Music News

Elton John in the metaverse? It could happen

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Way back in 2018, when Elton John first announced his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, he told reporters that he's told his kids, "When Daddy dies, promise me you won’t have a hologram of me going around the world.”  But he never said anything about appearing in the metaverse while he's still alive.

Elton's husband and manager, David Furnish, tells the British publication MusicWeek that he's been looking into how to expand Elton's brand in the metaverse -- meaning 3D virtual worlds that allow people to interact via computer-generated avatars. 

In the past couple of years, the metaverse has become very popular with musicians -- many artists have staged exclusive concerts within these virtual worlds. So, Furnish says, why shouldn't Elton get in on the action?

"That's going to be a big new market for music discovery," Furnish tells Music Week. "We're looking at it closely but carefully. Elton's been a bit like an avatar his entire life, throwing things on and off, changing and moving forward."

It's all part of Furnish's five-year plan to promote Elton's music to younger audiences; projects like the Rocketman film and Elton's Lockdown Sessions album have been a part of that. The plan seems to be working: According to Furnish, more than half of Elton's Spotify listeners are aged 18 to 35.

And while Elton admits he's hopeless when it comes to technology, Furnish says that once his husband "understands the role it plays in his world, he's happy to give it a try ... but then you better get it right." As Furnish puts it, "If it doesn't turn out the way it should, he's not happy."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Paul McCartney mourns death of "dear" brother-in-law John Eastman

Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Paul McCartney is mourning the loss of his brother-in-law John Eastman -- older brother of his late first wife, Linda -- who died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at age 83, according to U.K. newspaper The Sun.

"My dear brother-in-law, John Eastman, has passed away," the former Beatles legend writes in a tribute posted on his official website. "Having known each other for over 50 years it is an extremely sad time for me, and our families."

McCartney continues, "John was a great man. One of the nicest and smartest people I have had the good luck to have known in my life. ⁠Not only did he help me massively in my business dealings as my lawyer but as a friend he was hard to beat."

Sir Paul adds, "His sense of humour always shone through in everything he did and his devotion to his family was supreme. ⁠We had so many fun times together through the years, but when the time came to be serious, he was unbeatable."

The note concludes, "[W]ords can hardly describe his passion for life and our affection for this amazing man. He will be sorely missed but always held dear in the hearts of those of us who knew and loved him. See ya Johnny!"

Accompanying the message is a photo of McCartney and Eastman smiling as they do yoga poses together.

John Eastman and his late father, Lee, were both lawyers who helped guide McCartney through his legal separation from his fellow Beatles during the band's breakup and also advised Paul on some of his lucrative business endeavors, including his investment in music publishing.

Paul wed Linda Eastman in March 1969, and the couple remained married until Linda's death in April 1998 at age 56.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson reunite to perform at 'South Park' 25th anniversary concert

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Comedy Central

Rush's surviving members, singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, reunited Wednesday night at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, at a concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the popular animated comedy show South Park.

Lee and Lifeson made a surprise appearance, joining their longtime friends Primus for a performance of Rush's classic 1977 song "Closer to the Heart" while South Park co-creator Matt Stone sat in on drums.

This marked the first time Lee and Lifeson have played together in public since longtime Rush drummer Neil Peart's death from brain cancer in January 2020.

Before Lee and Lifeson hit the stage, a video featuring South Park-style cartoon
versions of them was shown in which they humorously discussed what they could do to help Stone and South Park co-creator Trey Parker celebrate the 25th anniversary.

"[Should we] send them some free Rush beer?" Lee poses. "Or even worse, we could show up and jam with them, eh?" Lee and Lifeson then hit the stage, to wild applause.

Rolling Stone reports the concert included full sets from Primus and Ween, and Stone joined in on various instruments for renditions of original South Park songs.

The show was filmed for South Park: The 25th Anniversary Concert special, which premieres on Comedy Central this Saturday, August 13, at 10 p.m. ET and will be available to stream on Paramount+ starting August 14.

