Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty ImagesBilly Joel and Carlos Santana were among the entertainers who were honored Sunday in Washington, D.C., as the 2013 recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors.
The honors are presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in recognition of recipients' lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.
Billy was saluted at a gala event by Tony Bennett, who remarked, "Billy Joel is no less than the poet, performer, philosopher of today's American songbook."
Tony's speech was followed by a series of performances that paid homage to the "Piano Man's" music. Garth Brooks delivered a medley of "Only the Good Die Young," "Allentown" and "Goodnight Saigon." For the latter tune, he was joined by a choir of Vietnam veterans.
In addition, Don Henley of The Eagles sang "She's Got a Way"; Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie belted out "Big Shot"; and Rufus Wainwright performed "New York State of Mind" and led the audience in a sing-along of "Piano Man."
Carlos was saluted with a speech from Harry Belafonte, who called him a "citizen of the world." Santana's music was played by Tom Morello, Colombian musician Juanes, Buddy Guy, SteveWinwood, and Sheila E.
Musician Herbie Hancock, actressShirley MacLaine and opera singer Martina Arroyo were also honored at the gala, which was taped for a CBS special set to air December 29.
Prior to the event, the five recipients were recognized at a White House reception by President Obama.
Universal MusicElton John used his concert in Moscow on Friday night as a chance to condemn Russia's controversial laws banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors.
According to The Independent, the British singer told the sold-out crowd, "You've always embraced me and you have never judged me." He added, "I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating."
Elton is the first major Western, openly gay performer to play in Russia since the law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June. Sir Elton didn't specifically mention Putin, but he did say, "I love this country. I want to show them and the world that I care, and that I don’t believe in isolating people. Harmony is what makes a happy family and a strong society. The spirit we share tonight is what builds a future of equality, love and compassion -- for my children and for your children."
Elton dedicated the concert to Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old Russian who was tortured and murdered earlier this year by friends for being gay.
Both Madonna and Lady Gaga were vocal about supporting Russia’s LGBT residents when they performed their respective concerts in St. Petersburg last year.
Hear Music/ConcordWhen John Mellencamp gets down to recording a follow-up to his 2010 studio effort, No Better Than This, he's going to have an awful lot of material from which to choose. In a new Rolling Stone interview, the heartland rocker reveals, "I've got a notebook with 85 new songs that I've written for my next record."
The 62-year-old singer/songwriter reports that he'll once again be collaborating with T Bone Burnett, who produced No Better Than This and his previous album, 2008's Live, Death, Love and Freedom.
"Burnett is going to come out to Indiana sometime in early January and we're gonna go into the studio for however long it takes to make a new album," explains Mellencamp, who says there's no other producer he ever wants to work with.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer points out that he likes the fact that Burnett "is a minimalist" in the studio.
"He was able to strip down all my songs," says Mellencamp. "My '90s records were almost paint-by-numbers. He came in and said to me, 'You don't need this part. You don't need that part.'"
John also reveals that, in addition to the dozens of new tunes he's composed, he keeps adding fresh ones to the list.
"The other night I woke at 4:30 a.m. and I had to get out of bed to write this song," he explains. "I didn't wanna do it. I was like, 'No! Not f**king' now! I wanna sleep!' But I had to get up and write this song. It came out all at once."
Once he finishes the new record, Mellencamp is planning to hit the road for a major tour that will kick off in North America.
"I want to do one hundred shows in the United States and Canada," he declares. "Then I'll deal with the rest of the world later."
Mellencamp's plan is to hit cities he hasn't played in a long time and to avoid doing outdoor concerts.
"I'm going to devise a show that works in arenas and theaters so I can go back and forth," he explains. "Like anything else, if you do too much of one or the other you get burned out."
He adds, "I will probably never play outside again though."
Photo: Barry PlummerSunday marks what would have been late Doors frontman Jim Morrison's 70th birthday. It's difficult to gauge just how much the iconic singer has influenced music and popular culture, thanks to his charismatic and edgy persona, his powerful vocal style, his exploration of dark themes and his trail-blazing talent for combining poetry with rock music.
Morrison had a fascination with pushing social and cultural boundaries that, unfortunately, coincided with a penchant for excess that included a serious alcohol dependency. He died of an apparent heart attack in July 1971 at the age of 27.
