April 20, 2014
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Classic Hits News

Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAFYou may never have heard of Frankie Knuckles, but dance music as we know it today may not have existed without him.  The Grammy-winning deejay and record producer, known as "The Godfather of House Music," died on March 31, and now Elton John is paying tribute to him by establishing a charity fund in his name.

Through his Elton John AIDS Foundation, John has established The Frankie Knuckles Fund, to support HIV information, testing and treatment.  In a statement, Elton says, "Frankie was such a lovely man and a great talent and his legacy provides a powerful voice to reach out to people, particularly men of color, about their essential role in helping to create an AIDS-free future."

The fund will be aimed particularly at empowering and improving the health of the black community.  Black men are 40 percent more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV, and 46 percent of people in the U.S. living with HIV are black.

In other Elton-related charity news, the music legend will be performing April 28 at the Hot Pink Park Party, the annual New York City fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  He's played at the event since it first began in 2001, performing solo renditions of both his hits, and more obscure album cuts. Also on the fundraiser's lineup is Sara Bareilles, whose most recent live album featured a version of John's hit "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/20/2014 06:00:11am

Harper CollinsPaul Stanley has called his story "inspirational" -- and the telling of that story has apparently inspired legions to go buy the book in which the story is told.  Face the Music: A Life Exposed has debuted at #2 on The New York Times Best Seller list in the nonfiction hardcover category. 

The memoir opens with the KISS singer's childhood, a rough tale of being born with a physical deformity, a learning disability and a dysfunctional family -- and overcoming it all to become the frontman of one of the world's most successful rock bands.

Face the Music also debuted at #3 on Publishers Weekly's Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list, #4 on the Wall Street Journal's Nonfiction Best Sellers list and #4 on the Toronto Star's Original Nonfiction Best Sellers list.

In typical KISS fashion, Stanley has been relentlessly plugging the book with coast-to-coast radio, TV, online and in-store appearances.  Amid the flurry of publicity, KISS also was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just over a week ago.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/20/2014 06:00:10am

Juan Pitino; David LeveneThe seventh annual edition of Record Store Day is taking place Saturday and, in addition to the many cool limited-edition vinyl releases that will be available at independent music retailers, a bevy of artists will help celebrate the unofficial holiday by visiting select stores across North America.

Among the well-known musicians set to make special appearances are Hall & Oates singer John Oates, The Zombies, Paul Rodgers and R.E.M.'s Mike Mills.

Oates, a newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, will be at Grimey's New and Pre-Loved Music store in Nashville, where he'll be among of bevy of artists who'll perform for shoppers.  The singer's set is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. ET.

The Zombies will give an in-store performance of their own at Plan 9 Music in Charlottesville, Virginia, at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Rodgers will visit Sunrise Records in Toronto, Canada, where he'll sign vinyl and CD copies of his latest album, The Royal Sessions.  The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET.

As for Mills, the former R.E.M. bass player will visit the Bull Moose music store in Scarborough, Maine, where he'll sign up to two items for fans, including R.E.M.'s special four-LP Record Store Day release, Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions.  The promotion will start at 2 p.m. ET.

A full list of in-store events can be viewed at RecordStoreDay.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/19/2014 06:00:23am

RecordStoreDay.comSpring is in the air, but if you breathe deeply enough you may also pick up the scent of fresh vinyl.  This Saturday, April 19, marks the seventh annual installment of Record Store Day, which is celebrated at select music retailers throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and several other countries.  In conjunction with the unofficial holiday, a vast number of artists are issuing limited-edition vinyl singles, EPs and LPs that are sold exclusively at participating independent record shops.

This year's Record Store Day is proving to be one of the most expansive yet, with more than 400 special releases headed for U.S. stores alone.  Obviously, there are way too many discs to list, but among some of the noteworthy acts represented are Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, The Animals, David Bowie, Eric Carmen, Sam Cooke, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, The Everly Brothers, The Grateful Dead, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Otis Redding, Ronnie Spector with The E Street Band, Bruce Springsteen, The Yardbirds and The Zombies.

Here's some specific information about a few of the releases sure to interest audiophiles:

- David Bowie's "1984" picture disc -- a seven-inch single featuring a photo of Bowie with famed beat author William S. Burroughs, and including the original version of the song and a live rendition from a December 1974 TV appearance.

