Photo: Barry PlummerSunday marks what would have been late Doors frontman Jim Morrison's 70th birthday. It's difficult to gauge just how much the iconic singer has influenced music and popular culture, thanks to his charismatic and edgy persona, his powerful vocal style, his exploration of dark themes and his trail-blazing talent for combining poetry with rock music.
Morrison had a fascination with pushing social and cultural boundaries that, unfortunately, coincided with a penchant for excess that included a serious alcohol dependency. He died of an apparent heart attack in July 1971 at the age of 27.
This past Thursday in Los Angeles following a special event dubbed "An Evening with The Doors," the group's surviving members, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger, chatted with Rolling Stone about their late band mate.
Asked how he thought Morrison might've celebrated his 70th birthday, Krieger said, "I'm sure by this time he would want to forget about his birthday. He'd want to forget how old he was."
Densmore, meanwhile, said that, had he lived, Morrison undoubtedly would have continued to make music with The Doors.
"He loved the blues," the drummer declared. "We would've made more blues, more 'L.A. Woman.'"
The "Evening with The Doors" event marked the first time Krieger and Densmore have amicably appeared together in public in many years. Their rift, of course, stemmed from the much publicized legal battle Densmore fought with Krieger and late Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek's over use of the band's name and music.
In addition to taking part in a planned Q&A session at the event, the two band mates delivered a surprise four-song performance that included renditions of the Doors classics "People Are Strange" and "Love Me Two Times." It was the first time they'd played together live in more than 15 years.
Commenting about the performance, Densmore told Rolling Stone, "I had a lot of fun. I would do this again a few times, maybe."
Krieger also said he'd be interested in playing again with his old band mate, while noting, "If we did this again, it would be for some charity."
Robby added that he and John still are hoping to organize a tribute show for Manzarek -- who died this past May -- that would take place on February 12, the day Ray would have turned 75.
The Chamber GroupDionne Warwick has announced plans to release her 28th album, Feels So Good, which will arrive in stores this May.
The 10-track collection will feature the legendary performer singing duets with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Cee Lo Green, Ziggy Marley and other stars. Warwick's son, Damon Elliott, and Keys' husband, Swizz Beatz, are among the disc's producers.
"I'm thrilled to release a new project called Feels So Good with some of today's great singers and songwriters," says Warwick in a statement. "Throughout my career, I've always enjoyed creating music through collaboration and this experience has been no different."
Meanwhile, Warwick currently has a handful of 2014 performances scheduled. Here's a list of all of her upcoming concert appearances, according to DionneWarwick.us:
1/18 -- Brooks, CA, Cache Creek Casino Resort – Club 88 2/8 -- Gulfport, MS, Island View Casino 2/12 -- New York, NY, Beyond Beauty Benefit 2/15 -- Albuquerque, NM, Route 66 Casino 3/29 -- Atlanta, GA, Diamond Awards Kidney Foundation
Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty ImagesLast week, one of the oddest trios in musical history took the stage, as Jon Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, came together at a charity event in London to belt out the Bon Jovi classic "Livin' on a Prayer." And Jon now says that the Prince impressed him with his amazing vocal ability.
According to the Australian Herald Sun, at a press conference ahead of his band's shows in Australia, Jon said of William, "He's excellent...the guy was right here [next to me], he really belted it out. He was in tune, he can sing, he knew the words and everything." The New Jersey rocker also called William "very engaging," "very intelligent" and "a great sport."
The fact that Prince William knew the song so well is what really makes Jon, happy, though.
"If you're around long enough people come and they grow into prominent positions," he explained. "If you think about it, we were making records as long as the prince has been with us. As I looked around that stage and saw the prince and Taylor Swift, they both didn't know a world without Bon Jovi records. They sort of grew up in that."
Jon added, "If you're around long enough and able to be blessed with the opportunity to do what you love to do sometimes if you do good, good things happen and you fall into situations where the future King of England knows the words to your songs."
