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Elton John recalls the best advice he ever got was to start small and "build up"

Ben Gibson, © HST Global Limited/ Courtesy of Rocket EntertainmentElton John is always willing to advise young, up-and-coming artists like Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi.  But back when he was first starting out, he received some very valuable advice that's served him well throughout his career.

As part of Spotify's video series "The Best Advice I Ever Got," Elton reveals the words of wisdom that have stuck with him the most over the years came from his U.S. booking agent, Howard Rose: "Don't put yourself in a position where you're playing somewhere big too soon."

Elton explains that early on, "I got the headlines pretty quick, and I could have played bigger venues than I was playing at the start of my career. But Howard said, 'No, you have to go out and play second on the bill to great artists...in areas where you are not so popular.  And you have to get the experience of playing to another audience that isn't your audience.'"

Elton says Rose also told him early on in his career, "We're gonna put you in smaller venues and create a ticket craziness, so you sell out straightaway and no one can get a ticket. That means the next time you come round, you're gonna sell out a bigger venue." 

That way, Rose told Elton, "When you do play big venues, you will really relish it and you will be ready for it."

Elton says now, 50 years on, he can vouch for the fact that "Playing somewhere...[when] you're not ready is a disaster waiting to happen." 

"Just take it easy, know what you can do and then build up to play something special," Elton cautions. "But don't do it straightaway."

 Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


2020 Peach Music Festival lineup features members of The Police & Talking Heads, Allman Brothers alums

Courtesy of The Peach Music FestivalThe lineup for the 2020 edition of the Allman Brothers Band-founded Peach Music Festival has been revealed: Headlining the event will be the supergroup Oysterhead, which features Police drummer Stewart Copeland, Phish singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio and Primus singer/bassist Les Claypool.

Not surprisingly, the bill also includes a couple of Allman Brothers alums: founding drummer Jaimoe and longtime bassist Oteil Burbridge. Both Jaimoe and Oteil will be performing separately with not-yet-announced musical friends, while Burbridge also will be playing with the Grateful Dead tribute act Joe Russo's Almost Dead.

In addition, founding Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison and the band's one-time touring guitarist Adrian Belew will join eclectic Brooklyn, New York-based group Turkuaz for a set celebrating the 40th anniversary of Talking Heads' Remain in Light album.

Other artists set to perform at the 2020 Peach Music Festival include The String Cheese Incident, Tower of Power, reggae veterans Steel Pulse and The Allman Betts Band. That's the new group that features the respective sons of founding Allman Brothers members Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley: Devon Allman, Duane Betts and Berry Duane Oakley.

The festival is scheduled to take place July 2 to July 5 at Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Four-day passes are available now; visit ThePeachMusicFestival.com for more details.

The Peach fest is one of several reunion performances that Oysterhead has lined up in 2020. The band also will be playing a February 14-15 stand at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado, and will be headlining the Sweetwater 420 Fest, taking place April 24-26 in Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ozzy Osbourne lands first 'Billboard' Mainstream Rock Songs chart #1 in nine years with "Under the Graveyard"

Epic RecordsOzzy Osbourne is back on top of Billboard's Mainstream Rock Songs chart for the first time in nine years.

The Prince of Darkness' new single, "Under the Graveyard," has taken the number-one spot on the latest edition of the Mainstream Rock Songs ranking. Osbourne hadn't ruled the chart since 2010, when he led with the song "Let Me Hear You Scream."

"Under the Graveyard," which was released November 8, reached number one on Mainstream Rock Songs in just five weeks. That's the fastest chart ascension since Green Day took the top spot in just three weeks with their 2016 single, "Bang Bang."

Elsewhere on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, you'll find Ozzy's other new single, "Straight to Hell," at number 27, and his Post Malone collaborationm "Take What You Want," at number 31.

