Music News

Romantics guitarist Mike Skill debut solo album, 'Skill...Mike Skill,' now due out in October

Courtesy of Mike Skill

Founding Romantics guitarist Mike Skill has announced updated plans for his debut solo album, Skill...Mike Skill, which now will be released on October 8 after it initially was slated to arrive on September 10.

The record features 12 tracks, including Mike's recently released new version of The Romantics' 1980 power-pop classic "What I Like About You."

Skill, who co-wrote "What I Like About You" with original Romantics drummer Jimmy Marinos, teamed up with his band's current beat keeper, Brad Elvis, and current Flock of Seagulls drummer Kevin Rankin, for the updated rendition of the tune.

Mike recorded much of Skill...Mike Skill while The Romantics were unable to tour because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of the tracks were inspired by the raw rock he grew up with from his hometown of Detroit.

"[I] was bursting at the seams with that Detroit energy," Skill explains, adding, "As I was writing, I couldn't help reflecting on the Music that came before me."

Skill...Mike Skill also features several songs that Skill released individually as digital singles over the last few years, including "'67 Riot," which features a guest appearance by one of his guitar idols, Wayne Kramer of The MC5.

Skill…Mike Skill was produced by Chuck Alkazian, who also has worked with Eminem and late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. You'll be able to pre-order the album starting this Sunday, September 26.

Here's the full track list of Skill…Mike Skill:

"Not My Business"
"Dark Side of Your Love"
"My Bad Pretty"
"Carrie Got Married"
"'67 Riot" -- featuring Wayne Kramer
"We Got Your Rock'n Roll"
"Sinners Song"
"So Soul Alone"
"I Want What You Got"
"Calling"
"What I Like About You"
"One More Time"

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Elton John premieres his lockdown duet with pop star Charlie Puth, "After All"

Interscope Records

Elton John has unveiled his new duet with pop singer/songwriter Charlie Puth, "After All," which will appear on Elton's upcoming all-star album of collaborations, The Lockdown Sessions.

The two musicians met in March of 2020 at an L.A. restaurant and since Elton was already a fan of Charlie's, they started chatting and discovered that they were neighbors. So Charlie invited Elton over and they wrote and recorded "After All," which was the first track either of them completed during lockdown.

"Charlie is an amazing musician; we just hit it off. He's become a friend and a friend of the family," says Elton. "Our children love him and he loves them. Everyone we've worked with on The Lockdown Sessions I've really gotten closer to them, it's quite amazing."

He adds, "I played electric piano and actually wrote the song all the way through and then Charlie wrote the lyrics pretty quickly. He's incredibly quick, Charlie. We just had an amazing chemistry in the studio."

Puth, who says he's been a fan of Elton his "entire life," adds, "It is truly incredible how the melodies and chords seem to come to him instantly whenever he sits down at the piano...He is world class and the true definition of a musical genius. Being a part of his musical journey is a dream come true."

This weekend, Elton and Charlie will both be performing in Paris during the Global Citizen Live event, which will span seven continents and feature more than 50 artists over 24 hours. You can watch it on ABC TV and ABC News Live.

On Sunday, John and Puth will go live on their TikTok pages to chat about the collaboration.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Joan Jett & the Blackhearts cancel 2021 tour plans because of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

ABC Audio

Last month, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts returned to the road for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the band has now decided to postpone most of the remainder of its 2021 shows because of the ongoing health crisis.

In a joint statement on their official Facebook page, Jett and her group say, "It's been a thrill to be back on tour recently. We all missed being on the road, playing for the fans and playing together again."

Having said that, the band notes, "The continuing surge of COVID cases due to the Delta variant should be of concern to all of us. While we are fully vaccinated, we are still being extremely cautious to protect our fans, our crew and everyone else that work so hard to put on our shows. For that reason, we have decided to postpone the remaining performances that were planned for 2021."

Jett and the Blackhearts report that they will play one more concert on their 2021 schedule, a September 28 gig at the Paramount theater in Huntington, New York.

