Classic Rock News

Metallica pays tribute to late 'Lulu' co-producer Hal Willner: "He was a truly inspirational collaborator"

Chelsea Lauren/WireImageMetallica has shared a tribute to the late Hal Willner, who co-produced 2011's Lulu, the band's polarizing collaborative album with Lou Reed.  

Willner, a music industry vet who worked on Saturday Night Live since the '80s and produced albums for artists including Reed, Marianne FaithfulLaurie Anderson and Lucinda Williams, died Tuesday on his 64th birthday from COVID-19 complications, according to Variety.

"He was a truly inspirational collaborator," Metallica writes of Willner. "Someone who through his unique combination of musical knowledge and warm personality, invigorated every project he touched, including co-producing our very own collaboration with Lou Reed, 2011's Lulu."

"Hal expertly helped to guide us all to a project we loved, and remain fiercely proud of, to this day," the metal legends add.

In his own statement, drummer Lars Ulrich remembers Willner as a "warm, open, and communicative person."

"As Lou's right-hand man, he was absolutely essential in pushing Lulu forward," Ulrich writes. "I'll never forget him, and I know I speak for the entire Metallica family when I say he will be greatly missed."

Willner's long, wide-ranging career also included production credits on a series of star-studded tribute albums paying homage to such artists and subjects as Leonard Cohen, German composer Kurt Weill, jazz legends Charles Mingus and Thelonius Monk, Disney film music and traditional sea chanteys.

Among the many artists who contributed to these various projects were Reed, Sting, Tom Waits, Ringo Starr, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, Harry Nilsson, Keith Richards, Cohen, Elvis Costello, U2, Patti Smith, Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and Bryan Ferry.

In addition,  Willner produced the acclaimed live performance series Sunday Night during the late 1980s.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


After 40 years, Stevie Nicks finally hears what a white-winged dove sounds like

ABC AudioOne of Stevie Nicks' signature songs is "Edge of Seventeen," with its memorable chorus: "Just like the white-winged dove sings a song/ Sounds like she's singing/ Ooh ooh ooh."  But believe it or not, Stevie had never actually heard that sound in real life...until now.

On Tuesday, Stevie posted a video on her Twitter feeds of a dove cooing on a branch, and wrote in an accompanying note, "In 1980 I was flying home from Phoenix, Arizona and I was handed a menu that said, 'The white-wing[ed] dove sings a song that sounds like she's singing ooh, ooh, ooh. She makes her home here, in the great Saguaro cactus, that provides shelter and protection for her.'"

She continued, "As you well know, I was very taken with that whole picture and went on to write 'Edge of Seventeen.' But over the last 40 years I can honestly say, I have never heard a dove sing until now."

Stevie then wrote, "Several days ago, outside my room, I started to hear the sound of a bird singing the same thing over and over. One little Ahhh and then three OOH's over and over again. I thought it was an owl, but a friend said, 'No, that's a dove!'"

Upon finding this out, Stevie said she had an emotional reaction.

"I started to cry," she revealed. "This dove had come here to watch over me. So we filmed her singing her song & I'm sending her out to you."

Stevie added, "P.S. She's been here for days. I think she's here for good."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

In 1980 I was flying home from Phoenix Arizona and I was handed a menu that said, “The white wing dove sings a song that sounds like she’s singing ooh, ooh, ooh. She makes her home here in the great Saguaro cactus that provides shelter and protection for her…” pic.twitter.com/UzqvdnVv0p

— Stevie Nicks (@StevieNicks) April 7, 2020


Graham Nash hints at possible new collaboration with his old Hollies band mate Allan Clarke

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagicLike so many artists, Graham Nash recently was forced postpone a series of tour dates because of the coronavirus pandemic. Not long before the folk-rock legend had his spring U.S. trek cut short, he hinted to ABC Audio that he might be planning a very interesting project with one of his oldest friends and musical collaborators, fellow Hollies co-founder Allan Clarke.