Stone is a lifelong Rush fan, and the band has been referenced in South Park numerous times, including the 2011 episode "Royal Pudding" that features the prog-rock legends performing at a vigil after the princess of Canada was kidnapped.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The Beach Boys, Alanis Morissette & more soundtracking 2022 Peloton All for One Festival

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Beach Boys, Alanis Morissette and Green Day are just three of more than 30 artists that will help you work up a sweat during with the recently announced 2022 Peloton All for One Festival.

The home exercise company's annual event features a variety of well-known musical acts contributing their music to a special weekend of Peloton classes, which this year takes place from August 19 to August 21. Members will be able to choose from different musician-themed courses, including cycling, running, strength and yoga.

The Beach Boys are contributing a new remix of their classic 1966 song "God Only Knows," created by DJ John Michael specially for Peloton.

Other participating artists include Maroon 5, John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Wu-Tang Clan, Muse, Florence + the Machine and T-Pain.

Peloton has been putting on this event every year since 2018 -- but it only became a music festival last year. The home fitness company made the change to help its members feel more connected, thanks to the power of music, during the ongoing pandemic that caused many gyms to shut their doors.

"All for One has always been a way for us to connect the Peloton community since music is an essential part of keeping the experience fresh and motivating for our Members," says Peloton executive Gwen Riley. "This year, we're giving members more classes and more artists than ever before for a three-day celebration of music, movement and our community around the world!"

For more info, visit OnePeloton.com.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Melissa Etheridge's "new calling": Stopping fights on 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'

Bravo Media

Melissa Etheridge is a musician, Oscar winner, Grammy winner and breast cancer survivor, but now she can add another line to her resume: reality show peacemaker.

On Wednesday night's episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Melissa made a surprise appearance at a charity dinner hosted by Dorit Kemsley. When she arrived, she inadvertently stopped things from descending into chaos. 

As E! Online reports, Lisa Rinna and Sutton Stracke had gotten into a screaming match at the event and were slinging expletives across the room at each other, while all the other guests watched in horror. But then Melissa came down the stairs and performed "Come to My Window," and suddenly everyone chilled out.

In fact, Lisa even apologized to Sutton and the rest of the Housewives, tearfully attributing her outburst to misdirected anger. "I'm trying to figure out how to live without my mom and I don't know how to do it," she said.

Melissa retweeted the E! Online article -- titled "How Melissa Etheridge Stopped a RHOBH Dinner Party From Hell" -- and added, "I have new calling!!" She also tweeted a photo of herself posing with the glamorous housewives, and captioned the pic, "one of these things is not like the other…"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Eagles add more US shows to Hotel California trek in November

Courtesy of Eagles

The Eagles recently announced that they extended their Hotel California 2022 Tour with a run of six Canadian dates in September, and now comes word that "due to overwhelming demand," the band also will be playing six more shows in the U.S. in November.

The newly added stateside concerts are scheduled for November 15 in St. Louis; November 17 in Des Moines, Iowa; November 19 in New Orleans; November 21 in Birmingham, Alabama; November 23 in Kansas City, Missouri; and November 25 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tickets for their shows go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 19, at 10 a.m. local time, while a limited number of VIP packages will be available that day. Presale tickets will be available starting Thursday, August 18, at 10 a.m. local time. Visit Eagles.com for more information.

As previously reported, the tour features the Eagles performing their classic 1976 Hotel California album in its entirety, as well as other memorable tunes by the group, accompanied by an orchestra and a choir. The band's current lineup includes founding singer/drummer Don Henley, longtime guitarist Joe Walsh, bassist Timothy B. Schmit, and country star Vince Gill on vocals and guitar.

The Eagles' Canadian outing is plotted out from a September 9 concert in Toronto through a September 22 show in Vancouver. The band wrapped up a series of European dates in June and also mounted an extensive U.S. leg earlier this year.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Olivia Newton-John's official state funeral to be "more of a concert"

ABC Audio

Olivia Newton-John's state memorial service in her home country of Australia will be "more of a concert than a funeral," said a government official.