- Creedence Clearwater Revival's The 1969 Singles -- a 10-inch white-vinyl disc featuring four singles, a-sides and b-sides, that the band released in 1969.

- The Doors' Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine -- a reissue of the band's out-of-print 1972 two-LP compilation on translucent, amber-swirled colored vinyl.

- The Grateful Dead's Live at Hampton Coliseum -- a two-LP set featuring previously unreleased performances from a concert the band played at the Virginia venue on May 4, 1979.

- The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Live at Monterey -- a high-quality 180-gram vinyl edition of the album documenting Hendrix and his group's landmark 1967 set at the Monterey Pop festival.

- Ronnie Spector & The E Street Band's "Say Goodbye to Hollywood"/"Baby Please Don't Go" single -- a seven-inch disc featuring two songs the Ronettes singer recorded with Springsteen's backing group in 1977.

- Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty EP -- a 12-inch disc featuring four previously unreleased songs from the sessions that yielded the Boss' latest album, 2014's High Hopes.

- The Zombies' I Love You -- an LP that originally was released in 1966 in Europe and Japan, but hasn't been issued in the U.S. until now.

Check out the full list of special releases at RecordStoreDay.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/19/2014 06:00:22am

RecordStoreDay.comSpring is in the air, but if you breathe deeply enough you may also pick up the scent of fresh vinyl. This Saturday, April 19, marks the seventh annual installment of Record Store Day, which is celebrated at select music retailers throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and several other countries.  In conjunction with the unofficial holiday, a vast number of artists are issuing limited-edition vinyl singles, EPs and LPs that are sold exclusively at participating independent record shops.

This year's Record Store Day is proving to be one of the most expansive yet, with more than 400 special releases headed for U.S. stores alone.  Obviously, there are way too many discs to list, but among some of the noteworthy acts represented are Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers Band, The Animals, David Bowie, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes, The Ramones, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, The Yardbirds, Frank Zappa and The Zombies.

Here's some specific information about a few of the releases sure to interest audiophiles:

- David Bowie's "1984" picture disc -- a seven-inch single featuring a photo of Bowie with famed beat author William S. Burroughs, and including the original version of the song and a live rendition from a December 1974 TV appearance.

- Creedence Clearwater Revival's The 1969 Singles -- a 10-inch white-vinyl disc featuring four singles, a-sides and b-sides, that the band released in 1969.

- The Grateful Dead's Live at Hampton Coliseum -- a two-LP set featuring previously unreleased performances from a concert the band played at the Virginia venue on May 4, 1979.

- The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Live at Monterey -- a high-quality 180-gram vinyl edition of the album documenting Hendrix and his group's landmark 1967 set at the Monterey Pop festival.

- Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes' Live at the Greek -- a three-LP version of the 2000 album -- on red, clear and blue vinyl discs -- capturing performances from Page and The Crowes' collaborative 1999 shows in Los Angeles.

- Bruce Springsteen's American Beauty EP -- a 12-inch disc featuring four previously unreleased songs from the sessions that yielded the Boss' latest album, 2014's High Hopes.

Check out the full list of special releases at RecordStoreDay.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/19/2014 06:00:20am

Press Here PublicityPrince will now have full ownership and control over his master recordings after signing a new contract with his former label Warner Bros. Records.

The legendary singer has announced that fans will soon hear previously unreleased music as well as a digitally remastered, deluxe 30th anniversary edition of his 1984 soundtrack to Purple Rain.

"A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros. Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship," says Prince in a statement.

"Everyone at Warner Bros. Records is delighted to be working with Prince once again: he is one of the world’s biggest stars and a truly unique talent. We are also very excited about the release of new and remastered music from one of his greatest masterpieces," adds Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Cameron Strang.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 07:00:21pm

Third Man RecordsHappy Record Store Day, Neil Young fans!  A day before the big audiophile promotion, and without any fanfare or official announcement, the folk-rock legend has made his new album, A Letter Home, available for purchase via the official online store of ex-White Stripe frontman Jack White's Third Man Records label.  A vinyl LP version of the record can be ordered for $20, not including shipping fees.