"Under the Graveyard" and "Straight to Hell" will be featured on Osbourne's upcoming solo album, Ordinary Man, the follow-up to 2010's Scream. It's due out early 2020.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Last Waltz' among 2019's list of movies selected for the National Film Registry

MGMThe Martin Scorsese-directed concert film The Last Waltz, documenting The Band's star-studded 1976 farewell show, is among the 25 films just added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Each year the Library of Congress selects a number of films for preservation that are considered to have "cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation's film heritage."

The Last Waltz, which was released in 1978, focuses on the final concert ever by The Band's original lineup, which took place Thanksgiving Day 1976 at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom. The show featured a jaw-dropping lineup that included Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood and Ringo Starr. The movie also included interview segments with The Band's five members.

Commenting on The Last Waltz being acknowledged with the honor, Scorsese said, "The National Film Registry is an essential American enterprise that officially recognizes the rich depth and variety, the eloquence and the real greatness of American cinema and the filmmakers who have created it, film by film."

Other music-related films chosen for the registry this year include Purple Rain, starring Prince, and the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner's Daughter.

Here's the National Film Registry's complete 2019 class:

Amadeus (1984)
Becky Sharp (1935)
Before Stonewall (1984)
Body and Soul (1925)
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Clerks (1994)
Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island (1903)
Employees Entrance (1933)
Fog of War (2003)
Gaslight (1944)
George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute (1937)
Girlfriends (1978)
I Am Somebody (1970)
The Last Waltz (1978)
My Name Is Oona (1969)
A New Leaf (1971)
Old Yeller (1957)
The Phenix City Story (1955)
Platoon (1986)
Purple Rain (1984)
Real Women Have Curves (2002)
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Zoot Suit (1981)

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chicago explains why they're taking another "Sleigh Ride" this holiday season

Rhino RecordsChicago's latest album Chicago Christmas is the band's fourth collection of holiday tunes and features their new hit version of "Sleigh Ride."  But as founding member Lee Loughnane explains, the band never actually planned to make another Christmas album -- it just kinda happened.

"Initially, it was going to be just a couple of bonus tracks to go along with, with Rhino [Records] re-releasing our previous Christmas stuff, which perennially does well for them," Lee tells ABC Audio. "And when I asked the guys if they had [any material], they came in with 11 songs, eight of which were originals. So we just took one song at a time. And in three months, we had a record."

This is actually the second time the band's recorded "Sleigh Ride"; they also cut it in 2003.  But with so many Christmas songs to choose from, why do it again?

"Our manager Peter...he kept asking me to do [it]," Lee says.  It seems Peter has fond memories of The Ronettes' version of "Sleigh Ride" that appears on Phil Spector's iconic holiday album A Christmas Gift for You.  Specifically, he wanted Chicago to do what the Ronettes did and sing "ring a ling a ling, ding dong ding."

"When I listened to it...they only did one portion of the song. They didn't even do the bridge or anything else. They just did the verses," Lee points out.

He laughs, "So I wanted to change it up a little bit and still give Peter his ring a ling a ling ding dong ding,  so that's how we formed it."

As a result, both versions of "Sleigh Ride" are completely different.  But if you're looking to stream the current one, there's one difference: The new version is called "Sleigh Ride 2019."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Blue Oyster Cult releasing archival 2014 concert album/video, reissuing 'Cult Classic' album in January

Frontiers Music srlBlue Oyster Cult is preparing a couple of interesting releases that will arrive on January 24, 2020:  an archival concert album and video titled Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014, and a reissue of the band's out-of-print 1994 studio album, Cult Classic.

Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014, which captures an October 2014 show that Blue Oyster Cult played in the Cleveland suburb of Northfield, Ohio, will be available on Blu-ray, as a two-CD/DVD package and as a three-LP vinyl set.

The concert featured a selection of songs from throughout the band's long history, including renditions of such classics as "Burnin' for You," "Godzilla" and, of course, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper."

The group's lineup at the show featured founding singer Eric Bloom and singer/guitarist Don "Buck Dharma" Roeser, longtime keyboardist/guitarist Richie Castellano, drummer Jules Radino and bassist Kasim Sulton, who's best known for his work with Todd Rundgren.