The band ends the message by saying, "We're disappointed to have to take this step but we feel it is necessary to protect the health of everyone. Stay safe and we'll see you in 2022!"

According to JoanJett.com, the band had seven other shows on its 2021 itinerary, spanning from an October 2 concert in Laughlin, Nevada, through a November 21 performance in Reading, Pennsylvania. No word yet if or when those dates will be rescheduled.

Jett and the Blackhearts' 2022 schedule is slated to begin on June 16 in Atlanta, when the long-delayed Stadium Tour, which also features Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Poison, is set to kick off.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rolling Stones debut video for 'Tattoo You' 40th anniversary reissue track "Living in the Heart of Love"

Credit: Charles Mehling

The Rolling Stones have premiered an official music video for "Living in the Heart of Love," a recently released archival track that also will appear on the upcoming deluxe 40th anniversary issue of the band's 1981 album, Tattoo You.

The clip, which you can check out now at The Stones' official YouTube channel, was shot in Paris and was directed by veteran video director Charles Mehling.

The video follows and young French woman and her friends as they enjoy an evening in Paris filled with partying, bar-hopping and romance. Scenes from an archival Rolling Stones music video pop up in the clip, as various people are shown watching the band on a laptop. The "Living in the Heart of Love" video ends with a brief tribute to late Stones drummer Charlie Watts, with a message reading "Charlie is my darling" appearing on screen during the final scene.

Charlie Is My Darling is the title of an unreleased 1966 documentary about The Stones, a restored version of which came out in 2012.

"Living in the Heart of Love" is one of nine previously unreleased bonus tracks originally recorded around the time of Tattoo You that will be featured on the expanded reissue, which is due out October 22. The rollicking rock tune currently is available as a digital single and via streaming services.

As previously reported, the Super Deluxe edition of the Tattoo You reissue will be available as either a four-CD or five-LP vinyl set. It includes a newly mastered version of the original album, the nine unreleased tracks, and a two-disc live collection dubbed Still Life: Wembley Stadium 1982, featuring a 26-song performance The Stones gave at the famed London venue in June '82.

You can pre-order the Tattoo You reissue now.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


StubHub says Rolling Stones are among the most in-demand live acts for 2021, Elton John tops for 2022

Courtesy of StubHub

Now that many artists have returned to the road following the lockdowns of 2020, ticket marketplace StubHub is able to once again announce who the most in-demand touring artists are this fall -- and which of those stars fans are most looking forward to seeing in concert in 2022.

Based on StubHub ticket sales for concerts this month through December, among the veteran acts with the most in-demand tours of 2021 are The Rolling Stones at #3, The Eagles at #9 and Genesis at #10.

Pop star Harry Styles' Love on Tour trek is officially the most in-demand tour this year, garnering more ticket sales than any other artist this fall. By taking first place, he broke Elton John's two-year streak on top.

Speaking of Elton, he's been declared the most in-demand artist of 2022, based on ticket sales for concerts next year, when even more artists will be back on the road. The pop-rock legend is slated to relaunch his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in '22, his health permitting. Last week, John announced that he had to postpone his plans for a 2021 U.K. tour because of a hip injury.

Meanwhile, at #2 on StubHub's list of artists fans can't wait to see next year are hair-metal icons Mötley Crüe.

Check out the full lists of in-demand artists at StubHub.com.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Whitesnake's David Coverdale celebrates his 70th birthday today, says "he's still kicking a** and singing appropriately"

Courtesy of Whitesnake

Here's wishing a very Happy 70th Birthday to Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale.

Asked how he plans to celebrate the milestone, the British rocker tells ABC Audio, "I'm going to ignore it," adding with good humor, "It's not 70, by the way, it's 69 plus one, so you can stick that in your old pipe…and light it. But the circumstances…just snuck up on me, and I'm just simply not prepared emotionally."

Reflecting on reaching 70, David says, "I'm delighted to have made it this far, and legitimately was hoping to actually retire, as I thought was appropriate for the lead singer with Whitesnake, at 69."

