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David Bowie Says He's Looking Forward to a "Sexy, Music-Crazy New Year"


Credit: Jimmy KingDavid Bowie has posted an interesting "seasonal message" on his official website that suggests he may be planning to put out more new music in 2015.

"Wishing you guys a very happy year-end holiday and we are looking forward to a full, plump but snappy, rather sexy, music-crazy New Year, are we not?" writes the influential singer.  "Oh, yes we are!!"

Bowie released two brand-new songs during the past year.  The first, "Sue (or In a Season of Crime)," was included as part of the career-spanning compilation Nothing Has Changed, which hit stores on November 17.  The second, titled "Tis a Pity She's a Whore," appeared as the B-side of a limited-edition 10-inch vinyl single of "Sue" that was issued on November 28 in conjunction with the 2014 installment of Record Store Day's "Black Friday" event.

2014 also saw Bowie take home the British Male Solo Artist prize at the Brit Awards back in February.  David won the honor thanks to his 2013 album, The Next Day, his first collection of new songs in nearly a decade.

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AXS TV Special Focusing on 2014 "Classic Rock" Roll of Honour Premieres Sunday Night


MSO PRAn hour-long special featuring highlights from the 2014 Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards will premiere Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on the high-definition channel AXS TV.  The star-studded ceremony, which was hosted by Sammy Hagar, took place last month at the Avalon Ballroom in Los Angeles, marking the first time the annual event was held outside of the U.K.

This year's honorees included The Doors, Gregg Allman, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Lynne and Queen with Adam Lambert.

The Doors were presented with the Inspiration award, and drummer John Densmore was on hand to accept the honor.  A couple weeks after the event, Densmore spoke with ABC News Radio and shared a bit of the speech he gave, which briefly paid homage to his late band mates Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek.

He recalled, "I basically said…'It takes four Doors to make a sedan.  Without Jim and Ray, Robby [Krieger] and I are just the Coupes.  And without you fans we wouldn't have even got the car started.  So, thank you.'"

Densmore also told ABC News Radio that he was excited to bump into Monty Python star Eric Idle, who was in attendance to present Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne with the Outstanding Contribution honor.

As for Perry, he was recognized with the Maestro award.  He told ABC News Radio that he thought Hagar "did a good job" hosting the ceremony, adding that "it was fun, and it was really good to see everybody, you know, bump into people in the halls and stuff."

Besides the various presentations, the Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards also featured several performances, including an all-star jam by ex-Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum's supergroup Kings of Chaos and various guest musicians.  Among the stars who hit the stage with Kings of Chaos were Hagar, Perry, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Def Leppard's Joe Elliott.

You can check out a preview video featuring clips from the ceremony at Classic Rock Magazine's official YouTube channel.  An encore screening of the 2014 Classic Rock Roll of Honour will air at 11 p.m. ET on AXS TV.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Living Legend -- Gregg Allman
Inspiration -- The Doors
Band of the Year -- Queen with Adam Lambert
Film of the Year -- Metallica, Through the Never
Album of the Year -- Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home
Classic Album -- Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz
Outstanding Contribution -- Jeff Lynne
Reissue of the Year -- Led Zeppelin I, II III Deluxe Editions
Maestro -- Joe Perry
Metal Guru -- Dave Mustaine
The Bluesman -- Eric Burdon
The VIP -- Sharon Osbourne
Best New Band -- The Cadillac Three

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Watch Earth, Wind & Fire Pay Tribute to Al Green at 2014 Kennedy Center Honors


Jeffrey R. Staab/CBSThe 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors TV special, airing Tuesday on CBS, includes a star-studded musical tribute to Al Green, one of this year's honorees.  In a newly released preview clip from the event, Earth, Wind & Fire are shown performing an inspired version of Green's memorable 1972 song "Love and Happiness."

In the video, Green is shown joyously smiling and clapping along while watching EWF, led by frontman Philip Bailey, play the soulful tune.  The camera also spots many other famous attendees singing and grooving along to the performance, including fellow Kennedy Center honorees Sting and Tom Hanks, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and Lady Gaga.

Other stars who helped salute Green on the special include Mavis Staples, Jennifer Hudson and Usher.

