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Joan Jett Honored at Little Kids Rock Gala; Performed with Alice Cooper, Tommy James, Billie Joe Armstrong


Mark Jaworski Studios/Little Kids RockJoan Jett was the woman of the hour Thursday night at the sixth annual Little Kids Rock benefit gala, where she was honored with the organization's 2014 Rocker of the Year award.  The event, at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, was highlighted by a star-packed tribute to Jett that featured several performances by Joan herself.

The show's lineup included Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Tommy James, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Darlene Love, Gary U.S. Bonds, E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt and saxophonist Jake Clemons, Social Distortion's Mike Ness and the Beastie Boys' Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz.  In addition, students from the Little Kids Rock's music-education programs took part in the performance.

All of the stars played songs that Jett and her band The Blackhearts recorded over their long career.  During the evening, Joan teamed up with James on a version of his classic hit "Crimson and Clover," duetted with Armstrong on a rendition "Don't Abuse Me" and sang "Be My Lover" with Cooper.  For the finale, the concert's entire lineup hit the stage to sing "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."

The gala also included the presentation of the Big Man of the Year award, an honor named after late E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons, which was bestowed on Clarence's nephew, Jake Clemons.  Jake then played a couple songs, including Clarence's 1985 solo hit "You're a Friend of Mine," with some of the Little Kids Rock students.

The benefit, which also included a memorabilia auction, raised about $1.5 million for the charity.  Little Kids Rock provides musical instruments and music lessons to young people in inner-city schools.

Here's a list of some of the gala's performances:

"I Hate Myself for Loving You" -- Cheap Trick
"Eye to Eye" -- Gary U.S. Bonds and Jake Clemons
"Victim of Circumstance" -- Brody Dalle
"Bad Reputation" -- Jesse Malin
"Little Liar" -- Darlene Love
"Love Is Pain" -- Mike Ness
"Crimson and Clover" -- Tommy James and Joan Jett
"Fake Friends" -- Kathleen Hannah with Ad-Rock
"Don't Abuse Me" -- Billie Joe Armstrong and Joan Jett
"Be My Lover" -- Alice Cooper and Joan Jett
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" -- Joan Jett with many others

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Report: Orchestral Version of The Who's "Quadrophenia" Due Next Year


Geffen/Universal MusicPete Townshend is working on an orchestral version of The Who's classic 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia that will be released next year.  Information about the new project was reported on the official website of the London Oriana Choir, which recorded backing vocals for the album Thursday night at London's AIR Studios.

According to the message, Townshend will be featured on the record alongside famous British tenor Alfie Boe, with accompaniment from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Pete's longtime partner, Rachel Fuller, was responsible for orchestrating the songs, with help from the choir's Martin Batchelar.

Townshend was in attendance for Thursday's recording session and reportedly told the choral group that he was "surprisingly pleased" its performance and excited about how the project is coming together.

A note on the choir's Twitter feed reports that a concert celebrating the orchestral Quadrophenia album's release is scheduled to be held at London's Royal Albert Hall on July 5, 2015, and that tickets for the show will go on sale early next year.

Incidentally, AIR Studios has been the site of recordings sessions for several of Townshend's solo albums, including Empty Glass, All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, and White City: A Novel.

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Foo Fighters Release Washington, D.C. Inspired Track, "The Feast and the Famine"


Image Courtesy of Roswell Records/RCA RecordsAfter last week's Chicago-inspired song, "Something from Nothing," Foo Fighters have released the track from the Washington, D.C. episode of Sonic Highways, which premieres tonight on HBO at 11 p.m. ET. Entitled "The Feast and the Famine," the new song is faster-paced than "Something from Nothing" and embodies a more "classic" Foo Fighters sound.

"The Feast and the Famine" was recorded in Arlington, Virginia's Inner Ear Studio. Dave Grohl grew up in Virginia and was active in the '80s punk scene in neighboring D.C.

You can listen to "The Feast and the Famine" on the Foos' YouTube page. The song will appear on the Sonic Highways album, which will be released November 10.

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Joan Jett Helps Design Rocking New Hot Topic Apparel Collection


Business WireJoan Jett is helping Hot Topic celebrate its 25th anniversary by collaborating with the retailer and fashion designer Daang Goodman, founder of the TRIPP NYC company, to create a rockin' apparel line.  The Joan Jett X TRIPP NYC Fashion Collection for Hot Topic features clothing items that mix the punk-rock pioneer's own style and attitude with the gritty styles of downtown New York City.