Coverdale notes that his plans to mount a farewell Whitesnake tour this past year were sidetracked because of the COVID-19 pandemic, "[s]o now, I'm just gonna have to go out…at the ripe old age of 70."

He adds, "I'm assured by everyone that I'm still kicking a** and singing appropriately."

David, who lives in Reno, Nevada, with his wife Cindy, tells ABC Audio that he does actually have plan to celebrate his birthday.

"Hopefully my son's flying in. We're gonna have a small private dinner of people who won't mention 70," he notes. "And I think social media will be fun that day."

As for his perfect birthday gift, Coverdale says it would be "to fly my daughter and my grandchildren from Germany safely, to make the family celebration complete, but that's gonna be virtual."

Looking back at some career and personal highlights, Coverdale includes joining Deep Purple during the '70s, getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with that group in 2016, "taking Whitesnake from playing 300 seaters to 30,000-seat arenas and stadiums," "working with Jimmy Page [in the '90s]," and "the birth of my children."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Don McLean sets "American Pie" 50th anniversary Europe/UK tour

David Abbott

Don McLean is taking his "American Pie" to Europe.

The singer/songwriter has booked a 35-date European tour for 2022, to mark the 50th anniversary of his signature song "American Pie."  Technically, the single turns 50 in October of this year, but of course, many artists aren't returning to the road in full force until next year.

McLean's overseas tour starts in the U.K. -- Wales, to be specific -- next September, and then moves on to the continent in early October, wrapping up in November of 2022 in Austria.

Last month, McLean received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; he was introduced at the ceremony by his pal, "Weird Al" Yankovic.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Everbody (Still) Hurts: 10 years ago today, R.E.M. called it a day

Warner Bros.

Ten years ago today, it felt like the end of the world for R.E.M. fans, as the college radio favorites-turned-rock icons broke up for good.

On September 21, 2011, the group -- down to a trio of Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck following the 1997 departure of Bill Berry -- posted a message on their website, reading, "To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band."

"We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished," they added. "To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening.”

Mills wrote, "We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.” 

Stipe added, "A wise man once said, 'The skill in attending a party is knowing when it’s time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we’re going to walk away from it."

And Buck wrote, "Being a part of your lives has been an unbelievable gift. Thank you."

To mark the anniversary, R.E.M has posted a playlist of songs called "Ten Years Onward," described as "songs still as resonant today as they were on September 21, 2011."  It's a collection of singles, deep cuts, demos, live tracks and rarities from across R.E.M.'s entire catalog.

On his Facebook page, the band's manager, Bertis Downs, wrote, "Disbandment Day -- a bittersweet day in memory. But a good decision by the guys. And thankfully the music and the people live on."

Over their 31-year career, R.E.M. won three Grammys, sold 85 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Watch Mick Jagger get "all emotional" speaking about Charlie Watts onstage

The Rolling Stones No Filter 2021 photo, taken prior to Watts' death/Credit: J. Rose

As previously reported, The Rolling Stones on Monday night played a private event at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA hosted by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, which was the group's first gig without their late drummer, Charlie Watts, who died on August 24.  Now, Mick Jagger has posted on Instagram a video of the emotional dedication he made to Watts from the stage at the event.

Jagger can be seen telling the crowd, "It's a bit of a poignant night for us, 'cause this is our first tour in 59 years that we've done without our lovely Charlie Watts."

As the crowd cheers, Mick continues. "And we all miss Charlie so much, we miss him as a band and we miss him as friends on and off the stage, and we got so many memories of Charlie and I'm sure some of you that seen us before have got memories of Charlie as well."

"I hope you will remember him like we do, so we'd like to dedicate this show to Charlie," Jagger adds to cheers. "So we're gonna do it for Charlie!"  Jagger then picks up a glass and raises it in a toast, handing the microphone to Ronnie Wood, who adds, "Charlie, we're praying for you, man, and playing for you!"

"What will we do now?" Mick muses. "Now I'm all emotional." 