You can watch a video preview of the 2014 show, a clip of the band playing the 1974 tune "Harvester of Eyes," on the Frontiers Music label's YouTube channel.

Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 is the first in a series of live releases Blue Oyster Cult is planning to put out in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Cult Classic reissue boasts a remastered version of the album, which features updated recordings of 13 Blue Oyster Cult songs, including "Burnin' for You," "Godzilla" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." It will be available on CD and as a two-LP vinyl set.

In other news, Blue Oyster Cult has announced plans to release a new studio album in 2020, its first since 2001's Curse of the Hidden Mirror.

Here's the Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014 CD track list:

CD 1
"O.D.'d on Life Itself"
"The Red and the Black"
"Golden Age of Leather"
"Burnin' for You"
"Career of Evil"
"Shooting Shark"
"The Vigil"
"ME 262"
"Buck's Boogie"
"Black Blade"

CD 2
"Then Came the Last Days of May"
"Godzilla"
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
"Harvester of Eyes"
"I Love the Night"
"Hot Rails to Hell"
"Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll"

And here's Cult Classic track list:

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
"E.T.I. (Extraterrestrial Intelligence)"
"ME 262"
"This Ain't the Summer of Love"
"Burnin' for You"
"O.D.'d on Life Itself"
"Flaming Telepaths"
"Godzilla"
"Astronomy"
"Cities on Flame with Rock 'n' Roll"
"Harvester of Eyes"
"Buck's Boogie"
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (TV Mix)
"Godzilla" (TV Mix)

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Elton John, The Rolling Stones top StubHub's 2019 list of most in-demand concert tickets in the US

Ben Gibson/Rocket Entertainment; Dave HoganElton John and The Rolling Stones are among the veteran rock acts that dominate ticket reseller StubHub's list of the top 10 acts who sold the most concert tickets in the U.S. for 2019.

Elton John tops the list, thanks to his ongoing Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which launched in September 2018 and currently is plotted out through December 2020.

At #2 are The Rolling Stones, whose 2019 No Filter tour ran from late June until late August.

Queen, who hit the road in the States with ex-American Idol singer Adam Lambert for The Rhapsody Tour, are #3 on the tally.

Billy Joel, who continues to play a monthly show at New York's Madison Square Garden as well as select concerts in other cities, land at #4 on the list.

Also on the top 10 are Bob Seger at #6 and Paul McCartney at #7. In November, Seger and his Silver Bullet Band finished up their Roll Me a farewell tour.

"The touring landscape in 2019 was dominated by Elton John and The Rolling Stones," says StubHub exec Jeff Poirier. "The legends they are, fans flocked to see them throughout the entire year as they did with so many legacy rock acts."

Here's the list of the top 10 acts who sold the most concert tickets on StubHub in the U.S. in 2019:

1. Elton John
2. The Rolling Stones
3. Queen
4. Billy Joel
5. Ariana Grande
6. Bob Seger
7. Paul McCartney
8. Garth Brooks
9. Luke Combs
10. Justin Timberlake

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Memorial gala announced to commemorate 10th anniversary of Ronnie James Dio's death

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty ImagesNext year marks the 10th anniversary of Ronnie James Dio's death, and to mark the occasion, the late metal legend's Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is holding a memorial gala.

The event takes place February 20 at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, and will include live performances, auctions and a raffle.

As for the performances, a press release promises that "the amazing vocals and visuals of Ronnie James Dio...will provide the entertainment" alongside Dio band members Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Scott Warren and Bjorn Englen. Ex-Judas Priest vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens will also be performing.

Additionally, the gala will feature an awards show, and will honor those who "played a role in...Dio's legacy" or helped with the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which was founded following Dio's death.

The awards are all named after Dio's songs, including the Holy Diver Award, the Killing the Dragon Award and the Rainbow in the Dark Award.

For more info, visit DioCancerFund.org.

Dio died May 2010 of stomach cancer. He was 67.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


You can tell everybody: Original handwritten lyrics to "Your Song" sell for over $235K at auction

ABC/Randy HolmesWith Elton John having quite the moment thanks to the movie Rocketman, his sold-out farewell tour and his best-selling autobiography, it's no wonder there's lots of call for Elton memorabilia at auction.