Bon Jovi's Because We Can Tour wraps up December 17 in Brisbane, Australia, and likely will end up as the year's highest-grossing trek when all is said and done. Explaining the band's success on the road, Jon said, "It's cross-generational, that's the magic of it. [Our fans are] six to 60...I think that generation tells the next generation, 'You gotta see this band live.' That's the blessing. [The audience is] more than guys that grew up in the '80s.'"
CBS/NARASRap music dominated the nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, announced Friday night live in Los Angeles and telecast on CBS. Only six categories were announced during the hour-long nominations special, but overall, Jay Z tops this year's nominations with nine. Rappers Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have seven each. Justin Timberlake also scored seven nominations each, as did Pharrell [fuh-RELL] Williams, who was featured on two of the year's biggest hits: Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Rapper Drake scored five nods.
More importantly, instead of being relegated to its own category, rap music showed up in two of the so-called Big Four categories, which include Album, Song and Record of the Year, as well as Best New Artist. Kendrick Lamar's album good kid, m.A.A.d city is up for Album of the Year, while he himself scored a nod for Best New Artist.
There were a few big shockers in the announcements during the telecast: one was the fact that Sara Bareilles' latest album The Blessed Unrest scored an Album of the Year nod. While the disc was well-received, and produced the hit single "Brave," nobody predicted it would appear in this category. Even more surprising was the fact that Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, the best-selling album of 2013, didn't receive an Album of the Year nod.
Another shocker was Lorde's absence from the Best New Artist category: she had been considered a shoo-in, and her hit "Royals" was nominated for Record and Song of the Year. Instead, British musician James Blake, who isn't well known in the U.S, was nominated. Another Brit, Ed Sheeran, who received his first Grammy nod last year for Song of the Year, also got a Best New Artist nod.
Speaking of Brits, Grammy darling Adele, who's been out of the spotlight for a while, managed to snag one nomination: for "Skyfall," her James Bond theme. It was in the category of Best Song Written for Visual Media. Coldplay was also nominated in that category for "Atlas," their song from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and so were Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw for their duet, "We Both Know," from the movie Safe Haven.
The Grammy Nominations Live! CBS telecast began with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis walking into L.A.'s Staples Center and up onto the stage, along with their buddy Wanz, to perform their hit "Thrift Shop." The stage was decorated with racks of thrift shop clothing, as dancers gyrated wildly, and Macklemore threw items of clothing into the audience.
Taylor Swift was shown singing "I Knew You Were Trouble" from Australia, and before she went on, she turned to the camera and said, "Thank you for the nominations." However, at that point, she hadn't received any, though later on in the show, her album Red received nods for Album of the Year and Best Country Album. Did she have advance knowledge, or did she just assume? We may never know. She tweeted later, "LOVE YOU GUYS WE GOT AN ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINATION AND I AM TOO EXCITED TO USE PUNCTUATION."
Viewers also saw R&B star Miguel duetting with Keith Urban on Bill Withers' classic "Ain't No Sunshine," Katy Perry performing an acoustic version of "Roar" from a club in Toronto, and Lorde singing "Royals." Robin Thicke closed the show by performing his nominated single "Blurred Lines" with rapper T.I. and members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Presenters for the night included Ed Sheeran, Kelly Rowland, Melissa Etheridge,Enrique Iglesias and Arsenio Hall.LL Cool J was the evening's host, and when a major screw-up occurred -- Etheridge and actress Pauley Perrette were introduced at the wrong time -- he managed to cover quite smoothly.