The band went on to play a 15-song set with veteran drummer Steve Jordan behind the kit. The Stones' No Filter 2021 tour officially kicks off this weekend.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Write by Night: Rush's Geddy Lee to publish memoir in 2022

iStock/Michail_Petrov-96

Geddy Lee made good use of his time in quarantine: He wrote a memoir that'll be out next year.

The Rush bassist/vocalist writes on Instagram that during the year and a half he spent in lockdown due to COVID-19 -- "the longest time I'd spent in Toronto since I was nineteen," he notes -- he passed the time by teaching his grandson how to play baseball, taking care of his dogs, and watching TV mysteries with his wife.  "Oh, and another thing," he adds. "I began to write. Words, that is."

Lee explains that writing was his way of dealing with the death of his band mate Neil Peart, who passed away January 7, 2020.  According to Lee, Daniel Richler, with whom he collaborated on his Big Beautiful Book of Bass, "saw how I was struggling in the aftermath of Neil's passing, and tried coaxing me out of my blues with some funny tales from his youth, daring me to share my own in return."

"So I did -- reluctantly at first, but then remembering, oh yeah, I like wrestling with words...and soon my baby-step stories were becoming grownup chapters," Lee continues.  He found himself, he says, "scouring my memory banks," his "diaries and piles of photo albums," and "piecing together a mystery of a different kind."

Lee sent his work to Richler, who, he says, "cleaned up some of the grammar and removed a lot of the swearing."  The result, Lee says, is a "presentable, epic-length account of my life on and off the stage...my childhood, my family, the story of my parents' survival, my travels and all sorts of nonsense I've spent too much time obsessing over."

Lee's now putting the finishing touches on the book, which will be published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2022.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"Everybody needs a great song": Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora win prestigious UK songwriting award

Mercury/Island

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora may no longer be band mates, but the songs they wrote together will live forever.  That's why the U.K.'s prestigious Ivor Novello Awards have honored both of them this year.

Jon and Richie were jointly honored with the Special International Award at the ceremony, held Tuesday in London, though only Sambora showed up to accept.  The songwriting honor came in recognition of the global anthems the two musicians crafted, including "Livin' on a Prayer," "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Wanted Dead or Alive."

At the ceremony, Sambora spoke with Sky News.about the importance of songwriting. "Everybody needs a great song so they can go out and play live to the people and entertain and do that; you need a great song, something that touches somebody in the heart," he said. "You know, 'Livin' on a Prayer,' part of that song is something that happened to me -- my Uncle Sal got laid off at the docks, my dad was laid off -- so there's a time period of authenticity of a story."

"And I think that's what we're here to celebrate, all the girls and guys and men and women that try real hard with a lot of courage," Sambora added. "Because songwriting is harder than it looks."

Other winners at the ceremony included Tears for Fears duo Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. They were honored with the Outstanding Song Collection award for their catalog of hits, including "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Sowing the Seeds of Love," and "Shout."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The Sopranos' crew hated choice of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" for series finale, says creator

HBO Entertainment

In a chat with Marc Maron on his WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Sopranos creator David Chase explained how Journey ended up soundtracking the show's controversial finale -- and how the rest of his team loathed the idea of using that song.

As you may remember, in the finale, James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano and his family members sit down for dinner at a diner, and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" starts playing on a jukebox -- before the entire scene, and the song, cut to black.

While Chase wasn't re-litigating what the vague ending means -- spoiler alert: he apparently once accidentally called it Tony's "death scene" -- he did talk about what went into choosing that song.

Discussing the topic with members of his crew at the time, Chase said he was left with three choices -- Al Green's "Love and Happiness," another song which he can't remember, and the Journey song.

When he mentioned "Don't Stop Believin'," Chase recalled, "[T]hey went, 'Oh, Jesus Christ, no. Don't do that! Ugh. F***.' And I said, 'Well, that's it. That’s the one.'"

Chase explained, "I wasn't saying that just to throw it in their face. That was kind of my favorite, and it got a reaction of some kind. So I can make this song lovable, which it had been."