Born in England, Olivia grew up in Melbourne, the capital of the Australian state of Victoria. Victoria Premier Dan Andrews tweeted, "I'm so pleased that Olivia [Newton]-John's family have accepted our offer of a State Memorial Service. We're working with Olivia's family on the details, but it will be more of a concert than a funeral - fitting for a Victorian who lived such a rich and generous life."

Previously, Olivia's niece Totti Goldsmith told an Australian TV show that the family had accepted the offer. And certainly, there's no shortage of singers who'd love to pay tribute to the beloved Grease star.

Meanwhile, Olivia's husband, John Easterling, has posted a tribute to her on Instagram in which he writes, "At Olivia’s deepest essence she was a healer using her mediums of song, of words, of touch. She was the most courageous woman I’ve ever known. Her bandwidth for genuinely caring for people, for nature and all creatures almost eclipses what is humanely [sic] possible."

He adds, "It is only the grace of God that has allowed me to share the depth and passion of her being for so long. In her most difficult times she always had the spirit, the humor, and the will power to move things into the light. Even now as her soul soars, the pain and holes in my heart are healed with the joy of her love and the light that shines forward."

He concludes, "Our family deeply appreciates the vast ocean of love and support that has come our way."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mariah Carey among many stars performing at Global Citizen Festival in NYC this September

Courtesy of Global Citizen

The 10th anniversary Global Citizen Festival will take place on September 24 in both New York City and in Accra, Ghana. And, as usual, the lineup is very star-studded.

The New York edition of the fest will be held in Central Park, and its bill will include Mariah Carey, as well as Jonas Brothers and Metallica. The event, which will be hosted by Global Citizen ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas. also will feature performances by pop singer Charlie Puth, Italian rockers Måneskin, Latin star Rosalía and country star Mickey Guyton, with more artists to be announced later.

Meanwhile, the concert in Accra, Ghana, will commemorate the 65th anniversary of African nation's independence, and the show will feature Usher, and R&B superstars SZA and H.E.R., among others.

The concerts will be broadcast and streamed on ABC, ABC News Live, FX, Hulu, Twitter, YouTube and more. A primetime special, Global Citizen Festival: Take Action Now, will air September 25 at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.

As always, tickets to the concerts are free, and can be earned by downloading the Global Citizen app or visiting GlobalCitizen.org and taking action on the charity's issues.

Global Citizen is calling for world leaders to work to fight extreme poverty and specifically is asking the leaders attending the United National General Assembly to invest $600 million in the future of women and girls worldwide, to close the annual $10 billion climate financing shortfall and to provide $500 million to help African farmers respond to the global food crisis.

According to Global Citizen, as many as 1.2 billion people now live in countries experiencing food, energy and financial crises and as many as 200 million more may experience extreme poverty by November if action isn't taken now.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Madonna joins Jimmy Fallon and The Roots for a performance of "Music" using classroom instruments

Todd Owyoung/NBC

On Wednesday's The Tonight Show, Madonna joined host Jimmy Fallon and his house band The Roots in the Tonight Show Music Room for a version of "Music," from her new compilation album, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones -- performed with classroom instruments.

In the recurring segment, Fallon and The Roots back music artists for a version of one of their popular songs, using instruments you would find in a classroom.

In this case, it was Madonna rocking the triangle, with Fallon pounding a wood block while Roots members played a toy xylophone, a melodica, a toy guitar, tambourines and shakers.

Past music room guests have included Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, Ed Sheeran and Adele.

Madonna also shared the stories behind a couple of her number-one hits, including "Everybody," which she said she convinced the DJ at a New York City club called Danceteria to play, marking the first time she saw people dancing to one of her songs.

She also shared a story about her notorious 1984 MTV Video Music Awards performance of "Like a Virgin."

