Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty ImagesDuran Duran bassist John Taylor is on the mend after contracting COVID-19. The 59-year-old revealed his diagnosis in a candid Facebook post on Sunday.
"DEAR FRIENDS OF MINE after giving some thought to this, I have decided to share with you that I tested positive with the Corona Virus almost three weeks ago," began Taylor, who went on to describe how the virus affected him.
"I like to think I am - or was blessed with getting only a mild case of Covid 19 - but after a week or so of what I would describe as a 'Turbo-charged Flu', I came out of it feeling okay," he admitted, saying that he was able to fully recover after quarantining himself.
Now, he's using his experience with COVID-19 to assuage his fan's growing concern about the pandemic.
"I am speaking out in answer to the enormous amount of fear being generated by the pandemic, some of it entirely justified, and my heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with real loss and pain," said Taylor before focusing on a more positive note.
"I want to let you know that it isn't always a killer, and we can and will beat this thing," he promised.
COVID-19 has upended the music industry, cancelling or postponing numerous tours and forcing multiple album releases to be pushed back to a later date.
However, Taylor remains positive that he will be "be back onstage again, sharing new music, love and joy."
Taylor isn't the only musician to have contracted the virus. Other artists who've revealed they've tested positive for the virus include Marianne Faithful, Jackson Browne, Christopher Cross, Sara Bareilles, Bon Jovi's David Bryan, Broadway star and actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, Placido Domingo and revered singer/songwriter John Prine.
ABC/CRAIG SJODINElton John just keeps on giving by launching a $1 million fund to aid with COVID-19.
"I'm so pleased to announce that my foundation is launching a new COVID-19 emergency fund today," he said in his announcement.
"For almost 30 years, my foundation has prioritized the most vulnerable people to HIV to end the AIDS epidemic, and we're committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too," the legendary musician continued.
"Distributing medicine, testing, and preventive treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago. Our new COVID-19 emergency fund will help frontline partners to prepare for and respond to the pandemic, and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalized communities," he concluded.
Today, I’m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our frontline partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world. pic.twitter.com/g4wh9dnd3d
Ian Dickson/RedfernsMarianne Faithfull has been hospitalized in London and is being treated for the COVID-19 virus, her rep confirmed to Rolling Stone on Friday.
A statement posted Saturday on the 73-year-old British singer and actress' official website reads, "Marianne has tested positive for coronavirus and is being treated in hospital. She is stable and responding to treatment. Marianne went into hospital on Tuesday, after developing a cold while self-isolating. We wish her well and a full and speedy recovery."
Faithfull began her career as a successful pop artist, scoring four hit singles in 1964 and '65, her first being a cover of The Rolling Stones' "As Tears Go By" that peaked at #22 in the U.S. and #9 in the U.K.
In 1966, Marianne began a widely publicized four-year romance with Stones singer Mick Jagger. Around this time, she also began acting in films.
In 1968, Faithfull co-wrote the song "Sister Morphine" with Jagger and Keith Richards. Her own version of the tune was released in 1969, while The Rolling Stones' rendition appeared on their 1971 album, Sticky Fingers.
Marianne struggled for many years with anorexia and drug abuse, including heroin addiction, and for most of the 1970s she put music on hold.
Faithfull relaunched her music career with the edgy, critically acclaimed 1979 album Broken English, and has released new records fairly regularly ever since. Among the many artists who have contributed their musical talents to Marianne's albums are Steve Winwood, Dr. John, Roger Waters, Lou Reed, The Clash's Mick Jones, Beck, Billy Corgan, Blur and Nick Cave.
In 1997, Faithfull lent guest vocals to the Metallica song "The Memory Remains," which became a top-30 hit for the heavy-metal legends. Her most recent album, Negative Capability, came out in 2018.
earMUSICDeep Purple's new studio album will be whooshing into fans' hands a bit later than originally planned because of the coronavirus pandemic. The release of album, titled Whoosh!, has been pushed back from June 12 to August 7.
"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...well, not exactly in this case; more cause and effect, where the latter is often greater than the former," the band's frontman, Ian Gillan, says in a somewhat convoluted message announcing the postponement.
He adds, "Distribution lines (the physical sales of CDs, vinyl, cassettes (?) etc) and retail outlets are closed until The Dreaded Lurgy gets indigestion. Therefore, as there are still so many of us who love to hold a new record in our hands, and following advice from our magnificent label, we have decided to delay the release of Whoosh! until August."
As for what he's been doing while in quarantine during the health crisis, Gillan shared, "I'm listening to a lot of music and guessing that it's the same for many of us during this scary disruption to our lives. We know, don't we, that music will play a big part in our celebrations as we step back into the light."