Of course, the song's inclusion in the 2007 finale sent downloads soaring, and the renewed interest in Journey motivated the band to find a new lead singer, Arnel Pineda, and get back on the road.  The song remains the best-selling digital song that was recorded in the pre-digital era.

The Sopranos prequel, Chase's The Many Saints of Newark, starring Gandolfini's son Michael as a young Tony Soprano, hits theaters and HBO Max on October 1.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Celebrate International Day of Peace with new global version of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train"

Yusuf/Cat Stevens performs his contribution to "Peace Train" around the world live outside in Istanbul, Turkey; Credit: Playing for Change

Cat Stevens, the legendary singer/songwriter now known as Yusuf, is celebrating the International Day of Peace -- September 21 -- with a new version of his 1971 classic, "Peace Train."

Yusuf has teamed up with Playing for Change, the project that aims to connect the world through music, to record more than 25 musicians from 12 countries around the world, all performing "Peace Train."  The artists participating include The Doobie Brothers' Pat Simmons, blues artist Keb' Mo', Grammy-winning Americana artist Rhiannon Giddens, Sengalese star Baaba Mal and many more. 

The countries range from Mali, Pakistan and India to Argentina, Australia and Turkey, the latter of which is where Yusuf himself is seen performing in the video. You can watch it now on Playing for Change's YouTube channel.

"We are privileged to be able to create a glimpse of unity through music," says Yusuf in a statement. "However, if you want to make the Peace Train real, then you need two tracks: one track has to be Justice, and the other must be Well-being. Everybody should have access to these two things, then the Peace Train can really get going."

Mark Johnson, the co-founder of Playing for Change, adds, "This song's powerful message is as relevant today as the day it was written and as we celebrate the International Day of Peace, we hope that everyone will join us as we stand up for a more equitable and compassionate world."

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


At private event, The Rolling Stones play first show without Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones No Filter 2021 photo, taken prior to Watts' death/Credit: J. Rose

A series of videos uploaded to YouTube Tuesday morning shows the Rolling Stones performing their first concert since 2019, and their first show without late drummer Charlie Watts.

According to the Boston Globe, the band performed Monday night at a private concert hosted by Patriots owner Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, MA. 

The Globe reports that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards told the crowd of 300 people that they were dedicating the performance, and their upcoming tour, to Watts, who died August 24 at age 80.  Veteran drummer Steve Jordan was behind the kit last night, and will be for the tour.

The set list for the invite-only show featured 15 songs, including classics like "Under My Thumb," "Tumbling Dice," "Gimme Shelter," "Start Me Up," "Miss You," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "(I Can't Get No ) Satisfaction."

The Stones officially kick off their No Filter 2021 tour Sunday in St. Louis.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Hear Santana and Steve Winwood team up for a cover of "A Whiter Shade of Pale"

BMG

Carlos Santana has teamed up with Steve Winwood for the third single from the legendary guitarist's upcoming album, Blessings and Miracles: a cover of Procol Harum's 1967 classic "A Whiter Shade of Pale."

The idea for the two to record the song together came from Santana, who suggested it to Winwood when they were both performing in London's Hyde Park. "I said, ‘You and I have to do it, but we’re going to do it very sexy, like a Hare Krishna but with congas,’" Santana recalls. "I played the components in his ear, and he said, ‘I hear it, Carlos. You’re right.’"

"So that’s what we did -- it’s Santana, Cuban, Puerto Rican in an African way. And man, you talk about sexy," adds Carlos. "Steve’s voice is so sexy and beautiful.”

Winwood adds, "Carlos has been doing what I’ve been trying to do for the last fifty years, namely combining elements of rock, jazz, folk, and Latin Afro-Caribbean music."

"Carlos’ genius comes in large part from a wonderful combination of rock music with Latin-Cuban rhythms," Winwood adds. "I’ve played with Carlos on numerous occasions over the past fifty years and I’m very excited to be working with him again still.”

Blessings and Miracles will be released October 15.  Santana has also released the Rob Thomas collaboration "Move" and the Diane Warren/G-Eazy collaboration "She's Fire" from the album.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



 

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