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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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Watch Paul Rodgers on Season Finale of "Later…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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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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3-D Paul McCartney Concert Performance Viewable Now with New Virtual Reality App


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.

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Rod Stewart's New Album Coming in Spring, May Feature Reggae, Ska & Celtic Sounds


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."

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Billy Joel Honored with Gershwin Prize for Popular Song


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.

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Def Leppard's Joe Elliott Says Band Is "About Halfway" Finished with Next Album


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."

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Pink Floyd's "The Endless River" Debuts at #3 on "Billboard" 200 Chart


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.

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ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Performs at Unveiling of Vaclav Havel Statue at US Capitol


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 HavelThe 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.

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Compilation of Short Films Inspired by U2's "Songs of Innocence" Album Due in December via iTunes


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 InnocenceFilms 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.

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Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Tied to Fatal Accident on Location of Gregg Allman Biopic


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.

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Roger Daltrey Says The Who Hopes to Visit Areas of the World It's Never Toured Before


Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The WhoThe Who kicks off what is expected to be its final major world tour this Sunday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The trek also is celebrating the band's 50th anniversary, and yet the show -- which closes out the annual Yasalam Festival -- will be the British rock legends' first concert ever in the Middle East.

Roger Daltrey says he feels that it's "absolutely wonderful" for The Who to finally be performing in that part of the world, and he's hoping the band now will start visiting other countries where it's never been before.

"We do have a certain amount of regrets and there are some places that we should have toured a long time ago," the singer tells Ireland's The National newspaper.  "The reason was that [Who guitarist] Pete [Townshend] was never keen on touring.  But now that the sands of time are ticking, he is more keen to tour than ever."

He adds, "We are looking at new territories to play.  For example, The Who have never been to South America or China…I mean, it's crazy that we didn't see more of these places."

The 70-year-old rocker says the new trek, The Who Hits 50! Tour, will be "quite different" from the band's last outing, which focused on the 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia.

"The Quadrophenia tour was very musical and theatrical.  This tour is much more fun and everyone will have a good time," he explains about the trek, which will see the band playing a variety of material spanning The Who's entire career.  "Sure, there is nostalgia in there but most musical events are about nostalgia...This show is more free, fun and we can have a joke and chat to the audience."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also points out that he believes a big reason why The Who connects so emotionally with its audience is the balance between what he and Townshend bring to the band.

"Pete is a head man and I am heart man," he maintains.  "I am a glass-half-full person.  I am always positive about moving on and letting go.  Pete has a lot of turbulent and emotional things going on within and he manages to put them to paper and write those songs.  I have to then take what Pete is thinking in his head and transmit that to people's hearts."

As for whether he feels nervous about Sunday's show, Daltrey tells The National, "Not really.  I wouldn't say it was nerves.  The best way to put it is that it is like a trip to the dentist.  You go to enjoy the gas."

You can check out the band's current tour itinerary at TheWho.com.

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Billy Joel Baffled by This Week's Honors: "I'm Supposed to Be Irrelevant"


Courtesy of Library of CongressBilly Joel was honored Monday night in New York City with a big award from the performing-rights organization ASCAP, and on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., he'll be getting another one from the Library of Congress.  But the Piano Man says he's a bit confused by the sudden outpouring of accolades.  "I'm 65 -- I'm supposed to be irrelevant," he tells USA Today.

"I'm starting to suspect that I have some kind of terminal disease," he jokes to the paper.  "They keep giving me all these awards, and I'm thinking, 'Are you trying to tell me something I don't know?'...I keep trying to have a dignified exit, and getting pulled back in."

Joel's claim of being irrelevant isn't borne out by the facts, though: He's been packing fans into New York's Madison Square Garden once a month since January of this year, and there's no end in sight -- he just scheduled his 17th consecutive show there, for May 28.  But the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer keeps putting himself down.

"I was a lot better when I was younger," he says.  "I could hit higher notes, run all over the place."  He adds, "If I think I suck, I'll give it up."

But that's unlikely too.  Billy recalls a recent conversation he had with his pal Bruce Springsteen.  "We were saying, 'How do we keep doing this?'  But it's what we do.  We're lucky enough to have this job, the greatest that anybody could have," he reveals.