The collection features eight pieces, among them a skinny jean with pleather laces and metal zippers, a belted twill jacket with lace-up sleeves, a pleather jacket with metal zippers, and a red-and-black sweater featuring a heart design.  Each item also includes a specially designed label -- a heart with lightning bolts inside it -- that combines the logos of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts logo and TRIPP NYC.

Joan can be seen modeling some of the clothes in a new YouTube video promoting the collection.  Jett and the Blackhearts' classic song "Bad Reputation" plays throughout the clip.

"Working with Daang and TRIPP NYC was effortless, as we approached this collection from the same fashion sensibility and DIY spirit," Jett says in a statement.  "I'm blown away by how the collection turned out -- these clothes are some of my favorite new additions to my closet."

Adds Goodman, "When I finally met Joan, I felt as if I'd known her forever, and was so excited to be working with her…I've been designing for a girl like Joan all of my life!  And I know the Hot Topic girl is going to love it!"

The new clothing line will go on sale starting November 4 at Hot Topic stores and via HotTopic.com.   Hot Topic also is launching a contest offering the chance to win the entire collection.

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Author: "Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography" Will Show Piano Man "Really Is That Good Guy Everybody Wants Him to Be"


Crown Archetype/Random HouseIn 2011, Billy Joel pulled the plug on his planned autobiography, The Book of Joel, citing concerns that it was being marketed as a "salacious tell-all."  But much of the material destined for that memoir is being released on Tuesday, in the form of a new book called Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography.  The author, Fred Schruers, is the same guy who worked with Joel on the scrapped book, and he says this new one will confirm what the public already knows about the Piano Man: He's a decent guy.

Speaking to Newsday -- Billy's hometown paper -- Shruers says, "There's a reason he's...very well loved.  I don't think the public really wants to know the bad stuff, though it's in there.  They have their imaginings about Billy, and some of them are reflected by the reality.  He's had his bumps.  It's very hard to say this without sounding too Pollyanna-ish, but he really is that good guy that everyone wants him to be."

Schruers says the idea to write a Joel biography came about in 2012, when he ran into the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and the two came to a "handshake agreement" that the author could proceed.  Not only that, but Billy gave Schruers permission to use all the material that he'd gathered for The Book of Joel for the project.  "'I'll help you out' was his phrase," Schruers tells Newsday.  The writer ended up using nearly 100 hours of interviews he'd done with Joel, as well as interviews he'd done with members of his inner circle over the years.

As for why Billy scrapped The Book of Joel in the first place -- even returning a seven-figure advance -- Schruers says the project simply came at a bad time in the singer's life.

"I don't think he hated what we had done together," says Schruers.  "But when your dad dies and you're going through a divorce, you're in hip pain and you're pretty emotionally battered, it's not something you want to talk about all the time in interviews.  You want more of a peak moment to put that book out."

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John Fogerty to Sing at White House Tribute Concert for US Military Personnel Next Month


Image Courtesy of Lacee BendaJohn Fogerty is among the music stars who will perform before President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as part of a special tribute to U.S. military members and veterans that will be held on the South Lawn of the White House.  The event, dubbed A Salute to Our Troops, will take place on November 6 and will air as a new episode of PBS' In Performance at the White House series the next night at 9 p.m. ET.

The show will be held in conjunction with the White House's "Joining Forces" campaign in advance of Veteran's Day, which falls on November 11.  Other artists slated to perform at the event include Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, rapper Common and Romeo Santos of the Latin music group Aventura.  In addition, a performance by Daughtry will be beamed live via satellite from a USO concert the rock act is playing at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

Hundreds of military personnel will attend the concert, including troops from Virginia's USO Warrior and Family Center.  Don Was will serve as musical director of the festivities.  The show also will be broadcast on November 11, Veteran's Day, on via the American Forces Network, where it can be viewed by troops and U.S. Department of Defense employees around the world.

Meanwhile, Fogerty will launch a new Canadian tour leg on November 7 in St. John's, Newfoundland.  The trek will mark the beginning of the singer/guitarist's 1969 World Tour, which will celebrate the great music Fogerty made with his old band Creedence Clearwater Revival that year.