"I've been in touch with Allan a lot in the last year," Nash revealed. "I'm actually gonna go see him in London at the end of this tour. Maybe me and Allan Clarke will make a record. It would be an incredible bookend, you know, considering that The Hollies were started by Allan and I in December of 1962."

Of course, Graham's upcoming tour plans could very well be affected by how the coronavirus crisis plays out, but he currently is scheduled to launch a European leg on July 8 in Norway. As for the aforementioned postponed U.S. shows, they are now scheduled to take place in November.

While Nash has never stopped recording and touring, Clarke had retired from the music business for about 20 years ago before releasing a new solo album called Resurgence in 2019.

Speaking about solo albums, Graham told ABC Audio that he had about four songs completed for a follow-up to his 2016 record, This Path Tonight. He added that he hoped to have some new music to put out sometime around "the end of summer."

As previously reported, Nash also is working on a new live album featuring highlights from four special concerts he played last September that showcased full performances of his first two solo albums, 1971's Songs for Beginners and 1974's Wild Tales.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Prine, influential singer-songwriter, dead at 73 due to COVID-19 complications

Paul Natkin/Getty ImagesInfluential Grammy-winning singer/songerwriter John Prine has died at 73, ABC Audio has confirmed.  Known for folk/country songs that often featured humor and social commentary, Prine influenced giants like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson

His rep confirmed on behalf of Prine's family that his death was due to complications due to COVID-19.

In late March, Prine's family announced that he'd been hospitalized in critical condition due to COVID-19 and was on a ventilator.

Prine weathered several health issues over the past few decades. In the late 1990s, he announced that doctors detected squamous cell cancer in his neck.  Following radiation and surgery, he was able resume his career, albeit with a deepened voice. In 2013, he announced he had an operable “non-small cell carcinoma,” in his left lung and took time off to heal. 

An Illinois-born Army veteran, Prine was a part of Chicago's 1960s folk revival scene. After being championed by Kris Kristofferson, he released his debut album in 1971.  It included some of Prine's signature songs, including "Paradise," "Illegal Smile," "Hello in There," "Sam Stone" and "Angel from Montgomery," the latter famously covered by Bonnie Raitt.

Prine released albums at a steady clip throughout the '70s and his songs were covered by other artists: David Allen Coe's version of "You Never Even Called Me By My Name," written by Prine and his friend Steve Goodman, was a top-10 country hit.

In 1981, Prine co-founded an independent label called Oh Boy Records to release his work.  Other artists continued to cover his songs: Don Williams took "Love Is on a Roll" to number one on the country chart in 1983 and in 1985, and the country supergroup The Highwaymen -- featuring Cash, Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson -- cut Prine's song "The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over."

In the '90s, Prine won his first Grammy and released several albums produced by Howie Epstein of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.  In 1999, Prine released In Spite of Ourselves, an album of country cover versions of his songs featuring duets with Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Lucinda Williams, Connie Smith and other country and Americana vocalists. A 2016 sequel, For Better, or Worse, featured duets with Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea and Alison Krauss.

Prine's most recent album, 2018's The Tree of Forgiveness, debuted at number five, his highest chart ranking ever. It featured collaborations with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Jason Isbell, and Brandi Carlile, all of whom claimed Prine as an influence.

Prine was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. In January of 2020, he was a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and Bonnie Raitt performed "Angel from Montgomery" in his honor.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ex-Outlaws bassist Harvey Dalton Arnold releases new solo album, 'Stories to Live Up To'

Music Maker RecordingsFormer Outlaws bassist Harvey Dalton Arnold recently released a new solo album titled Stories to Live Up To.

According to a press statement, the album is a collection of tunes that finds Arnold "examining the emotions and choices that have defined [his] life."

"Stories to Live Up To is a bunch of songs that I've written with the intent of kind of painting a picture or telling a story," the veteran musician explains. "I've been playing and writing mostly in the blues vein that I love so much, and I believe that this album is a fresh adventure for me."

Among the musicians who contributed to the project are drummer Charley Drayton, who has played with Keith Richards' solo group X-pensive Winos and Divinyls; keyboardist Rob Arthur, a current member of the Peter Frampton Band; and veteran session bassist Zev Katz.