Meanwhile, another video posted online shows Lady Gaga taking part in the evening's tribute to Sting.  The flamboyant performer is shown wearing a gold lame outfit, a silver wig and tons of silver sequined eyeshadow, as she sings Sting's 1993 solo hit "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You."  Gaga uses seemingly every part of her vocal range during her dynamic rendition, which apparently has an emotional impact on Sting, who is seen with tears in his eyes toward the end of the clip.

The other performers who took the stage to honor the ex-Police frontman were Bruce Springsteen and Bruno Mars.  The 2014 Kennedy Center Honors also celebrated actress/comedienne Lily Tomlin and ballerina Patricia McBride.

The 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors airs Tuesday, December 30, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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The Year in Music 2014 -- Fleetwood Mac: The Return of Christine McVie


Live Nation Entertainment2014 saw a reunion that Fleetwood Mac fans were hoping for more than a decade would happen -- Christine McVie officially rejoined the band's lineup.  The singer/keyboardist had gone her own way in 1998, retiring from the group to live quietly in the English countryside.  However, Christine apparently had gotten bored with her life away from the band.

Fleetwood Mac officially announced Christine's return to the fold in January, but the reunion had been brewing for quite a few months.  In September of 2013, she made guest appearances at a couple of the group's U.K. concerts, and then revealed in an interview in November that she missed her band mates and would consider rejoining them "if they asked."  They asked.

Not long after the news broke that Christine was back in Fleetwood Mac, the band not only announced dates for a new North American tour with the reunited lineup, but revealed they also were recording new music.  The trek kicked off on September 30 in Minneapolis, and by all reports audiences have been overjoyed to get to hear McVie singing with the group again.

Her band mates also are thrilled to have Christine back.  As drummer Mick Fleetwood recently told ABC News Radio, "It's outrageously great, balanced, musically really gratifying playing all Christine's lovely songs again.  And it's been nothing but really healthy for everybody."

The band wound down its 2014 itinerary with a December 20 show in Tampa, Florida, but they won't be idle for long.  Fleetwood Mac begins another North American leg on January 16 in St. Paul, Minnesota, that's mapped out until an April 11 concert in Las Vegas.  The group also has a tour of the U.K. and Ireland that's slated to run from late May to early July.

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New David Bowie Picture Disc Featuring 2007 Mix of "Young Americans" to Be Released in February


Parlophone/RhinoDavid Bowie's has announced details about the next installment of his ongoing 40th anniversary singles campaign: a seven-inch vinyl picture disc featuring a 2007 single mix of the hit title track from 1975's Young Americans, and an alternate version of the 1974 song "It's Gonna Be Me," which was an outtake from that same album.  The limited-edition single will be released on February 24, 2015.

Both songs on the disc were produced and mixed by longtime Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti, and both will be getting their debut vinyl release on the picture disc.  The version of "It's Gonna Be Me" included on the single features strings, and was recorded during the same 1974 sessions at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound studios that yielded most of Young Americans.  The track originally was released as part of the 2007 collector's edition of the album.

The photo on the "Young Americans" side of the disc is a black-and-white image of Bowie snapped by famous Hollywood photographer Tom Kelley, while the pic on the other side is a color shot taken in 1974 by Steve Schapiro.

The original "Young Americans" single peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Bono Creates Signature (RED) Guitar with Gretsch


Image Courtesy of Paolo PellegrinBono has teamed up with guitar makers Gretsch to create the GRETSCH (RED) guitar.  The signature guitar takes its name from the U2 frontman's charity (RED), which raises money for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

"The GRETSCH (RED) guitar is a guitarist's dream," says Bono in a statement.  "And the reality is that every time someone buys one, it's raising money to fight AIDS.  That money can buy life-saving medicine for pregnant mothers living with HIV, and prevent their babies being born with the virus.  They're the same pills that will help deliver an AIDS Free Generation."

The guitar, officially titled the GRETSCH (RED) G5623 Electromatic Center-Block Bono "Signature" Model, sports a double-cutaway design, a maple neck and a 22-fret bound rosewood fingerboard.  Additionally, its pick-guard is adorned with the official (RED) logo.

Five percent of the wholesale price from each guitar sold will go to the Global Fund.

