Warner Bros. Home EntertainmentZoinks! A new animated feature film starring everybody's favorite makeup-wearing rock band, KISS, and everybody's favorite mystery-solving canine, Scooby-Doo, will be arriving in the summer. Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and as a high-def digital download on July 21.
The movie's plot is centered on a big concert the rockers are scheduled to play at a KISS-themed amusement park called KISS World. The show is set to take place on Halloween, but a mysterious character named the Crimson Witch is scaring off visitors, which may lead to the cancellation of the performance.
Scooby-Doo and the rest of the young Mystery Inc. sleuths -- Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred -- proceed to team up with KISS' members to see if they can foil the Crimson Witch's sinister plan, which involves the summoning an evil character named The Destroyer that seeks to destroy the Earth.
The movie features six classic KISS songs, as well as voice cameos from a variety of celebrities, including Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Pauley Perrette and Darius Rucker.
"KISS's spectacular theatrics mixed with Scooby-Doo's delightful antics create the perfect blend for an original new story," says Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's Mary Ellen Thomas. "This film is pure fun. Adults will delight in seeing one of America's greatest rock bands, KISS, presented in gorgeous animation and kids will be entertained by Scooby-Doo solving a rock and roll mystery with his pals."
This actually isn't the first time KISS will be joining forces with Scooby and the gang. A cartoon version of the band also appeared on a 2003 Halloween episode of the TV show What's New, Scooby-Doo?
ABC/Randy HolmesElton John's not just a multi-multi-millionaire -- he's also a charitable one. On The Sunday Times' annual "Rich List," he's named as the U.K.'s most generous celebrity, donating just under $36 million to charity last year.
The Times reports Elton gave away what amounts to 8.9% of his overall wealth, mostly to his AIDS Foundations in the UK and the U.S. Other charitable British celebs include Coldplay, who gave away $5.5 million via their charitable foundation, and Eric Clapton donated just over $2 million, raised from his Crossroads Guitar Festival, to the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which treats drug and alcohol addiction.
Also on the list are George Harrison's widow and son, Olivia and Dhani Harrison, who gave $1.6 million to charity.
Credit: Danny ClinchNeil Young will turn 70 later this year, but age doesn't seem to be slowing the folk-rock legend down at all. Rolling Stone reports that Young will release a new album titled The Monsanto Years on June 16, just over seven months after his previous record, Storytone, hit stores.
Neil collaborated on the new album with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, a band that features Willie Nelson's sons Lukas and Micah. The Monsanto Years, which is described as a "politically/ecologically-charged album," will be available on CD and vinyl, as well as a standard and high-res digital download.
According to JamBase, Young and Promise of the Real will launch a North American summer trek called the Rebel Content Tour in support of the new record. The outing currently is scheduled to run from a July 5 appearance at Milwaukee's Summerfest through a July 24 headlining performance at the inaugural WayHome Music and Arts Festival near Toronto. Opening for Young and Promise of the Real on select dates will be Band of Horses and Norah Jones' side band Puss N' Boots.
People purchasing tickets for the upcoming shows will receive a standard CD or digital copy of The Monsanto Years.
In related news, this past Thursday, Neil and Promise of the Real played a surprise intimate concert at the SLO Brewing Co. in San Luis Obispo, California. The show featured performances of a bunch of brand-new tunes that are expected to appear on The Monsanto Years, as well as a helping of classic tunes from throughout Young's career. You can check out photos and video clips from the event at SanLuisObispo.com.
Young first revealed that he was working on a new album with Nelson's sons back in January during a Q&A session at a Las Vegas trade show.
Here are all of Young and Promise of the Real's upcoming tour dates, according to RollingStone.com:
7/5 -- Milwaukee, WI, Summerfest 7/8 -- Morrison, CO, Red Rocks 7/9 -- Morrison, CO, Red Rocks 7/11 -- Lincoln, NE, Pinnacle Bank Arena 7/13 -- Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center 7/14 -- Clarkston, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre 7/16 -- Camden, NJ, Susquehanna Bank Center 7/17 -- Bethel, NY, Bethel Woods 7/19 -- Essex Junction, VT, Champlain Valley Exposition 7/21 -- Wantagh, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater 7/22 -- Mansfield, MA, Xfinity Center 7/24 -- Oro-Medonte, ON, Canada, WayHome Music & Art Festival
Credit: Brian RasicIt's time to dust off your plastic guitars and realize your rock star destiny -- Guitar Hero is coming back. The new installment in the series, entitled Guitar Hero Live, will be released this fall. The game's initial track list includes songs by The Rolling Stones, as well as by such younger acts as Green Day, The Black Keys, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, My Chemical Romance, The Lumineers and Gray Clark Jr.