One thing's for sure, though: Despite his talent, Joel says if he was an artist coming up now, he'd never make it.  He laughs, "I'd probably have to wear a G-string — and that'd be the end of that."

Billy will receive the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday night.  The event will be taped and air January 2 on PBS, and will feature tributes from the likes of John Mellencamp, Tony Bennett and Kevin Spacey.

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Judas Priest and Faith No More Among Bands Playing UK's Download Festival 2015


Image Courtesy of Travis ShinnThe U.K.'s Download Festival has announced the initial lineups for the first two days of its 2015 event, which will run from June 12 to June 14 in Leicestershire, England.  Judas Priest is among the bands that will perform during the festival's first day, while Faith No More is part of the second day's bill.

The June 12 event will be headlined by Slipknot and also will feature Five Finger Death Punch and Black Stone CherryMuse will top the bill of the June 13 show, while Marilyn Manson and A Day to Remember also will perform.  More bands for each day will be announced.

The initial lineup for the festival's third and final day, June 14, is expected to be revealed later this week.  Download Festival tickets will go on sale this Thursday.

The Download Festival has been held annually in Donington Park in Leicestershire 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, Tesla and many more.

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Bono Underwent Five Hours of Surgery to Repair Cycling Accident Injuries


Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE via Getty ImagesTurns out that "cycling spill" Bono took last Sunday in New York’s Central Park was a bit more serious than initially revealed.  The U2 frontman underwent more than five hours of surgery over two days to repair multiple, serious injuries.

According to a statement from the trauma surgeon who operated on Bono at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Hospital for Special Surgery,  Bono underwent immediate surgery Sunday to repair his left humerus -- that’s the upper arm bone -- which had reportedly broken in six places and was “driven through his skin.”  Bono also broke his left shoulder blade in three places.

Those injuries required three metal places and 18 screws to repair in five total hours of surgery Sunday.  Monday, Bono underwent additional surgery to repair his fractured left pinky finger.  He also fractured his left eye socket.

The statement notes Bono was involved in a "high-energy bicycle accident when he attempted to avoid another rider."  There's no word on the other rider's condition.  As for Bono, the statement concludes that he "will require intensive and progressive therapy, however a full recovery is expected."

U2 was forced to cancel this week's planned residency on The Tonight Show because of the accident.

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New Kansas Documentary DVD/CD Set, "Miracles Out of Nowhere," Being Released This March


PRNewsFoto/Legacy RecordingsA new DVD/CD package titled Miracles Out of Nowhere celebrating the career of Kansas will arrive in stores in March of 2015.  The release will include a new documentary about the band and an accompanying album containing the group's best-known songs along with various other tunes from the Kansas catalog.

The documentary tells the story of how the band emerged from the relatively small city of Topeka to become one of the biggest rock acts of the 1970s.  The 78-minute film includes new interviews with the six members of Kansas' classic lineup -- singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh, multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Kerry Livgren, guitarist Richard Williams, drummer Phil Ehart, bassist Dave Hope and violinist/singer Robby Steinhardt.  All of the musicians gathered together for the first time in more than 30 years earlier this year in Topeka to mark the band's 40th anniversary and discuss the group's history.

Among the anecdotes the band mates share are the time Kansas was recording in a studio next to John Lennon, and having a fight backstage with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.  The documentary also features new conversations with Queen guitarist Brian May and country superstar Garth Brooks, who compares Kansas to The Beatles and Eagles.  In addition, the flick boasts rare performance clips, archival footage and fan-shot film of the group.

A limited-edition, deluxe version of Miracles Out of Nowhere will be available for purchase exclusively from MiraclesOutOfNowhere.com, and can be pre-ordered at the site now.  It includes a bonus DVD offering a variety of video outtakes from the documentary, as well as special CD curated by Ehart and longtime Kansas producer Jeff Glixman featuring hits, album cuts and audio segments from the doc.

The standard version of Miracles Out of Nowhere can be pre-ordered at Amazon starting on December 26.