"The record is not perfect, but it's very human and has a spontaneous soul about it," Arnold says. "I'm very proud of it and it was my most satisfying, fun recording experience ever."

He adds, "I look forward to supporting this CD with a video and live gigs in the future and my heart goes out to my friends in [New York City] as they and all try to survive the virus pandemic."

Stories to Live Up To can be purchased on CD at MusicMaker.org, and also is available as a digital download and via streaming services.

Arnold was a member of The Outlaws from 1976 to 1980, and played on three of the popular Southern rock band's studio albums -- 1977's Hurry Sundown, 1978's Playin' to Win and 1979's In the Eye of the Storm -- as well as the 1978 live album Bring It Back Alive.

Here's the album's track list:

"Stay Here with Me"
"Early Bird"
"What's on Your Mind"
"Poor Boy"
"When the Sun Goes Down"
"Lone Outlaw"
"Gotta See Ya"
"Put Me Back"
"Catfish Blues"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Michael Stipe to perform tonight on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert'

Courtesy of Michael StipeMichael Stipe will be the musical guest on tonight's episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which airs at 11:35 p.m. ET/10:35 p.m. CT on CBS.

The program also will feature a guest appearance by Conan O'Brien. Colbert and his guests have been appearing on The Late Show remotely from their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many artists during the crisis, Stipe has been sharing a number of video messages on his official YouTube channel while he shelters at home. The former R.E.M. singer's latest clip, which was posted on March 28, featured him introducing a brand-new solo song titled "No Time for Love Like Now," which he reported was a collaboration with Aaron Dessner of indie-rock group The National.

The video features Stipe singing live along with a demo track of the melodic, slow-tempo song.

Earlier in March, Michael posted two other YouTube clips that featured him singing parts of the R.E.M. tunes "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," and "Underneath the Bunker," as well as sending out advice and encouragement related to the coronavirus situation.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Watch Doors guitarist Robby Krieger play his old band's classic tune "People Are Strange"

Credit: Jill JarrettDoors guitarist Robby Krieger has shared a video of him performing his old band's 1967 hit "People Are Strange" as part of the recently launched Gibson Homemade Music Sessions series, which you can watch on the Gibson TV YouTube channel.

The series helps promote the Gibson guitar company's recently launched #homemademusic campaign, which seeks to support musicians and their current projects while they're unable to play concerts during the coronavirus pandemic.

In conjunction with the campaign, video of artist performances, interview segments and conversations are being posted on Gibson TV and Gibson's and Epiphone's social media outlets. The campaign supports the recently launched MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund through the Gibson company's Gibson Gives charity.

As previously reported, Krieger's latest solo album, titled The Ritual Begins at Sundown, will be released on August 14. The record's release was pushed back from April 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dave Grohl remembers his secret jam with Prince in latest edition of "Dave's True Stories"

ABC/Randy HolmesDave Grohl's latest edition of "Dave's True Stories" tells the tale of the Foo Fighters frontman's secret jam with the one and only Prince.

The story begins with the Purple One asking Grohl if he'd like to jam with him.

"It was a proposition that I had wished for my entire adult life, but never in my wildest dreams imagined possible," Grohl writes. The two agree to meet up the following Friday, and Prince says he'll follow up with more details.

Grohl then details his interminable week waiting for a phone call from Prince, in between stories of how the Purple Rain icon impacted his life. He shares how Prince once rejected a Foo Fighters cover of "Darling Nikki" -- "I believe I remember him saying, "The should write their own tunes...", Grohl recalls -- and how Prince's performance of "Best of You" during the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show was Grohl's "proudest musical achievement."

After a week of no communication, Grohl decides to just go down to the Forum in Los Angeles, where Prince was playing 21-show residency. He meets up with Prince, who asks him to hop on a drum set.

The pair then jam together in the empty arena with Prince's entire band, before then launching into a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," which apparently sounded like a "dinosaur-evaporating asteroid slamming into the earth's core."