This past Thursday in Los Angeles following a special event dubbed "An Evening with The Doors," the group's surviving members, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger, chatted with Rolling Stone about their late band mate.
Asked how he thought Morrison might've celebrated his 70th birthday, Krieger said, "I'm sure by this time he would want to forget about his birthday. He'd want to forget how old he was."
Densmore, meanwhile, said that, had he lived, Morrison undoubtedly would have continued to make music with The Doors.
"He loved the blues," the drummer declared. "We would've made more blues, more 'L.A. Woman.'"
The "Evening with The Doors" event marked the first time Krieger and Densmore have amicably appeared together in public in many years. Their rift, of course, stemmed from the much publicized legal battle Densmore fought with Krieger and late Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek's over use of the band's name and music.
In addition to taking part in a planned Q&A session at the event, the two band mates delivered a surprise four-song performance that included renditions of the Doors classics "People Are Strange" and "Love Me Two Times." It was the first time they'd played together live in more than 15 years.
Commenting about the performance, Densmore told Rolling Stone, "I had a lot of fun. I would do this again a few times, maybe."
Krieger also said he'd be interested in playing again with his old band mate, while noting, "If we did this again, it would be for some charity."
Robby added that he and John still are hoping to organize a tribute show for Manzarek -- who died this past May -- that would take place on February 12, the day Ray would have turned 75.
Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty ImagesLast week, one of the oddest trios in musical history took the stage, as Jon Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, came together at a charity event in London to belt out the Bon Jovi classic "Livin' on a Prayer." And Jon now says that the Prince impressed him with his amazing vocal ability.
According to the Australian Herald Sun, at a press conference ahead of his band's shows in Australia, Jon said of William, "He's excellent...the guy was right here [next to me], he really belted it out. He was in tune, he can sing, he knew the words and everything." The New Jersey rocker also called William "very engaging," "very intelligent" and "a great sport."
The fact that Prince William knew the song so well is what really makes Jon happy, though.
"If you're around long enough people come and they grow into prominent positions," he explained. "If you think about it, we were making records as long as the prince has been with us. As I looked around that stage and saw the prince and Taylor Swift, they both didn't know a world without Bon Jovi records. They sort of grew up in that."
Jon added, "If you're around long enough and able to be blessed with the opportunity to do what you love to do sometimes if you do good, good things happen and you fall into situations where the future King of England knows the words to your songs."
Bon Jovi's Because We Can Tour wraps up December 17 in Brisbane, Australia, and likely will end up as the year's highest-grossing trek when all is said and done. Explaining the band's success on the road, Jon said, "It's cross-generational, that's the magic of it. [Our fans are] six to 60...I think that generation tells the next generation, 'You gotta see this band live.' That's the blessing. [The audience is] more than guys that grew up in the '80s.'"
CBS/NARASWhile the lion's share of the Grammy nominations, announced on Friday night, went to rap and pop stars, plenty of legendary rockers received recognition as well, among them David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, Neil Young, Black Sabbath and even Led Zeppelin. There were also Grammy nods for Alabama Shakes, Kings of Leon, Imagine Dragons, Jack White, Muse and Dave Grohl.
Bowie's album The Next Day, whose release was one of the big surprises of 2013, received a nod for Best Rock Album, while one of the tracks, "The Stars Are Out Tonight," is nominated for Best Rock Performance. Also in that category are Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive," "My God Is the Sun" by Queens of the Stone Age, "Always Alright" by Alabama Shakes, "I'm Shakin'" by Jack White, and "Kashmir," from the soundtrack of the Led Zeppelin film Celebration Day, which documented the band's 2007 reunion performance in London.
Besides Bowie, the Best Rock Album category also made room for Black Sabbath's 13, Kings of Leon's Mechanical Bull, the Queens of the Stone Age album ...Like Clockwork, Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day soundtrack, and Psychedelic Pill, by Neil Young with Crazy Horse.
The Best Rock Song category saw Paul McCartney receive a nod, along with Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic, for "Cut Me Some Slack," the tune they collaborated on for Grohl's Sound City -- Real to Reel project. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards received a nod for writing the Stones' single "Doom and Gloom," while the Black Sabbath track "God Is Dead?" earned Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne nods. Muse's "Panic Station" was also nominated in that category.
McCartney's album Live Kisses was also nominated for Best Surround Sound Album, of all things, while the accompanying documentary of the same name was nominated for Best Music Film. Also in that category: Coldplay's Live 2012, Green Day's ¡Cuatro! and The Road to Red Rocks, from Mumford & Sons.