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AC/DC's Brian Johnson and Angus Young Attend NYC Listening Party for Band's New Album, "Rock or Bust"


ABC News RadioAC/DC's Brian Johnson and Angus Young made an unannounced appearance at a listening party for the band's new album, Rock or Bust, that was held Tuesday night at Webster Hall in New York City.  Hundreds of the Australian band's fans packed the venue to hear the record played in its entirety for the very first time in public.

Before the listening party got under way, the attendees, many of whom were decked out in various AC/DC T-shirts, had the opportunity to have their photo taken with a life-size cutout of the band members, belt out one of their favorite AC/DC songs with a karaoke machine and even get a brand-new tattoo.

Video screens were set up throughout the venue that showed a montage of new photos of the rockers.  Flanking the Webster Hall stage were a pair of cannons like the one featured on the cover of the band's 1981 album For Those About to Rock We Salute You.

To whet the crowd's appetite before Rock or Bust was played, a video was screened that featured an interview with Johnson and Young, and celebrated the band's fans.

Then came the album playback, which was blasted throughout the venue as the song titles appeared on the screens along with a rotating set of photos of AC/DC. 

On first listen, Rock or Bust delivers all the elements that have enthralled the group's faithful followers over the decades -- hard-driving, catchy guitar riffs; stomping drums; and anthemic choruses that beg for rock-loving crowds to chant along.  In addition to the lead single "Play Ball" and the title track, standout songs on the record include the mid-tempo "Rock the Blues Away," the heavy-pounding "Miss Adventure" and the funky "Hard Times."

After Rock or Bust finished, Johnson and Young took the stage to the delight of the crowd.  Johnson told the audience that ailing guitarist Malcolm Young, whose battle with dementia has forced him to retire from the group, is in a happy place and that his presence was felt during the making of the album.  Angus, meanwhile, bestowed some heartfelt praise on the band's fans.

To wrap things up, AC/DC's new video for Rock or Bust title track was given its premiere via the Webster Hall video screens.  The clip features footage of the band rocking out in the center of an oval-shaped performance space surrounded by throngs of cheering fans.  As the video came to an end, the cannons on the stage exploded, saluting the crowd with confetti.

Rock or Bust will be released on December 2.

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On "Kimmel," Courtney Love Says She Bonded with Dave Grohl over Boobs


Mercury RecordsOn Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night, Courtney Love talked about her newly-reignited acting career, and what it took to re-bond with Dave Grohl, with whom she recently reconciled after years of feuding over the legal fate and use of Nirvana's music.

They're so close, she even has a duet in mind.

The pair publicly buried the hatchet at this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of Nirvana, and have since have given complimentary comments in interviews about their newly repaired relationship.

When asked about Grohl and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Love told Jimmy, "Kris..he kind of herds goats. I don't really talk to Kris -- [but] We're cool."

"Dave and me," she continued, "a lot of people saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where we hugged it out, and it was all good," recalling, "We used to really like each other, and then there was 20 years when we sued each other -- and then we stopped." 

So how did the pair get to patching up those old wounds? Apparently by bonding over boobs. 

"The other night [Dave and I] just started talking about this one actress' boobs, and, you know, we'd both seen them," she told Kimmel, adding, "At one point when she was 20, they were like the sexiest boobs in Hollywood...and we just, you know, picked up where we left off, after 20 years of suing each other."

"That's a helluva thing to bring you together," Jimmy remarked. Incidentally, breasts seem to be a recurring theme in their relationship, as Courtney recently told the New York Post that she and Grohl have a 10 thousand dollar bet as to who can attract the most attention from strippers. 

"Isn't it cool? Me and Grohl are totally tight," Love told Kimmel. "I mean, look, if you can give up a grudge like that -- because there was a lot of crap that went on -- I think anybody could."

The pair are so tight, she'd consider performing a duet with Grohl.  "'Islands in the Stream,' yeah, me and Dave Grohl," she said to much applause, referring to the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers classic. "That would be beautiful," Kimmel replied.

Love also talked about her recurring role on Sons of Anarchy, in which the Hole frontwoman plays, of all things, a schoolteacher. She explained she "stalked" show creator Kurt Sutter to help land the gig in the series' final season. 

Love, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the 1996 movie The People vs. Larry Flynt, will also appear in a recurring role as a rock star in the upcoming Fox drama Empire.

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