A Letter Home was co-produced by Young and White, and features 10 cover tunes by various singer-songwriters who have inspired and influenced Neil.  Among the songs are Bob Dylan's "North Country Girl," Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown," Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" and Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Only Read My Mind."  Several of the tunes included on the album have been featured in Young's recent concert sets.

As previously reported, Neil recorded A Letter Home on a 1947 Voice-o-Graph recording booth that's located at White's Third Man Records store in Nashville.  The device allows the user to record a song directly onto a vinyl disc.  A statement from Young describes the album as "an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro mechanical technology [that] captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever."

Here is a complete track listing of A Letter Home, along with the artist who originally recorded each song:

"Changes" (Phil Ochs)
"Girl from the North Country" (Bob Dylan)
"Needle of Death" (Bert Jansch)
"Early Morning Rain" (Gordon Lightfoot)
"Reason to Believe" (Tim Hardin)
"On the Road Again" (Willie Nelson)
"If You Could Only Read My Mind" (Gordon Lightfoot)
"Since I Met You Baby" (Ivory Joe Hunter)
"My Hometown" (Bruce Springsteen)
"I Wonder If I Care as Much" (Everly Brothers)

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 07:00:21pm

Rhino RecordsIt's amazing what being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame can do for a performer's back catalog.  Linda Ronstadt, who entered the Hall less than two weeks ago, has just scored her highest-charting album in more than two decades.

Billboard reports that Linda's new compilation disc, Duets, has debuted at #32 on the album chart.  She hasn't been that high since 1990, when her album with Aaron Neville, Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, reached #7.  That album featured three hit singles, including "All My Life" and "Don't Know Much."

The new album, Duets, collects Linda's duets not only with Neville, but with Don Henley, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra, James Ingram, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and others.  There's also one previously unreleased track, called "Pretty Bird."

Ronstadt, who recently announced that she can no longer sing due to Parkinson's disease, has scored 10 top 10 hits in her career, and 10 top 10 albums.  She couldn't attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 10, but was honored by performances from Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks and Carrie Underwood.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 07:00:19pm

Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesCuban-born percussionist Armando Peraza, who was a member of Santana from 1972 to about 1990, died this past Monday, April 14, at a hospital in South San Francisco, California.  The musician' wife, Josephine, told the Los Angeles Times that his cause of death was pneumonia, although he also had fought a long battle with diabetes.  Peraza was believed to be 89, although he didn't know his exact birth date.

Armando joined Santana for the recording of the band's fourth studio album, Caravanserai, and appeared on most of the group's releases through 1990's Spirits Dancing in the Flesh.  He retired from Santana when his diabetes made it difficult for him to tour.

Peraza was born in Havana and was orphaned when he was a child.  By the time he was a teenager, he was living on the streets, and eventually taught himself to play percussion instruments such as the conga and bongo drums.  While in Cuba, he played alongside renowned Latin percussionist Mongo Santamaria.  In the late 1940s, he came to New York City, and soon began performing with a variety of respected jazz artists.  Over the years, he would perform and/or record with such legends as George Shearing, Charlie Parker, Buddy Rich, Dave Brubeck, Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Cal Tjader and Chick Corea.

In addition to Santana, Peraza also worked with a number of other pop, rock and R&B musicians, including Eric Clapton, Linda Rontadt and Rick James.  After leaving Santana, he continued to play on various recordings and at occasional concerts.

Carlos Santana has penned a tribute to Armando that he posted on his official website.  The homage reads, "My greatest teacher/mentor/role model crossed over the other side tonight.  He is now light only...no more in the body.  He is free from gravity and time.  Immortality is his playground.  Infinity is his domain.  Thank you for all and everything, Dearest Armando Peraza.  Be with GOD and the angels Dear one.  Peace."

Besides his wife, Peraza is survived by a daughter and three grandchildren.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 03:00:05pm

Harper CollinsKISS frontman Paul Stanley has published his autobiography, Paul Stanley: Face the Music: A Life Exposed, and is on a book tour through California this week to sign books and meet fans. 

Despite the fact that Stanley appears on the cover in full KISS makeup, he tells ABC News Radio "I didn't write a KISS book, I wrote a book about my life."