Here's a sampling of the rock nominees:
Best Rock Performance "Always Alright" — Alabama Shakes "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" — David Bowie "Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons "Kashmir" (Live) — Led Zeppelin "My God Is The Sun" — Queens Of The Stone Age "I'm Shakin'" — Jack White Best Rock Album 13 — Black Sabbath The Next Day — David Bowie Mechanical Bull — Kings Of Leon Celebration Day — Led Zeppelin …Like Clockwork — Queens Of The Stone Age Psychedelic Pill — Neil Young With Crazy Horse
Best Rock Song "Ain't Messin 'Round," Gary Clark Jr. "Cut Me Some Slack," Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear "Doom And Gloom," Rolling Stones "God Is Dead?," Black Sabbath "Panic Station," Muse
Best Alternative Music Album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You — Neko Case Trouble Will Find Me — The National Hesitation Marks — Nine Inch Nails Lonerism — Tame Impala Modern Vampires Of The City — Vampire Weekend
QueenOnline.comIn the wake of the death Thursday of former South African president Nelson Mandela, a wide variety of music artists came forward to pay tribute to the influential and beloved politician and freedom fighter. Now, some more music luminaries have added their thoughts about the man who helped bring an end to his country's oppressive apartheid system.
Paul McCartney issued a statement calling Mandela "one of the great men of all time." The legendary Beatles star added, "I particularly admired his lack of bitterness towards his jailers, which I think set the tone for South Africa's transition to democracy. I never actually got to meet him although I wished I could have done and, in fact, I would say he is the greatest man I never met."
McCartney's Beatles band mate Ringo Starr added a few of his words in honor of the departed statesman. He wrote, "God bless Nelson Mandela peace and love."
Surviving Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor had a close connection with Mandela, having played at and helped organize a November 2003 benefit concert in Cape Town, South Africa, for Nelson's 46664 AIDS-awareness campaign.
May recalled spending some time at Mandela's game park retreat while organizing the concert, saying, "They were life-changing days, with quiet time and talks around a camp fire at night."
The guitarist added that Mandela "was the most inspiring man of his generation. His message, by example, was the power of forgiveness. He showed us that it's possible to act after great injustice with no thought of revenge. He was light, funny, enormously generous, and, quietly, the greatest example to the world that a man can be."
Taylor, meanwhile, said of Mandela's passing, "How sad. Leaves a great big hole in the world."
Annie Lennox, who also performed at the 46664 concerts and is involved with the AIDS campaign, noted that many people are committed to continuing the fight that Mandela so wholeheartedly supported.
"The world woke up to the news that Mandela has departed, leaving an extraordinary legacy in his wake," the Eurythmics singer wrote. "Thousands of AIDS activists are gathering here in Cape Town for the biggest AIDS conference in Africa, the 17th ICASA. We are carrying on his work. Rest in Peace Madiba."
Another 46664 supporter and performer, Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart, had this to say about Mandela: "[He was] the most amazing person I ever met. Compassion, Wisdom, Grace…and that smile…I could feel the LOVE RADIATING from him."
Meanwhile, ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash also lamented Mandela's passing, writing, "Really sad to hear we have lost the great Nelson Mandela, one of the few pillars of humanity we had left."
The Estate of David Gahr/Getty ImagesThe Fender Stratocaster guitar that Bob Dylan played when he "went electric" at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival sold at a New York City auction on Friday for a record-breaking price. The instrument brought in an impressive $965,000, which, according to Christie's is the highest price a guitar has ever fetched at an auction. It was bought by an anonymous bidder.
Christie's auctioneer and specialist Tom Lecky said after the sale, "A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement, and today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history."
Rolling Stone reported over the summer that the woman who sold the guitar, Dawn Peterson, decided to put it up for auction after a legal settlement was reached with Dylan. The guitar had been left on a private plane piloted by Peterson's late father, Vic Quinto, and had been in her family's possession ever since.
A 2012 episode of the PBS series History Detectives focusing on the guitar featured researchers and experts who concluded that the instrument was the same Stratocaster that Dylan had used at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
Image Courtesy Ryan Murphy via TwitterStevie Nicks fans know that the singer will soon be making an appearance on American Horror Story: Coven, but now word has emerged that the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman actually will be showing up on not one, but two episodes of the hit FX series.
