Paul Simon January 30 in New Zealand.

A week ago at a red carpet event, when asked if he'd be appearing in The Last Ship, Sting said, "Don't think I need to be at the moment."  Obviously, that has changed.  He also told reporters, regarding the show's good reviews versus its lagging ticket sales, "We fight a battle every night and we win that battle hands down in the theater, and that word of mouth is great.  But it's a challenge, y'know.  It's not an easy world, Broadway, it's tough. But I'm having the time of my life, I'll tell ya!"

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Bryan Adams Releases 30th Anniversary Edition of "Reckless": "I Knew I Had Something Special"


Universal Music EnterprisesThe day he turned 25 -- November 5, 1984 -- Bryan Adams released the album that would make him a superstar: Reckless.  Today, he's releasing a 30th anniversary edition of that milestone album, and he says when he was recording it, he had a hunch that it would take him to the next level of his career.

"I knew going into this record that I had something special," Adams tells ABC News Radio.  "I knew that when we recorded the first couple of tracks for the record that we were on to something really good."  At least, says the Canadian singer/songwriter, he and his musical partner, Jim Vallance, thought the project was really good, though they couldn't predict how the public would react.

"We didn't know, really, what we'd created.  We just know we liked it and that was the litmus test," says Adams.  "You know, 'Did we like it?  Yes.'  'Did we feel like it fills all the gaps that we need to do?'  Like, do I have enough rockers?  Do I have a good ballad?  You know, 'Are all those boxes ticked?'  It seemed like yes."

Turns out the fans agreed with Bryan: out of the 10 songs on the album, six became hit singles.  Adams feels that one of them stands out, however.

"The magical songs that came out of [Reckless] obviously are the ones that were some of the biggest hits, and one of them, of course, was 'Run to You,'" Bryan recalls.  "For me, 'Run to You' is the jewel of the album because...it just set the tone for everything; and from there on, you know, we had 'Summer of '69' and 'Heaven,' 'Somebody' and then, of course, the duet with Tina Turner, 'It's Only Love.'"  

He forgot to mention the sixth single -- "One Night Love Affair."  All six of the singles reached the top 15 on the Billboard charts, and at that time, there had only been two previous albums that accomplished that feat: Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. and Michael Jackson's Thriller.  

All those songs and much more are featured on the super-deluxe edition of Reckless.  It comes housed in a hardback book and includes the remastered original album, seven bonus tracks, a live concert recording from London in April of 1985 and a DVD of Reckless: The Movie, which features all the promotional videos from the album interspersed with scenes linking the songs.  There's also a Blu-ray version of the original album, historical photos, interviews with Adams and copies of lyric sheets and notes from 1984.

Since its release, the disc has gone on to sell more than 12 million copies.  In a statement, Bryan says, "Reckless was just the right record at the right time. It was just unstoppable."

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Kim Thayil Wanted to Gather All Soundgarden's "Loose Ends" for New Rarities Collection


Geffen/Universal MusicSoundgarden's newest release, a rarities collection entitled Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path, has been in the works for quite a while.  Guitarist Kim Thayil has been talking about releasing a compilation of hard-to-find Soundgarden songs since the mid-'90's, but the idea of a rarities collection has been something he has been attracted to since childhood.

Thayil tells ABC News Radio that as a kid growing up in Chicago, he had always felt frustrated whenever, for example, a band would write a song on a soundtrack and then never give it a proper album release. He felt that it was way too difficult for fans to track down every single piece of music from their favorite bands. Thayil envisions Echo of Miles as an antidote to that annoyance for Soundgarden fans.

"I didn't want our fans to have to experience that same frustration of wanting to hear a song and having to track it down, or to have a lot of this material in a number of different places in one's record collection," he tells ABC News Radio. "I always wanted to gather all these loose ends that we were producing and releasing into one package."

Thayil does name The Beatles as one of the bands of his childhood that did it get right in terms of compiling hard-to-find songs. He remembers Hey Jude -- which he says was the first rock album he ever got for Christmas -- as a great example, even if his high school friends didn't agree.

"Later on in high school I had friends tell me that, 'Well, [Hey Jude]'s not a real Beatles album. That wasn't released conceptually like Revolver or Sgt. Pepper, rather it's a collection of un-compiled singles,'" Thayil recalls. "And I thought, 'Well, that's kind of what an album is.'"

Hey Jude wasn't the only piece of Beatles material that helped form Echo of Miles. The collection contains two Beatles covers -- "Come Together" and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" -- and the track "One Minute of Silence," which was inspired by John Lennon's "Two Minutes Silence."

"I thought, 'Well let's do like a heavy version of ["Two Minutes Silence"], sure!' So we just plugged in an amp and put a mic in front of an amp that was on standby, just kind of humming," explains Thayil. "We couldn't make it the whole minute, we have short attention spans. So someone went over and kicked the amp or unplugged the cord and that's it. That's a pretty strange one."