The original handwritten lyrics to "Your Song," scrawled by Bernie Taupin, sold at Bonhams auction house Monday for just under $237,600. The lyrics were the first and only draft -- as fans know, Bernie handed the lyrics to Elton, who wrote the music for the song in about 10 minutes.

If you own a copy of Elton's 1975 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Copy, a picture of this very same lyric sheet appears in the insert material.

At the same sale, the original handwritten lyrics to "Bennie & the Jets" sold for just under $87,600, and the lyrics to "Border Song," with annotations by Elton, went for more than $31,000. That lyric sheet was a rare example of Elton and Bernie actually writing a song together: As fans know, it's extremely rare for Elton to ever write lyrics.

The lyric sheets were all sold by Maxine Taupin, Bernie's ex-wife, who inspired many of his songs, including "Tiny Dancer." She also suggested the titles of the songs "Harmony," "Love Lies Bleeding" and, most famously, "The Bitch Is Back."

Recalling the origin of the latter tune's title, Maxine told The Hollywood Reporter, "When Elton came back from one particular tour, Bernie and I went over to visit him. He was telling us about what went on, how exhausted he was and this happened and this didn't and just on and on and on."

"I looked over at Bernie and rolled my eyes and said, 'Oh, the bitch is back.' And we all just started laughing hysterically."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The Who schedules intimate London-area show in February in honor of new studio album

Rick Guest/Interscope Records The Who has announced plans to play what's being billed as the band's "most intimate show in 40 years." To celebrate the recent release of their new studio album, WHO, the group will play a one-off acoustic concert at the Pryzm nightclub in the London suburb of Kingston upon Thames on February 14, 2020.

The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of the classic Who concert album Live at Leeds. Tickets for the show will be go on sale on Wednesday, December 11, at 11 a.m. U.K. time via BanquetRecords.com. Several ticket bundles will be available pairing passes to the concert with copies of the WHO CD or vinyl picture disc.

Regarding the album, founding Who guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend said, "There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I (and my brother Simon) wrote to give [frontman] Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice."

He added, "Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I've tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are okay, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today."

In related news, WHO is on pace to become the band's first #1 album in the U.K. since September 1971, OfficialCharts.com reports. As of Monday, the record, which is The Who's first studio effort since 2006's Endless Wire, was just under 6,000 chart sales ahead of the #2 album, Robbie Williams' The Christmas Present.

The Who's only album ever to hit #1 on the U.K. Official Albums Chart was Who's Next.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Joni Mitchell to receive prestigious Les Paul Innovation Award at 2020 NAMM TEC Awards

Credit: Norman SeeffJoni Mitchell will receive the Les Paul Innovation Award at the 35th annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC) Awards, scheduled for Saturday, January 18, 2020, in Anaheim, California.

The honor, named after late electric guitar and multi-track recording pioneer Les Paul, recognizes people or institutions that have made a significant impact on the world of audio production and technology.

"Thank you for this honor," says the lauded Canadian singer/songwriter. "I'm grateful for being appreciated."

Notes Michael Braunstein, executive director of the Les Paul Foundation, which presents the honor, "[Joni] has been a trailblazer and a true renaissance woman -- a songwriter, musician, producer and influencer who made her mark with very influential songs in the '60s. She has pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a female singer-songwriter over the course of her four decade career, and like Les Paul, she's never been scared to take creative risks."

Starting as an introspective folk singer and songwriter, Mitchell branched out into rock and jazz, while always being considered among the strongest, most poetic lyricists of her time. Joni also is an accomplished painter. Her many career achievements include induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

The TEC Awards will be held during the third day of the 2020 NAMM Show, the popular music-equipment trade show that runs from January 16 to January 19. The awards recognize "outstanding achievement in audio technology and production."

