Category Archives: Classic Hits

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Fables of the Construction: R.E.M.’s early history profiled in new book

Verse Chorus PressA new book titled Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years, focusing on the influential alternative rock band's formation and rise to stardom, will be published on May 14.

The biography, which was written by Robert Dean Lurie, profiles the early lives of R.E.M.'s members -- singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry -- while also sharing accounts of how they met, and details about their first gig, their initial tours and recording sessions, and much more.

The book also delves into R.E.M.'s relationship with, and place in, the music scene of its adopted hometown of Athens, Georgia, and how the American South influenced the group.

Begin the Begin -- named after the first track of R.E.M.'s album Lifes Rich Pageant -- includes interviews with various people associated with R.E.M. whose perspectives have not appeared in previous biographies about the band.

You can check out excerpts from the book, including recollections of some of R.E.M.'s first shows, at

Begin the Begin: R.E.M.'s Early Years is available for pre-order now at Amazon.

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Robert Plant, Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Greta Van Fleet & more playing Woodstock 50 festival

Robert Plant; David Wolff-Patrick/Getty ImagesThe Killers, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and the Sensational Shape Shifters, and Greta Van Fleet are among the acts playing the Woodstock 50 Music and Arts Fair in August.

Also appearing will be original Woodstock ’69 performers Santana and the Grateful Dead spinoff group Dead & Company, as well as David Crosby and Friends, John Fogerty, Canned Heat, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian, and Melanie.

The Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Portugal. The Man, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Gary Clark Jr. and many others are also on the official lineup of more than 80 musical acts, announced Tuesday.

The event takes place August 16 to 18 at Watkins Glen International Speedway in Watkins Glen, New York, about an hour and a half away from the original site of the 1969 Woodstock festival.

“We’ve lined up artists who won’t just entertain but will remind the world that music has the power to bring people together, to heal, to move us to action and to tell the stories of a generation,” says Michael Lang, who co-founded the 1969 festival and produced the 2019 Woodstock festivals. “Our hope is that today, just as in 1969, music will be the constant that can inspire positive change.”

Details are on the festival's official website.  Here's the schedule:

Friday, August 16: The Killers, Miley Cyrus, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, Run The Jewels, The Head and The Heart, Maggie Rogers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Bishop Briggs, Anderson East, Akon, Princess Nokia, Grandson, Fever 333, Larkin Poe, Dorothy, Flora Cash, Brian Cadd, Ninet Tayeb and more.

Saturday, August. 17: Chance the Rapper, The Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal. The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Dawes, Margo Price, Nahko and Medicine for the People, India.Arie, Jade Bird, Rival Sons, Emily King, Soccer Mommy, SiR, Taylor Bennett, Amy Helm, Courtney Hadwin, Pearl, John-Robert, IAMDDB. and more.

Sunday August 18: Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage the Elephant, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monáe, Young the Giant, Courtney Barnett, Common, Vince Staples, Judah and The Lion, Earl Sweatshirt, Boygenius, Reignwolf, The Zombies, Pussy Riot, Cherry Glazerr, Leven Kali, The Marcus King Band, Victory, Hollis Brown, John Craigie, Amigo The Devil, Liz Brasher and more.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers to livestream show at Egypt pyramids

Credit: Steve KerosNext week, Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform a show at the ancient pyramids of Giza, Egypt. In the very likely event that you can't attend, have no fear -- the concert will stream live online.

The stream will start next Friday, March 15 at 2 p.m. ET via, as well as on the band's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

"The pyramids, it's unbelievable, we just jumped at the opportunity," says Flea in a statement. "I have always been fascinated by Egypt and that region of the world and I am so excited to go."

While other artists have played the Giza pyramids before, including Grateful Dead and Mariah Carey, the Chili Peppers show will be the first to be livestreamed.

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Talk Talk singer Mark Hollis dead at 64

Rob Verhorst/RedfernsMark Hollis, singer for the influential '80s English band Talk Talk, has died at age 64.

The musician's former manager, Keith Aspden, confirmed the news to the BBC. "Mark has died after a short illness from which he never recovered," he said.

Formed in 1981, Talk Talk began as a synth-pop band before transitioning into more experimental music, eventually becoming a pioneer in the burgeoning post-rock genre. Their 1988 album Spirit of Eden was particularly influential.

Over their 10-year career, Talk Talk scored a number of hits in their native U.K., several of which made an impact in the U.S., including "It's My Life," "Talk Talk" and "Life's What You Make It."

"It's My Life" gained a second wind when No Doubt covered it in 2003. No Doubt's version peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After Talk Talk broke up following the release of the 1991 album Laughing Stock, Hollis released his debut self-titled solo album in 1998. Since then, he largely shied away from the public eye.