Having said that, the 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer noted, "[H]ealth comes first, so I must stuff my excitement about sharing Whoosh with you back into a box for a little while. Stay well and follow the light…"
Deep Purple recently released the first single and lead track from Whoosh!, "Throw My Bones," which is available now digitally and via streaming services. You also can check out an official video for the song at the earMUSIC label's YouTube channel.
The four-song collection is the third EP that Lowe and Los Straightjackets have recorded together in the last two years. The record's A-side features two Lowe originals -- "Lay It on Me Baby" and "Don't Be Nice to Me" -- along with a rendition of the Dorsey Burnette-written "Here Comes That Feeling," which was a top-five U.K. hit for Brenda Lee in 1962. The B-side features a Lowe-produced Los Straightjackets cover of Shocking Blue's chart-topping 1970 classic "Venus."
The EP was recorded at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis after Nick wrapped up his fall 2019 U.S. tour.
"Lay It on Me Baby" has been released as an advanced digital single and via streaming services, and you also can check out the track now on YouTube.
Lowe wrote "Lay It on Me Baby" some years ago as part of a never-completed concept album he and his now-late friends and musical collaborators Neil Brockbank and Bobby Irwin came up with. The project was inspired by a 1968 Columbia Records compilation titled The Rock Machine Turns You On, which was the first-ever sampler album, and was to feature songs written by Nick in various styles but credited to imaginary artists.
"Even though the whole idea started as a joke, we got into it pretty seriously and made copious notes as the plan unfolded," Lowe explains. "Song titles became songs."
The Lay It on Me EP is available for pre-order now on CD, vinyl LP and digitally.
Lowe's previous EPs with Los Straitjackets, Tokyo Bay/Crying Inside and Love Starvation/Trombone, were released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Credit: Scotty HillHot Tuna and ex-Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen is joining the ranks of musicians who are treating fans to live streaming performances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The veteran rocker will play a concert at his Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp in Pomeroy, Ohio that'll be streamed live on the ranch's official YouTube channel this Saturday, April 4, at 8 p.m. ET. It will be the first of a series of planned "Live from the Fur Peace Ranch" performances from Kaukonen.
The 79-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer also is planning to offer online guitar classes and weekend workshops from the ranch.
In other news, the paperback edition of Jorma's 2018 autobiography, Been So Long: My Life and Music, is being released this Tuesday, April 7.
Meanwhile, Kaukonen next scheduled concert is slated to take place on May 2 at the Fur Peace Station venue at his ranch. It's an acoustic performance with singer/songwriter Radney Foster. He's also part of the lineup of the Dark Star Orchestra's Dark Star Jubilee festival, scheduled for May 22-24 in Thornville, Ohio.
In addition, Hot Tuna's acoustic lineup is scheduled to perform a May 30 show at Fur Peace Station, an event that was postponed from March 21.
Next, Hot Tuna's electric lineup is slated to appear at the 2020 Lockn' Festival in Arrington, Virginia, on June 21, and then launch a summer tour with David Grisman Trio starting July 10 in Huntington, New York.
Of course, all of these concerts could be subject to postponement depending on what happens with the coronavirus crisis.
Mike Coppola/Getty ImagesIn the wake of the sad news announced today that Bill Withers died Monday of heart complications at age 81, a variety of other well-known music artists have posted tributes to the legendary pop/R&B singer and songwriter on their social media pages.
Founding Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson wrote in his Twitter feed, "I'm very sad to hear about Bill Withers passing. Bill was a 'songwriter's songwriter' and wrote so many great songs like 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Lean On Me.' A real loss. Love & Mercy to Bill's family."
Nile Rodgers of Chictweeted, "#RIPBillWithers Class, class and more class."
Longtime E Street Band member Nils Lofgren, who also plays with Neil Young's group Crazy Horse, posted a link on his Twitter feed to video of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing a live version of "Lean On Me," along with the message, "Damn I did not even know this video existed #BILLWITHERS Rest In Peace sweet man. No more appropriate song right now."
Here what some other artists had to say in tribute to Withers:
Richard Marx: "RIP #BillWithers Thank you for sharing that tremendous talent with us all those years."
Sheila E.: "My friend, U are sooo missed…My heart is broken and I am devastated you too are gone but, i do know where u are and one day I will see u again. I love u."
Medios y Media/Getty ImagesChristopher Cross is the latest musician to reveal that he's tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In a lengthy posting on Facebook, the Grammy-winning singer of hits like "Sailing" and "Ride Like the Wind" says, "I’m not in the habit of discussing medical issues on social media, but I do so in hope this will help other people to understand how serious and how contagious this illness is. Although I am fortunate enough to be cared for at home, this is possibly the worst illness I’ve ever had."