The Grammy Awards air January 26, 2014, live on CBS
Here's a selection of the nominees:
Album of the Year The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles Random Access Memories, Daft Punk good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar The Heist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Red, Taylor Swift
Record of the Year "Get Lucky," Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams "Radioactive," Imagine Dragons "Royals," Lorde "Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
Song of the Year(Award to Songwriter) "Just Give Me a Reason," Pink featuring Nate Ruess "Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars "Roar," Katy Perry "Royals," Lorde "Same Love," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Best New Artist James Blake Kendrick Lamar Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Kacey Musgraves Ed Sheeran
Best Pop Solo Performance "Brave" — Sara Bareilles "Royals" — Lorde "When I Was Your Man" — Bruno Mars "Roar" — Katy Perry "Mirrors" — Justin Timberlake
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance "Get Lucky" — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams "Just Give Me A Reason" — Pink Featuring Nate Ruess "Stay" — Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko "Blurred Lines" — Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams "Suit & Tie" — Justin Timberlake & Jay Z
Best Pop Vocal Album Paradise, Lana Del Ray Pure Heroine, Lorde Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke The 20/20 Experience -- The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake
Best Rock Performance "Always Alright" — Alabama Shakes "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" — David Bowie "Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons "Kashmir" (Live) — Led Zeppelin "My God Is The Sun" — Queens Of The Stone Age "I'm Shakin'" — Jack White Best Rock Album 13 — Black Sabbath The Next Day — David Bowie Mechanical Bull — Kings Of Leon Celebration Day — Led Zeppelin …Like Clockwork — Queens Of The Stone Age Psychedelic Pill — Neil Young With Crazy Horse
Best Rock Song "Ain't Messin 'Round," Gary Clark Jr. "Cut Me Some Slack," Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear "Doom And Gloom," Rolling Stones "God Is Dead?," Black Sabbath "Panic Station," Muse
Best Alternative Music Album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You — Neko Case Trouble Will Find Me — The National Hesitation Marks — Nine Inch Nails Lonerism — Tame Impala Modern Vampires Of The City — Vampire Weekend
Best R&B Performance "Love And War" — Tamar Braxton "Best Of Me" — Anthony Hamilton "Nakamarra" — Hiatus Kaiyote Featuring Q-Tip "How Many Drinks?" — Miguel Featuring Kendrick Lamar "Something" — Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway
Best Urban Contemporary Album Love And War — Tamar Braxton Side Effects Of You — Fantasia One: In The Chamber — Salaam Remi Unapologetic — Rihanna New York: A Love Story — Mack Wilds Best R&B Album R&B Divas — Faith Evans Girl On Fire — Alicia Keys Love In The Future — John Legend Better — Chrisette Michele Three Kings — TGT
Best Rap Performance "Started From The Bottom" — Drake "Berzerk" — Eminem "Tom Ford" — Jay Z "Swimming Pools (Drank)" — Kendrick Lamar "Thrift Shop" — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz Best Rap/Sung Collaboration "Power Trip" — J.Cole Featuring Miguel "Part II (On The Run)" — Jay Z Featuring Beyoncé "Holy Grail" — Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake "Now Or Never" — Kendrick Lamar Featuring Mary J. Blige "Remember You" — Wiz Khalifa Featuring The Weeknd
Best Rap Album Nothing Was The Same — Drake Magna Carta…Holy Grail — Jay Z good kid, m.A.A.d city — Kendrick Lamar The Heist — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Yeezus — Kanye West
Best Country Solo Performance "I Drive Your Truck" — Lee Brice "I Want Crazy" — Hunter Hayes "Mama's Broken Heart" — Miranda Lambert "Wagon Wheel" — Darius Rucker "Mine Would Be You" — Blake Shelton
Best Country Album Night Train, Jason Aldean Two Lanes of Freedom, Tim McGraw Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves Based on a True Story…, Blake Shelton Red, Taylor Swift
Best Country Duo/Group Performance "From This Valley," The Civil Wars "Don't Rush," Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill "Your Side Of The Bed," Little Big Town "Highway Don't Care Tim McGraw," Taylor Swift & Keith Urban "You Can't Make Old Friends," Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton
Best Country Song "Begin Again," Taylor Swift "I Drive Your Truck," Lee Brice "Mama's Broken Heart," Miranda Lambert "Merry Go 'Round," Kacey Musgraves "Mine Would Be You," Blake Shelton
Best Dance Recording "Need U (100%)," Duke Dumont Featuring A*M*E & MNEK "Sweet Nothing," Calvin Harris Featuring Florence Welch "Kaskade," Finn Bjarnson & Ryan Raddon "This Is What It Feels Like," Armin Van Buuren Featuring Trevor Guthrie "Clarity," Zedd Featuring Foxes
QueenOnline.comIn the wake of the death Thursday of former South African president Nelson Mandela, a wide variety of music artists came forward to pay tribute to the influential and beloved politician and freedom fighter. Now, some more music luminaries have added their thoughts about the man who helped bring an end to his country's oppressive apartheid system.