Members of The Cure, Erasure, Duran Duran, Fleet Foxes, Spandau Ballet and AFI, among others, expressed sadness at Hollis' death, and saluted him for him influence and impact.

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Kacey Musgraves, Childish Gambino, Lady Gaga win big at 61st Annual Grammy Awards

Jennifer Lopez performs at the Grammys; Monty Brinton/CBSHey, remember last year, when everyone complained that there were barely any women on the Grammy Awards, and that deserving hip-hop artists kept getting snubbed? 

What a difference a year makes.  The 61st Annual Grammy Awards, held Sunday night in Los Angeles, were all about hip hop and women -- and sometimes both.

Edgy country artist Kacey Musgraves was the night's big winner, taking home four trophies, including the prestigious Album of the Year prize for Golden Hour.  She also won Best Country Album, Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance.  In one of her many acceptance speeches, she thanked "all of the fans who have done nothing but spread positivity and love about this really gave it wings."

Meanwhile, Cardi B and Childish Gambino, the latter aka actor Donald Glover, made Grammy history with their wins. Childish Gambino's politically charged #1 hit "This Is America" was named Record and Song of the Year -- the first time a hip-hop track had ever won in those two categories.  "This Is America" also won for Best Rap/Sung performance, and its galvanizing video was named Best Music Video.  Gambino wasn't on hand to accept his trophies.

Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy was named Best Rap Album, making her the only solo female to win in that category. The rapper was overcome by emotion at the podium, but still managed to joke, "The nerves are so bad, maybe I need to start smoking weed!" 

Cardi then gave a memorable speech, specifically thanking her 7-month-old daughter, Kulture. She explained that wen she found out she was pregnant, it gave her the impetus she needed to finish her album and shoot the videos before she started showing. She also thanked her estranged husband, Offset, who was onstage with her, for encouraging her.

The night's other big winners included Brandi Carlile, who won three trophies, and Lady Gaga, who also took home three: two for "Shallow" and one for her song "Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)”  Accepting the award for Best Pop/Duo Group performance, a tearful Gaga thanked Bradley Cooper and her fans, and then spoke about the importance of mental health issues, especially in the music industry.

“If you see someone that’s hurting, don’t look away," she said. "And if you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up into your head with you.”

Going into the show, host Alicia Keys said she felt that this year's Grammys was "one billion percent" the year of the woman.  Indeed, in addition to Cardi, Kacey, Brandi and Gaga, nearly every other winner or performer of the night was female, from R&B stars H.E.R. and Janelle Monae, Latinx stars Jennifer Lopez and Camila Cabello, rock star St. Vincent, and pop stars Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa.  Even Michelle Obama put in an appearance.

Most of the star-studded Grammy "moments" were female-centric: There were tributes to Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin, and Diana Ross took center stage to wish a happy 75th birthday to herself with a performance.  Even a Motown tribute was mostly performed by Jennifer Lopez.

Dua Lipa, who was named Best New Artist, even said in her acceptance speech, "I guess this year, we really stepped up."  It was a not-so-subtle diss of Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, who last year was publicly slammed for suggesting that women in the music industry needed to "step up."

Unfortunately, the biggest female pop star in the world right now, Ariana Grande, declined to attend after feuding with the producers.  Disappointing, considering that in ceremonies prior to the broadcast, she won her first Grammy: Best Pop Vocal Album, for Sweetener.

As for the men, there were performances by Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Shawn Mendes and Travis Scott and, briefly, Smokey Robinson and Ne-Yo, but the most notable male appearance came from Drake, who normally avoids award shows like the plague.  He was on hand to accept his Grammy for Best Rap Song, for "God's Plan," and gave one of the most pointed speeches of the night.

Noting that awards are often decided by those who "might not understand" where hip-hop stars like him are coming from, the rapper continued, "You've already won if you have people who are singing your songs word for word. If you're a hero from your hometown. If there's people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain and the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows"

Gesturing to his Grammy, Drake added, "You don't need this right here.  I promise you, you already won."

Fans were furious that Drake's speech was seemingly cut short by a commercial, but backstage, it was explained that he was given the opportunity to continue afterward, but declined, saying he'd made his point.

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Grammys 2019: The Performances

Monty Brinton/CBSThe 61st Annual Grammy Awards, held Sunday night in Los Angeles, were a far cry from last year's telecast, which was criticized for a lack of female performers.  It was all about the women Sunday night -- with a few men thrown in here and there.  Here's who performed what:

The show kicked off with an elaborate production number starring Camila Cabello, who sang her #1 hit "Havana" on a set that looked like an apartment building, which she later tweeted was inspired by the real-life building her grandmother lived in growing up in Havana, Cuba.  Camila, the first Latina to open the Grammys, was joined for the block-party-inspired number by Ricky Martin, J Balvin, Young Thug and Latin music legend Arturo Sandoval.