The launch trailer for Guitar Hero Live shows off the game's new first-person mode. If that's not enough to give you stage fright, the live action crowd will boo you in real time if you mess up, and your virtual band mates will shoot you dirty looks if you're not doing your part. Of course, if you hit every note, the crowd and your band mates will treat you like the rock star that you are.
Guitar Hero Live also features a selection of fictional bands that you can join in the game, including Broken Tide, who can be seen in the launch trailer. Other fictional bands include Blackout Conspiracy, who are probably really into metal, and Portland Cloud Orchestra, who most likely are of the indie-folk persuasion.
Guitar Hero Live will be released this fall on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360 and mobile devices.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of FameRingoStarr playing with Green Day. Joan Jett singing with Dave GrohlandMiley Cyrus. It's the kind of stuff that only happens at the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held over the weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. As usual, the very, very long night featured a mix of once-in-a-lifetime performances, emotional speeches and plenty of rock and roll attitude.
The show opened with inductees Joan Jett & the Blackhearts walking onstage to perform "Bad Reputation." They were then joined by Dave Grohl for "Cherry Bomb," the song made famous by Jett's previous band The Runaways. Next, it was "Crimson & Clover," performed with Grohl and Tommy James, the man who wrote it, not to mention Miley Cyrus. Miley, who cites Jett as her biggest inspiration, inducted the band by beginning her speech, "I wanna start this...by telling you about the first time I wanted to have sex with Joan Jett."
Jett herself received a standing ovation, and, while tearing up, told the crowd, "I was really gonna try not to cry and be tough but that's a little overwhelming there!" She made an impassioned plea for the true meaning of rock and roll, explaining, "We've become so conditioned to measuring our music's impact in dollar signs only, that we can forget what it's really about: the music! Emotion, expression, giving a voice to those who aren't satisfied fitting into whatever box they were given." She also thanked pretty much every single person who ever had anything to do with her career.
Here's a rundown of the show's other highlights:
--It's certainly a thrill anytime the two surviving Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, get together, and McCartney was on hand to induct Ringo into the Hall. He was the last of the Beatles to get in as a solo artist, and McCartney campaigned hard to get his old friend the honor. In his speech, McCartney recalled how he, George Harrison and John Lennon knew Ringo was the right drummer for them when he was able to play a tricky Ray Charles song that few could get correct. "Ringo nailed it!" said Paul delightedly.
"He just is something so special," he added. "I mean, when he's playing behind you...a lot of these bands...they're looking 'round at the drummer, like, 'Is he going to speed up? Is he going to slow down?' You don't have to look with Ringo, it just is there." Ringo, the night's final inductee, then took the stage and gave a lengthy speech about his life and career, even giving up-and-coming bands this pearl of wisdom: "When you're in the van, if you fart, own up!" He then joined Green Day to perform the Shirelles' hit "Boys," and finally, all the inductees and presenters jammed out on "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "I Wanna Be Your Man."
--Fall Out Boy inducted Green Day, with both singer Patrick Stump and bass player Pete Wentz explaining why, to them, Green Day is the epitome of punk rock. Listing all the band's most "punk rock" accomplishments, Wentz spoke of the band's magnum opus, American Idiot, by saying, "When, in an era of basically no socially-conscious discourse in pop music, you put out a scathingly political rock opera and somehow managed to make that your career-redefining, Grammy-winning, smash-hit second act, that was insanely f***ing punk rock!" He ended the speech by saying, "So let some Reddit feed argue the definition of punk rock. Me? I already have my answer."
Billie Joe Armstrong took the stage to talk about the band's early beginnings, his family, his long friendship with his band mates Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt, and his passion for music. "I love rock and roll music, I always have, soon as I opened my eyes and took my first breath - I am a fan," he told the crowd. "And that's the one thing that I'm gonna close with, is that I love rock and roll and I'll love it for the rest of my life." Drummer Tre Cool spoke of the band's tight bond, saying, "We grow older, and we change, and we get weirder, and crazier and, it's awesome. We grow together, and with every beat of the drum, our love for music gets even stronger." Green Day then performed "American Idiot," "When I Come Around" and "Basketcase."
