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Image Courtesy of Ian AndersonJethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson recently wrapped up a brief fall U.S. tour during which he performed a new rock opera inspired by the 18th century English agriculturalist after whom his famous band is named, Jethro Tull.  Now Anderson and his solo group are set to return to the States in the spring for another short trek that will showcase the Jethro Tull rock opera.

The 13-date tour gets under way on April 1 in Waukegan, Illinois, and is plotted out through an April 16 show in Atlanta.  The outing, which will stop at venues mostly in the Midwest, will visit such other major cities as Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Cincinnati; and Nashville.

The Jethro Tull show reimagines the agriculturalist in a scenario set in the near future, and features new songs that delve into such topical themes as climate change, population growth and the mass production of food.  The concert also includes performances of classic Tull tunes like "Heavy Horses," "Songs from the Wood," "Aqualung," "Living in the Past" and "Locomotive Breath," some of which feature revised lyrics to help them to fit in better with the narrative.

Anderson currently is winding down a run of European performances of the rock opera, and he also has a pair of U.K. Christmas concerts, scheduled on December 10 in Lincoln and December 11 in St. Albans.  You can check out Ian's full itinerary at

Here are all of Anderson's confirmed upcoming U.S. performances of the Jethro Tull rock opera:

4/1 -- Waukegan IL, Genesee Theatre
4/2 -- Appleton, WI, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
4/4 -- Kansas City, MO, Uptown Theater
4/5 -- Omaha, NE, Holland Performing Arts Center
4/7 -- Fort Wayne, IN, Embassy Theatre
4/8 -- Indianapolis, IN, Murat Theatre
4/9 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Devos Performance Hall
4/11 -- Akron, OH, Akron Civic Theatre
4/12 -- Cincinnati, OH, Aronoff Center for the Arts
4/13 -- Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium
4/15 -- Montgomery, AL, Montgomery Performing Arts Center
4/16 -- Atlanta, GA, Fox Theatre

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Courtesy of © Matt KentA TV special featuring the debut live performance of Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia, a new orchestral version of The Who's famous 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia, will air on a variety of PBS stations in December.  The show, which took place this past July at London's Royal Albert Hall, stars lauded British tenor Alfie Boe in the lead role of Jimmy and also features performances by Pete Townshend, Billy Idol and actor Phil Daniels.

Classic Quadrophenia features musical accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  To create the new orchestrations for Quadrophenia's songs, Townshend called on his longtime partner, Rachel Fuller, who is an accomplished composer, musician, singer and songwriter.

With regard to Boe's interpretation of the Quadrophenia material, Townshend says, "Alfie is a true star, who gives every performance his all.  He reminds me of [Who frontman] Roger Daltrey in that -- he's also a real pleasure to work with.  I never thought I'd hear a classical tenor singing my songs, and for them to work so well -- but Alfie makes it happen."

Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia premiered over the weekend on select PBS stations, and will continue to be shown on various channels on the coming weeks as part of holiday pledge drives.  Viewers who pledge money to their local stations will have the opportunity to receive a DVD or Blu-ray version of the show as a gift, as well as the companion Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia studio album.  The DVD, Blu-ray and album also can be purchased at

Here is a list of the songs performed in the Pete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia special:

"I Am the Sea"
"The Real Me"
"Cut My Hair"
"The Punk and the Godfather"
"I'm One"
"The Dirty Jobs"
"Helpless Dancer"
"Is It in My Head"
"I've Had Enough"
"Sea and Sand"
"Bell Boy"
"Doctor Jimmy"
"The Rock"
"Love, Reign O'er Me"
"The Real Me" (encore)

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Credit: Mark SeligerKeith Richards recently released Crosseyed Heart, his third solo studio album and his first in 23 years.  In a new interview with GQ, the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist says he didn't consider working on music outside of his famous group until frontman Mick Jagger decided to put The Stones on hold to focus on his own solo career during the 1980s.

"I only did my records because [Mick] wasn't working with us," Richards maintains, while suggesting that he feels the frontman's motivations behind making his albums were less than genuine.

"[Jagger's solo records] had something to do with ego," he tells the magazine.  "He really had nothing to say."

