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50 YEARS AGO: JOHN LENNON & GEORGE HARRISON PLAY LAST LIVE GIG TOGETHER

It was 50 years ago Sunday (December 15th, 1969) that John Lennon and Yoko Ono assembled their legendary Plastic Ono Supergroup for a historic performance at London's Lyceum Ballroom. The event was part of UNICEF's Peace For Christmas concert, which featured a number of other performers including the Hot Chocolate Band, Jimmy Cliff, and the Rascals, among others.

Lennon's backing band featured George Harrison -- marking the final time the pair ever shared a stage together -- Eric Clapton, Keith Moon, bassist Klaus Voormann, Lennon's primary drummer at the time -- and future Yes sticksman Alan White, Billy Preston, Delaney & Bonnie and their backing band -- which included drummer Jim Gordon, keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, and bassist Carl Radle -- who the next year would for Derek & The Dominoes with Clapton -- and horn players Jim Price and Bobby Keys who would soon move on to greener pastures as part of the Rolling Stones' touring band.

Lennon led the ensemble through his and Yoko's current single -- "Cold Turkey" which was extended to nearly seven minutes. The band also performed Yoko's B-side "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow) which topped out at over 15 minutes.

Drummer Alan White remembers the evening's performance taking a turn for the bizarre once Keith Moon joined him onstage: "Keith Moon came in very close to the end of the jam. Got on stage and started beatin' -- literally almost trying to break one of my drums on the side -- the 16-inch tom. He was hittin' it and he had that look in his eyes, like he was a crazy man. So, it was just getting really hilarious."

Despite Yoko's musical abilities being slammed at the time, Lennon later said that her performance that night at the Lyceum went on to help inspire the next decade's punk movement. Yoko admits that she never understood why critics always attacked her work with such vitriol: "I would say, 'What's your problem?! What's your problem about me?!' Y'know, that was the problem that I had from the beginning, so it's not a new feeling."

The entire performance was recorded on both four-track soundboard tapes and two-track audience tapes, which was mixed in for ambiance. Although Lennon had wanted to release the performance soon after the show, the tapes were saved for the Live Jam bonus disc of the couple's 1972 double album set Some Time In New York City.

AUDIO: YOKO ONO ON HER CRITICS
AUDIO: ALAN WHITE ON KEITH MOON

PETER FRAMPTON ANNOUNCES EUROPEAN 'FAREWELL' DATES

Peter Frampton has just announced the first four stops for his 2020 farewell tour of Europe. Although he wrapped his "farewell" tour a couple of month's back in Northern California, Frampton had stated that -- health providing -- he wanted to make the effort to play one last time for his European fans. Frampton was forced to say goodbye to the road upon discovering he's suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called Inclusion-Body Myositus (IBM), that slowly weakens the body's muscles.

The upcoming June shows, which go on sale today (December 13th) are all set for Germany, with Frampton hitting Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart. Addition dates will soon be announced.

During his chat with CBS, Peter Frampton spoke about how IBM affects the body: "For a guitar player, it's not so good. But, I'm able to play great -- right now. In a year's time, maybe not so good. I'm a perfectionist and I do not wanna go out there and feel like, 'Oh, I can't. . . this isn't good'; that would be a nightmare for me. 'Cause it's my passion. I've been playing guitar for 60 years. I started when I was eight. So, I've had a very good run I know that I'll be at the top of my game for this tour and I will make it through this and people won't be saying 'Oh, he can't play as good. . . ' I can, y'know? But, we just don't know for how long."

Peter Frampton has offered up a free download of his new remake of "Show Me The Way." The song, which takes on a ballald-like jazz feel, was featured on the series finale of the CBS drama, Madam Secretary: http://bit.ly/2RKAX6v

JUST ANNOUNCED: Peter Frampton European tour dates (subject to change):

June 2 - Munich, Germany - Philharmonie am Gasteig
June 4 - Berlin, Germany - Tempodrom
June 6 - Frankfurt Am Main, Germany - Alte Oper
June 7 - Stuttgart, Germany - Liederhalle


PAUL McCARTNEY REVEALS HE RECORDED A SECRET CHRISTMAS ALBUM

During a new chat with BBC Radio, Paul McCartney revealed that he's recorded a private album of Christmas music that his family only gets to hear every holiday season. McCartney explained, "Years ago I thought, there's not very good Christmas records. So I actually went into my studio over a couple of years and I made one. The kids like it. It's something they've heard through the years, y'know, and now it's the grandkids getting indoctrinated with my carols record."

This isn't the first time McCartney has created private holiday music. Back in 1965, "Macca" created a special recording dubbed, "Unforgettable" -- which was only pressed onto four discs for himself and the other Beatles. The track, which has found a home online, includes snippets from the Nat "King" Cole classic, along with tracks by the Rolling Stones, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, and the Beach Boys, among others.

McCartney made news a few weeks ago when he revealed he would be returning to headline the Glastonbury festival for the first time in over 15 years next spring. McCartney spoke about how he'd already booked nearly a dozen European stops before the big gig "to get up to speed." McCartney, who'll turn 78 in June said, "You don't get an athlete just coming into the Olympics not having done a few races beforehand. The idea is by the time I get to Glastonbury it'll just be just like another gig. But of course it won't be, because it's very special."

Paul and Linda McCartney's daughter Stella McCartney, who's now 48, explained that having solid parents and a close relationship with her siblings grounded her and set the course for her success: "Y'know, I do look at my upbringing and think it enabled me to not have to compromise. That's one of the biggest blessings it gave me, that I always, sort of, knew -- I still know -- that if everything goes horribly wrong, I can fall back on a really loving, caring, unconditional family unit and will be okay, y'know? I have a good buffer and I think that afforded me to not compromise my ethics going into my workplace."