--John Mayer inducted his all-time idol, the late blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, and his band Double Trouble. Mayer's eloquent speech was built around the concept that Vaughan, who died in a helicopter crash in 1990, was "the ultimate guitar hero," and introduced blues to the MTV generation by presenting it in a modern way. He also revealed that it was Vaughan, who battled substance abuse only to emerge clean and sober, who inspired him to reject drugs and alcohol throughout his career.
Vaughan's brother Jimmie Vaughan of the Fabulous Thunderbirds accepted on his brother's behalf, saying, "I just want you to know I couldn't be more proud of him. He was the most wonderful, cool, talented little brother anybody could ever have." Then, Vaughan, Double Trouble, Mayer and Gary Clark Jr. performed Vaughan's hits "Pride and Joy" and "Texas Flood," as well as Jimmie Vaughan's 1994 tribute to his brother, "Six Strings Down."
--The most emotional moment of the evening came during the induction of the late Lou Reed, already a member of the Rock Hall as part of the Velvet Underground. His longtime friend Patti Smith, herself a Hall of Fame member, inducted him, and choked up while reminiscing about their friendship. "Thank you for brutally and benevolently injecting your poetry into music," she said. Then, Reed's partner of 21 years, artist and musician Laurie Anderson, took the stage for a speech in which she remembered Lou, not just as a great artist, but as the man who loved her, and who died in her arms. She also asked the crowd to chant "Looouuu!" "one more time."
Next, Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed Reed's classic "Vicious," while Beck took the stage to sing "Satellite of Love." Nate Ruess of .fun was supposed to perform but he was nowhere to be found.
--Reclusive soul singer Bill Withers, known for his hits "Lovely Day," "Ain't No Sunshine," "Lean on Me" and "Use Me," was inducted by Stevie Wonder, who admitted that he wished he had written some of Withers' hits. Withers then took the stage for the night's most rambling and most hilarious speech. "This has got to be the largest AA meeting in the Western Hemisphere," he joked to the audience. He finished by saying, "It's been a wonderful, odd odyssey with ups, downs and sometimes screw-me-arounds, but I will always remember the good things. Bottom line is, check this out: Stevie Wonder knows my name and the brother just put me in the Hall of Fame!"
Stevie then performed "Ain't No Sunshine," John Legend performed "Use Me," and then Stevie, Legend and Withers himself all sang "Lean on Me."
The other inductees included The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which helped electric blues cross over to a wider audience in the sixties, and the R&B vocal group the "5" Royales, whose members all unfortunately had passed away. They were the first to to record "Dedicated to the One I Love," later a hit for the Shirelles and the Mamas & the Papas. J. Geils Band singer Peter Wolf inducted the Paul Butterfield Blues band, while legendary guitarist Steve Cropper inducted the Royales.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will air May 30 on HBO.
Credit: Jesper BrandtABBA's Björn Ulvaeus is taking a chance on a unique new business venture: a restaurant and entertainment venue inspired by Mamma Mia!, the hit musical and movie featuring the legendary Swedish pop group's classic hits. The attraction, which is called Mamma Mia! The Party, will resemble the Greek taverna featured in the play and film, and will offer food, a stage show and the chance to role play. It's scheduled to open on January 20, 2016, at the popular Grona Lund amusement park in Stockholm, Sweden.
According to a press release, the idea behind the venue is that visitors will interact with waiters, waitresses, musicians and artists to create a unique party experience that will center around ABBA's music.
"I've experienced the happy, warm and expectant mood of audiences in theaters around the world when the first notes of Mamma Mia! ring out across the auditorium," says Ulvaeus in a statement. "And when people stand up in the aisles and sing and dance at the end. That's the feeling I'd like to create with Mamma Mia! The Party."
Björn adds, "This is an experiment, just like the musical was. This time around the audience/guests are part of a story in real time with not only song and dance being the ingredients, but also food, wine and environment."
Swedish newspaper The Local reports that at a press conference this past week, Ulvaeus told reporters that if the attraction does well, he may consider opening franchises in other locations.
Before announcing his big plans, Ulvaeus launched a website that teased a "new entertainment experiment," which led some ABBA fans to speculate about a potential reunion of the group. However, at the press event, Björn said, "That's probably not going to happen," adding, "although, you never know..."