Prince was pleased, and suggested that they do the cover again at the show...next Friday.

"I never did make it back that next Friday," Grohl says. "In a strange way, I didn't need to. I had fulfilled a life dream, with evidence of it to share with anyone, other than a memory that will stay with me forever."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New documentary will highlight legendary Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin studio engineer Eddie Kramer

Rebecca Sapp/WireImageA new documentary titled From the Other Side of the Glass, focusing on renowned rock engineer and producer Eddie Kramer is beginning production this year, Variety reports. Kramer's best known for his work with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and KISS.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, the 77-year-old Kramer was the engineer on the three studio albums Hendrix recorded during his lifetime, and also has worked on most of Jimi's ensuing archival projects.

In addition, Eddie engineeered five Led Zeppelin albums, several Rolling Stones albums, the Beatles songs "All You Need Is Love" and "Baby You're a Rich Man," the Woodstock soundtrack, Peter Frampton's classic Frampton Comes Alive! and many other well-known recordings.

His production credits include five KISS albums, as well as Carly Simon's self-titled debut.

Kramer also is known for photographing many famous music artists, and plans are in the works to organize photo exhibits at galleries while the documentary is in production.

From the Other Side of the Glass is being co-produced by Rolling Stone magazine and the guys who brought you Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and the 2017 John Coltrane doc Chasing Trane.

The film will be directed by John Dorsey, who directed the acclaimed 2017 ESPN doc The Year of the Scab, which told the story of the replacement players who were hired by NFL teams during the players' strike of 1987.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Boulevard of quarantine: Billie Joe Armstrong is working on new Green Day material

ABC/Heidi GutmanBillie Joe Armstrong's quarantine life has been pretty busy.

Speaking to Kerrang!, the Green Day frontman reveals that he's been creating new music for the band while self-isolating.

"I've been writing a lot of music, and I had all these melodies in my head, so I wrote, like, six songs since all of this has been going on," Armstrong says.

"I don't know when I can get together with [bassist] Mike [Dirnt] and [drummer] Tré [Cool]," he adds. "I told them to make sure that they're quarantined for now, and then I hope down the road we can get back in the studio."

In addition to writing new material, Armstrong has been releasing weekly covers as part of his "No Fun Mondays" series. He also appeared on the Fox TV special Living Room Concert for America, which raised $10 million to help the COVID-19 cause, and he's playing the star-studded April 18 multi-network extravaganza One World.

Green Day's latest album, Father of All..., was released in February. Additionally, the punk trio just dropped a new EP last week, featuring alternate mixes from the ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! era.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


Universal fire lawsuit, originally filed by Soundgarden, Tom Petty's ex-wife & others, dismissed

David McNew/Getty ImagesThe lawsuit against Universal Music Group concerning master recordings allegedly damaged in the 2008 Universal Studios vault fire has been dismissed, Rolling Stone reports.

The suit was originally filed last June by SoundgardenHole, the late Tom Petty's ex-wife Jane Petty, the estate of late rapper Tupac Shakur, and Americana singer-songwriter Steve Earle following an article from The New York Times Magazine, which reported extensive damage to thousands of master recordings from hundreds of artists.

The plaintiffs accused UMG in the suit of negligence, breach of contract and reckless conduct regarding the fire and the alleged cover-up of its damage. All of those allegations were dismissed by the judge.

Hole dropped out of the case last August, while Soundgarden, Earle and Shakur's estate withdrew this past March. Jane Petty was the only remaining plaintiff by the time the suit was dismissed.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Authorized biography of late Who bassist John Entwistle, 'The Ox,' arrives today

Hachette BooksA new authorized biography of late Who bassist John Entwistle, titled The Ox, is out today.

The book was written by veteran British rock journalist Paul Rees with the full cooperation of Enwistle's family, who gave the author access to John's own notebooks and notes for a planned memoir he'd started writing prior to his 2002 death.  Entwistle died at age 57 from a cocaine-induced heart attack.

Rees tells Rolling Stone that he decided to do a book about Entwistle about five years ago, after writing a two-part feature about him for the U.K. magazine Classic Rock.