The book opens with Stanley's childhood, which tells the tale of a pretty rough beginning. "I was born without a right ear, deaf on that side, all kinds of learning disabilities because of it and a fairly dysfunctional family," he says.  He admits he pursued fame because he thought it would cure his problems. "And I became famous, luckily, and at that point I realized that it wasn't the answer, so at that point you either start to do drugs and numb yourself or you can roll up your sleeves and get your life together and stop being a victim," he says simply, but readers of Face The Music will learn that Stanley's journey was far from simple -- in fact, it was full of loneliness and self-doubt.

Paul Stanley admits to ABC News Radio that he "couldn't have written the book 15 years ago because it wouldn't have had a happy ending. The only reason to write a book like this is not to wallow in pity or cry 'Woe is me,' it's to show people that you can pick yourself up by your bootstraps and wind up with a great life, when at some point it was anything but."

In typical KISS fashion, Stanley brags to ABC News Radio that his is "a great story," but then quickly follows that up by saying, "When you're writing about yourself it turns into a love letter. There's been enough of those on the market. The only reason I decided to write a book is when I thought my life might shed some light on other people, about their struggles, and that even the people they hold in high esteem or look up to, struggle. And then it's how you deal with the struggle [that matters]." 

Paul Stanley will be appearing at the Miramar Marine Base in San Diego on Friday, April 18, and at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco on Saturday, April 19. Go to PaulStanley.com for times and details.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 11:00:31am

C Flanigan/WireImagePhil Lesh & Friends, the musical project led by the founding Grateful Dead bassist, will play their first-ever headlining show in New York City's Central Park next month.  The event will be held May 28 at Rumsey Playfield.

The lineup of Lesh's group, which is made up of a rotating cast of musicians, will feature at this show Allman Brothers Band singer/guitarist Warren Haynes, keyboardist John Medeski from the avant-jazz-funk trio Medeski, Martin & Wood, acclaimed jazz-rock guitarist John Scofield and drummer Joe Russo, who also plays will Phil and The Dead's Bob Weir in Furthur.

Outside of The Grateful Dead, the only other time Lesh played in Central Park was this past November, when he made a surprise appearance with Soulive's Eric Krasno as part of the 2013 Jazz & Colors Festival.  Tickets for the May 28 concert go on sale Friday, April 25, at TheCapitolTheatre.com.

"Seeing great music in Central Park is one of the best things about New York," says concert organizer Peter Shapiro.  "I'm so excited to bring the music of the Grateful Dead there with this incredible lineup for a full show for the first time."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 11:00:30am

Kevin Mazur/WireImageSting singing Italian opera?  Kevin Spacey impersonating Bill Clinton...while standing next to Bill Clinton?  Paul Simon cracking jokes like a stand-up comic?  It could only happen at Sting's long-running Rainforest Benefit Concert, which marked 25 years of fundraising Thursday night at New York City's famed Carnegie Hall.

As usual, Sting and his wife Trudie Styler put together a star-studded cast of musicians to entertain the crowd.  In addition to Sting himself, the lineup included Sting's recent tour mate Paul Simon, as well as James Taylor, Stephen Stills, Bruce Springsteen's wife and E Street Band member Patti Scialfa, Dionne Warwick, opera star Renee Fleming, trumpeter Chris Botti, Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac, two of Sting's children and Spacey, who proved himself to be quite the entertainer all evening.

The night began with Sting, Spacey, and Taylor performing the Cole Porter classic "Well, Did You Evah!,"  an over-the-top comical music number from the movie High Society.  Then, the tuxedo-clad Spacey offered up a spot-on imitation of Johnny Carson, before launching into a version of "That's Life," made famous by Frank Sinatra.  Throughout the evening, Spacey also joined in on group numbers.  However, he got the most laughs when Bill Clinton took the stage, and Spacey performed an uncanny impersonation of the former president while standing right next to him.

"When I was president, people accused me of murder all the time!  Made a show of investigating it!" Clinton told the crowd, to much laughter.  Then, referring to Spacey's character Frank Underwood on the hit Netflix series House of Cards, he added, "Spacey's president for 15 minutes, and he gets away with murder!"

The musical numbers ranged from opera -- with Sting even joining Renee Fleming for an aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni -- plus classic rock, classic pop and singer/songwriter classics.  The biggest highlights were watching Sting team up with Paul Simon on some of Simon's most famous Simon & Garfunkel numbers, as they recently did on their joint tour.  When Sting held the high note at the end of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," it brought down the house.  Simon also cracked a string of jokes about the rainforest; the crowd roared while Sting just shook his head.