The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, disclosed the news in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"Stevie will be in episode 10 and then we have Stevie for another one, doing an idea that she came up with that I thought was too perfect to say no to," reveals Murphy.
He explains that the idea to include Nicks in another episode emerged after she'd been poring through some of the show's upcoming scripts and came across a scenario that seemed very familiar to her.
"[She] called up and said, 'Are you aware that one of the things you're doing I actually wrote a song about?'" notes Ryan. "I'm like, 'You've got to be kidding.' Then I remembered the song. We have something cool that was her idea."
Stevie's first appearance on American Horror Story: Coven will air on January 8. As previously reported, a source who works on the show told E! Online that Nicks will play herself in the episode and will show up to meet her "biggest fan," the eccentric witch character Misty Day.
MichaelDorf.comA special star-studded concert paying tribute to Paul Simon is scheduled to take place on March 31 at New York City's famous Carnegie Hall. The show will feature 20 as-yet-unannounced artists performing 20 of the legendary singer/songwriter's classic compositions.
VIP tickets and other special packages for the show, dubbed The Music of Paul Simon at Carnegie Hall, can be purchased now at the Carnegie Hall box office and online at CarnegiePaulSimon.com. Tickets will go on sale to the general public soon.
Proceeds raised by the concert will benefit music education programs for underprivileged youths. The event is the latest in a series of tribute shows held at Carnegie Hall and other Big Apple venues in recent years that local entrepreneur Michael Dorf has organized. Among the artists that have been the subject of previous events are The Rolling Stones, Prince, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Elton John, R.E.M., The Who and Neil Young.
Incidentally, the Simon tribute will take place about two weeks after Paul wraps his recently announced joint U.S. tour with Sting. The two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers recently added a February 16 concert in Anaheim, California, to their itinerary. Visit PaulSimon.com to check out all of the upcoming tour dates.
TheKinks.infoSome updated information has emerged about the theatrical film about The Kinks that's being directed by Julien Temple. You Really Got Me, which focuses on the notoriously turbulent relationship between the band's founding sibling members, Ray and Dave Davies, is expected to be released sometime in 2015.
The biopic will be scored by the Davies brothers themselves, and is being penned by the screenwriting team of David Clement and Ian La Frenais, whose previous credits include The Commitments and Across the Universe.
You Really Got Me is being produced by BBC Films in partnership with Oscar-winning movie producer Jeremy Thomas' Recorded Picture Company. Thomas describes the flick as "a unique tale, the story of the Cain and Abel of rock 'n' roll."
Temple's long resume includes recent documentaries on both Davies brothers, as well as 1986's Absolute Beginners, a theatrical film that featured Ray in a supporting role.
Photo by Media24/Gallo Images/Getty ImagesPeter Gabriel had a strong connection to Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died Thursday at the age of 95. The musician called Mandela a friend and worked with him extensively on human rights issues.
At a New York City event Thursday night for his human rights organization Witness, Peter told ABC News Radio that Mandela's death was "an enormous loss."
Peter said of Mandela, "He's the great figurehead for anyone struggling for human rights, you know, maybe Gandhi before, but to go from to a violent struggle and then reach non-violence and forgiveness and really inspire not only your own people but people all around the world, we haven't seen anything like that."
The human rights group The Elders, which was launched by Mandela in 2007, began as an idea from Peter and mogul Richard Branson. It's comprised of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights.
Gabriel's ties to Mandela extend to the musical arena, too. He performed at many events for the late leader's charity, including a 70th birthday concert for Mandela at London's Wembley Stadium in 1988, singing "Biko," about South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko.
WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty ImagesFormer South African president Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95. Through the years, he'd worked with many top musicians at various charity events, and still others served as ambassadors for his charity. Others were simply inspired by his lifelong fight to end apartheid in South Africa. Here's a selection of reactions to his passing:
In a lengthy essay in Time magazine, U2's Bono, a longtime Mandela friend, writes, "As an activist I have pretty much been doing what Nelson Mandela tells me since I was a teenager...I, like everyone else, was mesmerized by his deft maneuvering as leader of South Africa...more than anyone, it was he who rebooted the idea of Africa from a continent in chaos to a much more romantic view, one in keeping with the majesty of the landscape and the nobility of even its poorer inhabitants...He never doubted that his continent would triumph in the 21st century: 'We are not just the peoples with the oldest history,' he told me. 'We have the brightest future.'"