Among the 2020 nominees for awards in the various Creative Achievement categories are Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, and the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Check out the full list of nominees at TECAwards.org.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lynyrd Skynyrd joins Metallica on 2020 Welcome to Rockville festival lineup

Danny Wimmer PresentsLynyrd Skynryd are among artists featured on the just-announced full lineup of the 2020 Welcome to Rockville festival, which takes place May 8-10 in Daytona Beach, Florida. As previously reported, the hard-rock extravaganza will include two headlining performances by Metallica.

Other artists on the bill include Deftones, The Offspring, Godsmack, Staind, Anthrax, Social Distortion, Rancid, Mastodon, Alter Bridge, Lamb of God, Dropkick Murphys, The Darkness, HellYeah and many more.

Metallica will headline the first and last days of the Welcome to Rockville fest, and Lynyrd Skynyrd is part of the May 10 bill.

As previously announced, Welcome to Rockville is one of five affiliated 2020 hard rock festivals that Metallica will headline, along with Epicenter, Sonic Temple, Louder than Life and Aftershock. At each event, the metal legends will perform two unique sets.

For the full lineup and ticket info, visit WelcometoRockvilleFestival.com.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Paul McCartney teaming with Netflix to create animated film based on his 2005 children's book 'High in the Clouds'

Mary McCartney/MPL Communications

A new animated film High in the Clouds, based on a 2005 children's book of the same name co-written by Paul McCartney, is being produced by Netflix in partnership with the French movie company Gaumont.

McCartney will contribute original songs and soundtrack music to the film, which he's also co-producing.

High in the Clouds is an adventure story about a teenage squirrel named Wirral who gets caught up with a gang of rebellious teen animals that live in the clouds after he unintentionally angers a local tyrant named Gretsch, an owl who fancies herself a wonderful singer and who steals the voice of anyone who upstages her.

The movie will be directed by Timothy Reckart, whose previous credits include Head Over Heels and The Star. The screenplay is being penned by Jon Croker, who also has worked on such movies as Paddington, Paddington 2 and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Netflix. They complement what is already an amazing team with Gaumont and we can think of no one better to be working with to bring our film to a global audience," McCartney says in a statement. "I've always loved animated films and this is a hugely important passion project for me. I can't wait for the world to see it."

Adds Netflix executive Gregg Taylor, "Bringing the world a new animated film from the heart and mind of the brilliant Paul McCartney is undoubtedly one of the greatest thrills we've experienced at Netflix."

McCartney first announced in 2013 that he was planning to develop an animated version of High in the Clouds. A different production team and screenwriter were attached to the project at the time.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Metallica's 'Black Album' passes 550 weeks on 'Billboard' 200

Blackened RecordingsMetallica continues to make history on the Billboard 200.

The metal legends' gigantic 1991 self-titled effort, commonly referred to as the Black Album, has passed a historic 550 weeks on the ranking.

Only three other albums have hit the 550-week milestone in the history of the Billboard 200. Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is the clear record-holder, with a total of 945 weeks, while Bob Marley and The Wailers' best-of collection, Legend, and Journey's Greatest Hits have tallied 603 and 593 weeks, respectively.

With singles including "Enter Sandman," "Nothing Else Matters" and "Wherever I May Roam," the Black Album catapulted Metallica from metal heroes to world-conquering rock gods. The diamond-certified record is easily Metallica's best-selling release, having sold over 16 million copies in the U.S.

Metallica's most recent album is 2016's Hardwired...to Self-Destruct.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sting to receive Global Citizen's Artist of the Year award in London on Friday

Kevin Kane/Getty Images for the Rainforest FundA day after Sting hosted his star-studded benefit concert in New York City to benefit his Rainforest Fund foundation, he's just been announced as the winner of a prize honoring his environmental efforts over the years.

The Global Citizen organization will give the former Police frontman its Artist of the Year Prize, which honors a creative individual or group using their platform and their work to create change -- not only through conversation but also through meaningful impact. 

Specifically, Sting is being honored for using his fame to raise awareness of the plight of the rainforests, and using his Rainforest Fund to preserve more than 33 million acres since 1989.