Earlier this month, U2 performed in New York City's Times Square in commemoration of World AIDS Day. Bono was absent from the performance, however, as was recently injured in a cycling accident.  The other three members of U2 performed together as U2 Minus 1Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay's Chris Martin filled in for the injured frontman.

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Jefferson Starship to Salute Jefferson Airplane's 50th Anniversary During 2015 Tour


Image Courtesy of Paradise ArtistsThe Jefferson Starship is planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its predecessor group, The Jefferson Airplane, during its 2015 tour dates.  The band currently has more than two dozen confirmed North American concerts on its schedule, stretching from a January 16 show in Belleville, Canada, through a July 31 appearance in Costa Mesa, California.

The Bay Area rockers also have a brief U.K. trek lined up in late January and early February.

The current Jefferson Starship lineup includes founding members Paul Kantner and David Freiberg, who also both played in the Jefferson Airplane.  Kantner co-founded the Airplane in 1965 with singer Marty Balin, while Freiberg briefly joined the group before its 1972 breakup.

Meanwhile, The Jefferson Starship posted a tribute to the late Joe Cocker on its official Facebook page Tuesday.  Along with a message that reads, "We lost a great one yesterday," the band linked to a 2009 video of a Cocker-inspired performance of The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends," that featured members of The Jefferson Starship, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company.  The clip was shot in Bethel, New York, at the site of the Woodstock Festival.

Here's a list of all of The Jefferson Starship's confirmed North American tour dates:

1/16 -- Belleville, ON, Canada, Empire Theater
1/17 -- Rama, ON, Canada, Casino Rama
2/7 -- Bradenton, FL, Regatta at Bradenton Downtown Riverwalk
2/13 -- Prescott, AZ, Yavapi College PAC
2/14 -- Stateline, NV, Harrah's South Shore
2/21 -- Miami, FL, Magic City Casino Magic & Music Festival
2/22 -- Jacksonville, FL, Ponte Vedra Music Hall
2/27 -- Grass Valley, CA, Grass Valley PAC
2/28 -- Modesto, CA, Gallo Center for the Arts
3/5 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Harrah's
3/6 -- Greensburg, PA, Palace Theater
3/7 -- Cleveland, OH, Masonic Auditorium
3/19 -- Natick, MA, Natick Center for the Arts
3/20 -- Sugarloaf, NY, Sugarloaf PAC
3/21 -- Beverly, MA, Larcom Theater
3/22 -- New York, NY, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
3/24 -- Annapolis, MD, Ram's Head
3/26 -- Londonderry, NH, Tupelo Music Hall
3/27 -- Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun Casino
3/28 -- Norfolk, CT, Infinity Music Hall
3/29 -- St. Charles, IL, Arcade Theater
6/6 -- San Mateo, CA, San Mateo County Fair
7/23 -- Truro, MA, Payomet PAC
7/24 -- Hartford, CT, Connecticuit Convention Center
7/25 -- Stockton, NJ, Stockton Rocks Hamilton Township
7/31 -- Costa Mesa, CA, OC Fair

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Aretha Franklin Planning Star-Studded Christmas Party


Credit: Matthew Jordan Smith

The holiday season just wouldn't be complete without a party.  So it comes as no surprise that Aretha Franklin intends to let loose during her upcoming Christmas bash, which will be littered with R&B greats.

"Well, I usually cook, but this year I'm having a Christmas party," the singer told ABC News Radio before spilling her guest list.  "I'm having the Four Tops, Melba Moore, Dave Hollister, Montel Williams -- hey! -- and it's gonna be a really, really cool party."

The Queen of Soul certainly has good reasons to celebrate -- she recently received the prestigious Icon of the Year prize during the Billboard Women in Music Awards ceremony earlier this month.  In addition, this year saw the release of her latest album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which was her highest-debuting album on the Billboard 200 chart -- at #13 --  in her long career.

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Keith Richards Posts Holiday Greeting, Tells Fans "See You Next Year"


Credit: Simon CrossKeith Richards sends out a holiday message to fans in a new video posted on his official website, YouTube channel and Twitter account.  In the brief clip, the Rolling Stones guitarist appears to be hanging out backstage at a show, where he's shown holding a lit cigarette, giggling and swinging around a Christmas tree ornament.