Paul Simon: "Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the twentieth century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace."
Lionel Richie: "He was a father to all of us. May his life be a constant reminder, that we are all ONE WORLD.. He will be missed."
The Who: "R.I.P. Nelson Mandela."
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine: "Nelson Mandela just passed away. What an amazing man & legacy. RIP."
Carole King: "Nelson Mandela's long walk has ended, but his path remains to light our way. Rest in peace."
Sheryl Crow: "I have a heavy spirit today. Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered, admired, and loved. He changed the world."
Tiwary Entertainment GroupThe Fifth Beatle, an upcoming film project about late Beatles manager Brian Epstein that's based on a popular graphic novel of the same name, has a director. Peyton Reed, whose credits include Bring It On, The Break-Up and Yes Man, has signed on to helm the flick.
The movie is being co-produced by Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen and Tony-winning producer Vivek J. Tiwary, the latter of whom is the author of The Fifth Beatle graphic novel, as well as of the film's screenplay. The project, which will begin shooting next year, is the first feature film about The Beatles ever to secure the rights to Paul McCartney and John Lennon's Fab Four catalog.
The Fifth Beatle focuses on Epstein's life from his discovery of the band in Liverpool, England, in 1961 to his untimely death in 1967 at age 32 from an overdose of barbiturates. The story not only recounts the manager's triumphs as the group achieved international superstardom but also delves into his struggles as a closeted gay man.
"From the moment I read Vivek's graphic novel, I knew I wanted to be the person to bring Brian's story to the big screen," says Reed in a statement. "I'm a lifelong Beatles fan, obviously, but it's Brian's fascinating life that really blew me away and drew me to this project."
Meanwhile, Tiwary and Cohen, commenting jointly on the director, add, "Peyton's films are incredibly fun and entertaining, while still underscoring a serious empathy for the struggle for accomplishment, belonging and the need to love and be loved…In brief, Peyton is simply the perfect director to take the Brian Epstein story to the big screen."
For more information about the production, visit TheFifthBeatle.com.
Rhino EntertainmentIn May, The Doors released an official app for the iPad that treats fans to an in-depth, interactive look at the music and history of the famed Los Angeles rock band. Now, the program has been expanded with some fascinating updated content timed in conjunction with what would have been late frontman Jim Morrison's 70th birthday -- Sunday, December 8.
The relaunched app features several upgrades, including a new section paying homage to keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who died on May 20 at age 74 after a battle with cancer. The centerpiece of "Ray Remembered" is a new video interview with The Doors' two surviving members, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. An exclusive clip from the conversation can be viewed now at RollingStone.com. The tribute also boasts an essay about Manzarek penned by Adam Holzman, son of Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, and a slideshow of rare photos of Ray. The app also offers updates to the program's navigation and layout.
The Doors app was devised and produced by Jac Holzman and Rhino Entertainment exec Robin Hurley, with input from Densmore, Krieger, Manzarek and Morrison's estate. Among its many other features are a timeline detailing key moments in the band's history, an interactive map of Los Angeles highlighting locations important to the group, plus song lyrics, information about The Doors' albums, promotional videos and various audio and film clips.
The program can be purchased at AppStore.com for $2.99.
Photo: Jody MorrisElton John, his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin and members of The Clash are among the music stars who have personalized skateboard decks that will be auctioned online starting Thursday to benefit a charity founded by famous skateboarder Tony Hawk.
The second annual Boards Bands sale features boards donated by pro skaters that have been decorated with the lyrics of their favorite song written by the artist or artists who recorded the tune. John and Taupin embellished a deck contributed by skater Chris Cole, with Bernie writing some of the lyrics to "Candle in the Wind" and Elton simply adding his signature.
The Clash's Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, meanwhile, put their marks on a board that Hawk himself donated and that features lyrics to "London Calling." Other musicians who have contributed signed skateboards to the auction include French dance duo Daft Punk, Panda Bear of the indie-rock group Animal Collective and singer/songwriter Ben Harper. Harper came up with the concept of the Bands Boards auction.
Bidding on the skateboards will start at 8 p.m. ET at BoardsAndBands.org. Proceeds from the sale go to the Tony Hawk Foundation's initiative to create and maintain skate parks in low-income areas around the U.S.