Shawn Mendes and Miley Cyrus performed a crowd-pleasing duet of his nominated song, "In My Blood"

One of the night's big winners, Kacey Musgraves, performed "Rainbow" from her Album of the Year-winning disc, Golden Hour.

Janelle Monáe performed a sexy, show-stopping version of her song "Make Me Feel," which featured bits of her songs "Django Jane" and "Pynk" dropped in.  Surrounded by female dancers and wearing a black-and-white shiny leotard, Janelle channeled Prince and James Brown as she played guitar, sang, danced and even dropped to the floor for some suggestive hip thrusting.

Post Malone performed an acoustic version of his song "Stay" before moving to a bit of his nominated hit, "Rock Star." He then joined Red Hot Chili Peppers on guitar and vocals for a rocking version of their 2016 song, "Dark Necessities."

Anna Kendrick introduced a Dolly Parton tribute, which featured the country legend singing "Here You Come Again" with Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves, "Jolene" with Miley Cyrus, a lovely version of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" with Maren Morris and Miley, and a new song, "Red Shoes," with Little Big Town.  Then everyone joined in on a version of her classic hit "9 to 5."

Best R&B Album winner H.E.R. gave a soulful performance of her track "Hard Place" while playing a see-through guitar; she was later joined by a chorus of singers.

Cardi B gave a Jazz Age-inspired performance of "Money," which featured her lolling on a diamond piano and, at one point, wearing a huge peacock-looking feather tail accessory.

Alicia Keys, the show's host, played a Scott Joplin song on two pianos at once before performing a medley of songs that included Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," Juice WRLD's "Lucid Dreams," Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable," Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," Drake's "In My Feelings," Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up," Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and, finally, her own "Empire State of Mind."

Country duo Dan + Shay did a stripped-down version of their Grammy-winning crossover hit, "Tequila."

Introduced by her nine-year-old grandson, Motown legend Diana Ross wished herself a happy 75th birthday -- which is actually next month -- by performing "The Best Years of My Life" and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)."

Lady Gaga performed a raucous, super-dramatic solo version of her Grammy-winning hit "Shallow."  It was, we think, an attempt to show exactly why she and Ally, the singer/songwriter character she plays in A Star Is Born, are two very different artists.

Travis Scott, joined by Earth, Wind & Fire members as well as collaborators Mike Dean and James Blake, performed "Stop Trying to Be God," and then moved to a huge steel cage, where he performed "No Bystanders" while a crowd of young people climbed all over the cage, formed a mosh pit, and then held the rapper up as he crowd-surfed.

A Motown tribute featured some participation from Ne-Yo, Smokey Robinson and Alicia Keys, but it was dominated by Jennifer Lopez, who danced and sang a medley of the legendary record label's hits, including "Please Mr. Postman," "Dancing in the Street," "Do You Love Me," "Money, "ABC," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," and "Square Biz."

Brandi Carlile, who won three Grammys, performed a touching version of her anti-bullying song "The Joke," impressing the crowd by nailing the song's extremely high notes.

As a tribute to Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient Donny Hathaway, Chloe X Halle sang "Where Is the Love," a 1972 hit by the late singer and Roberta Flack.

St. Vincent and Dua Lipa sang a titillating mash-up of their respective hits "Masseducation" and "One Kiss."

Andra Day, Fantasia and Yolanda Adams paid tribute to the late Aretha Franklin by singing "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)."

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Grammys 2019 — the winners

Grammys host Alicia Keys; Monty Brinton/CBSHere's the complete list of winners in key categories for the 61st annual Grammy Awards, revealed Sunday night in ceremonies at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Album of the Year
Golden Hour -- Kacey Musgraves

Record of the Year
“This Is America” -- Childish Gambino

Song of the Year
“This Is America” -- Childish Gambino

Best New Artist
Dua Lipa


Best Pop Solo Performance
“Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)” — Lady Gaga

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Shallow” — Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
My Way — Willie Nelson

Best Pop Vocal Album
Sweetener — Ariana Grande


Best Dance Recording
“Electricity” — Silk City & Dua Lipa Featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson

Best Dance/Electronic Album
Woman Worldwide — Justice


Best Rock Performance
“When Bad Does Good” — Chris Cornell

Best Metal Performance
“Electric Messiah” — High On Fire

Best Rock Song
“Masseduction” — Jack Antonoff & Annie Clark, songwriters (St. Vincent)

Best Rock Album
From the Fires — Greta Van Fleet


Best Alternative Music Album
Colors — Beck


Best R&B Performance
“Best Part” — H.E.R. Featuring Daniel Caesar

Best Traditional R&B Performance
“Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” — Leon Bridges TIE
“How Deep Is Your Love” — PJ Morton Featuring Yebba TIE

Best R&B Song
“Boo’d Up” — Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai & Dijon McFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai)

Best Urban Contemporary Album
Everything Is Love — The Carters

Best R&B Album
H.E.R. — H.E.R.