Here is the Fogerty's full Canadian itinerary:

11/7 -- St. John's, NL, Mile One Stadium
11/8 -- St. John's, NL, Mile One Stadium
11/10 -- Halifax, NS, Halifax Metro Centre
11/12 -- Montreal, QC, Bell Centre
11/13 -- Rama, ON, Casino Rama
11/14 -- Oshawa, ON, GM Centre
11/15 -- Hamilton, ON, Copps Coliseum
11/17 -- Sudbury, ON, Sudbury Arena
11/19 -- Winnipeg, MB, MTS Centre
11/20 -- Moose Jaw, SK, Mosaic Place
11/21 -- Saskatoon, SK, Credit Union Centre
11/23 -- Edmonton, AB, Rexall Place
11/24 -- Calgary, AB, Scotiabank Saddledome
11/25 -- Dawson Creek, BC, EnCana Events Centre
11/27 -- Penticton, BC, South Okanagan Events Centre
11/28 -- Abbotsford, BC, Abbotsford Centre
11/29 -- Victoria, BC, Save on Foods Memorial Centre

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Official Grateful Dead Documentary to Celebrate Band's 50th Anniversary


Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesAn authorized documentary about The Grateful Dead will be truckin' onto screens in conjunction with the jam band's 50th anniversary. 

Martin Scorsese will serve as an executive producer on the as-yet-untitled film, which will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev, whose credits include such critically acclaimed docs as The Tillman Story, My Kid Could Paint That and Fighter.

The movie will feature new interviews with all of The Grateful Dead's main surviving members -- guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann -- as well as with many of the group's friends, collaborators and musical associates.  The flick also will boast archival conversations with the band, as well as plenty of previously unreleased concert footage and behind-the-scenes clips.  The group's longtime archivist, David Lemieux, will be the movie's music supervisor, while Justin Kreutzmann, Bill's son, will be one of the producers.

Weir, Lesh, Hart and Kreutzmann issued a joint statement about the project that reads, "Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years.  With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it."

The band members continue, "Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese.  From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living in the Material World, from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved."

They add, "The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them."

Scorsese also commented on the film, saying, "The Grateful Dead were more than just a band.  They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans.  I'm very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved."

The Grateful Dead formed in 1965, and released their self-titled debut album in 1967.  No word yet on when the documentary might be released.

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Hear Alternate Version of "Stairway to Heaven" Featured on Deluxe "Led Zeppelin IV" Reissues


Atlantic Records/Swan SongThe entire alternate version of Led Zeppelin's classic anthem "Stairway to Heaven" that will be included on the bonus disc of the upcoming deluxe reissues of the group's 1971 album, Led Zeppelin IV, has made its way online.  The track was mixed by guitarist/producer Jimmy Page during a 1971 visit to the Los Angeles studio Sunset Sound Recorders, although he eventually decided to abandon that version after he returned to London to complete work on the album.

Among the differences heard in the Sunset Sound mix are more prominent guitars, subdued drums and additional echo in some sections.

"It's always interesting to hear stuff that you know really well and hear it differently, but the same," says bassist John Paul Jones in an interview with Rolling Stone.  "It does give a different perspective on it.  You hear different things.  I did read somewhere that the end of 'Stairway to Heaven' contained one of the best rock bass parts ever recorded.  Unfortunately it comes underneath one of the greatest rock guitars so...But 'Stairway' is a favorite still.  It's just got everything that we are about."

Adds Page, "The Sunset Sound mix of 'Stairway to Heaven' was actually mixed at Sunset Sound in L.A. in advance of the version that everybody knows.  I think it's a really good embodiment of everything that's on there.  It's a guitar mix, really."

In addition to the alternate "Stairway," the companion audio disc included with the Led Zeppelin IV deluxe reissues features alternate mixes to the original album's seven other songs.  The remastered reissues of Led Zeppelin IV and its follow-up, 1973's Houses of the Holy, will be released this Tuesday, October 28.

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Bob Seger Set for CMT "Crossroads" Special with Country Star Jason Aldean


Clay Patrick McBrideIt's a busy time for Bob Seger.  The 69-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer saw his new album, Ride On, debut at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, he's kicking off a new tour November 19 and now comes word that he'll be teaming up with country star Jason Aldean for an installment of the CMT television series Crossroads, premiering on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The pair will film the special next week, just outside of Nashville.