For the article, Rees reached out to John's only child, son Christopher Entwistle, who explains to Rolling Stone, "It just barely scratched the surface of what Dad was like."

"A few months later [Paul] came back to me and said, 'Can I do a book?' [and] my mother and I thought it would be a good idea," Christopher adds.

Christopher also tells the magazine that he wanted the book to feature an accurate depiction of his dad, who went all-in on the rock star lifestyle, indulging in heavy drug and alcohol use, extravagant spending and numerous extramarital affairs.

"My father wasn't an angel," says Christopher. "But he was a lovely bloke, generally. I didn't want it to be a fluff piece…I wanted it to be the story."

The Ox features interviews with various Entwistle friends and family members, but two people who didn't contribute to the book are The Who's surviving members, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend.

"They worked together brilliantly, but they were never friends," Christopher says Townshend and Daltrey. "Well, they were at the very beginning and at school…But afterwards they were just completely different people."

The Ox is available in hardcover, digital and audio editions.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Release of 'Grateful Dead Origins' graphic novel moved from April to June

Z2 Comics/Grateful DeadNew details about the previously reported Grateful Dead graphic novel, Grateful Dead Origins, have been revealed.

The publication of the illustrated book, which focuses on the group's formation and emergence as one of America's most important and enduring bands, has been pushed back from April to June.

A limited-edition hardcover collector's version of Grateful Dead Origins will be released on Friday, June 12, while a standard softcover edition will arrive on Tuesday, June 16.

As previously announced, the hardcover version will come packaged with a vinyl LP featuring previously unreleased live recordings from an August 21, 1968, concert at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, the cover art for which has now been unveiled. The show included the group's first known West Coast performance of "St. Stephen."

"We can't wait for everyone to see and hear the amazing Origins package and we hope it will provide some comfort to music and graphic novel fans alike during these challenging times," says Josh Frankel of the Z2 Comics company.

"Our plan was always to time the release to the week of Record Store Day, giving comic shops and booksellers the ultimate music book for their customers. We will still do that, it will just happen in June now."

The limited-edition version of the novel also will feature exclusive prints and will be autographed by the book's creators: writer Chris Miskiewicz and illustrator Noah Van Sciver.

Both editions of Grateful Dead Origins also will come with a code to download an exclusive 13-track companion compilation of early recordings by the band, curated by the group's longtime archivist, David Lemieux.

The deluxe edition of the book is available for pre-order now at Z2Comics.com and Dead.net.

Here's the track list of the Grateful Dead Origins digital compilation:

"The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)" -- from Grateful Dead
"Cream Puff War" -- from Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966
"Walking the Dog" -- from Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966
"Viola Lee Blues" -- from Road Trips 2/2/68
"Hey Little One" -- from Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966
"That's It for the Other One" -- from Anthem of the Sun
"In the Midnight Hour" -- from the 1966 disc of 30 Trips Around the Sun
"Standing on the Corner" -- from Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966
"China Cat Sunflower" -- from Aoxomoxoa
"Big Railroad Blues" -- from Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966
"Morning Dew" -- from Grateful Dead
"Keep Rolling By" -- from the 1966 disc of 30 Trips Around the Sun
"Cosmic Charlie" -- from Aoxomoxoa

And here's the track list of the deluxe edition's live LP:

Side 1
"Dark Star"
"St. Stephen"

Side 2
"The Eleven"
"Death Don't Have No Mercy"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Billie Joe Armstrong's "No Fun Mondays" series continues with Bangles cover featuring Susanna Hoffs

ABC/Image Group LA

Billie Joe Armstrong has released a cover of "Manic Monday" by The Bangles, the latest installment of his "No Fun Mondays" series.

For the performance, the Green Day frontman teamed up -- remotely, of course -- with Bangles vocalist/guitarist Susanna Hoffs. You can watch the cover streaming now on YouTube.

"Manic Monday," which was written by Prince, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.