Echo of Miles is divided into three discs -- "Originals," "Covers" and "Oddities." Naturally, "One Minute of Silence" falls into the third category, but Thayil names the track "Night Surf" as the oddest of all the "Oddities." He tells ABC News Radio that they song only existed in live concerts in 1994 as the soundtrack to a short film shot by bassist Ben Shepherd's brother, Henry Shepherd.

"We would show that film and play the song, which was the soundtrack for the film, and at the end of it, the scrim, or curtain would fall and we'd come out and start playing," Thayil says. "I know there's tens of thousands of people from that period of time who might remember that and probably wondered 'What the hell was this track?' Well, here it is, it's 'Night Surf.'"

Now that Echo of Miles is released, Soundgarden has set their sights another archival project: a re-issue of the band's debut album, Ultramega OK. Thayil tells ABC News Radio that the remixed and remastered version of the record will come out in the next year.

For Soungarden fans craving new material, Thayil also says that the band will return to the studio after their Australian tour in February 2015.

"When we come back, we'll probably take a little bit of a break, and then get in the studio with [drummer] Matt [Cameron] and Ben and myself and [lead singer] Chris [Cornell] and start sharing demos and jamming and coming up with new ideas, and that will be the work for the next album," he says. 

Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path is out now.

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Steve Miller Band Lines Up 2015 Tour Dates with Journey, Tower of Power


Image Courtesy of Tim BrownThis past year saw the Steve Miller Band mount a major North American tour with two other famed San Francisco-based acts: Journey and Tower of Power.  Now, that same bill is set to hit the road again in 2015.

Miller and his group currently have five dates scheduled with Journey and Tower of Power, running from a March 5 show in Austin, Texas, through a March 15 concert in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Prior to those gigs, the Steve Miller Band has two 2015 headlining shows that will take place on February 19 in Durant, Oklahoma, and February 22 in San Antonio.  Meanwhile, the group just wound down its 2014 itinerary with a performance Saturday in Huntington, New York.

In addition, the Miller Band has been tapped to perform at the 2015 North American International Auto Show's Charity Preview gala, taking place January 16 at the Cobo Center in Detroit.  The event is billed as "the largest single night fundraiser in the world," and benefits a variety of local Michigan children's charities.  The Charity Preview has brought in more than $96 million since it was first held in 1976.  Tickets to the 2015 event cost $400, and are on sale now at CharityPreview.com.

Here's a list of all of Steve Miller Band's upcoming performances:

1/16/15 -- Detroit, MI, North American International Auto Show - Cobo Center
2/19 -- Durant, OK, Choctaw Resort
2/22 -- San Antonio, TX, Majestic Theater
*3/5 -- Austin, TX, Austin 360 Amphitheater
*3/11 -- Columbia, SC, Colonial Life Arena
*3/12 -- Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Memorial Arena
*3/14 -- Tampa, FL, Mid Florida Credit Union Amphitheater
*3/15 -- West Palm Beach, FL, Cruzan Amphitheater

* = with Journey and Tower of Power.

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Janis Joplin Biopic Starring Amy Adams Expected to Begin Filming in Mid-2015


Legacy Recordings; ABC/Randy HolmesThe long-gestating Janis Joplin biopic project finally appears to be ready to move forward, with Amy Adams set to portray the influential blues-rock singer.  Deadline reports that Dallas Buyers Club and Wild director Jean-Marc Vallee has agreed to take the helm of the movie, which has a working title of Get It While You Can and is slated to begin shooting in the middle of next year.

The production features a script by Ron and Theresa Terry, although Dallas Buyers Club screenwriters Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack are in negotiations to revise it, according to Deadline.  Adams has been attached to the project since 2010, when Fernando Meirelles, director of 2002's acclaimed City of God, had been lined up to direct the flick.  The Oscar-nominated actress is planning to do her own singing in the film.

Last year, The Butler director Lee Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter that a Joplin biopic would be his next project, but those plans apparently have changed.

Numerous attempts to get a biographical film about Joplin off the ground have been made over the last decade or so.  Other actresses who reportedly have been attached to movies about the late Rock and Roll Hall of Famer singer over the years include Brittany Murphy, Renee Zellweger, pop star Pink, Zooey Deschanel and Tony Award winner Nina Arianda.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockTy Herndon, Andy Griggs and Jamie O'Neal debut their new tour package tonight at the Ryman Auditorium at Charlie Daniels' annual Christmas for Kids benefit. The three will hit the road together in 2015.

Brandy Clark, Sara Evans, Hunter Hayes, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, and Charlie Worsham will tape four new episode of the CMA Songwriters Series December 1 and 2 at Nashville's Marathon Music Works. They'll air as part of the spring season of Front and Center on public television.