Credit: Bruce AdlerWhile Joan Jett was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past Saturday, the influential rocker will be receiving another, very different honor in the fall when New York's Long Beach International Film Festival (LBIFF) launches a new film series in her name. The Joan Jett Music Film Series will be part of the fourth annual LBIFF, which will be held September 24-27 at venues in the Long Island, New York, communities of Long Beach, Garden City and Rockville Centre.
Jett, who's a former Long Beach resident, is being recognized with the series because she's supported the festival since its inception, and because organizers feel she has been inspirational to artists in both the music and film worlds.
A press statement notes that "Joan portrays the perfect example of determination, talent, vision, compassion and success that [the festival hopes] to bestow upon our film community."
Festival rep Rick Eberle tells ABC Radio that the series will include a variety of music-themed movies.
In addition, the fest is setting up a scholarship in Jett's name that will reward young artists who are struggling to bring their creative visions to fruition.
Kamal Asar; Alan Silfen/UMG NashvilleGet ready for some of your favorite musical acts to rock the boat. Boston, Lionel Richie and Heart are among the performers who'll entertain travelers aboard Carnival cruise ships during the just-announced summer and fall 2015 edition of the company's Carnival LIVE Concert Series.
Boston will play four shows on different cruise liners -- Carnival Sunshine, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Sensation and Carnival Ecstasy -- while the ships are docked in Nassau, Bahamas August 19, 20, 21 and 22, respectively.
As for Richie, he will perform aboard Carnival Freedom October 14 and Carnival Pride on October 15, while those ships also are visiting Nassau.
About a week later, Heart will rock the stage with three shipboard performances in Cozumel, Mexico: October 20 aboard Carnival Paradise, October 21 aboard Carnival Ecstasy, and October 22 aboard Carnival Breeze.
The Carnival LIVE Concert Series also includes previously announced shows by Smokey Robinson and Styx. The Motown legend will hit the stage April 21, 22 and 23 in Cozumel, Mexico, while the veteran rockers will perform on July 16, 17, 18 and 20 in Nassau.
Carnival LIVE tickets range from $35 to $75 for general admission. VIP tickets are available for $125 to $250 and offer seating in the first four rows, a photo opportunity with the artist, and a commemorative concert pass. Visit Carnival.com for a full lineup and more details about the series.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame MuseumThe 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place tonight at Cleveland's Public Hall. Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr tops the list of this year's inductees, which also includes Bill Withers, Lou Reed, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day and The "5" Royales.
As is tradition, a variety of big-name stars will be on hand to induct the honorees. Starr will be welcomed by his Beatles band mate Paul McCartney, Withers will be inducted by Stevie Wonder, the late Reed will be saluted by Patti Smith, Jett and her group will be ushered in by pop superstar Miley Cyrus, the late Vaughan and his band will be honored by John Mayer, the Butterfield Blues Band will be inducted by J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf, Green Day will be welcomed by Fall Out Boy and The "5" Royales will be celebrated by Booker T. & the MGs guitarist Steve Cropper.
A variety of well-known artists also will take to the stage to perform in honor of the newly minted inductees. The evening's entertainment lineup includes The Eagles' Joe Walsh; Stevie Ray's brother, ex-Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmie Vaughan; Mayer; pop/R&B star John Legend; Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl; Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello; Beck; contemporary bluesman Gary Clark Jr.; country singer Zac Brown; and others.
All of the aforementioned inductees will be honored in the "Performers" category except for Starr, who will be acknowledged in conjunction with receiving the Award for Musical Excellence, and The "5" Royales, who will be recognized as an "Early Influence."
The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be taped for a television special that's scheduled to premiere May 30 on HBO.
Courtesy of Record Store DayJust a reminder that the eighth annual Record Store Day takes place this Saturday, April 18. As always, the initiative features a wide variety of limited-edition vinyl-only releases that are available exclusively at independent record shops around the U.S. and in other countries too. Among the many veteran artists who will be issuing collectible discs in conjunction with the campaign are Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, The Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan.
McCartney's contribution is an LP featuring the long-out-of-print The Family Way: Original Soundtrack Recording, while Wilson's offering is a seven-inch single featuring the songs "The Right Time" and "Sail Away" from the Beach Boys mastermind's new solo album, No Pier Pressure.