Paul McCartney issued a statement calling Mandela "one of the great men of all time." The legendary Beatles star added, "I particularly admired his lack of bitterness towards his jailers, which I think set the tone for South Africa's transition to democracy. I never actually got to meet him although I wished I could have done and, in fact, I would say he is the greatest man I never met."
McCartney's Beatles band mate Ringo Starr added a few of his words in honor of the departed statesman. He wrote, "God bless Nelson Mandela peace and love."
Surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor had a close connection with Mandela, having played at and helped organize a November 2003 benefit concert in Cape Town, South Africa, for Nelson's 46664 AIDS-awareness campaign.
May recalled spending some time at Mandela's game park retreat while organizing the concert, saying, "They were life-changing days, with quiet time and talks around a camp fire at night."
The guitarist added that Mandela "was the most inspiring man of his generation. His message, by example, was the power of forgiveness. He showed us that it's possible to act after great injustice with no thought of revenge. He was light, funny, enormously generous, and, quietly, the greatest example to the world that a man can be."
Taylor, meanwhile, said of Mandela's passing, "How sad. Leaves a great big hole in the world."
Annie Lennox, who also performed at the 46664 concerts and is involved with the AIDS campaign, noted that many people are committed to continuing the fight that Mandela so wholeheartedly supported.
"The world woke up to the news that Mandela has departed, leaving an extraordinary legacy in his wake," the Eurythmics singer wrote. "Thousands of AIDS activists are gathering here in Cape Town for the biggest AIDS conference in Africa, the 17th ICASA. We are carrying on his work. Rest in Peace Madiba."
Another 46664 supporter and performer, Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart, had this to say about Mandela: "[He was] the most amazing person I ever met. Compassion, Wisdom, Grace…and that smile…I could feel the LOVE RADIATING from him."
Meanwhile, ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash also lamented Mandela's passing, writing, "Really sad to hear we have lost the great Nelson Mandela, one of the few pillars of humanity we had left."
The Estate of David Gahr/Getty ImagesThe Fender Stratocaster guitar that Bob Dylan played when he "went electric" at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival sold at a New York City auction on Friday for a record-breaking price. The instrument brought in an impressive $965,000, which, according to Christie's is the highest price a guitar has ever fetched at an auction. It was bought by an anonymous bidder.
Christie's auctioneer and specialist Tom Lecky said after the sale, "A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement, and today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history."
Rolling Stone reported over the summer that the woman who sold the guitar, Dawn Peterson, decided to put it up for auction after a legal settlement was reached with Dylan. The guitar had been left on a private plane piloted by Peterson's late father, Vic Quinto, and had been in her family's possession ever since.
A 2012 episode of the PBS series History Detectives focusing on the guitar featured researchers and experts who concluded that the instrument was the same Stratocaster that Dylan had used at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
EarthWindandFire.comEarth, Wind & Fire has joined the list of performers for this year's Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! -- Countdown to Music's Biggest Night, the TV special that features the announcement of the nominees for the major Grammy categories. The funk/soul legends will hit the stage with pop/R&B star Robin Thicke and rapper T.I. for a rendition of Thicke's smash hit "Blurred Lines."
In addition, up-and-coming R&B crooner Miguel and country star Keith Urban will team up to perform Bill Withers' classic "Ain't No Sunshine." Also on the show will be performances by Lorde, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.