"To everybody, have a good one. You know, Christmas and whatever," he declares.  "Happy holidays to everybody and see you next year.  All right?"

In the background, you can hear Keith's version of Chuck Berry's classic Christmas tune "Run Run Rudolph" playing.

The Rolling Stones have yet to announce whether they will be touring in 2015, but Richards comment seems to suggest that may be the case.

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Bruce Springsteen Releases Recording of 1978 Cleveland Show as Part of Official Archival Series


Credit: Danny ClinchThe second installment of Bruce Springsteen's recently launched series of archival concert recordings is now available for purchase at Live.BruceSpringsteen.net.  The new release documents an August 9, 1978, show that the Boss and his E Street Band played at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland.

The concert originally was simulcast on a number of radio stations around the U.S. and became a popular bootleg recording over the years.  The show took place during Springsteen's tour in support of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and featured performances of many classics songs from the record, including the title track, "Badlands," "The Promised Land" and "Prove It All Night."  The set also featured such other classics as "Born to Run," "Thunder Road" and "Jungleland," as well as covers of "Summertime Blues" and "Twist and Shout."

The source for the recordings were seven master reels featuring a stereo mix of the show that had been loaned to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum for Springsteen's "Asbury Park to the Promised Land" exhibit.  The process for restoring and mastering the recordings and converting them to digital was the same used for Bruce's recently released The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984 box set.

The new live album can be purchased now online in multiple digital formats, including MP3, high-resolution 24-bit and CD-Quality FLAC download.  In addition, a three-CD set of the recording is available, but that won't ship until January 23, 2015.  People purchasing the CD version also can immediately buy the MP3 edition of the album for an extra $1.95.

The previous concert made available as part of the Bruce Springsteen Archives series was Springsteen and the E Street Band's March 12, 2012, performance at New York City's The Apollo Theater.  In addition, recordings of all of Bruce's shows on the 2014 High Hopes tour can be purchased.

Here is the full set list from Springsteen's 1978 Agora Theatre concert:

"Summertime Blues"
"Badlands"
"Spirit in the Night"
"Darkness on the Edge of Town"
"Factory"
"The Promised Land"
"Prove It All Night"
"Racing in the Street"
"Thunder Road"
"Jungleland"
"Paradise by the 'C'"
"Fire"
"Sherry Darling"
"Not Fade Away/Gloria/She's the One"
"Growin' Up"
"Backstreets"
"Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

Encore
"4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"
"Born to Run"
"Because the Night"
"Raise Your Hand"
"Twist and Shout"

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More than a Dozen Additional Madonna Songs Leak Online


Interscope RecordsPoor Madonna: Her new songs are evidently stored on a hard drive that has more leaks than Sony's email server.  Following last week's online leak of a batch of her new songs, which she said weren't finished, Billboard reports that 14 additional tracks have now hit the 'net.

While Madonna initially thanked fans on Instagram for not listening following the first leak, and then subsequently released six finished tracks from her new album Rebel Heart, she has yet to directly comment on this new leak.  However, right around the time the new demos started appearing, she posted the cover of her album, along with the caption, "Real Rebels think for themselves! Real Rebels respect ART! Real Rebels are Rebels in their [heart]."

After she officially released her Rebel Heart songs, Madonna addressed the leak in a Billboard interview, saying, "This is the age that we're living in...It's crazy times.  The Internet is as constructive and helpful in bringing to people together as it is in doing dangerous things and hurting people.  It's a double-edged sword."

Among the unfinished tracks that have appeared, according to Billboard, is a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, who also joined Madonna for her 2008 album Hard Candy.  Other songs are allegedly titled "Tragic Girl," "Holy Water," "Beautiful Scars" and "Iconic."

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Bob Marley's 70th Birthday to Be Marked with Year-Long Celebration Featuring Special Releases


Island/UMeThe family of Bob Marley is planning to launch a year-long celebration of the late reggae legend in 2015 in honor of what would have been his 70th birthday on February 6.  The campaign, which is being organized in collaboration with Universal Music Enterprises, will include the release of a variety of rare recordings and video footage from the Marley family members' archives and personal collections.