Sony MusicA rare set of early lyrics to "Born to Run" handwritten by Bruce Springsteen while he was working on the song has brought in big bucks at a Sotheby's auction held Thursday in New York City. The document, which was expected to fetch between $70,000 and $100,000, sold for $197,000, including the auction price and fees.
The Boss penned the lyrics on one sheet of white, lined paper in 1974 at his home in Long Branch, New Jersey. The manuscript features many segments that were eventually revised, as well as notes and comments from Springsteen suggesting alternate words and phrases.
The lyric sheet comes from the collection of Bruce's former manager, Mike Appel. No word on who the buyer was.
Photo: Jimmy KingDavid Bowiehas released yet another video for one of his new songs. The latest clip accompanies "I'd Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)," which is one of the bonus remixes that appears on The Next Day Extra -- the recently released expanded version of his 2013 comeback album The Next Day.
The video is made up mostly of vintage black-and-white footage from World War I and World War II, alternately showing soldiers dancing and celebrating as well as partaking in a variety of military activities. The clip also includes scenes showing distorted footage of Bowie's face as he sings the tune.
The video, which was directed by U.K. graphic designer Tom Hingston, can be viewed online now at VEVO.com. "I'd Rather Be High" also is featured in a new short film created for a Louis Vuitton ad campaign. In addition, the tune will be included on a limited-edition 12-inch, white-vinyl single that also will feature full-length and edited versions of another tune from The Next Day Extra, "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for The DFA)." The disc will be released on December 16.
Gonzo MultimediaJoey Molland, the last surviving original member of Badfinger, has released a brand-new solo album titled Return to Memphis. The British-born rocker recorded the 10-track collection at Memphis' Royal Studios, the famous facility where Al Green made many of his albums.
"I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there," says Molland. "I also made a lot of friends."
Joey, who wrote all of the songs on the album, reports that the sound of the material is quite different from the music he made with his old band, and doesn't feature any "real Badfinger power chords or…real jamming guitars."
He explains, "The treatment of the songs, the song content and [producer Carl 'Blue' Wise's] Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach," adding, "I know everybody gets their own feelings out of songs, but you know, I think the songs talk about relevant things and I look forward to peoples' reaction to them."
Molland says he was accompanied by "a three-piece Memphis rhythm section" on the record, while Wise also brought in four female backing singers to contribute some "'oohs' and 'aahs' and harmonies."
While Return to Memphis hasn't officially been released in the U.S. yet, fans can purchase it online at GonzoMultimedia.com.
Here is the full track list of Return to Memphis:
"Walk Out in the Rain" "A Love Song" "A Ship to Mars" "Frank and M" "Gotta Feeling" "Hero" "Is It Any Wonder" "All I Need Is Love" "All I Ever Dreamed" "Still I Love You"
Blackened RecordingsMetallica has just unveiled the final batch of dates for its upcoming summer European trek, Metallica by Request, during which fans will get to choose the band's set list for each show.
The guys have now added Sonisphere festival performances in Finland, Norway, Italy, Switzerland and Poland, as well as shows in Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Austria. The full Metallica by Request tour will keep the band overseas from May 28 through July 11.
Everyone who buys tickets to upcoming gigs will have the opportunity to vote on the group's set lists. In addition, the band will perform a brand-new song during its sets on the tour.
Here is the full list of Metallica by Request tour dates:
5/28 -- Helsinki, Finland, Beach Sonisphere 5/30 -- Stockholm, Sweden, Gardet Royal Park 6/1 -- Oslo, Norway, Valle Hoven Sonisphere 6/3 -- Horsens, Denmark, Gaol 6/4 -- Hamburg, Germany, Imtech Arena Sonisphere 6/5-8 -- Nürburgring, Germany, Rock Am Ring 6/6-9 -- Nuremberg, Germany, Rock Im Park 6/9 -- Landgraaf, Netherlands, Landgraaf Pink Pop 7/1 -- Rome, Italy, Rock In Rome Sonisphere 7/3 -- Werchter, Belgium, Rock Werchter 7/4 -- Basel, Switzerland, St. Jakobspark Sonisphere 7/6 -- Knebworth, England, Knebworth Park Sonisphere 7/8 -- Prague, Czech Republic, Aerodrome Festival 7/9 -- Vienna, Austria, Krieau Rocks 7/11 -- Warsaw, Poland, National Stadium Sonisphere