LL Cool J will host the hour-long special, which airs from the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles tonight at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
Image Courtesy Ryan Murphy via TwitterStevie Nicks fans know that the singer will soon be making an appearance on American Horror Story: Coven, but now word has emerged that the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman actually will be showing up on not one, but two episodes of the hit FX series.
The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, disclosed the news in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"Stevie will be in episode 10 and then we have Stevie for another one, doing an idea that she came up with that I thought was too perfect to say no to," reveals Murphy.
He explains that the idea to include Nicks in another episode emerged after she'd been poring through some of the show's upcoming scripts and came across a scenario that seemed very familiar to her.
"[She] called up and said, 'Are you aware that one of the things you're doing I actually wrote a song about?'" notes Ryan. "I'm like, 'You've got to be kidding.' Then I remembered the song. We have something cool that was her idea."
Stevie's first appearance on American Horror Story: Coven will air on January 8. As previously reported, a source who works on the show told E! Online that Nicks will play herself in the episode and will show up to meet her "biggest fan," the eccentric witch character Misty Day.
TheKinks.infoSome updated information has emerged about the theatrical film about The Kinks that's being directed by Julien Temple. You Really Got Me, which focuses on the notoriously turbulent relationship between the band's founding sibling members, Ray and Dave Davies, is expected to be released sometime in 2015.
The biopic will be scored by the Davies brothers themselves, and is being penned by the screenwriting team of David Clement and Ian La Frenais, whose previous credits include The Commitments and Across the Universe.
You Really Got Me is being produced by BBC Films in partnership with Oscar-winning movie producer Jeremy Thomas' Recorded Picture Company. Thomas describes the flick as "a unique tale, the story of the Cain and Abel of rock 'n' roll."
Temple's long resume includes recent documentaries on both Davies brothers, as well as 1986's Absolute Beginners, a theatrical film that featured Ray in a supporting role.
MichaelDorf.comA special star-studded concert paying tribute to Paul Simon is scheduled to take place on March 31 at New York City's famous Carnegie Hall. The show will feature 20 as-yet-unannounced artists performing 20 of the legendary singer/songwriter's classic compositions.
VIP tickets and other special packages for the show, dubbed The Music of Paul Simon at Carnegie Hall, can be purchased now at the Carnegie Hall box office and online at CarnegiePaulSimon.com. Tickets will go on sale to the general public soon.
Proceeds raised by the concert will benefit music education programs for underprivileged youths. The event is the latest in a series of tribute shows held at Carnegie Hall and other Big Apple venues in recent years that local entrepreneur Michael Dorf has organized. Among the artists that have been the subject of previous events are The Rolling Stones, Prince, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Elton John, R.E.M., The Who and Neil Young.
Incidentally, the Simon tribute will take place about two weeks after Paul wraps his recently announced joint U.S. tour with Sting. The two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers recently added a February 16 concert in Anaheim, California, to their itinerary. Visit PaulSimon.com to check out all of the upcoming tour dates.
Photo by Media24/Gallo Images/Getty ImagesPeter Gabriel had a strong connection to Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died Thursday at the age of 95. The musician called Mandela a friend and worked with him extensively on human rights issues.
At a New York City event Thursday night for his human rights organization Witness, Peter told ABC News Radio that Mandela's death was "an enormous loss."
Peter said of Mandela, "He's the great figurehead for anyone struggling for human rights, you know, maybe Gandhi before, but to go from to a violent struggle and then reach non-violence and forgiveness and really inspire not only your own people but people all around the world, we haven't seen anything like that."
The human rights group The Elders, which was launched by Mandela in 2007, began as an idea from Peter and mogul Richard Branson. It's comprised of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights.
Peter's ties to Mandela extend to the musical arena, too. He performed at many events for the late leader's charity, including a 70th birthday concert for Mandela at London's Wembley Stadium in 1988, singing "Biko," about South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.