Best Rap Performance
“King’s Dead” — Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake TIE
“Bubblin” — Anderson .Paak TIE

Best Rap/Sung Performance
“This Is America” — Childish Gambino

Best Rap Song
“God’s Plan” — Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake)

Best Rap Album
Invasion of Privacy — Cardi B


Best Country Solo Performance
“Butterflies” — Kacey Musgraves

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“Tequila” — Dan + Shay

Best Country Song
“Space Cowboy” — Luke Laird, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)

Best Country Album
Golden Hour — Kacey Musgraves


Best Americana Album
By the Way, I Forgive You — Brandi Carlile

Best Bluegrass Album
The Travelin’ McCourys — The Travelin’ McCourys

Best Folk Album
All Ashore — Punch Brothers


Best Reggae Album
44/876 — Sting & Shaggy


Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling)
Faith – A Journey for All — Jimmy Carter


Best Comedy Album
Equanimity & the Bird Revelation — Dave Chappelle


Best Music Video
“This Is America” — Childish Gambino, Hiro Murai, video director; Ibra Ake, Jason Cole & Fam Rothstein, video producers

Best Music Film
Quincy — Quincy Jones Alan Hicks & Rashida Jones, video directors; Paula DuPré Pesmen, video producer


Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
The Greatest Showman — (Various Artists)

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media 
Black Panther — Ludwig Göransson, composer

Best Song Written for Visual Media
“Shallow” — Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)

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The Cranberries announce final album with Dolores O’Riordan; listen now to single “All Over Now”

BMGOn the one-year anniversary of Dolores O'Riordan's death, the surviving members of The Cranberries have announced the details of their final album. It's called In the End, and will be released April 26.

The first single from In the End is a song titled "All Over Now," which you can download now via digital outlets.

O'Riordan, who passed away unexpectedly on January 15, 2018 at age 46, had written and demoed the 11 songs that are included on In the End by late 2017, and the rest of the band finished the album following her death.

"We knew this had to be one of the, if not the, best Cranberries album that we could possibly do," says guitarist Noel Hogen. "The worry was that we would destroy the legacy of the band by making an album that wasn't up to standard."

He continues, "Once we had gone through all the demos that Dolores and I had worked on and decided that we had such a strong album we knew it would be the right thing and the best way that we could honor Dolores."

Here is the In the End track list:

"All Over Now"
"Wake Me When It's Over"
"A Place I Know"
"Catch Me if You Can"
"Got It"
"Crazy Heart"
"Summer Song"
"The Pressure"
"In the End"

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Watch the video for Axl Rose’s “Looney Tunes” song, “Rock the Rock”

Mark Horton/Getty Images2018 closed with an unexpected surprise when a new Axl Rose song surfaced in, of all places, an episode of New Looney Tunes. The track, titled "Rock the Rock," has now been officially released, and you can watch its video now on YouTube.

The video follows the plot of the episode, which finds the Guns N' Roses frontman teaming up with the Looney Tunes to stop an asteroid from destroying the Earth -- using the power of rock.

"Rock the Rock" is the first new tune from Rose since the 2008 GNR album Chinese Democracy. As for why he'd choose an episode of New Looney Tunes as the vehicle for the song, that's unclear, but he's certainly a fan of Bugs Bunny and the gang.  Guns N' Roses used the original show's iconic theme as intro music during their Not in This Lifetime reunion tour.

New Looney Tunes airs on the Boomerang streaming service.

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Confirmed: That was Axl Rose on “New Looney Tunes”

Marc Grimwade/WireImageYep, that was Axl Rose's voice on New Looney Tunes. A rep for Warner Bros. Animation confirms to ABC Radio that the Guns N' Roses frontman is indeed singing and talking on a recent episode of the animated program.

In the episode, and animated version of Rose stumbles across Bugs Bunny and company, and they all unite to play a song called "Rock the Rock" in order to stop an asteroid from destroying the Earth -- you know, typical Looney Tunes stuff.

"Rock the Rock" marks the first new Axl tune to follow GNR's 2008 album, Chinese Democracy.

Also in the clip, Rose pokes fun at his past sartorial choices and suggests at one point that he should "go back to wearing a mesh jersey and a kilt on stage."

Rose is certainly a fan of Looney Tunes -- Guns N' Roses used the original show's iconic theme song as intro music during their Not in This Lifetime reunion tour.

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