Keith admits he never even bothered to listen to Jagger's solo albums, adding, "I never thought of making records as a way of being famous or making a statement.  I just want to make good records with good musicians, to play with the best and learn."

In the interview, Richards also discussed the time he infamously snorted some of his late father's ashes.

"I had him in a box in England.  I bought this little oak sapling, my idea being that he was gonna fertilize the tree, but when I pulled the top off of the box, wafts of Dad landed on the table," the 71-year-old rocker explains.  "And my dad knows I'd always liked my cocaine, a snort here and there.  So I just…had a line of Dad."

Regarding what his family might do with his own remains after he passes on, Keith says with a laugh, "I suppose I'll leave everyone a straw."

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Mary McCartney/MPL CommunicationsPaul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella have written a joint open letter to U.K. prime minister David Cameron asking him to back the Meat Free Mondays campaign they've been promoting since 2009 at the international climate control conference COP21 taking place December 7 and 8 in Paris.  The message urges Cameron to support the inclusion of meat reduction in a new global climate agreement world leaders will attempt to reach at the conference.

The Meat Free Mondays initiative asks people to skip eating meat one day each week to help reduce harmful greenhouse gases emitted by the production of meat.

In their letter, the McCartneys say to Cameron, "Next week you and other world leaders will meet in Paris for the COP21 to try and reach an ambitious global climate deal that keeps global warming well below 2 degrees.  A simple but significant environmental action that the U.K. and other countries can take, with the added benefit of improved health, would be to endorse Meat Free Monday."

The message claims that the mass production of meat "depletes precious resources, including land, water and energy, to increasingly unsustainable levels," is "a major contributor towards global environmental degradation and climate change" and is "a major factor in loss of species and biodiversity."

The McCartneys suggest that there are a number of simple ways to promote meat reduction, including implementing Meat Free Mondays in schools and hospitals; serving vegetarian meals during government functions; and encouraging restaurants to feature more meat-free menu items.

In conjunction with the letter, Paul McCartney has made a video in which he discusses how people can support the Meat Free Mondays initiative.

"Talk to your people, talk to the schools, talk to your friends, talk to anyone you need to talk to and encourage this idea," he says.  "If enough of us do it, it could really make a big difference."

For more information about the COP21 conference, visit

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Sonja Flemming/CBSGrateful Dead singer/guitarist Bob Weir will perform at a holiday charity event being co-organized by the Jerry Garcia Foundation that's scheduled for Friday, December 18, at the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco.  Door proceeds from the WhyHunger Holiday Benefit will be donated to Yoko Ono's "Imagine There's No Hunger" campaign, which seeks to aid hungry and impoverished children around the world through the WhyHunger organization's feeding and agricultural-education programs.

The benefit will be hosted by famed Woodstock Festival speaker and peace activist Wavy Gravy, and will feature a number of other musical performers in addition to Weir, including the groups Rainbow Full of Sound and Keystone Revisited.

In addition, artist Stanley Mouse, who has created art for The Beatles and The Grateful Dead, has designed a poster for the WhyHunger Holiday Benefit.

"We have so much gratitude to all those coming together to raise awareness and support for this great cause," said Keelin Garcia, youngest daughter of the late Jerry Garcia and co-founder of The Jerry Garcia Foundation.  "Music and the arts continue to change the world for the better."

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Credit: Ross HalfinRonnie Wood's recently published book, How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary, is a replica of a handwritten journal the longtime Rolling Stones guitarist kept in 1965 when, at age 17, he was a member of the British group The Birds.  The book offers a candid look at Wood's busy life as part of an enthusiastic young band toiling to make a name for itself while crossing paths with such legendary U.K. acts as The Who, The Yardbirds and many others.

"We never had a proper hit record, but we were rubbing shoulders with all the number-one acts at the time," Ronnie tells ABC Radio.  "And always in the back of my mind I wanted to be in The Stones anyway.  I knew it was my first stepping stone…to get to The Stones.  But it's interesting for me to have the little window of the beginning of the adventure."

Wood notes that the diary documents a time when he and The Birds were "just treading the boards of England, really, up and down the motorways and the small roads and little clubs and ballrooms.  And just doing what every young musician in the '60s did."