Crossroads teams popular country artists with stars from the worlds of rock and pop, trading vocals on each other's big hits.  Seger's episode airs November 28 at 10 p.m. ET.

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Former Dr. Feelgood Guitarist Wilko Johnson Says He's Cancer-Free


Lawrence WatsonAfter undergoing a procedure to have a tumor removed earlier this year, former Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson says he is now cancer-free.

Commenting on the procedure to the BBC, the 67-year-old musician says the tumor weighed more than six pounds and that "they got it all. They cured me."

Johnson was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2012. He says that at the time he was convinced he would die from the disease. Now, he says, "I'm spending my time gradually coming to terms with the idea that my death is not imminent, that I am going to live on."

Johnson -- who released a collaborative album with The Who's Roger Daltrey earlier this year, Going Back Home -- spoke with the BBC Wednesday in London at the Q Awards, where he accepted the Icon Award.

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Ides of March/Ex-Survivor Member Jim Peterik Shares Cool Stories from His New Memoir, "Through the Eye of the Tiger"


BenBella BooksJim Peterik has found success as a member of two popular rock bands, The Ides of March and Survivor, and also is responsible for co-writing memorable songs for a number of other well-known music acts.  The 64-year-old musician shares a variety of fascinating, amusing and touching stories from throughout his life and his nearly half-century music career in his recently published autobiography, Through the Eye of the Tiger.

Peterik recently chatted with ABC News Radio and singled out a few of the many highlights he included in the book.

The memoir begins with the singer/songwriter recalling receiving "the phone call that changed my life," when Sylvester Stallone rang him up to see if he wanted to write a theme song for his then-upcoming Rocky sequel, 1982's Rocky III.  Stallone initially left a message on Peterik's answering, and Jim admitted that he thought someone was pranking him at first.  When he did get in touch with the Hollywood star, he told Peterik he liked Survivor and was hoping the band could come up with tune that would appeal to "the kids, something with a pulse."

Peterik teamed up with his Survivor band mate Frankie Sullivan and the song they came up with was, of course, "Eye of the Tiger."

Jim told ABC News Radio that the song's title and theme came directly from the movie.  Stallone had allowed Peterik and Sullivan to view a rough cut of the film, and while watching it, he noted, "that's when we got the thread of the underdog rising up…and Burgess Meredith's character saying, 'Rocky, you gotta get back the eye of the tiger.  You're losing it.'"

"Eye of the Tiger" became a #1 hit and went on to sell millions of copies.

Peterik also recounted the story behind "Vehicle," the first and biggest hit he had with The Ides of March, a band he and some high school buddies formed when they were just teenagers.

He got the idea for the song's title from an ex-girlfriend who, after they broke up, would ask him to drive her around to various places.

"I figured, well, at least I could be close to her, right?  Even if I didn't, you know, score, as they say," he explained to ABC News Radio.  "So, I kept driving her places and pretty soon I realized that she was kind of using me as her vehicle, you know?"

The song wound up becoming a #2 hit in 1970, which must have impressed the ex-girlfriend, who Peterik ended up marrying.  They've now been together for more than 40 years.

One of the more outlandish anecdotes Peterik shares is the time The Ides of March opened for Led Zeppelin and was invited to a party in Robert Plant's hotel suite afterward.

"Robert Plant opens the door in his little bikini briefs and his little silk robe…and] past him we see an orgy," Jim recalled.  "And there was every kind of drug in the world being ingested, groupies doing a pillow fight, things I can't even talk about happening in the bathtub with [drummer John Bonham]."

As it turned out, the wild party didn't appeal to Peterik and his band mates.  As he explained, they politely excused themselves and "went 'cross the street to Dunkin' Donuts and we ordered milk and doughnuts, and we were back in our comfort zone and very happy guys."

Peter has been promoting Through the Eye of the Tiger with a series of book-store appearances and storytellers-style solo performances.  He has a few of the latter gigs scheduled in the coming month, and he also has a number of concerts with The Ides of March. You can check out his full itinerary at JimPeterik.com.

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High-Quality Vinyl Versions of Cream's Classic Albums Collected in New Box Set


Universal Music EnterprisesA new vinyl box set featuring all of Cream's studio and live albums released during the 1960s and early '70s will hit stores on November 24. 

