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

Courtesy of Whitesnake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

David Abbott

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

Warner Bros.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A post shared by Mick Jagger (@mickjagger)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


A post shared by Geddy Lee (@geddyimages)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

HBO Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sarah Dash, co-founder of Labelle, dead at 76

L-R: Sarah Dash, Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx; Sony Legacy

Sarah Dash, who co-founded "Lady Marmalade" group Labelle, died on Monday, Billboard reports. She was 76.

In a statement posted on Instagram, Labelle co-founder Patti LaBelle said that she and Dash were "just onstage together on Saturday," adding, "It was such a powerful and special moment."

"Sarah Dash was an awesomely talented, beautiful and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many others in more ways than I can say. I could always count on her to have my back," Patti continued. "That's who Sarah was...a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn't have one. She was a true giver, always serving and sharing her talent and time."

"I am heartbroken, as I know all of her loved ones and fans are," she added. "But I know that Sarah's spirit and all that she has given to the world live on. And I pray that her precious memory brings us peace and comfort. Rest in power my dear sister. I love you always!”

LaBelle also posted footage of her and Dash onstage on Saturday, as well as a montage of photos of Dash and the group over  the years.

In the '60s, Dash teamed up with Nona Hendryx and Patti LaBelle in Philadelphia to form a group called The Ordettes. After Cindy Birdsong joined, they renamed themselves The Bluebelles, and then Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. In 1971, a few years after Birdsong left to join The Supremes, they reimagined themselves as the trio Labelle, with a funkier and futuristic visual style and more politically and socially conscious songs.

In 1974, Labelle's "Lady Marmalade" -- with its unforgettable chorus of "Voulez-vous couchez avec moi" -- hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It's parent album Nightbirds, was a top-10 hit and made them the first Black vocal group to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. After two more albums, Labelle split and all three launched solo careers; in 2008, they reunited for an album and tour.

In addition to releasing a number of solo albums and singles, Dash wrote her autobiography, Dash of Diva, performed sporadically, and sang with the Rolling Stones, as well as with Stones guitarist Keith Richards on his solo album and tour.

No cause of death was provided. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Vanilla Fudge's Carmine Appice says playing with late bassist Tim Bogert on band's new single was "magic"

Golden Robot Records

Earlier this month, Vanilla Fudge released a new cover of the classic 1965 Supremes hit "Stop in the Name of Love" that featured the final recording of original Fudge bassist Tim Bogert, who died of cancer in January of this year.

Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice tells ABC Audio that it was his idea to have Bogert -- who had retired from the group in 2009 -- record a bass part for the track, which the group had started working in in 2019.

"[When] we found out Tim was really ill…I said, 'Let's get Tim on this before he passes away,'" Appice recalls. "And in the January [2020], I went to L.A. and got Timmy to play on it."

Similar to Vanilla Fudge's 1967 hit version of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On," the group's rendition of "Stop in the Name of Love" turns the tune into an extended, multi-part psychedelic epic.

Appice says the arrangement began with singer/keyboardist Mark Stein, with the rest of the band then pitching in ideas. Carmine notes that it was particularly special to lock in his drum parts with Bogert's signature bass fills.

"[I]t fit like a glove," he gushes. "It was magic."

Along with the "Stop in the Name of Love" single, which is available now digitally and via streaming services, Vanilla Fudge released a special audio tribute to Bogert, that features the group's surviving original members -- Appice, Stein and guitarist Vince Martel -- sharing recollections about Tim, soundtracked by music from the band.

Vanilla Fudge also has released a music video for "Stop in the Name of Love" that combines vintage footage and photos of the band with lava-lamp style projections that were popular at concert during the late 1960s. The clip also is dedicated to Bogert.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

New Journey album is "our old sound" with a "different strut," say Neal Schon & Jonathan Cain

Journey's Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon & Arnel Pineda; Courtesy of Journey

Journey is putting the finishing touches on their first album of new original material since 2011's Eclipse, and according to band members Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, the project's got that classic Journey sound -- but with a new twist.

Speaking to, Schon says of the new music, "We're moving forward...It still sounds like Journey, but there is definitely a different strut in the rhythm section with Randy and Narada" -- referring to the band's returning bass player Randy Jackson and new drummer Narada Michael Walden, respectively.

"It’s bombastic. It’s rocking. It’s majestic, and it’s soulful," adds Schon.

The album is being worked on remotely by Schon and Walden on the West Coast, and Cain in Nashville and Florida, the band explains. "It’s typical Journey, I think,” Cain says. “We’re back to our old sound, but it’s got a little bit more on the bottom end."

"It’s got fire. It’s just a little bit more edge to it. Neal’s playing his butt off, and it’s very driven, very cool. The songs came very interestingly. I like it a lot," he adds.

One way the new album -- which doesn't have a release date yet -- will pay tribute to Journey's legacy is via the artwork: The package is being designed by Jim Welch, who worked on the classic Infinity, Departure and Escape albums.

The first single from the album, "The Way We Used to Be," came out in June.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Making GNR's 'Use Your Illusion' two different albums was Axl Rose's "genius moment," says Matt Sorum

Geffen Records/Universal Music

Last week, Guns N' Roses' albums Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 marked their 30th anniversaries.  While former GNR drummer Matt Sorum told ABC Audio that it was Axl Rose's idea to release two albums simultaneously, he's now explained to Rolling Stone exactly why Rose came up with the idea, which he calls "genius."

As Sorum explains, the band had about 32 songs, and he assumed they would record 20 and then pick the best 12 or 13 for an album.  Then, Axl insisted that they release all the songs, and came up with the concept of two albums with the same name, but different-colored covers.

"I was like, 'Why? Why do we have to make them separate records?'” Sorum recalls.  But, as he explains, it was due to Axl's experience working at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard in L.A.

"In those days, if you had a double record, you had to put it behind the cash register. It was over 20 bucks," Sorum says. "He wanted the records to be in the bin where you could actually hold them, pick them up."

"When Axl came in and decided it should be a double record, it was a genius moment for him," Sorum adds.

Sorum spoke to Rolling Stone to promote his upcoming autobiography, Double Talkin’ Jive, which Rolling Stone says has been indefinitely delayed. In the book, he describes being on tour with Slash and Duff in 2016 and hearing a rumor that GNR was going to reunite...without him.

While it hurt at the time, Sorum now says he's "come to terms with the fact that they’re doing their own thing, and I’m doing mine," and adds, "I feel really good about my time in the band.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Video for Rolling Stones' 'Tattoo You' 40th anniversary track, "Living in the Heart of Love," coming Wednesday


The Rolling Stones may have just lost their legendary drummer, Charlie Watts, but they're moving forward.   On Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET, they're apparently releasing a video for "Living in the Heart of Love," one of the previously unreleased tracks that will appear on the 40th Anniversary Edition of Tattoo You.

The band announced the video on social media, adding the tagline, "Charlie is my darling."  That's the title of a 1966 documentary about the Stones that was never released, due to legal issues and the fact that all the prints of the film were stolen from their then-manager Andrew Loog Oldham's office.  In 2012, a new film with restored footage called Charlie Is My Darling -- Ireland 1965 was released.

The Stones posted a black-and-white clip of the video, which incorporates archival footage of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Watts in the Tattoo You era, along with new shots of young people dancing and making out, as well as a Stones record spinning on a turntable.

The video clip ends with the words "Charlie is my darling."

The Stones' tour kicks off September 26 in St. Louis, MO.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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