The book features Wood's comments about the many shows and events the band played, the gear and clothes he purchased, his attempts at songwriting, and the various adventures he had with his band mates, fellow musicians and friends, including his girlfriend Krissy, who went on to become his first wife.

To augment the book, Wood included some of the artwork he drew depicting various scenes from his life in 1965 and wrote some new commentary reflecting on various events at the time.

"I just spiced it up with some drawings that I did around the time or from memory of the times," he notes.  "But also, just to clue people in what was happening around the time, I did a few little addition paragraphs.  But, basically, the diary is reproduced as is."

Wood tells ABC Radio it was his manager, Sherry Daly, who suggested that he publish the journal.

"She said, 'This is a lovely little gem.  People would love this little glimpse into the life of this little 17-year-old musician climbing the ladder and working almost every night of the week,'" he explains.

Wood says that when he read the diary again, the memories it evoked seemed "like almost yesterday…and it was hard to believe it was 50 years ago.  My head went right into the way I was feeling at the time."

In conjunction with the book, Wood recorded a new track titled "How Can It Be?" inspired by a Birds tune with the same name that was the second song he ever wrote.

"I just thought I'd go in the studio and just do a one-take thing of all the instruments and just see how it would sound if I revisited it," he says.  "It was quite interesting."

Fans who purchase a copy of How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary can download the track for free.

Wood reports that he may eventually release a follow-up to the book.

"I have a very small [journal] from 1966, which also contains some little gems of info," he tells ABC Radio.  "I think if this…diary goes over well, then there is a '66 one I know for sure."

For more information about How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary, visit

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Image Courtesy of Julien's AuctionsA massive three-day memorabilia auction of items from the personal archives of Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, will take place December 1, 2 and 3 at the Julien's Auctions gallery in Beverly Hills, California.  More than 1,300 collectibles will be up for bid at the sale, among them some incredibly rare Beatles mementos, including the very first U.K. mono pressing of the Fab Four's self-titled 1968 double album, also known as "The White Album."

According to The Guardian, it had been believed that John Lennon had received the first pressing of "The White Album," as Paul McCartney had once maintained that Lennon had "shouted loudest" for it.  However, the background info provided by Julien's Auctions suggests that Starr always had been in possession of the double LP -- which features the catalog number "No.0000001" -- noting that the drummer claimed that he'd kept it locked in a London bank vault for 35 years.

Bidding for the album will start at $20,000, but it's estimated to fetch as much as $60,000 at the auction.  A copy of The Beatles featuring the "No.0000005" serial was sold for almost $30,000 in 2008.

Other collectibles going on the block include Starr's 1963 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl three-piece drum kit, which he played between May 1963 and February 1964 on some of The Beatles' biggest hits, and Lennon's 1964 "Beatle Backer" Rickenbacker guitar, which he gave to Ringo in 1968.  The instruments are expected to bring in from $300,000 to $500,000 and from $600,000 to $800,000, respectively.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit Starr and Bach's Lotus Foundation, which raises money for various charity's that focus on social welfare issues around the world.

You can check out full details about the auction, including a complete list of items, at

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A.M.P.A.S./Michael YadaBono and The Edge of U2 are among the artists that will be performing at an event at New York's Carnegie Hall to mark World AIDS Day, which is this Tuesday, December 1.

The "It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done" event is sponsored by two charity organizations co-founded by Bono: ONE, which combats poverty and preventable disease, and (RED), which raises money and awareness in the fight against AIDS.  The evening will celebrate progress in the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty, as well as commemorate the 10-year anniversary of both charities.

Pop star Jessie J and rock singer Hozier also will perform at the event, which The Daily Show host Trevor Noah will emcee, while Vice President Joe Biden, Bono and Stephen Colbert are among the night's scheduled speakers.  Biden will honor former mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg for his philanthropic contributions.

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Credit: Fabrice DemessenceRoger Daltrey has recorded a new version of his Who band mate Pete Townshend's 1980 solo hit "Let My Love Open the Door" as part of a new sponsorship agreement between the Teen Cancer America charity and the North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank.