The first release planned is Bob Marley & the Wailers -- Easy Skanking in Boston '78, which will be available as a DVD/CD set, a Blu-ray/CD package and a CD collection, and is due out on February 10.  The video portion of the release was filmed by a fan who sat right in front of the stage at the concert, which took place in June 1978 at the Boston Music Hall.  Gaps in the footage from the show have been filled in by newly created animation.

Other Marley releases planned during 2015 include deluxe editions of some of Bob's classic albums augmented by previously unavailable bonus material.

Marley, of course, is considered one of the most influential world music artists ever.  He died in May 1981 at the age of 36 from complications of cancer.  His 1984 best-of compilation Legend is one of the 30 best-selling albums ever in the U.S., having sold more than 15 million copies.

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Music Stars Share Their 2014 Christmas Plans


iStock/ThinkstockThe Christmas season has arrived, and a lot of famous music artists will be spending Christmas like so many of us do, surrounded by loved ones.

Aerosmith's Joe Perry tells ABC News Radio that, after a busy year touring with his band, promoting his new autobiography Rocks and recording a Christmas EP, he's taking a well-deserved break far from any city.

"I'm gonna be sleeping pretty much for most of it," he declares.  "I've been in L.A. since the end of the last Aerosmith tour…and I got a plane to take my wife and I up to our farm here in Vermont."

Perry says his sons will be meeting them at the farm, adding that he's keeping his fingers crossed that it will be a white Christmas.  "We're kind of watching the weather," he admits.  "Hopefully it will snow."

Bob Seger says his Christmas gathering usually includes a lot of family members, and takes place either at his home in Michigan or at his sister-in-law's in Phoenix.

"My wife has a big family, I have one brother and his wife, and we try and get as many of 'em to come as we can," he explains.  "Or we go to them.  One or the other.  We alternate it all around."

Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward reveals that he's planning to celebrate Christmas with family members in his homeland of England, which he says he hasn't visited in quite a while.

"I've got a yearning to go and be in a dirty, wet winter," he declares, "and I think I'm gonna go back and see what an English winter is like so that I can appreciate it when I leave again."

Here are the holiday plans of a few other well-known music stars:

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason: "Nothing very specific apart from assembling all my children and grandchildren and going on holiday."

Dionne Warwick: "Christmas holidays, of course, is a family affair."

Cars/Empty Hearts guitarist Elliot Easton: "We always have a Jewish Christmas.  We're gonna have Chinese food and watch [A] Christmas Story."

The Doobie Brothers' Patrick Simmons: "[We will be] with our families for sure.  That's a main thing."

Doors guitarist Robby Krieger: "I'll be in L.A. over Christmas.  Got a few shows we're doing here."

 

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Report: Paul McCartney, Four Seasons, Eagles Inducted into America's Pop Music Hall of Fame


Image Courtesy of America's Pop Music Hall of FamePaul McCartney, The Four Seasons and The Eagles are part of the third annual class of inductees into America's Pop Music Hall of Fame, an institution based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, that was founded in 2012.  AllAccess.com has revealed the complete list of 14 honorees, which also includes, among others, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Nelson, Glen Campbell, Chubby Checker and Paul Anka.

To be eligible for induction into America's Pop Music Hall of Fame, an artist must have had a charting song before 1974.  The honorees were chosen by a popular vote conducted via the Hall of Fame's website, from of a list of 25 nominees picked by a national panel of music industry insiders.  More than 1 million votes were cast.

A permanent home for America's Pop Music Hall of Fame is planned in or near Canonsburg that would include a 1,900-seat performance venue and a museum featuring permanent and rotating exhibits.  The city, located 18 miles outside of Pittsburgh, is the hometown of both Perry Como and Bobby Vinton, who also happened to be among the inaugural inductees into the America's Pop Music Hall of Fame.

Other artists also previously enshrined in the institution include Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Chicago, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Carole King, Simon & Garfunkel and Stevie Wonder.

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Sting Says Starring on Broadway in "The Last Ship" Is "Totally Different" than Doing a Concert


Matthew MurphyAfter his new Broadway musical The Last Ship struggled to sell tickets, Sting himself joined the cast earlier this month -- an experience he's found to be quite different.  Appearing on Live with Kelly & Michael on Tuesday, the ex-Police frontman said he knew the show's music, of course, but he didn't have that much time to prepare for his acting role.