The Bee Gees' Record Store Day release is a 12-inch disc titled Extended that boasts four classic songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, while Springsteen is offering up individual remastered versions of his first seven studio albums that originally were included in 2014's The Album Collection Vol. 1: 1973-1984 box set.
U2, meanwhile, is releasing a deluxe two-disc vinyl collection titled Age of Innocence, and Simon & Garfunkel are issuing a seven-inch single featuring a pair of classic songs recorded in late 1965, "Homeward Bound" and "Leaves That Are Green."
As for Dylan, he has three Record Store Day releases on tap: a seven-inch blue vinyl disc featuring "The Night We Called It a Day" and "Stay with Me," both from his new standards album, Shadows in the Night; plus stereo and mono versions of a 12-inch LP that includes select tunes from Bob's famed 1967 "Basement Tapes" sessions with The Band. Each copy of the latter two discs are individually numbered and signed by Band keyboardist Garth Hudson.
Other artists releasing exclusive discs for Record Store Day 2015 include Gregg Allman, The Animals, Blue Oyster Cult, David Bowie, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett, The Kinks, Queen's Brian May, John Oates, Otis Redding, Todd Rundgren, Sly and the Family Stone, Dionne Warwick and The Zombies.
Credit: Claude GassianMick Jagger and Keith Richards have lent their voices to a new episode of comedy collective The Kloons' web series Sisters, which features Kloons members Nik Kazoura and Mitch Lewis acting out real-life audio conversations between Nik's mother and aunt.
During the episode, the Kloons guys are shown lip-syncing to the women's voices as they discuss The Rolling Stones' famous logo, ponder whether Keith's last name is Richards or Richardson and talk about what a nice head of hair Jagger has while looking at a photo of the band in a coffee shop. As the two-and-a-half-minute video winds down, two young women are seen at a table in the same café, and when they open their mouths to chat, the voices of Jagger and Richards are heard, as they humorously talk about wanting to leave the city and hitting the road.
At the end of the clip, Lewis thanks Jagger and Richards for taking part in the sketch, while Kazoura reminds viewers that The Stones are heading out on tour soon. The band's upcoming tour dates also are shown.
Lewis told Tubefilter.com how Jagger and Richards came to be involved in the episode. As the comic explained, last fall The Stones' touring company showed the Sisters web series to the rock legends, who liked what they saw and agreed to take part in the video.
Credit: James GladerThe Eagles' Don Henley has settled a lawsuit he brought last year against a Wisconsin-based clothing company that seemingly incorporated his name and the title of one of his band's well-known songs into an advertisement for a line of its shirts. According to documents filed on Tuesday in a California federal court, the Duluth Trading Co. has agreed to never again use or allude to the singer's full name in connection with selling its Henley-style collarless pullover shirts, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Last October, Duluth Trading sent customers an email ad for its Henley shirts that included the phrase, "Don a Henley and take it easy," prompting the Eagles star to launch a copyright-infringement suit against the company.
As part of the settlement, Duluth has promised to never again use the words "Don" and "Henley" together or near each another in its future advertisements.
The company also has issued an apology to Henley for using his name without his permission.
"We appreciate and respect what Mr. Henley has meant to music and we now see that our use of his name and an Eagles' song title in our advertisement was inappropriate," reads the statement. "For that we are deeply regretful and we apologize, not just to Mr. Henley, but to anyone else who took offense. We have learned a valuable lesson and thank Mr. Henley for helping us appreciate the importance that he and other artists place in their publicity rights."
Duluth Trading also explains that, at Henley's request and as part of the settlement, the company has donated an undisclosed amount of money to the singer's Walden Woods Project in honor of the environmental organization's 25th anniversary.
Image Courtesy of Kim BergeronThe Beatles-themed antique piano that surviving Fab Four members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr signed last fall to help raise money for a New Orleans-area Habitat for Humanity chapter sold at auction Thursday for big bucks. The instrument brought in $98,888, just shy of the $100,000 it was expected to fetch. The winning bidder was an unidentified woman from Florida.
The piano was autographed separately by Starr and McCartney, respectively, on October 17 in Biloxi, Mississippi, and October 28 in Louisville, Kentucky, during the rock legends' tour stops in those cities. The instrument, which dates back to 1908, is decorated with a variety of Beatles-related images and phrases painted by Lori Gomez, an artist from the New Orleans suburb of Slidell, Louisiana, where the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity is located.