First Citizens Bank has been named as the official corporate sponsor for Teen Cancer America in the Southeastern U.S., and will work toward raising awareness about and support for the charity, which helps fund the creation of programs and facilities focused specifically on the needs of teens and young adults battling the disease.  The song is featured in new television and radio commercials produced by the bank that began airing this past week in North Carolina and South Carolina.

"On behalf of Pete Townshend and Teen Cancer America, I'd like to thank First Citizens for the support the bank is giving us to achieve our goal -- supplying hospital spaces for adolescents and young adults with cancer," Daltrey says.  "In the States, 30 young people a day are diagnosed with cancer, and they're either put in a hospital with children or with older people.  But we're fixing it.  With First Citizens' assistance, we can bridge the gap and create places for treatment where they can be young people first and cancer patients second."

In conjunction with the "Let My Love Open the Door" initiative, First Citizens Bank will make financial contributions to Teen Cancer America and to select hospitals that agree to create units geared toward teenage and young-adult patients with cancer.  The campaign also includes the airing of the new Teen Cancer America ads in the Carolinas, as well as related social media, marketing and public relations initiatives throughout the bank's 18-state territory.

You can find out more about the campaign by visiting  You also can listen to the full-length version of Daltrey's rendition of "Let My Love Open the Door," watch the aforementioned TV commercial and check out a short documentary about initiative that features footage of Roger recording the tune at the website.

Daltrey and Townshend co-founded Teen Cancer America in 2012, basing it on the U.K.'s Teenage Cancer Trust charity of which Roger has long been a major patron.

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Image Courtesy of Record Store Day The 2015 Record Store Day Black Friday celebration is here, as dozens of limited-edition vinyl discs will be released today and made available exclusively at independent record stores across the U.S.  The list of releases includes collectible records from such veteran artists as Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Brian Wilson, Otis Redding and The Kinks, among many others.

McCartney's contribution to the campaign is a 12-inch vinyl single featuring an exclusive 2015 remix of "Say Say Say," his hit 1983 duet with Michael Jackson.  The single's B-side boasts an instrumental version of the track.

Elvis' Black Friday release is a seven-inch single featuring the title track from the late King of Rock 'n' Roll's upcoming If I Can Dream album backed with the previously unreleased tune "Anything That's Part of You."  If I Can Dream features a selection of Presley recordings enhanced by new accompaniment from London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wilson's offering is a two-LP version of his 1988 self-titled solo debut album, which included his memorable tune "Love and Mercy."

Redding's Record Store Day release is a seven-inch vinyl disc featuring the late soul legend's renditions of "Shake" and "Wonderful World" on side A and "I Can't Turn You Loose" and "My Girl" on Side B.

The Kinks will be reissuing a pair of long-out-of-print EPs in conjunction with the Black Friday sale -- 1965's Kwyet Kinks and 1966's Dedicated Kinks.  Each disc is pressed on seven-inch vinyl and features four songs.  Kwyet Kinks contains "Wait Till the Summer Comes Along," "Such a Shame," "A Well Respected Man" and "Don't You Fret," while Dedicated Kinks includes "Dedicated Followers of Fashion," "Till the End of the Day," "See My Friends" and "Set Me Free."

The 2015 Record Store Day Black Friday campaign also will feature releases from The Zombies, Queen, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, John Mellencamp, Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jerry Lee Lewis, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Isley Brothers, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The B-52's, Jeff Beck, The Clash, B.B. King, Carl Perkins and many others.

Visit to check out the full list.

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Courtesy of HBOSet those DVRs, Bruce Springsteen fans: The new documentary The Ties That Bind, which focuses on the making of the Boss' 1980 double album The River, gets its television debut tonight at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Directed by Thom Zimny, the 60-minute film offers an in-depth interview with Springsteen about the creation of The River, as well as segments in which Bruce plays some of the album's songs on acoustic guitar.  The documentary also includes archival concert footage and rare photos from the same period during which Springsteen and The E Street Band were recording the album.

Several encore screenings of The Ties That Bind also will be shown on HBO, as well as on HBO2, in the coming weeks.  It'll be available via HBO On Demand starting on Saturday, November 28, and later on HBO GO and HBO NOW.