"I only had two days of rehearsal," Sting said, "and I was thrown in an elevator shaft because there's so much traffic going on, so much moving parts [onstage], actual steel plates moving around, welding tools, giant guys...dancing. So you just try not to get in the way."

Sting added that performing onstage in a musical is nothing like being onstage in concert. "Being on the stage is a totally different perspective so I have to think the whole time about what I have to say, where I have to move, what the other people are doing. So I'm not in automatic pilot," he explained.

The Last Ship is based on the shipbuilding town in which the rocker grew up: Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, in Northeast England.

"I did everything in my power to escape," Sting said on Live with Kelly and Michael about his hometown. "I didn't want to work in the shipyard. So I got a scholarship to a school, I got a good education, I took up music."

"It's ironic now that the place I escaped from is where I have to go back to to find my inspiration," he continued. "So I'm really telling the story of my community. It's a joyous celebration of that community and a very complex love story -- a beautiful girl and two men who are after her."

Sting will star in The Last Ship until January 24, after which he and his pal Paul Simon will bring their joint tour to New Zealand and Australia, and then to Europe.

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Styx Launching 2015 US Tour Next Month


Credit: Ash NewellStyx will be returning to the road not long after the new year begins.  The veteran rockers will kick off their 2015 itinerary with a January 15 concert in Aspen, Colorado, and will spend the rest of the month touring around the Western U.S.

The trek then will work its way across the country before winding down on March 20 in Norman, Oklahoma.  Among the shows lined up is a February 19-21 engagement in Nashville that will see Styx performing with the Nashville Symphony.

As previously reported, the band also will be playing shows in June in Nassau in the Bahamas as part of the second annual Carnival LIVE Concert Series.  Those events will take place onboard a variety of Carnival cruise liners that are visiting the port.

Here are all of Styx's confirmed tour dates:

1/15 -- Aspen, CO, Belly Up Aspen
1/16 -- Albuquerque, NM, Isleta Casino & Resort
1/17 -- Chandler, AZ, Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino
1/18 -- Las Vegas, NV, Pearl Concert Theater
1/21 -- Anaheim, CA, Grove of Anaheim
1/23 -- Beverly Hills, CA, Saban Theatre
1/24 -- Rancho Mirage, CA, Agua Caliente Casino
1/25 -- Santa Rosa, CA, The Event at Graton Resort & Casino
1/28 -- San Jose, CA, City National Civic
1/29 -- Lemoore, CA, Tachi Palace Casino
1/30 -- Oroville, CA, Gold Country Casino
1/31 -- West Wendover, NV, Peppermill Concert Hall
2/13 -- Muncie, IN, Emens Auditorium
2/14 -- Lawrenceburg, IN, Hollywood Casino - Lawrenceburg Event Center
2/15 -- Evansville, IN, Victory Theatre
2/19 -- Nashville, TN, Nashville Symphony
2/20 -- Nashville, TN, Nashville Symphony
2/21 -- Nashville, TN, Nashville Symphony
2/26 -- Catoosa, OK, The Joint @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa
2/28 -- Fort Worth, TX, Billy Bob's Texas
3/12 -- North Myrtle Beach, SC, House of Blues Myrtle Beach
3/13 -- Cherokee, NC, Harrah's Cherokee Pavilion
3/20 -- Norman, OK, Riverwind Casino
6/16 -- Nassau, Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Live - Carnival Sensation
6/17 -- Nassau, Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Live - Carnival Sunshine
6/18 -- Nassau, Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Live - Carnival Fantasy
6/20 -- Nassau, Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Live - Carnival Ecstasy

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Aerosmith's Joe Perry Says Media Interest in New Christmas EP "Exploded in My Face"


Unison Music GroupAerosmith's Joe Perry recently released a special holiday EP aptly titled Joe Perry's Merry Christmas.  The four-song collection features instrumental versions of the yuletide standards "White Christmas" and "Silent Night," as well as the guitar great's take on Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph" and Elvis Presley's "Santa Claus Is Back in Town."