He continues, "For those of you who still do not believe the COVID-19 virus is real, or think it is a 'hoax' or part of some conspiracy, my advice to you is to understand right now that this is a deadly illness spreading like wildfire throughout the world."
The singer then asks fans to "PLEASE make every attempt to stall the spread of this virus," by staying home, washing hands and following what he calls "the SCIENCE."
"Importantly, please read the guidelines posted at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate yourself on the facts and protect your loved ones," he concludes. "Last but never least: wherever you are in the world, let’s all be kind to one another. Only if we work together can we defeat COVID-19."
Other artists who've revealed they've tested positive for the virus include Jackson Browne, Sara Bareilles, Bon Jovi's David Bryan, Broadway star and actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, Placido Domingo and revered singer/songwriter John Prine.
Gonzo MultimediaAmerica will celebrate its 50th anniversary by releasing a career-spanning eight-disc box set titled Half Century in early June that features a treasure trove of unreleased audio and video.
The collection boasts seven CDs featuring rare alternate mixes, demos, rehearsals, live performances and interviews, plus a DVD featuring "home movies" of the band filmed from 1972 to 1975.
Disc 1 is called London Demos 1970, and features unreleased demos recorded in various London studios the year before America's self-titled debut was released. It includes early versions of four tunes that appeared on America, plus other songs.
Disc 2, titled Bremen 1973 (Live on Air), features newly mixed audio of a show that the band played in Bremen, Germany, which previously was available only on DVD.
Disc 3, dubbed The Caribou Sessions 1976, features previously unreleased rehearsals, outtakes and demos recorded in February 1976 during the making of America's 1976 album, Hideaway.
Disc 4 is called The Poison Oak Sessions 1981, and contains tracks recorded at Dewey Bunnell's home studio in Northern California, including unheard songs and early versions of tunes that would appear on later America albums.
Disc 5, titled The Alternate 90's, features alternate mixes of songs from two albums, 1994's Hourglass and 1998's Human Nature, as well as unreleased tunes recorded before, during and after those records.
Discs 6 and 7 feature various radio interviews with America spanning from 1974 into the 2000s
The final disc, which will only be available on the box set, is the Home Movies DVD, which offers "fly on the wall" footage of the band, including behind-the-scenes segments of America making the 1973 album Hat Trick, early attempts at music videos and scenes from the road.
ABC/Randy Holmes; Mary McCartney/MPL CommunicationsElton John and Paul McCartney are among the British celebrities who have taken part in a new video salute to the U.K.'s National Health Service for the work it's doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The clip, which was posted on the organization's Twitter page Thursday, begins with an introduction from Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, who sends out thanks "to everyone working in the NHS and Social Care that are working so hard right now."
Elton then appears and says, "You are our heroes and we salute each and every one of you. Thank you." The pop-rock legend also holds a sign featuring the hashtags #ThankYouNHS and #OurNHSPeople.
McCartney appears next holding a similar sign, and simply says, "Thank you."
The remainder of the video features a variety of other stars saying "thank you" while holding signs with the hashtags. They include Coldplay's Chris Martin and pop star Kylie Minogue, as well as soccer legend David Beckham; actors Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet, Daniel Craig, Ricky Gervais, Claire Foy, Eddie Redmayne, John Boyega and Bill Nighy; and TV personalities Piers Morgan, Gordon Ramsey and Graham Norton.
Bill Withers performing in 1972; Michael Putland/Getty ImagesBillWithers, whose soulful hits such as "Lean on Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine" earned him induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died of heart complications, his family said in a statement reported by Rolling Stone. He was 81.
Born in West Virginia, Withers served in the Navy, then moved to L.A. in 1967. His debut album, Just As I Am, produced by the legendary Booker T. Jones and featuring guitar by Stephen Stills, included the Grammy-winning hit "Ain't No Sunshine" and the classic "Grandma's Hands." The album cover showed Withers at his day job at an aircraft company -- a job he initially refused to quit because he felt the music business was too unstable.
Withers' second album, Still Bill, included his enduring signature song, "Lean on Me," as well as the funky "Use Me." He continued releasing albums throughout the seventies, and in the '80s he did a number of collaborations, including the 1981 Grammy-winning hit "Just the Two of Us" with Grover Washington, Jr.
Ongoing issues with his record company led Withers to effectively retire from recording after 1985, though remixes and covers of his songs continued to be released, not in the least Club Nouveau's 1987 number-one version of "Lean on Me," which won Withers his third Grammy, for Best R&B song.