If you don't mind waiting, the documentary is included on a DVD that's part of the upcoming Springsteen box set The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, which will be released on December 4.  The package contains four CDs and three DVDs, including a remastered edition of The River, an early 10-song single-disc version of the album, a variety of outtakes, the aforementioned documentary, a previously unreleased 1980 concert video and more.

In related news, a newly-created lyric video for "Party Lights," one of the outtakes featured on The Ties That Bind box set, has been posted at Springsteen's official VEVO YouTube channel.  The clip also offers a montage of vintage photos, including archival pics of Bruce.

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Allen Berezovsky/WireImagePalladia is serving up a heaping helping of Tom Petty for Thanksgiving. The high-def network will host a 24-hour block of programming focusing on the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer that kicks off at 7 a.m. ET.

Among the shows that will air during the Tom Petty Thanksgiving Takeover is the premiere of the concert film Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Fenway Park, at 9 p.m. ET. As its title suggests, the flick documents an August 2014 show Petty and his band played at the historic Boston ballpark.

The marathon also will feature the 2007 documentary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream; the concert flick Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Live from Gainesville, which captures the 2006 hometown show the band played that marked its 30th anniversary; and Tom and his group's 2003 appearance on the PBS series Soundstage. In addition, a variety of Petty music videos and footage from various concert performances will be shown throughout the day.

At least one encore screening of each program will be shown during the 24-hour marathon, while select shows also will air again on Palladia through the weekend.

Here is the complete schedule for Palladia's Petty marathon; all times ET:

Thursday, November 26:
7 a.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream
11:15 a.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers videos and festival performances
12:30 p.m. -- Soundstage: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2:30 p.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream (encore #1)
6:45 p.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Live from Gainesville
9 p.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Fenway Park
10:30 p.m. -- Soundstage: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (encore #1)
12:30 a.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Fenway Park (encore #1)
1:45 a.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Live from Gainesville (encore #1)
4 a.m. -- Soundstage: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (encore #2)
6 a.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers videos and festival performances

Friday, November 27:
4 p.m. -- Soundstage: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (encore #3)

Saturday, November 28:
12 p.m. -- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Live from Gainesville (encore #2)

Sunday, November 29:
9 p.m. -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Fenway Park (encore #2)

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Image Courtesy of Butch TrucksFounding Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks has formed a new group called Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band, which features his son Vaylor on guitar and late Allmans bassist Berry Oakley's son, Berry Oakley Jr., on bass.  The outfit has just announced plans to close out 2015 with a six-date series of shows in Florida.

The run begins December 26 at The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton and wraps up with a New Year's Eve performance at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater.  Rounding out the Freight Train Band lineup are singer/guitarist Damon Fowler and keyboardist Bruce Katz, who's a former member of Gregg Allman's solo group.

Here are all of Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band's upcoming confirmed shows:

12/26 -- Boca Raton, FL, The Funky Biscuit
12/27 -- Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
12/28 -- Stuart, FL, Terra Fermata
12/29 -- Bradenton, FL, Ace's Lounge
12/30 -- Orlando, FL, The Plaza Live
12/31 -- Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre

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Courtesy of Bonnaroo Music FestivalFor the second straight year, the organizers of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival are celebrating Thanksgiving by offering up an online special featuring select performances from the latest edition of the fest.  The show, called A Very Bonnaroo Thanksgiving, is more than an hour long and features Earth, Wind & Fire, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Tears for Fears and several other acts, all of whom hit the stage this past June.

Earth, Wind & Fire deliver a rousing rendition of their classic tune "Shining  Star" on the special, while Plant and his current backing group are shown playing a reworked version of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and Tears for Fears are featured performing "Shout."  There's also a star-studded jam featuring Mumford & Sons teaming up with fellow alt-rockers My Morning Jacket, Hozier, Dawes and others for a Joe Cocker-inspired cover of The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends." 

Among the other artists appearing in the special are roots rockers Alabama Shakes, Scottish indie pop band Belle & Sebastian and R&B star D'Angelo.

The video also includes tongue-in-cheek introductory interludes hosted by comedian Jo Firestone, segments in which Bonnaroo attendees reveal what they're thankful for, mock commercials and more.  In addition, the show reminds viewers that pre-sale tickets for the 2016 Bonnaroo Festival will be available at starting this Friday, November 27, at noon ET.