The guitar legend says the release of the project was almost a spur-of-the-moment decision and he's surprised at the amount of attention it's been garnering, noting that it "exploded in my face."

"Four weeks ago I had no plans of doing it, and then we did it and we were just gonna put it up on my webpage," he explains to ABC News Radio.  "And then it went on iTunes and then it's everywhere."

In addition, his label prompted him to do a promotional video for "Run Run Rudolph," and then Fox picked up the song to use in its NFL coverage.

"So it kind of exploded in my face," Perry notes.  "I mean, I really did not expect it to have the impact it did, but as long as people have fun with it, I'm cool."

Perry recorded the EP in Los Angeles, where he was spending time promoting his recently published memoir, Rocks, after the end of Aerosmith's 2014 tour.  He worked on the project with a variety of talented session musicians at a studio belonging to Johnny Depp, and he even got the Hollywood star to lend his musical talents to one tune.

"We realized that 'Run, Run Rudolph' needed another guitar on it.  And I figured [that] the whole idea about this was to get to work with other talented people, and he's definitely one of 'em," explains Joe.  "And he's a Chuck Berry fan like I am, and so he laid down the other rhythm track for that song and it really helped it a lot."

The EP's lead track, "White Christmas," meanwhile, kicks off with an interesting vocal effect that will be recognizable to Aerosmith fans.

"It's the same piece of equipment that I used on 'Sweet Emotion' back in the '70s," Perry reveals.  "I've been wanting to use it somewhere over the years and I keep forgetting to plug it in.  And this time it gave me a chance to use it, and it turned out to be a really cool echo from the past, so to speak."

Joe Perry's Merry Christmas can be purchased on CD for $4.99 -- shipping not included -- at UnisonMusic.com, and digitally for $3.99 at iTunes and $3.96 at Amazon.  Perry tells ABC News Radio that some of the proceeds raised by the EP will be donated to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which supports music-education programs in public schools.

"It's important for the fans to pay for the music," says Joe, "because…it gives us a chance to give some of it to charity and help all the way around."

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Music Stars React to the Death of Joe Cocker


Credit: Olaf HeineJoe Cocker passed away on Monday at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer.  The gritty-voiced British singer was best-known for his memorable renditions of other artists' songs, including his soulful version of The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends" that he performed at the 1969 Woodstock festival.  Now, a variety of music stars have issued statements paying tribute to Cocker, including the two surviving Beatles.

Paul McCartney, who co-wrote "With a Little Help from My Friends" with the late John Lennon, said in his homage to Cocker, "It's really sad to hear about Joe's passing.  He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people I loved his singing.  I was especially pleased when he decided to cover 'With a Little Help from My Friends' and I remember him and [late record producer] Denny Cordell coming round…and playing me what they'd recorded and it was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that."

Sir Paul added, "I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear today that he had passed away.  He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we'll all miss him."

Ringo Starr, who sang the original version of "With a Little Help from My Friends," posted his own tribute Cocker on his Twitter account that reads, "Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love."

Another song Cocker famously covered was Traffic's "Feelin' Alright," which was written by Dave Mason.  In a new Facebook post, Mason explains that he wrote the tune as "an unrequited love song about not feeling too good myself," adding that when he first heard Cocker's rendition, he "was blown away."

Mason continues, "This song was no longer about not feeling too good myself. It WAS feelin' alright! I owe a great debt of gratitude to Joe Cocker for cutting that song. Even though I wrote it and sang it with Traffic, it is the quintessential version that will live on long after his passing and mine. What a voice."

Here are comments and messages from some other artists about Cocker's passing:

Longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes is a huge Cocker fan who, with his other group Gov't Mule, paid tribute to Joe's classic 1970 live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen by playing it at a 2012 New Year's Eve concert.  Speaking on Monday with ABC News Radio, Haynes said of Cocker's passing, "It's a huge loss.  Vocalists like that don't come along very often, you know?" He added, "You could hear the influences, the history in his voice.  He was obviously a huge Ray Charles fan, but when he opened his mouth, everything that came out sounded uniquely like Joe Cocker."

Former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman was a close friend of Joe.  He told the BBC that Cocker "had a voice that was just unique," adding, "The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years."