The charity will use the money from the auction to support its Veterans Build initiative, which helps provide housing to local veterans and their families.
You can read additional details about the piano, including the interesting story behind how Starr's and McCartney's autographs were procured, at RightBrainDiaries.com.
Credit: Timothy WhiteJames Taylor has scheduled a new series of U.S. tour dates in support of his first new album of original material in more than a decade, Before This World. His itinerary runs from a July 2 concert in Allentown, Pennsylvania, through a previously announced August 6 show at Boston's Fenway Park.
The Fenway show, which is sold out and features special guest Bonnie Raitt, marks the first concert that the James will play at the famous baseball stadium.
The tour also includes a previously reported, sold-out July 4 show at Tanglewood in Lennox, Massachusetts, where James traditionally plays on the holiday. Tickets for all of James' upcoming U.S. shows, with the exception of the Fenway Park and Tanglewood shows, go on sale to the general public on April 24 at 10 a.m. ET. Visit JamesTaylor.com for information about pre-sale tickets.
Before This World is due June 16 and features guest appearances by Sting, James' wife, Kim, and son Henry.
Here's the full list of James Taylor's confirmed U.S. tour dates:
7/2/15 -- Allentown, PA, PPL Center 7/4/15 -- Lenox, MA, Tanglewood 7/7/15 -- Portland, ME, Cross Insurance Center 7/9/15 -- Hershey, PA, Hershey Park Arena 7/11/15 -- Hartford, CT, Xfinity Theatre 7/12/15 -- Canandaigua, NY, CMAC 7/14/15 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Van Andel Arena 7/15/15 -- Indianapolis, IN, Kliptsch Music Center 7/17/15 -- Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend 7/28/15 -- Knoxville, TN, Thompson Boiling Arena 7/29/15 -- Columbia, SC, Colonial Life Arena 7/31/15 -- Greensboro, NC, Coliseum 8/1/15 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Borgata 8/3/15 -- Youngstown, OH, Covelli Center 8/4/15 -- New York, NY, Forest Hills - Tennis Stadium 8/6/15 -- Boston, MA, Fenway Park
Lloyd Bishop/NBCAs a pianist, Billy Joel may have spent a lot of time "tickling the ivories," but he wants to make sure that doesn't involve real elephant ivory. The musician, animal lover and expectant father is lending his voice to a new series of ads supporting the Wildlife Conservation Society's 96 Elephants campaign, "Take a Stand for Elephants."
96 Elephants was named for the number of elephants killed each day by poachers in Africa for their ivory tusks. Its aim is to bring together world citizens, partners, thought-leaders and change-makers to stop the killing of elephants and help ban the sale of ivory.
"We can't turn back time, but we can reverse this trend," Joel says in a voiceover during one of the promo videos for the initiative. "Don't be the generation that allowed elephants to go extinct."
Last year, Billy wrote an impassioned letter in support of a bill in the New York State Senate that would severely restrict the sale of items made of ivory.
"I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists. But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day," he wrote. "There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced."
Joel added, "Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life -- not an instrument of death."
The bill was signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last August.
Credit: Rob ShanahanOn Saturday at Cleveland's Public Hall, Ringo Starr will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, thereby becoming the last of The Beatles' four members to be honored individually by the institution.
Starr initially was inducted into the Rock Hall as a member of the Fab Four in 1988, then saw his band mates John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison recognized for their solo careers in 1994, 1999 and 2004, respectively. So how does the famed drummer feel about finally being acknowledged by the hallowed Hall?
"Well, it's about time," Ringo tells ABC Radio with a laugh. "I think it's beautiful. I do. I really think it's beautiful, and it's something for me to look forward to."
Starr reveals that it was McCartney who informed him that he was getting the honor.
"He called, and he said, 'They want to induct you into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I'll induct you. And will you accept?'" explains Ringo. "So I said, 'Sure. Sure. We can have a night out.'"
Unbeknownst to Starr, his Rock Hall induction came about thanks to a little help from his old friend.
"I've found out…that [Paul] was out to dinner sitting 'round with a couple of other musicians, and no one could believe I wasn't in it," Ringo tells ABC Radio. "So they worked on it to get me in."