The 2015 A Very Bonnaroo Thanksgiving special is streaming on the festival's official YouTube channel from now through this Monday, November 30, at noon ET.  Once the show is removed from the site it will never be shown again, so catch it while you can.

The 2016 Bonnaroo Festival is scheduled to take place June 9-12 in Manchester, Tennessee.

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Credit: Danny NorthABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! will be hosting a shopathon on World AIDS Day, December 1, in order to raise money for the AIDS charity (RED). U2 frontman Bono, who co-founded (RED), will be among the big stars who will join host Jimmy Kimmel on the episode.

Modern rockers The Killers and actresses Scarlett Johansson and Olivia Wilde also will make appearances during the special show.

Jimmy Kimmel Live! airs weekdays at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Alex Wong/Getty ImagesBarbra Streisand, James Taylor, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Steven Spielberg and Stephen Sondheim were among the 17 Americans who were honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a White House ceremony on Tuesday.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

President Obama spoke about each recipient, and Streisand was delighted by the remarks. She said to ABC News, "Isn't he good? He is so spontaneous and so alive and so in the moment. I just love him."

When asked how she would've felt had Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, and not Obama, presented her with her award, Streisand replied, "I probably would've choked. It's almost terrifyingly scary but it's funny."

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Credit: Blain ClausenEarlier this month, ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons released his first-ever solo album, the Afro-Cuban-influenced Perfectamundo, and now the 65-year-old singer/guitarist is ready to launch a U.S. tour with his new backing band The BFG's in support of the record.  The trek kicks off Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is broken into two fairly brief legs, with the final show scheduled for February 6 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Gibbons tells ABC Radio that he's thrilled about getting to perform his new material in concert, noting, "The anticipation of bringing this work to a live presentation has presented a most unexpected…wave of enthusiasm."  Billy explains that one of the things that has stirred that enthusiasm is the touring configuration of The BFG's, which includes three of the musicians who contributed to Perfectamundo -- keyboardists Mike Flanigan and Martin Guigui and multi-instrumentalist Alex "Guitarzza" Garza -- as well as a pair of Los Angeles-based female drummers, SoZo and Melanie DiLorenzo.

Gibbons says the fact that SoZo and DiLorenzo "can beat the sides off of those skins" really propels the band, while Flanigan and Guigui both will be playing Hammond B3 organs and Garza will handle various Latin percussion instruments, such as timbales.  Billy points out that The BFG's don't have a bass player, but says they don't need one.  "It's just straight ahead," he declares.  "This is gonna be a tough little combo."

Gibbons, of course, will handle lead vocal and guitar duties, but he reveals that he also is planning to add to the groove during to the show.

"The stage has been arranged and organized for plenty of room to stroll about," notes Billy, who as a teenager received lessons from famed Latin percussionist Tito Puente.  "I've made sure that I could creep back into that palace of percussion and grab a couple sticks to start banging on stuff."

Meanwhile, Gibbons says fans who come out to his solo shows also can expect to hear some ZZ Top songs in addition to the Perfectamundo material.

"Because there is such a presence of that artistic form of sonic sounds called the blues [on my new album], we might draw upon ZZ Top's extensive series of recordings," Billy reveals.  "It doesn't seem that any record went by without putting something lowdown and dirty in there.  I'd like to see it."

Speaking about ZZ Top, Gibbons says his band mates, drummer Frank Beard and bassist Dusty Hill, have been supportive of his solo project.

"Number one, they get a nice holiday while I'm out on the road, but it also stimulated their [musical] interest," Gibbons maintains.  "Frank has taken to developing some new beats as Dusty has started working on some new bass lines."

Billy adds that he expects to hit the road with ZZ Top shortly after wrapping up his tour with The BFG's.

"By the time the Billy Gibbons and the BFG's shows [pull] it to the curb, we'll hop off one tour bus and get right on the next one," he says.