Bryan Adams, who co-wrote Joe's 1989 hit "When the Night Comes," posted on his Twitter account: "RIP my good friend, you were one of the best rock singers EVER."

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler tweeted, "WE LOVED YOU FOREVER, WE WILL MISS YOU ALWAYS...RIP JOE COCKER."

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry told ABC News Radio, "He was one of those singers that everybody talked about.  He was such a dynamic performer and such an incredible singer."

In the '80s, Cocker teamed with Jennifer Warnes on the #1 duet "Up Where We Belong," from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, which won a Grammy, as well as a Golden Globe and an Oscar. Warnes told ABC News Radio she's glad she had the chance to work with him. "I just feel so grateful about working with Joe. There was nothing bland, you know, there was nothing tricky. It was...it was just pure real music." Warnes told ABC News Radio she doesn't think she will ever sing "Up Where We Belong" again. "No, I think that's it for me. There's no experience that could duplicate singing that song with Joe."

Peter Frampton tweeted, "So sad to hear of Joe Cocker's passing. 'You are so beautiful' is both Joe and Nicky Hopkins piano at their very best. Gonna play it now RIP."

The Recording Academy's Neil Portnow issued a statement honoring Cocker and noting that he "had one of the most distinctive, soulful voices in all of rock…Our music community has lost a passionate and influential artist, and his legacy will continue to inspire and entertain generations to come."

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Charlie Daniels Band's 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam Scheduled for August in Nashville


Webster PRThe Charlie Daniels Band has announced the initial lineup for its 40th anniversary Volunteer Jam, which is scheduled to take place August 12, 2015, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.  Among the artists who have signed on to perform at the concert are veteran Southern rockers The Outlaws and country stars Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry, Billy Ray Cyrus and The Kentucky Headhunters.

More artists will be added to the bill soon, while unannounced special guests also are expected to appear at the event.

Speaking about the Volunteer Jam as its milestone anniversary approaches, Daniels says, "We never had any idea how big it would become, broadcasting around the world and on Voice of America.  We thought it was a hometown thing.  We never realized it would become an international event."

He adds, "I'm very, very excited to continue the Jam tradition 40 years later.  Ain't it good to be alive and be in Tennessee."

Money raised from the concert will benefit The Journey Home Project, a nonprofit organization Daniels co-founded that helps U.S. military veterans, as well as The Predators Foundation, which supports various Nashville-area charities.

Tickets for the bash will go on sale on January 30 at the Bridgestone Arena, Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster.com.  Tickets are priced at $17.68 and $40, while VIP packages cost $500.

Meanwhile, The Charlie Daniels Band has a bunch of other 2015 U.S. tour dates lined up.  Visit CharlieDaniels.com to check out the group's full itinerary.

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Rock Legend Joe Cocker Dead at 70


Didier Baverel/WireImageJoe Cocker, the British singer known for his gritty voice and unique performance style, has died at the age of 70, the wife of Cocker's agent confirms to ABC News.  He died of an undisclosed illness.  His agent told the BBC that Cocker was "simply unique."

Most famous as an interpreter of other artists’ songs, Cocker put his own spin on the Beatles "With a Little Help from My Friends," Leon Russell's "Delta Lady," Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," Dave Mason's "Feeling Alright," and many more, including his biggest solo hit, "You Are So Beautiful," originally written and recorded by Billy Preston

Cocker's performance of "With a Little Help from My Friends" at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 was one of that event's standout moments. Cocker's performance of the song became the theme for the TV series The Wonder Years.

Cocker's spastic onstage performance style was memorably parodied on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi, who performed "Feelin' Alright" side by side with Cocker, imitating his movements.

In the '80s, Cocker teamed with Jennifer Warnes on the #1 duet "Up Where We Belong," from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, which won a Grammy, as well as a Golden Globe and an Oscar. 

Cocker continued to record and tour until just a few years ago. In 2002, he performed at Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee event, and in 2007, he appeared in the Beatles-inspired  film Across the Universe. Also in 2007, Joe Cocker received one of the U.K.'s highest honors, the Order of the British Empire.

In September of this year, Billy Joel told the crowd at Madison Square Garden that Cocker was "not very well right now," and made a plea for him to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor which eluded him in life.

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