IN OTHER BEATLES NEWS

Beatles fans in New York City are turning up in droves to the new "Fab Four" pop up shop downtown. According to WWD.com, "The shop will be open through December 22nd at 163 Mercer Street. It will offer a selection of exclusive Beatles-themed gifts, ranging from holiday sweaters, hats, scarves and tree ornaments to branded toys, turntables and even a Beatles pinball machine. It is aimed at women, men and children. Retail prices range from $15 to $20 for gift items to $7,999 for the pinball machine."

AUDIO: STELLA MCCARTNEY ON HAVING A SOLID UPBRINGING

ZZ TOP'S 'THAT LITTLE OL' BAND FROM TEXAS' COMING TO DVD & BLU-RAY

Coming to DVD and Blu-ray on February 28th is ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas. Guitarist Billy F. Gibbons said of the doc which premiered nationwide earlier this year, "I think even our most steadfast fans will find themselves surprised by what they learn about those men behind the beards and cheap sunglasses. There we are, up there on the silver screen and it's something we're delighted to share with fans of all stripes."

According to the press release for the film, "Buoyed by candid band interviews, never-before-seen archive, animation, celebrity fan testimonials from Billy Bob Thornton and Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and an intimate performance at the oldest dance hall in Texas, historic Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, that was shot exclusively for the film, That Little Ol' Band From Texas runs the gamut, from the absurd to the poignant, from squalid bars to MTV heroics, all in celebration of this notoriously private but larger-than-life power trio. In the end, the film unravels the extraordinary tale of a band whose image we know, but whose story we don't."

Alongside the film, the DVD / Blu-ray also includes two live performance segments featuring 18 minutes of the Gruene Hall performance, along with the Ham Estate Archive, which spotlights rare pre-Eliminator ZZ Top concert footage from 1976 and 1981.

Although ZZ Top is known for playing all their major hits every night, guitarist Billy F. Gibbons told us that band is always trying to sneak in a few rarities into it's live show: "We covered most of the bases, we pulled out a couple of things. That'll probably remain as part of the presentation. The middle section of the arranged set list has three wildcard slots, and we take turns who's gonna call the first one. So we have to know the catalogue, 165 songs deep, of ZZ Top compositions. It keeps us on our toes, but that's what we enjoy. We still love playing."

AUDIO: BILLY GIBBONS ON ZZ TOP INCORPERATING RARITIES INTO LIVE SHOW

QUICK TAKES

  • Huey Lewis revealed that he contemplated suicide after contracting Meniere's disease, which took away a substantial part of his hearing and essentially rendered all music noise to him. Lewis told Montana's Whitefish Review, "This (disease) has ruined everything. This has absolutely ruined everything. I try not to let it get me down. . . In the first two months of this, I was suicidal. I can honestly share that with you. I thought, s***, I'm just going to commit suicide. I actually contemplated my demise. Y'know, like pills. I figured pills were the easiest way to go. I mean, would I have? I don't know."
  • Lewis went on to say, "The music is cacophony for me and now my hearing fluctuates. I can actually get better sometimes where I think, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can almost sing.' And I have sung twice in the last two years when my hearing was better. And I sang one song acoustically. But I couldn't do it for a set." (People.com)
    • Huey Lewis & The News will release Weather -- its 10th studio set -- on Valentine's Day, February 14th.
  • Blondie's Debbie Harry revealed a rather odd new hobby she's picked up. Harry, who recently published her memoir Face It, revealed, " I don't collect things, but I started to save Tramp Art. It's these little carved boxes that hobos would make for the women for them to be able to get a bowl of soup or a sandwich. These were jobless people in the 1920's during the Great Depression, so they called it Tramp Art. I started saving that for a while. But really, I'm, trying to get rid of things."
  • When pressed about a possible Blondie biopic, Harry said, "You never know, anything can happen. That remains to be seen. I don't know who would be suited to play me. I guess if they're offered enough money they will do it." (Classic Pop)

  • David Byrne made it clear that he's in no way connected to a seemingly official new Talking Heads Instagram account. In response to @talkingheadsofficial, Byrne told Rolling Stone, "I have never heard of this, I don't know what it is or who is doing it, so clearly it can't be a ‘official' talking heads account. Whatever plans others in the band may have is strictly their own business and I wish them well."
  • The band's drummer and bassist, husband and wife Dennis Frantz and Tina Weymouth told the magazine, "We were made aware of the Instagram account a few days ago as it was brought to life by someone who works with (Talking Heads keyboardist-guitarist) Jerry (Harrison). We have not even talked about this internally yet. We are all currently happily working on our own projects and there are no plans for a Talking Heads reunion." (Rolling Stone)

  • Bruce Springsteen's recent concert film, Western Stars will be available digitally and on Blu-ray on December 19th. Although an immediate fan favorite, upon opening in late-October, the film raked in a paltry $530,000 from 537 theaters over its first weekend, with an average of $1,042 per theater. With the addition of the two nights the movie played via Fathom Events, all told, Western Stars stiffed, earning only $1 million at the box office.

  • Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson is featured on pop star Kesha's new track, titled "Resentment." The song also features Sturgill Simpson, and the pop songwriter Wrabel. According to Stereogum's review: The most prominent non-Kesha voice is Sturgill Simpson, who sings backup on the chorus and whose craggy baritone makes a great fit for her. Wilson and Wrabel also sing backup, adding ghostly harmonies that give the song a luminous feel. It's crazy that Kesha got Brian Wilson to coo softly in the background, but that's what happened." (Stereogum)

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