As part of "No Fun Mondays," Armstrong is releasing a cover every Monday "until we're let back out into the world." He's previously shared renditions of "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James & the Shondells, and "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" by Johnny Thunders.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Neil Young posts rare documentary showing him recording the soundtrack to the 1995 film 'Dead Man'

Credit: dhlovelifeIn recent weeks, Neil Young has been posting rare archival content, as well as new performance videos dubbed "Fireside Sessions," on his Neil Young Archives website as a treat for fans sheltering at home because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Currently featured on the website is a rare documentary capturing Neil recording the soundtrack to the 1995 Jim Jarmusch film Dead Man, which starred Johnny Depp.

In a message Neil wrote to accompany the doc, he explains, "Jim Jarmusch's film Dead Man remains a favorite for me. One of the few soundtracks I have done, it was accomplished like an old-time movie score, done live as the film played on multiple screens in a big soundstage where I had all my equipment set up and ready to go."

Young continues, "[My longtime studio engineer] John Hanlon recorded the soundtrack in the truck outside the stage as I went through the entire film non-stop a couple of times. Ultimately, we chose the second half of the first take and the first half of the second take to be the final soundtrack. Jim is the camera man on this doc. Thanks Jim! What a great experience!"

The 25-minute film features Neil switching between acoustic guitar, electric guitar and piano as he records the sparse musical pieces that made up the movie's soundtrack.

Meanwhile, Young promises to post a third installment of his "Fireside Sessions" videos soon. The performances are being filmed and edited by Neil's wife, actress Daryl Hannah, inside and outside at their home in Telluride, Colorado, where they've been self-isolating. The first two "Fireside Sessions," which are both still viewable on Young's website, feature Neil playing a mix of obscure and well-known tunes on acoustic guitar and piano.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


One World: Together at Home special to feature Paul McCartney, Eddie Vedder, Elton John & more stars

Global Citizen/World Health OrganizationAre you ready for another star-packed TV special featuring artists appearing from their homes?

Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vdder and Elton John are among the many famous music stars set to take part in One World: Together at Home, a two-hour special from Global Citizen and the World Health Organization that will air April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, NBC and CBS, as well as other networks and platforms.

The program will be hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, and will be curated by Lady Gaga.

Celebrities and artists who will participate in the special include Green Day's Billlie Joe Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Alanis Morissette, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Eilish, Latin superstar J Balvin, John Legend, country stars Kacey Musgraves and Keith Urban, Lizzo, soccer legend David Beckham, and actors Idris Elba, Kerry Washington and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

The special isn't a telethon -- it's described as a "global broad entertainment special to celebrate the heroic efforts of community health workers and support the World Health Organization and the global fight to end COVID-19."

In addition, the special's stated purpose is to "educate and inform on COVID-19 risks, prevention and response," so in addition to the stars, WHO experts and healthcare workers will appear.

Other platforms where you can watch or stream the show include Bravo, E!, ABC News Live, Freeform, MTV, CMT, Comedy Central, VH1, SYFY, MSNBC, Facebook, Hulu, Instagram, Apple, YouTube ad Yahoo. Basically, there's no excuse not to watch it.  For more information, visit GlobalCitizen.org/togetherathome.

Elton hosted and performed on a similarly star-studded COVID charity special, Living Room Concert for America, that aired on Fox on March 29. Armstrong also was among the performers on that program.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


No, Tommy Lee did not write that "Dear F***ing Lunatic" letter to Donald Trump

ABC/Evans WardNo, Tommy Lee did not write that scathing letter to President Donald Trump.

Over the weekend, the Mötley Crüe drummer started trending on Twitter when people assumed that he had penned a letter to Trump, which began "Dear F***ing Lunatic." However Lee, who shared the letter on March 20, is not the author.

The letter -- which rivals any Martin Scorsese movie with its use of the "F word" -- was actually credited to someone named Craig Alan Wilkins, though it's unclear if that's the actual author, as well.

As the fact-checking site Snopes.com points out, most of the letter is reproduced from a 2017 piece written by someone calling themselves Aldous J Pennyfarthing.