Peter was one of many musicians who spoke highly of Mandela following his death. In a phone interview with ABC News, Aretha Franklin shared her own thoughts. The Queen of Soul, who met Mandela in 1990 and later performed at a Mandela Day benefit concert in New York in 2009, said, "Even though he was imprisoned in a small jailhouse, his spirit and his ideals and his heart and his soul could not be imprisoned."
WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty ImagesFormer South African president Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95. Through the years, he'd worked with many top musicians at various charity events, and still others served as ambassadors for his charity. Others were simply inspired by his lifelong fight to end apartheid in South Africa. Here's a selection of reactions to his passing:
In a lengthy essay in Time magazine, U2's Bono, a longtime Mandela friend, writes, "As an activist I have pretty much been doing what Nelson Mandela tells me since I was a teenager...I, like everyone else, was mesmerized by his deft maneuvering as leader of South Africa...more than anyone, it was he who rebooted the idea of Africa from a continent in chaos to a much more romantic view, one in keeping with the majesty of the landscape and the nobility of even its poorer inhabitants...He never doubted that his continent would triumph in the 21st century: 'We are not just the peoples with the oldest history,' he told me. 'We have the brightest future.'"
Paul Simon: "Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the twentieth century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace."
Carole King: "Nelson Mandela's long walk has ended, but his path remains to light our way. Rest in peace."
Lionel Richie: "He was a father to all of us. May his life be a constant reminder, that we are all ONE WORLD.. He will be missed."
Sheryl Crow: "I have a heavy spirit today. Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered, admired, and loved. He changed the world."
Gloria Estefan tweeted a photo of herself and Mandela and added, "RIP Nelson Mandela, who truly changed the world with his sacrifice...it was an honor to have been in his presence."
Rhino EntertainmentIn May, The Doors released an official app for the iPad that treats fans to an in-depth, interactive look at the music and history of the famed Los Angeles rock band. Now, the program has been expanded with some fascinating updated content timed in conjunction with what would have been late frontman Jim Morrison's 70th birthday -- Sunday, December 8.
The relaunched app features several upgrades, including a new section paying homage to keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who died on May 20 at age 74 after a battle with cancer. The centerpiece of "Ray Remembered" is a new video interview with The Doors' two surviving members, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. An exclusive clip from the conversation can be viewed now at RollingStone.com. The tribute also boasts an essay about Manzarek penned by Adam Holzman, son of Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, and a slideshow of rare photos of Ray. The app also offers updates to the program's navigation and layout.
The Doors app was devised and produced by Jac Holzman and Rhino Entertainment exec Robin Hurley, with input from Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek and Morrison's estate. Among its many other features are a timeline detailing key moments in the band's history, an interactive map of Los Angeles highlighting locations important to the group, plus song lyrics, information about The Doors' albums, promotional videos and various audio and film clips.
The program can be purchased at AppStore.com for $2.99.
Tiwary Entertainment GroupThe Fifth Beatle, an upcoming film project about late Beatles manager Brian Epstein that's based on a popular graphic novel of the same name, has a director. Peyton Reed, whose credits include Bring It On, The Break-Up and Yes Man, has signed on to helm the flick.
The movie is being co-produced by Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen and Tony-winning producer Vivek J. Tiwary, the latter of whom is the author of The Fifth Beatle graphic novel, as well as of the film's screenplay. The project, which will begin shooting next year, is the first feature film about The Beatles ever to secure the rights to Paul McCartney and John Lennon's Fab Four catalog.
The Fifth Beatle focuses on Epstein's life from his discovery of the band in Liverpool, England, in 1961 to his untimely death in 1967 at age 32 from an overdose of barbiturates. The story not only recounts the manager's triumphs as the group achieved international superstardom but also delves into his struggles as a closeted gay man.
"From the moment I read Vivek's graphic novel, I knew I wanted to be the person to bring Brian's story to the big screen," says Reed in a statement. "I'm a lifelong Beatles fan, obviously, but it's Brian's fascinating life that really blew me away and drew me to this project."