Here are all of Billy Gibbons and the BFG's upcoming tour dates:

11/27 -- Fort Lauderdale, FL, Parker Playhouse
11/28 -- Fort Pierce, FL, Sunrise Theatre
11/29 -- Saint Petersburg, FL, Mahaffey Theater
12/1 -- New Orleans, LA, Orpheum Theatre
12/3 -- Houston, TX, Cullen Performance Hall
12/4 -- Austin, TX, The Moody Theater
12/5 -- Lubbock, TX, City Bank Auditorium
12/7 -- Solana Beach, CA, Belly Up Tavern
12/8 -- Los Angeles, CA, Orpheum Theatre
12/9 -- San Francisco, CA, The Regency Ballroom
12/11 -- Portland, OR, Revolution Hall
12/12 -- Aberdeen, WA, D&R Theatre
12/13 -- Seattle, WA, Neptune Theatre
12/17 -- Havana, Cuba, Havana Jazz Festival
12/18 --Havana, Cuba, Havana Jazz Festival
12/20 --Havana, Cuba, Havana Jazz Festival
1/20/16 -- Washington, D.C., Lisner Auditorium
1/22 -- Lexington, KY, Lexington Center -- Lexington Opera House
1/23 -- Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse
1/24 -- Orlando, FL, Plaza Theatre
1/26 -- Nashville, TN, City Winery
1/27 -- Charleston, SC, Charleston Music Hall
1/29 -- St. Charles, IL, Arcada Live!
1/30 -- Milwaukee, WI, The Pabst Theater
1/31 -- Detroit, MI, The Scottish Rite Cathedral at Masonic Temple
2/2 -- New York, NY, Town Hall
2/3 -- Boston, MA, Wilbur Theatre
2/5 -- Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse
2/6 -- Stroudsburg, PA, Sherman Theater

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NBCUniversalThe 2015 edition of NBC's annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center special, which celebrates the lighting of the famous New York City landmark's Christmas tree, will air on Wednesday, December 2.  As usual, the show will feature performances by some of music's brightest stars, with this year's lineup including James Taylor and Sting.

Taylor will be performing with trumpeter Chris Botti.  Other artists on the holiday extravaganza's bill include Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli, The Band Perry, Andy Grammer, Carly Rae Jepsen, Pentatonix and the all-star group Band of Merrymakers, which features Natasha Bedingfield, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath and members of Better Than Ezra, Fitz & the Tantrums and Neon Trees.

Rockefeller Center's famous high-stepping dancing troupe The Rockettes also will be on hand.

The tree this year is a 78-foot tall Norway spruce from Gardiner, New York.  The hour-long special airs on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

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Earl Gibson III/WireImageFounding Sly and the Family Stone trumpet player and "hype woman" Cynthia Robinson passed away on Monday at age 69 from cancer.  Robinson's death was announced on her official Facebook page, along with a note asking for continued donations to a fund launched last month to help pay her medical costs.

According to Billboard, Robinson first began playing with Sly Stone in 1966 in his group Sly and the Stoners, and went on to become a member of Sly and the Family Stone when that band was formed the following year.  In addition to playing trumpet with the band, Robinson sang and was known for yelling out the phrase "get up and dance to the music" in the group's 1967 hit "Dance to the Music."

After Sly and the Family Stone broke up in 1975, Cynthia played with ex-Family Stone bassist Larry Graham's group Graham Central Station and also worked George Clinton and Prince.  She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the other original Sly and the Family Stone members in 1993.  A new version of the group called The Family Stone was launched in 2006 that features Robinson and two other founding members -- sax player Jerry Martini and drummer Gregg Errico.  The Family Stone lineup also includes singer Sylvette Phunne Stone, who is Cynthia's daughter with Sly Stone.  Robinson, who also has another daughter named Laura Marie, continued to perform and record with The Family Stone until her death.

"She covered a lot of ground," Martini tells Billboard about Robinson.  "She was the first female trumpet player and the first African-American trumpet player in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  She wasn't in the back. She was out front telling you to get up and dance to the music, and she could blow with the best of 'em, always."

Questlove, drummer of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, has penned a heartfelt homage to Robinson that you can read on his official Instagram page.

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Live Nation EntertainmentJourney and The Doobie Brothers have announced plans for an expansive 2016 co-headlining trek of North America that also will feature a very special opening act: former Traffic singer/guitarist Dave Mason.  The outing, dubbed the San Francisco Fest 2016 tour, will get underway May 12 in Irvine, California, and is mapped out all the way through an August 30 show in Chula Vista, California.