Pennyfarthing also wrote a book titled Dear F***ing Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump, and tweeted about it when Lee started trending.

"Yes, I'm the original author of the 'Dear F***ing Lunatic' letter," Pennyfarthing wrote. "Not Tommy Lee. I simply don't measure up to Tommy Lee."

As for who Wilkins is, Snopes theorizes that a social media user by that name first shared the letter when Lee saw it, or that "Aldous J Pennyfarthing" could be Wilkins' pen name. 

One thing is for sure, though: Tommy Lee did not write the letter. Even so, Lee is very much not a fan of the president, and frequently criticizes Trump on his social media.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


Still alive: Pearl Jam's top-five 'Billboard' debut streak continues with 'Gigaton'

Credit: Danny ClinchPearl Jam's streak of top-five debuts on the Billboard 200 is still alive.

The band's new album, Gigaton, the 11th studio effort from the grunge rockers, has debuted at number five on the chart with a total of 63,000 equivalent album units, 57,000 of which were traditional album sales.

All of Pearl Jam's previous 10 studio albums also landed in the top five of the Billboard 200. Five of them -- 1993's Vs., 1994's Vitalogy, 1996's No Code, 2009's Backspacer and 2013's Lightning Bolt -- debuted at number one on the chart.

Gigaton is the first Pearl Jam album in seven years. It includes the singles "Dance of the Clairvoyants" and "Superblood Wolfmoon."

Pearl Jam was supposed to currently be on a North American tour in support of Gigaton, but the outing's been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Self-quarantining Joan Jett & The Blackhearts post "Together Apart" performance videos

ABC/Mark LevineJoan Jett and her band The Blackhearts are all self-quarantining, but that hasn't stopped them for putting together some rocking performance videos for their fans who are stuck at home too because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During the last few days, the group has posted clips on YouTube featuring Jett and her band mates performing two of their hits -- 1987's Bruce Springsteen-penned "Light of Day" and 1988's "I Hate Myself for Loving You" -- that combine footage of each member playing their parts of the song separately. The series of clips has been dubbed "Together Apart."

Jett and the Blackhearts' original rendition of "Light of Day" appeared in the 1987 film of the same name, which starred Joan and Michael J. Fox as siblings who played together in a fictional bar band called The Barbusters. The track, which was credited to The Barbusters, reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"I Hate Myself for Loving You," which was co-written by Joan and Desmond Child, and appeared on her 1988 album with The Blackhearts, Up Your Alley. It peaked at #8 on the Hot 100.

The current Blackhearts lineup includes longtime guitarist Dougie Needles, along with bassist Hal B. Selzer and drummer Michael McDermott.

Jett and the Blackhearts' 2020 schedule includes a June 5-6 headlining engagement in Las Vegas, as well as a supporting slot on the lengthy summer package tour featuring Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Poison that slated to kick off June 18in Jacksonville, Florida. Of course, all of these shows are in jeopardy of being postponed because of the COVID-19 virus health crisis.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Elton John launches $1 million COVID-19 fund for HIV care

ABC/CRAIG SJODINElton John just keeps on giving by launching a $1 million fund to aid with COVID-19. 

"I'm so pleased to announce that my foundation is launching a new COVID-19 emergency fund today," he said in his announcement.

"For almost 30 years, my foundation has prioritized the most vulnerable people to HIV to end the AIDS epidemic, and we're committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too," the legendary musician continued.  

"Distributing medicine, testing, and preventive treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago. Our new COVID-19 emergency fund will help frontline partners to prepare for and respond to the pandemic, and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalized communities," he concluded. 

 

Today, I’m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our frontline partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world. pic.twitter.com/g4wh9dnd3d

— Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 4, 2020

 

The singer-songwriter then directed people to his foundation's website, EJAF.org, for more information. 

This announcement comes after John raised over $10 million and counting with his Living Room Concert for America which featured an array of performances from Billie EilishBackstreet Boys, Alicia Keys,  Mariah CareyDave GrohlDemi Lovato and more. The proceeds benefited Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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