Meanwhile, Tiwary and Cohen, commenting jointly on the director, add, "Peyton's films are incredibly fun and entertaining, while still underscoring a serious empathy for the struggle for accomplishment, belonging and the need to love and be loved…In brief, Peyton is simply the perfect director to take the Brian Epstein story to the big screen."
For more information about the production, visit TheFifthBeatle.com.
Photo: Jody MorrisElton John, his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin and members of The Clash are among the music stars who have personalized skateboard decks that will be auctioned online starting Thursday to benefit a charity founded by famous skateboarder Tony Hawk.
The second annual Boards Bands sale features boards donated by pro skaters that have been decorated with the lyrics of their favorite song written by the artist or artists who recorded the tune. John and Taupin embellished a deck contributed by skater Chris Cole, with Bernie writing some of the lyrics to "Candle in the Wind" and Elton simply adding his signature.
The Clash's Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, meanwhile, put their marks on a board that Hawk himself donated and that features lyrics to "London Calling." Other musicians who have contributed signed skateboards to the auction include French dance duo Daft Punk, Panda Bear of the indie-rock group Animal Collective and singer/songwriter Ben Harper. Harper came up with the concept of the Bands Boards auction.
Bidding on the skateboards will start at 8 p.m. ET at BoardsAndBands.org. Proceeds from the sale go to the Tony Hawk Foundation's initiative to create and maintain skate parks in low-income areas around the U.S.
Sony MusicA rare set of early lyrics to "Born to Run" handwritten by Bruce Springsteen while he was working on the song has brought in big bucks at a Sotheby's auction held Thursday in New York City. The document, which was expected to fetch between $70,000 and $100,000, sold for $197,000, including the auction price and fees.
The Boss penned the lyrics on one sheet of white, lined paper in 1974 at his home in Long Branch, New Jersey. The manuscript features many segments that were eventually revised, as well as notes and comments from Springsteen suggesting alternate words and phrases.
The lyric sheet comes from the collection of Bruce's former manager, Mike Appel. No word on who the buyer was.
Photo: Jimmy KingDavid Bowiehas released yet another video for one of his new songs. The latest clip accompanies "I'd Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)," which is one of the bonus remixes that appears on The Next Day Extra -- the recently released expanded version of his 2013 comeback album The Next Day.
The video is made up mostly of vintage black-and-white footage from World War I and World War II, alternately showing soldiers dancing and celebrating as well as partaking in a variety of military activities. The clip also includes scenes showing distorted footage of Bowie's face as he sings the tune.
The video, which was directed by U.K. graphic designer Tom Hingston, can be viewed online now at VEVO.com. "I'd Rather Be High" also is featured in a new short film created for a Louis Vuitton ad campaign. In addition, the tune will be included on a limited-edition 12-inch, white-vinyl single that also will feature full-length and edited versions of another tune from The Next Day Extra, "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for The DFA)." The disc will be released on December 16.
Gonzo MultimediaJoey Molland, the last surviving original member of Badfinger, has released a brand-new solo album titled Return to Memphis. The British-born rocker recorded the 10-track collection at Memphis' Royal Studios, the famous facility where Al Green made many of his albums.
"I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there," says Molland. "I also made a lot of friends."
Joey, who wrote all of the songs on the album, reports that the sound of the material is quite different from the music he made with his old band, and doesn't feature any "real Badfinger power chords or…real jamming guitars."
He explains, "The treatment of the songs, the song content and [producer Carl 'Blue' Wise's] Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach," adding, "I know everybody gets their own feelings out of songs, but you know, I think the songs talk about relevant things and I look forward to peoples' reaction to them."
Molland says he was accompanied by "a three-piece Memphis rhythm section" on the record, while Wise also brought in four female backing singers to contribute some "'oohs' and 'aahs' and harmonies."
While Return to Memphis hasn't officially been released in the U.S. yet, fans can purchase it online at GonzoMultimedia.com.