The trek currently features a total of 49 dates, and includes stops in major cities from coast to coast.  Tickets will go on sale to the general public starting Saturday, December 5, at 10 a.m. local time via  A pre-sale for select shows will begin on Thursday, December 3, at 10 a.m. local time for fans with the Live Nation mobile app.

For the tour, Journey will welcome back drummer Steve Smith, who played in the band's classic Steve Perry-fronted lineup from 1978 to 1998.  Smith will replace Deen Castronovo, who was fired from the group this past summer after his arrest on domestic violence charges.  Smith also will be playing with Journey guitarist Neal Schon's jazz-rock side project Neal Schon's Vortex for a tour of Japan in February of next year.  Vortex will open for Journey at a May 27 concert in Indianapolis.

"I'm so looking forward to the very exciting 2016 we have planned," says Schon, "starting with my 'Neal Vortex Schon' Japan tour in February and then our major summer tour with The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason.  We will see you all soon!!!!"

The Doobie Brothers, meanwhile, also will be adding a new member to their lineup for the trek: founding Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne.  Over the years, Payne has lent his talents to many of The Doobies' studio albums.

"It's gonna be a great summer for fans of Bay Area music, and for guys like us who have the pleasure of teaming up with our good friends from Journey and the Dave Mason Band," The Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons say in a joint statement.  "We look forward to taking the stage with Journey.  We love their songs, and think we will all complement each other musically."

Here are all of the confirmed dates for Journey and The Doobie Brothers' San Francisco Fest 2016 tour:

5/12 -- Irvine, CA, Irvine Meadows
5/14 -- Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion
5/15 -- Albuquerque, NM, Isleta Amphitheatre
5/18 -- Austin, TX, Austin360 Amphitheatre
5/20 -- Dallas, TX, Gexa Energy Pavilion
5/21 -- Houston, TX, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
5/23 -- Wichita, KS, INTRUST Bank Arena
5/25 -- Memphis, TN, FedExForum
5/27 -- Indianapolis, IN, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
5/28 -- Kansas City, MO, Sprint Center
5/31 -- Rogers, AR, Walmart Amphitheatre
6/2 -- Birmingham, AL, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
6/4 -- Charlotte, NC, PNC Music Pavilion
6/5 -- Raleigh, NC, Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
6/8 -- Atlanta, GA, Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
6/10 -- Tampa, FL, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
6/11 -- West Palm Beach, FL, Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
6/22 -- Bangor, ME, Darling's Waterfront Pavilion
6/24 -- Bethel, NY, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
6/25 -- Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center
6/27 -- Wantagh, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre
6/29 -- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Blossom Music Center
7/1 -- Virginia Beach, VA, Farm Bureau Live
7/2 -- Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live
7/5 -- Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
7/7 -- Toronto, ON, Canada, Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
7/9 -- Darien Center, NY, Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
7/10 -- Mansfield, MA, Xfinity Center
7/13 -- Syracuse, NY, Lakeview Amphitheater
7/15 -- Camden, NJ, BB&T Pavilion
7/16 -- Burgettstown, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
7/27 -- Nashville, TN, Ascend Amphitheatre
7/29 -- Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
7/30 -- St. Louis, MO, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
8/2 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Van Andel Arena
8/4 -- Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Pavilion
8/6 -- Omaha, NE, CenturyLink Center
8/7 -- Des Moines, IA, Wells Fargo Arena
8/9 -- St. Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center
8/11 -- Sioux Falls, SD, Sioux Falls Arena
8/13 -- Tinley Park, IL, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
8/16 -- Oklahoma City, OK, Chesapeake Energy Arena
8/17 -- Little Rock, AR, Verizon Arena
8/20 -- Denver, CO, Pepsi Center
8/21 -- West Valley City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre
8/23 -- Auburn, WA, White River Amphitheatre
8/25 -- Ridgefield, WA, Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre
8/27 -- Las Vegas, NV, Mandalay Bay Events Center
8/28 -- Fresno, CA, Save Mart Center
8/30 -- Chula Vista, CA, Sleep Train Amphitheatre

= Journey with Neal Schon's Vortex only.
= Journey and Dave Mason only.

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