Alison Krauss has been added to the lineup of  The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris:  An All-Star Concert Celebration. The show tapes January 10 in at DAR Constitution Hall in the nation's capitol, with distribution details yet to be announced.


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Smashing Pumpkins Release New Song, "Drum + Fife"


Image Courtesy of Martha's MusicThe Smashing Pumpkins have released another song from their forthcoming album, Monuments to an Elegy.  The new track, "Drum Fife," is inspired by Irish folk music while also incorporating electronic beats and loops.  You can stream "Drum Fife" on NME's website.

"'Drum Fife' was originally a folk song.  We really had a problem getting it off its almost dour Irish balladeer aspect," Billy Corgan tells NME.  "I must give a lot of credit to [Motley Crue's] Tommy Lee, because he’s the one who turned the corner."

Corgan explains that Lee, who plays drums on Monuments to an Elegy, used his experience in dance music to give "Drum Fife" its electronic elements.

"It's almost like mid-'80s new wave or something and it reminded me a little bit of early U2 or Big Country," Corgan continues.  "The open strut made the Irish ballad part of the song come alive and have more of a expansive quality and from there on it got a lot easier."

Monuments to an Elegy will be released December 9.  The Smashing Pumpkins also have a second new album in the works, Day and Night, which is due out next year.

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Sammy Hagar Says He "Was Honored" to Be Asked to Appear on "The Simpsons"


2014 TCFFC/FoxSammy Hagar will join an illustrious list of fellow rock stars when he appears tonight in cartoon form on The Simpsons.  The Red Rocker's voice and animated likeness will be featured in an episode titled "Covercraft," in which Homer -- suffering from a mid-life crisis after Moe's bar closes -- becomes the bassist in a cover band with some other local dads.

Hagar says he jumped at the chance when he was asked to take part in the show, which in the past has featured cameos by such music legends as Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, The Who and Michael Jackson.

"I liked the list of people that have done it before me, and I was honored," Sammy explained during a press teleconference held Thursday.  He added that he also was excited because it gave him the opportunity to do "something new, something different."

He also noted that he enjoyed doing the show because he got the chance to ham it up. "I liked being a little bit of a caricature of myself," he said.  "I get to overdo it, and every time I overdo it around the house, you know, I get criticism from my kids and stuff.  So it's really nice to be able to overdo it and get away with it."

One thing Hagar wasn't too pleased with was the way he looked as a cartoon character.

"I don't think anyone can relate to themselves as a Simpson," he said with a laugh.  "When I saw it I went, 'Whoa!  Hey!  Hold on here.'  You know, it's pretty funny but, like I said, I can't relate too much to the character except…they got my tennis shoes really right and they got my…flower shirt…my kind of semi-Hawaiian lifestyle look…But [I] couldn't relate to the body and face look."

Besides that, Hagar said he was so happy with his Simpsons experience that it made him want to become a full-time cast member.

"It made me want to do voice-overs," he explained.  "I told the guys after I did it…I said, 'Hey man, invent a permanent Simpson character for me and I'll do it.'…I'm telling you, it was really, really fun."

Sammy revealed that at this stage in his career, he's very interested in trying things he hasn't done before, so beyond doing voice-overs he'd like to try his hand at acting in a film.

"I'd love to have a bit part in a movie," he said.  "Not like a star, but I would love to…try some things like that, where I can be some other character.  I'm tired of being Sammy, you know what I mean?"

You can check out a video featuring behind-the-scenes footage of Hagar recording his Simpsons cameo on RollingStone.comThe Simpsons airs Sundays on Fox at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.

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R.E.M. Documentary Making Television Debut on Saturday


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.

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Jackson Browne, Robert Plant Featured on Season Finale of PBS' "Austin City Limits"


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."

You can watch a video preview of Browne's performance now at RollingStone.com.

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

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Paul McCartney Loves Dylan's Contribution to Tribute Album, but Isn't Sure If Everyone Will


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.

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Tickets for Bob Dylan MusiCares Tribute Being Auctioned to Aid Grammy Charities


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.

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Billy Joel Ties Elton John's Record at the Garden, Considers Return to Broadway


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."

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Actor Evan Peters Covers Nirvana for "American Horror Story"


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.

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High-Def Audio Version of George Harrison's "The Apple Years" Box Set to Be Released Next Week


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.

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Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel Pay Tribute to "Graduate" Director Mike Nichols


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.

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KISS, Slash and Motley Crue Added to Lineup of UK's Download Festival


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.

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The Beach Boys' Mike Love to Write Memoir, "Good Vibrations"


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.

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Foo Fighters Perform "In the Clear" on "Ellen"


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.

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Watch Paul Rodgers on Season Finale of "LaterÂ…With Jools Holland" on Thursday


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.

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