The award comes with a $150,000 prize, which Sting will donate to the Fund.

Sting will accept the prize at a December 13 ceremony in London hosted by John Legend, where both artists will perform.  Jennifer Hudson, Coldplay's Chris Martin, British stars Jorja Smith and Stormzy, and R&B stars H.E.R. and Raphael Saadiq are also on the bill for the event at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Game of Thrones stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey are among the presenters, alone with actors Kal Penn, Connie Britton and Catherine Tate.

Filmmaker Richard Curtis of Love Actually fame will be named Global Citizen of the Year at the ceremony.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Film documenting star-studded 2016 Ray Manzarek tribute concert to be screened across the globe in February

Trafalgar Releasing/Doors Property L.L.C.A concert film and documentary focusing on a star-studded 2016 tribute to late Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek will be shown in select theaters around the world on February 12, 2020, which would have been Manzarek's 81st birthday.

The Doors: Break On Thru -- A Celebration of Ray Manzarek features footage from a show held February 12, 2016, at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles that saw surviving Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore reuniting to honor their old band mate with a variety guest musicians.

Other stars who took part in the concert were Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and Rami Jaffee, Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo, Paul McCartney touring guitarist Brian Ray, Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Gov't Mule/former Allman Brothers Band singer/guitarist Warren Haynes and X's Exene and John Doe.

The movie features performances of a bevy of classic Doors songs, and also boasts interviews with the performers and behind-the-scenes footage from the event.

"It was such an honor to play with these world-class musicians in a tribute to our magical keyboard player," Densmore says of the concert.

The flick had its world premiere in April 2018 at New Jersey's Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.

Tickets for the screenings of The Doors: Break On Thru -- A Celebration of Ray Manzarek are available now at TheDoorsFilm.com.

Manzarek died of bile duct cancer in May 2013. He was 74.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


We'll be together: Sting hosts Bruce, Mellencamp, Eurythmics, James Taylor & more at 30th anniversary edition of Rainforest Fund benefit concert

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rainforest FundMonday night in New York City, Sting and some of his famous pals staged the 30th anniversary edition of his Rainforest Fund charity concert, which he and his wife Trudie Styler have been hosting on and off since 1989.  On the red carpet, Sting told ABC Audio that, sadly, trying to save the rainforest seems to be a never-ending task.

"We've won a lot of battles in the struggle to save our planet, but, you know, we can't be complacent. We may well be losing the war because our politicians aren't addressing it," Sting said. "And some of them are saying it's a hoax. Some of them are actively pursuing the destruction of the planet."

He added, "So, you know, I think you have to be optimistic, but at the same time, it's getting harder and harder."

This year's show, dubbed We'll Be Together after the Sting song of the same name, featured even more of a star-studded lineup than usual: It was hosted by Robert Downey Jr. and, in addition to Sting, it featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, James Taylor, Bob Geldof, Shaggy, Ricky Martin, Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC and a reunited Eurythmics.  The duo of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart haven't performed together since 2014.

"This is an interesting thing to do from both of our perspectives," Dave Stewart told ABC Audio. "About two years ago, we were just messing about and making little films and playing. And this is the first real opportunity of somebody directly going, 'Guys, will you play as Eurythmics?' And we're like, 'Oh, well, go on then!'" 

Sting said of the event, "We're creating community, and everybody who comes and joins us in this family is part of us. And my friends come...and everyone, if we hadn't met before, becomes our friend, so it's a lovely feeling. It really is."

What makes it even more special, Sting noted, is that in 30 years, these concerts have never been released on record or on video.

"One of the lovely things about this concert, which attracts people, is we don't record it," he said. "You know, it's a one-off and there's no cameras flying everywhere. It's the relationship between the artist and the audience. And that's what people like."