Withers' songs have also been widely sampled: a portion of "Grandma's Hands" was used in the 1996 Grammy-winning #1 hit "No Diggity," by BLACKstreet. JAY-Z, Kanye West, Tupac and DMX have also sampled Withers' songs. In 1999, the use of "Lovely Day" in a GAP commercial also renewed interest in Withers' music, as did the inclusion of "Use Me" in filmmaker Oliver Stone's football drama Any Given Sunday that same year.
Among his many accolades, Withers was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and in 2015, Stevie Wonder inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2007, "Lean on Me" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2009, Withers' life was the subject of a documentary, Still Bill.
Proceeds will benefit PLUS1's COVID-19 Relief Fund and its partners, MusiCares and Sweet Relief. The money raised will go to provide food, medical expenses and vital living expenses to those in the music industry who've been left jobless due to the pandemic.
Mascot Label GroupFormer Whitesnake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg recently announced that he's relaunched a new version of his namesake band, Vandenberg, and now plans for a new studio album by the group have been unveiled. The 10-track collection, titled 2020, will be released on May 29.
The album features nine new original tunes penned by Adrian, plus an updated version of the band's 1982 power ballad "Burning Heart," which initially was released digitally in January.
Another track from 2020, the new song "Shadows of the Night," has now been released as a digital single and via streaming services as well. You also can check out the tune on Vandenberg's official YouTube channel.
Fronting the band is singer Ronnie Romero, who also recently sang with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
"I needed an incredible singer in order to make the use of the Vandenberg name make sense and Ronnie more than fits the bill," Adrian says, adding, "As soon as I knew Ronnie was on board, I wrote the songs to suit Ronnie's amazing vocal capabilities."
2020 also features contributions from two other former Whitesnake members -- bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Brian Tichy. Sarzo also has played with Quiet Riot, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne and many others, while Tichy's resume includes stints with Foreigner and Billy Idol. The album was produced by Bob Marlette, who's worked on records by Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others.
Rounding out the new Vandenberg lineup are two musicians from Adrian's Dutch homeland -- drummer Koen Herfst and bassist Randy van der Elsen.
"I believe the vibe we have with this turbo charged line-up is wonderful," Vandenberg declares. "This is a brand-new dynamic band with a name that has a legacy and I couldn't be happier with the way it's turned out."
Norman SeeffJames Taylor was supposed to have started a tour with Jackson Browne next month, but like most artists worldwide, he's been forced to postpone it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, James' June 21 show at Boston's Fenway Park with special guests Shawn Colvin and Brandi Carlile has also been postponed. All the dates are being rescheduled, perhaps as soon as late summer.
Taylor also was planning to perform at Massachusetts' famed Tanglewood music venue on July 4, but right now, there's no information as to whether or not that show will go forward.
All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new dates. The original tour was to have started May 15 in New Orleans and had been set to wrap July 10 in Camden, NJ.
In a statement, both Taylor and Browne -- the latter of whom's been diagnosed with COVID-19 but is doing O.K. -- said, "it's deeply disappointing for both of us to have to call it off and reschedule (and reschedule we WILL)! As we all now realize, COVID-19 is a serious, real and present danger. Moreover, our public health is all of our responsibility."
They add, "So let us listen to and follow the directions of our public healthcare people and support their efforts in this unprecedented time of global pandemic. Love those around you and, above all, stay safe and healthy."
R.E.M. in 1983; Paul Natkin/Getty ImagesForty years ago this Sunday, April 5, four University of Georgia students -- Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry -- played their first concert together as band, at a friend's birthday party in an abandoned Athens, Georgia, church.
The group, which soon took the name R.E.M., had formed few months earlier, after Stipe met Buck at the record store where Peter worked, then were introduced to pals Mills and Berry through a mutual friend.
It was the start of a 30-year journey that saw R.E.M. emerge as influential indie-rock darlings, then become one of the world's most popular rock bands and, in 2007, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, before breaking up in 2011.
On a recently taped episode of the PBS show Speakeasy, Mills recalls that R.E.M.'s first show "was crazy," while noting, "Athens was a very tight, insular sort of crowd at that point, and…[e]verybody was there that knew each other."
Mills also points out that he noticed that the group had a special chemistry from its very first rehearsal.
He remembers that he and Berry "had some songs that we'd written…before we moved to Athens. So we showed those to [Michael and Peter], and I was like, 'Holy cow, I love what they're doing with these songs that we had already written.'"
Stipe, who also took part in the Speakeasy interview, agrees with Mills that "that spark, that 'je ne sais pas,' was there from the very beginning."