Cream: 1966–1972 includes six albums in all: the British power trio's 1966 debut, Fresh Cream; 1967's Disraeli Gears; the 1968 chart-topping double LP, Wheels of Fire; the band's 1969 swan song, Goodbye; and two archival live discs issued after the group's breakup, 1970's Live Cream and 1972's Live Cream Volume II.

Featuring the impressive lineup of singer/guitarist Eric Clapton, singer/bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, Cream created a vastly influential body of work during its short life by combining elements of the blues, jazz and rock with experimental psychedelic sounds.  Among the virtuosic supergroup's many well-known songs are "Strange Brew," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Tales of Brave Ulysses," "White Room" and "Badge," as well as memorable covers of the classic blues tunes "I'm So Glad," "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Crossroads."

All of the discs featured in the box set are pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and come housed in sleeves exactly replicating the albums' original artwork.

Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, and took part in two series of 2005 reunion concerts, at London's Royal Albert Hall and New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Here is the track list for the Cream: 1966–1972 box set:

LP 1: Fresh Cream
"N.S.U."
"Sleepy Time Time"
"Dreaming"
"Sweet Wine"
"Spoonful"
"Cat's Squirrel"
"Four Until Late"
"Rollin' and Tumblin'"
"I'm So Glad"
"Toad"

LP 2: Disraeli Gears
"Strange Brew"
"Sunshine of Your Love"
"World of Pain"
"Dance the Night Away"
"Blue Condition"
"Tales of Brave Ulysses"
"SWLABR"
"We're Going Wrong"
"Outside Woman Blues"
"Take It Back"
"Mother's Lament"

LP 3: Wheels of Fire
Disc 1
"White Room"
"Sitting on Top of the World"
"Passing the Time"
"As You Said"
"Pressed Rat and Warthog"
"Politician"
"Those Were the Days"
"Born Under a Bad Sign"
"Deserted Cities of the Heart"
Disc 2
"Crossroads" (Live at the Fillmore)
"Spoonful" (Live at the Fillmore)
"Traintime" (Live at the Fillmore)
"Toad" (Live at the Fillmore)

LP 4: Goodbye
"I'm So Glad"
"Politician"
"Sitting on Top of the World"
"Badge"
"Doing That Scrapyard Thing"
"What a Bringdown"

LP 5: Live Cream
"N.S.U."
"Sleepy Time Time"
"Lawdy Mama"
"Sweet Wine"
"Rollin' and Tumblin'"

LP 6: Live Cream Volume II
"Deserted Cities of the Heart"
"White Room"
"Politician"
"Tales of Brave Ulysses"
"Sunshine of Your Love
"Steppin' Out"

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Report: John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan Are a Couple Again


Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagicJust two months after reports emerged that John Mellencamp had split up with longtime girlfriend Meg Ryan, comes word that sparks are flying between the two stars again.  A source close to the singer/songwriter tells People, "They are back together and it's brand new…They're really happy about it."

The latest news follows reports that the couple was spotted contentedly walking around New York City's Soho district together last week.

In addition, Mellencamp hinted in an interview last month on NBC's Today show that he hadn't given up on the relationship.

"She's an angel sent to me, and I'm very happy," he said during his appearance.  "And, you know, nothing's over 'til it's over."

Another source close to Mellencamp suggested to People that conflicts over the long distance between the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's Indiana home and New York, where the actress is based, were partly responsible for the tensions between the couple.

"There were disagreements over style of life and logistical problems which clouded their relationship," the source maintains.  "But there is no doubt that he cares for her a great deal."

The insider adds, "They are a great couple.  All their friends were hoping it would work out."

People magazine first reported that Mellencamp and Ryan were dating in January of 2011.

John recently released his 22nd studio album, Plain Spoken, and he'll launch a major North American tour in support of the record that begins on January 21, 2015, in South Bend, Indiana.

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Sting Talks Tantric Sex in Advance Clip for "Inside the Actors Studio"


Tony Behar/NBCUSting is not only a singer and songwriter, he's also an occasional actor, having appeared in quite a few movies over the years.  But during his appearance this Thursday night on the series Inside the Actors Studio, he ended up having to talk to host James Lipton, not about his craft, but about his sex life.