So that means that only a lucky few got to see an amazing lineup of performers and songs.  Here's who sang what:

Robert Downey Jr. & Pose star MJ Rodriguez: "Addicted to Love"
Sting & Shaggy: "Englishman in New York"
James Taylor: "Your Smiling Face" and "Up on the Roof" (Drifters cover)
Bob Geldof: "I Don't Like Mondays" and "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding" (Elvis Costello cover)
Shaggy with Sting: "Electric Avenue" (Eddy Grant cover)
Joe Sumner (Sting's son): "Ashes to Ashes" (David Bowie cover)
Italian singer Zucchero: "Misere"
Debbie Harry: Medley of "Call Me" and "Rapture"
DMC: "Walk This Way"
James Taylor: "Never Die Young"
Sting: "We'll Be Together"
Ricky Martin: "Cup of Life" and "Livin' La Vida Loca"
Sting: "Sledgehammer" (Peter Gabriel cover)
Adrienne Warren, star of the Tina Turner Broadway musical Tina: "The Best"
John Mellencamp: "Jack and Diane"
John Mellencamp & Bruce Springsteen: "Pink Houses"
Eurythmics: "Would I Lie to You," "Here Comes the Rain Again" and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
Bruce Springsteen: "I'm On Fire"
Bruce Springsteen & John Mellencamp: "Glory Days"
Bruce Springsteen: "Dancing in the Dark"
Finale with everyone: "Don't Stop Believing" (Journey cover)

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The Cars' Elliot Easton to perform at L.A.-area charity concert paying tribute to The Lovin' Spoonful

Wild Honey PresentsCars guitarist Elliot Easton is among the many musicians who will help pay tribute to the influential 1960s pop-rock group The Lovin' Spoonful at a charity concert scheduled for February 29 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.

Easton, Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken and various other artists will perform with the event's house band: The Wild Honey Orchestra, a rotating collective of Los Angeles-area musicians. A number of to-be-announced guest singers also will take part in the event.

The show will feature renditions of more than 30 Lovin' Spoonful songs, including classics like "Do You Believe in Magic," "Summer in the City," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" and "Darling Be Home Soon."

The concert will raise funds for the Autism Think Tank, a non-profit organization that brings together top specialists via an online conference to work on solutions to issues faced by young people with autism.

Tickets for the event will go on sale to the general public this Friday, December 11, at the Alex Theatre's box office and AlexTheatre.org. Pre-sale tickets will be available starting Wednesday, December 11. You can check out some pre-sale packages by visiting GoFundMe.com.

During the last few years, The Wild Honey Orchestra has staged a variety of tribute concerts to raise money for the charity, including concerts celebrating the music of The Beatles, The Kinks, Big Star, The Band and Buffalo Springfield.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sting mourns rapper Juice WRLD, who sampled his song

Harrison Cooney/Walt Disney World Resort

Sting is one of the many musicians who are mourning the passing of rapper Juice WRLD, who died over the weekend at age 21 after suffering a "medical emergency" shortly after landing at a Chicago airport.  In case you're wondering why a 68-year-old British rock icon even knows who Juice WRLD is, well, there's a strong connection between them.

Juice's number-two hit "Lucid Dreams" was based around a sample of Sting's 1993 song "Shape of My Heart." The former Police frontman tells Billboard, "This is such a tragic loss for the world of music, a young life with so much potential and a unique and precious talent."

Sting adds, "'Lucid Dreams' was my favorite of all the many interpolations of 'Shape of My Heart,' it will resonate for many years to come. My sincere condolences to the family."

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer said via a spokesperson that reports that he was suing Juice over the song are "simply untrue."

Juice WRLD, born Jarad Anthony Higgins, had just celebrated his 21st birthday on December 2. After suffering a seizure, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ozzy Osbourne's number-one on rock radio with "Under the Graveyard"

Epic RecordsOzzy Osbourne's new solo single "Under the Graveyard" is rocking hard on radio.

The track sits at number one on Mediabase's Active Rock chart, which measures airplay across radio stations that play active rock.

"Under the Graveyard," which dropped in November, is the lead single from Ozzy's upcoming new album Ordinary Man, his first studio effort since 2010's Scream.

Ordinary Man, which was recorded with Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses on bass and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, is due out in 2020. It also includes the new song "Straight to Hell," which features Slash.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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