Having said that, Michael, who initially was known for his introverted onstage persona, adds, "It took all of us a few years to learn how to play our respective instruments, and it took me at least three albums to figure out that I did have a voice [and]…a writer's knack."
ABC/Image Group LAGreen Day has announced the rescheduled dates for the group's tour of Asia, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original outing was set to kick off this part March. It will now launch March 2021 in the Philippines.
Green Day announced the postponement of the tour in late February, before COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic.
"We have unfortunately made the difficult decision to postpone our upcoming shows in Asia due to the health travel concerns with coronavirus," the band wrote at the time. "We know it sucks, as we were looking forward to seeing you all."
This summer, Green Day is scheduled to embark on the worldwide Hella Mega tour with Fall Out Boy and Weezer. So far, those dates have not been affected by COVID-19.
In related news, Green Day's current single, "Oh Yeah!", has reached number one on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart. It's the punk trio's seventh leader on the ranking, and the second from their new album Father of All..., following the title track.
CMTLionel Richie, Michael McDonald and Dolly Parton are among the artists participating in CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares. The special will premiere April 8 on CMT at 8 p.m. ET and an encore presentation will air April 10 on MTV Live at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and again on CMT at noon ET/PT on April 11.
Richie and Parton were close friends with Kenny Rogers. Lionel wrote one of his biggest hits, "Lady," while both men, who at the time shared a manager, also participated in "We Are the World." Dolly and Kenny recorded and toured together numerous times, with their most famous collaboration being, of course, the 1983 Bee Gees-penned chart-topping duet "Islands in the Stream."
The CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares special is not only a tribute to Rogers, who passed away on March 20, but also a fundraiser for MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will provide financial help to musicians and music industry pros who are out of work due to the pandemic. Half of all the money raised will go to Nashville's music community.
The show will include interviews and performances from Richie, McDonald, Parton, Gavin DeGraw, and country stars Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Jennifer Nettles and Vince Gill, among others. Archival photos, interviews and performances from Rogers himself will round out the special.
Rick Guest/Interscope RecordsThe Whorecentlypostponed all its 2020 tour dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Pete Townshend says having to forgo performing and shelter in place is allowing him time to work on various music projects.
In a recent interview with the U.K.'s BBC Radio 6 Music, Townshend admitted that he feels "really lucky" with regard to the situation, "because what I do mainly is spend a lot of time on my own in the studio."
The 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, who reports that he's currently at his country home in Wiltshire, U.K., maintained, "I feel like I've been given an answer to a prayer I don't think I would have had the guts to do, which is [to say], 'Please cancel everything and give me some time in the studio!'…It feels like a gift."
Townshend said among the things he's considering doing during his unexpected downtime is looking at "the possibility of starting work early…on writing new songs for another Who album, as the last one did so well." The band's 2019 studio effort, WHO, peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and has received wide critical praise.
Another project Pete's working on is a planned musical adaptation of his 2019 novel, Age of Anxiety, which he said is "time-consuming, but…really pleasurable."
He added, "I'm working with orchestrations, drum boxes, old vintage synthesizers and, of course, the usual guitars and piano."
Townshend also revealed that he's remixing one of the WHO album's tracks, "Beads on a String," for possible release as a single.
Pete admitted that he's "never really enjoyed [touring that] much," and that the "joy of what I do has been in the composing, the writing, the playing around with studio gear."
Radio DisneyJanet Jackson had a very emotional response to a recent viral video and revealed some shocking details about herself in the process.
On Tuesday, the 53-year-old singer took a moment to share a heartwarming video showcasing one sister's support of her sibling's cancer battle. In the minute-long clip, which was originally posted on March 25, a teenager named Camila explained that her little sister Gabi feels ugly because she has a bald head and no eyebrows due to her current cancer treatment.
Camila, who already shaved her head, then proceeded to take a razor and shave her eyebrows, "These don't make you pretty. These don't make you."
Gabi's jaw dropped as she watched with tears welling up in her eyes.
"Don't trip," Camila added, "I'm going to go through this with you."
Jackson responded to the heart-tugging video on Twitter, writing, "This made me cry."
"I was actually going to shave my head for the janet. Tour and was going to talk to all the kids to do the same," she revealed, referencing her 1993 world tour. "I love a bald head, especially on a woman I think it's beautiful!"
Jackson then told the sisters, "You and your family are in my prayers. Stay positive. Stay strong. You're so beautiful."
Jackson isn't the only celebrity who has sent well wishes to Camila and Gabi. The video has also garnered supportive comments from Rihanna, Emily Ratajkowski, Michael B. Jordan and Kelly Clarkson.