McCartney himself has admitted in recent interviews that when he told Rock Hall organizers that he would do the honors and induct Starr, that helped seal the deal for Ringo. In conjunction with his induction, Starr will be honored with the Award for Musical Excellence.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's other 2015 inductees are the late Lou Reed, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the late Stevie Ray Vaughn and his band Double Trouble, Green Day, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Bill Withers and The "5" Royales. No word yet on whether Starr will be performing at the ceremony. A TV special featuring highlights from the big event will premiere May 30 on HBO.
Credit: Myrna SuarezBilly Joel's third ex-wife, Katie Lee, has offered her congratulations to the singer, following the news that he's expecting a baby with girlfriend Alexis Roderick. Food Network host Lee, who was married to the Piano Man from 2004 to 2006, tells Extra that she has nothing but good wishes for the couple.
"I'm really happy for them," she says. "He's a great guy, he deserves all the happiness in the world, and he's a terrific father so I'm really, really happy."
Lee adds that she still speaks with Joel and that they've remained close. "He will always be in my life and I think he's just the greatest," she says.
A rep for Joel confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that the 65-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his 33-year-old girlfriend will welcome their first child together this summer. It will be Billy's second child. He and his second ex-wife, Christie Brinkley, have a 29-year-old daughter, singer/songwriter Alexa Ray Joel.
Courtesy of The Grateful DeadHere's some exciting news for Grateful Dead fans who haven't been able to score tickets to the sold-out farewell shows the band's surviving members will be playing at Chicago's Soldier Field on July 3, 4 and 5: The three concerts also will be shown live in theaters across the U.S.
Each screening is slated to run for five hours, and will begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Tickets will go on sale on May 4 via Fathom Events, the same company that's responsible for the one-night-only screenings of concert films like the recent Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 and the Led Zeppelin flick, as well as the annual Grateful Dead Meet-up at the Movies event.
As previously reported, the Chicago concerts -- which have been dubbed Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead -- will feature Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and drummers Bob Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart performing with Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, ex-Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. The band has announced that the July 5 show will be the very last that the Dead members will play together. Two other Fare Thee Well concerts also have been scheduled, on June 27 and 28 in Santa Clara, California.
Meanwhile, this year's edition of the Grateful Dead Meet-up at the Movies is scheduled for May 4, and will take place in hundreds of U.S. theaters. It will feature the screening of a previously unreleased concert film documenting a July 1989 Dead performance in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Proper RecordsFormer Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman hasn't put out a proper solo album since his 1982's self-titled effort, but that's about to change. The 78-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will release a new album titled Back to Basics in June 22 in the U.K.
Back to Basics features 12 tracks, eight of them original compositions. Three of the new tunes came together after Wyman discovered dozens of songs he'd never released among some old demos that he had amassed. The artists who contributed to the project include ex-Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher, one-time Paul McCartney and Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh, and two of Wyman's Rhythm Kings band mates, guitarist Terry Taylor and drummer Graham Broad.
Among the songwriters who influenced Wyman on the new record are Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and JJ Cale, while Bill also looks to his British homeland for inspiration.
A limited number of autographed copies of Back to Basics are available for pre-order now at ProperMusic.com. Here is the album's full track list:
"What & How & If & When & Why" "I Lost My Ring" "Love, Love, Love" "Stuff (Can't Get Enough)" (Back to Basics Version 2015) "Running Back to You" "She's Wonderful" "Seventeen" (Back to Basics Version 2015) "I'll Pull You Through" (Back to Basics Version 2015) "November" "Just a Friend of Mine" "It's a Lovely Day" "I Got Time"
Capitol Records/Universal MusicLondon's Abbey Road Studios, where most of The Beatles' classic recordings were made, isn't open to the public, but a new interactive online feature is giving everyone the chance to take an in-depth tour of the famous London facility. Inside Abbey Road, which premiered on Google this week, allows the user to enjoy 3-D, 360-degree views of Abbey Road's three recording studios and its mastering room.
Each room also offers various audio, video, photo and text features with details about the studio's history and the various artists who recorded there over the years. Among these features is an essay about The Beatles' famous 1967 performance of "All You Need Is Love" that was part of the first TV event to be broadcast around the world via satellite; videos that were filmed at Abbey Road featuring Paul McCartney, Sting and Elton John; and details about Pink Floyd's work at the studio, as well as audio clips of some of the band's songs.
The website also allows visitors to virtually check out and play around with various pieces of equipment in the studios. Guiding the user throughout the tour is the voice of Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles producer George Martin.