Specifically, Lipton asked Sting about his infamous quote regarding "Tantric sex," in which he and his wife Trudie Styler allegedly had eight-hour lovemaking sessions.  Sting has since backpedaled, saying the whole thing was a joke, but in an advance clip from the episode, Lipton still insists he explain the audience of young people just what he meant.

"If we had seven hours, I would demonstrate," Sting said, to huge laughs and cheers.  "Maybe not. But there is some truth to it.  The idea of tantric sex is a spiritual act. I don't know any purer and better way of expressing a love for another individual than sharing that wonderful, I call it, 'sacrament.' I would stand by it.  Not seven hours, but the idea."

He then quipped, "Seven hours includes movie and dinner," getting another round of laughs.

Sting's appearance on Inside the Actors Studio, which airs Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo, is mostly focused on the opening of his first Broadway musical The Last Ship.  He wrote the music for the show, which is based on his own childhood growing up in a shipbuilding town in the north of England.

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Bob Seger Scores Highest-Ever Albums Chart Debut with "Ride Out"; U2 Bows at #9


Capitol RecordsBob Seger is riding high on the Billboard 200 this week with his new album, Ride Out, which pulled in at #3 on the tally after selling 59,000 copies.  This marks the 69-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's highest debut ever on the albums chart, bettering that of his previous studio effort, 2006's Face the Promise, which bowed at #4.

The last time Seger had an album as high as #3 on the Billboard 200 was back in 1986, with Like a Rock.  The Michigan rocker's best chart showing ever was with Against the Wind, which topped the tally for six weeks in 1980.

Farther down on the Billboard 200, U2's latest, Songs of Innocence, landed at #9 after sales of 28,000 during its first week of commercial availability. This is U2's first album since the release of 1987's The Joshua Tree not to debut in at least the top three. 

Songs of Innocence's relatively poor chart showing, of course, was expected, because U2 made the album available as an automatic free download to iTunes customers last month.  Apple estimates that about 81 million users listened to the album worldwide, while 26 million downloaded the collection.  To make the commercial edition of album more appealing, it included bonus tracks that aren't featured on the free version.

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Flea Says New Red Hot Chili Peppers Album Will Be "Super Danceable" and "Introspective"


Image Courtesy of Clara BalzaryRed Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has a pretty good idea of what the band's new album will sound like.

"It's super danceable, funky s**t and some real introspective, pretty stuff," he tells Rolling Stone.  "It feels good, man, and it's fun to play it."

When the Chili Peppers recorded their last album, 2011's I'm with You, they had just hired a new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer.  Now, after going through a period of adjustment, Flea says the band feels much more comfortable.

"We had a new guitar player and it was a real feeling-out process with each other," Flea maintains.  "We didn't want to play gigs with him until we'd made a new record.  This time, it feels a lot better than the last one."

According to the bassist, the Peppers have written upward of 30 new songs, though he thinks that most of them won't appear on the next album.  "We always write way more than we put on a record," Flea says.  "We always write a lot-lot."

As for a street date for the new album, Flea is hoping for a 2015 release.  "I would hope that in a year from now, we have a record out and we're on a world tour," he says.

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Listen to Yusuf/Cat Stevens' New Album Online Now, Vinyl Version of Record to Be Released Next Month


Legacy RecordingsYusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, will release his first new studio in five years, Tell 'Em I'm Gone, on Tuesday, October 27.  However, fans who head over to Amazon.com through this coming Monday can hear the record streaming in its entirety.

Meanwhile, a special 180-gram vinyl edition of Tell 'Em I'm Gone will be released on November 24.  The disc will be packaged in a gatefold sleeve and will feature a download card allowing access to an MP3 version of the album.  In addition, first pressings of the LP will feature alternate cover art -- a hand-drawn cartoonish depiction of Yusuf created by acclaimed illustrator William Stout.

Tell 'Em I'm Gone features 10 songs: five Yusuf originals and five cover tunes.  Among the latter are versions of Edgar Winter's "Dying to Live," Procol Harum's "The Devil Came from Kansas" and the popular standard "You Are My Sunshine."  A number of guest artists contributed to the project, including veteran folk-rocker Richard Thompson, blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite, alt-country singer-songwriter Bonnie "Prince" Billy and journeyman indie-rock guitarist Matt Sweeney.  Yusuf co-produced the album with Rick Rubin.