Here is the full track list of Return to Memphis:
"Walk Out in the Rain" "A Love Song" "A Ship to Mars" "Frank and M" "Gotta Feeling" "Hero" "Is It Any Wonder" "All I Need Is Love" "All I Ever Dreamed" "Still I Love You"
Rhino RecordsSeparate four-CD box sets saluting two of the most beloved and lauded soul singers of all time, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, will be released on February 4. Titled, respectively, The King of Soul and The Queen of Soul, the collections both will feature dozens of tracks and will be offered at a suggested list price of $44.98.
The King of Soul features 92 songs spanning Redding's entire, tragically brief career, which was cut short when Otis was killed in a 1967 plane crash at age 26. Among the many tunes included are such classics as "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Try a Little Tenderness," "Respect," "Hard to Handle" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." The compilation also features memorable covers of The Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and The Beatles' "Day Tripper," a number of live performances and his hit duets with Carla Thomas, "Tramp" and "Knock on Wood." The box set's arrival will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of Redding's debut album, Pain in My Heart.
The Queen of Soul boasts 87 tracks and focuses on recordings Franklin made for Atlantic Records from 1967 until 1976. All of Aretha's major early hits are here, including her own rendition of "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Think," "Bridge over Troubled Water," "Spanish Harlem," "Day Dreaming" and "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)." The set also features several in-concert performances, as well as a standout version of The Band's "The Weight" that included guitar work by late Allman Brothers Band member Duane Allman.
Courtesy of Alice Cooper's Solid RockThe 13th annual edition of Alice Cooper's star-studded Christmas Pudding benefit show is set to take place this Saturday at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix. Joining the shock rocker at this year's extravaganza will be KISS, Joan Jett and the frontmen of a few of the biggest hair-metal bands of the 1980s -- Motley Crue's Vince Neil, Ratt's Stephen Pearcy, Cinderella's Tom Kiefer and Winger's Kip Winger. Hosting the bash will be one-time Seinfeld star and Family Feud host John O'Hurley.
Cooper tells ABC News Radio that the idea behind the event, which raises money for his Solid Rock foundation, is for the performers to loosen up and have fun.
"I treat it like a Christmas party," he says. "Have you ever been to a Christmas party where everybody gets up and does something? Except that this is all headliners."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer points out that fans attending the show might be treated to some unexpected collaborations.
"In the past I've had people like Pat Boone with Ted Nugent, Glen Campbell and Rob Zombie," he notes. "I would try to get people that just didn't belong together on stage together…It just shows that you're breaking down barriers."
Alice reports that one aspect of this year's concert that will be different from previous shows is that the event will feature a house band that will back most of the guest singers. Cooper says the group, Hairball, is "the best cover band I've ever heard," adding that "these guys play as good as [the guest artists' own] bands."
All the proceeds from the concert go toward the Solid Rock charity Cooper co-founded in 1995, and its affiliated Rock Teen Center facility that opened last year in Phoenix. As Copper explained to ABC News Radio, "Solid Rock foundation [offers] free music lessons for kids -- you know, guitars, drums, bass, dance, whatever it is. All the stuff you can't get in school anymore. And, it's really to get kids off the street [and] give 'em a safe place to go."
That "safe place" is the Rock Teen Center, which is open to at-risk young people ages 13 to 19. Cooper points out that the motivation behind establishing the center is to convince teenagers going down a bad path that they have better options.
He explains, "I'm looking at this 15-year-old kid [selling drugs on the street], going, 'This kid's either gonna be in jail or dead in two or three years. How does he know he's not the best guitar player in Arizona? Why don't we give him a chance, at least give him an alternative, to come in and try it.'"
Meanwhile, Cooper and most of this year's other Christmas Pudding lineup also will be taking part in a similar benefit show on Thursday night in the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas. That event will aid the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, a facility established by Dollar Loan Center founder Chuck Brennan that offers music-education programs to underprivileged young people in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.