"I walked down these very steep stairs of a wedding cake and I got to the bottom and I started dancing and my white stiletto pump fell off," she recalled. "I was trying to do this like smooth move, like dive for the shoe and make it look like it was choreography, and my dress flipped up and my butt was showing!" 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


America's Gerry Beckley reflects on a couple of highlights from new solo album, 'Aurora'

Blue Élan Records

America's Gerry Beckley recently released his latest solo album, Aurora, an 11-track collection recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic at his two home studios -- in Sydney, Australia, and Venice, California.

Beckley tells ABC Audio that because the pandemic kept America off the road for quite a while, it not only gave him extra time to write new songs but it also gave him the opportunity "to dig in to some of the [incomplete] older things that I had nowhere near the time or patience to finish [before]."

One song on Aurora that undoubtedly will interest America fans is "Tickets to the Past," which Beckley wrote with his co-founding bandmate Dewey Bunnell, who also sings on the track.

Beckley says Bunnell got involved in the track because the song "was missing a verse," and he decided to ask Dewey to help finish the tune.

"Dewey wrote a lovely verse," Gerry notes, "and then…Jeff Larson, my co-producer, went up and got Dewey's vocal."

He adds, "[I]t was…a lovely addition to this record, because normally these solo albums are, you know, key word 'solo.' I not only write most of it, but play most of it…So it's lovely to have him. It's a great song. I'm really happy with it."

Meanwhile, Beckley has just released a "visualizer" video for another Aurora track, "Way to Go," which was inspired by the classic Philadelphia soul sound of the 1970s.

"[O]ne of my favorite tracks of all time is The Spinners' 'I'll Be Around,'" Gerry reveals. "And, you know, these are pop songs, but they are just approached with an incredibly identifiable dynamic, that whole Philly sound."

Beckley also points out that he layered his background vocals on the track "trying to do the whole soul group [sound]."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison among artists added to 2022 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass fest lineup

Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Talking Heads guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison and former King Crimson guitarist/singer Adrian Belew are among the artists who have been added to the lineup of the 2022 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which takes place from September 30 to October 2 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Harrison will be joined by Belew, who toured and recorded with Talking Heads during the early '80s, and a group of backing musicians for a performance of the band's classic 1980 album Remain in Light. Their set will also feature select other Talking Heads tunes, as well as songs from their respective solo careers.

Other artists confirmed to play the festival include Emmylou Harris, Marcus Mumford, Lucius and Buddy Miller. For more info about the festival, which is a free event, visit HardlyStrictlyBluegrass.com.

Ahead of their performance at the festival, Harrison and Belew will come together for a special concert and Q&A event celebrating the Remain in Light album on September 29 at the famed Los Angeles theater The Wiltern.

The show will begin with a conversation between Harrison, Belew and actress/singer Tawny Newsome about the Talking Heads' heyday, and the group's influence on the musical and cultural landscape. Harrison and Belew will then perform with a group of musicians that includes former members of the Brooklyn, New York-based band Turkuaz.

Tickets for the event are available now at LiveNation.com.

Harrison, Belew and members of Turkuaz previously gave a series of performances celebrating Remain in Light in 2021 and earlier this year.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bangles frontwoman Susanna Hoffs to publish debut novel in 2023

Little, Brown

Bangles singer Susanna Hoffs is going from walking like an Egyptian to writing like an author: She's publishing her first novel, This Bird Has Flown, next spring.

The book is about a washed-up pop singer who finds new inspiration when she falls in love with an Oxford literature professor she meets on a plane to London. Helen Fielding, who wrote Bridget Jones' Diary, calls the book a "sexy, page-turning treat."

Susanna tells Entertainment Weekly, "I decided to make my protagonist a musician and songwriter because it's a job I know well ... I also wanted to give readers a peek behind the curtain of what it's like to face an audience with your heart thumping so loudly you fear they can hear it, too -- and then, somehow, to find your voice."

The "Eternal Flame" singer adds that she found the novel-writing process "truly exhilarating," adding, "It was permission to escape into my fictional world with my characters, as though I'd gone through a portal into another world. ... It was essentially like playing with dolls in my imagination."