Yusuf will support Tell 'Em I'm Gone with a brief European tour in November followed by a similarly short North American trek running from a December 1 show in Toronto through a December 14 concert in Los Angeles.

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Deluxe Reissue of KISS' 1977 "Love Gun" Album Arriving Next Tuesday


Universal Music EnterprisesA deluxe remastered edition of KISS' sixth studio album, 1977's Love Gun, will be released this Tuesday, October 27, in conjunction with the band's 40th anniversary celebrations.  The expanded two-CD collection will include a bonus disc containing a variety of previously unreleased live and demo recordings, as well as a 1977 interview with singer/bassist Gene Simmons.

Released in June of '77, Love Gun peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and includes the hit single "Christine Sixteen," which reached #25 on the  Hot 100 chart.  The record also features the Ace Frehley showcase "Shock Me" and "Then She Kissed Me," a gender-switching rendition of the 1963 Crystals hit "Then He Kissed Me."  The album has sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. to date.

The bonus CD includes a variety of demos from the Love Gun sessions, as well as live versions of the title track, "Christine Sixteen" and "Shock Me" from a December '77 concert in Landover, Maryland.  The deluxe package includes new liner notes penned by Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott.

KISS will wind down its 40th anniversary tour next month with its first-ever Las Vegas residency, a nine-show engagement at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  The KISS Rocks Vegas dates are scheduled for November 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 19, 22 and 23.

Here is the complete track list for the deluxe reissue of Love Gun:

CD One: Original Album
"I Stole Your Love"
"Christine Sixteen"
"Got Love for Sale"
"Shock Me"
"Tomorrow and Tonight"
"Love Gun"
"Hooligan"
"Almost Human"
"Plaster Caster"
"Then She Kissed Me"

CD Two: Demos, Interview & Live
"Much Too Soon" (Demo)*
"Plaster Caster" (Demo)*
"Reputation" (Demo)
"Love Gun" (Teaching Demo)*
"Love Gun" (Demo)*
Gene Simmons Interview (1977)*
"Tomorrow and Tonight" (Demo)*
"I Know Who You Are" (Demo)*
"Love Gun" (Live 1977)*
"Christine Sixteen" (Live 1977)*
"Shock Me" (Live 1977)*

* = Previously Unreleased.

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The Who Postpones First Two European Dates on 50th Anniversary Tour


Image Courtesy of The WhoThe Who originally had been scheduled to launch their 50th anniversary tour with a November 26 concert in Dublin, Ireland, but the band has postponed that show and a gig that was to have been held two days later in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The reason given for rescheduling both events is "unforeseen logistical changes."  The Dublin concert, which will take place at the 3Arena -- formerly called the O2 -- now is scheduled for June 23, 2015, while the Belfast show at the Odyssey Arena will happen June 21.

Meanwhile, last month The Who added a November 23 performance in the United Arab Emirates city of Abu Dhabi to its itinerary, and that concert now apparently will serve as the kickoff to the band's "Who Hits 50!" trek.  Following that show, the British rock legends will launch a series of U.K. dates running from a November 30 concert in Glasgow through a December 17-18 stand in London.

The Dublin and Belfast dates will take place in between the two 2015 North American tour legs The Who announced recently.  You can check out the band's full tour schedule at TheWho.com.

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Eric Clapton to Celebrate 70th Birthday with Series of Concerts at Royal Albert Hall


Image Courtesy of Guitar CenterEric Clapton is set to commemorate his 70th birthday in a big way next year.  The guitar legend, who will reach the big 7-0 on March 30, 2015, has scheduled a four-concert engagement at London's famed Royal Albert Hall that will be held on May 14, 15, 17 and 18.

The shows also will mark the 50th anniversary of Clapton's first performance at the venue, which took place on December 7, 1964, while he was a member of The Yardbirds.  The band was part of the lineup of the BBC television program Top Beat Show.

Clapton will be accompanied at his birthday concerts by his current touring group, which includes keyboardists Paul Carrack and Chris Stainton, drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Nathan East and backing singers Sharon White and Michelle John.  The shows are the first Slowhand has scheduled since his 2014 itinerary wound down with a June 28 gig in Poland.

Eric has said in multiple interviews that he's is considering retiring from touring once he turns 70, but he's yet to announce any official plans with regard to quitting the road.

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