Over the 25 years that the Rainforest Foundation has been holding these benefit concerts, nearly $35 million has been raised to preserve and protect the world's rainforests, as well as the indigenous people who live there.

Here's a partial set list of the numbers performed Thursday night:

Sting, James Taylor, Kevin Spacey: "Well, Did You Evah!"
Spacey: "That's Life"
Renee Fleming: "O Mio Babbino Caro"
Fleming, Sting, Spacey: "La Ci Darem La Mano"
Taylor: "Fire and Rain"
Chris Botti: "Sketches of Spain"
Sting: "When We Dance"
Dionne Warwick: "Walk on By" and "Anyone Who Had a Heart"
Oscar Isaac: "Young Turks" (Rod Stewart cover)
Sting: "America" (Simon & Garfunkel)
Stephen Stills: "For What It's Worth"
Stephen Stills: "Amazonia"
Eliot Sumner (Sting's Daughter): "Born to Be Wild"
Joe Sumner (Sting' Son): "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Sting & Patti Scialfa: "Stand By Me"
Taylor: "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved By You)"
Paul Simon: "Graceland"
Sting & Paul Simon: "The Boxer" (Simon & Garfunkel)
Sting & Paul Simon: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel)
Stills & Entire Company: "Love the One You're With"

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 06:01:00am

PETAAs Christians prepare to celebrate Easter this Sunday, Paul McCartney is continuing his ongoing support of animal rights and the vegan lifestyle by taking part in a new initiative encouraging people to forego eating meat for the holiday.  The ex-Beatles legend is appearing in an online campaign launched by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in which he's wearing the organization's new "Eat No Fish" T-shirt.

The promotion is timed to coincide with the pre-Easter holy day Good Friday, which Christians traditionally observe by eating fish rather than other meat such as beef, pork or chicken.  The new PETA ads also include a comment from McCartney in which he urges, "make it a Good Friday for animals -- try vegetarian."

Explaining why he decided to stop eating fish, Sir Paul recalls, "Many years ago, I was fishing, and as I was reeling in the poor fish, I realized, 'I am killing him -- all for the passing pleasure it brings me.'  And something inside me clicked, I realized as I watched him fight for breath that his life was as important to him as mine is to me."

The "Eat No Fish" T-shirt can be purchased at PETACatalog.com, and you can find more about the campaign by visiting PETA.org.  By the way, McCartney has previously promoted the sale of PETA's "Eat No Cow" and "Eat No Turkey" shirts, which also are available at the organization's online store.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/18/2014 06:00:56am

ABC News Radio

Slash is the first to admit that he didn't care much for school, and it's clear he's not up on his broadcasting history.  In the latest digital issue of FuseTV's Backatcha -- in which rock stars discuss highlights of their band's pasts -- the guitarist tries to take credit for broadcasting's seven-second delay.  That's the feature that lets radio jocks and TV producers "dump" up to seven seconds of audio in the event that some rock star slips with an F-bomb or one of the many other violations of the FCC's stringent rules.

In the Backatcha episode, Slash says that he and the rest of his old band Guns N' Roses were "accepting an award for something and we were just really, really drunk.  That was the beginning of the seven-second rule...for swearing.  The seven-second delay?  We started it.  Every other word was 'f**k this' and 'f**king that.'"

Not quite.  As much as the GN'R guys might have tried to exercise the seven-second delay as often as they could, it was actually invented way back in 1952, before any of them were born.

In other Guns N' Roses news, frontman Axl Rose will receive this year's Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award next week, at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles, when he'll will join the ranks of past honorees Rush, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica and Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead

The Revolver Golden Gods Awards will be held at L.A.'s Nokia Theater on Wednesday, April 23.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/17/2014 07:00:20pm

CapitolGlen Campbell has apparently been moved to an Alzheimer's facility.  A family friend tells People, "I'm not sure what the permanent plan is for him yet.  We'll know more next week."

The 78-year-old singer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's more than three years ago.  A documentary about Glen's Goodbye Tour, titled Glen Campbell…I'll Be Me, debuts Friday at the Nashville Film Festival.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

04/17/2014 07:00:19pm