This Bird Has Flown -- presumably titled after the Beatles song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" -- arrives April 4, 2023.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Blondie postpones one concert, cancels another because of "recent positive COVID test"

Robin Little/Redferns

Blondie was scheduled to play a concert Wednesday night at the Paramount theater in Huntington, New York, but the show has now been postponed "[o]ut of an abundance of caution due to a recent positive COVID test," according to a message on the band's social media pages.

The performance has been moved to August 31, and a new show has been added at the same venue on September 1. Meanwhile, an August 12 concert at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, which was to have marked the launch of a new U.S. leg of Blondie's Against the Odds Tour, has been canceled.

Tickets that were purchased online for the Foxwoods show will be automatically refunded within 30 days, while tickets bought at the box office can be returned there for an immediate refund.

Blondie's trek is now slated to kick off on August 14 at Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston. Most of the band's upcoming shows through an August 27 performance in Chicago will feature veteran British punk group The Damned as the support act.

The Against the Odds Tour gets its name from Blondie's upcoming box set, Against the Odds: 1974-1982, an expansive collection that delves into the early part of the influential New Wave band's career. The box set will be released on August 26 and can be preordered now.

Meanwhile, in celebration of the Against the Odds collection, Blondie has launched a contest offering the chance to win one of 30 prints of photos of singer Debbie Harry taken by guitarist Chris Stein, all of which have been signed by Debbie and Chris.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Olivia Newton-John's daughter pays tribute to her mom: "My life giver, my teacher"

Sam Tabone/WireImage

Olivia Newton-John's only child, daughter Chloe Lattanzi, is paying tribute to her late mother, calling the beloved actress and singer "my life giver" and "my teacher."

Chloe, who Olivia shared with ex-husband Matt Lattanzi, posted a heartfelt message to Instagram on Tuesday alongside a clip from the music video of their duet, "Window in the Wall," which was released last year.

"You are my lighthouse mama. My safe place. My heart space," Chloe, 36, began. "It has been my honor and continues to be my honor to be your baby and best friend."

"You are an angel on earth and everyone touched by you has been blessed," she concluded in the caption. "I love you forever my life giver, my teacher, my mama."

Last year, Olivia told ABC Audio why she'd chosen to make the song -- which is about trying to find common ground -- a duet with her daughter, explaining, "When I heard the song, I thought of her ... it was a knowing, for me, that that's how it needed to be."

Olivia died Monday at the age of 73. The Grease star's husband, John Easterling, revealed her passing in a statement posted to her social media pages.

Chloe reacted to the loss of her mother at the time by taking to Instagram and sharing a slideshow of photos of the two of them throughout the years.

Three days before her mother's death, Chloe posted a photo of them together on Instagram and wrote, "I worship this woman. My mother. My best friend."

 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Steely Dan reveals plans to perform full albums at Capitol Theatre residency

Courtesy of The Capitol Theatre

Steely Dan winds down its current U.S. trek, The Earth After Hours Tour, with a three-show residency this week at the historic Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have revealed that each of the shows, scheduled for Wednesday night, Friday and Saturday, will feature them playing a different album from their catalog in its entirety.

Wednesday night's concert will include a full performance of Steely's Dan's sixth studio album, 1977's Aja, which features such classic tunes as the title track, "Deacon Blues," "Peg" and "Josie."

The August 12 show will feature a performance of the group's entire fifth album, 1976's The Royal Scam, which includes "Kid Charlemagne" and "Haitian Divorce."

Bringing the residency, and the tour, to a close, the August 13 concert will feature a performance of Steely Dan's 2021 live album Northeast Corridor, which was recorded during recent tours by the band at four venues in the Northeastern U.S. The album showcases renditions of some of Steely Dan's most popular tunes, including "Rikki Don't Lose That Number," "Hey Nineteen," "Aja," "Peg" and "Reelin' in the Years."

Opening all three shows with be jazz outfit The Dave Stryker Trio.

Visit TheCapitolTheatre.com to purchase tickets to the concerts and for more details.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



 

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